Welcome back to your Thanksgiving edition of NHL Rumours from Last Word on Hockey. With the NHL season now starting week two, teams are getting a general idea of how competitive they will be as well if there are some tweaks that need to be made. Although it is still early, some team’s slow starts are sparking some new NHL rumours. Today we have NHL rumours from the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers.
All NHL Rumours come from their original sources and are subject to change.
New Jersey Devils
Rumour: During the second intermission of the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, Elliott Friedman stated that due the Devils slow start, some people are starting to wonder how patient the Devils will be with Taylor Hall. Friedman thinks that GMs will start calling wondering about the availability of Hall. Hall is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Chris Johnston adds that there has not been a whole lot of contract talk lately. However, an extension could be dependant on the outcome of the season.
The season hasn’t started according to plan for the @NJDevils, but despite the slow start the team is practicing patience with how they handle pending marquee free agent Taylor Hall.https://t.co/wJzrIjzo0v
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 13, 2019
Analysis: The Devils start is rather surprising given the changes they made to their roster in the off-season. The Devils signed Wayne Simmonds, as well as traded for P.K. Subban and Nikita Gusev. They also selected Jack Hughes with the first overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. Given the number of high-quality players added, one would think that they would be off to a better start. However, the Devils are having trouble putting the puck in the net, as well as keeping it out of theirs. They are currently a -14, only scoring nine goals in their first five games. This surely is leaving a sour taste in the team’s mouth and hurts their chances of keeping Hall.
However, it is early. The Devils have been the opponent to three club’s home openers. This surely gives the home team some extra motivation going into the game. However, poor play can not be denied. Hall has made it clear that he wants to compete for a Stanley Cup now. Ray Shero tried to put the pieces in front of Hall to show him that they are ready to compete. So far, he has come up short in the early going. If the Devils do not turn their fortunes around, we could be seeing Hall moved out of New Jersey before the trade deadline.
Rumour: Another hit during the Hockey Night in Canada segment. Friedman states he spoke with Penguins GM Jim Rutherford regarding the team looking to move out a defenceman. Rutherford says that he is not really excited by anything that is out there on the market. The club will most likely just ride out the injuries to their current players and stick with what they got. That is unless something changes in the market. However, Friedman says that teams are asking about the Penguin’s first-round pick and says that according to Rutherford, he will not be willing to move it.
Analysis: The Penguins have the injury bug to open the season as the club is currently without Evgeni Malkin, Nick Bjugstad and Alex Galchenyuk. However, the club hasn’t missed a beat as they are now on a three-game winning streak. As long as this keeps up, Rutherford does not have to push the panic button.
Hearing that Rutherford is not willing to move a first-round pick should not come as a surprise. The Penguins star players are now all over 30 and the club does not have a whole lot of talent in the pipeline. They need to start keeping their first-round picks now to restock the cupboards. The Penguins have only made two first-round selections since the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. One of which was Kasperi Kapanen, who the club later traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Phil Kessel. Now that the careers of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are winding down, it’s time to try to find some new talent to fill their positions in the coming years.
Analysis: This situation hurts the Oilers as Puljujarvi is in no rush to come back to the league. So it is up to the Oilers to figure out if they want to try to get something for him now to help their playoff chances this year. Or, they can just let him stay in Finland for the year.
Either way, its a comfortable position for Puljujarvi. He is currently leading his team in points with five goals and 11 points in 11 games and seems to be gaining confidence to get his game back. This could, however, be good news for the Oilers. His play should improve his trade value, which was extremely low given the circumstances and his play in the NHL thus far.
Puljujarvi is a promising young player and has all the tools to become a quality top six NHL’er. However, he needs a change of scenery. It’s up to the Oilers now to find a suitable trade partner that works for them.
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