In this edition of the Rumor Rundown, we look at how the Jagr signing came to be, if the Edmonton Oilers are looking at adding some depth on their blue line and which NHL teams are most likely to make a trade or sign players in the near future.
How Jagr Became A Flame
The Jaromir Jagr signing was one of the most watched situations in the NHL this summer. After months of waiting, and many wondering just what was taking so long, the situation finally got sorted. Word started to come down Sunday night that Jaromir Jagr was speaking to two teams. The first was the St. Louis Blues and the other was a mystery team who was considered to be serious in respect to their interest. It was later learned that the team in question was the Calgary Flames.
Early Monday morning, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reported the deal was in fact done with Calgary and simply not announced yet. Even with the announcement made official later in the day, there is some holdup over his work visa for Canada and the signing won’t be official until that happens.
Many are suggesting that the Flames had interest a few weeks ago. Most believed that the combination of Jagr not wanting to play in the Western Conference and other teams still potentially out there and interested meant that Jagr to Calgary wasn’t terribly likely.
When it became clear that the Flames were going to need to replace forwards they deemed not quite ready for NHL action and when fewer and fewer suitors showed interest in the veteran forward, Calgary came back to revisit the Jagr talks and things came together quickly.
Jagr is expected to play third-line minutes and the result could be that a player like Troy Brouwer is on the trade block.
Why Not St. Louis?
The St. Louis Blues actually made an offer to Jagr’s camp but were informed by the veteran forward he’d be going a different direction. The Blues seemed to be the team most likely to land the winger and after Robby Fabbri was hit by an injury that would keep him out the entire 2017-18 season and with other injuries to key players, Jagr (or another veteran like Jagr) made sense. The Blues simply waited a couple days too long.
The Blues might have to look at other options including trading for an asset or two.
Oilers To Add A Defenseman?
While some believe the Oilers are done and ready to roll into the regular season with what they have, there is speculation the team might have no choice but to add some blueline depth with veteran Andrej Sekera still recovering from a torn ACL. If question marks are the bottom half of their Oilers defense. Any change might come at the very last moments before the season opens on Wednesday.
If the Oilers do in fact go to market for a defender, look to the Vegas Golden Knights as a trade target for Chiarelli. Everyone knows GM George McPhee is looking to move a blueliner or two and that could mean obtaining an asset on the cheap.
The Oilers may also choose to keep PTO player Chris Kelly. He’s not been lights-out in camp, but he has been reliable and Edmonton may choose to add one veteran center who can kill penalties and offer some potential faceoff skill.
Trades Are Coming
Pierre LeBrun also noted during an interview on TSN 690 that he feels this could be a busy year for trades in the NHL. He noted four teams in particular worth keeping an eye on.
His candidates for busiest teams are the Montreal Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues. The Blues are decimated with injuries and LeBrun feels they need to do something to stay above water. Montreal has cap space and the Kings and Sharks both have GM’s who are willing to make moves and one (Blake in Los Angeles) who wants to get himself on the map and make his mark.
Signings Coming Too
Bob McKenzie of TSN tweeted that he believes a couple more signings might be coming down the pipe. Both Cody Franson and Alex Chiasson should get deals coming out of their camp tryouts. There is no guarantee either will sign with their respective tryout clubs, but it’s looking as though that will be the case.
Not 100% certain but seems more likely than not that Cody Franson (CHI) and Alex Chiasson (WSH) will (eventually this week) sign NHL deals.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 2, 2017
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.”