Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 27, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 27, 2021

Should the Oilers pursue Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Zach Hyman, Jaden Schwartz or Nolan Patrick? What’s the latest on Evander Kane and Matt Dumba? Find out in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples weighed in on a recent discussion between Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman regarding the possibility of the Oilers inquiring about Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The Arizona Coyotes will attempt to move the 29-year-old defenseman during the course of this offseason.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NHL Images).

Stauffer believes the decline in Ekman-Larsson’s trade value could force the Coyotes to retain part of the blueliner’s $8.25 million annual cap hit in return for picks and prospects. Friedman thinks there are teams that feel Ekman-Larsson could regain his form on a new club. He speculated the Oilers kicked tires on OEL but Stauffer felt that could complicate the Oilers’ efforts to re-sign Darnell Nurse. Friedman wondered if they’d be interested if he wasn’t making $8.25 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staples sees little chance of the Oilers acquiring Ekman-Larsson and I agree with him. He pointed out that the blueliner would have to approve the deal and the Coyotes would have to absorb a big chunk of his cap hit.

Staples also took note of a recent discussion on The Leafs Report podcast between Athletic writers James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel regarding Leafs pending UFA winger Zach Hyman.

Siegel feels the 29-year-old Hyman could get a six-year deal worth $6 million annually from a club like Edmonton or Ottawa. Mirtle suggested Hyman could have four more years left at his current level of player. Siegel believes he’s got two or three years left, adding that type of contract could be risky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Oilers could get Hyman on a four-year deal for less than $5 million per season it might be worthwhile. Six years at $6 million annually is too much and too long given the eventual toll his physical style of play will take on his body.

Staples points out it’s uncertain how well Hyman would fit alongside Connor McDavid. He also reminded everyone of how quickly Milan Lucic declined after he joined the Oilers.

If the Oilers fail to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jim Matheson suggested they take a run at signing winger Jaden Schwartz should the 29-year-old winger becomes available in the UFA market. He felt Schwartz would be more affordable than Hyman or Colorado Avalanche winger Brandon Saad.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson said it’s believed Schwartz would be looking for between $5 million and $5.5 million depending on the term. He felt Oilers GM Ken Holland would give him a four-year deal.

Schwartz could be a good option for the Oilers if Nugent-Hopkins departs. However, other clubs could be willing to go another year or two longer or bump up the cap hit closer to $6 million annually.

Matheson also wondered if the Oilers would attempt to acquire center Nolan Patrick from the Philadelphia Flyers. They need a right-hand center on their bottom-six and the 22-year-old Patrick could use a change of scenery after spinning his wheels in Philadelphia.

UPDATES ON KANE AND DUMBA

SJHOCKEYNOW.COM: Sheng Peng cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli’s inclusion of Evander Kane on his list of offseason trade candidates. Seravalli reported friction between the 29-year-old Sharks winger and several teammates this season.

An NHL executive told Peng he doubted the Sharks would get much of a return for Kane. Despite his consistent production, he’s difficult to move because of the locker-room drama that’s dogged his career, his ongoing bankruptcy proceedings and hefty contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with that assessment. Despite Kane’s obvious talent, he’s carrying too much baggage. I’ll be surprised if he’s playing for another club when the curtain rises for next season.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien suggests teams interested in a trade for Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones should instead consider Minnesota Wild blueliner Matt Dumba. He pointed out Dumba has better underlying numbers at even strength over the last three seasons plus he’d cost considerably less to acquire in a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports claiming interest in Jones is off the charts indicate no one’s taking O’Brien’s advice. Nevertheless, he makes some valid points about Jones’ performance compared to Dumba’s.

Dumba could be available if the Wild believe they cannot protect him in next month’s expansion draft. He would become a suitable “Plan B” for clubs that lose out in the Jones sweepstakes.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 24, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 24, 2021

A look at some of this summer’s notable trade candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones top Frank Seravalli’s list of 20 names in play in this summer’s trade market.

Seravalli encapsulates the previous reports explaining the broken relationship between Eichel and the Sabres. He also reports concerns have been voiced by multiple teams about Jones’ two seasons of declining production.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones has 30 and 28 points respectively in 56 games each. That could be due to playing fewer games in two pandemic-shortened seasons. It could also be attributed to playing for one of the NHL’s lowest-scoring teams during that period. His two best offensive seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19) occurred when winger Artemi Panarin was his teammate.

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun cited sources claiming the Philadelphia Flyers are among the clubs with an interest in the Jackets blueliner. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman expects a Jones trade to take place around next month’s NHL Draft.

The Washington Capitals are tired of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s off-ice antics. A talented but inconsistent player, his contract could be difficult to move but maybe less so after the Capitals pay his $5 million signing bonus in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’ll still carrying a $7.8 million annual average value through 2024-25 with a 15-team no-trade clause. The Capitals will either have to pick up part of that cap hit or take back an expensive contract.

There’s been no contract discussions between the Arizona Coyotes and restricted free agent winger Conor Garland since his agent submitted two contract proposals on May 20. Seravalli points out the Coyotes nearly moved Garland leading up to this season’s trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garland has arbitration rights and is completing a two-year, $1.55 million contract. He’ll attract plenty of attention if the Coyotes decide to move him.

Seravalli cites sources claiming there was friction this season between Evander Kane and some of his San Jose Sharks teammates. He’s also coming off his best season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane was the Sharks’ leading scorer this season with 22 goals and 49 points in 56 games. He’s also signed through 2024-25 with a $7 million cap hit and a three-team trade list. As Seravalli suggests, general manager Doug Wilson could face choppy waters here.

It’s believed the Arizona Coyotes seek a draft pick, prospect, roster player and perhaps a smaller, less desirable contract in exchange for defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Coyotes get that much for OEL. Their goal is to shed the remaining six years (at $8.25 million annually) of his contract so they’ll probably have to settle for much less because of the flattened salary cap. Heck, it’ll be a win if they can move him without absorbing part of his cap hit.

Others appearing on Seravalli’s list include Carolina Hurricanes winger Warren Foegele, Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek and Florida Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman.

He speculated the Hurricanes might be unable to give Foegele the extra playing time he seeks. Clearing out Voracek’s contract could give the Flyers the cap flexibility they need, perhaps by enticing the Seattle Kraken with a draft pick. Cap flexibility for the Panthers would also be behind moving Stralman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foegele’s stuck behind Andrei Svechnikov and Nino Niederreiter on the Hurricanes depth chart at left wing. It will be interesting to see how they handle this situation.

Voracek lacks no-trade protection but carries an $8.25 million annual cap hit through 2023-24. Maybe the Kraken would be interested but it could take a significant pick to tempt them.

Stralman turns 35 in August, carries a $5.5 million cap hit for next season with a 16-team no-trade list. Two words to Panthers GM Bill Zito: good luck.

Seravalli also listed the rights to Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton, Buffalo Sabres center Sam Reinhart, Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen, St. Louis Blues rearguard Vince Dunn, the rights to Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger, Toronto Maple Leafs rearguard Travis Dermott and Winnipeg Jets defender Sami Niku.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Eichel, Seravalli summarizes why those players could be shopped this summer. Those factors have been previously documented here in the Rumor Mill based on various media sources, including Seravalli during his TSN tenure.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2021

The latest on Jack Eichel, which teams could make a pitch for Dougie Hamilton and whether the Bruins should pursue Oliver Ekman-Larsson in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST EICHEL SPECULATION

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams seeks a king’s ransom for Jack Eichel. A league executive told Murphy that Adams could seek up to six components in the return for the 24-year-old center.

The Buffalo Sabres are said to seek a king’s ransom for Jack Eichel in the trade market (NHL Images).

Those components include a top-six center 25-year-old or younger, a top-four defenseman 25-or-young, a first-round pick and various prospects. Murphy said that monumental asking price has some NHL executives wondering if the Sabres GM has misread the market for Eichel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adams is going to seek the best return he can get. He’ll start out with a big asking price, interested parties will counter with much-lower offers, and they’ll meet somewhere in the middle.

The initial asking price doesn’t seem to be deterring teams from making inquiries. WGR 550’s Jeremy White hears it could be done in a matter of days, not weeks, with the status of Eichel’s neck injury and the conditions of a trade some of the hurdles still to be cleared.

At the very least, the Sabres should get a high first-round pick, a top prospect and a good young NHL player in the return for Eichel. They’ll probably get one or two other pieces as well. They could land two first-rounders if they’re dealing with a team carrying extra picks in the opening round in this year’s draft.

POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS FOR HAMILTON

SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston recently examined several teams that could pull off a sign-and-trade scenario for Dougie Hamilton. The Carolina Hurricanes are allowing the 28-year-old defenseman to speak with other clubs prior to his July 28 eligibility for unrestricted free agent status.

Johnston’s seven destinations are the Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, Seattle Kraken, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks could be the top suitor here. They’ll have nearly $11 million in cap relief to draw upon if necessary with Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw on permanent long-term injury reserve. Johnston noted a recent report indicating they’re interested in Hamilton, as well as Columbus’ Seth Jones.

Hamilton could be a fit with the Flyers but a recent report out of Philadelphia suggested they couldn’t pull this off without shedding a high-salaried player. They’re also rumored to be looking at Seth Jones.

The Jets have over $20 million in projected cap space with restricted free agents Andrew Copp and Neal Pionk to re-sign. They could have enough for Hamilton if they’re willing to pay up to $8 million annually but that won’t leave much room to fill out the rest of their roster.

Kraken GM Ron Francis could make a pitch, but Hamilton might not be keen to sign with an expansion club. The Devils have plenty of cap space to sign him to a big raise but we don’t know if he’s willing to join a rebuilding team. Their priority could be finding scoring wingers for young centers Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes.

The Rangers already have Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba on the right side of their blueline. The Oilers, meanwhile, could put more focus on adding a scoring winger especially if they lose Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to free agency.

COULD THE BRUINS PURSUE EKMAN-LARSSON?

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty observed recent reports indicating the Arizona Coyotes will try again to trade Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The 29-year-old defenseman has struggled over the last three seasons and carries an $8.25 million annual cap hit for the next six seasons. He also carries a full no-movement clause but was willing to waive it last fall for the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks.

Haggerty also pointed out Ekman-Larsson still managed three goals and 24 points in 46 games this season. With the blueliner considered a depressed asset, this could be a good opportunity for a team like the Bruins to acquire him while his trade value is low if the Coyotes will pick up part of his cap hit.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes the Bruins should pass on Ekman-Larsson. If they acquire all or part of his remaining cap hit, it’ll tie up money to re-sign free agents Brandon Carlo and Mike Reilly. His disappointing play is also a red flag. Goss believes Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm is a better option if the Bruins intend to pursue a trade for a left-side defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Goss, though I doubt they’ll be able to pry Ekholm away from the Predators. It’s possible Ekman-Larsson’s performance could improve on a better club like the Bruins, and the Coyotes could pick up a healthy chunk of his cap hit. It’s the six years remaining on his contract that concerns me.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 21, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 21, 2021

The latest on Dougie Hamilton, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Rasmus Ristolainen in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HAMILTON CAMP TALKING TO OTHER NHL CLUBS

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reported Saturday it sounds like there’s a lot of conversations between agent J.P. Barry (who represents Dougie Hamilton) and other NHL clubs. The 28-year-old Carolina Hurricanes defenseman is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (NHL Images).

Hamilton and his agent have been granted permission by the Hurricanes to speak with other teams on a deal that could work into a sign-and-trade situation. However, Johnston gets the feeling this won’t be resolved quickly, suggesting it could take several weeks, perhaps close to the July 28 start date of free agency.

Luke Fox suggests the Toronto Maple Leafs should at least consider attempting to acquire Hamilton. Doing so, however, could mean trading away Morgan Rielly to free up sufficient salary-cap space to sign Hamilton to a long-term contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Next month’s NHL expansion draft (July 21) is probably a big reason why a possible sign-and-trade scenario for Hamilton would take weeks. The acquiring club would have to include him on their player protection list.

If the Leafs aren’t trading any of their high-priced forwards, trading Rielly seems the most logical way to clear cap space to sign Hamilton. Slated to become a UFA next summer, Rielly will seek a big raise over his current $5 million annual cap hit.

That might not be the best move on the Leafs part. They would get deeper on the right side of their blueline by signing Hamilton, but moving out Rielly leaves a big gap on the left side.

THE LATEST ON EKMAN-LARSSON

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan confirms reports indicating the Arizona Coyotes will explore trade options for Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The 29-year-old defenseman is also more open to that possibility compared to last fall when he was willing to waive his no-movement clause for only the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks.

Ekman-Larsson has six more seasons left on his contract worth an annual average value of $8.25 million. Morgan points out the blueliner’s performance has declined over the past several seasons. A change of scenery might do him good after years of losing in Arizona and carrying the burden of the captaincy.

Morgan indicated Ekman-Larsson has not provided the Coyotes with a list of preferred trade destinations. However, the plan is for the club to seek whatever trade option are available and present them to the defenseman’s camp to see what ones are acceptable. The Coyotes could look for comparable contracts that other clubs are trying to move. Perhaps some of those could have a little less term. They could also retain part of his salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving Ekman-Larsson’s contract wouldn’t be easy under normal circumstances. It could be more difficult under a flattened salary cap this summer.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Coyotes can work something out. Retaining part of his salary could be more enticing for other clubs, but it still means the Coyotes would be carrying that portion for six more years.

COULD RISTOLAINEN BRING MORE PHYSICALITY TO PENGUINS BLUELINE?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski suggested Rasmus Ristolainen as a possible trade target for the Pittsburgh Penguins to add a physical defenseman to their blueline. The 26-year-old rearguard impressed Kingerski with his play against the Penguins this season, especially on Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel.

Kingerski speculates offering up a second-round draft pick, plus more, could get it done, or perhaps a team could get away with a solid prospect. The New Jersey Devils are also said to be interested in Ristolainen, who wouldn’t object to getting traded.

The Penguins would need to clear some cap space for Ristolainen’s $5.4 million cap hit. However, they could get some relief from the Seattle Kraken in next month’s expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins management made it clear during the season and after the playoffs that they’re looking to add more size and grit to their lineup. Ristolainen could help but they could also have other options in mind.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 20, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 20, 2021

The Blackhawks could have an interest in Jack Eichel, the Coyotes could try to trade Oliver Ekman-Larsson again, and the latest on Matthew Tkachuk in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

LATEST EICHEL SPECULATION

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Chicago Blackhawks are among the clubs with an interest in Jack Eichel, who is expected to be traded by the Buffalo Sabres later this summer. Brooks believes any offer from the Blackhawks for the Sabres captain must include young center Kirby Dach and their first-round pick (11th overall) in this year’s draft.

Other clubs believed to have an interest in Eichel include the Anaheim Ducks, Philadelphia Flyers, Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings and perhaps the New York Rangers. Brooks also reports the Blackhawks are thought to be interested in Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones and Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Dougie Hamilton, who could sign with the Seattle Kraken.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger examined the potential pluses and minuses for the Blue Jackets if they were to acquire Eichel. His neck injury, desire for experimental surgery to treat the condition, $50 million remaining on his contract and the high cost of acquiring him are the drawbacks. The upside, however, is the addition of a hopefully healthy elite 24-year-old superstar center in his playing prime.

Hedger points out the Sabres need goaltenders. The Jackets could include Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo plus two of their three first-round picks in this year’s draft (including the fifth-overall selection) as part of a package offer. It would be surprising, however, if the Jackets parted with that fifth-overall pick.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch is dismissive of speculation suggesting the Senators could pursue Eichel. While they could use him, his $10 million annual cap hit for the next five years plus the Sabres’ high asking price makes no sense for them at this point in their rebuild.

Garrioch instead suggested Anaheim’s Adam Henrique if the Ducks absorb part of his $5.825 million AAV. Henrique has strong chemistry with Senators winger Connor Brown playing for Canada at the recent World Championships. Other options could include Calgary’s Sean Monahan, Montreal’s Phillip Danault, Chicago’s Dylan Strome, Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart and Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks suggests the Blackhawks’ interest in Eichel could be tied to the uncertainty over the health of captain Jonathan Toews, who missed this season battling a mysterious illness. He’s expected to return to action next season but Toews and the Hawks are keeping silent about his condition.

With Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw on permanent long-term injury reserve, the Blackhawks will have nearly $11 million in cap relief if they wish to add a high-salaried player this summer. One can’t fault them for exploring the cost of acquiring Eichel if doubt remains about Toews’ condition. However, recent speculation has tied them to Jones and Hamilton given their need for a top-two defenseman. Those two would be more affordable to acquire than Eichel.

The Jackets have bee been searching for a true first-line center for some time. They have the cap space, those extra first-round picks and the goaltending depth to draw upon as trade bait for an Eichel offer. However, the Sabres could want that fifth-overall pick plus another player or a top prospect included in the deal.

Arizona Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NHL Images).

I agree with Garrioch that it’s nonsense to link the Senators to Eichel. Their young players showed considerable improvement last season. It would be wise to maintain their current pace for another season and see how they develop. The Sens should pursue an experienced center this summer but will likely target more affordable options.

COYOTES ATTEMPTING TO TRADE EKMAN-LARSSON AGAIN

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Arizona Coyotes will try again to trade defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. They attempted to deal their 29-year-old captain last fall but he only agreed to waive his no-movement clause for the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks.

Friedman said the two sides will take a different approach this time. The Coyotes will check the trade market. If they get a suitable offer they’ll bring it to Ekman-Larsson and he can decide if he’s comfortable with it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekman-Larsson’s declining performance and his hefty $8.25 million annual average value for the next six years will make him difficult to move. The Coyotes could be forced to absorb some salary or take back an expensive contract to make this work.

SHOULD THE BLUES PURSUE MATTHEW TKACHUK?

STLTODAY.COM: Ben Frederickson believes the St. Louis Blues should make a pitch for Matthew Tkachuk if the Calgary Flames are crazy enough to trade him. He feels the 23-year-old winger could help the Blues find some of their missing spark with his gritty offensive style of play.

Tkachuk has one year remaining on his current contract worth $7 million and becomes a restricted free agent next summer. Frederickson believes he’d be worth sacrificing Jordan Kyrou’s scoring potential or their first-round pick (16th overall ) in this year’s draft or finding the necessary cap space for a long-term deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames general manager Brad Treliving has indicated he’s going to explore all his options this offseason. That includes possibly trading Tkachuk. So far, however, there’s no indication the young winger’s on the trade block. Most of the Flames trade speculation involves Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

Frederickson is correct in his assessment of the Flames’ expensive asking price for Tkachuk. Nevertheless, there will be teams willing to pay it to get him. The Blues could be among the suitors but they might not win a bidding war for his services.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2021

Could the Coyotes trade Phil Kessel or Oliver Ekman-Larsson this summer? Could the Flyers pursue Jack Eichel? What’s the latest on the Stars and Oilers? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD KESSEL OR EKMAN-LARSSON BE ON THE MOVE THIS SUMMER?

NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen was asked if the Arizona Coyotes could trade Phil Kessel now that Rick Tocchet is no longer their head coach. He believes the Coyotes would’ve done that whether Tocchet remained behind the bench or not. The fact he isn’t their coach anymore suggests they want to build around their younger players and could seek a younger coach to grow with them.

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

Kessel is 33 and is a year away from unrestricted free agent status. If he stays, he could become a rental option for a contending team at the 2022 trade deadline. Trading him could fetch the Coyotes some much-needed draft picks, though he won’t bring in a first-rounder.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan also believes Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong could shop Kessel, speculating the winger could be open to that option. He’s due a $5 million signing bonus on July 1, after which he’s only due $1 million for the remainder of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes could try moving Kessel before July 1 but interested parties will prefer waiting until after then. He’s coming off a solid bounce-back performance and could be a good fit with a contender seeking experienced scoring depth on the wing.

Kessel still carries an eight-team no-trade list. He has a no-movement clause but that’s to ensure he cannot be demoted to the minors or left exposed in the expansion draft.

Morgan was also asked if the Coyotes could attempt to shop Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He’s not sure yet if their captain will expand his no-trade list but knowing the front office wants to move him can’t be a comforting thought. They would have to take back a big salary as Ekman-Larsson is due to earn $10.5 million annually in real salary over the next three years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Never say never, but moving Ekman-Larsson could be more difficult than it was last fall when the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks explored that possibility. His performance has declined over the past three seasons. If a swap of expensive contracts isn’t possible, the Coyotes could be forced to absorb part of his cap hit or attempt to get a third team involved in order to find a creative way to make it work.

COULD THE FLYERS PURSUE EICHEL?

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes the Philadelphia Flyers could be busy during the offseason following their disappointing performance this season. He thinks GM Chuck Fletcher is determined to make this offseason count.

LeBrun can see the Flyers looking into Jack Eichel’s situation with the Buffalo Sabres. He also thinks they could reach out to the Nashville Predators to inquire again about Mattias Ekholm or Ryan Ellis. They could also have interest in Seth Jones if the Columbus Blue Jackets aren’t able to sign the blueliner to a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun believes the Flyers have the young pieces necessary to make a big trade. For me, the sticking point is their cap space.

Cap Friendly shows them with over $69 million invested in 17 players. That’s not much room to take on a high-salaried star such as Eichel unless they’re willing to offer up a young player like Travis Konecny ($5.5 million AAV) or Ivan Provorov ($6.75 million) as part of the package. The other option is finding someone to take an expensive veteran such as Jakub Voracek ($8.25 million AAV) or James van Riemsdyk ($7.14 million) off their hands.

I’m not suggesting such moves are impossible. As we’ve seen in recent years, general managers can find creative ways to move players with hefty contracts. Finding a trade partner will to do so, however, is the hard part.

Predators GM David Poile would probably prefer someone taking expensive underachievers like Ryan Johansen or Matt Duchene off his hands rather than move Ekholm or Ellis. Jones will attract plenty of interest if he doesn’t sign an extension this summer but Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen indicated he’ll still keep him for next season.

UPDATES ON THE STARS AND OILERS

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks recently reported Stars GM Jim Nill didn’t dismiss the idea of adding another scoring forward. He feels his club has the cap space to make that move if the right player can be found.

DeFranks estimates the Stars could have between $4 million and $5 million to work with after re-signing key players such as Miro Heiskanen. They could also have more room if the Seattle Kraken select goalie Anton Khudobin in the expansion draft. He wondered if that would be enough to bring in someone like Mike Hoffman, Blake Coleman or Alex Wennberg.

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell believes the recent rumors suggesting the Oilers could be close to signing Adam Larsson to a new contract could signal the end of Tyson Barrie’s tenure in Edmonton.

Re-signing Larsson, the presence of Ethan Bear and the potential elevation of Evan Bouchard next season would give the Oilers a shutdown defenseman and two right-side puck-passers for under $7 million combined.