NHL Rumors: Sabres, Oilers, Bruins, Maple Leafs, Islanders, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Jack Eichel’s agents release an alarming statement that changes the dynamic of the relationship between the player and the organization in a major way. Meanwhile, are the Edmonton Oilers seriously considering making a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for goaltender Joonas Korpisalo? What’s the status on Jake DeBrusk with the Boston Bruins and will they use him in a trade to try and replace David Krejci? Finally, what the New York Islanders up to and how were the Toronto Maple Leafs able to scoop up Nick Ritchie?

Eichel’s Agents Rip Sabres

Sabres’ GM Kevyn Adams said the team would welcome Jack Eichel back if he wasn’t traded, but also that the organization was in control of how a trade would unfold if completed. Eichel’s agents sent a different message out to the hockey world on Friday.

Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli essentially called out the Sabres for how they’ve handled Eichel’s request to have surgery, the timing of his medical issues and the expectation of a trade. Suggesting the team has refused to allow him to get surgery in time for him to recover and be ready for the opening of the 2021-22 season, they believe the situation isn’t working and a trade is the only option.

Now that Eichel’s side has claimed the Sabres have left out key pieces of the discussion, what this means now is unclear. Will Adams feel pressured to move Eichel? Or, will the Sabres hold firm so as not to give ground to pressure from Eichel’s agents? It doesn’t seem like the player is open to returning next season, but the latest buzz on a trade is that teams are backing out because the asking price is too high.

Oilers Looking at Korpisalo?

There’s chatter the Oilers might be connected to Columbus Blue Jackets’ goaltender Joonas Korpisalo in trade. The Oilers are looking at trying to upgrade their goaltending situation this offseason, but there’s doubt Korpisalo is an obvious upgrade over Mikko Koskinen.

Joonas Korpisalo Columbus Blue Jackets
Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus Blue Jackets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Ryan Rishaug of TSN has shot down rumors the Oilers were considering sending a first-round draft pick plus prospect Dmitri Samorukov to the Blue Jackets in return. He writes, “Korpisalo for Koskinen and a high pick or prospect is not something the organization is considering at the moment. Have a great long weekend everyone!”

Still with the Oilers, there’s some talk that the team might be targeting defenseman Ryan Murray. Frank Seravalli said during the most recent DFO Rundown that he can see Murray as a fit for Edmonton. Co-host Jason Gregor adds that he’s heard the Oilers are one of five teams who has made an offer.

Related: Derek Ryan Signing Revives Oilers’ Link with Alberta Golden Bears

Bruins Trading DeBrusk Inevitable?

As per Daily Facoff’s Frank Seravalli, there’s a lot of chatter that Jake Debrusk still might be moved by the Bruins. With Nick Foligno now in the fold, one has to wonder if DeBrusk will be sent out to try and grab another center and replace David Krejci?

DeBrusk should have some cache around the NHL but not performing well means he’s unlikely to fetch the Bruins a second-line center. Boston may have to put Charlie Coyle there until another option presents itself.

Islanders Hiding Their Signings?

According to The Athletic’s Arthur Staple the inactivity coming out of the New York Islanders is not really inactivity at all. He writes:

Lamoriello does not want anyone in the league to know where the Islanders are with their salary-cap space right now, so he’s not announcing any deals that are already agreed upon or even filing them with the league, which would quickly leak them out to the world.

source – ‘Islanders free agency: What’s going on with Lou Lamoriello and the Isles?’ – Arthur Staple – The Athletic – 07/30/2021

Staple believes Zach Parise and Kyle Palmieri have been signed and that Casey Cizikas and Travis Zajac might have deals done too. At the end of the day, no one outside of the Isles front office really knows what Lamoriello is up to.

Why the Maple Leafs Signed Nick Ritchie

After signing Ondrej Kase to a one-year, $1.25 million contract, there was speculation the Maple Leafs might also be interested in Nick Ritchie. Seravalli said he thought Ritchie visited with the team on Thursday and noted he was surprised the Boston Bruins didn’t qualify him. On Saturday, Toronto finalized a deal and signed him a two-year contract worth $2.5 million per season.

Elliotte Friedman reported earlier in the week that the Bruins had originally intended to qualify the player. He wrote on Twitter, “Hearing plans have changed in BOS and Nick Ritchie will not be qualified. The Bruins had to adjust since stating they initially planned to qualify him last week.” Toronto jumped at the chance to add some grit.

Chris Johnston wrote: “There’s a theme to #leafs free-agent signings: Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase and Michael Bunting are all entering their 26-year-old season. Each can be viewed as an upside bet that carries top-six potential for a spot alongside the Core Four.”