NHL Rumors: Datsyuk, Leafs Search for Defense, Oilers, More

In today’s rumor rundown there are whispers about Pavel Datsyuk returning to the NHL but Datsyuk’s side says not so fast. There is an update on what the Toronto Maple Leafs might be looking for on the blue line and who the Oilers are considering for the vacant GM spot.

Pavel Datsyuk Return to the NHL?

It was reported recently that Pavel Datsyuk is not ready to retire from professional hockey and rumors are, he is considering a return to the NHL. But, before people get too excited, Datsyuk’s agent has cautioned people not to get too hyped about the buzz.

Pavel Datsyuk, KHL, Detroit Red Wings, SKA St. Petersburg
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Dan Milstein, (Datsyuk’s agent) spoke to the Free Press Thursday, suggested the only way Datsyuk would consider a return would be if he came back to the Red Wings. “He spent an entire career in Detroit. If he wants to come back, I believe he would only consider the Red Wings,” Milstein said. That’s not the easiest thing to do since the Arizona Coyotes own his rights.

Milstein said the idea of Datsyuk coming back “has been blown out of proportion.” All Pavel said is that he’s not ready to retire, would consider the NHL but neither he nor Milstein has spoken to any NHL executives about Datsyuk and won’t until ‘he tells me is considering coming back to the NHL.”

Related: NHL Rumors: Oilers Audit, Matthews, Ferland, More

Latest on Maple Leafs Search for Defense

Josh Wegman of The Score cited a report by TSN’s Darren Dreger claiming the Maple Leafs are actively searching for a defenseman and heavily scouting the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are open to moving Dougie Hamilton but team may be more interested in Brett Pesce.

Brett Pesce Hurricanes
Brett Pesce, Carolina Hurricanes, Mar. 1, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

One area the Leafs are weak on is right-handed d-men and that could open the door for the acquisition of either Justin Faulk and Trevor van Riemsdyk. That said, neither name has really surfaced in trade rumors.

The return Carolina would want is a scoring forward and Pesce is likely the piece that fetches the kind of scorer the Hurricanes would be looking for. He’s got a good chunk of term left on his contract at a reasonable cap hit and Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said that is the kind of player he is ideally looking for versus grabbing a rental.

Could a Pesce for Nazim Kadri type deal work?

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

Oilers Might Not Have Options on New GM During Season

Bob McKenzie had a Wednesday morning radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690 and noted the Edmonton Oilers might have trouble landing a GM right now if that’s what their intention is. With so many teams in the hunt for the playoffs and big decisions coming just prior to the NHL Trade Deadline, there aren’t going to a be a lot of teams eager to give up their assistants. McKenzie said the answer will simply be, ‘No, not now.’

McKenzie also said it’s hard to know what the Oilers are thinking. “At this point I have no idea what Bob Nicholson and Daryl Katz’s plan will be. Do they look for a young guy who’s an assistant GM somewhere, or do they look at it and say, ‘Man, we better bring somebody in who’s got some experience here.’ He figures, no matter what, there will be people upset about the decision.

Some will argue that a new guy won’t be prepared to handle the task of turning the misfortunes of the team around and the other side of the coin is that people might complain and experienced GM is just another demonstration the Oilers are shopping in the recycle bin.

“So at the end of the day, you’ve just got to find somebody who you think is really good at the job and give them the power, the autonomy, and the resources to do it.”

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet suggested Steve Yzerman doesn’t seem like a fit, but it wouldn’t hurt the Oilers to ask. Other candidates could include Bill Guerin, Mark Hunter, Kelly McCrimmon, Craig Heisinger, Ron Hextall, Doug Armstong, Ken Holland, and Mike Gillis.

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