NHL Rumours: Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Vancouver Canucks

NHL Rumours
NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 03: New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen (45) skates during the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the Vegas Golden Knights on December 3, 2019 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

We’ve got two doses of NHL Rumours for you today. News is starting to pick up around the NHL and Last Word on Hockey is here to bring the best possible analysis. This set of rumours focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks.

NHL Rumours

Edmonton Oilers

Rumour: The first of today’s NHL rumours comes from The Athletic’s Allan Mitchell. He looks at the changes that could be coming to the Oilers bottom-nine and if any of the top prospects will be promoted soon.

Analysis: It makes sense that Edmonton would want to try out some new players. They are falling behind in the Pacific Division standings and several of their players have not performed the way the front office probably imagined they would. There are a handful of underperforming players including Joakim Nygard and Brandon Manning.

The Oilers would have a number of younger options if they are successful in shifting some current NHL players off the roster. Josh Currie leads the AHL team in both shots and goals while Tyler Benson has a team-high 19 points. Evan Bouchard is one of the team’s top blueline prospect and has a respectable 14 points in 25 games. Edmonton is struggling to produce offence behind its stars so some of the prospects could be the spark they need.

The Oilers could also trade for a veteran but they have salaries to consider beyond this season. Young players including Darnell Nurse will need new contracts and most of the other expiring contracts are for cheaper players. Younger options in the bottom-nine is a more cost-effective alternative with a higher upside considering how highly some have been drafted.

New Jersey Devils

Rumour: Sportsnet’s 31 thoughts indicate the team heard at least one call asking about Sami Vatanen while working on the Taylor Hall trade talks.

Analysis: This certainly wouldn’t be the first time Vatanen’s name has come up in talks. New Jersey needs defensive prospects but that won’t stop them from moving the 28-year-old before he hits free agency. Vatanen has not played in a full season at any point in his career and has multiple stints on injured reserve in his career.

There were several teams involved in the Hall sweepstakes and it is not clear who might have been asking about him. The Colorado Avalanche could certainly have been one considering the injuries they have suffered this year. Both Erik Johnson and Cale Makar have missed games and are the team’s only right-handed shooting defenders. Vatanen shoots right so while Johnson has returned to action, the Avs might still look to boost their blue line. Vatanen could certainly be an option there with five goals and 14 points in 29 games. Colorado is a much stronger team and could protect Vatanen more effectively than New Jersey. The Devils still have several assets to sell as they continue their rebuild.

Vancouver Canucks

Rumour: Also in 31 Thoughts, Elliott Friedman states that the Canucks are looking to bring Russian defender Nikita Tryamkin back North America.

Analysis: The 6’7″ Tryamkin was a 3rd round pick in the 2014 draft for Vancouver. He played in 79 games between two seasons, scoring three goals and 11 points. He was also an effective physical presence with 145 hits and 87 blocks in 66 games in 2016-17. Tryamkin still isn’t an offensive threat overseas but the Canucks will need someone to play on the penalty kill in 2020-21. He has the sort of frame that teams often seek out for special teams. His size gives him tremendous leverage when blocking shots.

It is unclear if Tryamkin will want to leave Russia after this season but that is what Vancouver is trying to determine. They could sell him on the fact that they are improving and could give him an immediate roster spot. At least one spot could be open on their blue line if they let Oscar Fantenberg walk in free agency. More could open up in place if either Troy Stecher or Chris Tanev depart as well. The game has gotten faster since Tryamkin left but Vancouver clearly sees something in its former draftee. At a minimum, his physical game will translate nicely back in North America.

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