NHL Rumors: Flyers, Flames, Rangers, Oilers, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Philadelphia Flyers might be one of the team’s interested in defenseman Mattias Ekholm. But, is he the ideal fit? Meanwhile, are the Calgary Flames trying to quiet down talk surrounding the team? The Edmonton Oilers will have to consider how Jesse Puljujarvi’s production affects their expansion draft plans and what’s the latest on news surrounding Artemi Panarin?

Ekholm at Fit for Flyers?

Sam Carchidi of Inquirer.com recently took a look at the possibility Ekholm is on the Flyers radar and he called the defenseman both a good fit and “the most interesting veteran defenseman who might be on the market.” Noting his affordable cap hit of $3.75 million, his size and ability to eat big minutes, Carchidi admits, there is a downside.

Mattias Ekholm Nashville Predators
Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The scribe observed that Ekholm is a left-shot rearguard and not an ideal option since the Flyers could use a righty. He also notes that acquiring the blueliner could interfere with the Flyers’ protection list for this summer’s expansion draft. Speaking of the draft, it’s one reason the Predators could trade Ekholm. They may have decided it’s best to protect Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi and Dante Fabbro.

Charlie O’Connor and Adam Vingan of The Athletic also looked at where the Flyers might be at in terms of an Ekholm trade. They pointed out many similar issues including the costs associated with acquiring him, the draft implications and more. Still, they seem him as a player the Flyers might go after.

They write:

Quite a few factors will play into whether Fletcher sees such a price as worth it at the deadline. What other defensemen are made available? Does he feel like the Flyers are a Mattias Ekholm away from championship contention this year? Does he see a realistic path to keeping Ekholm beyond this season? Do the Flyers’ scouts believe he can thrive alongside Provorov on the right side despite being a lefty shot?

Ekholm isn’t necessarily the “perfect” fit for the Flyers. But he’s close enough to warrant serious consideration if he does indeed hit the market.

source – ‘Are the Flyers and Mattias Ekholm a trade fit? Breaking down the playing style, cost and other factors’ –  Charlie O’Connor and Adam Vingan – The Athletic – 02/23/2021

Outside of the Flyers, add the Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals to the list of teams who might be interested.

Related: Flames Need to Use Strong Play Against Maple Leafs as Motivation

Flames GM Wants Media to Stop Talking

TSN’s Darren Dreger was on TSN 1050 Overdrive talking about the Flames before last night’s game against the Maple Leafs. He mentioned that there is a lot talk surrounding the team, including trade speculation, locker room issues and their on-ice struggles. The GM is trying to put a stop to the chatter.

Dreger noted:

“There’s a lot going on around Calgary. Brad Treliving is trying to quiet the media especially from talking about it and speculating on what might happen, and what we should expect to happen and all those things. But I, no different than Vancouver, I think Calgary needs a few more wins before they get a bit more convincing and stop us from talking.”

The team almost picked up a big win against Toronto but ended up losing in overtime. It was a game the club could potentially build upon.

Rangers and Panarin Update

According ESPN hockey insider Emily Kaplan, the KHL has noted that they never received any information to corroborate Andrei Nazarov’s allegations that Panarin assaulted an 18-year-old female in a bar. Panarin has taken a leave from the Rangers and vehemently denied the allegations. With the KHL’s recent comments, it’s starting to look more and more like Nazarov was targeting Panarin without any proof.

Artemi Panarin New York Rangers
Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

From Kaplan’s most recent column for ESPN: 

The Kontinental Hockey League says it has “not been aware of or received a complaint in relation to any incident involving Artemi Panarin in December 2011. … In a statement to ESPN, the KHL said that if the league had received any complaint, it would have investigated, “as we take any allegations of misconduct incredibly seriously.”

Oilers Thinking About Protecting Puljujarvi?

The way Puljujarvi has broken out this season, Allan Mitchell of The Athletic wonders what it could mean for the Finn come the NHL Expansion Draft and whether or not the Oilers will decide to shape their protected list around him. Mitchell writes:

If Holland decides to wait until after the expansion draft to make decisions on unrestricted free agents such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Tyson Barrie, it gives him a chance to protect the Finn.

We might see Edmonton protect three defencemen (Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom, Ethan Bear) and allow the Kraken to choose between youngsters Caleb Jones and William Lagesson.

source – ‘Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi must be on the Kraken protected list after breakout’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 02/25/2021

It will be interesting see how Puljujarvi’s production affects the contract negotiations for other players. If he continues to produce, it makes the decision to sign these free agents midseason more difficult.

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