In today’s rumor rundown, it’s “decision day” for William Nylander and, really, his decision comes down to two viable options. Meanwhile, another NHL star who will need a new contract at the end of this season hasn’t really begun thinking about a new deal with his new team. There are questions surrounding the goaltending in Pittsburgh and the Los Angeles Kings may be on the verge of making big moves.
Nylander to Sign or Sit
Bob McKenzie of TSN said via a series of Twitter threads that what’s happening with William Nylander today actually boils down to something quite simple. He either signs with the Toronto Maple Leafs or he sits out the rest of the NHL season.
McKenzie said, “Not to oversimplify things but it’s pretty elementary: TOR will make its final, best offer to William Nylander today. He’ll either accept it or not. It’s highly highly highly unlikely, tho technically still possible, he’ll be traded.” He later added that he believes a deal will get signed that comes in around six years and at just over the $6.67 million David Pastrnak is making with the Boston Bruins. He doesn’t believe Nylander will get as high as $7 million per season.
If it gets done, it sure seems like the likelihood (not to be confused with a sure thing) is it being a 6 year deal somewhere just north of David Pastrnak’s 6 x $6.67M. How much North is the obvious key here. I’d be surprised if it’s as high as $7M but we shall see.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 1, 2018
McKenzie said he was surprised there wasn’t more chatter about a three-year option or a two-year bridge deal because that would have given Nylander the time to prove his value and revisit these contracts talks with better numbers, after he’d seen what Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews signed for, and earned arbitration rights.
McKenzie does not see a trade as realistic option this late in the game.
Erik Karlsson Not Thinking About Long-Term Yet
While all eyes are on Nylander and Toronto, in San Jose, a big-name defenseman and the Sharks might have some work to do when it comes to signing a new deal. Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com reports that San Jose Sharks blueliner Erik Karlsson said he hasn’t thought about signing a long-term contract extension with the team, something he’s eligible to do after July 1st.
“Right now I’m worried about today,” he said. “That’s the mindset I’ve had all year. I’m trying to stay as focused as I can in the dressing room. The future is something I can’t control.”
Clearly, the Sharks want Karlsson long-term and wouldn’t have traded for him if the expectation was that they wouldn’t try to keep him. That said, there’s no word that Karlsson ever gave the indication he’d stick around or not test free agency. It will be interesting to watch as the season rolls along because Karlsson hasn’t put up the big offensive numbers he normally does and the Sharks have struggled.
Things Still Unsettled in LA
Elliotte Freidman was on Sportsnet 960 and was asked if the Los Angeles Kings could be looking at additional, perhaps “major” changes. He believes with the struggles the team is still having after the coaching change, there certainly could be moves.
Since Willie Desjardins took over, the team has continued to lose games and players like Ilya Kovalchuk are suffering under his guidance. LA lost a close game in Edmonton on Thursday and then lost again versus Calgary. “I think there’s a willingness to do things,” Friedman said. He added, “They made the coaching change, they made the one trade, and I think their plan was to wait a bit longer. I just don’t think they’re liking what they’re seeing.”
Penguins to Move Matt Murray?
Darren Dreger was on TSN 690 and discussed the Pittsburgh Penguins and their goaltending situation. Things haven’t looked good and there’s talk the Penguins might consider moving Matt Murray when he’s healthy.
Dreger said in moving him, the Penguins are hoping to pick up a defenseman. They badly miss Justin Schultz. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rutherford and the Penguins try and acquire some form of puck-moving defenseman in the future, but it’s difficult to do,” Dreger said.
When asked if the Penguins regret letting Marc-Andre Fleury go in the expansion draft to keep Matt Murray, Elliotte Friedman said that nobody likely saw the Penguins being in this situation with Murray and “there’s something going on between the ears.” Friedman agreed with the notion that there are trade whispers surrounding Murray but said there isn’t really any good goaltending better the Pens could grab on the market.
Friedman believes that the Penguins might actually be shopping Murray because of the lack of goaltending options and the possibility that a return could be greater now than at any other time.
Oilers to Give Zykov an Opportunity
The Edmonton Oilers have a game versus the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday but newly waiver-acquired forward Valentin Zykov will not be in the lineup. After being claimed from the Carolina Hurricanes, there were some questions about where he’d fit on the Oilers roster.
It appears Edmonton will be giving him a good look when he joins the team. Coach Ken Hitchcock said that he likes Zykov’s analytical numbers and that those stats demonstrate Zykov should help the team in areas they need assistance, including shot range and battling for position.
Zykov not with the Oilers yet but here's what Hitchcock said today: "His analytics pop up strongly where exactly we need to go. He scores from short range. He's got a quick stick in close. He fights for position. He holds ice in areas where we need more help."
— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) December 1, 2018
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.”