Oilers make a deal for Columbus defenseman Nikita Nikitin, Willie Desjardins poised to become the Canucks new coach, plus updates on the Jets, Canadiens and Maple Leafs. 

Oilers gain negotiating rights to Nikita Nikitin.

Oilers gain negotiating rights to Nikita Nikitin.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have made a conditional deal for Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Nikita Nikitin, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. It’s believed the Oilers could part with a fifth-round pick if they should re-sign Nikitin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s some confusion over the details of this move. What’s known is the Oilers definitely have permission to negotiate exclusively with Nikitin. It’s believed if they fail to sign him, the Oilers won’t have to part with any compensation to the Jackets. It remains to be seen if the Oilers can sign Nikitin, who is believed seeking a four-year contract. 

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Texas Stars coach Willie Desjardins is reportedly close to becoming the new head coach of the Canucks. He and the Canucks are believed working out the details of a contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deal could be made official early next week, before the NHL draft.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Ed Tait has concern over the Jets depth on right wing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an area usually-cautious Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could address in the coming weeks. 

SPORTSNET.CA: Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Gerard Gallant is expected to be named new head coach of the Florida Panthers as early as Monday.

TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs will hold a three-day “Fan Fest” from September 5 through 7. Tickets range from $57 – $87.