NHL Rumors: Senators, Blues, Oilers, Panthers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is talk about what the Ottawa Senators should do with Alex DeBrincat. Should they sign him or trade him? Meanwhile, two key potential trade pieces for the St. Louis Blues have gone down with injuries. What does that mean for the Blues?

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Are they buyers or sellers? Finally, the Edmonton Oilers appear to be getting Leon Draisaitl back and Klim Kostin might have avoided serious injury.

Future Unclear For DeBrincat in Ottawa

As per Ken Warren of the Ottawa Sun, Senators’ head coach D.J. Smith says DeBrincat has been the club’s best all-around player during the past month. Despite that, there are questions about whether the Senators could or should re-sign him to a long-term extension. He writes that DeBrincat will probably get between $8 million-$9 million on a long-term deal. Questions about whether ownership would approve that deal or not exist.

Alex DeBrincat Ottawa Senators
Alex DeBrincat, Ottawa Senators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Warren writes that there is no guarantee that either GM Pierre Dorion or coach Smith will be back for the 2023-24 season, especially if the Senators don’t make the playoffs and are under new ownership. He notes, “New voices at the top would bring fresh ideas about the foundations for team building.”

Warren adds:

If the Senators remain legitimately out of the playoff race at the trade deadline, would they contemplate trading DeBrincat? In the original deal bringing him to Ottawa, they gave up first and second-round picks in 2022 and a third-round selection in the 2023 entry draft. DeBrincat has done nothing to lower his stock ever since. By the same token, the Senators could hold on to him until the summer, when there could be more intriguing trade options on the table. In order to keep his rights, the Senators would need to issue a qualifying offer of $9 million for the 2023-24 season.

source – ‘DeBrincat continues to deliver, but what is his long-term future with the Senators?’ – Ken Warren – Ottawa Sun – 12/29/2022

Blues Trade Chips Injured

According to Frank Seravalli, the St. Louis Blues lost two of their most significant possible trade chips to injury. Seravalli tweeted that the Blues “announce potential trade chips Ryan O’Reilly (broken foot) and Vladimir Tarasenko (hand injury) will be out for a while. O’Reilly is out a minimum of 6 weeks, and Tarasenko is out for 4 weeks.”

This should make things very interesting for the Blues over the next few weeks. Depending on how the team performs, the Blues could become definite buyers or sellers. Neither injury is long enough that the team can or will use the LTIR relief to go out and add a major name with a hefty salary. But, if the injuries cause the Blues to take another dive in the standings, they could start selling off players and both O’Reilly and Tarasenko would likely be on the trade block as soon as they return.

Jeremy Rutherford writes, “Timetable-wise, both players could/should be back before NHL trade deadline March 3. But these injuries bring obvious concern to their trade values.”

Draisaitl and Kostin at Oilers Practice

Both Leon Draisaitl and Klim Kostin were on the ice for practice with the Oilers on Monday. That’s great news for the team as it means Draisaitl’s injury wasn’t too serious and great news that Kostin avoided something serious when he went into the boards awkwardly to end Saturday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

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Meanwhile, Allan Mitchell of The Athletic asked if the Oilers might target Radko Gudas out of Florida. He tweeted, “Panthers are no damn good this season. I keep rambling on about Radko Gudas, now I’m really wondering. COULD he be available at the deadline? I know he’s 300 years old but he’s also dirt mean.” He asked, “How’d you like mean old Radko staring at the Flames during the anthem, Oilers fans?”

Gudas is a pending UFA on a salary that pays him $2.5 million for the remainder of this season. He’s one of the more affordable rental options the Oilers have been linked to.