NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Blue Jackets, Blues, Bruins, Expansion

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, might the Montreal Canadiens be considering an extension for Sean Monahan? Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets know they have work to do with their roster. Do they have their eyes on a certain Philadelphia Flyers forward that wasn’t moved at the deadline? What do the St. Louis Blues have planned for the offseason and will the Boston Bruins get Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno back this season?

Canadiens Could Extend, Then Trade Monahan

Marco D’Amico of Montreal Hockey Now writes that the Canadiens did intend to shop Sean Monahan at the deadline but Injuries prevented a trade. Now, the best option might be to re-sign the forward on a one-year extension that is full of bonuses. He writes that according to the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), a player who has played 400 or more games in the NHL and spent 100 or more days on Injured Reserve (Or Long-Term Injury Reserve) in the last year of their contract, is eligible.

Sean Monahan, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

A bonus-heavy contract for Monahan could make him an attractive trade piece if he’s playing well next season since he’ll be an inexpensive rental. If he was brought back with a $2 million salary and $2 million in potential bonuses, D’Amico writes, “the Canadiens to easily fit him within their salary structure for now, and possibly deferring his performance bonus hits (should he meet them) to the following season; as the Canadiens will likely be using LTIR next season as well.”

The Canadiens could sign Monahan to a cheap deal, absorb the bonus hits via next-season carryover, and trade him to a contender for a solid return.

Blue Jackets Like Kevin Hayes

According to Elliotte Friedman, during the latest Sportsnet’s 32 Thoughts podcast, he believes there’s something to the rumors that the Columbus Blue Jackets are looking at Kevin Hayes of the Philadelphia Flyers. Because both teams were out of the playoff race this season, there was no need to rush a trade, but the two sides did talk and will continue to.

Hayes is signed for three more years after this one, at a hefty $7.14 million AAV. 

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Marek labeled the discussion between the two sides as “soft talks” but said he would not be surprised if this was something both sides revisited in the offseason. Friedman assumed we would see negotiations ramping up once again at the NHL Draft.

Blues Will Avoid Big Free Agency Moves In Offseason

Despite speculation that the St. Louis Blues would like to retool on the fly, GM Doug Armstrong noted that he doesn’t see this coming offseason as a good time to hit the free agency market hard for player who can help the team. Jim Thomas and Matthew DeFranks of STLTODAY.COM quote the GM’s comments: “I don’t feel comfortable that this is the summer to get out in the free-agent market.”

They add that Armstrong said:

“Where we are on our team, with the growth of our team, I don’t really want — if I don’t have to — to be giving out three- and four-year deals to players this summer. I’d like to have more players on one-year contracts, let them prove their value to the team. And then we and them can make decisions if this is the right fit for them.”

source – ‘As trade deadline passes, most of Blues’ roster appears set for next season’ – Jim Thomas/Matthew DeFranks – STLToday.com – 03/03/2023

Armstrong wouldn’t get into specifics about rumors regarding the possible trade of a defenseman. There were rumors the team was looking at moving Colton Paryako.

Bruins Expecting Hall and Foligno Back for Playoffs

Fluto Shinzawa wrote an article about the nine priorities for the Boston Bruins as the rest of this season unfolds. Among the items were to cross their fingers on the health of Nick Foligno and Taylor Hall.

He writes:

Neither is expected back before the playoffs, per general manager Don Sweeney. But the Bruins are built to play into June. The deeper they go, the more chances they give the left wings to come back.

source – ‘The Bruins’ 9 priorities after the trade deadline: Load management, lineup tweaks, fix the PP, more’ – Fluto Shinzawa – The Athletic – 03/07/2023

Are Houston and Atlanta Expansion Options for the NHL?

According to Andy Strickland: “League source on rumors of Atlanta and Houston expansion. They are two cities that have expressed interest but neither of these two are ahead of anyone else, and nothing is happening soon, if at all….went on to say “Not sure these two cities are even at top of our list.”

Gary Bettman has shot down rumors of expansion and said that even if there was a plan to do so, there could be teams higher on the list of priorities.

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