NHL Rumors: Senators, Coyotes, Avalanche, Bruins, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Alex Formenton — who was not signed by the Ottawa Senators in time to be eligible for the NHL season — has signed in Switzerland. Meanwhile, could the Arizona Coyotes contemplate trading goaltender Karel Vejmelka?

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The Colorado Avalanche might be the favorite to land Bo Horvat, and what is the return the Edmonton Oilers want as they try to trade Jesse Puljujarvi?

Formenton Signs in Switzerland

Senators restricted free agent Alex Formenton has signed a contract with HC Ambri-Piotta. In a team statement about the decision, (translated by Google) they wrote that they were aware of the investigation into allegations surrounding himself and his teammates at Canada’s U20 World Cup in 2018. They are also aware that the investigation was recently reopened.

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They explain:

The HCAP, after discussion with the player, who fully cooperated with all authorities during the investigations carried out by the London Police (Ontario, Canada), the NHL and the Canadian Hockey Federation, and his lawyers, believes that there is no any element not to assert the presumption of innocence against him. Should the new investigation by the Canadian police reveal elements that are currently unknown, the Club and the player have reserved the right to reevaluate their contractual relationship.

Could the Coyotes Trade Vejmelka?

In a discussion about who might be untouchable from the Arizona Coyotes organization, Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman believe only Clayton Keller and some of the team’s young prospects (Logan Cooley) would be pieces the Coyotes don’t want to move. That led to discussions about goaltender Karel Vejmelka.

Karel Vejmelka Arizona Coyotes
Karel Vejmelka, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Friedman said:

“I’ll say something to you, there’s a lot of talk about (Jakob) Chychrun and obviously, we all know why, but I had a couple guys say to me, a guy they’d be wondering about there is (Karel) Vejmelka. He’s signed for two more years. If you look at the goals above save expected rankings, he’s right up there near the top with Hellebucyk and Sorokin and Matt Murray.”

Friedman wasn’t sure the Coyotes were even entertaining the idea of trading him, but he’s got two more seasons on a well-priced contract and then he becomes a UFA. If the Coyotes are going full rebuild, he might not be on the roster by the time the team has built itself into a potential contender.

Avalanche Make Most Sense For Horvat?

A few different insiders have suggested that the Colorado Avalanche are the team that makes the most sense to acquire Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks. While Patrick Johnston of The Province also suggests the Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers, and Columbus Blue Jackets as potential trade destinations, they do mention the Avs, as do Marek and Friedman. They’ve been looking for a reliable center since Nazem Kadri left.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Nylander, Murray & Samsonov

Friedman specifically thinks the Flyers and Blues Jackets would only be interested if they could re-sign him, but he’s not sure Horvat would want to sign long-term with either team. Marek wondered if the Boston Bruins might show interest if Patrice Bergeron chooses to retire.

Most Likely Landing Spots for Jesse Puljujarvi

Daniel Nugent-Bowman writes in a recent article for The Athletic that the Edmonton Oilers view trading Puljujarvi’s contract and not having to retain or take salary back as a win. He explains:

With Puljujarvi’s value plummeting, the Oilers are at the point where they’re just trying to ensure they aren’t left with something they don’t want when they move the right winger. I’m told the Oilers are now at a point where trading Puljujarvi to open all or most of his $3 million cap hit would be considered an internal win.

source – ‘If the Oilers can trade Jesse Puljujarvi, where is he likely to end up?’ – Daniel Nugent-Bowman – The Athletic – 12/13/2022

He also mentions that if the Oilers could move out Puljujarvi and then bring in Blue Jackets blueliner Vladislav Gavrikov — a pending UFA who carries a $2.8 million cap hit — that would be an ideal scenario. As for who the Oilers can dump Puljujarvi to, Nugent-Bowman mentions the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, and Winnipeg Jets as the most likely destinations.