NHL Rumors: Oilers, Maple Leafs, Wild, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown there is an update out of Edmonton as it pertains to Jesse Puljujarvi and for the Oilers. For Oilers fans, the news is not good. The Toronto Maple Leafs also got what many will consider bad news when they received Mitch Marner’s counteroffer to an eight-year contract extension. There is news the Calgary Flames might have interest in a former Oilers defenseman. Finally, in Minnesota, one forward was approached directly by ownership to clear the air.

Puljujarvi Finally Speaks on Situation in Edmonton

To date, the friction between the Edmonton Oilers and forward Jesse Puljujarvi has mostly been told through Puljujarvi’s agent Markus Lehto. Reports are now being made public of comments Puljujarvi himself told a Finnish news outlet.

Edmonton Oilers Jesse Puljujarvi Buffalo Sabres Vladimir Sobotka
Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi and Buffalo Sabres forward Vladimir Sobotka (Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports)

Speculation was that new Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland’s unwillingness to move the player for peanuts was finally sinking in and that Puljuarvi might find his way back to Edmonton to start the season. That seems unlikely now considering Puljuarvi’s comments stating he won’t come back to North America without a new NHL deal.

Puljujarvi took part in a charity game in his hometown of Oulu, Finland and spoke with the media. Finnish sports reporter Jouni Nieminen translated his comments as follows:

I want a new start with some other team. Playing in North America is still my goal. I will stay in Oulu until I have a contract. I will find a place to play somewhere.

Could this mean that Puljujarvi is not coming back? The comments will certainly get some of the Oilers fan base riled up and Holland certainly won’t be keen on doing him any favors if he’s coming across as entitled. He can’t return to the NHL if he’s not traded or signed by Edmonton so Europe becomes a legitimate option if this is how Puljuarvi is feeling.

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Flames Interested in Petrovic?

Jim Matheson of The Edmonton Journal tweeted that he’s heard that the Calgary Flames could have some interest in right-handed defenseman Alex Petrovic.

Petrovic split the 2018-19 NHL season between the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers but was not terribly productive. He played in only 35 games and when not dealing with injuries was often a healthy scratch.

Wild Organization Reached Out to Zucker

Part of a number of trade rumors over the past year, Jason Zucker was apparently approached by Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leopold and told directly about Paul Fenton’s firing as GM. This isn’t something that happens very often in the NHL.

Jason Zucker
Jason Zucker (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While superstars might be in on big decisions, Zucker was hardly considered an elite talent. That said, being in the rumor mill so often, Leopold probably felt he owed it to Zucker to directly discuss their decision to remove Fenton.

Jessi Pierce of NHL.com quoted Zucker’s response:

“Names get floated out there all the time, and I’m glad the trades didn’t happen. It’s always something. If it happens once, it’s in the back of your mind for a bit; if it happens twice, it’s really in the back of your mind, and it was definitely something at the forefront of my life for the last while.

Whether you agree or disagree with it, he felt those were moves that would make the team better, and ultimately Craig disagreed and didn’t like what was happening and decided to go in another direction.”

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Marner Seeking Highest Bridge Deal in NHL History

James Mirtle of The Athletic writes that Mitch Marner is not interested in a long-term contract extension with the Maple Leafs. This is not new information as it’s been widely reported he does not want to give away too many years of unrestricted free agency. What hasn’t been reported is the speculated counter Marner made to the Maple Leafs after they offered him eight years at more than $10 million per season.

Toronto Maple Leafs Mitch Marner
Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitch Marner (Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

Mirtle writes that Marner came back to the Leafs asking for the richest bridge contract in NHL history. He writes:

They apparently countered with three years at around a $10-million annual value, which would be the richest bridge deal in NHL history – by quite a bit. (Consider that Nikita Kucherov’s three-year bridge back in 2016 was for just under $4.8-million AAV.)

source – ‘Mirtle: Where the Mitch Marner negotiations are at – and why they’re holding up so many other RFAs’ – James Mirtle – The Athletic – 08/02/2019

Mirtle later says in the article that, “Marner’s camp simply has no intention of working off non-Matthews comparables here.”

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