Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 20, 2018
The latest on the Edmonton Oilers and Detroit Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.
NO BIG MOVES FOR THE OILERS?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples recently cited Oilers insiders such as Bob Stauffer and Craig Simpson dismissing speculation suggesting the club could make a big splash in this summer’s trade or free-agent markets. Stauffer considered such talk “greatly exaggerated” while Simpson pointed out the Oilers lack the cap space to pursue a big-ticket free-agent such as Washington’s John Carlson.
Staples noted the Oilers’ projected salary cap payroll for 2018-19 is $77 million and $74.1 million for 2019-20. That’s accounting for possible re-signings of restricted free agents such as Ryan Strome and Darnell Nurse, along with estimated bonus payments.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Oilers can free up sufficient cap space via trades or buyouts, they really won’t have a lot of cap room to go “big-game hunting” as one pundit recently suggested. They could make a “hockey trade” where they move one of their salaried players for another, but that could be easier said than done.
General manager Peter Chiarelli will have to get creative. As Staples noted, however, Chiarelli has a debatable record in big trades (the Griffin Reinhart deal being a prime example) and signings (hello there, Milan Lucic).
Some pundits suggested packaging Oscar Klefbom and his $4.167-million cap hit with their first-round pick (10th overall) in this year’s draft for someone such as Boston’s Torey Krug, but I don’t believe that deal significantly improves the Oilers.
LATEST ATHANASIOU SPECULATION
DETROIT FREE PRESS: In a recent mailbag segment, a reader asked Helene St. James if the Red Wings might move winger Andreas Athanasiou. Despite his speed and scoring ability, she considers his trade value to be low right now. His contract holdout at the start of the season, work ethic and his inconsistency affected his play and his stats.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure the Wings can find a market for Athanasiou if they wanted to, but the return probably wouldn’t be worthwhile. While he’s an RFA this summer with arbitration rights, he really didn’t do much to improve his bargaining position last season. I expect the Wings will retain him in hopes the 23-year-old matures into a reliable scoring winger next season.