The Montreal Canadiens' recently reported desire to bolster their blueline continues to generate speculation in the NHL rumor mill. It's believed GM Marc Bergevin wants to add a top-four defenseman at some point this season to ease the burden on Shea Weber and Andrei Markov.
Appearing on the NHL Network on Monday, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman believes there are blueliners currently available, but none that are top-four caliber. The sole exception is Jacob Trouba of the Winnipeg Jets. However, no one is sure if the Jets will move him. Friedman also believes it'll cost a king's ransom to land Trouba.
TSN's Bob McKenzie said he's heard Bergevin wants a defenseman, but he's not really willing to part with anything right now to get one. He also notes the lack of significant deals at this time of year, though trade talk could increase around the time of the GMs meetings in Toronto on Nov. 15.
McKenzie's colleague Darren Dreger notes Bergevin can be crafty. However, he isn't the only GM shopping for a defenseman. Dreger notes Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland's made no secret of his search for a defenseman. He also believes Bergevin at some point could also depth at center.
To land a top-four defenseman, Bergevin has to be prepared to give. Right now, he doesn't have much to offer up in terms of roster players. He certainly doesn't have enough to meet the Jets rumored asking price of top-four D-man with a left-handed shot for Trouba. If reports claiming the 22-year-old prefers to be dealt to an American-based team are true, pursuing him is a waste of time for Bergevin.
Bergevin has a reputation for being active in the trade market. Two years ago, he acquired veteran blueliner Sergei Gonchar from the Dallas Stars for forward Travis Moen in a November trade. Gonchar, however, was well past his prime by that point and the Stars simply wanted him off their books, while Moen no longer fit into the Habs plans.
Finding a defender capable of helping Weber and Markov carry the load won't be easy this early in the season. Bergevin could be waiting until the March 1 trade deadline for the market to improve. That's how he landed Jeff Petry from the Edmonton Oilers in 2014-15.
KINGS CREATE CAP SPACE WITH QUICK ON LTIR
The Los Angeles Kings goaltending situation also remains a topic of interest. TSN's Bob McKenzie reports they recently placed sidelined starter Jonathan Quick on long-term injury reserve. That allows them to go over the $73-million cap ceiling by the equivalent of Quick's $5.8-million cap hit.
McKenzie believes that puts them in better position to add a goalie if they wish. He points out, however, the Kings must become salary-cap compliant when Quick returns to action later this season. He said it makes little sense for them to pursue someone like Ondrej Pavelec ($3.9 million) of the Winnipeg Jets.
It also makes no sense for them to go after New York Islanders netminder Jaroslave Halak ($4.5 million). He's reportedly being shopped after his agent took to Twitter questioning the club's handling of its three goalies. An affordable option would've been Mike Condon ($575,000), but he was dealt Wednesday by the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Ottawa Senators for a draft pick.
That could explain Kings coach Darryl Sutter's comments on Wednesday claiming there wasn't a white knight riding in to help his goaltending or improve the offense. For now, it appears the Kings will stick with call-ups Peter Budaj and Jack Campbell while awaiting backup Jeff Zatkoff's return from a lower-body injury.
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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