While speculation has center Matt Duchene likely signing a long-term deal with the Nashville Predators, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman writes that the Montreal Canadiens aren’t out of the running yet. While Nashville may still be the favorite to land the star center, Friedman writes that one of his sources says that it’s not locked in and Montreal still is in the race.
Duchene, who grew up a fan of the Canadiens, would be a big addition for the Canadiens if they can land him. Duchene would likely become their top center in hopes of vaulting Montreal back into a playoff spot.
- TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that while things are still in the works, he believes that the Colorado Avalanche and an unidentified team are the finalists to sign unrestricted free agent forward Joonas Donskoi. The 27-year-old scored 14 goals and 37 points last season and could provide the team with a solid middle-six option for the Avalanche. While LeBrun notes that he doesn’t know who the other team is, he believes that Buffalo and Edmonton are not in the running anymore.
- The Washington Capitals managed to trade off one of their key restricted free agents in Andre Burakovsky Friday in hopes of saving some cap room, but even being free of that contract, the money is tight in Washington. In fact, Washington general manager Brian MacLellan said that because the NHL salary cap was lower than expected ($81.5MM), the team will likely be forced to sign restricted free agent Jakub Vrana to a short-term deal, according to NHL.com’s Tom Gulliti. Washington had initially planned to lock up Vrana to a long-term deal when the team had expected the cap to be set at $83MM, but with the number being lower than expected, the MacLellan doesn’t believe the team has the money to sign him long-term.
- Vegas Golden Knights President of Hockey Operations George McPhee confirmed that the team is close to signing veteran unrestricted free agent defenseman Deryk Engelland, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal’s David Schoen. The 37-year-old had a down season last year, but the veteran who actually played in Vegas in the ECHL before the Golden Knights came about, has been a community leader there. He is likely expected to take a bottom-six role next season and could find himself more in a 6th/7th role on defense.
- TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the Montreal Canadiens are among three teams that are interested in signing veteran goaltender Curtis McElhinney. The 36-year-old had a great season in Carolina after the Hurricanes claimed him off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs at the beginning of the year. He finished the season with a 2.58 GAA and a .912 save percentage in 33 appearances. LeBrun also adds that it doesn’t look like Toronto is one of the other two teams.
- Former NHL player Patrik Berglund, who walked out on the Buffalo Sabres in the middle of last season, is exploring a return the the NHL and has several teams interested, according to Fox Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland. Berglund, who was packaged to Buffalo in the Ryan O’Reilly trade last offseason, didn’t like it in Buffalo and finally requested that his contract to be terminated after playing just 23 games in a reduced role. The 31-year-old scored 17 goals in the 2017-18 season, but scored just twice before walking away this year.