NHL Rumors: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade bait, Bruins to go after Predators Mattias Ekholm, and Taylor Hall admits struggle with Sabres

Two big names are going to start climbing the NHL Trade Bait Board here at The Daily Goal Horn soon. Both Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall will become unrestricted free agents at season’s end. That will likely make them hot commodities at the trade deadline.

NHL Rumors: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins extension becoming more complicated

The Edmonton Oilers like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and in turn he loves playing there. If things were only so simple.

TSN’s Ryan Rishaug broke down the latest surrounding RNH:

  • No new talks since they broke off before season started
  • Flat cap a serious issue
  • Oilers won’t let him walk for nothing this summer

As we’ve noted before, the two sides were actively talking until the Oilers made it clear that a penny over $7 million per season was a non starter. That’s when talks ended and nothing has happened since. If negotiations fail by the trade deadline expect the Oilers to shop him.

NHL Rumors: Bruins to go after Mattias Ekholm

Pierre LeBrun mentioned defenseman Mattias Ekholm in a recent TSN Insider Trading. “There’s a more intriguing name that when I talk to teams that they hope will be on the market,” LeBrun said. “That is top four defenseman, Mattias Ekholm.”

The 30 year-old has a deal with an AAV of $3.75M that will expire in the summer of 2022. LeBrun believes the Predators will listen to offers and if they don’t like what’s there they’ll keep him.

One of those teams likely to be aggressive if he’s available could be the Boston Bruins. They’ve been rumored to improve the defense ever since they let Zdeno Chara leave. Makes you wonder why they couldn’t just give Big Z one more year?

NHL Rumors: Taylor Hall admits season in Buffalo has been a struggle

nhl rumors taylor hall
Jan 22, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Taylor Hall (4) shoots the puck on Washington Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek (41) in the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

When Taylor Hall signed a one year $8 million dollar deal with the Buffalo Sabres this offseason, many were genuinely shocked. Now, Hall is talking about just how difficult a season it’s been for him.

“Right now, it’s been tough. I can’t lie to you,” Hall told the media. “If I have four or five goals right now, you don’t really know what our season looks like, especially with how close a games we had and how much we’ve been in games right until the very end.”

If things continue this way for Hall, it would not surprise me if opts for free agency again. Should he not be willing to talk extension, the Sabres need to at least get a first round pick for him at the deadline in April.