NHL Rumours: Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild

NHL Rumours
TORONTO,ON - JANUARY 8: Cody Ceci #83 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Winnipeg Jets during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on January 8, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Jets defeated the Maple Leafs 4-3 in a shootout. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Welcome back to NHL Rumours with the Last Word on Hockey team. Each day, we publish articles detailing a few of the day’s biggest rumours, providing our analysis for each one. Considering the trade deadline is now just over a month away, the wheels have started turning on potential trades that might occur over the next month. Read on to learn about the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, and Minnesota Wild.

NHL Rumours

Toronto Maple Leafs

Rumour: According to Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts podcast, the Leafs have been getting calls about their pending unrestricted free agent defencemen — including Cody Ceci.

Analysis: Ceci has not made the impact anyone hoped for in Toronto — not even close. In 49 games, Ceci has only seven points, on pace for some of the worst offensive totals of his career. His defensive play has not at all made up for his offensive shortcomings, either, and has just looked out of place most of the time.

That is not good enough for his cap hit of $4.5 million. The good news is, Ceci is a pending unrestricted free agent. It’s good for Toronto if they can’t trade him, and it still makes his deal much easier to move. Ceci can be a dependable player at his best, but he hasn’t hit that at all in Toronto. A deadline change of scenery for Ceci could help shake up the Leafs’ squad, as well as help revive Ceci’s career.

Edmonton Oilers

Rumour: Also in Friedman’s 31 Thoughts, the Oilers are looking into extensions for three forwards: Josh ArchibaldJoakim Nygard, and Riley Sheahan.

Analysis: The Oilers would do well to hold onto any dependable wingers they can find. All three players have shown signs of improvement as of late and should come at very affordable prices. Archibald shouldn’t cost much more than his current $1 million salary-cap hit. He’s only put up 11 points but has been as good defensively as he’s been offensively, and is a good player to have in the bottom of your lineup. Nygard also shouldn’t cost the Oilers much more than a million bucks to retain, and although he’s only put up nine points, he’s played in fewer games and has shown flashes of brilliant speed and skill. Again, he’s a very serviceable player.

If all goes well, Sheahan will play his 500th NHL game this year. He’s been around the block for quite a while, but again, he’s provided solid bottom-of-the-lineup play in Edmonton. None of the three have been outstanding, but any contending team has solid depth locked in for a minimal cap hit. Edmonton seems to be trending in that direction with these plausible extensions.

Minnesota Wild

Rumour: Some prominent Minnesota names have found their way back into trade bait lists: Jason Zucker, common in NHL rumours, and Jonas Brodin, according to The Athletic’s Michael Russo. 

Analysis: If Minnesota slides near the deadline, these trades are no-brainers for them. Zucker and Brodin are both established, capable players on affordable deals that contending teams would be salivating over. Zucker has been injured this season, but still has 27 points in 39 games. Put him with some better offensive talent in a more offensive system, and Zucker could flourish and truly make an impact on another team.

Brodin has been one of the Wild’s best all-around players for years now. The Swedish defenceman has 20 points in 49 games while being an extremely dependable defensive presence. He’s also on pace for the highest offensive totals of his career, driving his value up. He may even garner a higher return than Zucker due to his all-around prowess.

Either way, Minnesota could gain some assets in order to spike this team out of mediocrity further on down the road.

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