Although the Montreal Canadiens failed to move up in the lottery last month, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that they may try to make a deal to improve on their ninth overall pick. After picking late in the first round the last three seasons, Montreal will try to replicate the success they’ve had with their last couple of top-10 picks. In 2012 they selected Alex Galchenyuk third overall, and nailed Carey Price at number five way back in 2005. If Montreal wants to get back to the playoffs and have any chance at contention, they’ll have to improve through the draft. Here’s more from Friedman’s latest 30 thoughts:
- The Columbus Blue Jackets interviewed quite a few players ahead of selecting third overall in the upcoming draft. With rumors swirling that they are already getting offers for the pick, perhaps they’re just covering their bases before one of these deals blows them away.
- Still with Columbus, Friedman hears that there are trade rumblings around Scott Hartnell and that he is willing to waive his no-movement clause for several teams. Hartnell has three seasons at $4.75MM left on his deal, but put up another 20-goal season in 2015-16 and is a near-lock for 40 points at least for the immediate future.
- On Loui Eriksson, Friedman says that Boston will take one final run at re-signing the winger before he becomes a free agent on July 1st. If he makes it that far, expect a long list of suitors for the 30-year old after putting up an excellent 63 point campaign. He’s coming off a contract that earned him $4.25MM a season, and will look to improve on that number.
- It seems certain that Avalanche defenceman Tyson Barrie will be on the move this summer, but perhaps not until Colorado secures some help on the back-end. Their top target is Winnipeg Jets’ Jacob Trouba, who has played well since being drafted in 2012 and would take a fairly large ransom to pry away from GM Kevin Cheveldayoff.
- After acquiring Marc Savard’s cap hit on Friday, the New Jersey Devils are no longer a landing spot for the Pavel Datsyuk dilemma should he decide to go back to Russia. According to Friedman this leaves only Carolina and Arizona as potential takers for the $7.5MM cap-hit he’ll incur since he signed his deal after he turned 35.
- Since Florida now has some room following the jettison of Savard’s hit, they’ve turned their attention to extending Vincent Trocheck. The 22-year old is a restricted free agent this summer, and is coming off an impressive 53 point season. With extensions for Aaron Ekblad and Reilly Smith due next year, Florida will have to keep Trocheck’s hit as low as possible if they’re to fit in all their young talent.
- Arizona is reluctantly looking at options with C Martin Hanzal as he nears free agency. While the Coyotes would like to re-sign him before he hits the market next summer, they are considering moving him and have asked for his list of teams he would accept a trade to.