Latest on the Oilers, Blackhawks & Lightning – May 15, 2017

by | May 15, 2017 | Rumors | 56 comments

Could the Edmonton Oilers find it difficult to trade Jordan Eberle?

Updates on Edmonton Oilers winger Jordan Eberle and Chicago Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger plus possible trade targets for the Tampa Bay Lightning in your NHL rumor mill. 

EDMONTON SUN: Dan Barnes recently reported Oilers winger Jordan Eberle “needs to work on his release, core strength and foot speed” to keep up with younger players. Barnes feels Eberle remains a “bona fide commodity”, albeit an expensive one with a $6 million annual salary, averaging 27 goals per 82 games plays as an NHLer. He also believes general manager Peter Chiarelli might not hesitate to find a replacement at right wing that could help them in the postseason. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites TSN’s Craig Button claiming Eberle’s contract will be difficult to move, especially with the winger at a low point in his NHL career. To find the best return, Staples suggests the Oilers must find teams that have a major hole at right wing in need of scoring and with the salary-cap room to absorb Eberle’s salary. He considers the New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks as possible options. While Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggested St. Louis, Los Angeles and the New York Islanders as potential destinations, Staples doubts they have sufficient cap room to add Eberle. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not impossible to move Eberle, but Button’s correct that the winger’s cap hit will make it difficult to find a suitable trade partner. I concur with Staples that the Blues, Kings and Isles lack sufficient cap room.

The Devils and Sabres seem the best options but they could place more emphasis on improving their defense. The Canucks seem a more likely option but they finally seem committed to rebuilding with youth rather than chasing expensive veterans. Unless the Oilers agree to pick up a healthy chunk of Eberle’s contract or agree to take back a toxic contract in return, a trade might not be possible this summer. 

Barnes’ colleague Jim Matheson pondered possible moves by the Oilers to add a top-nine center who can win faceoffs. His suggested free-agent options include Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonino, Toronto’s Brian Boyle and Minnesota’s Martin Hanzal and Carolina’s Derek Ryan, He believes better options could be found in the trade market, with Dallas’ Cody Eakin as his ideal target. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Stars risk losing Eakin to the expansion draft they could entertain offers for him. Could be worthwhile for the Oilers to make inquiries into his trade status. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: In a recent mailbag segment, Chris Hine suggests the easiest contract for the cap-strapped Chicago Blackhawks to move this summer is center Marcus Kruger’s nearly $3.1 million cap hit through 2018-19. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson ($4.1 million) could be another but Hine isn’t sure trading him is the right move. He’s also heard center Artem Anisimov’s name thrown around but he’d have to agree to waive his no-movement clause. He also doesn’t see any takers for defenseman Brent Seabrook’s $6.875 million cap hit. 

CHICAGO DAILY HERALD: Barry Rozner also speculates Kruger could be on his way out of town and they might have to toss another player into the deal, as they did when they package Teuvo Teravainen with Bryan Bickell in last summer’s deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With a lot of money tied up in a handful of players, the Blackhawks have little wiggle room this summer. They’ve been hemorrhaging talent for several years and it show no sign of stopping this summer, with Kruger the most likely to go. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith believes the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks could provide the solution for the Lightning’s need to add a top-four defenseman this summer. He feels the Bolts will go the trade route this summer to bring in that blueliner, taking advantage of clubs such as the Predators and Ducks at risk of losing a quality defenseman to the expansion draft. If the Bolts offer up a strong enough package, “whether it involves (Jonathan) Drouin or dipping into its deep prospect pool of forwards”, he wonders what type of impact defenseman they could land. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning won’t be the only team looking at the Predators and Ducks, but they could have the edge in terms of what they can offer up as trade bait to pry away a good blueliner from one of them. 



  1. Not sure the Lightning would look for a top pair defenceman. 3 through 6 with upside seems more likely, given cap issues. Seems easier to do a deal with the Preds … only becuase the Ducks seem to like “heavy” forwards and the Bolts don’t reslly have any.
    Also, bringing in more Swedes? That has been a plus with the Hedman-Stralman pairing. But hard to see Drouin moving, both on his own values, and becuase he is your insurance for a possibly injury prone Stamkos. Five Bolts kids in the memorial cup offer some texture asse4ts for Stevie Y to deal.

  2. I don’t see Nashville at risk of losing a solid defenseman to expansion. The way I see it, they will choose the 8 skater plan protecting Subban/Ekholm/Josi/Ellis

    • I agree SH21. Defense drives the engine in Nashville even offensively! To not protect their top 4 would be completely ridiculous. And if they didn’t how do you choose between Josi/Ellis/Subban/Ekholm? Great problem to have!

  3. How many years left on Eberle’s contract? Maybe he goes to Pittsburgh they are great at reclamation projects! Kessel, Schultz; exhibit A and B. In reality both these players still had lots to give. Maybe Eberle still does too! I am just having a little fun here to be honest as Edmonton should still be looking for defense when moving these forwards. Not sure Pittsburgh has any to offer. Rutherford seems to be a magician though. Who saw Kessel going there?

    • Except Eberle never showed signs of becoming a pure sniper like Kessel. Besides, Pittsburgh already has potential cap issues they need to deal with UFAs Kunitz, Bonino, Cullen, Daley, Streit, Hainsey and Ruhwedel and RFAs Sundqvist, Sheary, Archibald, Schultz and Dumoulin.

      Not all will be given new deal, of course, but they need to find replacements for whoever is jettisoned – and some are going to get hefty hikes. The last thing they need is a $6 million dollar man with 2 more years to go on his deal.

      But I admit – stranger things have happened. I still shake my head at that Toronto-Ottawa deal that saw Phaneuf come to Ottawa – announced about 15 minutes after I wrote – in here – that Ottawa and Toronto would never be dance partners

      • Oh I agree George with Eberle’s lack of sniper capability in comparison to Kessel. Do you think all Pittsburgh’s UFA will be signed? I wouldn’t guarantee the re-signing of Kunitz, Bonino, Cullen, or Hainsey. Not that I am trying to make a case for Eberle going to Pittsburgh (haha). Like you I was certainly surprised that Phaneuf went to Ottawa. I thnk he is doing well there; agreed? And on another note I find Rutherford to be the most entertaining manager of them all. He is not afraid to deal. This will be a fun summer. Hope your Sens win again tonight!

      • I liked this trade for both teams. Phaneuf to Ottawa to dump short term salary on Toronto. This concept that so & so won’t trade with so & so although it may be rare is far more common than in the past. In today’s cap world although you would prefer to trade out of division you take what you can get from whoever is willing to take on your problem.

        After dumping all that salary on Toronto Phaneuf is only costing Ottawa the equivalent of 4.6 per for the remainder of his deal. At least factoring in actual monies paid to all players involved in the trade, said monies saved by Ottawa. Toronto essential got Lindberg, a 2nd & Phaneuf off the books. Ottawa got a solid 2nd pairing Dman under 5 mil per after salaries saved. Again a good deal for both teams & Phaneuf has helped solidify Ottawa’s top 4 D & is a big factor in their being a playoff team this season.

      • That’s easy. None of those UFAs will be back except maybe Ruhwedal. And the only RFAs getting more than 850 grand are Sheary, Shultz, and Dumoulin. Those 3 will get between 10-13 million. So if they lose Hagelen to LV that’s 4 million gone. MAF, 6 million. Kunitz 4 million. Scuderi 1.8 million. Bonino 2 million. That’s around 20 million freed up and only say 15 being spent. They will be promoting from within depending on where they think Sundqvist is. Add Sprong and ZAR to the mix. As well as Jarry.
        Guentzel Crosby Sheary
        Sprong Malkin Kessel
        ZAR Sunny Hornqvist
        Rust Rowney and and one of Wilson, Kuhnhackle, Archie etc.

        Dumoulin Letang
        Maatta Shultz
        Cole Pouliot, Ruhwedal, Taylor, Bengsston etc

        Still pretty competitive and there will be money left over. Maybe not 6 million but definitely wiggle room.

      • So why are they wasting all that money on Rutherford and his assistants Deeee? Why not just call you – you seem to have it all figured out? But while you’re at it, since you are so certain that none of Kunitz, Bonino, Cullen, Daley, Streit and Hainsey will be gone, that’s 6 bodies on the current roster who will need to be replaced. If the call-ups can’t meet the challenge in every case – and NO ONE’S farm system is THAT good – they will need to find veteran bodies to replace them. A bunch of journeymen named Joe?

      • “… so certain that ALL of ….” not “NONE of …”

      • Deeee. Pens have to likely get a back up to expose either in maf/Murray trade or fa. A mil there. Sheary could ask for 2.5-3. Dumo 3-4. Shultz could try to ask for 4-5. Sund has not shown he is top 9 talent yet so a bonobo replacement or resigning him is going to cost 2.5-3. I am starting to think rust might get protected over horny or hags so the will be lost with their salary and replaced with sprong. Pens won’t have room though they won’t have cap space to spare either

      • Man Georgie… you Bustin out the ol man smack at them pens fans lately… suspenders tied in a knot? You right cranky.

      • Sorry George but pens forwards with exception of bonino are replaceable internally. Top 9 is Crosby malkin Jessel rust sheary guentzel sprong hags or horny and one question mark at third center. D top 4 is likely set with cole a solid 5. So replacing 6-7 d easy enough with some guys named… joe was it?

      • @george O

        Daley is gone, Streit is gone, Chris Kunitz will resign for 1/2 so maybe $2 million Ron Hainsey (likes Pittsburgh) will resign….Nick Bonino is the big question Matt Cullen will retire or go to Minnesota for one last hurah….

        not as many cap issues as you think MAF will be gone Hagelin im hearing will be gone..i mean just Hagelin and Fluery alone clears $9.5 million in cap space daley is $3.35 Rutherfoed will make it work

      • Not that it matters but I don’t see Vegas taking Hagelin unless seriously motivated to do so.

        I’m assuming Pittsburgh will use the 8 skater option so as to protect Letang, Schultz, Maatta & Dumoulin at D. Obvioulsy the top 3 aren’t moving Crosby, Malkin & Kessel. Not sure who the 4th protector is I assume Hornqvist even though he only has 1 year to UFA status.

        What goalie is Pittsburgh going to expose in expansion? Not meaning MAF I assume he’s gone in trade or bought out prior as I doubt he just agree’s to waive although anything is possible.

      • Only 33 days to go until teams need to submit their protected list for the expansion draft.Can’t wait for the flood gates to open. Very curious to see how all these things are going to play out.

      • Gotta agree with you there striker.

        Black and gold. Hainsey may want to stay but he has been abominable these playoffs. Had a good start after trade but terrible after that. Better options out there.

    • Pittsburgh has to replace their #3 & 4 C’s, 1 of their top 4 D add D depth at 5/6/7 & resign Schultz & Dumoulin. They can’t take on Eberle. I assume MAF is off the books 1 way or the other, I assume trade but still no monies for Eberle. Pittsburgh may have to cut salary to stay cap compliant next season once all these things play out.

      Nor does Edm need a D. Their’s is better than Pittsburgh’s now & moving forward. It’s now 1 of the best in the league with Klefbom & Larsson forming the #1 pair. Sekera anchors the #2, with Russell this season; next season?, & Nurse & Benning both expansion draft exempt form the 3rd pair. That’s 4 of Edm’s top 6 D Klefbom, Larsson, Nurse & Benning who aren’t even fully developed yet, they are just scratching the surface of their potential at the NHL level. Edm’s D is set for the next decade.

      This rebuilt D is a huge reason EDM had the success they did this season. They are as important & significant as McDavid, or the added toughness Lucic, Kassian & Maroon provided in turning EDM around & making them a playoff team as is Talbot.

      • Hey Striker,
        I was only being facetious when suggesting Eberle will go to Pittsburgh. But I don’t disagree with you regarding Edmonton’s D. Re- signing Russell is completely necessary. However, bringing on extra D never hurts.

      • Copy that Steven. Hard to tell whether people are being serious sometimes.

      • Pittsburgh doesn’t need Jordan Eberle…period..he is a $6 million slug. i would take yakupov before him at least Yakupov has speed,power and skill put him in Pittsburgh system he could score 20 goals

      • exactly George O one of my best friends works inside the Pittsburgh organization so he tells me a lot of stuff that goes on that people like you/me don’t know…telling you what i heard from lighten up Francis.

        common sense tells you Daley, MAF, Streit are gone not rocket science
        Cullen almost retired this year may try Minnesota that’s 50/50

        Kunitz loves the Burgh and will take a pay cut.

        Don’t rule out Matt Murray (not that far fetched) getting moved so young yet more brittle than Letang and they have Tristan Jarry and this huge swedish kid and both may be better than murray

      • So what else does your friend iceberg tell you my b and g?

    • no cap space for him. even with the loss of kunitz, daley, bonino,cullen and likely MAF there is still the need to replace those guys (Cullen and kunitz internally, daley bonino MAF externally) and the raises for dumolin, sheary, rust, Shultz, murray etc. money will about even out with all that… no room for even eberle at half money let alone at full money.

      • Murray and Rust are signed already. Murray got 4 years.

      • Yeah but raise hits next season. Rust might be. Thought his two year deal was up after this season but maybe it’s one more

  4. Artem Anisimov to Montreal? Not necessarily the answer and weak on the face off circle but some size and can play with skilled wingers.

    Kruger or Bonino to Oilers would be good.

    • problem with bonino is even with the season he had he likely priced himself up to the 3-4 range. expensive 3rd line center unless you have lots of cap space.

      • agreed Chrisma Bonino has helped his value….for sure

    • Gally Hab I’d love to see your suggestions become reality…

  5. I don’t think that NYI lacks the cap space to take on Eberle if they are so inclined. They have everyone on their roster signed but De Haan. 22 players with $2,040,357 in cap space at today’s cap hit. The cap is projected to rise by 3 million to 76. Grabovsky will go on LTIR freeing up an additional 5 million more. That’s 7+ mil at today’s cap hit & around 10+ once the increase takes effect.

    For Edmonton to move Eberle they will need to take some salary back or hold salary as no 1’s taking Eberle’s full cap hit although with only 2 years remaining he should have some appeal. He did score 20 goals & 51 points playing almost exclusively with RNH on Edm’s 2nd line & #2 PP. Edm needs a back up goalie. Might they take Halak back as part of that trade? Halak only has 1 year remaining on his contract.

    NYI is also losing a decent player in expansion baring trade. Few teams are as poorly structured for expansion, freeing up even more cap space. Leddy, Boychuk, Hamonic, De Haan, Hickey & Pulock at D & Tavares, Ladd; NMC, Lee, Cziskas, Clutterbuck, Nelson, Strome & Bailey are all expansion draft eligible that’s 6 Dman & 8 forwards.

    If NYI wanted to take on Eberle post expansion draft they have more than enough space & options to make it happen.

    • Maybe, but there is also enough reports out there saying the cap will be flat or a modest 1.6% increase.

      • I’ll take Bettman’s statement of 76 mil at the last board of governors meeting. It may fall a 1/2 a mil short but close enough. No 1 better has a handle on hockey related revenue then the NHL.

    • First – Oilers winger Jordan Eberle “needs to work on his release, core strength and foot speed”
      Then – Barnes feels Eberle remains a “bona fide commodity”, albeit an expensive one with a $6 million annual salary.
      So, a small forward, who doesn’t shoot unless he can dust it first, isn’t strong enough, and is slow remains a bona fide? Seems contradictory.
      While I do agree they may get a bite on Eberle based on his previous stats, I agree with Striker that something back that the Isles don’t like, or eat salary.
      The bottom line on Eberle is that the new coaching staff doesn’t allow you to cheat offensively, so Eberle got less ice and scored less.
      I was having a hard time finding a team that made sense to deal with on Eberle. The Isles are the first one I have seen that makes at least some sense.

      • Don’t forget Las Vegas. They’ll have plenty of cap space and with nothing to lose for the first two or three years, players like Eberle could find a temporary home there with no other instruction than to go out and entertain the fans.

      • Vegas is a possibility as are Arz, Car, Col, Mtl & NJ with NYI. Any & all will want to be enticed to do so in some way either with a pick, prospect, eating salary or taking salary. Most wouldn’t want Eberle pre expansion draft but post.

        I assume if Edm wants to move him they can, it’s just a question of what they are willing to do to make it happen. 21 goals & 51 points is solid production in today’s NHL. Eberle tied for 25th at RW this season with 51 points depending upon whether you consider Coyle a C or RW, if a RW then tied for 22nd.

      • Sorry 20 goals.

      • I should add that I don’t think playing with RNH is a positive. Not really a solid #2 C & that impacts Eberle as well. RNH is no where near a solid #2 C but a very soft #2 or solid #3 by offensive production. He sits in a tie for 54th by points at C not counting people like B. Schenn, Marleau, Coyle who flip flop between C & wing for long stretches due to injury’s or hot or cold spells.

      • I disagree that Eberle played almost exclusively with RNH. He played almost half the season with McDavid and played on the first PP for more than half the season.

        Its not the point production that bothers me, I can tell you for a fact that he is invisible on the ice, floating around, late to get back to his defensive duties, not getting into puck battles and his shot sucks.

        He may yet turn out to be decent next regular season but he is miles from being an effective post season player.

      • Exactly Taz. Which is why I kept saying to Deee and others who were lamenting the fact that a “boring” team like Ottawa has gone this far in the playoffs, that it’s not flash-and-dash seasonal players that bring you the cup but rather the type that rise to the occasion when in the cup tournament. That is, teams that are built for the playoffs and sticking to a system that concentrates on D will always do much better when they get in than they usually do during a long season.Nashville is another example. Both they and Ottawa have the lowest seasonal points of the final 4.

      • I agree with take of Taz and George O on Eberle. It is really apparent when you watch him live and can see the whole ice. To his credit he has worked on and improved on his positioning and has tried to become more engaged in puck battles. If he didn’t he would have been on the 4th line. Problem is he doesn’t win enough of them and has a hard time getting to the blue paint. In the playoffs he just couldn’t compete.
        He needs time and space to be effective offensively. Both of those are shrinking as the speed of the game increases and systems are designed to take it away. Times that by 2 in the playoffs.
        If you live here and watch the Oilers regularly this year it is hard to imagine him being an effective player moving forward in todays NHL. I would also argue that RNH is being held back offensively by playing with Eberle. It hurt both of them having Pouliot on there line for stretches.
        Eberle has skill and can dangle, and score some beauties. He just doesn’t have the time and space to do it often enough.

    • EDM should look to take on a salary player back in his last year… Cammelleri maybe if he is down to 1 year left, to move him… the real problems don’t start until 18-19 for edm cap wise.

      • Cammy has 2 years left. Data easily excessable on but right idea.

        Eberle has scored 20+ goals every season of his career except for his rookie season, 18 in 69 games & the 2012-13 lockout, 16 in 48. His other seasons 34, 25, 28, 24, 25 & 20. That’s pretty solid goal production. You mean he can’t back check? Shocking. Ha-ha!

        Teams will be interested, 20 to 25 goal scorers don’t grow on tree’s. Since entering the league he sits 24th in goals by forwards with 165.

        I won’t regurgitate the #’s I posted them all last week but his role both in TOI/GP & PP TOI/GP by ranking within his team dropped significantly this season. Return him to 1st line icetime & PP time & he is who he is. Warts & all.

      • Too lazy striker. Wonder who has that bad contract with one year left to move back to edm with a decent future for ebs?

  6. Drouin to Vancouver for Chris Tanev makes a lot of sense.

    • Other assets would need to be included both ways to balance it all out but it’s not out of the question. I assume TB will have better options though & don’t get me wrong I like Tanev but he hasn’t played a single full season in his career. His inability to stay healthy is a concern to anyone looking to trade for him if even available.

  7. Isn’t Letestu Edm’s #3 C? He took the 3rd most face offs; 896, in EDM & by winning % is their best at 50.4%. Part of the reason he see’s quality power play time I assume. 11 of his 16 goals were scored on the PP good for 2nd in Edm. RNH lead Edm with 1268 face offs taken, winning 43.8%, Draisaitl was 2nd with 972 winning 49% & McDavid was 4th with 806 winning 43.2%.

    I don’t see Edm adding a C unless 1 is traded. Sooner or later Draisaitl is moving to C when that happens full time having your #3 RNH make 6 mil per won’t work.

    • Ya, I would call him the #3. #4 when Draisaitl plays 2C.
      Yes he gets plenty of face offs because of the %’s you list for the rest of the team. Draisaitl also took many in the D zone when he played wing with McDavid which was plenty.
      Yes and no on the PP time, or I should say both are reasons. The other is Letestu can one time the puck. They needed that badly, and once they had it the PP% went straight up.
      I know it is hard to fathom a guy like Eberle not having that ability, but he either can’t or won’t. Should be able to fix that over the summer? Same with RNH on the dot, enough already, put some real practice time in and get good at it.
      Be willing to bet some $$ McDavid’s % goes way up next year, because he want to be counted on in all situations.

  8. I don’t see Nashville moving 1 of their top 4 D. I see them using the 8 protector scenario. Exposing Neil; a year to UFA status, Wilson & Smith & Aberg at forward. The 4 forwards protected, Johansen, Arvidsson, Forsberg & Jarnkrok.

    In this scenario if I’m Vegas I select Wilson possibly even Aberg. Wilson can play C or LW, has 2 years remaining until he’s a UFA & is 2 years younger than Neal. With Faila, Aberg & Kemenev ready for NHL roles losing a forward isn’t the end of the world. Vegas might even consider taking a young player like Aberg trying to negotiate his selection over Wilson or Neal with some form of additional compensation from Nashville to do so.

  9. Lyle, I don’t see how the Sabres are a fit for Eberle. They have Eichel, Reinhart and maybe Kane to resign next summer, potentially costing 18mill. Im sure they don’t want to be adding a guy like eberle with a 6million price tag. Unless the Oilers take back someone like Bogosian, I cant see a deal between Edm and Buf.

    • I don’t see it either with Reinhart and Okposo their top 6 forwards at RW.
      Reinhart can play LW too but they have Foligno and Kane there with Nylander challenging next year at LW too

  10. I would enlist the Rangers and Panthers for Eberle as well. The Rangers have to wait to see how the expansion draft affects them, and the Panthers have to see that as well, but also if Jagr re-signs. Both teams may end up with a significant hole on the RW.

    Sure would be nice to see Eberle with Huberdeau and Barkov though.

    • I don’t see either NYR or Flo as a fit.

      NYR has Nash, Zuccarello, Buchnevich, Grabner & Fast who have all played RW this year. Miller can play all 3 forward positions & I assume Vesey could move to RW if necessary as well. Nash only has a year left, Fast may well be lost in expansion but until NYR can get Girardi & Staal off the books, 2 to 3 years respectively no room or need for Eberle & his contract.

      If Jagr doesn’t resign Marschessault will simply move into the top 6 as a RW instead of a LW. No team loses more money than Florida, Carolina’s close but there sweetheart lease helps mitigate their loses. Don’t see Florida taking on Eberle’s contract. It’s not impossible though but not certain Eberle is Tallon’s type of player.

  11. What GM in their right mind will take on Kruger’s 3 million plus deal? I got it we’ll sweeten the pot and give away a young player to take the ridiculous contract off our hands. While Teravainen isn’t the player some thought he’d be, Chicago should have never been in the position they were in with Bickell’s contract. Stan Bowman is single handily putting this team in salary cap hell! He’s signing guys to contracts that are insane. When Panik says he was shocked by the Hawks first offer, what does this say? How do you justify going from making 800 and change to 2.65 million for scoring 22 goals? I challenge you to name more than 5 players drafted under Stan Bowman that have materialized as quality NHL players. I’ll help you with Saad and Shaw. Please don’t say Teuvo or Kruger. I’ll say that Danault and Hartman might become good serviceable players but who knows? He is the most overrated GM in sports. If he knew how to negotiate a contract the Hawks wouldn’t be in this position. 19 and 88 are special players, but they are not 10.5 million worth of special. The contracts given to 4,7,14,15,16,29 were/are ridiculous!!! Why no movement clauses for 4,7,15 and 50????

    • Lots of teams would be happy for that hell if it meant three recent parades.

      • Chrisms parades are nice but being more responsible fiscally could have potentially led to more parades. The organization is completely strangled by the no trade clauses. With no young defensemen coming this could be an ugly year for the Feather.