Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 4, 2018
Speculation over the futures of Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello plus some rumors on the Oilers and Canucks in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
TROTZ AND LAMORIELLO
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports there’s uncertainty over the future of Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz, who’s in the final season of his contract. Johnston feels if he’s not signed soon other clubs could come calling toward the offseason. If this is Trotz’s final season behind the Capitals’ bench, Elliotte Friedman suggests assistant coach Todd Reirden could take over.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trotz’s future could be tied to the Capitals performance in the 2018 playoffs. He’s a well-respected bench boss but he’s never coached an NHL team past the second round of the postseason. If the Capitals make another early playoff exit, they could part ways with Trotz.
Nick Kypreos and Elliotte Friedman discussed the future of Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello. Friedman believes Lamoriello still has term on his contract but wonders what his role is beyond this season. Chris Johnston reports of “whispers” dating back to last summer suggesting this could be Lamoriello’s final season as GM. However, there’s no comment from the Leafs about this. Kypreos wonders if Lamoriello would accept a lesser role as an advisor but Friedman thinks he could.
OILERS AND CANUCKS
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols recently cited NHL insider Darren Dreger’s Thursday appearance on Montreal’s TSN 690 discussing the Edmonton Oilers’ potential plans following this season’s disappointing effort. Regarding a hypothetical question about possible trade destinations for Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, Dreger said that, as far as he knews, the Oilers weren’t on Karlsson’s list of preferred trade destinations.
If Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson decides this summer not to sign a contract extension, Dreger speculates the Oilers could look at acquiring the Coyotes’ blueliner. He also believes the Oilers need to land a goaltender who can push starter Cam Talbot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Oilers pursue a top-pairing defenseman, I also believe they’ll focus more on Ekman-Larsson (if he’s available), who won’t cost a king’s ransom to acquire. Even if Karlsson was willing to accept a trade to Edmonton, the asking price would be far too expensive for the Oilers.
THE ATHLETIC: Jason Brough recently noted the Toronto Maple Leafs failed to suitably address their need for experienced blueline depth at the recent NHL trade deadline. If that proves costly in the playoffs, he speculates the Leafs could “circle back” on Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev. While acknowledging the Leafs could attempt to target Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty, Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson or even Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, Tanev would be a more realistic option.
If San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane hits the free-agent market on July 1, Brough said he’d be surprised if the Canucks didn’t pursue the Vancouver native.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks will get calls about Tanev this summer, but they’ve so far resisted the temptation to trade him. That could change, however, if they get a decent offer this summer.
As for Kane, it might be a mistake for a rebuilding club to take on a player with his off-ice baggage. He might be a better fit on a club that’s deep in veteran leaders, as he currently is with the Sharks.