NHL Rumor Mill – August 19, 2021
What clubs could have an interest in Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk? What are the ongoing needs of the Canadiens and Oilers? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Fluto Shinzawa was asked about the odds of Jake DeBrusk getting traded. He’s heard the Edmonton Oilers remain interested in the 24-year-old winger and the Calgary Flames to a lesser degree.
Asked if DeBrusk could fetch a second-line center if bundled with draft picks, Shinzawa said it would be an ideal return. However, the Bruins aren’t in a great spot to trade picks. He believes the return would likely be an underachieving player similar to DeBrusk who might improve with a new club.
Examining the Bruins’ opening-night roster without Tuukka Rask and David Krejci, Shinzawa noted coach Bruce Cassidy declared DeBrusk his third-line left wing. If he’s traded, removing all or part of his $3.675 million cap hit could clear space for Krejci and/or Rask if they return to the Bruins later this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk has been a frequent topic of trade speculation since last offseason. That he’s still with the Bruins suggests his value is low in the trade market.
Shinzawa acknowledged the Bruins would be selling low. They could shop him in earnest later this season if his performance doesn’t improve, but they won’t get much of a return. A better effort by him this season would improve his trade value but it could make management reluctant to move him.
Cap Friendly shows the Oilers sit over $3.2 million above this season’s $81.5 million salary cap but will get $4.167 million in cap relief by placing Oscar Klefbom on long-term injury reserve. It would have to be a dollar-for-dollar swap or the Bruins would have to retain some salary. However, the Oilers’ recent additions of Zach Hyman and Warren Foegele probably takes them out of the market for a top-nine left winger.
With over $11.4 million in cap space, the Flames can afford DeBrusk’s salary even after re-signing restricted free agents like Dillon Dube, Nikita Zadorov and Juuso Valimaki. Their addition of Blake Coleman should address their left wing depth so DeBrusk probably won’t be heading to Calgary.
NHL.COM: With Shea Weber’s career potentially over, Mike Zeisberger believes the Montreal Canadiens must find a top-four defenseman for the long term. David Savard, Jeff Petry, Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson are their likely top four while Alexander Romanov will be expected to step up in his sophomore season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber’s absence takes away a big physical presence, leadership and a powerful shot from the point. It will take time to find a suitable replacement for their sidelined captain.
Tim Campbell believes the Edmonton Oilers still need a long-term plan between the pipes. They’ll be riding 39-year-old Mike Smith as their starter with Mikko Koskinen and Alex Stalock in relief. Campbell points out a succession plan for the future remains elusive.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers don’t have any immediate help coming through their farm system. They’ll have to follow the trade market or go shopping next summer for any decent free-agent netminders.