With the NHL Entry Draft and Free Agency fast approaching we are back with a load of NHL Rumours. These rumours are taken everyday and meant to bring the latest information and analysis. So, let’s get into the Thursday NHL Rumours. Today we look at the Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights, and Washington Capitals.
NHL Rumours – Thursday
Rumour: We start off NHL Trade rumours in Edmonton where TSN’s Darren Dreger has reported that Jesse Puljujarvi wants to be traded. Dreger said on TSN Radio that playing in Europe would be an option for Puljujarvi if a trade is not made.
Jesse Puljujarvi has made it clear to the Edmonton Oilers he wants to be traded. He wants a fresh start to his young NHL career. It’s believed the Oilers are willing to accommodate, but won’t give him away and intend on being patient in finding a right fit.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 19, 2019
Analysis: This has been reported more than once since the end of the regular season, however, this seems to be the first time it is more than just speculation. For the first time we see that Puljujarvi is demanding a trade. This really puts the Oilers in a tough spot. New general manager Ken Holland can’t afford to get fleeced on a deal here.
The Oilers need NHL ready talent but they can’t settle for a bottom-six player. Holland needs to find a team desperate enough to take a risk on Puljujarvi’s talent if he wants to salvage this situation. If not, this could be yet another high pick wasted for the team.
They do have the option to just sit and wait if they don’t like the offer. However, one would think they would want to move Puljujarvi and have someone playing for the team.
Vegas Golden Knights
Chris Johnston on SN960 says based on his knowledge and his gut feel that Vegas will trade one of Pacioretty or Stastny in the next few days to clear cap space.
— James (@Account4hockey) June 19, 2019
Analysis: This is a bit of a bombshell as those two paired with Mark Stone as the Knights best line in the playoffs. However, the Knights are right up against the cap and have a bunch of players to sign. William Karlsson, Malcolm Subban, and Nikita Gusev are the biggest restricted free agent names.
The Knights just traded quite the package for Pacioretty last season and gave him a new contract. They also gave Stastny his contract last summer. Giving up on either of these players after just one season is a bit of a surprise. However, the Knights clearly feel they need long-term cap room and one of these two contracts can be taken off the books in order to provide some.
Logic would dictate that Statsny would fetch more given that he is a centre and but Pacioretty would be sure to fetch a decent return as well.
New York Islanders
Analysis: Islanders fans will be glad to hear this as it could give more confidence that they won’t lose their captain to free agency two summers in a row. The Isles got Jordan Eberle‘s new contract done last week. They will now try to sign their 28-year-old captain to an affordable deal. Lee is coming off a bridge contract that paid him just under $4 million AAV.
With three straight 50+ point seasons it is no doubt he will be looking for a raise. The question becomes how much can the Isles afford? They still have a solid $21 million in cap space but also have five restricted free agents to sign between this season and next. One of those RFA is Mathew Barzal, who will no doubt get a big payday.
They also have to figure out what is happening in net with Robin Lehner having a standout season and becoming an unrestricted free agent. Managing cap space will be crucial for the Isles, and Lee’s new contract will be a big part of that.
Washington Capitals NHL Rumours
— RMNB (@russianmachine) June 19, 2019
Analysis: The Capitals drafted Johansson and he played parts of seven seasons there. He was loved by almost all, however, the two sides had to move on due to a cap crunch. This is also why the reunion seems unlikely. Johansson will want and has earned a big raise while the Capitals sit at just under $10 million in cap space but have a number of contracts that need to be signed.
The Caps made a solid move picking up a cheaper Radko Gudas for Matt Niskanen, but the cap crunch will continue into next year. It seems unlikely with all the roster management this team has to do that they will be able to lock up Johansson in free agency for anything more than a year or two.
If Johansson is willing to take a short-term deal a return could be possible. However, given his injury history, it would make sense for him to hold out for a longer deal. After all, Kypreos only reported that the Caps want to take a run at him, not that a deal will happen.
That wraps up today’s NHL Rumours. Tune in every day for more and tune in all weekend for great draft coverage.