In today’s rumor rundown, there are updates on the Edmonton Oilers and their need to do an organization audit, news on the status of the Toronto Maple Leafs negotiations with Auston Matthews, the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars might have some players moving, and are the Vancouver Canucks looking at Micheal Ferland?
Oilers Need an Audit
One of the big things coming out of the Edmonton Oilers press conference that addressed the firing of GM Peter Chiarelli was the phrase, “there’s something in the water here that we don’t have right.” While the phrase itself got all sorts of attention from water companies in the area and fans that thought it was an interesting choice of words, the big takeaway was that the lack of success in Edmonton is not all being placed on Chiarelli.
Before the Oilers can look at any new GM — and some of the candidates include Bill Guerin, Mark Hunter, Ron Hextall, Kelly McCrimmon, Craig Heisinger, and even Steve Yzerman — Edmonton needs to take a hard look at their practices for evaluating talent. That includes their approach to analytics and Elliotte Friedman wrote in his 31 Thoughts article that Edmonton is way behind when it comes to how they view statistics in regards to evaluating players.
One example, a former analytics guy for the Oilers, Tyler Dellow, was let go by the Oilers is now working for The Athletic. He will likely get hired by another NHL team because his work is so strong in this area. Friedman believes the Oilers should give him another look or at the very least find someone to lead their analytics department who can assess today’s player more accurately.
Oilers Options for Trade
Friedman also added that despite the changes in management, the Oilers are not necessarily done looking at options for this season. On the radar are Washington’s Andre Burakovsky and Detroit’s Andreas Athanasiou “whose speed seems a perfect complement to McDavid.”
The Oilers had talked to the Blackhawks about moving Tobias Rieder to clear up cap space and one team called about defensive prospect Evan Bouchard, but Edmonton shot down that option immediately.
Auston Matthews Dialogue
Friedman reports that an eight-year deal and a four-year extension are not really options for the Maple Leafs and the Auston Matthews camp. What it appears might be the right fit is a five- or six-year contract. That would put the Matthews deal somewhere in the neighborhood of Connor McDavid’s $12.5 million but also not march him right into unrestricted free agency.
Kyle Dubas said his intention was to get something done before the deadline so that means Matthews will be a player to watch in February.
Speaking of the Maple Leafs, on defense, it appears the target is Los Angeles Kings’ defenseman Jake Muzzin. That said, the Maple Leafs are not willing to trade Kasperi Kapanen to acquire the popular blueliner.
Blackhawks Have Some Players of Interest
It sounds as though the Chicago Blackhawks may be able to move Chris Kunitz and John Hayden if they choose to. There are teams potentially interested in those players and while the return won’t be great, it will give Chicago some cap space, move a couple contracts and eliminate some of the repetition in the lineup (Hayden is similar to the newly acquired Drake Caggiula in many respects.)
Dallas Stars Dangling a Few Big Names
The Stars have made Valeri Nichushkin, Brett Richie and Mattias Janmark in trade. It will be interesting to see what value is out there for these players and who might be interested considering the buyers market that exists leading up to the trade deadline.
This particular trio has combined for just six goals and 27 points this season — Janmark has 15 of those. Just a year ago, Janmark scored 19 goals but this year has been not very productive, shooting just 4.3%. He may be the player who attracts the most interest.
Canucks Linked to Micheal Ferland
Patrick Johnston of the Vancouver Province writes that there have been rumors the past couple of weeks linking the Vancouver Canucks to Carolina Hurricanes forward Micheal Ferland. The problem is, Vancouver has concerns in trading for him that he might still want to test the free agent market.
If the Canucks pursue this, they’d need assurance that he’d re-sign and with the Canucks hosting the NHL Draft, they don’t like the look of trading away picks for a player they don’t have on the roster less than one month later.
Canucks GM Jim Benning said on Sportsnet 650 that he’s not going to mortgage their future just to make the playoffs.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”