NHL Rumors: Rangers, Senators, Oilers, Sabres, Maple Leafs, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there’s more news on a potential Tony DeAngelo trade and what it will take for the New York Rangers to move him. Meanwhile, could Ottawa Senators’ forward Derek Stepan already be on the trade block? There are injury updates out of the Edmonton Oilers organization and Buffalo Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger has tested positive for COVID-19. Finally, Wayne Simmonds is getting a promotion with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Rangers Looking to Move DeAngelo and Not Retain Salary

We’ve been closely following the DeAngelo storyline as it pertains to the Rangers attempts to move on from the defenseman. The club first waived the blueliner and no team claimed him. Now, the organization has noted he’ll never play again for them and they’re looking to make a trade. Having said that, per Bob McKenzie of NBC Sports, the Rangers aren’t willing to retain salary in any deal.

Jeff Gorton
BUFFALO, NY – JUNE 25: Jeff Gorton during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

McKenzie noted that a trade wasn’t necessarily imminent, but added, “They’re talking to teams and there are at least 4-5 teams kicking tires doing their due diligence to see if this is a reclamation project they want to take on.” Among the teams rumored to be inquiring are the Calgary Flames, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

The reason the Rangers aren’t looking to retain much salary (if any) is because DeAngelo is not a terribly expensive buyout option and the team is prepared to go that route if they don’t find a trade partner. As per Cap Friendly, the Rangers would only face a $383,333 hit in 2021-22 and an $883, 333 charge the season after.

Senators Could Be Shopping Stepan

A recent article by Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun cites a report by Nick Kypreos that Stepan may already be on the move. The newly-acquired center came over to the franchise in a trade from the Arizona Coyotes but the Senators have struggled and, win or lose, are moving forward with their young stars and prospects.

After citing Kypreos’ comments, the article adds that Stepan may want out as well. Garrioch notes:

Former NHL general manager Doug MacLean indicated the 30-year-old Stepan may want to be dealt because he’s not happy with his role under Smith and mentioned there may also be personal issues involved here because his family hasn’t joined him in Ottawa.

source – ‘GARRIOCH: In the midst of a nine-game losing skid, the Ottawa Senators make changes’ – Bruce Garrioch – Ottawa Sun – 02/03/2021

Both Kypreos and MacLean noted the losing in Ottawa can be blamed almost exclusively on the poor goaltending and it will be interesting to see if anything comes of that. The Senators recently signed Matt Murray to a long-term deal and they’re certainly going to be stuck with what looks to be a poor decision in the early going.

Oilers Getting Some Players Back

As per head coach Dave Tippett, the Oilers believe that goaltender Mike Smith should be good to go in about a week or so. The veteran netminder is eligible to come off LTIR on Saturday Sunday and the team will be excited to have their backup ready and able to offer Mikko Koskinen a break. Tony Brar of the Oilers official website said, “Smith is a full participant in today’s practice and looking like his acrobatic self. His athleticism on full display.”

Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Oilers also got defenseman Ethan Bear back on the ice at practice Thursday and the blueliner is considered day-to-day. It appears the Oilers are going to continue to roll with seven defenseman and Bear was getting some time in with Evan Bouchard. We’ll keep an eye on that to see if these two become a pairing.

Krueger Tests Positive

Bad news continues to come out of the Sabres organization. The team announced on Thursday that Krueger has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and will immediately enter the NHL’s COVID protocol.

This announcement comes after news that Sabres forward Tobias Rieder and defenseman Brandon Montour were added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Wednesday. Forward Taylor Hall and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen were already on the list.

Wayne Simmonds Getting a Promotion

It appears as though the Maple Leafs have decided to bump Simmonds up to the team’s second line for the game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. Simmonds has been skating with William Nylander and center John Tavares.

Nylander is excited about playing alongside Simmonds and noted: “He’s fearless. He works really hard. He’s got a lot of energy all the time, which is fun … He’s a heavy body in front of the net and wins pucks back, and is a great net-front guy. We had some nice chemistry in practice today.”

Head coach Sheldon Keefe is hoping Simmonds’ energy will make for a good fit on that line and that his competitive nature and nose around the net will help him pot a few more goals. Keefe said, “He found a way to score in three straight games for us, which has given him a little extra confidence and a little extra boost.”

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