Category Archives: Mtl. Canadiens

Initial Recation: Eberle, van Riemsdyk, and Schlemko trades 

The first dominos of the trade market fell on Thursday afternoon, with a trio of trades being completed. 

The first was Jordan Eberle to New York for Ryan Strome. The second and third were both Vegas dealing defensemen to the Eastern Conference, as Trevor van Riemsdyk and David Schlemko went to Carolina and Montreal respectively. 

My initial reaction to these deals is mixed. But, we’ll take it one by one. 

For the Oilers and Islanders, the logic behind the deal is obvious. Edmonton wanted to shed salary either for free agency or to re-sign Kris Russell. Trading Eberle for Strome saves them $3.5 million on the cap for next season. 

As for the Islanders, this is a win-now move. Strome is under a .50 points-per-game pace for his career. Eberle, on the contrary, is nearly at .75 points-per-game for his career. Eberle and Tavares also go back almost a decade in terms of their relationship. Both player for Team Canada’s World Juniors team in the late 2000s. 

The logic behind the deal is evident, but the Islanders are the winners on the surface. They are getting the more established and more consistent player. However, what the Oilers will do with the added cap space remains to be seen. 

As for the van Riemsdyk to Carolina trade, it seems fair for both sides. van Riemsdyk will get a chance to thrive in a larger role in Carolina, whereas Vegas gets a second round pick back for someone that they acquired for nothing. 

The deal just further exemplifies how many draft picks Vegas is stockpiling. In the first two rounds this year, they now have three first round picks and three second round picks. It is quite the head start for the league’s 31st franchise. 

Lastly, the Schlemko deal is a great one for Montreal. Giving up just a fifth round pick for him is a steal. 

Schlemko has three more years left on his deal at $2.1 million per. He is a fantastic skater, and, in fact, his skating is what made him so successful in San Jose last season. 

Schlemko will be able to slot in anywhere between the #4 and #6 role in Montreal. He is able to play in all situations and would be a nice replacement (in a sense) for when Andrei Markov departs. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Expect many more moves to come in the next few days. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

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Predicting Protected Lists: Montreal Canadiens 

It is hard to make out how the Montreal Canadiens will be thinking for the expansion draft. There are a few guaranteed players to be protected, but after that, your guess is as good as mine. 

Definitely being protected by Montreal are Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Shea Weber, Brendan Gallagher, and Carey Price. Jeff Petry, who has a no-movement clause, will be as well. 

That leaves four forward slots and two defensive slots to be filled. 

Andrew Shaw, Phillip Danault, and Paul Byron are three solid guesses. Shaw excelled in his first year in Montreal, albeit his points did dip from the previous year. Byron was able to break out as well and learned how to use his speed to his advantage. As for Danault, he was acquired two seasons ago from Chicago and has cemented himself in the center core of the Canadiens for years to come. 

The last forward spot could go to a number of players. 

It could be Tomas Plekanec, a veteran center who has, granted, lost some of his offensive touch in recent years. It could be Charles Hudon on the other hand, a center prospect looking to make the full time leap into the NHL next season. 

Lastly, Alexander Radulov’s situation must be examined. Currently an unrestricted free agent, Radulov technically does not require protection. The team will want to sign him after the expansion draft, but Radulov wants a contract done as soon as possible. 

Radulov will be staying in Montreal regardless, but the variable that stands is if he will take a protection spot away from Plekanec or Hudon or not. 

On defense, it will be either Nathan Beaulieu or Alexei Emelin joining Weber and Petry. Due to age and contract status, I suspect it will be Beaulieu. That does not rule out him being traded later in the offseason, though. 

In the end, the Montreal Canadiens could have a protection list that looks like the following:

Forwards: Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Andrew Shaw, Paul Byron, Phillip Danault, and Tomas Plekanec OR Charles Hudon

Defense: Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, and Nathan Beaulieu 

Goalie: Carey Price 

If Hudon is exposed, he will likely be in Vegas next season. If not, Jacob de la Rose and Daniel Carr are options. 

Next team: Nashville Predators

Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Three winners and three losers from the 2017 NHL trade deadline 

The 2017 NHL trade deadline has come and gone. Quite frankly, it was pretty boring this year. No big or surprising names were moved. However, there was certainly enough action to determine winners or losers of the past few days.

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The first instances of expansion prep came this week via Montreal and Anaheim 

The expansion draft is looming. Teams have been planning for this event below the surface for months, but now that we are within half a year of the actual event, more public moves are beginning to be made.

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Recap: Hall/Larsson and Subban/Weber trades, plus Stamkos’ signing 

Yes — we are just as confused as you are. 

In thirty minutes, the course of the next NHL season changed dramatically. In what was likely the biggest flurry of trades in NHL history, PK Subban, Taylor Hall, Shea Weber, and Adam Larsson were all dealt. Not to mention Steven Stamkos re-signed in Tampa Bay. 

So let’s start at the first trade of the day. New Jersey acquired Taylor Hall from Edmonton in exchange for Adam Larsson. This was a desperate move met by a lot of scrutiny, mostly rightful, by Peter Chiarelli. With trading chips such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, a deal involving Taylor Hall shouldn’t have been necessary. Adam Larsson is a solid young defender, but nowhere near the caliber of defenseman that should have been brought in for Taylor Hall. 

Regardless, this likely makes Edmonton the firm landing spot for Milan Lucic. That’s not to say Lucic is a formidable replacement for Taylor Hall, but it is what is going to happen.  

As for New Jersey, they get a bonafide first line winger. They’ve been devoid of scoring for a few years now and this is a tremendous pickup. 

Just a few minutes later, rumblings from Nick Kypreos came out that PK Subban could be on the move. That happened a few minutes later when he was traded to Nashville in exchange for Shea Weber. 

This is a mind boggling deal. Subban is a better player than Weber, who has significantly declined over the past few years. Weber will also be turning 31 at the start of the season and still has ten years left on his deal. It’s hard to find a rationale from Bergevin’s side when looking at this trade. 

From Nashville’s side, it is a fantastic trade. They get a younger, dynamic defenseman in Subban who can anchor their top-four for years to come. Ryan Ellis, PK Subban, Matthias Ekholm, and Roman Josi is a scary defensive corps. 

Moving on from trades, the Lighting also announced that they had re-signed big fish free agent Steven Stamkos to a eight year, 8.5 million per deal. This is a lower AAV than what other teams may have given him, but with no state income tax in Florida, he’ll earn a lot more than he would elsewhere. 

This changes Friday’s gameplan drastically. Almost every team was going to take a shot at Stamkos, so now they all have to revert to Plan B. David Backes and Frans Nielsen just moved up the leaderboard big time. 

Stay tuned for more NHL news, because I’m sure we’ll get some. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Trade Possibility: Jordan Staal

As the Hurricanes continue in their transition period, another familiar name could be on the move. It has been reported that Jordan Staal has been shopped around, only months after brother Eric was dealt to the New York Rangers.  Read the rest of this entry

Toronto wins lottery, Jets move up to No. 2 

The annual NHL draft lottery was held on Saturday night and for the first time in six years the team that finished last in the league won the lottery. That team was the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will have the chance to choose either Auston Matthews or Patrik Laine with the pick. 

There will be internal debate, but Auston Matthews is Toronto’s man. The center, currently playing in the Swiss league, will be ready to jump straight into the NHL in sheltered minutes behind Nazem Kadri (at least to start). 

Interest will be there from teams to move up, especially Arizona, but I do not foresee it happening. The Maple Leafs endured a tough season and waited a long time for this to happen, and to relinquish the ability to make the first overall selection would come at a high price. 

In other news and notes, the Winnipeg Jets moved up from #6 to #2. They’ll likely get the chance to take Patrik Laine, the Finnish winger that has drawn comparisons to Alex Ovechkin. 

I think there was a shot that someone like Buffalo or Calgary would have taken Laine first overall, but I don’t think it’ll happen now. 

Most of the teams remained in the spots they were originally at. 

Edmonton is picking at #4 and Jacob Chychrun or Matthew Tkachuk would be nice fits. 

Montreal got the #9 pick and will have a number of options to look at. Can things shake out so that Alex Nylander falls down to them? Entirely possible. 

New Jersey is at #10. Clayton Keller would be good for them. 

The months leading up to the draft will be full of preparation for the fourteen teams involved in the draft lottery plus many more as they are eliminated from the playoffs. The top three players in this year’s draft makes it an exciting one. With things like the salary cap and the expansion draft in play, there’s a lot to look forward to in terms of player movement come June. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Four potential suitors for Nail Yakupov

News came out yesterday that Nail Yakupov requested a trade from the Oilers prior to February’s trade deadline. The former first overall pick has seen his fair share of struggles in Edmonton, but has nonetheless proved to be a skilled player that can thrive in the correct situation. Many teams will be lining up to try to get Yakupov’s services for their team. 

Ottawa Senators 

The Senators have had a very disappointing year. Although they sit in the top-ten of goals for per game, they still are in need of another weapon up front. If they lose out on Jonathan Drouin, Yakupov would be a good option to fall back on. Ottawa may also be losing key offensive forward Mike Hoffman this offseason, so Yakupov would help fill that hole. 

Montreal Canadiens 

As yet another team up north struggling, Montreal needs to heavily re-evaluate their supporting cast around Carey Price this summer. Would coupling up Nail Yakupov with his half-Russian brethren Alex Galchenyuk, who was taken two picks after Yakupov in 2012, help spark their offense? They run the risk of another failed experiment, like Alex Semin, as there is no guarantee Yakupov will regain his mojo in a new city. 

Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres are loaded up front with young forwards such as Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, and Evander Kane, but Yakupov would be a nice addition to the middle six. The Sabres have dealt with serious depth issues this year with little to no production being brought in by Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson, and Brian Gionta among others. 

New York Rangers

The Rangers have a lot more scoring prowess and depth than the aforementioned teams, but Nail Yakupov still could be a fit in the big apple. Slotting him into a second line role would potentially bump down the likes of Kevin Hayes, Jesper Fast, and Oscar Lindberg, but it adds another threat to the Rangers lineup and makes them more dangerous on the wing. 

There will be plenty of suitors with interest in Yakupov, the question that remains is if the Oilers will be willing to sell him for lower than what his ceiling may be. Edmonton has placed themselves in a tough situation, but regardless of what they get in return, it is clear that Yakupov and them both need to move on from each other. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

The Montreal Canadiens should shut down Carey Price for the season 

The campaign for the Montreal Canadiens has gone down the drain ever since their most valuable player, and the league’s most valuable player in 2014-2015, went down with an injury again. The team has found itself floundering and is now five points out of the final wild card spot in the East with two more games played than the team they are tying to catch. 

Carey Price was seen limping while skating recently and it raises the question about his availability for the rest of the season. Marc Bergevin and company have to decide whether or not they want to bring back their star player for the home stretch. 

There are two sides to this dilemma. One is bringing him back for a late season run and hoping that you can squeeze out a playoff spot, which is becoming more and more difficult by the day. You risk Price re-injuring himself with this and that could set him back even further which is the last thing the team needs. 

The other option might be the best to go with at this point. Shut down Carey Price for the season and re-tool for next year. 

It’s a tough pill to swallow but the organization may need to do it. The team doesn’t have any big unrestricted free agents they can deal, although Tom Gilbert and Dale Weise would generate some interest. Weise fits in well so I doubt they would want to move him anyways. 
By shutting down Price, a few things will happen for the Canadiens. 

One, they’ll get a good draft pick. They still have their first round pick this year and they currently only sit seven points from the bottom five of the league. This gives them a good chance at one of Tkachuk or Chychrun most likely, although they would get an increased chance at landing Auston Matthews due to the new draft lottery rules. 

Secondly, they get a fully healthy Carey Price. The reality is that Price won’t be back 100% for a few more weeks. The team, in my opinion, would be better off starting fresh in 2016-2017 with Price at best health rather than having him try to carry the team on his back to the playoffs in the last 15 to 20 games of the year. 

Thirdly and lastly, it gives them a good chance to truly evaluate their roster and make some moves. The team surrounding Carey Price is simply not good enough and this stretch has proven it. The pressure, so to speak, will be alleviated if they throw in the towel this year and it’ll give Marc Bergevin time to work before the trade deadline and draft to see who will be a permanent member of the team and who will have to go. 

It’s a tough decision, but shutting down Carey Price may be the road the Canadiens have to take. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles 

Montreal, Anaheim, and St. Louis emerge as frontrunners for Jonathan Drouin

The Jonathan Drouin saga has been going on for a couple of weeks now and frontrunner have emerged. From the west, the Ducks and Blues have the most interest. In the east, Montreal will be making a big push for him. That does not rule out another team like Buffalo or Nashville, but these three teams have expressed serious interest thus far. 

Anaheim Ducks 

The Ducks seem to be in the best position regarding Drouin at this point. They have a lot of depth on defense and they desperately need goal scoring. Sami Vatanen has been a name that has gotten thrown out there. Nick Ritchie as well. The Ducks are extremely reluctant to move Shea Theodore but it all depends on how desperate they are for Drouin and potential goal scoring. 

St. Louis Blues 

Robby Fabbri’s name has been thrown into discussions, which would be a nice piece for Tampa Bay to add if they are giving up Drouin. A one-for-one with Kevin Shattenkirk is highly unlikely, although he still could be involved. A trade between the Blues and Lightning would include a lot of moving pieces giving the availability of Blues players and their position in the standings right now. We all saw how long the trade with Bartley, Elliott, and Tinordi took to orchestrate, so don’t hold your breathe. 

Montreal Canadiens 

The Canadiens don’t have the depth on the blueline that Anaheim, per say, has, but they still have the pieces to make it work. Nathan Beaulieu is a name that can be thrown in. Due to the lack of high-quality defensemen they can move, a mid-to-high quality forward plus a pick and/or prospect(s) would be included. Montreal would have to overpay if they want Drouin due to being in the same division as Tampa Bay. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Montreal, Anaheim, and St. Louis emerge as frontrunners for Jonathan Drouin

The Jonathan Drouin saga has been going on for a couple of weeks now and frontrunner have emerged. From the west, the Ducks and Blues have the most interest. In the east, Montreal will be making a big push for him. That does not rule out another team like Buffalo or Nashville, but these three teams have expressed serious interest thus far. 

Anaheim Ducks 

The Ducks seem to be in the best position regarding Drouin at this point. They have a lot of depth on defense and they desperately need goal scoring. Sami Vatanen has been a name that has gotten thrown out there. Nick Ritchie as well. The Ducks are extremely reluctant to move Shea Theodore but it all depends on how desperate they are for Drouin and potential goal scoring. 

St. Louis Blues 

Robby Fabbri’s name has been thrown into discussions, which would be a nice piece for Tampa Bay to add if they are giving up Drouin. A one-for-one with Kevin Shattenkirk is highly unlikely, although he still could be involved. A trade between the Blues and Lightning would include a lot of moving pieces giving the availability of Blues players and their position in the standings right now. We all saw how long the trade with Bartley, Elliott, and Tinordi took to orchestrate, so don’t hold your breathe. 

Montreal Canadiens 

The Canadiens don’t have the depth on the blueline that Anaheim, per say, has, but they still have the pieces to make it work. Nathan Beaulieu is a name that can be thrown in. Due to the lack of high-quality defensemen they can move, a mid-to-high quality forward plus a pick and/or prospect(s) would be included. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

The Five Best Contracts in the NHL

In the recent history of the NHL, there have been a lot of bad contracts, mainly in free agency. Dave Bolland makes 5.5 million per year and David Clarkson got a contract that had him at a 5.25 million cap hit for seven years. But, amidst all that, there have been some great contracts, but they mostly come from re-signings. It seems like the general managers have learned from their mistakes this summer however, because all contracts given out have been very modest. Either way, these five players should probably find new agents.
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