Latest Islanders and Oilers Speculation – April 16, 2018

by | Apr 16, 2018 | Rumors | 33 comments

Another update on New York Islanders captain John Tavares plus another look at possible offseason moves by the Edmonton Oilers in your NHL rumor mill.

Which clubs could be potential landing spots for New York Islanders center John Tavares? (Photo via NHL Images)


NEWSDAY: Andrew Gross provided a primer on the future of New York Islanders captain (and pending free agent) John Tavares. He anticipates it could cost the Islanders around $10.5-million annually as he won’t be taking a hometown discount.

If Tavares tests the free-agent market on July 1, Gross lists the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks as possible suitors. He doesn’t see Tavares landing with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens or New York Rangers.

If the Isles cannot re-sign Tavares before July 1, Gross speculates they could attempt to trade his rights to a club that can sign him. Another option is signing him to an eight-year contract and then shipping him to another club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Sharks, Blues, Golden Knights, Red Wings and Canucks all have sufficient salary-cap space to sign Tavares to a lucrative long-term deal. If he hits the open market, however, he could be leery of signing with rebuilding teams like the Wings and Canucks. Gross makes a good point that Tavares might prefer avoiding the media cauldrons of Toronto and Montreal. I also don’t see him dissing the Isles by joining the arch-rival Rangers. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently listed several things for Oilers fans to watch for during the offseason. Among them is the never-ending search for an offensive right-shooting defenseman, though it might mean giving up a left-shot blueliner like Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse to get one, “or a first-round pick in a package for a left-shooting Oliver Ekman-Larsson, if he’s available”. He feels the Oilers’ 2018  first-round pick should be in play for Ekman-Larsson, provided it’s not in the top three.

With Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar staying in school for one more season, Matheson doesn’t see them moving Tyson Barrie. He instead considers Carolina Hurricanes rearguard Justin Faulk as “the best short-term bet”, though the Canes will want a forward in return. 

Once the Oilers re-sign their key restricted free agents (including Nurse, Matt Benning and Ryan Strome), Matheson doubts they’ll have enough salary-cap space to pursue a big-ticket free-agent winger such as Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk or Vegas’ James Neal. He instead proposed more affordable free agents such as Columbus’ Thomas Vanek or New Jersey’s Michael Grabner. Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman could be a trade option. 

He doesn’t see the Oilers buying out the remaining five years on Milan Lucic’s contract. They don’t intend to trade center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If recent reports out of Arizona are any indication, Ekman-Larsson won’t be available. He hopes to re-sign with the Coyotes and I wouldn’t be surprised if they announce a new contract extension for him shortly as early as July 1. I agree with Matheson that Barrie’s unavailable. Given the Hurricanes’ recent management shake-up, Faulk could be available. However, the asking price could be a top-six forward.

If the Oilers aren’t shedding one of their higher-salaried players, they could consider affordable short-term UFA options like Vanek or Grabner. I can also see the Oilers packaging their first round pick in a package deal for a scoring winger or defenseman, but if that pick turns out to be first overall, they’ll keep it to select highly touted Swedish blueliner Rasmus Dahlin. 



  1. Islandsrs are letting a superstar rot on the vine in Bridgeport.
    How do they miss the performance of Eamon McAdam?

  2. Everyone goes on about a cap nightmare in Edmonton , I don’t see how with a projected 80 million cap . Here’s what I see

    Nugent-Hopkins mcdavid rattie
    This should be the spot to fill in with a cheaper contract , rattie , Yamamoto, puljujarvi could be options to compete for it . That would bring that line in around 19.5 million
    Aberg draisaitl ??
    =9.25 +??
    Lucic Strome ??
    Approx =9.5 + ??
    Kassian Khaira caggiula
    =4 million

    So 19.5+9.25+9.5+4 = 42.25 million and need to address 2/3 wingers .

    Larsson Klefbom =8.4
    Sekera nurse = approx 8.5
    Russell ?? = 4 million

    Need to sign Benning , or sign a better option via trade , give bear another year or shelter him heavy .
    Talbot 4.2
    Need to add a backup
    So in total that’s 42.25+20.9+4.2(+1.3 pouliot buyout)= 68.65
    11 + million to add a winger for Leon , upgrade d , add a backup . Puljujarvi will be in the lineup somewhere and Yamamoto would have to compete for a spot . How is this cap hell ??

    • Between the Oilers’ Performance bonuses, RFAs and 8 sum odd contracts they need to fill, they’ll be pretty strapped for cash and top heavy salary-wise and with Cam Talbot UFA a year from now, aside from another cap/revenue boost from Expansion, Stronger CDN$ or NHLPA escalator option it won’t be that easy.

      • You mean 2.5 to puljujarvi ? If he hits his targets we wouldn’t need the second winger at all . And the rest of the additions will be depth / elc guys , not cap hell . Like all teams Pete will have to continue to manage it , as I showed , it’s not cap hell , i included Strome nurse caggiula , that’s 3 if the rfa , Benning could be re signed for cheap .

      • Do you see talbot commanding a number a lot bigger than 4.2 ? I think he would accept a lower number for more term , if he reaches for the sky , he won’t be back . And Pete could choose to re sign him now while his value is lower if he believes he’s the guy for the next few years

  3. one of the main reasons why the Oilers missed the playoffs was that they were considered too slow (other than MacDavid of course).

    so how will signing Vanek fix that situation at all? Neither will re-signing Maroon no matter how much Connor loves him

    and Grabner has shown that he is nowhere near a difference maker, no better than a 3rd liner during his time with the Devils. Buyer beware on him this summer

    Oilers also should concentrate on improving their puck-moving capabilities from their defense, and no worry so much on LHS or RHS. Nurse has shown he can play either side.
    OEL maybe out of reach, but Justin Faulk, John Carlson, John Moore, and others should all be considered

    • I don’t think the Oilers are a slow team. Lucic is slow, but other than that look at Craig’s list above, who is slow?
      The issue with Lucic is he has frying pan hands. The play dies with him so he can’t play with McD or Drai. Craig has him slotted on the 3rd line which is where he should play.
      The reason Vanek works is that they can get him for a single season (over pay for one so you don’t have to go 2). Their best 2 prospects/youngsters are Puljujarvi and Yamamoto, but you want them to push there way into the top 6 instead of just putting them there and to be fair to them they need more seasoning.

  4. Every site I follow which has been making predictions has Vanek leaving the Jackets. Considering how he stabilized the Jackets’ front lines and the dearth of solid prospects in Cleveland, I think the Jackets will try to resign Vanek. Considering his age and how the Jackets are doing (so far) in the playoffs, if the Jackets make a move or two to make them legitimate Cup contenders, he should consider it.

    • Why not? Columbus is a great city to live in and play hockey in. He could command in the 4 mil range though… can Columbus afford that?

      • The Jackets do have cap room. The main obstacle would be the need to resign Panarin and Bob, both of whom can command big salaries.

    • True that Paul. I just assumed he would move. Doesn’t he move every year?

  5. Carolina defense does not have depth on the right side so trading Faulk doesn’t make sense to me. Nor does trading their most experienced defenseman to obtain a forward.

  6. Mr Gross is a Devils beat writer and of course wouldn’t want to think Tavares would sign with Rangers. But when haven’t the Rangers been in? I don’t see him leaving Isles, but if he did become FA, I don’t buy that loyalty crap. What would he owe a team that let him walk cause they’re too cheap?

  7. Oilers need to trade one for a pkg deal that can help instantly and their not trading McDavid. Their next best player is Leon so move him to Boston for Krejci Debrusk and a defenseman or forward prospect like Fredric or Zboril. Edmonton gets a great 2nd line center a young great fast winger to play with McDavid and a good prospect. Boston gets a younger good 2nd line center that can take over for Bergie as he ages.

    • Yuck from oil perspective

      • Really Chrisms what do you think Leon is worth or do you believe they should leave things alone.

      • Krejci is just not worth the risk or salary. And a d prospect isn’t what oil need. They would need a plug and play top 4 in the deal.

      • Leon should not be moved . Unless the deal blows the tires off , that does not .

      • Adding a top 4 d and losing Leon does not make the oilers better . If he were moved , it would only be due to a massive overpayment with a good young center and puck moving d man coming back , I don’t see hiim moving and hope he doesn’t .

      • Know team is going to blow the Oilers socks off for Leon who is making 8.5 for the next 7 years. They can keep him and finish middle of the pack for the next 7 years and shortly after that McDavid will move on or they can try to improve now.

    • No one is going to trade a big, young player with 1C potential for old man Kreci a bottom 6 winger, and a 4-6 dman. That just silly. 1C and 1D are the hardest to find and no one is trading them, especially 22 year old ones.

  8. If the Sabres are looking to trade Ristolainen maybe Nurse for Risto works for both teams. Same age, out of the same draft, one drafted 7th the other 8th. Simple one for one hockey trade.

    • The Montreal Canadiens scouting staff & management have publicly acknowledged their admiration for Draisaitl calling him the best player of the 2014 draft. Bergervin still needs to find that 1st line scoring centre Montreal needs.Edmonton needs a right shot D man & a scoring upgrade on the wing. Here’s my armchair GM crack at the trade.

      To Montreal:
      Draisaitl @ $8.5 million 2024-25 (22 yrs old)
      Sekera @ $5.5 million 2020-21 (31 yrs old)
      3rd round pick (from New Jersey)
      To Edmonton:
      Shea Weber @ $7.85 million 2025-26 (32 yrs old) Brendan Gallagher @ $3.75 2020-21 (25 yrs old)
      Nikita Scherbak @ $863,333 2018-19 (22 yrs old)

    • No Buffalo would never trade a scoring D man for him.

  9. If it was 1983 or 1984 and this site was around the discussion involving the Oilers and Islanders would be vastly different!

    Oh how I miss the 21 team NHL; with the Whalers and Nordiques! Oh perchance to dream!

    • Ay, there’s the rub!

    • At least Oilers won a Cup since then without Wayne to get in way :)… Even losing Cup Final to Carolina while the Islanders got shafted w/ Turgeon BS costing them a likely SCF at worse. I like having more teams like Vegas in the league… Just don’t like the bogus refs… Like they suspend Drew so intent on rigging it against them… PErry nails guy in Sharks game which should have been double minor or major without even getting a game ;). Others who did some real nasty plays got nothing while they go after Drew for hitting a guy who hit him like 5 times already that game trying to end his series or career?

      I do miss the OIlers/Islanders uniforms from that time period… Prison ORange for Edmonton is abysmal :). Hate the laces for Islanders uniforms would rather they wear the black NY style as official home too :).

  10. Tavares would have to deal w/ a lot more media on Rangers than Islanders… So not signing w/ them I think would have that as a factor besides not wanting to diss them… BEsides he might think they are a bit far away or could drop fast as HEnrik gets near end of the rainbow. OIlers will have to eat Lucic then make a deal so Seattle takes him in the draft. I think Neal might end up staying in Vegas when everything is all said and done… He will try to raise his price maybe even test free agency talk to teams field some offers. He might not get a better deal real or otherwise from any other team even rebuilding ones. Kings might make a move to get Max since they don’t have a scoring LW. Seeing Brown on the first PP unit just whiffing on shots :). Pearson is more of a setup guy, Rieder was a bust trade, Clifford is like a handfull of goals while maybe Iafallo can get 10-20 as he develops… Kemp they seem to want to play at center while they gave up on like Mersh or whatever and Brodzinski to lesser degree.

    I think Flames would win if they got Max for TJ Brodie depending… Maybe they could flip Max for a better return if they didn’t keep him… Kings would be more of a LT if they could get Max which could cost them Muzzin. I’d probably trade Martinez at this point for him… Maybe they would take a 1st round bust like Forbort that would be great for the Kings ;). I don’t think FAntenberg raised his stock enough though he could replace Martinez. I think given a year or two he could produce 30-50 points while Martinez is blocking shots more than netting points at this stage. Kings need to improve most w/ Right shot D-men since after Drew they don’t seem to want to allow LaDue to even play if he scores :). Folin looks out matched or maybe he could eat 5-10 minutes as a 3rd pair/kill penalties if returns.

  11. 3 way trade
    M. Pacioretty
    R. Oreilly
    1st rd pick 2018 florida
    N. Bjugstad
    2nd rd pick 2019 florida
    ? What ‘s missing

    • Seriously? Buffalo gives up O’reily for Bjugstad, a 1st and a 2nd? Why not Ekblad too? Throw in Carey Price and I think Buffalo might entertain it.

    • Tony I’m not sure if reading the trade offer right… Also many of those picks might be conditional since I think Max is in last year of his contract… I don’t see why Florida gives up Bjugstad, 1st round pick, 2nd round pick for Max… While Montreal gets ROR without giving up anything basically since Max can walk free and clear :). Buffalo I guess would do alright getting a few picks along w/ Bjudstad who had a nice year a while back but seems a bit too up/down… Isn’t he like 6’6 so those players tend to be harder to gauge… Like Adam Creighton Islanders traded for I think was that size. Even Kopitar had that 12 year awful season for 10M. Why isn’t Montreal giving up any picks its all Florida :)? All Florida gets its Max who don’t even have to sign w/ them giving up their 1st/2nd rounders… Maybe McPhee would do a trade like that give him a ring say TAtar Sauce :).

    • Florida should avoid bad trades and just chase FAs. Why lose all that for 1 year of Patches when they could just sign Evander Kane and only lose cap room? JVR, James Neal, Backlund, Perron, those are all guys who produce similarly. Florida is an up and coming team and has no state taxes. And the weather is almost always nice.

      • Yeah I’m not even sure they need a forward w/ DAdanov producing well among others… It did hurt probably losing Reiley Smith and Marchessault… Though I think if Vrbata produced half decent they would have made the playoffs over Flyers or Devils if not CBJ depending… Devils would have tried to win that final game which could have made things really interesting… Maybe Florida just needs an upgrade from within or via signing on Defense… Willie Mitchell went there after Kings 2nd Cup but as expected got injured which cut that stay short. There going to be a fair amt of D-men along w/ Forwards that end up UFAs or not tendered RFAs which probably are better LTR over uncertain Max trade or other moves. Maybe go after Faulk from Carolina or some right shot D-man if wanna do a trade since those are rare to find quality UFAs etc…