NHL News & Rumors: Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Devils, Canadiens

The Hockey Writers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Toronto Maple Leafs are activating an important defenseman off of the injury reserve list. Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings are exploring the trade market and have let Jonatan Berggren know there is a chance he might be moved. The New Jersey Devils are said to be heavily pursuing John Gibson, and could the Montreal Canadiens be considering a trade that would move defenseman David Savard?

Maple Leafs to Activate Timothy Liljegren

Defenseman Timothy Liljegren is set to return for the Maple Leafs against Pittsburgh after a six-week absence due to a lower-body injury. The 24-year-old, who sustained the injury in early November against Boston, was averaging over 19 minutes per game before getting injured, marking the highest average time on ice of his young career.

Timothy Liljegren Toronto Maple Leafs
Timothy Liljegren, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Liljegren, a crucial part of Toronto’s back end, will be activated off LTIR for the game. Unfortunately, TJ Brodie is a game-time decision as he’s dealing with an illness. Ryan Reaves is not playing, but his injury isn’t believed to be long-term.

Red Wings Exploring the Trade Market

According to a recent tweet from David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, the Detroit Red Wings have actively participated in trade talks, exploring various options for potential moves. Notably, Jonatan Berggren has been a focal point in these discussions over the past few weeks, and both the player and his representation are reportedly aware of the ongoing trade-related dialogues.

The Red Wings are taking their usual tight-lipped approach to a trade, but have let the player and his agent know they are looking. Pagnotta mentions the Montreal Canadiens as one of the teams engaged in discussions regarding Berggren.

Devils Reengaging in Talks For John Gibson

As per James Nichols of NJHockey Now, the New Jersey Devils are reportedly reopening talks with the Anaheim Ducks about acquiring goaltender John Gibson. Acquiring Gibson is seen by many as the potential catalyst for the Devils to elevate their standing and enter playoff contention. That said, there are risks due to his contract and the Ducks asking price.

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The team, grappling with goaltending instability, seems prepared to offer a considerable package to secure Gibson. Reports suggest that the prospective deal might include two prominent prospects and a first-round pick. His contract is worth $6.4 million per season for the next four years and Kevin Weekes reported that Gibson is emotionally invested in Anaheim. He won’t be keen to leave. So too, it doesn’t appear Anaheim is in a rush to trade him.

Are the Canadiens Open to Trading David Savard?

Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette recently highlighted the significant contributions of veteran defenseman David Savard to the Canadiens’ rebuilding blue line. Cowan emphasizes Savard’s experience, leadership, penalty-killing prowess, and shot-blocking skills as valuable assets for the team. He then writes, it’s these skills that make him possible trade bait.

Related: Canadiens Likely to Be Big Movers at the 2024 Trade Deadline

Cowan explains:

That’s why Savard could become a valuable commodity for Canadiens GM Kent Hughes ahead of the March 8 NHL trade deadline. Hughes has to open up some spots on the blue line with so many young defencemen in the organization, including Struble, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj, Logan Mailloux, David Reinbacher and Lane Hutson.

source – ‘Stu Cowan: Veteran David Savard plays important role with Canadiens’ – Stu Cowman – Montreal Gazette – 12/14/2023

With Savard having a year left on his contract with a $3.25 million salary-cap hit, Cowan suggests he could become a valuable trade asset for the Canadiens leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. Given the team’s surplus of young defensemen, General Manager Kent Hughes may need to create roster spots.

Cowan speculates that Hughes could seek a more substantial return than the fourth-round pick the Tampa Bay Lightning gave up to acquire Savard from the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2021.

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