NHL Rumor Mill – August 16, 2018
Possible options for the Oilers to replace Andrej Sekera plus the latest on the Leafs in your NHL rumor mill.
HOW WILL THE OILERS REPLACE SEKERA?
EDMONTON SUN: With Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera sidelined indefinitely with a potentially career-threatening torn Achilles tendon, Jim Matheson examined possible options to replace him.
A promising youngster such as Evan Bouchard or Ethan Bear could get an opportunity. Free-agent possibilities include former Oiler Brandon Davidson, along with Toby Enstrom, ” Luca Sbisa, Paul Martin, Jason Garrison, Alexei Emelin, Kevin Bieksa, Kyle Quincey, Cody Franson and Johnny Oduya.”
Matheson feels Sbisa is the best of that group but could be expensive to sign. The Oilers have around $4.9 million in cap space with restricted free agent Darnell Nurse still to be signed.
Matheson took to Twitter to bet $100.00 the Oilers bring back Davidson on a professional tryout offer.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples also weighed in on the Oilers’ option to replace the sidelined Sekera. In addition to suggesting many of the same players as Matheson, Staples wonders if they might pursue Carolina Hurricanes rearguard Justin Faulk. He carries a $4.8-million annual average value and is a right-shot defenseman with great offensive skills.
With Sekera out, it frees up cap space to absorb Faulk’s contract. He also might not cost much, as the Hurricanes recently shipped winger Jeff Skinner to the Buffalo Sabres for a prospect forward and three draft picks.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty wonders if Sekera’s injury might renew the Oilers’ interest in Bruins defenseman Torey Krug. While the Bruins don’t want to trade Krug, they still need a top-six sniper. He wonders if a strong enough package featuring Krug might be enough to pry away Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will likely keep his ears open for reasonable trade proposals. I suspect he’ll try the PTO/free-agent route before considering a trade.
While the Hurricanes didn’t get much back for Skinner, his status next summer as an unrestricted free agent and his no-movement clause was the main factor behind the swiftness of that deal. They didn’t want questions over Skinner’s future hanging over the club this season. The Sabres were among the few destinations he was willing to accept.
Faulk, on the other hand, is signed through 2019-20 with a limited no-trade clause so they’re not under pressure to move him at this time. Given their blueline depth, they can afford to be patient and wait for a good offer for Faulk, be it from the Oilers or another club in need of a top-four defenseman. They’ll also have more trade options with him than they did with Skinner.
As for Krug, there was speculation earlier in the offseason linking him to the Oilers and several other clubs. Since then, it’s gone quiet. Doesn’t mean he won’t be traded but the Bruins aren’t in any rush to make that move. They’ll likely evaluate their roster during training camp and the early part of the season before deciding if they need to swing a big deal for a scoring winger. That move might not come until the trade deadline and could be a rental player.
And no, Krug as the centerpiece of a trade pitch isn’t enough to land Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers love the chemistry he has with superstar center Connor McDavid and they don’t want to tamper with it.
RECENT LEAFS SPECULATION
TSN 1050: Earlier this week, The Athletic’s James Mirtle discussed possible moves by the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the start of this season. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if management kicked the tires on some potential moves for a defenseman. He leans toward them landing a depth blueliner as a top-pairing guy would be expensive and there aren’t many available. He also felt they might bring in a fourth-line center.
Regarding a new contract for RFA forward William Nylander, Mirtle believes that could get done before training camp opens next month. He thinks bridge deal or term is what’s being discussed, suggesting a seven- or eight-year deal could be too expensive for the Leafs right now. He also feels Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin’s five-year deal ($6.1 million per season) could have an effect upon the discussions.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The performance of the Leafs defense during training camp and preseason play will be a factor in determining whether the Leafs try to add a top-four guy or perhaps go the PTO/free-agent route for a more affordable addition. Carolina’s Justin Faulk was linked to the Leafs earlier in the offseason. As Mirtle noted, however, he could prove too expensive to land at this time.
As for Nylander, the Larkin contract is likely to have an effect upon his negotiations with the Leafs. Term might not be as much an issue as the annual average value. With hefty new deals on the horizon for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, Nylander’s new salary could effect the Leafs’ cap space (and how much they can afford to invest in Matthews and Marner) well beyond the coming season.