NHL Rumors: Oilers, Rangers, Penguins, and Maple Leafs
As hockey returns to action tonight, the NHL Rumor Mill is still on sleep mode.
The NHL Roster Freeze came to an end at 12:01 in the morning today. At this time, no trades are expected for a multitude of reasons. On the forefront, the uncertainty of COVID situations across the league with over 150 players on protocol.
Another would be the fact that only a few teams are really out of contention this early in the season. However, speculation persists so let’s dive in.
Edmonton Oilers rumors
Edmonton’s GM Ken Holland has been very cautious on the trade front. Many believed he would make a big move at last year’s deadline but opted not to not make a rash deal. This summer he was more aggressive signing Zach Hyman and acquiring/signing Duncan Keith.
There’s a widespread belief that Holland is going to go-for-it all this season. While he has needs at defense, third-line center, and possibly in goal, adding veteran scoring wing could also be in the cards.
Jim Matheson, who covers the Oilers for the Edmonton Journal believes Phil Kessel fits the bill if Arizona eats half his contract.
Kessel, 34, has 17 points in 29 games for the lowly Coyotes. He’s been trying to escape the desert since the summer but so far there’s been no takers. He will be a UFA at season’s end and has a cap hit of $6.8M. The veteran is widely considered a top rental.
New York Rangers rumors
Vitali Kravtsov and Alexandar Georgiev remain the top two Rangers considered to be on the block.
“[Kravtsov] requested a trade early this season after refusing an assignment to AHL Hartford, and GM Chris Drury has made it clear he wants something of quality in return and won’t budge until he gets it,” Jeff Marek recently wrote.
What happens with Kravtsov, who will play out the entire KHL season remains to be seen. However, it’s 25 year-old goalie Georgiev that has likely piqued interest among some teams with his recent play in Igor Shesterkin’s absence. During that time he posted a 3-2-1 record, with an impressive .931 SV% and 2.00 GAA. Proving that if given an opportunity to play regularly, he can be a #1 goalie.
While Drury set a first round pick as a price for him this summer, he didn’t get a sniff. A second round pick is a more suitable return to a team that views Georgiev as their future starter. Keep an eye on the Red Wings, Senators, and Coyotes. All three have multiple second round selections in the 2022 draft.
Pittsburgh Penguins rumors
The Penguins have been charging up the standings but have also sold the team to Fenway Sports Group.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins are a premier National Hockey League franchise with a very strong organization, a terrific history and a vibrant, passionate fan base,” FSG chairman Tom Werner said. “We will work diligently to continue building on the remarkable Penguins’ tradition of championships and exciting play.”
By all accounts, FSG is committed to winning championships with a proven track record. They helped end the Boston Red Sox curse just three years after buying them in 2001. So, Penguins fans can rest assured that the motivation should remain the same.
Of course, the Penguins also have an aging roster and could look to move veterans at the deadline or draft. Dan Kingerski believes the emergence of Evan Rodrigues will impact Kaperi Kapanen and Jason Zucker. Is it possible that GM Ron Hextall sees them as expendable?
Toronto Maple Leafs rumors
Back in November, Sportsnet Insider Nick Kypreos noted that the Toronto Maple Leafs and goalie Jack Campbell are working on an extension.
“There’s nothing more I’d love than to stay here,” the 29 year-old netminder said. Since joining the Leafs he is 35-10-5 with a .928 SV% and a 2.12 GAA.
Of course, they will be hard pressed with the cap to make it work, which is why doubt remains.
Sportsnet’s Luke Fox predicts that the two sides will find a way to get it done.
Whether it means adding sweetener to a Mrazek trade or buying him out, or shedding salary from the roster’s middle class (Jake Muzzin and Alexander Kerfoot might be vulnerable here), we’re betting Dubas finds a way to keep Campbell in the fold.Sportsnet