Around the NHL rumor mill: Duchene 'relaxed' amid trade talks; Tavares to Habs?

Outside of the NHL announcing its broadcast schedule for 2017-18 and some in Seattle upping the city's push to join the NHL, hockey has had a mostly quiet month since free agency began last month.

At times, there's been more talk of potential expansion and team relocation than whether anyone has a reasonable chance of dethroning the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. But that hasn't stopped speculation from brewing about what's to come, including for the Pens.

Let's take a spin around the rumor mill for a look at some of the latest NHL headlines:

Matt Duchene 'relaxed' as he awaits an inevitable trade

The Colorado Avalanche center is, well, still a Colorado Avalanche center, and that was supposed to change long ago.

Yes, Matt Duchene is still awaiting a trade out of Colorado. USATSI

OK, so maybe it's not the biggest deal that Duchene hasn't been dealt. His name was floated as a top trade chip in March, but still, Colorado's public acknowledgement of a likely move, coupled with reports of the Avs' apparently high asking price, could soon make for a "non-relaxed" Duchene. This thing -- the longstanding auction for a guy who best fits as a second- or third-line center on a Cup contender -- should be wrapped up by training camp, but, then again, Colorado doesn't seem all that hurried. In the meantime, according to TSN, Duchene isn't sweating what may or may not happen (again).

Nikita Kucherov isn't eyeing a new contract that will 'break the bank'

Four months after he was quoted in Russian media as saying some of his Tampa Bay Lightning teammates "got their money and stopped working," the 40-goal scorer said through his agent, Dan Milstein, that he doesn't plan to stop working and isn't concerned with getting his money. Relaying thoughts to The Tampa Bay Times, Kucherov still has two years left on a three-year contract but is a fast-rising standout with an assuredly hefty payday on the way. Instead, per Milstein? "We're not going to try and break the bank. We'll see." Yes, we'll see, indeed.

Montreal Canadiens make the most sense for Islanders' John Tavares

New York's 2018 free agent-to-be is saying the right things about wanting to re-sign with the Islanders, and his team has a lot more time to negotiate an extension than skeptics want to admit. Tavares only became eligible to ink a new deal on July 1, after all.'s Dan Rosen thinks Tavares will end up back in New York, but if one team stands out as a logical destination for the big name, he says it's the Habs.

The Canadiens make the most sense, especially with Tomas Plekanec ($6 million) coming off their salary cap after this season. Tavares is going to cost $10 million plus, but at least losing Plekanec's charge would offset some of that.

Montreal isn't the first team to be linked to Tavares. The Lightning have already been talked up as potential suitors as well.

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