Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 31, 2019

by | Mar 31, 2019 | Rumors | 15 comments

Check out the latest on the Canucks and Oilers in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup. 

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CANUCKS?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters believe the Vancouver Canucks must invest in secondary scoring and bolster the right side of their blueline this summer. There’s talk they could trade for a young right-handed defenseman but it remains to be seen who they’ll pursue and how much it’ll cost. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks’ defense is indeed quite thin on the right side, which is currently filled by Alex Biega, Troy Stecher and Luke Schenn. A skilled young top-four rearguard is desperately needed there but finding one won’t be easy via trade or free agency.

Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci was a frequent fixture in the rumor mill leading up to the trade deadline but the questions about his play that sparked those rumors won’t help the Canucks. Salary-cap constraints could force the Winnipeg Jets to trade Jacob Trouba or let Tyler Myers depart via free agency but there’s no certainty either guy will want to go to a rebuilding club. Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen has also popped up in recent media trade chatter but it could cost the Canucks one of their good young forwards to get him. 

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Harman Dayal examines the performance of Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton, who’s coming off a two-year, $5.6-million contract and will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Dayal notes Hutton’s agent could seek a new deal worth in the range of $4 million per season because he’s been deployed as a top-pairing rearguard. Despite the positive buzz over Hutton’s play this season, Dayal concludes he’s actually struggling as a top-four defenseman and recommends the Canucks try to move Hutton while his trade value is high.

Should the Canucks trade Ben Hutton this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The question is, does Canucks general manager Jim Benning also believe Hutton lacks the stuff to become a reliable top-four defenseman? If it appears the Hutton camp will seek more than the Canucks are willing to pay this summer, perhaps that’ll prompt Benning to shop him. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Patrick Johnston wonders if Thatcher Demko is the Canucks goalie of the future or if he’ll better serve the club as a trade chip. Given Jacob Markstrom‘s emergence as a reliable starting goalie this season and with promising Mike DiPietro waiting in the wings, Demko could fetch a solid return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks don’t have to rush into a decision regarding their goaltending this summer. Markstrom is signed through 2019-20, Demko will be an affordable re-signing coming out of his entry-level contract and DiPietro could use at least one season in the minors. 

SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Elliotte Friedman reports it sounds like there’s some discussion between the Canucks and defenseman Luke Schenn regarding a one-year contract extension. Schenn has played well for the Canucks since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in mid-January. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schenn is on a one-year, $800K contract so he won’t be expensive to retain. 

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Allen Mitchell recently examined some affordable options for the Edmonton Oilers to bolster their roster this summer. His proposed goalie targets are Carolina’s Petr Mrazek, Ottawa’s Anders Nilsson or Philadelphia’s Brian Elliott. San Jose’s Gustav Nyquist, Carolina’s Micheal Ferland, Vegas’ Brandon Pirri and the Islanders (and former Oiler) Jordan Eberle are among his suggested forward choices. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $71.7 million invested in 16 players for 2019-20, the Oilers won’t have much room if the cap is set for $83 million as projected. Unless they can shed salary they’ll have little choice but to pursue affordable depth via trades or free agency.

Elliott is more consistent than Mrazek and Nilsson but his age (33) and injury history are a concern. Not sure how keen Eberle would be to return to Edmonton. Ferland is a solid physical presence but his spate of injuries this season sends up warning flags plus he reportedly seeks Tom Wilson money. Nyquist will likely cost over $5 million annually to sign plus he could prefer signing with a contender. Ultimately, the Oilers could be going into the bargain bin for guys like Pirri this summer. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the Oilers should resist trading or buying out defenseman Andrej Sekera. He points out Sekera’s improvement since returning to action from injury this season and also notes the Oilers need his puck-moving skills. Sekera also has two years left on his deal with a $5.5 million AAV, a modified no-trade clause starting July 1, and has suffered two serious injuries in as many seasons, which would hamper the Oilers efforts to trade him and would also hurt his value in the trade market.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Staples. Moving Sekera would free up invaluable cap room but their defense is better when he’s healthy and in the lineup. Giving the hindrance of his contract and injury history, the Oilers probably won’t find many takers in the trade market. 







15 Comments

  1. As I read the observations above re Ben Hutton, I can’t help but note the similarity with the Cody Ceci situation – i.e., they, and their agents, always playing hard-to-get at contract time.

    As it stands now, Hutton’s cap history is
    entry level $896,250
    jumps to #2,800,000

    and is an RFA this spring

    is an RFA currently costing $2,800,000 off the cap.

    Ceci’s contract history goes like this:

    entry-level $925,000
    jumps to $1,369,167
    jumps to $2,800,000
    jumps to $4,300,000

    and is an RFA again.

    Do these guys have the same agent?

  2. Not a lot of cap room in the self desnigated City of Champions. Lucic needs to be dealt with in some fashion. I would even take the buy out hit. They are going to need every million they can muster

    • I understand the reasoning of not trading Sekera BUT what other player on their back end can they move to free up cap space to retool on the fly? Sekera can help a playoff bubble team that needs a reliable player (when healthy).

      Maybe Russell to Van who needs right side D
      Maybe Sekera to ??? (ideas?)
      Maybe Larsson to TOR who needs a RD to play with Reilly.

      NJ has significant cap space….and need veteran Dmen…..perhaps calling them for a prospect.

      Their D is the only spot I can see where there is $ needing to be moved since Lucic’s contract is virtually immovable.

  3. Yesterday while watching the Bruins playing Florida the play by play sound went dead, you could hear the puck hitting the sticks, follow the play differently because your not listening to the play by play, hear the refs. It was quite good to be honest. The best part of it was and yes i’m a Bruins fan, you didn’t have to listen to Jack Edwards and that’s always a good thing! Personally don’t like one-sided game calling, you can still call for your home team without the ridiculousness of the one-sided view.

    • There was a period quite a few seasons back where all TV play-by-play was blocked – at least in Canada – because of some labour dispute involving, I think, sound technicians – it was great – Lyle, you have any recollection of when that was?

      • Sorry, George, that must’ve happened during my military career when I was out of the country. Don’t recall it.

      • Wasn’t there a gimmick that nhl tried where they did just that? Part of second period was just game noise…

      • I called a friend who’s deeper into all things NHL than I am, and he says it related to a period – he believes – in the early 1990s on the French-language TV broadcasts and did revolve around some labour dispute. All arena sounds were there – just no play-by-play. I now recall watching those games and it was unique to say the least.

      • Nah. I mean recently. Hey past ten years or so.

      • I’d love it if audio went dead while Mike Emmerick was calling a game! That man has the most annoying voice is sports…. I mean history.

        I remember when I lived in NY and he called NJ games…. if I had to listen to that mans nails on chalkboard voice call Neidermeyers (spelling) name one more time I’d poke my eardrums out with a fork!

        Loved Thorne and Clement calling games on ESPN!

    • Jack Edwards makes Bruins games virtually unwatchable.

      • The really good ones are few and far between, but TSN has a few

  4. As an aside, has anyone tried to find out the results so far in the OHL playoffs? I’ve tried Googling several variations, but even when I type in “2019 brackets” they show the results from LAST season! Ridiculous.

    • All first round series have finished, George, and no upsets.
      Ottawa plays Sudbury, Niagara – Oshawa, Saginaw – The Soo, and Guelph – London. Should be four great series.