NHL Rumors: Eichel and Golden Knights, Wild, Oilers, Maple Leafs

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Jack Eichel is not far from being medically cleared to take contact, according to his head coach. Meanwhile, what are the Minnesota Wild looking to add at this year’s trade deadline? Will the Edmonton Oilers have to make a goaltending change with so many games in such a small amount of time coming out of the All-Star break? Finally, do the Toronto Maple Leafs have a shot at Josh Manson? Would he even be willing to join the team?

Eichel Getting Closer to a Return

As per coach Pete DeBoer, when it comes to the status of Eichel’s injury situation: “There’s been a couple (practices) in the last week where he’s maybe the best player on the ice, so I would say he’s progressing pretty well.” DeBoer added Eichel might be cleared to take contact coming out of the All-Star break.

Jack Eichel Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Eichel was given a window of about three months from the date of his surgery before he would be able to take contact. His being able to return in a week or two is right around what was projected.

Who Will Golden Knights Move?

NHL.com’s Dan Rosen looked at how the Golden Knights will make room for Eichel’s salary and wonders what the team will do when Eichel, defenseman Alec Martinez and forward Adam Brooks are all ready to join the team. If all three are activated the club will have to start making trades or waiving some depth players.

Related: NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Blues, Flyers, Blackhawks, Maple Leafs

Rosen notes it could be a player like Evgenii Dadonov or Reilly Smith who ends up being moved because each carries a cap hit of $5 million. Perhaps even Martinez is the odd man out after the team recently signed Brayden McNabb to a new extension.

Wild Want to Add Center

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on a recent appearance on WGR 550 radio show they’re looking to add some depth down the middle between now and the March 21st trade deadline. The team has some room to add based on their salary cap situation and Dreger notes that Ottawa and Minnesota have scouted each other a lot lately.

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Could Chris Tierney be a player the Wild look at? He’s 27 year old and a good bottom-six forward that can play higher up in the lineup if needed.

Manson on Maple Leafs No-Trade List

There have been talks the Maple Leafs might be interested in Josh Manson out of Anaheim, but things aren’t that simple. First, it’s not clear if new GM Pat Verbeek wants to trade the defenseman. Second, it doesn’t look like Manson is interested in Toronto.

Josh Manson Anaheim Ducks
Josh Manson, Anaheim Ducks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet notes on the latest 32 Thoughts podcast that Toronto is one of the teams on Manson’s no-trade list. That doesn’t mean a trade is impossible, just tricky. It is believed that Manson would prefer not to play in Canada with all of the strict COVID-19 restrictions, especially in Toronto.

Oilers Busy Schedule Could Mean Goaltending Move

Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Journal argues that the Oilers’ schedule is so hectic coming out of the All-Star break (8 games in 13 days) that this window could be the one in which they’re forced to make a decision on their goaltending.

Mikko Koskinen Edmonton Oilers
Mikko Koskinen, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Suggesting this many games is an extremely heavy load to place on Mikko Koskinen‘s shoulders, he writes:

Even if Smith comes back and makes a statement right out of the gate, going with the status quo in net would be all kinds of risky. Can general manager Ken Holland trust Smith to stay healthy for the next 12 weeks, knowing that if he gets injured again their entire season will be at the mercy of the Good Mikko/Bad Mikko continuum?

source – ‘Edmonton Oilers season about to get crazy — and revealing’ – Robert Tychkowski – Edmonton Journal – 02/04/2022

As for what is available, Holland might not have an ideal target until closer to the deadline. If the Oilers don’t perform well in those eight games, it could be difficult for the team to climb back into a playoff spot.

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