In today’s NHL rumor rundown there is news on Andrei Markov and which teams he might be reaching out to in terms of finding NHL employment this coming season. There is a sense that GM Jarmo Kekalainen is growing concerned with how long it’s taking to get a deal done with Zach Werenski and there is speculation surrounding Nikolaj Ehlers out of Winnipeg. Finally, did Leon Draisaitls comments on Jesse Puljujarvi relay a sense of what the team is thinking about his standing with the team?
Potential Landing Spots for Markov
We recently reported that Andrei Markov hired new representation in an effort to get a role on an NHL club this season. Eric Engels of Sportsnet reports that there have been around five teams who have already checked in as Allan Walsh of Octagon Hockey tries to do his magic.
Walsh says Markov is looking for a one-year deal and is willing to play anywhere in the NHL. Meanwhile, Jared Clinton of The Hockey News writes that there may be five potential teams that could/should consider signing Markov.
A reunion in Montreal doesn’t seem likely, but it’s where Markov would like to finish his career, the New Jersey Devils could consider a reunion with P.K. Subban and the Calgary Flames might be looking for an experienced blueliner to fill in for Juuso Valimaki. The other two teams are the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers.
Related: Emptying the Blue Jackets Notebook
Frustration Building in Columbus?
Outside of a calculated risk at last year’s trade deadline that didn’t pay off for the Columbus Blue Jackets and has created some pressure on GM Jarmo
Kekalainen, there is added frustration this offseason when it comes to Zach Werenski.
Like so many other RFA’s, Werenski doesn’t seem close to a deal with the Blue Jackets and Kekalainen is starting to get concerned about team chemistry issues. The GM told ESPN’s Greg Wyshysnki he’s focused on Werenski’s deal. Wyshysnki quotes Kekalainen when he writes:
The real frustration for me [is when it] drags on into training camp, because that’s a time for ‘team’… They start preparing and jelling and building that chemistry that we need as a team. When it goes to training camp time, it takes away from that preparation. It takes away from the team. That’s what I’m concerned about. And that’s where we’ve drawn the hard line before: We don’t believe in taking that preparation time away from the team. We think it should be resolved before the team gets together and gets ready for the season.
Whether or not Columbus can get Werenski to do what no other restricted free agents seem to be doing is unclear but it doesn’t sound like the two sides are all that close.
Ehlers Trade Speculation
Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun writes that trade speculation doesn’t seem to be leaving when it comes to the future of Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers. His name comes up often in the rumor mill this offseason and there are reports the Jets have/had been shopping him around the league.
Billeck believes that trading Ehlers would be regrettable and writes:
Despite his playoff numbers — no goals now in 21 games — Ehlers, 23, is a proven production commodity that would be an asset in any team’s top six. His contract is pretty team-friendly, especially if some of the good things he does on the ice end up generating more on the scoresheet as his career progresses.source – ‘Why trading Nikolaj Ehlers would be a regrettable move’ – Scott Billicheck – The Winnipeg Sun – 08/28/2019
Teams connected to Ehlers include the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres.
Reading Between Lines of Draisaitl’s Comments?
Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl was asked about his take on the Jesse Puljujarvi situation and said he wasn’t the best person to comment on it but his impression of the situation is that Puljujarvi doesn’t want to be on this team anymore.
Some fans and media are trying to read between the lines to suggest these comments note there’s not a healthy appetite to have Puljujarvi be part of the solution in Edmonton and that his teammates aren’t terribly sad that things have gone down the way they have.
Some of the media in Edmonton has gone as far as to say Puljujarvi never quite fit and that if his attitude were to change he’d be welcome back, but as of now, his going to Finland might be best for everyone.
Leon, of course, didn’t say this outright and said everyone wants players to pan out and contribute but there seemed to be a sense of frustration in his response that Puljujarvi didn’t want to play with his teammates.
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.”