In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is speculation the Edmonton Oilers might be looking to Detroit as they search for their next general manager, there are rumors of a change in Buffalo and details as to why the Jeff Skinner extension is taking so long, and the Ducks might shut down Ryan Kesler.
Ken Holland Being Linked to Oilers
According to Elliotte Friedman in his latest 31 Thoughts column, the Edmonton Oilers have interest in hiring Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland if the Wings move on from him or brings in Steve Yzerman once Yzerman’s contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning expires.
For now, Keith Gretzky is holding down the role of general manager on an interim basis in Edmonton and the team just announced he will run the NHL Entry Draft in that spot. He’s also a candidate for the job. That said, Gretzky isn’t as likely to land the permanent role and has said he’s not overly interested. It appears he’d rather stay with the Oilers organization as they look for a full-time replacement and one of those candidates appears to now be Holland.
In the meantime, as part of the tasks being undertaken by interim GM Gretzky, Jim Matheson says the Oilers could look at some of the older European free agents that might be able to step right into their lineup.
What’s Holding Up the Jeff Skinner Deal?
In an appearance on Sportsnet 590, Friedman noted that the holdup on an extension between the Buffalo Sabres and forward Jeff Skinner seems to be the length of term Skinner is seeking. Skinner wants a ton of money (potentially as much as $9 million per season) over a longer term and the Sabres are unsure he’s worth it.
Skinner, a pending UFA got off to a great start but has slowed down considerably with just six goals over his last 25 games. He may score 40 goals by the time the season comes to a close, but he might not top 70 points. For a player whose career best is 63 and has now proven himself to be streaky, $9 million per season on a long-term deal carries risk.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie said he believes if the Sabres can lock Skinner in on a deal closer to $8 million per season, they would do the deal.
Friedman also suggested that the Sabres won’t be afraid to move on from Skinner and go another direction if a deal can’t be reached, and Skinner isn’t the only one Buffalo would consider moving. The season hasn’t always gone as well as the team might have hoped considering the strong start they got off to and, in the back of people’s minds, there is the way the season ended last year and the comments made by Ryan O’Reilly. That’s not lost on a team that might feel the need to switch things up in the offseason if they don’t finish strong.
Ryan Kesler Done for Season?
Anaheim Ducks GM and coach Bob Murray told Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register that he doesn’t know if Ryan Kesler will play again this season. With the Ducks now firmly out of the playoff picture, the team may just choose to shut him down for the year and start the recovery process from his chronic hip pain.
With just eight points on the season, you can hardly call Kesler’s season an effective one. Teaford wrote in his article:
Asked after Friday’s morning skate at Pepsi Center whether it would be better to simply shut down Kesler for the remainder of the season, treat his hip during the offseason and regroup for training camp in September, Murray said, “If he were willing to do that, that would be fine. We’ll see.”
source – ‘Ducks say Ryan Kesler could be done for the season’ – Elliott Teaford – Orange County Register – 03/15/2019
Islanders to Shop Nick Leddy?
Arthur Staple of The Athletic writes that the New York Islanders might be willing to move Nick Leddy thanks to the emergence of some of their younger players this season.
This is not to say that Leddy isn’t a part of what the Islanders are doing. He’s still among the best skaters in the game and three scouts who regularly watch the Islanders agree that Leddy, who turns 28 next week, is still a valuable commodity in the league… “He may not be a top-pair guy and maybe he never was,” one scout said. “But on the right team as a solid No. 3, he could put a team over the top.”
source – ‘As the Islanders’ ‘Core Four’ of young defensemen hit their stride, Nick Leddy becomes more expendable’ – Arthur Staple – The Athletic – 03/14/2019
Leddy will soon be 28 years old and has three years left on his contract at a $5.5 million per season. It is believed by some that Leddy could fetch the Islanders a top-six forward and the team is actively looking for another scorer, with rumors they have eyes on Matt Duchene or Artemi Panarin in free agency.
Other teams perhaps connected to Leddy would be the Oilers (involving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins), the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets.
Pierre LeBrun added regarding the Islanders: “Whatever happens this summer, I think the Isles will be involved in many things on many fronts. They’ve got cap room and a desire to add.”
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”