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TLN Rumour Recap: Oilers/Canadiens talk trade, Flames GM addresses Zadorov & Laine embarassed in Columbus

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Photo credit:Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
3 months ago
Happy American Thanksgiving to those who celebrate and welcome back to another edition of the TLN Rumour Recap. This time of year is almost like a check point for a lot of general managers across the league and the buyers and the sellers will start to take shape as December approaches.
Let’s jump right in as the trade chatter across the league is picking up in a major way.

Oilers & Canadiens Trade on the Horizon?

The Edmonton Oilers can’t keep the puck out of their own net. Jack Campbell couldn’t get results, he’s down in the minors. Stuart Skinner was given his run, he has a .865 Sv.% on the season and most recently Calvin Pickard was given the crease, and that hasn’t help either as he’s performed to a .891 Sv.%. It’s going from bad to very ugly in Oil country as the team sits 5-12-1 on the season, good 30th overall. It sounds like GM Ken Holland may be up to something as TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting Holland could have trade interest in Montreal Canadiens’ netminder Samuel Montembeault.
Dreger feels the Oilers and Canadiens could end up with a blockbuster deal once it’s all said and done that involves multiple parts. He pointed out Montreal would likely want Oilers prospect Xavier Bourgault in return. Bourgault was a first-round pick, 22nd overall at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and the 21-year-old winger has recorded five points in 11 AHL games so far this season, after putting up 34 points in 62 games as a rookie last season. He’s yet to see any NHL action, but is certainly one of the Oilers more promising prospects.
As for Montembeault, he’s had to navigate a crowded crease in Montreal all season long as GM Kent Hughes has pulled off the rare feat by carrying three goaltenders this season. Montembeault is a pending unrestricted free agent, he’s owed $1 million against the cap this season and so far in nine appearances has posted a reasonable 2.81 GAA. The 6-foot-3 27-year-old put on a show at the most recent World Championships for Team Canada, recording a 1.42 GAA and a .939 SV.% in seven games. This performance turned a lot of heads across the league and likely caught Holland’s eye at some point.
As for other potential options for the Oilers, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli named five trade candidates to keep an eye on for goaltending options in Edmonton and his list included James Reimer of the Detroit Red Wings, Mackenzie Blackwood of the San Jose Sharks, Karel Vejmelka of the Arizona Coyotes, Montembeualt’s teammate, Jake Allen, and Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Flames GM Opens Up About Trade Request

The Calgary Flames will be making some big moves this season as GM Craig Conroy has some heavy lifting ahead of him. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov requested a trade a couple of weeks ago as he’s not happy with his ice time or direction of the team. At 6-foot-6 and with a serious edge on the ice, the new ‘Big Z’ is going to be on all of the Stanley Cup contenders wish lists and there’s little doubt the trade interest will be heavy for the towering defenseman. On the season, Zadorov has recorded six points in 18 games, along with 32 hits and 17 blocked shots. He’s essentially the definition of sandpaper on the ice.
Conroy spoke to Eric Francis of Sportsnet regarding Zadorov’s request and had this to say about what kind of timelines to expect:
We’ve had conversations. We have a good relationship, we really do. We get along well. I’m going to keep that between him and I, but we talk. He’s been a pro about everything and he’s played well. It’s just like any other person, we’re just going to do what’s best for the Calgary Flames, and on our timeline.
Zadorov isn’t the only Flame expected to be moved this season as the likes of Chris Tanev, Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm could all be moved. Tanev has been linked to the Vancouver Canucks and Maple Leafs, Hanifin appears to be on the Arizona Coyotes radar and Lindholm has been linked to the Boston Bruins.
Conroy has a chance to re-tool on the fly and if he doesn’t get these deals right on his pending free agents, the team could have a bigger problem on their hands which includes disgruntled veterans in Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau.

Blue Jackets Embarrass Patrik Laine

After a very slow start to the season which included just two goals and one assist in nine games, the Columbus Blue Jackets decided to bench Patrik Laine. The former 44-goal scorer took the news hard and admitted it was the rock bottom of his career so far.
So what’s next for the Blue Jackets? President John Davidson spoke about the direction of the team and made it clear there’s no blockbuster deals in the work just yet despite not only Laine struggling but also Johnny Gaudreau, who has recorded two goals and six assists in 20 games. Gaudreau is signed through the 2028-29 season at $9.75 million per season. Davidson had this to say when asked about what’s on the front burner:
No rash moves right now. We just keep riding this, keep pushing. No white flags. No sense of ‘Woe is me. Woe is me’ does not work. It’s an emotional game, a hard game. But we need the improvements we’re seeing with some of our younger players – Alexandre Texier, Kirill Marchenko, Adam Fantilli, these guys – to continue, and we need our best players to start playing like they’re capable of playing. That’s what we need, and that’s what we’re waiting to see.
The Blue Jackets are 5-11-4 on the season and appear headed for another losing season. Fantilli’s the newest kid on the block and he’s already mentioned how he’s not interested in getting used to losing. Until Davidson and the coaching staff find a way to get their stars going, that may be Fantilli’s new norm. Laine specifically might not be a name to keep an eye on, but assuming the Blue Jackets’ season keeps progressing the way it has, they’ll be a team to watch on the sellers market.
Nevertheless, the trade speculation around the league is starting to pick up in a major way and once the holiday weekend is over south of the border, look for GMs to start pulling the trigger on some moves to upgrade their roster or replenish their prospect pool. The Maple Leafs will be keeping a close eye on Conroy’s demands in Calgary, and you can probably expect to see the Oilers land a new goaltending in the very near future. Edmonton needs to turn things around and quick, or else Connor McDavid’s frustration could reach an all-time high and give Holland a lot more to worry about than finding a save.

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