NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Senators, and Chaos with the Oilers

In today’s rumor rundown, there are massive updates in Edmonton after the organization relieved GM and President, Peter Chiarelli of his duties. There are also updates on Matt Duchene’s negotiations in Ottawa and who the Montreal Canadiens will be holding onto.

Oilers Will Search for a New GM

After firing Peter Chiarelli late on Tuesday evening (actually, during the second intermission of last night’s game versus the Red Wings), Oilers Entertainment Group CEO & Vice Chair Bob Nicholson held a press conference with the Edmonton media discussing the news.

A few interesting comments were made that got people talking:

A Lack of Character

Nicholson touched on the need for character. A primary focus will be on bringing in secondary leadership to help Connor McDavid. Of course, the first thing that stood out was that he didn’t touch on the skill level of the team. Clearly, its lacking and there was no emphasis put on finding better players.

The First Overall Pick

The Oilers will not be trading their first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft before the trade deadline. He said, “We’re not trading away our first pick. When you look at some of our other top prospects, we’re not giving them away unless we get some real good pieces back.”

It’s difficult to tell what that means for the team as it pertains to this coming trade deadline. The only real option left would be to move Cam Talbot.

New GM Candidates?

It was suggested the Oilers organization will not be in a rush to find a replacement GM. Keith Gretzky will work alongside Nicholson to carry forward with the team that is in place, making the changes needed as a committee. One thing Nicholson stressed the club would be looking for is someone who is a leader and can figure out what’s wrong in the waters.

Four names to consider, according to Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer for GM moving forward: #1. Kelly McCrimmon #2. Bill Guerin #3. Norm Maciver #4. Mark Hunter.

Roster Changes

It appears the Oilers have sent Kailer Yamamoto and Ryan Spooner down to the AHL. Nicholson said the team needs to stop rushing players up and let them over-ripen in the AHL so fans should expect to see more names on the move, including potentially sending down Jesse Puljujarvi.

Also, whether or not the management changes have affected this plan, there were reports by David Pagnotta that the Edmonton Oilers had been looking to acquire a forward and have inquired about New York Rangers Mats Zuccarello and Ottawa Senators Ryan Dzingel, among others.

Related: Peter Chiarelli Fired by Edmonton Oilers

Duchene Talks Continue

TSN is reporting that talks between the Ottawa Senators and Matt Duchene‘s agent Pat Brisson is ongoing and will continue this week. It was first reported when they met last week in Los Angeles, the discussion was general parameters of a deal. That’s where the eight-year extension talk came from. Then it was about money and the numbers tossed out were between $8 million to just over $9 million annually.

Matt Duchene Ottawa Senators
Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene could give the Blue Jackets a top-six boost. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

For Ottawa, the key here is the timing of these talks and timing of a deal. Ottawa needs to know by the first or second week of February what’s happening on this front so that they can explore a trade if he won’t re-sign.

Related: NHL Rumors: Talbot, Matthews, Devils, Wild, More

Montreal to Keep Hudon and Benn…For Now

Eric Engels of Sportsnet is reporting that it looks like Charles Hudon and Jordie Benn will be staying put with the Montreal Canadiens. The problem is neither is fetching much on the marketplace and instead of trading them for no return, they’ll keep them in the fold.

At best, Hudon might be worth a late-round pick and Benn a notch higher than that. “It can change as we approach the deadline, but there are so many established sellers in the market that the second-tier UFAs like him could go for less than what we’ve seen in the past,” one scout said.