In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Edmonton Oilers are looking for a right shot defenseman. Will they sign someone or offer a PTO? Sean Couturier talked about his new deal and seems to hint that he took a team-friendly discount to make an extension work with the Philadelphia Flyers. Will the Montreal Canadiens match the offer sheet from the Carolina Hurricanes and did Jesperi Kotkaniemi sign it for the money or because he’s upset with the team? Finally, would it make sense for the San Jose Sharks to buy out Evander Kane?
Oilers Looking for Depth
The Oilers are believed to be looking for a right-shot defenseman that move up and down between the NHL and AHL, writes Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal. Outside of big blue line changes to the top six , Edmonton’s depth is a bit limited when it comes to their minor league system, thus the team is either looking at another low-cost signing or going the Professional Tryout route.
“…so having someone with some NHL experience that can play on the third pairing when needed while being able to clear waivers and worth with their prospects would certainly be beneficial. It’s getting close to the time where PTO agreements will start to be signed and it wouldn’t be surprising to see if this is how the Oilers try to fill this spot.”source – ‘The biggest battles shaping up ahead of Edmonton Oilers training camp: 9 Things’ – Kurt Leavins – 08/29/2021
There is still time for the Oilers to add this piece, but Leavins writes free agents might be getting nervous. He notes, “with camps under a month away, their bargaining power is dropping by the day. We shall see.”
As for what’s happening with a player like Alex Chiasson, Leavins said he could still return but there have been no developments on any potential deal being close.
Did Couturier Leave Money on the Table?
Speaking with reporters, including Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Couturier suggested that he left some money on the table with the Flyers when he signed his new contract. The two-way center said:
“You want to earn what you’re worth, but at the same time, I want to win a Stanley Cup, a championship. I didn’t want to break the bank or get all the money. I just wanted to secure myself for the next eight, nine years. I just wanted to make it a fair deal for both of us, and this is what we came down to.”source – ‘Flyers’ Sean Couturier ‘didn’t want to break the bank’ with eight-year deal’ – Sam Carchidi – Philadelphia Inquirer – 08/27/2021
Couturier is an integral part of the Flyers roster, but at his age and with the term given out on that deal, it’s hard to imagine what else he might have been expecting with his extension. It’s already seemingly a risky deal in that last couple years of that contract.
Related: Canadiens vs. Hurricanes Offer Sheet Battle: Pressure Falls on Kotkaniemi
Is Kotkaniemi Mad at Montreal?
There are a number of opinions surfacing regarding the offer sheet to Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Norman Flynn of RDS.CA believes the Canadiens must match the Hurricanes offer. If they don’t, the team will be incredibly thin at center. Stu Cowan of The Montreal Gazette wonders if Kotkaniemi has any desire to stay in Montreal . He writes:
The fact Kotkaniemi was willing to play along with the $20 signing bonus — plus a salary of $6,100,015 with 15 his own number — to me underlines how upset he must be after being made a healthy scratch for the last two games of the Stanley Cup final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.source – ‘Stu Cowan: L’Affaire Kotkaniemi highlights Habs’ dismal draft history’ – Stu Cowan- Montreal Gazette – 08/30/2021
As for potential replacements if Kotkaniemi leaves, the Habs would likely try to trade the first-round pick for a proven player. Among the names that he could target with that pick are Christian Dvorak, Jack Eichel and TVA Sports includes Calgary’s Sean Monahan as a trade option. If Kotkaniemi leaves, there’s also a strong chance the Canadiens consider bringing back Eric Staal via the unrestricted free agent market.
Related: NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Sabres, Rangers, Blues, More
Whether or not Vancouver’s restricted free agent center Elias Pettersson would be a target, that’s not likely as the Canucks will match any offer tendered.
Could Sharks Buy Out Kane?
It doesn’t seem like there’s any luck when it comes to the Sharks trying to move Evander Kane. That will lead to questions of a potential buyout. Kevin Kurz, The Athletic writes:
The Sharks tried to trade him early in the summer, and couldn’t. Any suggestion they could trade him now, with four years to go on his current contract, is downright ridiculous… One possibility for the Sharks would be to waive Kane, not make him report to the Barracuda, and then buy him out next summer… That buyout would result in more dead money, though, so that’s not an ideal situation, either. There may just be no good options here.source – ‘Sharks better off without Evander Kane? Which rookie might emerge? Mailbag’ – Kevin Kurz – The Athletic – 08/25/2021