NHL Rumor Shootdown: Nugent-Hopkins, Marner Moves Unlikely

On an almost daily basis, the Rumor Rundown looks at the biggest rumors in the NHL. Gathering buzz from some of the media’s most trusted sources, the idea behind the series of speculative posts is to take a closer look at what’s floating around the rumor mill, often leaving critiques for such gossip out of the equation.

In the Rumor Shootdown, we’ll take a look at a handful of the reports posted in the rundown articles, dissect them and give our best assessments as to why they’re not just unlikely, but so improbable, those rumors will potentially fade away in short order.

In the first edition of the Rumor Shootdown, the focus is on two rumors that made the rounds on Monday. The first was a potential trade between the Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers, the second, an offer sheet or trade for Mitch Marner by the San Jose Sharks.

Related – NHL Rumors: Marner, Coyle, Penguins, Bruins, Oilers, More

Rumor: Krug for Nugent-Hopkins

Matt Porter of the Boston Globe wrote an article that was retweeted by Kevin Dupont asking if the Oilers and Bruins might be working on a trade that would include Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Torey Krug. It started because the Bruins had been seen scouting the Oilers versus Calgary Flames game on Sunday and since that sighting, the rumor picked up steam. On Wednesday morning, Dupont tweeted it again after hearing the Oilers leading-minute defenseman Oscar Klefbom was injured in Tuesday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Oilers
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers, Oct. 21, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While there may be some truth to the idea that both teams could be looking for players that offer what Krug might offer the Oilers and what Nugent-Hopkins might offer the Bruins, this particular trade is unlikely at best. In fact, there’s little to no chance the Oilers do this move.

First, if we assume that general manager Peter Chiarelli has the power to make such a trade on his own — which I have on authority from a couple sources who think he no longer does — we have to examine the value of Nugent-Hopkins to the Oilers versus the value lost by not having Nugent-Hopkins with the Oilers.

To Edmonton, Nugent-Hopkins is their third-best offensive weapon — not something you move lightly, especially when the team is struggling to find depth scoring behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. He scored another two goals on Tuesday night as the Oilers beat the Avs and that puts him on pace for close to 80 points and cements him as the Oilers best two-way forward.

Nugent-Hopkins has two additional seasons after this one where he’s under contract at a reasonable cap number and he just showed his leadership when he came out on defended his team against an interview by Andrew Ference that put the Oilers in somewhat of a less-than-stellar light. Simply put, the organization has thought about trading him the past, but now realizes how important he is to the team. Nugent-Hopkins holds incredibly high value to the organization now.

Torey Krug #47 of the Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 23: Torey Krug #47 of the Boston Bruins. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Krug, on the other hand, is an offensive defenseman with some major upside but has only one year left on his deal after this season and could leave Edmonton in search of bigger money in free agency. Krug carries a modified no-move clause that allows him to select eight teams he can refuse a trade to, and, despite Klefbom being out for the next couple weeks, Edmonton doesn’t need another left-shot defenseman — they need a righty.

Adding to the long-shot odds, in the article, Porter suggests throwing in a player like Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Ryan Donato or Danton Heinen. Would the Bruins really move DeBrusk and Krug for Nugent-Hopkins? It doesn’t seem likely.

Related – NHL Rumors: Karlsson, Parayko, Coyotes, More

Rumor: San Jose To Target Mitch Marner

The original rumor that the San Jose Sharks might look to scoop Marner from the Toronto Maple Leafs was started by Paul Gackle of the Mercury news who wrote:

At this point, the assumption is that the Maple Leafs will do everything possible to hang onto Matthews. If that’s the case, the Sharks could take a run at Marner, either through trade or offer sheet. The latter would be costly and require some real finagling.

source – ‘Sharks ramblings: Erik Karlsson, Mitch Marner and a possible Plan B’ – Paul Gackle – The Mercury News – 12/10/2018

While the idea of Marner in a Shark’s jersey seems appealing, the problem with the rumor ever coming to fruition was that a lot of pieces would have to fall ever-so-perfectly into place for that option to become available to the Sharks, many of which are out of their control.

Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calder Trophy
Mitch Marner (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

First, it suggests Erik Karlsson has determined he’s leaving San Jose. While the murmurs he may not be sure what his future holds are likely true, it would be shocking to think he’s decided his long-term plan, let alone given an indication to the Sharks he’s leaving. Without that, San Jose’s top priority will be to re-sign him. Second, it means that the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t figured out a way to keep Marner (something they intend to do).

Marner is a restricted free agent which means the Maple Leafs have control over his contract. He would have to sign an offer sheet if he’s not traded and with the drawn-out process Toronto went through to keep William Nylander in the system, one can only imagine the lengths the Maple Leafs will go so as to not lose Marner. An offer sheet is possible, but not terribly likely and even then, Toronto can match.

This rumor, beyond anything else, was likely just wishful thinking in the face of some whispers Karlsson hasn’t quite fit in with San Jose like many have hoped he would.

For discussion on these rumors and more, check out The Hockey Writers Podcast