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Off-Season Watch: Habs have made calls on big-name options


While the Stanley Cup Final continues, the NHL's off-season is rapidly approaching with the NHL Draft starting on June 28 and Free Agent Frenzy on July 1. keeps you up to date with all the latest rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.

Habs making calls

It appears the Montreal Canadiens are exploring the possibility of making a big move on the trade market this summer.

Arpon Basu of The Athletic reports the Canadiens have made inquiries on Carolina Hurricanes pending restricted free agent Martin Necas and Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks. He notes, however, that the price and timing of acquiring either forward does not appear to make sense for the rebuilding Canadiens.

Basu writes that asking price for Necas from the Hurricanes could include Canadiens defenceman Mike Matheson, who is coming off a career season. That would be little more than a sideways move for Montreal as the team would then have a new gap to fill on the blueline. 

The 25-year-old Necas is reportedly seeking a move from Carolina, but after posting 24 goals and 53 points in 77 games this season, he is also seeking a significant raise from his current $3 million cap hit. Basu notes that re-signing Juraj Slafkovský and Kaiden Guhle to extensions this summer is the Canadiens top priority as both approach restricted free agency in 2025.

As for Zegras, Basu isn't sure if the Canadiens could meet the asking price of the Ducks and wonders if it would be wise to acquire the 23-year-old with two years left on his contract (at a $5.75 million cap hit) before being arbitration-eligible as a restricted free agent in 2026.

TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun has reported that Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek is listening to offers for Zegras, but isn't committed to moving the ninth overall pick from 2019. Playing at both centre and on the wing at various times, Zegras finished the year with six goals and 15 points while playing in just 31 games after being sidelined with a groin injury and a broken ankle during the season. He appeared to find his stride late in the season, posting two goals and eight points over his final eight games.

According to CapFriendly, the Canadiens are projected to have just under $20 million in cap space this summer with 19 players already under contract for 2024-25.


Could the Canucks pursue Guentzel again?

The Vancouver Canucks weighed acquiring Jake Guentzel at the trade deadline, but ultimately stood pat.

Now, with Guentzel seemingly headed for the open market on July 1, Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province wonders whether the Canucks will attempt to acquire the 29-year-old's negotiation rights in exchange for a mid-round pick.

Kuzma notes that the Canucks brass, led by former Pittsburgh Penguins staffers in president Jim Rutherford, general manager Patrik Allvin and head coach Rick Tocchet, has long coveted Guentzel, though his next contract will prove costly.

At the trade deadline, the Canucks reportedly discussed potentially sending Elias Lindholm to the Boston Bruins in order to add Guentzel from Pittsburgh. Lindholm was only newly acquired himself from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Andrei Kuzmenko, prospects Hunter Brzustewicz and Joni Jurmo, a 2024 first-round draft pick, and a conditional 2024 fourth-round draft pick. Kuzma reports that the Bruins are expected to remain interested in the pending unrestricted free agent centre this summer and a deal for Guentzel would once again spell the end of his time in Vancouver. 

Guenztel is likely to be the top name available on July 1 after finishing the season with 30 goals and 77 points in 67 games with the Penguins and Hurricanes. He added four goals and nine points in 11 games during the postseason.

Lindholm, 29, posted 15 goals and 44 points in 75 games between the Flames and Canucks this season. He found his stride in the playoffs, posting five goals and 10 points in 13 games while finishing third among Canucks forwards in average ice time at 19:12 per game. 

Maple Leafs' goalie search

With Ilya Samsonov slated for unrestricted free agency on July 1, it appears Joseph Woll could have new competition for playing time in the Toronto Maple Leafs crease next season.

While James Mirtle of The Athletic linked Toronto to cost-friendly options in Laurent Brossoit or Anthony Stolarz, the possibility also exists of the team making a major splash in the goalie market. 

TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston joined OverDrive with Bryan Hayes, Jeff O’Neill and Jamie McLennan to discuss the possible options for the Maple Leafs this summer. 

ContentId(1.2132945): Should Maple Leafs go big game hunting in net?