NHL Rumors: Oilers looking for defense, Hertl staying, Vegas and LTIR

nhl rumors
Nov 12, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) shoots and scores a goal against Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) in the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers are trying to find their way and Dave Tippett paid the price for it. After deciding to let him go in favor of AHL coach Jay Woodcroft, the Oilers still have plenty of issues to address.

While the focus has been on goaltending, as it should, the team needs to address their porous defense. This season, Edmonton ranks 23 out of 32 teams in goals against per game at 3.32.

NHL Rumors: Oilers looking for defense

“What they need is a top three, top four right shot [defenseman], because their defense collectively has not been good enough. They give up Grade ‘A’ chances night after night,” Darren Dreger said on TSN Insider Trading.

The problem is for the Oilers is how can they address both goaltending and defense without totally destroying their future.

“Tough decisions ahead for Holland but that right shot d-man is a priority,” Dreger concluded.

Edmonton has been linked to Flyers back up Martin Jones. The 32 year-old is on a one-year deal worth just $2 million. He is 6-8-2 this season with a 3.56 GAA, and a .901 SV%.

On defense, there aren’t many cheap options so it will be interesting what Edmonton will try to do. One potentially interesting fit is pending UFA Colin Miller in Buffalo.

Tomas Hertl staying in San Jose

tomas hertl rumors
Dec 28, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) scores against Arizona Coyotes goaltender Scott Wedgewood (31) in a penalty shootout at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

In late January, I spoke with a team executive about the upcoming NHL Trade Deadline. During the chat I asked about some potential and obvious names on the market.

One name that everyone expects to be high on many teams’ trade lists is San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl.

As soon as he was mentioned, the response I received was that the Sharks are probably going to keep him. Elliotte Friedman’s latest 32 Thoughts Blog reiterates the same.

In a potentially significant development, San Jose acting GM Joe Will told local reporters that conversations with Tomas Hertl and agent Craig Oster have both sides believing the player wants to stay. “So now it’s about finding a way to have that happen,” Will said. “He’s a player that we want as part of our team and we’re going to do everything we can to make that happen.” Will also wouldn’t commit to what could happen if Hertl reaches the deadline unsigned.

Sportsnet

Hertl is 28 years-old and in the final year of a deal that has a $5.625M cap hit. This season, he’s recorded 38 points in 46 contests.

Vegas and LTIR

The Vegas Golden Knights are expected to have Jack Eichel make his debut later next week. When he does, his $10 million cap hit will come off LTIR and on the books.

While many anticipated a forced move for the Knights, forward Mark Stone’s back issue has flared up and it may land him and his $9.5M hit on LTIR. Thus allowing the Knights to pull a Tampa and keep key pieces like Reilly Smith for a playoff run.

This is a situation that will certainly ruffle some feathers but is completely legal.