As we get closer to training camps, NHL rumours are still popping up on a daily basis and Last Word on Hockey is here to report them. Teams are yet to sign big free agents and their futures remain uncertain. Today we will cover NHL rumours concerning the Winnipeg Jets, Los Angeles Kings, and the Edmonton Oilers.
All NHL Rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
Patrik Laine had some interesting comments about his situation in Winnipeg 😳 pic.twitter.com/NgkFDCgbBe
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 17, 2019
Analysis: The reason Laine feels this way is that he says contract talks regarding him have not been happening all summer. That would make any NHL player wonder what his future will be, especially if it’s the only team he’s played for in his NHL career.
He’s even gone as far as to say he’s confident he’ll be playing ‘somewhere’ next season. Of course, the Jets are playing it close to the vest since this is how the negotiating merry-go-round works. Each side wants what they want, and doesn’t really give a flying hockey puck (to some degree) about the other sides’ wants or needs.
According to Johnston Laine stated, “Well you never know. It’s still business, you’ve got to be prepared for anything. But yeah, you never know where you’re going to play next year so I’m just prepared for anything.”
The Jets still must also sign Kyle Connor who combined with Laine collected 64 goals last season. Obviously, the team wants both young players signed. But, what will it take to get it done? The Jets just can’t afford to lose any more pivotal players after already seeing Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers, Ben Chiarot and Brandon Tanev leave the roster.
The Jets not signing Laine would be quite embarrassing. He was the second overall pick in the 2016 Entry Draft. Laine has contributed 110 goals since he joined the Winnipeg club, and he did it all before his 21st birthday.
While Laine works on his skating this summer to round out his game further, he’s still unsure of where exactly he will be playing.
NHL Rumours: Los Angeles Kings
Analysis: It looks like Blake will have his hands full attempting to transform the Kings back into a contender again. Players like Tyler Toffoli, Trevor Lewis, Kyle Clifford, and Derek Forbort will be looking for new contracts next season. That is unlikely to happen, so Blake must consider how to move them out by the trade deadline.
James O’Brien of NBC Sports thinks the possibility of trading goalie Jonathan Quick will be much more attractive after this season when his salary will drop to $3.5 million from its current $5.8 million price. His salary will dip even further (but so may his playing ability) in 2021-22 when it goes down to $3 million. Finally, in 2022-23 it decreases another $500K.
O’Brien also thinks the interest level of Martinez and Toffoli could be an attractive motivation to move them by the trade deadline. The big contracts for Jeff Carter, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Dustin Brown will make it difficult to move them.
Blake could wait to see how his new head coach Todd McLellan does turning things around before he takes action. If Quick can stay healthy and play like his old self then that will buy some time.
Toffoli would make a good rental player and Martinez may attract interest from clubs needing some blueline depth.
All in all, Blake may be playing “let’s make a deal” more than he wishes once the season begins and he’s not getting the expected results.
Rumour: NBC Sports, Adam Gretz covers the everlasting unanswered questions of the Edmonton Oilers.
— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) August 12, 2019
Analysis: The Oilers have issues. Who can provide depth scoring behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl? What can be done about their less than impressive defence? Can Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith manage to keep the puck out of the net on a regular basis?
Gretz believes it’s only a matter of time (please let it happen) until unhappy winger Jesse Puljujarvi is traded. He also ponders if forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or defenceman Oscar Klefbom will hit the trade market this season.
General manager Ken Holland has done some positive things since taking over at his new job. I mean he did manage to unload Milan Lucic and that’s commendable. James Neal may fit well into the Oilers scheme of things.
As far as Puljujarvi goes, Holland will more than likely call his bluff. After all, he could let him play in Finland this season and revisit contract talks or move him in a trade next summer if need be.
So, the story of the Oilers may be a slow, long difficult journey to get back to the playoffs. I hope head coach Dave Tippett has some extra aspirin on his bench. He may need it.