Welcome to another edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The 2022-23 regular season is nearly halfway done and players will be evaluated. Now, with the trade deadline quickly approaching, rumors are still around. The NHL holiday trade freeze ended at 12:01am on December 28th. That could mean trade activity or NHL rumors could be picking up.
Clubs are always working to improve their rosters for next season. Some teams are having difficulty creating enough cap space to make moves. Others are experiencing severe injuries to star players. Trade rumors/signings are still possible. In this Sunday’s edition of NHL Rumors, we will take a look at the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, and the Anaheim Ducks.
Boston Bruins – Sean Monahan
Rumor: Per – Yvon Pedneault – tvasports.ca. Several teams have an interest in Sean Monahan as a playoff rental player. He’s been told the Boston Bruins are among those looking at the Montreal Canadiens center.
“Sean Monahan attracts attention,”
“I’ve been told that the Boston Bruins are currently on the Monahan case.”
“Several other teams could be tempted to acquire it. Sean Monahan is an interesting rental player candidate,” he added.
“The center position is always highly coveted at this time of year.”
Monahan, 28, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He has a $6.375 million cap hit and a 10-team no-trade clause. Monahan was showing a solid performance with 17 points in 25 games until sidelined on Dec. 6 by a foot injury. He’s expected to return soon to the Canadiens’ lineup.
If Monahan picks up where he left off, he’ll draw plenty of interest in the trade market. The rebuilding Canadiens will likely have to pick up a portion of his remaining cap hit but could willingly do so if it’ll improve the chances of acquiring a high-quality draft pick or a good young player.
The Bruins are pressed for cap space and will have to part with a salaried player to acquire Monahan even if the Canadiens retain salary on the deal. There doesn’t seem to be a heck of a lot on their active roster that would fit into the Habs rebuilding program. If the Bruins make a cost-cutting deal with another team, perhaps they could use the return as part of a package for Monahan.
As a pure rental, the Bruins could cement their advantage going into the playoffs. They would need to trim their current roster to be able to fit Monahan’s salary into the equation.
New York Rangers – Alexis Lafreniere
Rumor: Per – Larry Brooks – nypost.com. Rangers must avoid Alexis Lafreniere from becoming a failure.
While nobody is classifying Lafreniere as a failure just yet… he was a healthy scratch on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. This was probably a ploy by head coach Gerard Gallant to get Lafreniere going, and it remains to be seen if it will work. The first overall pick in the 2020 draft is not doing terribly, but Gerard wants to see more from him. He has five goals and 12 assists in 36 games. He’s getting 15 minutes of ice time but is struggling with just a 7.9 percent shooting average.
So, of course, the trade rumors have already started and he is rumored to have interest from the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, and Vancouver Canucks. It does seem a bit abrupt to consider trading him at this juncture. Let’s see what he does Sunday night against the struggling Florida Panthers. He is in the last year of his entry-level deal and if he doesn’t get going his next contract could be a bridge show-me type deal. There’s no doubt that he has talent, we just need to see more of it. Welcome to the NHL Alexis.
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Anaheim Ducks – Deal Looming With Boston
Rumor: Per – Dominic Tiano – dom.hockey. The Bruins and Ducks are certainly known for making trades for each other. Since the 2019-20 season, the two clubs have made three trades.
Some deep discussions with Bruins and Ducks. History there.
— Dominic Tiano (@dominictiano) December 30, 2022
“A source told me last night the Anaheim Ducks – whom the Bruins have a history with – would be willing to take on Craig Smith’s entire cap hit and salary along with a prospect for a late round draft pick or the dreaded future considerations (which means nothing).”
The Ducks are Connor Bedard hunting and have plenty of cap space. Using that cap space intelligently will permit the Ducks to progress with their rebuild. They want draft picks and/or prospects for the future. The Bruins would most certainly entertain allowing the Anaheim club to take Smith’s $3.1 million cap hit through this season. Another option could be losing Mike Reilly, whom they have placed on waivers, only to clear. He was sent down to the AHL along with his $3 million contract.
The Bruins will not want to give up a prospect like Fabian Lysell who has eight goals and 11 assists in 20 games in the AHL. Depending on the prospective deal, Lysell could be dealt, but it will need to be determined how good the deal is beforehand. The Bruins do have their first-round pick this year, so all kinds of scenarios could be happening. Most trades must involve some creativity and that is especially true with the slow-moving salary cap limit. Don’t forget, the Ducks may be dealing John Klingberg and he could be involved in a trade soon.
That concludes this edition of NHL rumors. As the new year enters, so will more trade rumors, and we hope all of you will have a prosperous New Year!