NHL Rumors: Oilers, Flames, Canucks, Avalanche, Rangers, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Edmonton Oilers have placed goaltender Troy Grosenick on waivers. After all the Oilers have been through with their goaltending, one has to wonder if this is a wise decision. Meanwhile, the Calgary Flames pulled Sam Bennett from the lineup on Thursday. Is there a trade pending or is something else going on? Are the Vancouver Canucks among the teams interested in Bennett and is Jim Benning’s job in jeopardy? There is speculation defenseman Erik Johnson might do the Colorado Avalanche a favor prior the NHL Expansion Draft and the New York Rangers have promoted an executive who showed his loyalty to the franchise.

Oilers Waive Troy Grosenick

Friday morning, the Edmonton Oilers placed goaltender Troy Grosenick on waivers. Considering the circus that has been the netminding situation in Edmonton, some fans are calling this a risky move, but it suggests Mike Smith is ready to go and will come off LTIR this weekend and be ready for Monday or Tuesday’s game action against the Ottawa Senators.

Grosenick was picked up by the Oilers after the team lost Anton Forsberg on waivers, were left without an injured Smith and were stuck with a combination of Mikko Koskinen and a very unproven goalie prospect in Stuart Skinner. Skinner played one game for the Oilers this season while Grosenick sat on the bench for one as a backup. The latter never got to see any game action.

It’s possible Grosenick is claimed as teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs are all dealing with some injury issues. That said, if Grosenick goes unclaimed, he could wind up as the Oilers third-string option and head to the taxi squad. Skinner would then likely be assigned to Bakersfield.

Related: Oilers & Flames Ready for 1st Round of the 2021 Battle of Alberta

Bennett Trade Imminent?

During the most recent TSN Insider Trading segment, Darren Dreger acknowledged there is a great deal of talk that a Sam Bennett trade could be imminent after the forward was pulled from the Flames lineup on Thursday. However the NHL insider tried to calm the chatter by saying a deal is not pending.

Sam Bennett Calgary Flames
Sam Bennett, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Bennett was playing relatively well and getting some top six minutes prior to his being healthy scratch, which many thought meant the team was showcasing the forward and might have found a taker. Dreger noted that any reports of a deal being in the works are inaccurate. He said that Bennett being scratched “certainly amplifies the trade speculation across National Hockey League media bases”, but he notes, “There is no front-burner trade for Sam Bennett at the moment, but a good amount of interest at this stage.”

Eric Francis of Sportsnet believes that the reason Bennett might have come out of the lineup was because he finally communicated his desire to be moved and because he wants out, the Flames might be ready to sit him until a deal is done.

Canucks’ GM on Hot Seat?

There was a rumor going around that the Canucks were interested in acquiring Bennett, but reports from TSN1040’s Rick Dhaliwal are the Canucks don’t have the assets to get a deal done. It is believed the Flames would like a draft pick and that’s not an option for Vancouver.

At the same time, there is talk that Jim Benning is responsible for the Canucks not having the pieces they need and that the GM couldn’t make the deal for the team without ownership approval anyway. Word is, Benning is on very thin ice considering the team’s recent struggles and after comments he made about Tyler Toffoli’s exit from the organization. Benning said he ‘ran out of time’ to get a Toffoli deal done and a lot of insiders figure those comments are not much more than an admission of incompetence and could be the beginning of the end for Benning with the Canucks.

Could Erik Johnson Waive NMC for the Avalanche?

In a recent mailbag segment, Mike Chambers of The Denver Post was asked if Johnson might be willing to waive his no-movement clause prior to the Seattle expansion draft, thus allowing the Avalanche to protect another defenseman. Chambers believes it’s likely.

He writes:

Yes, I think it’s likely. EJ is a team-guy, a do-anything guy to help the organization. And if he waives his no-trade clause, the Avs can protect all three of their defensemen in Cale Makar, Sam Girard and Devon Toews.

source – ‘Avs Mailbag: Colorado is steamrolling teams, west is the best, outdoor game update and more’- Mike Chamber- Denver Post – 02/03/2021

This, of course, is just an opinion but it’s an interesting idea as it would suggest the Avalanche believe the Kraken would pass on the 32-year-old blueliner. Johnson is signed through 2022-23 with an annual cap hit of $6 million.

Rangers Promote Chris Drury

After declining an interview with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers have rewarded Chris Drury for sticking with the team. Drury was promoted from the role of assistant general manager to associate general manager. He will remain general manager of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack.

The Rangers said that Drury will “continue to assist Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton on all player transactions and contract negotiations.”

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