NHL Rumors: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins no given to return with Oilers, Jim Rutherford ready for another GM job, and Jeff Skinner a Seattle Kraken?

Feb 16, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Andy Greene (4) watches as Buffalo Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner (53) dives to make a pass during the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Skinner has been in the news a lot this past week. That’s going to happen when you make $9 million AAV and have been a healthy scratch for three straight games. It’s also going to become a bigger story when your agent makes a call to Sabres GM Kevyn Adams expressing concerns.

NHL Rumors: Jeff Skinner wants to be a Sabre

“I love being a Sabre. I love the city of Buffalo – I wouldn’t have chosen to stay here if that wasn’t the case,” Skinner replied to a question if he wanted out. “Yeah that answer’s simple.”

Skinner was also asked if he and coach Ralph Krueger saw eye-to-eye. He responded diplomatically and explained people all have differences of opinions.

In the Athletic, Eric Duhatschek presented an interesting tidbit.

It’s hard to figure what the end game for Skinner is, unless, at some point, the Sabres can tempt the Seattle Kraken to take on his contract, by absorbing half of it and maybe even sweetening the deal with a future draft choice or a prospect. Seattle’s management group — GM Ron Francis and assistant GM Jason Botterill — does know Skinner, both the good and the bad, Francis because he was in Carolina when the Hurricanes drafted him and Botterill because he was running Buffalo when the Sabres signed him to his current contract.

The Athletic

NHL Rumors: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins iffy road ahead

nhl rumors ryan nugent hopkins
Jan 30, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more intriguing names out there is Oilers forward, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. During the offseason both sides were talking about an extension until the wheels fell off the bus. The speed bump came in the form of Oilers GM Ken Holland telling RNH they wouldn’t go a penny over $7 million.

“It’s got to be a deal that works for both sides,” Holland told Sportsnet 590. “The way the system is built, it makes it more difficult to compete. We’ve got to find a solution that works for Ryan and his agent and also for the Edmonton Oilers.”

I think it’s time RNH makes it onto the DGH Trade Bait Board.

NHL Rumors: Jim Rutherford wants to GM again

Jim Rutherford may have quit the Penguins job but not for a lack of desire. “I still got the bug,’’ he told Pierre LeBrun yesterday.

“I can tell you that I feel good, I have a lot of energy, I love the game. I’ve watched as many games as I can every night to stay in the loop. I have an emotional connection to the Penguins for obvious reasons, but I still have the bug to be with a team and try to contribute and make it better.’’

Jim Rutherford via The Athletic

LeBrun did ask about leaving the Penguins to which Rutherford refused further comment aside from being grateful and wishing them well. The Penguins former GM also recommended Ron Hextall to the organization prior to them hiring him.

Expect Rutherford to land in the NHL somewhere soon. Montreal, Vancouver, maybe Buffalo?


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