NHL Rumors: Oilers, Devils, Blackhawks, Red Wings, Maple Leafs

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Edmonton Oilers are being linked back to the Nashville Predators in talks regarding Mattias Ekholm. Can the Oilers find a way to make his salary work? Meanwhile, after trading for Timo Meier, what is the story on names like Jesper Bratt?

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Will they get him signed to an extension? Will the Toronto Maple Leafs need to make another move before the deadline? Are the Chicago Blackhawks prepared to hold onto Max Domi and Andreas Athanasiou? Are the Detroit Red Wings listening on Tyler Bertuzzi again? Finally, did the NHL just warn all 32 teams about making trades for injured players?

Oilers Linked to Mattias Ekholm

As per Darren Dreger of TSN the Edmonton Oilers are looking to add a defenseman and general manager Ken Holland continues his search by talking with both the Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens. The targets there might be Mattias Ekholm and/or Joel Edmundson but it is believed that Edmundson is unlikely based on his injury situation. It’s not clear how the Oilers will fit Ekholm’s salary onto the roster, but if the Predators are willing to retain and have interest in a player like Kailer Yamamoto, there could be the framework for a deal there.

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

Dreger added on Tuesday, “The Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes were progressing on Jake Chychrun trade negotiations yesterday. Things cooled late afternoon. Holland also talking with CBJ and Nashville on Gavrikov and Ekholm. Plan is to resume talks with all 3 today.” Pierre LeBrun noted, “Generally speaking, heard the Preds told teams last week that the asking price started with 2 first-round picks on Ekholm…”

An Erik Karlsson deal in Edmonton seems to be officially off the table. Karlsson said in a recent interview, “I think it would be weird if (Mike Grier) comes to me with three days left and asked me to waive my no-move. We’ve had plenty of time for that if that was the case so I’m not too worried about it. I’m just here to play hockey.”

Devils Already Working on Bratt Extension

According to NHL Network, Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald confirmed during an interview on @NHLNetwork that he has engaged in contract extension talks with Jesper Bratt’s agent. Pagnotta writes, “This seems to be his focus, contract-wise, as I’m told there haven’t been any new discussions yet with Ryan Graves’ camp on an extension.”

The Devils aren’t done trying to make moves. Fitzgerald says he wants to create cap space to make more moves and hopes to get grittier.

Maple Leafs Might Have One More Move Coming

Because Matt Murray might be ready to come off of LTIR, there’s the likelihood of one more move coming out of Toronto before the NHL Trade Deadline on Friday. James Mirtle of The Athletic cited GM Kyle Dubas when asked about the necessity of another move to accommodate the Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty additions as well as Matt Murray’s imminent return: “An old friend of mine used to say, “When time is on your side, use it.”

There is some belief the Maple Leafs are looking at Luke Schenn and that Alex Kerfoot going the other way to Vancouver might be a part of that deal. The Leafs appear to be roughly 1 million over the cap with a healthy Murray, so something will need to be done.

Blackhawks Not Looking to Trade Domi, Athanasiou

According to NHL scribe Ben Pope, the Chicago Blackhawks and GM Kyle Davidson aren’t shopping Max Domi or Andreas Athansious despite both players having only signed one-year deals that are ripe for being moved at the NHL Trade Deadline. Davidson noted: “We didn’t sign them just to be traded. We signed them because we liked them as players… It’s a business, so we have to do our due diligence. We’ll see what comes, but nothing planned right now.”

Max Domi Chicago Blackhawks
Max Domi, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Both could still be moved, but the suggestion here was that both could also be extended.

As for what’s going on with Patrick Kane, Davidson declined to confirm whether the winger has officially waived his no-trade clause to join the New York Rangers. It’s a trade everyone is simply waiting to be announced when the Rangers clear the required cap space, but nothing has happened yet.

Reg Wings Listening Again on Bertuzzi

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the Detroit Red Wings have resumed “listening to interest” in winger Tyler Bertuzzi. Believed to be a player that would only be moved if the return was strong and the Red Wings were out of the playoff mix, the asking price is said to be a first-round pick.

Dreger indicates this interest in the player has spiked since the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Toronto Maple Leafs loaded up in recent weeks.

LTIR Trades Being Closely Scrutinized

As per a few insiders, the NHL sent a memo to all 32 GMs today advising them that acquiring injured players at the deadline simply to stash their cap hits on LTIR until playoffs will be “closely scrutinized” for cap circumvention. Because players can be injured on LTIR, return in the postseason and their cap hits don’t count towards the total roster, this would be an opportunity for teams to add pieces knowing full well they won’t cost them anything on their cap.

That means names like Gustav Nyquist and Adam Henrique might not be in play, when many believed they might have been otherwise traded. Chris Johnston of TSN writes, “While the NHL isn’t outright banning any such moves, it says it will investigate transactions to see if they constitute circumvention of the CBA.” He adds that this has a few teams upset because the trades have been permitted in the past.

It is important to note that this memo does not cover trades where existing players are already on LTIR and the team goes out and uses that LTIR money to acquire more assets and then the existing player returns during the playoffs. Those deals are still permitted.