NHL Rumours: Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, and More

NHL Rumours headliner Kris Russel skates around.
SAN JOSE, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Kris Russell #4 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on February 10, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

The NHL Rumours are still churning away. Last Word On Hockey has you covered. We’re collecting them up and breaking them down! For today’s edition of NHL Rumours, we’re focusing on the Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, and Minnesota Wild.

All NHL Rumours are subject to change and taken from the original source.

NHL Rumours

Edmonton Oilers

Rumour: David Staples of the

Edmonton Journal writes that the Oilers could be open to trading Kris Russell or Matt Benning for a forward.

Analysis: The Oilers organization hasn’t made a big splash since the start of free agency. They have roughly $3.9 million in cap space, and the team could make a substantial move in the near future.

Edmonton needs to build up its forward group around Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. But with their cap situation, snagging the desired target might require some additional compensation sent the other way. Possibly a non-first round pick?

In their quest to add some new talent, the Oilers are cued up to move out some of their defence. Word is the club is shopping Russell or Benning. Russel comes with a $4 million cap hit and a modified no-trade clause. That makes Benning the easier piece to let go of. But losing Benning means Russel could likely take on extra minutes. With his poor play as of late, that scenario isn’t exactly desirable for Edmonton. The same goes for the flip side of the coin. Benning has been equally as poor and wouldn’t make for a great top-line candidate in the case that Russel, who averaged 20 minutes a game last year, was moved.

Either way, the fact remains that the Oilers need scoring help. They need to add some playmaking wingers and take some of the pressure off McDavid and Draisaitl’s shoulders. Could they land someone like Cody Eakin, Nick Bonino or Andrew Copp?

The Vegas Golden Knights are in a cap crisis, so whether they’re in the market for anyone is yet to be seen. The Nashville Predators just lost P.K. Subban, so they could be looking out for a cheap defenseman. Regardless, Oilers fans are waiting for some good news, so the organization needs to deliver.

Edmonton Oilers

Rumour: The NHL Rumours don’t end in Edmonton. TSN.ca reports that Jesse Puljujarvi‘s agent Markus Lehto has doubled down on his request for a trade.

Analysis: At this stage of the game, it sounds like Puljujarvi is vying for his ticket out of Edmonton. We’ve been hearing rumblings that he’s been unsatisfied with the Oilers for several months now.

The organization’s light overhaul has done nothing to persuade Puljujarvi to stay. Changes in the front office did little to appease the young forward. He has bounced between the NHL and AHL for the past three seasons and has registered just 37 total points across 136 NHL games.

Whether his struggle to break through at the NHL level was due to the environment in Edmonton won’t be proven unless he ships out. His unsuccessful last season ended with double hip surgery, and it looks like there’s no love lost between him and General Manager Ken Holland.

Lehto has stated multiple times that Puljujarvi just doesn’t gel with the organization. Edmonton is primed and ready to make some positive roster changes, but Puljujarvi is likely on his way out.

Despite the months of trade rumours, a Puljujarvi deal hasn’t been completed. To some, this may come as quite a surprise. Puljujarvi has excellent potential despite a lackluster start to his career. Sources claim the lack of a trade might be related to Milan Lucic. Reports came out that the Los Angeles Kings were interested in acquiring Puljujarvi but were driven away by Holland’s demand for the Kings to take on Lucic’s horrible contract.

Montreal Canadiens

Rumour: For our next NHL Rumour, we’ll go to the Canadiens. Eric Engels of Sportsnet.ca says the fanbase should not expect General Manager Marc Bergevin to pony up any top-tier offer sheets.

Analysis: Remember when we all heard “offer sheet” for this first time this offseason? And remember when, approximately 12 seconds later, we all simultaneously sighed because we knew without a doubt the Carolina Hurricanes would match it? Well, this explains that.

Bergevin was banking that Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon wouldn’t put up the bonus money in the front-loaded contract. Unfortunately, the Canes organization was willing to do so, and Sebastian Aho remains in North Carolina.

Bergevin prefers to keep his focus on the players at hand, rather than to offer what he views as higher compensation and the additional four first-round picks. The club has $7.46 million in cap space left, and three players who will engulf most of that after arbitration.

It’s safe to say the Canadiens are motivated to improve their roster. They’ve added Nick Cousins and Ben Chiarot. They were hunting Matt Duchene, and obviously Aho. So the team might not be done wheeling and dealing. But top-tier offer sheets seem to be out of the realm of possibilities, and Bergevin gave some valid reasons why. Let’s accept it.

Vancouver Canucks

Rumour: Iain MacIntyre wrote on Sportsnet.ca that the Canucks should look into shedding Loui Eriksson‘s contract.

Analysis: Eriksson’s six-year, $36 million contract is atrocious. That payday has garnered the Canucks 76 points from the winger in 196 games with the team. Vancouver is looking to turn the corner and become a contender. Paying fourth-line player a chunk of cash like that is insane. It’s certainly not going to do the team any favors.

From the sound of things during this offseason, the Vancouver front office is none too happy with Eriksson, to begin with. He’s virtually gone MIA. General Manager Jim Benning repeatedly stated he has had no contact with the forward. There were some reports of bad blood between Eriksson and head coach Travis Green.

On top of all that, the Canucks still need to lock up Brock Boeser, who is deserving of more than the $5.6 million cap space the team has remaining. Vancouver is looking like they’re heading for the cap ceiling pretty quickly. Eriksson hasn’t completely crashed and burned yet. He could still be a viable commodity to a team looking for some help on the penalty kill and maybe even some muscle. But who would take on that egregious contract?

Minnesota Wild

Rumour: Michael Rosso of The Athletic mentioned on theĀ podcast TalkNorth that the Wild explored trading Greg Pateryn.

Analysis: This feels a little contradictory. General Manager Paul Fenton declared he is done making moves during the free agency period. But with defenceman Pateryn sitting on the third-pairing and milking $2.25 million for another two seasons, it’s not shocking to hear he’d ship him out.

He’s 29 and just had a career low season, looking lackluster in his first-year with Minnesota. In his 2017-18 season with the Dallas Stars, he posted a career high of 13 points, six more than he recorded last year. Right-handed defensemen are a hot commodity right now. If Minnesota can sell it that Pateryn is poised for a bounce back, they may have a chance to get rid of him.

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