We hope you had a wonderful Christmas if you did celebrate, but we have even more gifts. It’s time for another edition of NHL rumours to give you on this Boxing Day. The World Juniors are going on, but there is plenty going on in the NHL. General managers are thinking about making moves once the roster freeze is lifted. However, players aren’t the only one that may be on the move. There’s already been coaching changes this season, but could we be in line for some more? Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said teams are calling about Habs goalie Jake Allen in a pre-Christmas edition of Insider Trading.
– Talks continue between Leafs, Nylander
– Pettersson negotiations to heat up in Jan/Feb
– Kuzmenko remains patient amid latest scratches
– Potential trade fits for Lindholm
– Habs/Jake Allen
– “Progressive” OLY meeting in NY
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) December 21, 2023
Analysis: Montreal is a team on the upswing, but they do need to add some pieces to continue their climb up the standings. This club is filled with young goal scorers like Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki and others. Trading Allen could given them some more depth at other positions or more money to go after a future big-name goalie. Carey Price will likely never play again and his $10.5 million salary will stay on long-term injured reserve.
Allen may only have a 4-6-2 record with a 3.43 goals-against-average. However, he’s faced a lot of shots and is doing so under a defence that has been struggling at times. The 33-year-old netminder has kept the young Canadiens in games and could serve as a backup and/or insurance policy for a contender.
Montreal did recently re-sign Sam Montembeault to a contract extension and it can’t send down Cayden Primeau for fear of him getting claimed via waivers. Allen makes $3.85 million and his contract runs until the end of the 2024-25 season. Getting his contract of the books could be what general manager Kent Hughes needs for more salary cap flexibility. The Canadiens can maybe look at a team like the Carolina Hurricanes and something from them. Carolina’s worries about the uncertain health of Frederik Andersen may force its hand in dealing for Allen.
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Frank Seravalli speculated on how hot Don Granato’s seat is with the Sabres.
Analysis: Buffalo and the Ottawa Senators were supposed to be two teams that took a step forward this season. However, both clubs have had a rough start to their respective campaigns. Ottawa already made the call to fire D.J. Smith earlier in the month to try and save their flagging season. Could Buffalo be the next team to make a coaching change?
The Sabres currently hold the longest Stanley Cup Playoff drought at 12 seasons, which is behind the New York Jets for second in North American pro sports. Buffalo fans are getting restless and want to see this team playing meaningful hockey in the spring.
Seravalli said he doesn’t believe the Sabres’ problems are coaching and the team has made significant improvements. General manager Kevyn Adams is also a fan of Granato’s work so far. However, the wild card is team owner Terry Pegula. How patient is he going to be with the threat of another lost season in Western New York?
The Daily Faceoff insider feels that Sabres are going to stay the course with Granato for the time being due to him recently signing a contract extension. However, the pressure may fall onto Adams in fixing the roster. Buffalo still has some holes in their group despite it having some solid young talent and a deep prospect pool. The Sabres are also seemingly betting on Devon Levi to be the goalie of the future. This team does have good players, but there needs to a path out of the darkness. Granato may be the one that gets sacrificed for the team’s bad start.
Main photo by: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
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