Despite rumors that the Dallas Stars were looking for a taker for once prized prospect Julius Honka, the 23-year-old finally requested a trade Friday with several teams immediately showing interest in the blueliner. Now Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reports that the Montreal Canadiens have expressed interest in the defenseman.
Engels writes that a couple of teams are in on Honka with Montreal being at the top of the list (Elliotte Friedman added that Carolina is interested as well) and Montreal has expressed interest in making a player-for-player swap rather than just send a draft pick for Honka. A former first-rounder in 2014, Honka has failed to earn a regular spot in Dallas lineup. Montreal could use some more depth on their blueline despite adding Ben Chiarot this offseason.
- Sticking with the Canadiens, Engels also reports that a pair of defensemen remain day-to-day in Montreal. Karl Alzner is out with a groin injury, while Noah Juulsen has been dealing with a headache and the Canadiens are holding him out for precautionary reasons after having dealt with head injuries last season. Juulsen played just 21 games for Montreal last season and three for the AHL’s Laval Rocket due to those head injuries.
- Asked if any Ottawa Senators players caught his eye on the first day of training camp, new head coach D.J. Smith had a quick answer, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun. “Chabot … he was really good and he could really skate. There’s good players out there and guys were working, but when you see up close, a guy like that, you see his skating and it really wows you a bit.” It looks like Smith has opted to pair Chabot with newly acquired Nikita Zaitsev and the belief is that those two may stay together. Chabot spent last season paired with Dylan DeMelo, but with several players coming over with Smith from Ottawa, the defense should be somewhat stronger this season.
- The Athletic’s George Richards (subscription required) writes that Florida Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman says that he intends to be ready for the regular season after dealing with a sports hernia injury that has ended his season last year and one that required surgery again oer the summer, which he’s been rehabbing from all summer. Stralman says that he is done rehabbing, but now must get used to on-ice drills, which his body is only starting to adjust to. “I’m not 100 percent yet. We still have some more work to do, but I am getting there,” Stralman said. “I like the plan we have as a medical team, and it means working long hours to get where I need to be. But there is no rehab anymore. It’s about repetition, getting onto the ice.” Stralman looks to be paired with Mike Matheson on defense this season.
- NBC Sports’ Joe Haggerty writes that despite all the injuries that the Boston Bruins are dealing with, the team got some good news as Joakim Nordstrom, who fractured his foot at the end of the Stanley Cup Finals, is back on the ice skating after spending the summer rehabbing the injury. While his 12 points in 70 games may not seem impressive, the 27-year-old uses his skills on the penalty kill and providing grit on the bottom line.