MONTREAL – The NHL draft is upon us and while the majority of chatter continues to surround the Montreal Canadiens and who they will draft first overall, there’s also plenty of NHL trade and free agent chatter circulating the downtown hotel lobbies and pubs.
On Wednesday, Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney told the media that he is actively trying to move back into the first round after dealing their own first rounder to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Hampus Lindholm at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline.
“Ideally, we’d like to get back into the first round. There are some teams well-positioned in the first round with multiple [picks], so there are definitely conversations going around. Some teams are just in pick acquisition-mode rather than player acquisition-mode, so that’s made it a little harder to gain an entry into that situation,” said Sweeney during media availability in Montreal on Wednesday morning. “And giving up good players. When you’re a competitive team it’s hard to part with really good players even when you’d like to get into the first round and improve your prospect pool overall. That’s generally what trying to be a competitive team is all about and we’re no different than a lot of other teams that have given up their first-round picks.”
On Thursday morning, Boston Hockey Now confirmed that the Bruins have spoken to the Ottawa Senators about the seventh overall pick at the NHL Draft and to the Columbus Blue Jackets regarding the 12th overall pick. Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion is definitely looking for a roster player for that seventh overall pick and the Blue Jackets are likely asking for the same in return.
Not surprisingly, and NHL source told Montreal Hockey Now, Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong has once again let it be known he’s willing to take on salary in exchange for more NHL Draft Picks. Could Sweeney somehow unload the anchor that is the Nick Foligno $3.8 million cap hit on the Arizona State Coyotes?
The Juraj Slafkovsky hype train hasn’t slowed down and various reports on Wednesday evening had the Slovakian winger going first overall tonight when the Canadiens step up to the podium at the Bell Centre. As the NHL Draft has approached, more and more NHL Draft insiders and media have been leaning towards Slafkovsky over top North American prospect Shane Wright but in the last 12 hours, an NHL source with ties to Wright has told Montreal Hockey Now that the 6-foot, 198-pound centre is still under the assumption that he will be the top overall pick.
On Wednesday, Montreal Hockey Now confirmed that the Canadiens and Ottawa Senators are actively engaged in NHL trade talks that could see the two Atlantic Division rivals hook up in a potential blockbuster. An NHL source confirmed to Montreal Hockey Now that the Ottawa Senators have been open to trading the seventh overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft since about the midway point in the season. The sources have confirmed that the Senators are looking for an impact roster player that will help round out their forward ranks and provide experience to a very young core. The two veteran Canadiens players that have been discussed are winger Josh Anderson and centre Christian Dvorak.
With the Dallas Stars defenceman John Klingberg headed to unrestricted free agency, the Dallas Stars now seem to be the primary landing spot for Montreal Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry but don’t count the Detroit Red Wings out said one NHL source Thursday afternoon.