When it comes to the Oilers, there haven’t exactly been a lot of rumours to discuss recently. That is obviously going to change over the next few months as we begin to inch closer and closer to the trade deadline.
Yesterday, we were finally given something to debate as TSN’s Ryan Rishaug sent out a thread of tweets in regards to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Trade deadline a few months away, am told at this point there has been no resumption in talks between the Oilers and RNH camp. Talks broke off abruptly before the season and its been radio silence since then. RNH has made it clear he wants to remain an Oiler long term…./
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) February 17, 2021
If you’re an Oilers fan who wants to see Nugent-Hopkins remain an Oiler for a very long time, then the news that his camp and the team haven’t been talking lately is obviously not a good sign. However, there are still reasons to be optimistic that a deal will get done though.
Almost every time an insider talks about these negotiations, they add in the fact that the player wants to stay in Edmonton, his teammates want him to stay around, and the organization wants to have Nugent-Hopkins back. It’s simply a money issue, which makes sense considering the calibre of player we’re talking about.
One thing that needs to be considered here is this: if you let Nugent-Hopkins walk, how much will it cost to replace him?
He’s a top-line winger, who’s good on both the powerplay and penalty kill, and we know that Connor McDavid likes playing with him. If you’re not willing to give Nugent-Hopkins $6.5-7.0 million, then who are you willing to pay that much?
I think these two sides will find a way to get a deal and honestly, I’m still holding out hope that it gets done before the trade deadline. This will continue to be a conversation until we get some more substantial news.
CHANGES COMING IN NASHVILLE?
Things are not going well in Nashville. The team is just 6-9-0 this year and isn’t looking like anything close to a playoff team. Pierre LeBrun said on TSN that the Predators are likely going to be sellers and pretty much every insider has said something along those lines.
On this Monday’s episode of “The DFO Rundown” Frank Seravalli said that he believes the organization might need to make some big changes. That leads me to believe that some core pieces could become available.
LeBrun did also say that teams are hoping Matthias Ekholm becomes available and he says, there’s a chance that the Predators do consider moving him if the return is right. If they’re willing to make Ekholm, then there probably aren’t too many players who will be considered ‘safe’ from their roster tear down.
Ekholm is a really good defensemen on a great contract. He’s under contract for next season at a cap hit of just $3.75 million. A contending team would likely give up a lot to get him at this years deadline.
Friedman said in his ‘31 Thoughts’ blog this week that Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen had both been made available in the past and if the Preds decide to go into a rebuild, one could assume that they would be made available once again. Of course, both of those players have big contracts which would make a trade tough.
In terms of what could happen in the near future, both LeBrun and Friedman said that players like Mikael Granlund, Nick Cousins, and Erik Haula could likely be moved.
When it comes to teams that could need a shake-up, Seravalli also mentioned the San Jose Sharks as a team that might need to make some big changes. They’re currently 6-7-1 this season and they have a lot of aging players on really bad contracts. That’s a situation to keep an eye on.
- Last week, I mentioned that Elliotte Friedman said the Leafs had an interest in a “mystery forward” and this week in his ‘31 Thoughts’ he said Mikael Granlund was that forward. He added that the Leafs had their eyes on in him during the offseason.
- TSN’s Darren Dreger said that there are teams interested in Canucks forward Jake Virtanen, who has another year left on a deal that pays him $2.55 million. With the flat cap, Dreger said that Virtanens salary could make things tough. He added that the Canucks want a young forward in return.
- The NHL has reportedly already started working on next year’s schedule and has asked clubs for their building availability dates.
- Friedman said that he doesn’t believe Marc-Andre Fleury is available anymore. He’s having a great year with a 1.56 GAA and a .937 SV% through nine starts.
- Friedman also once again brought up the idea of the NHL having round one of the 2021 Draft this June and the other rounds in June 2022.
- Bruce Garrioch speculated that the Senators could make Logan Brown available. I expect Ottawa to be very busy between now and the April 12 trade deadline.