NHL Rumors: Bruins, Oilers, Maple Leafs Blue Jackets, Sabres, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is talk the Boston Bruins might be looking to make additions and they could have their eyes on a big name. The Edmonton Oilers have claimed a goaltender from the waiver wire and are pitching to have the province of Alberta let fans back into games. There are some job security questions for a couple of NHL head coaches and, finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot of questions to answer when it comes to the NHL Expansion Draft.

Bruins Would Like to Add, Maybe Even Eichel

Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now (via Florida Hockey Now) cites an NHL source who said the Bruins would still like to add a top-four left side defenseman. Two of the names the Bruins are potentially keeping an eye on is Vince Dunn out of St. Louis or Mattias Ekholm out of Nashville.

Jack Eichel Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic also notes that we shouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins look into the availability of Jack Eichel. Shinzawa writes the Bruins can only count on aging centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci for so long and writes, as per one source, “I just don’t see any way they can’t be all over him.”

Shinzawa adds:

Unlike most teams, the Bruins could incorporate Eichel’s cap hit under their ceiling. They could make $14.25 million in cap space available by not re-signing Krejci and Tuukka Rask, both unrestricted after this season.

source – ‘Bruins trade for Jack Eichel? What we’re hearing about the Sabres’ star coming to Boston’ – Fluto Shinzawa – The Athletic – 01/03/2021

Oilers Claim Stalock, Want Fans Back

The Oilers have claimed goaltender Alex Stalock off waivers from the Minnesota Wild. While Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith have been splitting duties between the pipes since Smith’s return, this is a smart gamble for the Oilers who had a questionable third-string option.

Also, Tom Gazolla is reporting that the Oilers Entertainment Group is pitching to have fans back in the building. He writes, “Hearing from multiple sources that OEG is putting forth a 50-page proposal to AHS [Alberta Health Services] to allow a limited number of fans to attend games.” He adds, “The hope is to have people in the building as early as April – if & when the province is able to get to Step 3 of its plan to move forward.”

Gazolla talks about how OEG wants to give AHS a “testing ground” scenario that could be used for other live events throughout the province. Their pitch focused on proper protocols (social distancing, masks, etc.) and some within the OEG believes there is strong chance this happens.

John Tortorella Comments on Job Security

The additions of Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic haven’t seemed to do much in the way of adding wins for the Blue Jackets. As such, John Tortorella’s name has popped up among those bench bosses whose window for employment might be closing.

John Tortorella Blue Jackets bench (2)
John Tortorella, Columbus Blue Jackets bench, Feb. 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

That said, if you ask Tortorella, he’s not worried about it:

I never worry about that. I do my job the best I can. If people want to make decisions on me, that’s their decision. … I go about my business, and I’m going to coach this team the best way I possibly can.

Tortorella has come under fire often this season as his approach to dealing with players has been questioned. He’s publicly made examples of Max Domi, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Patrik Laine and there was even a suggestion by Aaron Portzline of The Athletic that, at one point, Tortorella might have been trying to get fired.

Related: NHL Rumors: Bruins, Oilers, Maple Leafs, NHL Noticing NBA Top Shot

Ralph Krueger on the Hot Seat?

Krueger is another coach that could be on the hot seat as the Buffalo Sabres are not doing well and there’s a ton of speculation players will be shipped out before the NHL Trade Deadline. Darren Dreger said during a spot on TSN690, that he could see the Sabres moving on with everything that’s happening there.

Buffalo Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger
Buffalo Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Specifically, when it comes to a player like Jeff Skinner, Krueger has essentially sent a message after three straight games of being a healthy scratch that “this player is not of any use to me.” Unfortunately for the Sabres, they are stuck with Skinner’s contract and need to make that relationship work.

When asked if he was worried about potentially being let go, Krueger said, “Absolutely not, John. If you do, I don’t know. But I’m not wired that way, just so you know. I’m wired to work on solutions and take responsibility, and I do both right now.”

Maple Leafs Expansion Draft Questions

Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star took a closer look at some of the questions the Maple Leafs will have to answer when it comes to the NHL Expansion Draft. Among them is what to do with Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen as both are pending unrestricted free agents.

Neither need to be protected for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft if they don’t sign right away but there are some that wonder if the Leafs will sign Andersen and leave Jack Campbell and Michael Hutchinson exposed. The team also knows that Hyman will be coveted in free agency and believes he could get a five-year deal worth $4.5 million per season.

McGran writes:

If they sign Hyman, the Leafs would have to go the 7-3-1 route. Hyman, Kerfoot and Engvall would likely be the additional forwards but the Leafs would have to drop one defenceman. Holl, probably.

source – ‘Mailbag: In defence of the Leafs’ William Nylander (and John Tavares)’ Kevin McGran – Toronto Star – 02/26/021

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