With the Montreal Canadiens looking to fill their holes at the center position this offseason and little immediate value at that position with their No. 3 pick in the 2018 draft, Montreal could find themselves looking long and hard to find a quality center to fit into their lineup this offseason. Assuming they don’t get star John Tavares to bite on July 1, the team might have no choice but to make a deal for a center to fill their need.
The Athletic’s Arpon Basu (subscription required) writes that there are two legitimate possibilities for the Canadiens on the trade market, including Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres and Elias Lindholm of the Carolina Hurricanes. The scribe writes that after recent end-0f-the-season comments he made about being more accepting of losing, O’Reilly is trying to force his way out of Buffalo and might be a perfect fit in Montreal. While he would likely make a better No. 2 center, O’Reilly is very talented and the team might be able to package together a combination of picks and young forwards to take on O’Reilly’s contract of $7.5MM over the next five years. The 27-year-old still put up some of the best numbers in his career this year with 24 goals and 61 points.
With the Carolina Hurricanes open for business, Lindholm might be a player the Canadiens take a chance on. The restricted free agent has had a promising start to his career, but also an inconsistent one, but likely would get a big payday after a 16-goal, 44-point season. If Carolina would like to avoid handing Lindholm a big contract, Montreal might be able to step in and give them an alternative as a combination of Lindholm and Jonathan Drouin would give them a solid young core up the middle for years.
- Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun writes that the Calgary Flames are on the verge of announcing their assistant coaches that will aid new head coach Bill Peters this season after the team let assistants Paul Jerrard and Dave Cameron go when they fired Glen Gulutzan on April 17. While he didn’t have any specifics other than the announcement will come some time next week, Francis did speculate that the team might be leaning towards promoting Stockton Heat head coach Ryan Huska.
- The Vegas Golden Knights are likely to get one of their players back from injury for the Stanley Cup Finals as William Carrier practiced today in a non-contact jersey, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s David Schoen. In fact, Schoen writes that head coach Gerard Gallant announced that he expects Carrier to be available for the Stanley Cup Finals. Carrier didn’t play in the Western Conference Finals due to an undisclosed injury has been a key member of the team’s fourth line.