NHL Rumor Mill – October 26, 2018
Latest on Sergei Bobrovsky, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jesse Puljujarvi in your NHL rumor mill.
COULD UNHAPPY BOBROVSKY BE DEALT?
SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman believes the situation between the Columbus Blue Jackets and pending free agent goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky appears “untenable”. Bobrovsky isn’t playing well and seems unhappy, prompting Friedman to suggest the Jackets must consider the effect it’s having on their roster.
Bobrovsky has a full no-movement clause but Friedman reports “it is believed he has given an indication of teams he will consider.” There’s speculation suggesting the New York Islanders could be in Bobrovsky’s future but Friedman feels he has to improve his performance to bolster his value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Bobrovsky’s early struggles this season I don’t think the Blue Jackets are looking to move him just yet. Backup Joonas Korpisalo will have to prove he’s capable of handling the starter’s role before they consider shopping their two-time Vezina Trophy winner.
Bobrovsky’s status as a pending free agent could adversely affect a potential return. His current performance certainly won’t help. Still, I believe the Jackets won’t move Bobrovsky as long as they remain in playoff contention.
NAMESTNIKOV ATTRACTING INTEREST
Friedman also noted there’s some interest around the league in New York Rangers forward Vladislav Namestnikov. He expects the Rangers are willing to listen to offers. Namestnikov’s playing time has reduced under new Blueshirts coach David Quinn.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite his slow start to this season, the 25-year-old Namestnikov is a versatile forward who can skate at center or wing, plays a two-way game and has decent offensive skills. He’s signed through 2019-20 with a $4-million annual cap hit and could be attractive to playoff contenders seeking second- or third-line depth. The rebuilding Rangers could consider moving him if they can get a suitable draft pick or prospect in return.
TSN: Asked about what the future might hold for struggling Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, Darren Dreger believes it’s still a tad early to suggest his situation is coming to a head. The Oilers still feel the youngster has a bright future. However, he also noted Puljujarvi is being outplayed by rookie Kailer Yamamoto. He thinks it’s a trust issue between the player and coach and it’s up to Puljujarvi to try and improve it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers feel the Oilers haven’t done a good job developing Puljujarvi, suggesting they should shop him while he still has value for help on defense. While Puljujarvi’s in his third NHL season, he’s only 20 and still has plenty of time to develop into a reliable scorer.
The last thing the Oilers want is another situation where they give up on one of their highly touted youngsters only to see him blossom elsewhere, like Taylor Hall going to New Jersey and winning the Hart Trophy. However, one also has to wonder if this could be another Nail Yakupov scenario. Until the Oilers figure that out, Puljujarvi won’t be going anywhere for the time being.