In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Vancouver Canucks might still be willing to trade a forward for a defenseman. Meanwhile, is Juraj Slafkovsky set to play bigger minutes for the Montreal Canadiens? Who will the Toronto Maple Leafs place on waivers today? The Detroit Red Wings signed Zach Aston-Reese and the Tampa Bay Lightning are trying to make a decision on their goaltending.
Canucks Willing to Make Forward Swap for Defenseman?
In the eyes of analyst Nick Kypreos, the Vancouver Canucks are actively seeking a defense partner for their captain, Quinn Hughes. Kypreos suggests that the Canucks are keen on making this move, viewing it as an ideal scenario. The potential trade assets for Vancouver include a couple of key forwards.
Their trade chips continue to be focused around Brock Boeser and Conor Garland. I’m hearing the Canucks may be more open to retaining salary on certain players than they have in the past …
source – ‘The Maple Leafs brought in their own version of the Bruise Brothers — the one thing they needed the most’ – Nick Kypreos – Toronto Star – 10/05/2023
Both Boeser, with a $6.65 million annual average value (AAV) until 2024-25, and Garland, carrying a $4.95 million AAV until 2025-26, are notable trade pieces. However, a more opportune time for a trade might be next summer, especially if the salary cap increases, projected to reach between $87.5 million and $88 million, providing the Canucks with greater flexibility in potential transactions.
Slafkovsky Loking at Elevated Role in Montreal
According to Arpon Basu of The Athletic, Juraj Slafkovsky might have been getting a test throughout pre-season to see if he could handle more responsibility and elevated minutes for the Canadiens this season. Head coach Martin St. Louis likes the chemistry that is forming between Slafkovský and Kirby Dach.
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St. Louis then made sure Slafkovský got into as many preseason games as possible, with him opening the scoring Saturday night in a 6-4 Canadiens win against the Ottawa Senators, his fifth exhibition game of the preseason. No one in the Canadiens camp played more. And Slafkovský has played all those games with quality linemates, most often with Kirby Dach as his centre, with Alex Newhook completing the line Saturday night.
source – ‘How Martin St. Louis maintains the balance of ‘pressure vs. pleasure’ for Juraj Slafkovský’ – Arpon bsau – The Athletic – 10/07/2023
The big focus for the coach is on Slafkovsky’s mental game and making sure he stays positive and is learning from each experience.
Maple Leafs Waiver Decisions Coming
With Sunday being the final day players can be placed on waivers, speculation is rife as the Maple Leafs potentially face losing their third-string goaltender, Martin Jones. The 33-year-old goalie could become a viable short-term replacement for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s sidelined starter, Andrei Vasilevskiy, if he remains unclaimed.
There is also some talk in Toronto that the Leafs might sacrifice Sam Lafferty in order to sign Noah Gregor. That said, the possibility of signing Gregor remains uncertain, especially if Pontus Holmberg maintains his position over Fraser Minten in the lineup.
This would be a salary cap move and the hope if tried is that no one claims Lafferty because he makes over a million per season. If Connor Timmins is placed on LTIR and the Leafs opt to keep Lafferty, it would require operating with no spares, leading to several players being placed on waivers or sent down.
Who Will Tampa Go With For Their Netminder?
If not Jones, Tampa Bay potentially have other choices when it comes to acquiring a goaltender. Those could include Detroit’s Alex Lyon and Buffalo’s Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, both potentially available via waivers.
The Lightning might also surprise fans by opting for their preseason goaltending tandem of Jonas Johansson and Matt Tomkins. Johansson notably secured three wins, two of which were shutouts, while Tomkins also clinched two victories in three contests.
Red Wings Sign Zach Aston- Reese
The Detroit Red Wings signed Zach Aston-Reese to a two-way contract on Sunday after the forward was released from his PTO with the Carolina Hurricanes. The contract is worth $775K at the NHL level and a $350k guarantee in the AHL. He’ll be going on waivers today at 2 p.m.