NHL Rumor Mill – March 8, 2018
Are the Oilers showcasing defenseman Oscar Klefbom? Will the Canucks overhaul their defense this summer? Read on for the latest in your NHL rumor mill.
OILERS SHOWCASING KLEFBOM?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman telling Hockey Central there’s some belief the Edmonton Oilers could be showcasing defenseman Oscar Klefbom for a possible trade. He noted Klefbom’s playing hurt, perhaps nursing a shoulder injury. The fact the Oilers haven’t shut him down for the season prompted talk he could be a player other clubs could be looking at. “And if you want to trade something that can get you value in Edmonton, Klefbom might be the guy,” said Friedman.
Friedman’s colleague Mark Spector pointed out the decline in Klefbom’s play this season “has crippled this team the most.” Citing the blueliner’s injury history, Spector believes the Oilers should move him if the right offer came along.
Staples notes Friedman’s comments are “speculative”, but points out the pundit has a solid track record. Until veteran defenseman Andrej Sekera can prove he’s fully bounced back from recent knee surgery, he feels trading Klefbom would be a risky, ill-advised move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There might be teams with some interest in perhaps pursuing a Klefbom trade this summer. Still, with the Oilers playing out the string on another lost season, it doesn’t make sense to keep playing him if he is in fact nursing a shoulder injury. It’s certainly not going to improve his offseason trade value. I concur with Staples’ assessment that attempting to move Klefbom this summer might not be the wisest decision.
WILL THE CANUCKS IMPROVE THEIR BLUELINE?
VANCOUVER SUN: Jason Botchford recently weighed in on the status of the Canucks defense corps, suggesting a lack of blueline depth is holding the club back. He feels it’s contributed to their goaltending woes and believes changes could be in order this summer.
One trade candidate could be Ben Hutton, who’s been a frequent healthy scratch squeezed out by veteran Michael Del Zotto. Shopping Chris Tanev, however, could net the Canucks a return that includes a first-round pick. Botchford also wondered if the Canucks will try to move recently re-signed Erik Gudbranson leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trade rumors dogged Hutton and Tanev leading up to the recent trade deadline. The talk was Hutton might be available but the Canucks were reluctant to part with Tanev. Perhaps Hutton didn’t have suitable trade value at the deadline, but maybe he’ll attract more interest in the offseason. Tanev could be moved for the right offer but I suspect Canucks management wants to retain him for next season.
Gudbranson also featured prominently for a time in the rumor mill until he was re-signed. As he’s now under contract they could try to move him this summer, but I believe they signed him with the intent of keeping him. After all, if having Gudbranson under contract was a selling point, he probably would’ve been dealt at the deadline.