NHL Rumors: Nugent-Hopkins, Phaneuf, Oilers GM, More

In today’s NHL rumors, there is a list of less-costly forwards showing itself as the trade deadline approaches, the Edmonton Oilers are going to start searching for a general manager sooner than later and the Ottawa Senators, namely Eugene Melnyk are making it known he expects the Senators to be competitive for a Stanley Cup by 2025.

A List of Budget NHL Forwards Available

Jared Clinton of The Hockey News took a closer look at the NHL Trade Deadline but focused on the forwards who could be had in trade but have lower cap hits and shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to acquire. He started by looking at Micheal Ferland, but the asking price might be up there if the buzz around Ferland is to be believed.

Alex Chiasson - former Ottawa Senator
(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Other names on the list include Alex Chiasson out of Edmonton  (17 goals and 24 points in 41 games), Patrick Maroon out of St. Louis and perhaps Ryan Dzingel out of Ottawa (38 points in 48 games). Dzingel is probably not a player the Senators sell cheap but it all depends on how badly they want to move him before the Feb. 25. date.

Related: Oilers Can’t Afford to Wait to Make a Move

Oilers GM Search Starts This Week

TSN Insider Bob McKenzie is reporting that the Edmonton Oilers will start contacting teams later this week about potential GM candidates by asking for permission to speak with the names high on their list. The expectation is still that a GM won’t be hired before the trade deadline but McKenzie said, “it sounds like later this week the process is going to take the next step, which is actually contacting teams, getting permission, and getting more into more of the heart of this matter.”

Kelly McCrimmon - Golden Knights
KELOWNA, CANADA – OCTOBER 25: Head coach Kelly McCrimmon of Brandon Wheat Kings stands on the bench during first period against the Kelowna Rockets on October 25, 2014 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

The leading candidates seem to be Kelly McCrimmon out of the Vegas Golden Knights organization and Mark Hunter out of the London Knights OHL organization.

Related: NHL Rumors: Marner, Panik, Canucks, Red Wings, More

Oilers Won’t Trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

While they will start searching for a GM, what the Oilers won’t do, at least according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, is trade away Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was one of many Oilers’ first overall picks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

If an unbelievable offer was thrown out there — one that solved a lot more problems than the hole that moving Nugen-Hopkins would create — then the Oilers might think about it but Dreger says, “when I look at the Edmonton Oilers, you can count on probably six – maybe seven – fingers how many players are players of substance – with all due respect to those who are earning a living as NHL players. And I’m not trying to be disrespectful.”

Instead, Dreger believes the Oilers new GM (whomever that is) will focus on moving out the $2 -$2.5 million players, even if it means getting little to nothing back in return.

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

Kings and Phaneuf Parting Ways?

The Los Angeles Kings are going to sit defenseman Dion Phaneuf as a healthy scratch when the Kings take on the Philadelphia Flyers and speculation this is the beginning of a move that might lead to a potential buyout in the summer.

Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Los Angeles Kings
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 1: Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Los Angeles Kings (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s going to be a costly buyout with two years remaining at $7 million per season but the Ottawa Senators are on hook for 25% of that salary.

Senators Going to be All-In Come 2021

Speaking of the Senators, there are reports coming out of Ottawa that owner Eugene Melynk expects the team to be competitive again and spend to the salary cap ceiling by the year 2021. Melnyk said he expects the rebuild to last only one or two more seasons.


Melnyk’s comments came when speaking to a group of corporate sponsors and partners on Wednesday. He explained exactly how he sees the team’s future. He reiterated that the Senators’ current rebuild is a blueprint on how to bring the Stanley Cup home to its rightful place in Ottawa.