NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2019
Could the Oilers pursue Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau? What’s the latest on the Sabres and Leafs? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
OILERS STILL NEED A NO. 3 CENTER
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell believes the Edmonton Oilers still need a third-line center. He feels a trade is the best option to address this issue, but the best options might not become available until closer to the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau would be the best option, but Mitchell feels the Sens will work hard to re-sign him before the deadline. If he becomes available, the asking price could be steep.
Mitchell also thinks Minnesota’s Joel Eriksson Ek or Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault could be worthwhile targets. He suggests offering up a defenseman like Kris Russell or Matt Benning in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pageau would be the best fit but also the most expensive. Eriksson Ek’s name has surfaced in the rumor mill, but it remains to be seen if Wild GM Bill Guerin intends to move him as part of a roster rebuild.
The Jets have rebounded from a shaky start. Their need for blueline depth isn’t as dire as it was a month ago. If they stay in playoff contention, Perreault won’t be going anywhere. He also has a five-team no-trade list.
SABRES GM OPEN TO “JUST ABOUT ANYTHING” TO LAND A FORWARD OR TWO
WGR 550: TSN analyst Darren Dreger said he’s been informed Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill has made offers for forwards, but he doesn’t know which teams or forwards Botterill has targeted. He also said the conversations are ongoing as Botterill sees his forward depth as an area of concern.
Dreger also indicated Botterill and other GMs interested in making trades are facing the problem of several teams having players on long-term injury reserve. He estimates there are 10-12 clubs in that position.
Botterill could be open to just about anything. Dreger feels Botterill might prefer adding a top-six and a bottom-six forward. Acquiring a top-six forward would mean giving up a piece from the roster.
Dreger suggested the return of defenseman Zach Bogosian could mean parting with a blueliner such as Marco Scandella. If Botterill is reluctant to draw upon his defensive depth, Dreger thinks it could take moving “a pretty damn good prospect or a prospect and a draft pick.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A player-for-player swap isn’t impossible at this point in the season, but finding the right fit is an issue. As Dreger indicated, the unusually high number of teams with players on LTIR make it more difficult to swing a deal. With his club sinking in the standings, Botterill is under growing pressure to do something soon.
WILL THE LEAFS SEEK A BACKUP GOALTENDER?
TORONTO STAR: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin McGran was asked if the Maple Leafs could also pursue a trade after bringing in Sheldon Keefe as their new head coach. He feels GM Kyle Dubas will want to evaluate the club’s performance under Keefe and give it until Christmas.
McGran points out the Leafs have extra forwards and need a backup goaltender. He feels Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry ($675K) would be a good fit under the Leafs’ limited salary-cap space, speculating the asking price could be one of a Leafs’ fourth-liners or scratches.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If that’s all it would cost for Jarry, I think that deal would’ve been made by now. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford isn’t in any hurry to move him, perhaps hoping to drive up the goalie’s trade value.