With the Montreal Canadiens struggling to score and tumbling in the standings, there's considerable speculation another trade could be in the works after the recent holiday freeze ended at midnight on Dec. 27.
The reported trade of Zack Kassian to the Edmonton Oilers happened early Monday morning, and the Canadiens received goaltender Ben Scrivens in return which could help shore up the goaltending situation. That doesn’t help the Canadiens acquire more offensive punch, though.
Le Journal de Montreal's Pierre Durocher claims Habs forward Alex Galchenyuk surfaced in the rumor mill. It could take a promising youngster like the 21-year-old Galchenyuk to attract an established offensive player. Gagnon reports GM Marc Bergevin is rumored to have interest in Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds. However, there's little indication the Flyers are keen to ship out Simmonds.
Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests the Flyers should move backup goalie Michal Neuvirth while his trade value is high. He believes it'll be worthwhile if the Flyers can get “a high draft pick, a backup goalie” and someone to take the fading Vincent Lecavalier's contract off their hands.
He feels Montreal could be a prime destination, but the Habs primary issue is their lack of scoring and Scrivens fills the goaltending spot the Canadiens were looking to fill. Bergevin won't take on Lecavalier's $4.5-million cap hit through 2017-18 unless he's getting someone like Simmonds as part of the return. Even then, the Habs GM could balk at that asking price.
KOMAROV POTENTIAL TRADE CHIP?
TSN's Darren Dreger created a bit of a buzz before Christmas by suggesting Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov could fetch a late first-round pick if he's put on the trade block. Komarov, 28, is playing the best hockey of his brief NHL career, on pace for a 36-goal, 58-point campaign.
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons, however, quickly dismissed that notion. He claims the Leafs have no intention of moving Komarov unless they get a mind-blowing offer.
Even if the Leafs decide to move Komarov, it won't happen until near the trade deadline. While he's always been a solid checking forward with a decent offensive touch, it remains to be seen if he can maintain his current production over a full season. He's also seeing top-six minutes on a talent-thin roster this season.
For a rebuilding club like the Leafs, it would be wiser to retain a character player like Komarov. He could provide leadership for promising young forwards like William Nylander and Mitch Marner when they make their anticipated jump to the Leafs lineup next season.
PANTHERS SEEKING GOALTENDER?
The New York Post's Larry Brooks recently reported the Florida Panthers had interest in goaltender Cam Talbot prior to the New York Rangers shipping him to the Edmonton Oilers last June. Brooks suggested it would be unsurprising if they took another run at landing the 27-year-old netminder to bolster their depth between the pipes.
Goaltending, however, is among the Panthers' strengths this season. Starter Roberto Luongo continues to put up solid numbers, while 30-year-old backup Al Montoya has better stats than Talbot. Indeed, Panthers coach Gerard Gallant recently praised his current tandem for their strong play.
The Panthers could be busy leading up to the NHL trade deadline. Earlier this month, GM Dale Tallon acknowledged he'll be in the market for a scorer. Adding a goaltender, however, is the least of his concerns.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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