NHL Rumors: Muzzin, Simmonds, Fletcher, Oilers, More

In today’s rumor rundown, the Montreal Canadiens are still looking at improving their blue line and a defenseman out of Los Angeles might be on the radar. With the expansion group out of Seattle all but ready to join the NHL, questions about teams moving divisions have popped up. And, with William Nylander back, there needed to be room made in Toronto. Who was the first player to go? The answer was Josh Leivo. Is there more coming?

Options For Montreal’s Blue Line

Eric Engels of Sportsnet is following up on a report from Nick Kypreos that noted the Montreal Canadiens have been looking for a top-pairing defenseman to play with Shea Weber. Not much came out of that report right away but now some names are potentially popping up.

Jake Muzzin
Jake Muzzin #6, Los Angeles Kings – December 18, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin is a name that has come up in terms of a trade. The 29-year old LA blueliner is owned $4 million through next season and the Canadiens have the cap room to add and possibly extend him if they could find the right trade pieces to pry him out of the Kings’ organization.

Another name to come up but less likely is St. Louis Blues’ defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. Bouwmeester is 35 and is in the final year of his contract. He’d certainly be a rental and likely not someone to stay after this season in Montreal so the return to St. Louis wouldn’t be all that high.

Related: NHL Rumors: Gardiner, Simmonds, McAvoy, More

Oilers Want to Stay in the Pacific

Seattle joining the NHL seems like a foregone conclusion. The next steps would be aligning the divisions to make room for a 32nd team. There are questions as to what happens with some teams in certain divisions, namely the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division. There are rumors they would be moved.

(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

The Oilers aren’t all that keen about the idea of moving to the Central Division in realignment. Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun writes that the Oilers and vehemently opposed to the idea of moving divisions. He writes that the response from Bob Nicholson, vice-chairman and CEO of the Oilers Entertainment Group was:

“Hell no! We don’t want to go! We want to stay in the Pacific. And we’re pretty strong about it. Seattle is going to come into the league and when they do come in, we definitely do not want to move. We feel the rivalries are too strong for the NHL to do that to our franchise.”

source – ‘JONES: In the Zone – Edmonton Oilers don’t want to be bumped from division by Seattle expansion’ – Terry Jones – Edmonton Sun – 12/02/2018

Josh Leivo Traded, More Coming?

Darren Dreger reported early Monday morning that the Maple Leafs are looking at clearing up some roster space in Toronto with William Nylander coming back and the person being traded is Josh Leivo.

Leivo has size and skill and likely had some interested suitors but he wasn’t getting much of a chance in Toronto. He’s now in Vancouver where the Canucks will certainly use him more than the Maple Leafs did. With Nylander returning, are there more moves coming?

Leivo’s salary was only $925K and the Maple Leafs took back prospect Michael Carcone. While the Leafs don’t necessarily need to shed a ton of salary this season, if they want to make room for potential rentals near the trade deadline, they may move out more salary.

Related: NHL Rumors: Nylander Decision Day, Murray, Karlsson, More

Flyers to Name Chuck Fletcher as GM

The Philadelphia Flyers made quick work of their hiring process after letting Ron Hextall go as general manager. Sam Carchidi of philly.com reports that the team will soon name Chuck Fletcher as his replacement.

The story writes:

A high-ranking club official said Fletcher will replace Ron Hextall, who was stunningly fired Nov. 26 while in his fifth season as GM. Bill Zito, a Columbus assistant general manager, was believed to be the runner-up to Fletcher.

source – ‘Source: Chuck Fletcher to be named Flyers GM’ – Sam Carchidi – The Inquirer – 12/03/2018

Simmonds a Bruin?

Joe Haggerty from NBC Sports Boston suggested that Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds could be a good short-term option if he’s available by the trade deadline. If the Flyers don’t start turning their season around, there is certainly going to be talk of Simmonds being moved.

Haggerty wonders if the Bruins would move a combination of Anders Bjork, Ryan Donato or Danton Heinen.