Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 10, 2017
Latest on the Senators and Oilers in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SENATORS ASKING PLAYERS FOR NO-TRADE LISTS.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Ottawa Senators management intend to approach their 10 players with no-trade clauses and request from each a list of teams they don’t want to be dealt to. Team captain Erik Karlsson is among those players but Friedman said it’s merely an option and doesn’t make it a certainty that they’ll move him. He explained the Sens employed the same tactic with their roster in 2011 before trading Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly and Alex Kovalev.
Karlsson’s recent comments indicating he’d seek full value and no less on his next contract if he goes to market apparently didn’t sit well with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, according to Nick Kypreos. While Friedman believes the club is trying to move that that, Kypreos considers it a “no-brainer” to trade Karlsson. “It just doesn’t make sense to pay a guy $12 to $13 million if you can’t afford to surround him with players that can compete,” he said. Friedman feels that’s a tough trade to win.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In addition to Karlsson, forwards Bobby Ryan, Mike Hoffman, Derick Brassard, Zack Smith, Clarke MacArthur (all but retired now because of concussion symptoms), Alex Burrows and Nate Thompson plus defensemen Dion Phaneuf and Johnny Oduya carry no-trade clauses in their respective contracts. Karlsson, Ryan, Hoffman, Brassard and Phaneuf are signed beyond this season with salary-cap hits exceeding $5 million.
Over the past couple of weeks there’s been reports of Senators general manager Pierre Dorion aggressively working the phones seeking help for his floundering roster. The feeling among the punditry is Dorion’s already made his big move with the Matt Duchene deal last month and is now seeking something smaller that could still bolster his lineup.
The Sens, however, are losing ground in the standings, sitting 14th in the Eastern Conference standings and seven points out of third in the Atlantic Division. They’ve been in a funk since returning from their two-game series last month against the Colorado Avalanche in Sweden. It’s been suggested that shipping out Kyle Turris to Nashville as part of the three-team deal in early November to bring in Duchene upset the club’s chemistry. Whatever the reason, they look nothing like the overachievers who marched to within an overtime goal of reaching the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.
If the Sens haven’t turned things around in a month’s time, I think Dorion starts contacting teams that aren’t on those players’ no-trade lists to see what he can get for them. However, the expensive cap hits of Ryan, Hoffman, Brassard and Phaneuf could be difficult to move in-season. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but interested clubs could insist on the Sens absorbing part of their cap hits or insist they take back a bad contract in return.
And as Kypreos points out, if the Sens go into fire-sale mode before the Feb. 26 trade deadline, that could be the beginning of the end of Karlsson’s tenure in Ottawa. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2019. While he would certainly garner considerable attention leading up to this year’s trade deadline, that’s a move that likely takes place in the offseason, as any club pursuing Karlsson will want permission to speak to him in July about signing a contract extension before agreeing to acquire him.
OILERS LOOKING FOR GOALTENDING
Nick Kypreos also reports the Edmonton Oilers are among several clubs with interest in Winnipeg Jets third-string goaltender Michael Hutchinson. Kypreos notes Hutchinson is playing well recently in the American Hockey League. He believes the delay is because backup Steve Mason (concussion) has yet to be cleared to return to action, though that could come later this week. Hutchinson could also draw interest from the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Elliotte Friedman also reports the Oilers also looked at Petr Mrazek of the Detroit Red Wings. However, it’s unclear where they stand at this point.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hutchinson probably isn’t going anywhere until Mason is fully cleared to return and perhaps gets a game or two under his belt. With the Oilers, Panthers and Penguins believed in the market for goaltending, the Jets might get themselves a decent draft pick from one of them for Hutchinson.