NHL Rumor Mill – July 26, 2019
Updates on Jesse Puljujarvi and Loui Eriksson plus the latest Devils speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT WILL THE OILERS DO WITH PULJUJARVI?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes deciding what to do with Jesse Puljujarvi remains an important decision for Oilers general manager Ken Holland. The unhappy restricted free agent let it be known through his agent that he wants to be traded or else he’ll spend the coming season playing in Europe. Holland maintains he’s open to anything that’s in the Oilers’ best interest, including retaining Puljujarvi if the winger has a change of heart.
Staples thinks it would be best if the Oilers let Puljujarvi play in Europe to regain his health, game, and confidence. If a trade is in the best interest for all parties, he proposes three options.
One is packaging the winger with defenseman Kris Russell to a team seeking a blueliner carrying a useful surplus forward with an affordable salary-cap hit. Another could be bundling Puljujarvi with a younger defenseman (Ethan Bear, William Lagesson or Matt Benning) to a team with limited cap space carrying an affordable forward. Another could be simply swapping him for an affordable forward on a cap-strapped club such as “Vegas, the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Nashville, Calgary or Winnipeg.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi could change his mind and return to the Oilers, but Staples said it sounds like Holland has worked hard to try and make a trade happen. The Oilers GM will want a decent return and might have to wait until training camp approaches in September to find it.
CAN THE CANUCK FIND A TRADE PARTNER FOR ERIKSSON?
THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal believes the Vancouver Canucks must consider all options to trade Loui Eriksson. He feels it’s still possible to move the 34-year-old winger and his hefty contract. Eriksson’s performance has steadily declined, making his $6-million annual cap hit a burden for the Canucks. Most of the actual salary has already been paid out, as he’s now owed just $9 million over the remaining three years of his deal.
Dayal suggests taking a page from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ book and ship Eriksson to a budget-conscious club carrying a permanently sidelined player on long-term injury reserve. He proposes pitching the winger to the Anaheim Ducks for Ryan Kesler, who’ll miss all of next season to hip surgery and probably won’t ever play again in the NHL. Dayal also suggests picking up half of Eriksson’s cap hit and adding a sweetener to make that move more palatable to the Ducks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As we’ve seen this summer, it is possible to move a fading player like Eriksson carrying an expensive salary-cap hit. The question is whether Canucks management can find a creative way to do so that won’t adversely affect their efforts to build up their roster.
Dayal’s proposed swap for Kesler works only if the Ducks are agreeable and if the center agrees to waive his no-movement clause. If he knows his playing days are over, it would be merely a formality. However, if Kesler believes he can play after next season, he could prefer staying in Anaheim.
LATEST DEVILS SPECULATION
NJ.COM: Chris Ryan observed the addition of P.K. Subban gives the New Jersey Devils considerable depth on the right side of their defense corps. The left side, however, could still use some help. One way would be moving one of their right-side blueliners, such as Sami Vatanen, to the left side.
If they’re not comfortable doing that, Ryan suggests perhaps pursuing unrestricted free agent blueliner Jake Gardiner. That scenario would mean trading Vatanen, who’s a year away from UFA eligibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: During the Devils’ formal introduction yesterday of P.K. Subban to their fans, managing partner Josh Harris hinted his club wasn’t finished making additions. “We’re not done. Ray is working hard, wheeling and dealing. I don’t mean to portend any (specific) moves, but we’re not done.”
Whether that involves signing Jake Gardiner or swinging another trade for a left-side defenseman remains to be seen.