NHL Rumors: Williams, Rangers, Oilers, Jets, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is new information regarding former Carolina Hurricanes forward Justin Williams. Is he coming back and is it with the Hurricanes? There is also speculation surrounding Chris Kreider now that Taylor Hall has been moved. Is Dustin Byfuglien getting things back on track with the Winnipeg Jets? Finally, how are talks progressing between the Edmonton Oilers and Zack Kassian?

Williams to Test Free Agency?

On Tuesday night, Pierre LeBrun of TSN spoke on TSN Insider Trading about the status of not-retired but not-playing forward Justin Williams. It sounds like he’s almost ready to consider coming back.

Justin Williams Hurricanes
Justin Williams, Carolina Hurricanes, Mar. 1, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Williams would like to return to the Hurricanes but money is an issue. LeBrun said, “He could return, it’s not 100 per cent decided at all but he’s been ramping up his skating, skating by himself the last three to four weeks.” When it came to where, LeBrun added, “And there has been talk back and forth between his camp and the Carolina Hurricanes.”

Citing the Patrick Marleau buyout Jake Gardiner signings as cap issues for them, LeBrun explained, “I believe that his camp would also be willing to hear from other teams. Again, the priority is Carolina, but there could be other teams that reach out and make this interesting.”

Related: Top 5 Goaltenders of the 1960s

Trade Talk Shifts to Kreider

Darren Dreger also discusses New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider becoming the next big fish on the move in the NHL. Dreger said that with Hall now moved, there is much speculation about what Kreider would fetch in return.

Chris Kreider Rangers
Chris Kreider, New York Rangers, Mar. 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Dreger said: 

“Now there will be discussions on the potential of a contract extension with Kreider. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent. But given the fact that the Coyotes jumped in early to acquire Taylor Hall, perhaps there’s another team that’s at least considered a playoff contending team that will do the same with Chris Kreider.”

The return for Kreider wouldn’t nearly what Hall fetched from the Coyotes but, “would likely be a first-round draft pick and a mid-level prospect.” The first-rounder is questionable considering some teams removed themselves from the Hall talk over the first-round pick that Arizona gave up.

Related: Can the Jets Rally Through Injury Adversity Again?

Byfuglien Mending Fences With Jets?

Mike McIntyre and Jason Bell of the Winnipeg Free Press have just revealed that defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has started a post-surgery rehabilitation program for his broken ankle in consultation with the Jets. It’s the “with the Jets” part that is the most interesting here.

Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien
Winnipeg Jets’ Dustin Byfuglien (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The last reports were that there was some disagreements between the player and the team as far as his injury status goes and that it might have strained the relationship, including his suspension.

“To our understanding, he has progressed to the stage of doing rehab. However, his status with the team remains unchanged,” the Jets organization told The Free Press. “He is doing rehab at an outside clinic. He is still under suspension.”

Related: Should Oilers Pursue Ilya Kovalchuk?

Other Teams in On Kovalchuk

We reported yesterday that Ilya Kovalchuk was now a free agent and that the first team that stepped into the picture to acquire him was the Boston Bruins. More teams are being reported as interested.

According to David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period, the Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins are among the teams interested in acquiring his services. 

Related: Oilers News and Rumors: Puljujarvi, Athanasiou, Kassian, More

Oilers Meet With Kassian’s Side

In Edmonton, the Oilers met yesterday with Rick Curran, the agent for winger Zack Kassian. The meeting was about a potential extension with the team, but talks were just preliminary reports TSN’s Bob McKenzie in the latest Insider Trading (video link).

Kassian is having a record season for the Oilers and both sides are interested in keeping him around. The issue could be money. He currently carries a $1.95 million cap hit and will certainly get a raise. The question is how much of a raise he should receive based on half of one good season?

Related: NHL Rumors: Hall Extension, Devils, Islanders, Oilers, More