NHL Rumors: Predators, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Penguins, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news the Nashville Predators want to make big changes. In Toronto, there is talk about Jason Spezza and a possible trade with the Edmonton Oilers. Finally, in Pittsburgh, what have the Penguins decided to do with the draft pick they own the Minnesota Wild?

Predators to Make Changes

Nashville Predators GM David Poile has noted that he needs to change the makeup of the team and put a different group on the ice next season. During his end of year media availability, Poile told reporters that “it is very clear to me that we need to make some changes.” 

David Poile Nashville Predators
David Poile, Nashville Predators, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Mike Morreale of NHL.com tweets the following quote:

Some players aren’t going to be brought back…We’re not satisfied, and we’re going to make some changes. We have to manage better, John and his staff have to coach better, and players have to play better. 

What changes the team will make should be intriguing to watch. They don’t have a ton of cap space, their best defenseman in Roman Josi will go from being a $4 million cap hit to over $9 million per season and the club has a number of long-term, likely untradeable contracts on the books.

The one thing we do know from Poile’s history as GM is that he’s not afraid to make big trades.

Related: Maple Leafs Eliminated: Did They Miss Kadri’s Passion & Fire?

Jason Spezza Wants to Be Back With Toronto

When speaking to reporters including Luke Fox of Sportsnet about his future, Maple Leafs veteran center Jason Spezza explained that “the fire still burns” and that he hopes to be back in Toronto next season.

The road was bumpy in Toronto at the start of the season and under Mike Babcock, but Spezza wound up being a regular in the bottom-six and scored nine goals and 25 points in 58 games after Babcock left. Considering he’ll make league minimum, it’s not a bad contract to have for the Maple Leafs.

Elliotte Friedman notes that depending on if the Maple Leafs bring Spezza back, they could look at Joe Thornton again.

Friedman also thinks the Leafs could look at adding someone with a bit of bite to their blue line. Names he mentioned were Mark Borowiecki or Radko Gudas.

In other Maple Leafs news, the team announced Filip Kral and Jesper Lindgren have been loaned to HC Prerov and MODO respectively.

Related: Disheartened Oilers Enter Offseason: Four Must-Do’s Going Forward

Oilers and Puljujarvi Not on Same Page

In Edmonton Oilers-related news, Friedman also said that from what’s he’s heard, it sounded like the Oilers thought a signing was close with forward Jesse Puljujarvi. Unfortunately, the winger didn’t seem to think so. A trade is still possible after what sounded like a possible mending of a relationship between the two sides.

Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers
Jesse Puljujarvi (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Friedman mentioned talk of the Oilers and Maple Leafs being a good fit and perhaps Puljujarvi is involved there somehow to replace a forward coming out of the Maple Leafs lineup. Edmonton might not be able to help the Leafs on their blue line as the Oilers don’t have a lot of extra NHL-top-four d-men to trade.

Penguins to Keep 2020 Draft Pick

When the Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated from the play-in rounds, the team had to decide if it was going to give the Minnesota Wild their 2020 first-round pick to complete the Jason Zucker trade, or hand over their 2021 first-round pick instead.Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports the Penguins will in fact keep the 2020 pick and give up their 2021 selection instead.

The risk here is that should the Penguins be awful next season or win the lottery, their 2021 selection is not protected and the Wild would still receive it. 

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