In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the Edmonton Oilers got hit with more bad injury news as their top defenseman has gone down. Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens top defenseman is defying all odds and has returned to practice. And, are the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs set to become sellers over the next three-to-four days?
Edmonton Oilers Lose Oscar Klefbom, What Now?
The Edmonton Oilers revealed they will be without their No. 1 defenseman over the next few games as Oscar Klefbom has gone down with a shoulder injury and will miss 2-3 weeks worth of action.
Early speculation is that the team will move around defense pairings but there could be a call-up from the Bakersfield team with names like Evan Bouchard being tossed around. GM Ken Holland is not likely going to take the idea of calling up someone like Bouchard lightly as he’s keen on making sure he gets tons of time in the minors before being asked to pull a regular shift in the NHL.
Weber Ready to Return to Canadiens Lineup?
Last week, it was reported that there were serious concerns about defenseman Shea Weber’s injury situation, some that suggested his NHL career could be in jeopardy. Either those reports were wrong or Weber is a marvel of modern science.
Weber was back practicing with the Montreal Canadiens on Monday and told reporters after the practice, “My goal is to get back as soon as possible and when I feel I can help the team and at this point I feel good enough to help out and we’ll just keep going that way.”
The report that suggested Weber would be out long-term came from Nick Kypreos who apologized on Monday. He wrote on his social meda:
After time to reflect, I understand how portions of my tweet added unnecessary stress to Shea, his family and the team.
While I still stand by the information that I received, I’d like to apologize to Shea and the @canadiensmtl for not choosing my words with more sensitivity. I wish Shea a speedy recovery.
Panthers to Be Sellers?
Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia writes the Panthers “could be on the verge of accepting reality” and entering the trade market as sellers. He mentions unrestricted free agents Mike Hoffman and Evgeni Dadonov as obvious pieces and players that could draw interest prior to Feb 24.
Wingers Mike Hoffman and Evgeni Dadonov, both UFAs on July 1, could be on the move while there’s been talk the Panthers may also ship out forward Vincent Trocheck. While the Panthers probably wouldn’t mind moving Trocheck, he has a cap hit of $4.75 million through the next two seasons and that’s going to be difficult to move unless GM Dale Tallon is wiling to accept a contract in return …source – ‘GARRIOCH: The loss of Erik Karlsson means the San Jose Sharks could be busy at deadline’ – Ottawa Sun – Bruce Garrioch – 02/16/2020
Related: Top 3 All-Time Canadiens Goalies
Could the Maple Leafs Change Direction?
It doesn’t seem like a course of action GM Kyle Dubas will take and James Mirtle of The Athletic explains why, but he notes there is buzz out of Toronto that the Maple Leafs should shift directions and become sellers this season. He writes that a good portion of Leafs Nation sees this season and as waste, even if the team makes the post-season.
Their argument isn’t entirely without merit. They just don’t see the 2019-20 Leafs as being competitive enough to win, especially given their path goes through Boston and Tampa — if they can make the playoffs. (Toronto currently has a 70 percent chance of making it according to our resident super nerd.)source – ‘ Mirtle: Should the Maple Leafs actually be trade deadline sellers this year?’ – James Mirtle – The Athletic – 02/18/2020
He adds that a roster with a bunch of pending UFAs (namely Tyson Barrie, Jason Spezza, Kyle Clifford and Cody Ceci) could get something for before the deadline and that would be a better course of action than losing again in the first round.
In the end, Mirtle explains that not having enough to sell to make it worthwhile and not being as bad as some critics suggest is why the Maple Leafs will stay the course and try to win.
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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.”