Time is ticking away before training camp begins, yet many teams still have things to sort out. This has created a whole swarm of NHL rumours. Today we’ll look at some of these, covering NHL rumours surrounding the Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Philadelphia Flyers.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Allan Mitchell of the Athletic reported that Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland could experience a busy next seven months. In their quest to make the playoffs this season, Mitchell mentioned that they want to add a forward via free agency. Derick Brassard or Thomas Vanek may be among his candidates in the affordable range of UFA’s.
Analysis: Holland will still have the dilemma of what to do with Jesse Puljujarvi, who’s threatened to stay in Europe if he’s not traded before the start of the season. Mitchell mentioned that Holland has a history of extreme patience in these matters. He outwaited Jiri Hudler nearly a decade ago during his tenure as GM of the Detroit Red Wings.
If the Oilers will be sellers at next year’s trade deadline they may look at moving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and/or Adam Larsson, who will become UFA’s in 2021. On the other hand, if Holland becomes a buyer, he could pursue a forward like Florida Panthers Mike Hoffman or the Ottawa Senators Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
Holland has already dealt Milan Lucic to the Calgary Flames in exchange for James Neal, an addition that is expected to pay dividends. While bringing in Neal helps the team at wing, the centre position is still fairly shallow. Holland could look to fix this with a player like Brassard, who has recorded six seasons of over 40 points. While he has struggled in recent years, manning the Oilers second or third line could bring a spark back to Brassard’s game. Brassard is projected to earn as much as $4 million on his next contract, though. This might be too hefty of a price for the Oilers to take on.
Analysis: His doctors agree, and it was poor bad luck that Upshall obtained the injury while on a PTO in Edmonton. The Oilers were interested in seeing what he could still do on the ice. He is now a year older and sustained an injury that required surgery. Leavins was told there won’t likely be another invitation made by the Oilers. That means either Upshall will try to catch on with another NHL team or could just hang it up. He turns 36-years-old in early October. Time will tell.
Rumour: Josh Yohe of the Athletic covered the apparent mutual interest between the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenceman Marcus Pettersson as it pertains to a long-term contract. A deal will be completed soon, per general manager Jim Rutherford. Rutherford did, however, say that cap-shedding deals will likely be needed.
Analysis: With the Penguins being about $157,000 over the cap limit it may not be that easy to accomplish. Most Pittsburgh followers would welcome the team ridding themselves of Jack Johnson, but that seems unlikely to happen. Forwards Nick Bjugstad ($4.1 million annual average value) and Bryan Rust ($3.5 million AAV) frequently surfaced in this summer’s NHL rumour mill.
Petterson had a respectable 2018-19 campaign collecting two goals and 17 assists in 57 games with the Penguins, after being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks for Daniel Sprong. He added six assists in 27 games with the Ducks prior to the trade. Pettersson also has decent possession numbers, totaling a 51.7 CF% and a 3.7 relative corsi. He stands 6′ 3″, and weighs in at 177 pounds. At just 23-years-old, the Swede looks to be in the future of the Pens blueline for years to come. That is, if they can sign him.
Rumour: Charlie O’Connor of the Athletic recently speculated that the Philadelphia Flyers will have eight NHL-caliber defencemen on their blueline once they sign restricted free agent Ivan Provorov. Provorov returning to an already busy defence could mean that Samuel Morin or Robert Hagg may be expendable.
Analysis: The Flyers and Provorov’s camp remain far apart on a contract settlement. They seem to be in a holding pattern awaiting the outcome of comparable contracts like Zach Werenski and Charlie McAvoy. The Flyers take the ice on October 4th in Prague, Czech Republic, and could be doing it without Provorov. While unlikely, the team needs to brace themselves in case of a hold out into training camp, or even into the regular season.
At least trade rumours, which swirled like confetti about Shayne Gostisbehere, have subsided. It’s safe to assume that Gostisbehere is staying in Philadelphia for the time being. While that’s good news, the potential future of Morin or Hagg remains in limbo.
Most NHL teams open the season with 14 forwards and seven defencemen. It’s not uncommon for them to go with 13 forwards and eight D-men.
While Morin does have NHL potential, the likelihood of him starting the year in the AHL is high. He has struggled with injuries since being drafted in 2013 and seemingly needs to find his confidence again. A stint in the AHL could undoubtedly provide this. This could alleviate the defencive log jam for the time being, with Hagg serving as the team’s seventh-man. However, once Morin comes back up to speed, he’ll quickly be deserving of an NHL role. This could mean issues in the future if the Flyers aren’t able to rid themselves of Hagg before Morin’s call-up.