NHL Rumor Mill – January 24, 2019
Latest on the Oilers, Maple Leafs, and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE OILERS?
EDMONTON SUN: Derek Van Diest and Terry Jones weighed in on what’s to come for the Oilers in the wake of firing general manager Peter Chiarelli. CEO Bob Nicholson still believes the struggling club can reach the playoffs this season but Van Diest doubts the current group of players can do it with making major moves between now and the trade deadline.
Jones, meanwhile, cited Nicholson saying the Oilers won’t be trading away the future for a quick fix. “We’ll make some trades at the deadline if they are the right trades to get us in the playoffs but not giving away the future,” said Nicholson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately for the Oilers, it’s those future assets that have the most value in the trade market. They won’t find many suitors for fading overpaid winger Milan Lucic or underperforming players like Cam Talbot, Adam Larsson, and Tobias Rieder.
SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston listed Mark Hunter, Kelly McCrimmon, Ron Hextall, Mike Futa, Dean Lombardi, and Mike Gillis as possible candidates to replace Chiarelli. Keith Gretzky is currently filling the GM role on an interim basis.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever becomes the new GM will have a helluva mess to clean up. The Oilers have some quality assets to build around in superstar Connor McDavid, forwards Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and defensemen Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom. However, the roster is full of holes that could take between two to four years to suitably address.
LATEST ON THE LEAFS
THE SCORE: Josh Wegman cited a report by TSN’s Darren Dreger claiming the Toronto Maple Leafs are scouting Carolina Hurricanes defensemen. The Hurricanes are reportedly open to trading Dougie Hamilton and teams are interested in Brett Pesce. They also have right-shot blueliners Justin Faulk and Trevor van Riemsdyk but Wegman noted they haven’t surfaced in trade rumors. The Leafs are weak on the right side of their blueline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamilton or Pesce would certainly help address the Leafs need for a skilled right-shot defender, but the Hurricanes are believed to be a scoring forward (preferably a center) in return. Faulk was mentioned in trade chatter earlier this season but that faded as the focus shifted to Hamilton and Pesce.
Carolina GM Don Waddell was reportedly interested in William Nylander before he re-signed with the Leafs on Dec. 1 and could shift his focus toward Kaspari Kapanen, though the Leafs are apparently unwilling to part with him. Maybe Waddell could ask for Nazem Kadri, who’s relegated to third-line duty behind John Tavares and Auston Matthews.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall cited Sportsnet’s Sid Seixeiro stumping for the Leafs to pursue Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds. “Toughness is enough guys who are willing to go in the blue paint. … The Leafs don’t have enough of those guys, this is a player in Simmonds … he goes to those areas,” said Seixeiro.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs’ biggest need is a right-side defenseman. Address that first and then see if you can pick up a tough two-way rental forward like Simmonds without overpaying for the privilege.
CANUCKS INTERESTED IN FERLAND?
THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston noted NHL insiders such as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the Vancouver Canucks could be interested in Carolina Hurricanes winger Micheal Ferland. The 26-year-old Ferland is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and could be shopped by the trade deadline if he and the Hurricanes fail to reach an agreement on a new contract.
Johnston acknowledged the Canucks could use a top-six winger like Ferland but noted there’s no guarantee he’ll re-sign with the Canucks unless they’re willing to pay more than market value for his services. The winger also missed time earlier this season with a concussion and his physical style could take a toll on his own body over time. Meanwhile, Canucks GM Jim Benning insists he’s not mortgaging the future just to reach the playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Benning may have contacted the Hurricanes against Ferland but I don’t see him overpaying to acquire him. If the Canucks remain in playoff contention leading up to the deadline I can see Benning looking for an affordable addition but I don’t think it’ll be Ferland.