NHL Rumors: Oilers, Islanders, Blues, Kessel, Chara, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Darnell Nurse talks his new contract with the Edmonton Oilers. What led him to signing an eight-year deal and was it true that he originally wanted a four-year pact? Is there any further news on what the New York Islanders are doing? They’ve announced one deal, what about the others? Is there a trade brewing, that once completed, could bring on a series of contract announcements? Has Phil Kessel asked for a trade from the Arizona Coyotes? Finally, what does the future look like for defenseman Zdeno Chara?

Nurse Was Leaning Towards Four-Year Deal

Darnell Nurse spoke with media after it became official that he’d signed an eight-year, $74 million extension with the Oilers on Friday. When asked if the reports of a four-year deal were accurate, he confirmed that’s where his head was at going into negotiations. Nurse noted the recent signings for defensemen changed everything and once the market was set, the eight-year deal made just as much sense.

When asked why a four-year, he said he was looking at the economics of the league, the new television deals, the flat cap changing and fans returning and knew there would be an influx of money. Once four years was up, he’d be in a much better position to cash in when the salary cap had improved.

He repeatedly said he was happy to have been given a commitment by the Oilers and never suggested he wanted to go elsewhere, but it was clear he was thinking about the business of his contract and it didn’t feel likely he was looking to take a team-friendly deal having signed two previous bridge contracts.

In other Oilers news, the team has signed forward Brendan Perlini to a one-year, two-way deal. He’ll come in and try to compete for a fourth-line spot after spending last season Ambri-Piotta of the Swiss League.

Islanders Continue to Stay Quiet

Kyle Palmieri, Casey Cizikas Zach Parise, and Travis Zajac are all believed to have handshake agreements done with the New York Islanders organization. Still, the team has said nothing about those contracts. The only deal to have been announced at this stage is the contract for Adam Pelech.

Speculation is that the reason GM Lou Lamoriello hasn’t made the signings official is because he’s working on a bigger trade for a large amount of salary cap and he doesn’t want teams — possibly the team he’s negotiating with — knowing how much room he has to work with. The buzz seems to be that he’s talking to the St. Louis Blues about Vladimir Tarasenko and if there’s a big chunk of salary retention going on in that trade, it might help if the Blues don’t know how easily the Islanders can actually add Tarasenko to the roster.

Chara Not Sure If He’s Returning to NHL Next Season

Fans have heard this story before, but it’s not clear if Chara will play in the NHL next year and he’s still contemplating his future. As per Sportsnet’s Luke Fox, Chara is currently spending the offseason in his native Slovakia with his family but his agent notes his client is working out hard and staying ready in case he decides to come back for a 24th NHL season.

Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins
Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins leaves the ice after warming up for Game Four of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s not clear if he’s looking to go back to Boston, continue with the Washington Capitals or find a team that would give him the best chance to win or the most money on a one-year deal. He’s unlikely to play more than a third-pairing role.

Kessel Wants Trade from Coyotes

Per Craig Morgan via Spector’s Hockey and a few other sources, Phil Kessel’s agents have requested a trade on the player’s behalf. Speculation is that he’d like to play in Vegas, but the Golden Knights are not reportedly interested because of their current cap space issues. Likely the combination of wanting to win and the exit of head coach Rick Tocchet has Kessel thinking it’s time to go.

Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong has been dumping players since the opening of the offseason but Morgan suggests there’s not a lot of interest in the 33-year-old winger. Morgan wonders if the Coyotes wait have to wait until this season’s trade deadline.

Morning Skate newsletter Click To Subscribe