NHL Rumors: Kovalchuk, Matthews, Oilers, Panthers, More

In our second installment of the rumor rundown for Tuesday, there are rumors about Ilya Kovalchuk’s willingness to accept a trade out of LA and the Jets unwillingness to move one of their better prospects. The Panthers may be making a move for one of the best goaltenders in the NHL and the Oilers are bound to make a move or two with a returning defenseman just days away from the joining the roster.  Finally, what does the signing of Auston Matthews mean for the Maple Leafs moving forward?

Ilya Kovalchuk Willing to Waive No-Move Clause

With so many players potentially on the move out of Los Angeles, many eyes are on Ilya Kovalchuk who has not had the kind of year he would have liked since joining the Kings in the offseason. Reports from The Fourth Period is that Kovalchuk is willing to waive his NMC for the right situation.

To make the deal the Kings will likely have to retain some salary but there are teams interested. Kovalchuk owns a full no-movement clause as part of his three-year contract with the Kings. He’ll have control over where he goes and this might not be the easiest move to facilitate if you consider he might be picky, the Kings will have to eat some of his $6.25 million annual salary cap hit and some teams might be shy about taking on multiple years at his age.

Kovalchuk has 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points in 42 games on the season, to date. After new coach Willie Desjardins took over the bench in LA, Kovalchuk has been a shadow of the player that started the season.

Related: NHL Rumors: Chiasson, Seabrook, Senators, Islanders, More

Jets Won’t Move Roslovic

Despite rumors that the Jets are going to be heavy players at this year’s trade deadline and that their first-round pick is in play, Bob McKenzie of TSN said on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 that the team will absolutely not move Jack Roslovic.

Jack Roslovic Winnipeg Jets
Jack Roslovic, Winnipeg Jets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

McKenzie says that teams are calling about him because the team is not always playing him up the lineup where maybe he deserves to be. But McKenzie has said, “And the Jets are like, ‘No, no, no. We’re not going to do that.’ At least that’s my understanding so far, is that that’s been a non-starter for them.”

Related: NHL Rumors: Panarin, Petan, Stars, Blues, More

Oilers Have Six Days to Become Cap Compliant

The Edmonton Oilers have sent Andrej Sekera down to AHL for conditioning which means the Oilers have about six days to shed salary so they can bring him back up to the main roster. Sekera has a no-movement clause, so Oilers can only keep him in AHL for a finite period unless Sekera agrees to stay down longer.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera (2) and Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal (12) during the NHL game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC Arena.

What this means is that the Oilers will need to make some moves over the next couple days, the most likely of which will be waiving a defenseman. If not a waiver, it is possible the Oilers look at trading a player like Matt Benning if a trade for Alex Petrovic or Brandon Manning can’t be facilitated.

Related: Three Oilers Trades to Expect Almost Immediately

Panthers Pursuing Sergei Bobrovsky?

Sean O’Leary of the Score is citing a report by the New York Post’s Larry Brooks claiming the Florida Panthers are interested in acquiring Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The idea is that they’d actually like to move to acquire him prior to the trade deadline on Feb 25. and have first crack at trying to sign him to an eight-year contract extension.

Columbus Blue Jackets Sergei Bobrovsky
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

Derick Brassard, who the Panthers acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, would be a piece going back the other way.  It would also be interesting to see if the Panthers would try to move one of their goaltenders in the trade as well since sending Bobrovsky out would leave the Blue Jackets without a starter during their playoff push.

That said, the Blue Jackets are on a bit of losing streak and with each consecutive loss, the team is potentially looking at making changes knowing that they stand to lose their two biggest players for nothing during the summer.

What’s Next for the Maple Leafs and Other RFA’s?

With the Toronto Maple Leafs having signed their young superstar Auston Matthews to a huge contract on Tuesday, questions will immediately move to what’s next for the club. Knowing that the team will not be inking Mitch Marner to a new deal during the season, the decisions surrounding the club will be about what final moves to make as they head towards the postseason.

The Maple Leafs will hold a news conference today to discuss Matthews new contract and there will certainly be some questions about Marner and others like Jake Gardiner, Kasperi Kapanen, and Andreas Johnson. Matthews deal will carry an annual average value of $11.634MM, and be paid almost entirely in signing bonuses. How does that affect other RFA’s going into the summer? These signing bonuses may be the talk of the offseason.