NHL Rumor Mill – April 13, 2018

by | Apr 13, 2018 | Rumors | 29 comments

Latest on the Oilers, Coyotes and Stars in your NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently examined the roster weaknesses that must address by the Edmonton Oilers this summer. He feels they must add a reliable backup goaltender, a scoring winger and a right-handed defenseman. However, they have only enough salary-cap room to address the first two issues.

Mitchell also explored the possibility of the Oilers trading their 2018 first-round pick if it comes in between No.9-12 in the draft order. If the Oilers win the draft lottery or move up into the top three, he thinks they’ll retain that pick. If the Oilers shop the pick, Mitchell believes it could be used as part of a deal to add an established defenseman.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins makes an educated guess over which defenseman could be on Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli’s radar this summer. Trade options could include Colorado’s Tyson Barrie, Calgary’s Dougie Hamilton, Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Carolina’s Justin Faulk, Vegas’ Colin Miller or Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, though the latter option is a long shot. Free agent targets could be Washington’s John Carlson, Detroit’s Mike Green or the New York Islanders’ Calvin de Haan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiarelli got a voice of confidence by Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson, but the pressure’s on to improve the roster and get them back on track following this season’s disappointing performance. Cap Friendly indicates the Oilers have over $61.5 million invested in 14 players, with RFA defenseman Darnell Nurse due for a significant raise. Chiarelli could attempt to find more cap space by moving an expensive veteran such as Milan Lucic or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Lucic, however, has a full no-movement clause and his trade value could take a hit following this season’s struggling effort.  Chiarelli’s already said he’s not trading Nugent-Hopkins this summer. 

As for those trade and free agent options, Faulk, Miller, Green and de Haan could be the most realistic choices. Chiarelli could attract serious suitors for his first-round pick but that remains to be seen. If the Oilers win the draft lottery again, they’ll get lots of interest from rival clubs but probably not a sufficient return that addresses their significant needs.

Re-signing defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is among the Arizona Coyotes’ key offseason decisions (Photo via NHL Images).


AZCENTRAL.COM: Adding a proven scorer (or two) and re-signing defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson are among Richard Morin’s keys to the Arizona Coyotes’ offseason. He believes the Coyotes have slim odds of signing New York Islanders pending free-agent John Tavares, looking instead at Toronto’s James van Riemsyk, New Jersey’s Patrick Maroon and Boston’s Rick Nash as more viable options. Ekman-Larsson is under contract through next season, after which he’s eligible for unrestricted free agent status. Morin feels it would be wise for the Coyotes to get him under contract this summer.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan considers re-signing Ekman-Larsson a critical piece of the Coyotes’ summer plans. During his exit interview with the media on Monday, the blueliner repeated his hope of working out a contract extension.  “I’ve said it so many times. This is where I want to be. Hopefully we can work something out,” said Ekman-Larsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I know there are followers of clubs in need of a top-two defenseman (hello there, fans of the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs) hoping to land Ekman-Larsson via trade this summer or perhaps next year via free agency. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Coyotes re-sign him to an eight-year deal worth around $8 million annually. He wants to stay and they want to keep him. I don’t see the Coyotes wasting this opportunity.

As for scorers, van Riemsdyk is the best of that bunch listed by Morin, but I think the winger’s preference will be joining a perennial playoff club. Maroon has two consecutive 40-plus point seasons on his resume but I don’t think he’ll address the Coyotes’ needs. Nash, meanwhile, turns 34 in June and is well past his best-before date. 


DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports the future of Jason Spezza will be among the priorities for Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill. The veteran forward turns 35 in June, has a year remaining on his contract ($7.5- million annual average value) and is coming off the worst season of his career. Heika believes Nill faces three choices with Spezza: “bring him back at that salary, buy him out at two-thirds of that salary ($5 million) spread out over two years ($2.5 million per), or try to trade him even if they must eat as much as half of his salary.” On Monday, Nill said he intends to sit down with Spezza to evaluate his future with the club. 

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Sean Shapiro was asked what the Stars second line could look like next season. He speculated it could consist of “Mattias Janmark and Valeri Nichushkin being centered by an off-season acquisition”, perhaps someone like Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly, who needs a change of scenery. 

Asked about possible backup goalie options, Shapiro suggests Toronto’s Calvin Pickard or Winnipeg’s Michael Hutchinson. He also advocates pursuing Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone via trade by packaging “a first-round pick in 2018, a third-round pick in 2019, and any prospect not named Miro Heiskanen”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Spezza also carries a modified no-trade clause with a 10-team no-trade list. If Nill tries to trade the center he’ll either have to pick up a big chunk of Spezza’s cap hit or take back a toxic contract. I think Nill will attempt to find a trade partner in June and if unsuccessful will buy him out by June 30. That would free up cap space if they want to pursue someone such as O’Reilly. I don’t think the Senators are interested in moving Stone, who’s a restricted free agent this summer. 



  1. I think O’Reilly needs a change of attitude, not scenery. Has Dallas been anything more than marginally better than Buffalo over the last decade? Qualifying for the playoffs twice in the last 10 years and winning one round.

    Not sure that O’Reilly is the missing piece to turn them into a contending team, Nor do I think it cures what ails O’Reilly. Which is a history of losing and being losing heart because of it.

    • YOu must not follow hockey or have a clue about West if think Buffalo is comparable to Stars :). Least Stars have won or been one of the better teams even if coming up short a few times for playoffs… Hell Buffalo isn’t even coming close to competing for a spot while Stars have been :). Now that their coach has retired the team can take another step forward… I think ROR would be great for them maybe giving them 2-3 lines instead of 1 elite line ;). Stars are a vastly better team/franchise compared to Buffalo even if they can’t draft well in 1st round ;). Least the STars have a cup while Buffalo hahahaha not this century or ever ;)>

      • So close means????? Stop! I don’t follow hockey because the stars came close? Lmao!!!!
        What’s the difference? Close or not? ONE playoff series won on a decade!

        By way of comparison , Buffalo has gone to the playoffs twice in the last decade! So we’re going to measure the difference by FOUR more playoff games won in a decade? Stop!

        3 points out , 50 points out? What’s the difference?

  2. Chia s vote of confidence is typical oiler fashion of not admitting past mistakes this guy couldn’t win a trade if his life depended on it due to his poor judgement of talent and character his ego which is clearly visible at every press conference is larger than the entire NHL imagine it’s size if he knew what he was doing

  3. The Oilers are in need of stability in GM and coach. In the previous 10 years before Chiarelli the GM and coaching carousel was one of the huge issues with the team, and you want them to keep that trend?! This time last season we were all praising Chiarelli and McLellan. They both deserve at least one more year.
    Also you say he hasn’t won a trade? How about that trade when he acquired Maroon? Or the on when he acquired Kassian? Or the one when he acquired Talbot? Also that Aberg acquisition for Letestu is looking good. Yeah the 2 that he has lost were the 2 big ones but, Hall did have to go and was a big issue for the negative culture in the dressing room at the time.

    • just curious then… should buff trade o’reilly for an underwhelming return to get him out of their locker room?

      • Divided dressing room and many more favour ROR than Eichel. But because of the politics and owners absolute unwavering devotion to the NOT camera friendly Eichel… it will be ROR going and because other teams know this– they will have the upper hand on negotiations and relatively ream Buffalo in the trade

      • Ditto Hall I guess

      • ROR is not a problem at all for team or in locker room, he was just tired after a long season being last place, what he did say was many of his teammates are fine with losing so the plan will be to get rid of all the losers. ROR on the ice is the hardest working guy who led NHL in faceoff wins plus goes against other teams top lines, he played the toughest minutes. ROR had the worst linemates, it’s amazing he scored 24 goals and 61 points. Making ROR out to be an Evander Kane in locker room is pure nonsense.

    • Quick how opinions change; from “toast of the town” to “get out of town”.
      No need to change the coach or gm on this point, next year they could be in the running for the Jack Adams and GM of the year.

      • I would agree on not changing the coach, but I am not a fan of Chiarelli as GM. I put him there with Bergevin in that they have a perception of how the game is played that has really passed them by and just doesn’t work well.

        If you want stability, then bring in a team around Chiarelli, assistant GM’s and team president. Give him a vote of confidence in that you are brining in people to support him, create a culture of differing vantage points to create a system where big decisions are made by committee.

        Announcing he has a plan to get the oilers immediately back in the playoffs that will soon be revealed is just dumb. Your team has real structural deviancies that were built in by the current GM. I am not saying that means fire him, but maybe that means having a system of one guy running the show with no support isn’t working.

  4. That is apples to oranges. Hall had more issues than just making a poor comment to the media.

    • but there is supposedly much more to it than the comment… there is supposedly a big rift in the locker room and o’reilly just highlighted it. and I’m not saying O’rielly’s side is in the wrong… look at Hall… doing phenomenal in Jersey leading the team so maybe he wasn’t the problem in Edm… maybe it was the other side and they just had more power.

      • The issue is also the message it sends when you move a guy and blame it all on a locker room rift.

        Hall has proven he can be a functional and dynamic leading force on a team. Maybe there were issues in Edmonton, maybe Hall needed guidance and needed to grow up. Buy by trading him rather than dealing with the problem yourself, you basically give up on a human being.

        We don’t see many examples of teams winning out when giving up on a guy because of attitude. I am not saying you should never trade a player, but you better have a really good hockey reason to trade a player, there is no value points won in a trade because of attitude.

        The Penguins, New Jersey, and Nashville have all gained some pretty important players, and successfully incorporated their “attitude problems” into their locker room without much issue.

        Attitude problems are excuses bad management use for assembling bad teams. I am not saying every players attitude can be changed or is good to start, just that assembling a good leadership group, both in coaching and players, as well as managing players, can mitigate it to the point that we judge players on ice value based on what they do on the ice rather than locker room whispers.

      • Guys traded due to attitude issues:
        Hamilton (not sure if attitude was the driver here)

        common theme. Chia.

        I’m just stating what i heard, you can form your own opinion.

      • @Taz Sweeney traded Hamilton not PC.

      • My opinion on the Oil is the root problem is the same as it has been for over a decade. Other than the easy 1st overall (even blew one of those Yakupov) picks they haven’t drafted and developed well. It is too early to judge PJ and Yam as they are still very young, PC’s 2 drafts after McDavid.
        There is nowhere near enough young and inexpensive talent coming up through the system.
        After a decade of missing the playoffs, Oiler fan was impatient, and rightly so. Getting McDavid put even more pressure on winning now. PC made moves to try and fix glaring holes in their lineup and accomplish that quickly.
        1 – shore up the blueline as they had no one coming other than Nurse. Acquired Sekera as a UFA (overpaid as you do with 90% of UFA’s). Traded Hall for Larsson. 1 for 1 a huge loss, but Larsson played very well last year and PC was a genius. This year not the case, and he is a moron.
        2 – get tougher. They got knocked around the rink and nobody stood up for each other. Acquired Lucic, Maroon, and Larsson also helped in that regard. Last year PC was a savvy GM. This year the game has passed him by.
        3 – needed a goalie as they bled goals. Go get Talbot, he played great. PC was a great judge of talent. This year he is pissing away $$ on a tender who isn’t a true starter.

        Has PC made some bad moves? Sure has. All GM’s do, his are way higher profile and more glaring. His biggest flaw is no patience.
        But the reason is he is trying to fix it fast and win now, and the pressure was being applied by the fans and ownership. Problem is that is almost never sustainable long term in the NHL unless you draft and develop well at the same time.
        Previous management didn’t for a decade, he tried to fix it in a year and now is in the never ending loop of band aids and quick fixes.
        Oiler Fan – do you have the patience to do this right?
        I live here and get why they don’t, but think they should. Get rid of the Lucic contract and be patient for a couple years and build up your pipeline. DO NOT TRADE your 1st round pick.

      • AS I mentioned yesterday, the Buffalo radio station say the divided dressing room is basically Eichel Okposo and a couple more against the rest of the team. ROR speaking out was wrong; but reading between the lines it sounds like he has the dressing room more than Eichel but ownership will side with Eichel (as they have already done twice) and will sell ROR at less than FMV

      • This helps both teams
        RNH and Klefbom
        OEL and Strome
        See if McDavid and Strome can rekindle their juniors magic

      • No. Oel best player. Wants (seemingly) to resign. Bad trade for zona

  5. How does Bergevin still have a job? I have been critical of Bergevin for a long time, and results alone are not the reason for this. He is the type of GM that really doesn’t understand the game anymore, and is getting passed by as he cobbles together a team that would have worked better in the clutch and grab era.
    Really though, he openly stated that after making a solid playoff run that his goal was to create better character and a better attitude within the locker room. He made big trades, and moved around lots of personnel. Then this team of character role players, grinders, and great attitudes works really hard to be terrible this year. They weren’t as bad as their record looked, and a rebound from Carey Price could certainly have put them in playoff contention, but they were just less talented and worse than they had been in years.
    What’s the problem – “Attitude from Day one” according to Bergevin. The issue is that Bergevin said that was his primary focus for two years, and it would lead to results. This goes far beyond the fact that most GMs in the modern era, who say they need to focus on attitude, grit, leadership more than putting together complimentary talents tend to fail miserably, meaning his strategy if flawed from the get go. The problem is even if you agree with his strategy, he failed miserably in its execution by his own admission. To make matters worse, it didn’t feel to me as if it was him trying to own up to the way he has managed the team leading to issues, but that he was basically trying to throw a handful of his own players under the bus for everything going off the rails. Being vague allows him to make a few trades this summer and let everyone speculate, “oh, I guess that must have been one of the guys with the attitude problem”.
    Montreal deserves better.

    • It’s like Lou in the cap era Lou has been the worst gm in the league, yet the leafs hire him for a rebuild and he signs Marleau,hainsey and than trades for plekanac

  6. Does it make sense to but Lucic out or trade him and retain some salary? How about the possibility of trading Klefbom and or Draisaitl?

    • Makes more sense to trade and hold back salary. Because of signing bonuses, the buyout calculations wouldn’t be even over the remaining contract. For the next 5 years, he would count as somewhere between $3.2M – $5.7M against the cap anyway, then drop to $733k for another 5 years. Edmonton would outlay something like 75% of the actually money owed to him in that scenario because they owe 100% of his signing bonuses.

      If they retained 50% of his salary, he would cost $3M against the cap each year, and then nothing after 5 years, and Edmonton would pay exactly 50% of what he was actually owed. This means it would be less overall cap effect, and less money. Throw in the fact that some team will probably actually given Edmonton an asset at that price point, and it’s an easy win.

      Lucic may not be worth a ton in trade, even at $3M, but I don’t think it would be difficult to make that trade, even after that abysmal season, as a $3M price tag allows teams to comfortably play him in a 3rd line support type role without him being a cap albatross. So even if 10-15 goals a season is what you can expect, teams would be ok adding a cup winner with some physicality at that price point.

      • Trading ML AFTER paying SB on July 1st — and retainging 50%— Oilers will pay out (as does receiving team) a further $11.25 — for remaining 5 years (avg/yr = $2.3); but save $3.0 on the Cap. Oilers have dough to eat this. Receiving team (that has spare cap) gets ML effectively for 5 years at $2.3 per…. that will fit with average 3rd liner… I think they will have takers… ML must agree to it.

  7. I highly doubt Stone gets traded anyway, but a 1st, 3rd and non-elite prospect isn’t getting it done. Ottawa would have to get a good young player plus multiple picks to even think about that deal. Stone is a very good top 3 forward and entering his prime.

    • I would say Stone and Chabot are the only untouchables on Ottawa at the moment.
      Agree with Van, you aren’t getting stone unless the offer is incredible

  8. I wonder if there is a deal to be done involving Spezza and Bob Ryan. I know, other pieces….but maybe. Spezza finishing his career here. It’s a lot of money going back the other way, but Bob has some years left, and maybe some pics.

    Just spitballing.

  9. I know Ottawa is not I retested in trading stone. He is the last player they will trade. If you even dream of wanting to pick him up you must give up what ever the Sens ask in return. Which means non of this “any prospect not named such and such”