Bergevin wants to bring back Markov, Radulov — but not for their demands


The Montreal Canadiens have paid quite a price to extend their star goalie.

The Habs signed Carey Price to an eight-year, $84 million contract extension, which will begin for the 2018-19 season. With that pressing offseason priority now taken care of, general manager Marc Bergevin’s focus has turned to trying to get remaining free agents under contract for next season.

That includes unrestricted free agents Andrei Markov and Alexander Radulov, and restricted free agent Alex Galchenyuk.

Bergevin spoke with reporters on Sunday, leaving the door open to the possibility of re-signing Markov or Radulov, but the prospect of that happening didn’t sound overly promising, either.

It was reported less than two weeks ago that the Habs had offered Radulov a three-year contract, although the two sides were, at that time, quite far apart, especially when it came to term.

Meanwhile, Markov reportedly wanted $12 million over two years to stay with the Habs. As you can imagine, Bergevin spent a good deal of his press conference discussing both players, with the opening of free agency yesterday.

Bergevin hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of both players returning, however.

Bergevin admitted he doesn’t see any viable options right now in free agency that could replace those two players if they don’t come back.

“Not right now,” he said. “We’ll have to do it by committee, I guess. I mean, we’re not going to start inventing players that aren’t there. We’d like to have these guys back, but there’s so much we can do.”

Galchenyuk is a restricted free agent, after his two-year, $5.6 million expired at the end of this past season.

His overall production may have dipped last season, with 17 goals and 44 points — remember, he also missed 21 games, too — but Galchenyuk is also a 30-goal scorer from 2015-16 and eligible for arbitration this summer, which could be an option, according to his agent Pat Brisson.

“We’ll try to get that done as soon as possible,” said Bergevin.

Related: Who’s left in NHL free agency? Radulov, Kovalchuk among biggest names

Could Patrick Sharp be returning to Chicago?


After two seasons with the Dallas Stars, there are indications ahead of Saturday’s free agent frenzy that Patrick Sharp may be returning to Chicago.

Now 35 years old and a pending unrestricted free agent, Sharp played in only 48 games last season for the Stars, as injuries kept him out of the lineup for a large amount of time. He scored only eight goals and 18 points.

He underwent hip surgery in March and was expected to be out four to five months after that. While it didn’t work out for him in Dallas, there have been strong rumblings he could re-join the Blackhawks, the team he won three Stanley Cups with.

Sharp joined the Blackhawks in 2005, and it wasn’t long after that, that he emerged as a prolific scorer in that talented lineup that soon ascended to the top of the NHL, with a career high 36 goals in 2007-08. He recorded a career best 78 points only four years ago.

He’s now at the end of a five-year, $29.5 million contract.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has been busy in the past few days, trading defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and then re-acquiring Brandon Saad — who was dealt out of Chicago two years ago — from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Sabres AHL affiliate names Chris Taylor new head coach


The Rochester Americans, AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, have named Chris Taylor as their new head coach, the club announced Friday.

Taylor first began playing with the Americans back in 1999, and rounded out his playing career with them with a 51-point season in 2010-11.

He also has a familiarity with new Sabres general manager Jason Botterill. They played together for three seasons in Rochester, from 2002 to 2005.

“We’re excited to welcome Chris back to the organization as the next head coach of the Rochester Americans,” said Americans general manager Randy Sexton in a statement.

“He has a proven track record of developing players in the American Hockey League and there’s certainly no one more familiar with the organization than Chris.”

Taylor went on to spend three seasons as assistant coach for the Americans, before going to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for one year as an assistant.

Chiarelli: Oilers ‘will match any offer sheet’ for Draisaitl


The idea of an offer sheet for Leon Draisaitl has been thrown around the past few days — at least in the media.

Draisaitl, 21, has developed into a dangerous offensive weapon for the Edmonton Oilers, scoring 19 goals and 51 points in his sophomore season and 29 goals and 77 points this past season playing quite a bit alongside Connor McDavid.

After back-to-back impressive seasons — not to mention a great playoff for the Oilers — Draisaitl is a pending restricted free agent and due for a significant raise from his three-year, $10.2 million, bonus-laden entry-level contract.

The Oilers have about $19.5 million in cap space, per CapFriendly.

From TSN’s Craig Button, per the Edmonton Journal:

“(Montreal’s) biggest need is a No. 1 centre. It’s a glaring need. It’s a glaring hole. So forget about free agent frenzy, how about free agent shocks. If the Edmonton Oilers don’t get Leon Draisaitl signed by July 1, how about an offer sheet for Leon Draisaitl because the young player fits in perfectly with where they’re at, which is about today and Carey Price and what they can do to compete in the eastern conference. So that would create shock waves.”

Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli has since responded — and rather defiantly, too — to the notion of an opposing team considering that route for Draisaitl.

“We are not trading him. I have talked to nobody nor will I,” Chiarelli told TSN’s Darren Dreger. “We have tons of cap space and will match any offer sheet. I have said that before.”

It looks like KHL scoring forward Dadonov could return to the Panthers


The Florida Panthers lost Jonathan Marchessault in the expansion draft. It appears, however, they may have acquired another potential scoring forward through free agency.

According to Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel, the Panthers have agreed on a deal for KHL scorer Evgeny Dadonov, who had 30 goals and 66 points in 53 games for St. Petersburg SKA this past season.

It was believed Dadonov would actually join the Vegas Golden Knights, especially after that club signed his St. Petersburg teammate Vadim Shipachyov.

The Panthers initially selected Dadonov in the third round of the 2007 NHL Draft. He appeared in 55 games for Florida from 2010 to 2012, scoring a total of 10 goals and 20 points.

Teams are allowed to talk with pending unrestricted free agents, however nothing can be signed and made official until tomorrow.