NHL Rumors: Penguins, Rangers, Oilers, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown there are changes in the Phil Kessel situation out of Pittsburgh, the New York Rangers are looking at possible buyouts, and the Edmonton Oilers aren’t sure what’s going on with Jesse Puljujarvi.

Kessel Staying Put in Pittsburgh

Josh Yohe of The Athletic writes that things appear to have change in Pittsburgh as it relates to Phil Kessel. After failing to trade him to the Minnesota Wild, Yohe writes Kessel will probably not be traded now.

Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Phil Kessel celebrates his winning goal with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

“I think that’s the way things are headed at this point in time,” GM Jim Rutherford told The Athletic. “I expect Kessel will probably play for Pittsburgh next season.”

The change is not for a lack of trying by the Penguins. Kessel was offered around the league for the past two offseasons and while the Penguins understand that moving him helps them make significant changes to the roster, trading him is not a requirement. So too, Kessel has to be on board with most of the destinations worked out in a possible trade.

“You have to understand that he has a no-trade clause and a lot of leverage. In situations like this, it usually doesn’t work out so well for the team. That’s just the way it is. So, at this point, it looks to me that he will return at this season. That’s how I’m proceeding moving forward.”

source – ‘Jim Rutherford: Trading Phil Kessel is now unlikely’ Josh Yohe – The Athletic – 06/11/2019

Rutherford has now switched his focus to signing Matt Murray and he was uncertain if he’d offer defenseman Justin Schultz another deal.

“Changes are coming,” Rutherford said. But, in saying that, he added, “I don’t think we’re going to make any changes that I would refer to as massive. I’d say I’m looking to re-tool more than anything.”

Related: NHL Rumors: Flyers, Oilers, Maple Leafs, More

The Rangers Considering a Couple of Buyouts?

New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton spoke about the quick rebuild the team is trying to go through and their potential to seek out some of the bigger-name free agents this summer. Gorton told Larry Brooks of the New York Post the organization hasn’t ruled out buying someone out this summer.

Kevin Shattenkirk - Rangers
Kevin Shattenkirk, New York Rangers, September 27, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Brooks suggests two candidates in Brendan Smith and Kevin Shattenkirk, who, if bought out, would save the Rangers more than $8 million in cap space this season. The Rangers will have their first chance to decide on this route Saturday when a buyout window opens.

Brooks said this is highly likely because the team has found no trade market for either player, even after offering to retain 50% of their remaining salary.

Related: NHL Rumors: Flames, Flyers, Ducks, More

Future Uncertain For Jesse Puljujarvi, Darnell Nurse and Oilers

Forward Jesse Puljujarvi remains a big question mark for the Edmonton Oilers. When asked if he’ll be an Oiler next season, new GM Ken Holland responded, “it’s been a tough year for him”. No one knows what will happen there.

Ivan Provorov, Jesse Puljujarvi
Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi, and Philadelphia Flyers’ Ivan Provorov (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Matt Slocum)

Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic wrote down Holland’s response during a Q&A:

He’s still a good, young, talented player. I’m hoping that myself and Dave Tippett can provide some stability. I hope he wants to be an Oiler. When I get curveballs thrown at me, then I’ve gotta deal with the curveballs. What would the curveball be? If he doesn’t really wanna be an Oiler. I haven’t really dug that deep. I know it’s been a tough go for him.

source ‘Q&A with Ken Holland: On the draft, buyouts, free agency and how to have a successful offseason’ – The Athletic – Daniel Nugent-Bowman – 06/10/2019

When it comes to Darnell Nurse, Holland also said he’s like to wait as long as possible on an extension because he’s still not sure what he has in Nurse as a player.

Nurse has a contract for 2019-20 so Holland is not terribly worried about doing anything right away.

Related: NHL Rumors: Perry, Duchene, Sabres, Oilers & Jets