NHL Rumors: European Free Agents And Vancouver Center Options
Montreal Canadiens And Always Evolving Plans Eric Engels of Sportsnet (Q&A): The life of a general manager is never easy. Worse, with injuries and a team in the process of a long rebuild, Kent Hughes has things far from easy. It feels like this. "I always believed that, even as an agent, when people would ask, ‘What’s your typical week like?’ I would say it’s hard to describe,” he said in an exclusive interview with Sportsnet. “A lot of times I had 20 items I wanted to get through for the week, and when I got to Item 3, I felt like I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off because even on the agent side, it’s a very reactionary business. It’s the same and then some on this side.” NHL Rumors: Montreal defenseman that has value. With injuries mounting, prospects have had to get more playing time than Montreal and its management anticipated. The key for Hughes is to figure out his young core along with signing and extending more players as needed. As for the draft and free agency, Hughes is open to anything. With so many picks, options are out there. That includes trying to trade players like Joel Edmundson before the draft. Montreal will be active at the draft. That is a given. Would Ten Minutes Of Overtime Increase Scoring? Travis Yost of TSN.ca: Again, this is something that would create the need for a few more players who specialize at the 3-on-3. Would doubling overtimes to ten minutes increase scoring and lessen the need for a shootout? It is a great question. Teams are starting to figure out how to "squat" to get games to a shootout. There is a high chance this could reduce shootout by around half. Now, players that generate tons of speed off the rush would be at even more of a premium. NHL Rumors: What If The Winnipeg Jets Miss The Playoffs? While the NHL and NHLPA have tabled this for now, the minimizing of the shootout has hit a stalemate. Some teams are even considering players who are "shootout specialists." It would change a few dynamics which is why we put this here. Having a playoff spot decided by overtime rather than a shootout is more appealing to the league and its fans. Now, there are two questions. How does the NHL and NHLPA make this work? Finally, how do teams adapt to the ten-minute overtimes via personnel? That's a better question.

European Free Agents Making Waves?

Ian Kennedy of The Hockey News: Trying to find NHL players is not always easy and not every European player is going to turn into Andrei Kuzmenko. However, general managers are always looking anyway. After all, one never knows.

The next Kuzmenko, Panarin, or Bobrovsky is always out there. Hardy Haman Aktell has been fun to watch from Vaxjo of the SHL. The defenseman is only 24 and his offensive skill set seems to be only growing. He was a mid-round draft pick in 2016 who fell through the cracks. At 6-foot-4, the blueliner will be highly sought after now.

NHL Rumors: The hunt for college UFA wingers.

Jiri Smejkal showed he could play in Liiga last year but some wondered what happened when the player moved up to the SHL. The Czechia forward has 23 goals and 43 points in 49 games. He possesses WHL experience and can step in immediately.

Rickard Hugg is interesting. Though he skates not very well, Hugg is everywhere on the ice producing points or creating offense. The 24-year-old holds a nice resume and is cranking out solid production in the SHL again this season. Hugg is just 5-foot-10, but can play in a top-six with some AHL time needed first to develop.

After that, Valtteri Pulli is only 22 but a mountain of a defender. For someone so big, he can skate and is a bit of a project. However that size and increasing speed is intriguing. Samuel Johanneson is a fun defender to look at too from Brynas of the SHL.

After that things get interesting with the likes of Jeremy Bracco. Joni Ikonen, and even Konstantin Okulov. Okulov may get enticed to come over to the NHL someday.

Vancouver And The Search For A 3C

Sekeras And Price: Okay, the Vancouver Canucks need a third-line center. The 3C has been one of those sore spots like a wound that will not heal.

It is a great question because Vancouver has to free up some cash probably to pay a free agent. If the Canucks can do it, what options are out there for the team who needs a two-way pivot who shows the ability to play some defense.

NHL Rumors: Deadline fallout for Tampa and St. Louis

Now, Ivan Barbashev immediately comes to mind. Then, there is Alex Kerfoot, Oscar Sundqvist, and Tyson Jost among the usual suspects. Even Pius Super and Sam Steel are out there too.

This all boils down to how much cash is Vancouver willing to spend. Honestly, the Canucks may have to pay to play here.