In today’s NHL rumors rundown, after another loss, Edmonton Oilers’ GM Ken Holland is expected to speak to the media on Wednesday. Is a change coming? Meanwhile, Anton Khudobin of the Dallas Stars cleared waivers and Joe Pavelski is set to become an unrestricted free agent but is hoping to stay in Dallas. The Arizona Coyotes are gauging the market on defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Trevor Zegras responds to John Tortorella’s comments on his “Michigan goal” assist. Finally, where are most NHL players who are being considered for the Olympic team at when it comes to participation?
Coyotes Gauging Trade Market for Jakob Chychrun
As per Elliotte Friedman, the Coyotes are reportedly gauging the market on defenseman Jakob Chychrun, but the ask is unsurprisingly massive. Arizona GM Bill Armstrong refused to comment when asked, “but that doesn’t mean opponents are running away.”
Chychrun is signed for three more years at a very reasonable $4.6 million annual average salary and there will certainly be some teams interested. He is one of the league’s most underrated defensemen and it wasn’t long ago he was considered untouchable.
Holland to Speak to Media After Oilers’ Six-Straight Loss
According to Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic, Oilers’ GM Ken Holland, the architect of this roster, is expected to speak Wednesday about the state of the team. Nugent-Bowman points out that Holland has either signed, re-signed or acquired every player on the team not named Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, Mikko Koskinen, Ryan McLeod or Evan Bouchard.
Related: 5 Oilers Who Probably Won’t Be Back Next Season
The scribe writes:
Many of the offseason decisions he made haven’t panned out so far. Even though cap space is tight — with just over $1 million in current room, per PuckPedia — some sort of shakeup is required… Another season of McDavid and Draisaitl as arguably the NHL’s top two players simply cannot be wasted.source – ‘After another loss, it’s become painfully clear Oilers just aren’t good enough right now’ – Daniel Bugent-Bowman – The Athletic – 12/15/2021
The Oilers aren’t expected to panic, but there’s a belief the team’s 9-1 record to start the season was not a true indication of how good this team is and that special teams hid a lot of deficiencies.
Pavelski’s Desire is to Stay in Dallas
According to Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News, Stars forward Joe Pavelski hopes to be able to re-sign with the Stars prior to next season when he becomes a UFA. There was some chatter about the San Jose Sharks hoping the 37-year old would want to finish out his career with the Sharks but Pavelski said, “we’re going to try to get through this year first, and then we’ll figure it out.”
When asked about his priority in free agency, he noted”
“We love it there” and added, “Things couldn’t be any better for us right now. The family’s doing great. It’s a great city. Really enjoy the guys in the locker room and the team. For us right now, that’s probably the No. 1 option.”source – ‘Sorry, Sharks fans. Joe Pavelski wants to remain with the Dallas Stars’ – Curti Pashelka – The Mercury News – 12/11/2021
In other Stars news, Anton Khudobin cleared waivers on Tuesday and if the Stars would like to move him, will need to find a trade partner and likely retain salary with a sweetener to take the deal. Pierre LeBrun writes, “Teams have kicked tires on Khudobin so the Stars do have some interest out there. But obviously, teams would rather trade for him and have Dallas eat some of the salary or take a contract back. In meantime, Khudobin will go play some AHL games.”
Zegras Responds to Tortorella Comments About “Michigan Goal”
Saying he thinks it’s “weird” that former NHL coach John Tortorella would target he and Sonny Milano’s goal as something that isn’t “good for the game”, Trevor Zegras noted when asked about Tortorella’s comments:
“It’s one of those things where I’m not really too worried what (Tortorella’s) thinking or what he’s saying. I thought it was just weird that he would try and kind of — I don’t want to say shoot it down — but I feel like it did so much good for the game. Seeing all these little kids try the move.”source – ‘Ducks’ Trevor Zegras says John Tortorella comments on highlight assist were ‘weird’ – The Athletic Staff – The Athletic – 12/14/2021
Players Nervous About Olympic Paricipation
While some players have said they would still like to go and others have noted it’s too soon to make a decision about Olympic participation, there’s a feeling starting to grow that players are extremely concerned about going to the Olympics and that the quarantine guidelines make it too risky. NHL analyst Ray Ferraro says, “my sense is that they’re getting a little bit nervous.”