NHL Rumors: Canucks, Oilers, Sabres, Maple Leafs

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Vancouver Canucks are apparently taking calls about the availability of Thatcher Demko. Meanwhile, who are the Edmonton Oilers looking at as they scout the Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets?

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The Buffalo Sabres could be buyers as they continue to play well and is there any chance at all the Toronto Maple Leafs could get in on trade conversations for Timo Meier?

Canucks Listening to Offers on Demko

Rick Dhaliwal noted on the Donnie and Dhali Show that teams are calling on Demko. He said, “If you’re moving him, better be a good haul.” He says he wonders if the Pittsburgh Penguins have interest (he had no confirmation of it), but Donnie said this sends mixed messages because the team just signed Andrei Kuzmenko to a new deal, which doesn’t scream rebuild. He wonders if the Canucks have soured on Demko.

Thatcher Demko Vancouver Canucks
Thatcher Demko, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

All Dhaliwal knows is that his name is out there and that he should be playing the prime years of his career on a team that will have a chance to be competitive. Demko didn’t exactly have a great start to the season and now his injury situation might have the Canucks (and other teams) concerned.

Oilers Scouting Blue Jackets vs. Canucks

Oilers assistant GM, Brad Holland, was scouting the Canucks vs. Blue Jackets game on Friday night. It’s not clear who he was looking at, but there were a number of players in that game the Oilers have been linked to. Among them, is Vladislav Gavrikov of the Blue Jackets on defense. From the Canucks’ side, Edmonton has been loosely tied to Bo Horvat (who had four points) and Luke Schenn.

One has to wonder if the Oilers have shifted focus to these two teams with the news that Joel Edmundson is hurt for the Montreal Canadiens. He was a name that Edmonton had been connected to in trade speculation but his injury history is well documented. Former Oiler Georges Laraque was a guest on Oilers Now on Friday and he knows the Canadiens intimately.

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He said:

Joel Edmundson — and this is no word of a lie — his back is done. He’s got a herniated problem in his back. He’s got an ice pack all the time. He’s slowed down a lot. He’s a big disappointment. Not that he doesn’t want it, but physically he just can’t do it anymore. Often we see him getting treatment on his back. He just can’t do it. So don’t go there. The Oilers can’t go there.

source – ‘Uh-oh! Unsettling news on a much-mentioned trade target for Edmonton Oilers’ – David Staples – Edmonton Journal – 01/27/2023

Sabres Feeling Good About Chances and Could Be Moderate Buyers

There is a lot of optimism surrounding a red-hot Sabres team that has a couple of players really coming into their own in Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin. The team is on the verge on being in the playoff conversation and there is some wonder if the team will be a buyer this season.

Elliotte Friedman noted they certainly could be, but that they likely wouldn’t do anything too crazy. He mentioned, “I think if you’re Buffalo you can make a good value pickup. Not maybe the biggest splash, but something you can do that isn’t too expensive that says to your players ‘OK we’re not going to do anything we think is dumb but we are going to get you a little help.'” The prices are high on big-name players, but if the trade market turns to a point where it favours the buyers, it could determine how active the Sabres choose to be.

Kevyn Adams Buffalo Sabres GM
Kevyn Adams, Buffalo Sabres GM (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

One of the issues in Buffalo is that they have a comparatively hard schedule to finish out the season. They face some of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and winning is certainly not a guarantee.

Is Meier An Option for the Maple Leafs?

Some talk has picked up that Maple Leafs’ GM Kyle Dubas might try to get creative with the trade deadline and could be kicking tires on Timo Meier out of San Jose. There is speculation Dubas might be thinking about acquiring him for the playoff run and then trying to flip the winger in the offseason.

“The thing with the Leafs is you can do it and then flip him,” Friedman told Nick Alberga and Jay Rosehill on Leafs Morning Take. He added, “And Dubas is the kind of guy who would think like that. Now, the price is going to be enormous. That’s the one thing. Toronto doesn’t have a ton of cap room, they don’t have a ton of picks and they want to keep their picks. I don’t know if they have the juice to pull that deal off.”

Friedman still believes the New Jersey Devils are the favorites here. The team’s priority is probably to add a defenseman.