NHL Rumors: Oilers, Sabres, Canadiens, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is more news on the Edmonton Oilers beyond the status of Jesse Puljujarvi, rumors the Buffalo Sabres turned down a huge trade that would have seen them land one of the best left-wingers in hockey and questions about whether or not Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin would dare try another offer sheet? One scribe doesn’t think so.

Oilers Trading a Defenseman?

David Staples of the Edmonton Journal writes the Edmonton Oilers might look to trade a blueliner for some immediate help at forward. Since the team doesn’t have a lot of salary cap wiggle room, a trade may be a more likely option than a signing at this point. Staples suggests two players: Kris Russell or Matt Benning.

Kris Russell Oilers
Kris Russell, Edmonton Oilers, Oct. 21, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The problem with trading either is that in the event of an injury, the team will have to rely on some very young and unproven talents. Staples writes:

If the Oilers move one of them, it will leave them with just four out of five veteran d-men left from the group of Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Russell, and Benning. Even with a group of strong young d-men who are likely ready or close-to-ready for NHL duty (Caleb Jones, Joel Persson, William Lagesson, Ethan Bear, Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov), if the Oilers go with rookies in the third-pairing that will leave them exposed. 

source – ‘Can Holland move a useful d-man for a useful forward like Cody Eakin, Nick Bonino or Andrew Copp?’ – David Staples – The Edmonton Journal – 07/08/2019

Russell does have a no-trade clause but he has given Oilers GM Ken Holland a list of 10 teams he’d accept a trade to. Staples suggests Anaheim, Vegas, Winnipeg, Ottawa, San Jose, Los Angeles and Nashville as possible destinations. He suggests targets like Tyler Toffoli, Andrew Copp, or Cody Eakin, among others.

Related: NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Oilers, Stars, Gusev, More

One Defenseman Too Many in Buffalo

With the acquisition of Henri Jokiharju on Monday, the Buffalo Sabres have an abundance of defenseman, adding another to an already crowded group. The addition is leading to speculation the team might be ready to make another move, this time to send a blueliner out.

Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen
Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

The goal for the Sabres is to add a second-line center and the shiny object they can dangle is Rasmus Ristolainen.

Speaking of Ristolainen, according to Joe Yerdon of The Athletic said on @TSN1260 radio with Jason Gregor, on Tuesday, the Buffalo Sabres turned down a trade a few years ago that would have seen them acquire Taylor Hall for Ristolainen. They wanted to keep the defenseman so they said no.

Related: NHL Rumors: Blues, Blackhawks, Flames, More

Gardiner Wants $7 Million Per Season

Scott Billeck of NBC Sports writes that while Jake Gardiner is at the top of his remaining free agent list, Gardiner is pricing himself out of much of the marketplace asking for $7 million per season.

One team that might consider him is the New Jersey Devils.

Canadiens Done With Offer Sheets

Eric Engels of SportsNet writes not to expect the Montreal Canadiens to sign another player to an offer sheet. Citing words that were spoken to him in a one-on-one interview with the Canadiens GM, Marc Bergevin, Engels says, ”
“… it would require him throwing away everything he believes in on the subject, or everything he says he believes in, and I’d be shocked if he did that.”

Marc Bergevin
Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

He told him that Bergevin said as a GM making an offer sheet, you need the pics, you have to be willing to overspend and you have to be ok knowing that if the player gets injured and you miss the playoff, you forfeit your chance at the NHL Draft Lottery.

Engels says all these things contributed to why the offer for Aho was structured in the way that it was. The other offers he’d have to make on other restricted free agents aren’t the same, thus the Canadiens likely aren’t players.

Related: NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Sabres, Devils, Dzingel, More

Blues Don’t Want Maroon

We wrote the other day that because of salary cap issues, the St. Louis Blues wouldn’t likely sign Patrick Maroon. The sense was if they didn’t have other free agents they needed to look at, they’d consider it. That assumption appears to be incorrect.

Jeremy Rutherford reports the Blues have limited interest in Maroon according to sources.