NHL Rumor Mill – March 7, 2018
Should the Oilers consider an upgrade in goal? What will the Senators do with their 2018 first-round pick?
COULD THE OILERS REPLACE TALBOT AS STARTING GOALIE?
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchel recently examined this season’s performance by Edmonton Oilers starting goaltender Cam Talbot. While expecting the Oilers will stick with Talbot, Mitchell observed the 30-year-old netminder endured a difficult 2017-18. He also has one season remaining on his contract, with a no-movement clause becoming a modified no-trade on July 1.
The top free agent goalies this summer include Arizona’s Antti Raanta, Boston’s Anton Khudobin, St. Louis’ Carter Hutton and Winnipeg’s Michael Hutchinson. Raanta’s the best of the bunch but Mitchell noted it isn’t clear if he can take on the starter’s job and remain healthy or successful. The Oilers could go the trade route but their long history of dealing draft picks means a shallow prospect pool. Mitchell feels retaining Talbot and perhaps adding an affordable and reliable backup is the way to go.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot had a rough season but so did most of his teammates. The Oilers struggles this season were largely a team problem. Given Talbot’s career stats and his solid play as Edmonton’s starter in the previous two seasons, I doubt they intend to replace him. If the Oilers make a move for a goalie, it’ll likely be for an experienced backup.
WILL THE SENATORS RETAIN THEIR 2018 FIRST-ROUND PICK?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports next month’s NHL Draft Lottery could affect Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion’s decision regarding his 2018 first-round pick. As it will be a top-10 selection, it’s assumed the Senators will retain it and instead give the Colorado Avalanche their 2019 first-round pick as part of the terms of the Matt Duchene trade earlier this season.
This year’s pick is lottery-protected but next year’s isn’t. If this year’s pick falls between seventh and 10th overall, LeBrun speculates the Sens could part with that one, rather than give up next year’s and run the risk of losing a potential first-overall selection, especially if the intent is to rebuild by trading Erik Karlsson this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on the initial report of the trade, I was unaware the Senators had the option of retaining their first-round pick in this year’s draft and instead send the Avs their 2019 selection. While this isn’t a trade or free-agent rumor, it could be interesting to see what the Senators do with this pick.