In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news on extension talks between the Pittsburgh Penguins and a defenseman, plus other Penguins news. There is also debate about whether or not the Chicago Blackhawks should go shopping with the recent news of two major injuries. Finally, what do the Oilers make of Leon Draisaitl’s struggles?
Penguins to Start Extension Talks With Pettersson
Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford told Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that they plan to start contract extension talks with Marcus Pettersson as early as possible.
We owe it to him to have that discussion at the earliest time we can have it. We both agreed to do a different contract that he ultimately took because it’s the only thing we could do with the cap situation. Now that we’ve moved Gudbranson, we’ve got some cap space.source – ‘What we know about Brent Seabrook’s injuries and how the Blackhawks can utilize their new cap space’ – Matt Vensel – Pittsburgh Post Gazette – 12/23/2019
What Rutherford is referring to is the compromise Pettersson took to stay with the Penguins in a sticky cap situation. He was intent on getting a multi-year deal but the Penguins couldn’t afford it last summer. With Erik Gudbranson and his $4 million salary through 2020-21 off the books, the Penguins now have some financial flexibility to get a longer-term deal signed.
The expectation is that he should get over $2 million per season and be signed longer-term.
In other Penguins news, Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now writes that ahead of the trade deadline the Penguins could use a shooting winger that can score. They have scouted Ottawa Senators frequently and potential Senators’ options could be Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Vladislav Namestnikov.
Kingerski also wonders if the Florida Panthers might might UFAs Mike Hoffman and Evgeni Dadonov available. If so, would the Panthers be interested in Nick Bjugstad again?
Blackhawks to Go Shopping?
We wrote yesterday that there were some questions about whether or not the Chicago Blackhawks might consider replacing Calvin de Haan or Brent Seabrook now that they’ve been lost for the season. We’re not the only ones to wonder as much.
Jimmy Greenfield of the Chicago Tribune speculates Bowman might sit tight. He explains that even though the Blackhawks have nearly $13 million in cap space thanks to injuries, this is not the time. He writes:
But with the Hawks near the bottom of the Western Conference standings and not flush with prospects as trade bait, general manager Stan Bowman might pass on the opportunity. He has a little less than two months before the Feb. 24 trade deadline to decide if he will try to acquire veterans for a playoff push.source – ‘Blackhawks’ Brent Seabrook and Calvin de Haan will undergo season-ending surgery’ – Jimmy Greenfield – Chicago Tribune – 12/26/2019
Scott Powers of The Athletic doesn’t believe the Blackhawks could really go shopping even if they wanted to. They’re not about to give up Kirby Dach, Adam Boqvist and Ian Mitchell and there’s not much else of value a team would want. He notes:
The Blackhawks would be wise to hold onto their first-round pick in case they find themselves in the lottery again. They’re tied for the league’s sixth-worst record currently. They don’t have a second-round pick. Their AHL roster has some players like Philipp Kurashev and Nicolas Beaudin who could be potential NHL contributors, but there aren’t any guarantees right now. A league source said he thought the Rockford IceHogs’ roster consisted mostly of players whose upsides were fourth-line forwards and third-pairing defensemen.source – ‘What we know about Brent Seabrook’s injuries and how the Blackhawks can utilize their new cap space’ – Scott Powers – The Athletic – 12/26/2019
Draisaitl Struggling For Oilers
Leon Draisaitl is a fantastic hockey player and despite scoring 11 points in his last 12 games, he’s bleeding goals against. During five-on-five play he’s getting creamed and the Oilers are looking for a way to improve those numbers.
Expect the Oilers to try and roster their lineup in a way to break him out of this slump. This is a guy who said he’d modeled his game after Anze Kopitar and wanted to win a Selke Trophy. He’s anything but a candidate for that right now.
The Oilers take on the Calgary Flames in a battle of Alberta Friday and he’ll be a player to watch.
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.”