NHL Rumors Roundup: Will we see the Nordiques again; Rangers, Islanders, Habs, and Canucks
The NHL rumors began to fly in the province of Quebec this week when Premier François Legault told RDS, “I spoke with [Mr. Bettman], and we have meetings with him in the coming months.”
This brought out many questions, and also a feeling of nostalgia for the old Nordiques that relocated to Colorado and became the Avalanche in 1995.
So is it possible? Are they returning?
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NHL Rumors Roundup: Nordiques coming back?
“You have to look at who is ready to invest. We have an amphitheater in Quebec that has already been built. We are in the process of making contacts with Mr. Bettman,” Legault said via La Presse. “We are looking at what we need to bring back the Nordiques. I think we are capable of having a second team in Quebec.”
Dear hockey fans in Quebec, you may want to temper expectations and keep your hopes to a minimum.
Jeff Marek provided some key updates on Sportnet Saturday night by characterizing Legault’s comments as musings.
“We’re one year out of another provincial election and the campaigning has already begun,” Marek said he was told.
However, Marek reached out to Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who confirmed that the NHL did speak with the Quebec Government. Daly also noted that there was no meeting scheduled and that the league is happy where they are right now with 32 teams.
New York Rangers heavily involved in trade rumors
Right now, the Rangers are one of the most talked about teams in the trade rumor mill after losing Sammy Blais to a torn ACL for the season. The team was light at the position to begin with after trading Pavel Buchnevich and watching prospect Vitali Kravtsov leave for Russia demanding a trade.
“Chris Drury, the general manager for the New York Rangers, is looking for a middle-six forward, which isn’t a term we use often in hockey,” Darren Dreger said. “That can be a third-line player or someone who can punch into the top six.”
In addition, Arthur Staple of The Athletic is reporting that the Blueshirts are also looking for a defenseman.
The Athletic confirmed that the Rangers are potentially looking to add a forward, though a veteran defenseman is believed to be on their shopping list, as well.The Athletic
Reports also surfaced that there are no plans to discuss a new deal with pending UFA center Ryan Strome.
So with Kravtsov looking for a trade and Drury looking to fill holes, the speculation is rampant.
Names being bandied about include Phil Kessel in Arizona, David Perron in St. Louis, but targets that have been on the Rangers radar are F Reilly Smith in Vegas and D Mark Giordano in Seattle.
Look for the Rangers to make a move after Thanksgiving.
Islanders hit hard with injuries and COVID
The Islanders are two games under .500 in the most competitive division in the NHL. They are currently dead last in the Metro and being hit with COVID on top of losing shutdown defender Ryan Pulock for up to 6 weeks.
Arthur Staple of The Athletic believe the Islanders will likely try and explore the trade market for a defenseman soon.
Some names mentioned are Dallas’ John Klingberg, Montreal’s Ben Chariot, St. Louis’ Marco Scandella, Seattle’s Vince Dunn and Mark Giordano.
There could also be a big play move for Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun, but will cost the Islanders a top prospect like Aatu Raty.
Are the Habs going to make any moves?
The Canadiens have struggled this season and are rumored to be in the market for a puck moving defenseman. At this time, there still doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency per Habs GM Marc Bergevin.
“You always look to improve your team, but the history shows that most trades are made at the draft or near the trading deadline,’’ Bergevin told Pierre LeBrun. “There’s not many during the season. But again, when your players aren’t playing up to their potential, then you’re selling low. And I believe this team is a lot better than our record right now. So, to make a trade that might shock the system for a week or so but in the long run won’t help the Montreal Canadiens because we didn’t make a good trade… I always listen, but I’m not going to make a trade just to say I made a trade.’’
Looks like the Canadiens are going to have to work their way out of this hole with the group they have.
Canucks open for trades
Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning held a press conference to discuss the team’s awful start.
He openly admitted that he’s been trying to work the trade market for deals that can help shake the Canucks out of their slumber. “We’re looking at everything,” he said.
For argument’s sake let’s just qualify that everything likely does not include trading Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, or Thatcher Demko.
J.T. Miller is a name that continues to come up in talks, and last season Brock Boeser was a featured name in trade rumors.
Those would be the two big names to keep an eye on going forward.