NHL Rumors: Rangers, Blue Jackets, Penguins, Oilers, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, reports are that attempts by the New York Rangers to trade defenseman Tony DeAngelo have stalled. What’s the hold up and does it mean the player is untradeable? In other news, it appears the Pittsburgh Penguins have found their next GM in Ron Hextall. How quickly will an announcement be made? The Edmonton Oilers have lost Zack Kassian to injury, and it appears there’s already trouble in paradise as Patrik Laine has been benched by Columbus Blue Jackets’ coach John Tortorella. What does that mean for Laine’s future with the team?

Rangers Having Hard Time Trading DeAngelo

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the Rangers’ efforts to move DeAngelo have stalled. While there have been some discussions and it was reported there was early interest by at least four different teams, the trade market for the 25-year-old blueliner has dried up. The reason seems to be backlash any team that acquires him might receive considering the player’s personal baggage.

At one time, Brooks had reported the Calgary Flames were interested in DeAngelo. The speculation was that Sam Bennett might be involved in the deal. It sounds like that deal is no longer likely. There was also talk the Anaheim Ducks and LA Kings were in the mix. It’s not clear what their stance on the player is now.

This doesn’t mean a trade won’t happen, it simply sounds like some of the teams that had interest out of the gate are having second thoughts.

Hextall Offered GM Job in Pittsburgh

Earlier on Tuesday, NHL insider Pierre LeBrun reported that Hextall was the frontrunner to take over as GM of the Penguins following former GM Jim Rutherford’s sudden resignation. By noon on Tuesday, those reports had changed and Hextall was being offered the job.

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall
FILE – In this April 11, 2016, file photo, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall speaks with members of the media during a NHL hockey news conference in Voorhees, N.J. The Flyers fired Hextall on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, FIle)

Both Elliotte Friedman and TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported that Hextall was negotiating with the Penguins and Seravalli noted that a handshake deal was likely already in place. Hextall was already a frontrunner, but it apparently only took a second interview for the Penguins to realize this was the guy they wanted.

It will be interesting to see what comes next. He is a more methodical GM while Rutherford was a trade-happy executive not afraid to take big swings. One has to wonder what the mandate in Pittsburgh is now and how Hextall’s hiring will affect players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.

Related: Canadiens News and Rumors: Petry, Weber, Caufield & More

Oilers Lose Kassian

As per reports on Tuesday, Kassian will not play in Tuesday’s rematch against the Ottawa Senators and has been placed on LTIR by the team. He’ll miss at least 10 games and is undergoing further evaluation after leaving Monday’s game early and after a fight with Erik Gudbranson. The Oilers will put Alex Chiasson into the lineup in Kassian’s place and have recalled Devin Shore from the taxi squad.

Ethan Bear is also still not available for the Oilers. Head coach Dave Tippett said the benefit of having extra bodies around is you can play guys who are healthy over guys who are banged up. That will certainly be the case for the Oilers in the second game of their back-to-back.

Laine Benched Already

It seems to be the same old story in Columbus regardless of the player. Tortorella is having to answer questions just four games into the Blue Jackets having Laine on their roster as the coach benched the winger for most of the second period and all of the third period in Monday’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

John Tortorella
John Tortorella (James Guillory-US PRESSWIRE)

Obviously, there are fans landing on both sides of this debate. Some are saying that it’s important Laine learns early that the coach expects full effort from his guys and if you’re not going to give it, you’ll be sitting. Others are saying that Tortorella has to understand what kind of players he has and that not everyone can be coached in the same manner. The hardline stance doesn’t work for everyone and the Blue Jackets knew what kind of player they were getting when they acquired Laine as part of a deal that included Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Of course, questions will come about what this means for Laine and if he’ll have any desire to stay in Columbus when this season is over. He is a pending RFA.

Tortorella declined going into detail and would only say of his decision to bench the forward:

“Nah, that’s gonna stay in-house. I know you guys (the media) are going to try to work me on that. No, it wasn’t because of the missed assignment. There’s a number of things that come into play with that. That’ll stay in the locker room.”

source – ‘John Tortorella cranks up the Blue Jackets’ drama again, benching Patrik Laine’ Aaron Portzline – The Athletic – 02/08/2021

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