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Rumor mill: Ryan Reaves signs three-year deal with Toronto

The National Hockey League’s free-agent market opens in a few hours, and already, the rumor mill is in full swing.

In fact, some signings are already practically complete, as my colleague Marc-Olivier Cook reported yesterday regarding Jonathan Quick with the New York Rangers.

So, here’s a rundown of the various NHL rumours at the moment, with just a few hours to go before the market opens.

Ryan Reaves expected to sign three-year deal with Leafs today

We’ve known for a few weeks now that one of the priorities of the Leafs’ new general manager, Brad Treliving, was to add strength to the team.

Darren Dreger reports that the Leafs have agreed to a three-year contract with the 36-year-old forward.

The contract would be worth $1.3 million per year.

It’s a nice signing for the Leafs, but three years for a 36-year-old forward with only one use – toughness and fighting – might be a lot.

At $1.3 million, however, the risk isn’t great, and in any case, Reaves will clearly become a crowd favorite in Toronto.

The Leafs will be adding a heavyweight to their club, and probably the League’s best brawler.

Reaves is now part of the Montreal Canadiens’ Atlantic Division for the first time in his career.

With Milan Lucic expected to sign with the Boston Bruins, the CH will have to defend itself against both clubs.

One wonders whether the Tricolore will be tempted to emulate the Leafs and Bruins by adding a tough guy of their own.

Some will say that Arber Xhekaj can do the job, but do we really want Xhekaj to always have to deal with this type of player?

This would considerably slow down his development as a field hockey player (because yes, Xhekaj can also play field hockey), while putting him at constant risk of injury.

Remember that Xhekaj missed the vast majority of the post-season after injuring his shoulder in a fight with Vincent Desharnais, the 6’6″ defenseman of the Edmonton Oilers.

The other problem is that, aside from Xhekaj, the CH doesn’t really have any other tough guys.

Michael Pezzetta is a crowd favorite in Montreal for his pestiness, but he’s no match for the Reaves and Lucics of this world, no matter how brave he is.

Otherwise, Josh Anderson can put up a fight, but that’s not his mandate, and Joel Edmundson isn’t getting any younger with his bad back.

In short, it remains to be seen what the CH will decide to do and whether Xhekaj will be asked to handle these guys on his own, or whether he’ll be asked to be careful and choose his fights carefully.

Xhekaj is far from just a fighter; he’s also a good defender capable of playing a lot of minutes.

Several teams are already on the Matt Duchene case

Just yesterday, Matt Duchene was a member of the Nashville Predators for three more seasons.

His contract, worth $8 million a year, didn’t expire until 2026.

Yesterday, however, the Predators decided to buy out Duchene’s contract.

With the snap of a finger, Duchene found himself without a team and looking for a new contract with a new team.

Today, Duchene will be a free agent, and logically, there are already several teams on his case.

According to Pierre LeBrun, some ten teams have shown interest in Duchene.

The 32-year-old forward is currently exploring his options with his agent Pat Brisson.

We could know Duchene’s decision as early as today.

It will be interesting to see who gets Duchene, at what price and for how many years.

At 32, Duchene is far from a bad player, having enjoyed the best season of his career in 2021-2022 with 86 points (43 goals and 43 assists) in 78 games.

Many teams will be looking at the various goalkeepers available on the market

The goaltending situation for each NHL team is always an interesting issue when the free-agent market opens.

Many teams are looking for a goaltender, and there are several available on the market.

Frederik Andersen is expected to become a free agent today, and is not expected to re-sign with Carolina, although the door is not completely closed.

The Pittsburgh Penguins could be interested in Andersen depending on what happens with Tristan Jarry.

Andersen will clearly attract the attention of several teams.

The Devils will also be looking for a goaltender on the open market, as they seem to have given up on Connor Hellebuyck.

The Ottawa Senators will also be looking for a goaltender.

It’s a case to watch in the NHL.

In Rafale

– Adam Fantilli is expected to sign his NHL entry-level contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets today.

– Incroyable.

– Pontus Aberg heads for the KHL.

– Indeed.

– Signing in Ottawa.

– Big game tonight for Montreal CF.

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