NHL Rumor Mill – April 3, 2019

by | Apr 3, 2019 | Rumors | 55 comments

Check out the latest Oilers speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman took note of the frustration expressed by Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid after his club was once again eliminated from playoff contention. McDavid noted it was an “insane season” with coaching and management changes and inconsistent play. “We have a lot of crap to figure out. I hope we can put the right man in the spot and can put together a good team. We let (losing) streaks drag on, we let times were we weren’t able to find wins drag on. You have to find a way to stop the bleeding, quick,” said McDavid.

Edmonton Oilers management cannot afford to ignore the frustrations of stars like Connor McDavid (Photo via NHL Images).

Friedman doesn’t believe McDavid is looking to leave the Oilers, believing he wants to be part of the solution. However, he feels the club could have a serious problem with their captain if they fail to properly address their issues. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Robert Tychkowski feels the Oilers upper-management must pay attention to the warning signs coming from frustrated stars like McDavid, Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He points out Nugent-Hopkins, 26, has only been the postseason once since joining the Oilers in 2011 and is watching his career pass by without getting a chance to play for the Stanley Cup.

“It’s my eighth year and I’ve only been in it once. At this point in my career, it’s about making the playoffs and pushing for the end result. Right now, it’s tough to swallow,” said Nugent-Hopkins. Tychkowski also points out Oilers management has done a poor job surrounding their best players with a solid supporting cast. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one is saying McDavid, Draisaitl or Nugent-Hopkins want out of Edmonton. Not yet, anyway. However, several pundits have already wondered (especially about McDavid) how much more they’re willing to put up with before their patience is exhausted. If things don’t change under the next GM over the next two or three years, that issue could come to a head.

Nugent-Hopkins could be the first out the door. He’s got two more seasons left on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $6 million and he lacks no-trade protection. He’s popped up in trade rumors several times since 2016 and that speculation could grow if nothing improves. At the very least, they risk making it easy for him to depart via free agency in 2021. 

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters believe hiring the right general manager and head coach, addressing the organizational rot, and improving the forward depth is among the offseason keys for the Oilers. The “old boys network” remains largely intact in upper management and that has to change. They also noted the Oilers offensive production drops sharply beyond Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Wyshynski and Peters believe the next GM must find a way to shed some salary. Trading Milan Lucic and his hefty contract would be difficult and buying him out wouldn’t free up much cap space. Defensemen Andrej Sekera ($5.5 million annually, no-movement clause) and Kris Russell ($4 million per season, NMC) are often mentioned as trade or buyout candidates. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could take at two or three years for the next GM to untangle this mess and reverse the Oilers’ long-sagging fortunes. Shedding Lucic’s contract will be very difficult and could involve packaging him with a top draft pick or prospect plus picking up a sizeable chunk of his annual cap hit. That’s assuming he’s willing to waive his no-movement. 

Sekera’s missed most of this season and last season to injuries but when healthy he’s a solid addition to their blueline. I expect they’ll keep him for next season and see how things unfold. Russell’s full no-trade clause becomes a modified no-trade this summer so perhaps there’s a chance of moving him via trade. A buyout would give them over $3 million in savings for 2019-20 but the cap hit jumps up to $3.4 million for 2020-21 before falling off again over the final two seasons. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL’s Jim Matheson recently tweeted he feels the Oilers must sign some forwards this summer. “They need a second-line winger to play with Nuge, a third-line C, and two other bottom-six forwards. Speed with all 4.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To do that, the Oilers must shed salary. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $71 million invested in 16 players for 2019-20. Fortunately, their only free agents of note are Alex Chiasson and Jesse Puljujarvi and both should be affordable re-signings. Nevertheless, they must find a way to free up cap room to add a second-line winger, a third-line center and two bottom-six forwards.

I would also suggest they bring in an experienced goaltender as I lack confidence in Mikko Koskinen as a starter. Either that or hire a goalie coach who can turn him into a reliable one. 


  1. Everyone walks on eggshells when it comes to the Oilers and the obvious….McDavid did not want to be there in the first place…He seems like a really good young man that wants to do the right thing……that will only last so long until he recognizes that he has a right to self interest.

    Lyle writes it will take 2 or 3 years to untangle the mess. Put the careers and contracts of the most important 6 Oilers over the template of 3 years.

    Adam Smith ( I think) wrote about the importance of enlightened self interest in a free society. Then ask yourself which Oilers will want out, which will want to stay for the 3 year untanglingi
    Even the lowest paid NHL player makes absurd money that likely frees them of economic fears compared to normal folk. They have the resources to have more freedom than the rest of us.

    It will not be impossible for some of the Canadian franchises….but it will not be easy. Stan Rodgers sang many years ago….” All my friends have gone to California”

    • …or Texas!

    • old blue dog : did McDavid personally call you and tell you he didn’t want to be hear and are the others asking you to book flights for them what a long winded comment about nothing

  2. I still remember McDavids face when the Oilers won the lottery. It was not joy. He has one foot out the door as I have stated over the last few years he will not finish his career or contract in EDM. If they lose him, they need to pack up and move the team back to civilization. I’m thinking H-town! The name still works…

    • BadCowboyDan,


      H-earst ( Ontario)


      • Ignore the guy. He is just a H-ater.

      • Houston
        As in Houston oilers.

        Just sounds right…

    • Oh please enough I read your junk.mcdavid is always looks like that in anything he does accomplish.

      He not leaving any time soon.enogh lyle and people on TV.he wants to win in Edmonton.

    • If McDavid wanted out of Edmonton since the Oil won the lottery why did he sign an 8 year deal? He could have done what Trouba or Matthews did.
      He didn’t.
      The Oil need to do what many have said, and I have also, gut management and not just the GM. Everybody. An organization can’t be this bad for this long unless the entire organization doesn’t get it and is dysfunctional. This seems obvious to many of us who live here.
      Example that Mathison writes, who does get it, they need 4 pieces. Well they just traded 2 of those needed pieces that they had for crap. Strome for Spooner and Cagulia for Manning. Spooner gone (for Gagner) and Manning can’t make the roster and got benched in Bakersfield. Spooner/Gagner and Manning cost more for an added bonus. Brutal.
      Perhaps they should look at their pro scouting department? Who the hell signed off on these deals or told PC they were good with it?
      This last season has been a joke and it is a shame as Oil fan sticks by this team, and they are a knowledgeable fan base. They are pissed, but they stick by them and deserve better.
      And no, they are not better off in Houston. They are in one of the top 10 hockey markets in NA. How would they be drawing there in tough times? Ain’t happening.

  3. For Ed…. it’s a must to rid themselves of Lucic

    I don’t believe it will be as difficult (as most are putting it) for Oil to get him to waive his rights …. he knows he is under massive scrutiny in Oil country and not liked by many fans (that’s his play that’s not liked; not the man personally)

    If they can get him to waive it (I think good shot)… pay him his SB ($3M in 1/7) …, balance is $16M over 4 years …. take back 50 %…. receiving team gets him for 4 years @ AAV of $2M …. for big body ; mature presence ; 3rd liner

    Oil free up much needed $3M in Cap

    So…. what is the kicker in trade incentive needed for a team to take him at $2M AAV for 4 (Note: that team in turn could buy him out for 8 years at $325M per)…. a first???

    Take it one step further….. aquiring team takes him full (now retained $’s) and buys him out ….. $650 K * 8….. what’s that worth ? A first and JP?

    A first and JP to free up $6 M might just be worth it to Oil…. then they can make better off season moves

    George, setting aside the miserly attitude of Melnyk…. do you think Sens should move on JP plus say 8th overall pick for $650K * 8? I do

    Now the penultimate …. Oil win the lottery…. some team will pony up to take all of Lucic (then likely buy him out) just to get Hughes ….. hello Vancouver …. draft city to take number one draft pick (be with bro) and Lucic comes home…. Van would even give back something to make that trade happen

    ….. so impossible to move Lucic ? Me thinks not

    • Don’t have a clue who “JP” is ,,, as for Lucic to Ottawa ,,, Not.A.Chance.In.Hell

      • Hi George

        Sorry, saw many people using JP (instead of his full name) on here before …, so I was joining the group… sorry…

        JP= Jesse Puljujarvi (4th overall in the ‘16 draft)

        Your dislike of Lucic is noted …. what about the trade then buyout scenario I laid out ….. basically buying a 1st for $325K for 8 years ; or 1st and JP (see above) for $650K * 8?

        That would enhance the rebuild wouldn’t it?

      • I believe Pengy is referring to Jesse Puljujärvi.
        Aside from the AAV and declining performance / value Lucic’s NMC will scare teams away due to the 2021 expansion draft. Unless he agrees to waive he would be required to be protected. Convincing Seattle to take him in the draft would cost the team owning his rights some other assets.
        I have to believe Lucic would agree to waive now to be traded to a new team.

      • It’s my understanding that a NMC is void if the player agrees to waive it, that would make him eligible to be exposed in the entry draft.
        Edmonton won’t need JP + 1st to send out Lucic, one of those would be more than enough. With the bonus paid out I would think a team struggling for cap floor would look into it.

      • Pengy, according to The Hockey News’ recent publication of the Top 100 prospects in the NHL (only those not currently playing in the NHL) Ottawa and L.A. lead the league with 6 each.

        And of those who are at the very top of the top 100 list, only the Florida Panthers have more players than Ottawa when it comes to those with the highest potential. The publication ranks Erik Brannstrom (11), Drake Batherson (27), Alex Formentin (38), Josh Norris (52) Jacob Bernard-Docker (68) and Logan Brown (69) in the top 100, with Vitali Abramov just outside the top 100.

        As I say, none of these players are currently on the parent club, and when one considers that Chabot, Tkachuk, White, Jaros, Wolanin, Tierney and Balcers are not among those listed, the re-build might not take that long.

        It’s also interesting to note that the Penguins are the only team without one ranked in the Top 100.

      • Well that’s what happens when you don’t have a first round pick since 2012 playing in your lineup. I bet Jake Guentzel never placed on that list at any time and he’s got 38 goals and 73 points this year. The biggest part of the Penguins success the last 4 years has been finding diamonds in the later rounds or in FA, the latest being Blueger, Simon, and ZAR. Next year I would guess that one or 2 of Bellerive, Hallender, Almieda, or Pavlechev will be the next come from nowhere kids and possibly Addison as well. Those lists are written to give fans of bad teams some glimmer of hope for the future. Half the kids on that list won’t live up to expectations or will bust completely. I am fine with the Pens not having a player on that list because I know how little it means.

      • Deee, that wasn’t a dig at the pens – just a statement of fact – the only team among 31 not to have a player ranked in the Top 100. As for the list being a sop to fans of “poor teams” The Hockey News has been around long enough, and is established and respected enough, not to engage in sophistry to promote sales. Besides, the list is compiled as a consensus of a number of hockey personalities.

        Quit reacting like so many among LeafsNation who rise to ANY criticism of their team – warranted or not.

      • Hi George

        Sorry if I lead you to believe that I didn’t think Sens already have fair prospects and good young talent…. they do…. just thought an extra 1st and Jesse P just for cash would be a good idea

        Agree with Deee that Pens (and some other teams) have done very well at getting either late bloomers that others passed on and/or getting players via non traditional routes

        I think Jordan Bellerive just might be the “ Jake Guentzel” on the roster in 2 years

        Now that said …all those great pick ups are weighed against the cataclysmic blunder (5 year contract) acquisition that GMJR made in the off-season and that Sully refuses to have in the press box

        I’m hoping and praying that they make the playoffs …. they should…. but hen again they should have been good enough to win last night

      • Simon is more of an embarrassment with his deployment nightly than Johnson and nobody done ripped that this season. Maybe they can sign jagr to make Simon look like an actual nhl player.

      • George you’re a little too sensitive. I didn’t say you did make any kind of dig at the Penguins I just explained why they didn’t have a player on that list and that the list probably is really very significant anyways. I don’t need to defend a team that has made the playoffs 13 years and counting.

      • Deee, when you write “Those lists are written to give fans of bad teams some glimmer of hope for the future ” this comes across like a reaction to what you perceive as a dig. Lease that out and your comment is valid.

    • Totally spit-balling here.

      Would a swap of Lucic (plus) for Turris make sense?

      Each has a $6M cap hit (Turris with an extra year). Neither is working out with their current team.

      If Turris regains his form, perhaps that frees up Edmonton to trade RNH for a high end defensman as some have suggested. I’m not saying he will be as good as RNH but solid enough to make it feasible to pursue a trade.

      Nashville plays a game more in line with Lucic’s strengths, maybe he can score 20 goals again (I know big maybe), and his contract will end a year sooner.

      Obviously, NMC and the upcoming expansion draft all factor in but let’s assume that’s all worked out for argument sake.

      • I pitched this trade yesterday

    • You did move a top pick to move Lucic. Just a terrible idea.

  4. McDavid I believe wants to play in Toronto.

    Edmonton can send him there for a collection of assets which can include Matthews. Given the cap limitations and Edm not having much room they could dump salaries to take on Toronto players….

    Matthews, Nylander, Brown, Bracco, Sparks, Liljegren, first rounders in 2020 and 2021 (8pieces)

    For McDavid and Lucic

    Not enough? Probably not.

    • And Toronto would do that because?

      • Exactly Mark, never in a million years.

    • The Oilers current state isnt nearly as bad as it is made out to be. and shedding salary just for the sake of shedding it does not make sense (Lucic, Russel, to make space for whom?). They should be further along, but trying to speed up to process and making bad deal after bad deal just put them here. They finally have a few prospects in the minors. They need a goalie and a goalie coach, Edmonton has made 0 goailes and ruined many get someone that can help! Of course the TO fans believe Mcjesus wants to go there. everyone knows all the notable players want to play there…

      • Thumbs up J Bird

    • Spare me the McDavid to Toronto BS. The guy wants to win and I believe him when he says he wants to win in Edmonton. He puts it all out there night after night – if every player on that team worked as hard as McDavid, they’d be a decent club.
      Forget the re-location BS, too, Edmonton has so much going for it – fans, arena, owner – there are far worse franchises in the league. They just need to get deeper and more steady in goal; doesn’t require a miracle by any means.

      • Oilers problem is they have Zero leadership. MacDavid is not what I would call a true captain

    • And they say lop sided deals proposed here always favor the leafs.

  5. If the Oilers can’t turn things around in the next 2 to 3 seasons than I will not blame McDavid, Draisaitl, and RNH wanting out of Edmonton. Especially RNH, the guy has been a great soldier for the Oilers with everything he has gone through. He is the longest serving Oiler and not once has he shown or said anything negative about the team. He has been 100% loyal. If he leaves I’ll be the first to wish him luck.

    Now just one question. If McDavid didn’t want to be in Edmonton then why would he have signed an eight year extension and also leave money on the table to stay in Edmonton???

    • There are also decisions you regret. You forget that it was a 21 year old kid who made that decision after the best season the Oil had had in many years.
      I’m not saying that he wants to leave and your point has merit, but the waters in Edmonton are highly murky.

      • That comment was at the people who are saying that McDavid didn’t want to be in Edmonton from the start. What they don’t realize is that the look on his face at the time of the draft lottery is pretty much the same look on his face after getting 100 points in a season for the first time.

  6. Ya…I don’t think anyone is doing Edmonton any favors even if you could agree to get Lucic to waive. And that full no move even protects him from riding the Redden bus right? They can’t even send him down?

    What an awful signing.

    I do think we will see Vancouver make a play to get the second Hughs. And have a Sedins 2.0 situation.

    • That would be an amazing pick-up for Vancouver… Pettersson and Hughes as your top 2 centers. Would Bo Horvat, Markus Granlund and Vancouver’s 1st round pick, between 7th and 10th overall likely.. be enough, or too much?

  7. Oiler fans have nothing to complain about they got to watch Gretzky Messier Coffey Kurri Anderson and Fuhr for years win all the time. Now they have McDavid and Draisaitl if yo want something to complain about try being a Leaf fan nothing but heartbreak since 1967 now I’m no Toronto fan but I know a few who would give their first born for a cup.

    • Some fans were not living or were born(born this month in 85)and saw crappy or okey Oilers teams in 90s or early 2000s.the 06 cup run was the only times the Oilers fans of this generation saw a great Oilers team almost win a cup.

  8. its still a joke that the Oilers won the lottery for McDavid. He should want out at this point.

    How can they magically get depth for next season without trading McD or Leon…

  9. McDavid isn’t good enough to get Edmonton into the playoffs.

  10. How is it a joke that they won the lottery every year some team wins the lottery. They changed it because teams were tanking starting in January and that was a joke. I’m sure Leaf fans are not complaining that they won the lottery and picked Mathews first . Only team not wanting to win lottery will be Ottawa this year as Colorado has their pick.

    • how many times did the Oilers win the lottery in a short span…
      I half expected them to get Auston Matthews

    • Dorion could not possibly care less whether or not they “win the lottery.” He made his choice last year to keep that pick and took Tkachuk- who’s working out quite well, currently ranked 4th among NHL rookies in points.

      Whether it’s Colorado who get to take Hughes – or maybe L.A. – is immaterial. Somebody is going to win that pick. In fact, Dorion probably wishes he DOES “win the lottery” as that will at least ensure Hughes goes to a western team they play maybe twice a year as opposed to, say, N.J. or Detroit winning it.

      • George could not agree more …let’s bring Hughes and Makar into the Avs lineup next year!

      • George, could not agree more!..let’s bring both Hughes and Makar into the Avs lineup next year!

  11. I think with contracts like Lucic , Turris… and yes Lundqvist, Staal, Shattenkirk, Smith…( not leaving NY out of the equation) teams are going to have to ride them out or buy them out.

    The noose is tightening around the cap. Arizona and Other young rebuilding teams aren’t going to be so eager to take on 3-4-5 years of someone else’s problem imo, they’ll have their own young players coming up to deal with…Then you have teams like NY, LA, Chicago with problems of their own.

    I don’t think “sweeteners “ to take on these problematic contracts are enough. Regardless of actual money owed, signing bonuses paid etc.
    Cap space imo, is getting more precious than actual money.

    • skipping bridge deals is killing the league

      • this and long term deals for players in their late 20’s early 30’s.

      • 115 points is great player.hockey is a team game so no ue can not get a the Oilers to the playoff by himself

      • Agree DS, but high end players won’t sign them. Which backs up Nyr4life’s argument. Seems to be the new reality and teams will have to deal with it.

      • Not paying young players what they are worth up front necessitating them demanding non bridge deals is killing the league

      • Define up front chrisms? Not sure what you mean.
        Not sure I would want to pay an 18 yer old kid big money when he hasn’t laced them up in the NHL yet. Seems a tad risky to me.

      • Agree Ray. F;ops under that scenario – and there would be flops – would open up a whole new category of ongoing criticism about “poor” management. What WOULD work in that situation is to remove the “guaranteed contract” as they do in the NFL. We’ll pay you the big bucks – but you’d better produce.

  12. How is buying out Lucic going to save cap money
    Year 1 $3,625,000
    Year 2 $5,625,000
    Year 3 $4,125,000
    Year 4 $5,625,000
    Replacement player will cost 650k minimum