After a couple of down years, the Montreal Canadiens had a much more respectable season last year and with things looking up, general manager Marc Bergevin is going to want to add to his team. With close to $10MM to spend this year, the team could consider going after big-name free agents.
However, Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette writes that a second option would be for the Canadiens to go after Toronto Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner. While offer sheets in the NHL are quite rare, that could change this offseason with so many intriguing restricted free agents out there. The team could conceivably sign Marner to an offer sheet and if the Canadiens offer a deal between $8.54MM to $10.56MM, and successfully pry him away from Toronto, the compensation would be reasonable in two first-round picks, a second-rounder and a third-rounder.
Even if Toronto matches any offer sheet, the Canadiens will have still accomplished quite a bit as the rival franchise is currently struggling with salary cap issues and a big offer would only hamper general manager Kyle Dubas’ long-term plans.
- Sticking with the Canadiens, while one of the main reasons that the Montreal Canadiens took Joel Armia in the Steve Mason deal was that Armia was from the same hometown in Finland as last year’s top pick Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Armia has been significant in helping Kotkaniemi to transition to North America. However, while Armia’s numbers have been solid when playing next to Kotkaniemi on the ice, his numbers when playing without him haven’t been that good. The Athletic’s Marc Dupont (subscription required) writes the team needs to be cautious about signing Armia, who hits restricted free agency this summer, to a long-term contract. Armia, who tallied 13 goals as a third-liner, and probably should be signed to a short-term deal to assess for now.
- The Washington Capitals didn’t get back to the Stanley Cup Finals liked they hoped and with continuous salary cap issues to deal with, there is a good chance the Capitals’ blueline will have to be reconstructed, according to the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan. The scribe writes that the team might be ready to move on from veteran defenseman Matt Niskanen, after the team acquired Nick Jensen at the trade deadline. Jensen is four years younger than Niskanen and has the same skillset. The team is also expected to move on from Brooks Orpik, giving more opportunity to the team’s young defensive prospects it has been amassing over the last couple of years, including Jonas Siegenthaler, Lucas Johansen, Alex Alexeyev, Connor Hobbs, Colby Williams and Tyler Lewington.
- Sam Carchidi of Philly.com writes that the Philadelphia Flyers are going to want to make some type of splash to add a big-name player either through free agency or via trade. While throwing out names like Matt Duchene and Kevin Hayes are one option, the scribe suggests that the Flyers should consider trading for Toronto Maple Leafs’ Nazem Kadri, who is coming off a career-low 16 goals. With Toronto management down on him somewhat, the Flyers could get a steal of a deal as the center has three years on his deal at a reasonable $4.5MM AAV. Kadri would make an excellent second-line center, who could slide back to the third line once Nolan Patrick is ready to move up.