In today’s Rumor Rundown we cover a few teams who might need help in specific positions: the Toronto Maple Leafs and their defense, the Edmonton Oilers and their forward speed and the Golden Knights and their goaltending.
Maple Leafs to Upgrade Blue Line?
Michael Augello of The Sporting News has listed six possible trade options if the Toronto Maple Leafs want to upgrade their blue line corps. They are Anaheim’s Sami Vatanen, Detroit’s Mike Green, Carolina’s Noah Hanifin, Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Vancouver’s Chris Tanev, and Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba.
None of these names seem to be players on the cusp of being moved but most are part of a franchise that has issues in other areas. Some might want to upgrade their forward depth, others clear out pieces and two teams might have no choice with players who may elect to leave on their own accord.
Vancouver and Anaheim could use an upgrade at forward, the Red Wings are rebuilding and the Carolina Hurricanes are stacked on defense. Ekman-Larsson of the Arizona Coyotes might force a trade if he’s unwilling to re-sign and Trouba is a restricted free agent (with arbitration rights) and has a history of being at odds with the Jets regarding his contract.
Some of these pieces are going to be expensive to attain and others won’t likely be available until next summer. Of all the players on this list, Green has the potential to move and impact a roster right away.
Related: Maple Leafs’ Salary Cap Situation
Oilers and Their Forward Speed
One of the surprising teams this season has been the Edmonton Oilers. They’ve disappointed to date and while the defense hasn’t been the major glaring issue, it isn’t exactly where they want it to be.
What the Oilers really need is goal scoring and speed. Outside of a 5-4 victory against the Dallas Stars, the Oilers have not had much luck scoring and their lack of speed outside of Connor McDavid is obvious.
Rumors are already circulating the Oilers are working the phones and willing to trade Jussi Jokinen, Ryan Strome or Anton Slepyshev to get scoring help. General manager Peter Chiarelli overestimated what he had on his roster and how productive they’d be. None of these players at this point have proven to be viable top-six scorers.
It also appears the Oilers will be sending rookie prospect and small forward Kailer Yamamoto back to junior which means the team will be extra short-handed on the right wing if they don’t find a replacement soon. Yamamoto hasn’t scored a goal this season but he’s been dangerous in his appearances for the Oilers.
If the Oilers find themselves really in a pickle, they may choose to sign veteran forward Chris Kelly who was on a tryout with the team and unsigned. He’s still with the club and skating in the hopes of a contract.
Golden Knights Might be Active
Beat writer for the Vegas Golden Knights, Steve Carp, is reporting that while the situation in Vegas involving Vadim Shipachyov is on most people’s mind and he is looking to move on from the organization, the priority for the Golden Knights might be finding a goaltender. With Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban both down to injury, backup Oscar Dansk is doing an admirable job but there is concern that might not last.
Expect the Golden Knights to use some of their excess defenders as trade chips and it shouldn’t come as a surprise is the team offered up Shipachyov as a piece. His contract creates some issues since he’s not an inexpensive player and he has no proven NHL production.
Bob McKenzie is reporting that Shipachyov might be heading back to Russia but that’s not as easy as the Russian prospect simply packing up and leaving. He first needs to return a chunk of that $2 million signing bonus. Both sides have already begun that process.
Sabres Looking at Options
The Fourth Period is reporting there is major frustration growing in Buffalo. Off to a poor 3-7-2 start, the club may be willing to shake things up and that includes potentially moving center Sam Reinhart.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”