NHL Rumors: Trouba, Neal, Penguins, Oilers, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are some updates on the Pittsburgh Penguins including Matt Cullen and his playing future, the Edmonton Oilers have invited on GM candidate in for a second interview and is Jacob Trouba done in Winnipeg and James Neal finished in Calgary?

Quick Penguins Rumors

Jason Mackey is reporting that Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cullen might retire from the NHL. Cullen said he will talk things over with his family before deciding.

Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Part of Cullen’s uncertainty is his age but also the questions surrounding changes to the team.

As per the Penguins official Twitter account, GM Jim Rutherford said when asked about the off-season plan, “We are still a bit emotional with how this ended. The best thing for me is to take a little time to think through this… Some big decisions will be made. Obviously, there will be changes in our team.”

There are some worried in Pittsburgh that the emotion of a four-game loss could lead to rash decisions and Rutherford intends to make changes but doesn’t want to make mistakes.

Related: NHL Rumors: Lightning, Penguins, Bobrovsky, More

Mark Hunter Get Second Interview With Oilers?

While Ken Holland has pulled out of the running for the job of general manager for the Edmonton Oilers, the team continues its search in other places and at least one candidate has received a second interview.

According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Mark Hunter is the leading candidate right now but the Oilers are still waiting to speak with other candidates including someone overseas taking in the U18 World Championship. The Oilers have a few people they’d still like to interview.
Names like Vegas Golden Knights AGM Kelly McCrimmon, Los Angeles Kings AGM Mike Futa and interim Oilers GM Keith Gretzky have not been ruled out.

Related: NHL Rumors: Cooper, Canucks, Penguins, More

Jacob Trouba Done in Winnipeg

The Jets loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday was disappointing for a number of reasons but one is that it could have meant the final game for defenseman Jacob Trouba. At least, if you ask, Ken Campbell.

Jacob Trouba – Winnipeg Jets vs Philadelphia Flyers – November 17, 2016 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kyle Connor, Brandon Tanev, and Patrik Laine need to get new deals done. The team also needs to find a more permanent second-line center instead of always renting one at the trade deadline.

While Tyler Myers could stay or test free agency, it still makes getting Trouba tied in to another deal tricky.

Related: NHL Rumors: Holland, Yzerman, Penguins, More

Flames Have a Decision to Make on James Neal

With the struggles of the Calgary Flames versus the Colorado Avalanche, the questions in Calgary surround a few players. One of those players is James Neal, who was a healthy scratch in Game 5 and had the worst professional season of his hockey career.

Calgary Flames James Neal
Calgary Flames left wing James Neal (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

The question will now be what the Flames should do with Neal? A buyout would cost the team more than $15 million dollars in real money and while the $1.92 million cap hit that went along with it isn’t huge, it would extend into 2026-27. They could look to trade him but that would mean taking back a terrible contract in return or they could hope his game rebounds.

NHL insiders wondered if there would be Neal for Phil Kessel speculation but others will suggest that’s far too generous from a Penguins perspective. Instead, some will suggest a Milan Lucic for Neal deal is more in the realm of possible.

Related: THW Podcast – Ep. 19 – NHL Playoffs: Leafs & Lightning Down in Four