NHL Rumors: Oilers, Stars, Olympics, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is news that the Edmonton Oilers are closely watching what happens with the NHL pause as any drop in the projected jump in next season’s salary cap could be an issue for them. The Dallas Stars might be considering moving a veteran forward and a Swedish hockey club plans to try and acquire a few NHL free agent defensemen,

Oilers Plans Will Change if Salary Cap Doesn’t Jump

Allan Mitchell of The Athletic wrote an article examining what difficulties the Edmonton Oilers will face if this season suspension causes the salary cap to remain stay stagnant at $81.5 million for 2020-21. If the pause in NHL action means a drop in the estimated cap increase, the Oilers could have issues keeping everyone and re-signing RFAs like Andreas Athanasiou, Ethan Bear, and Matt Benning, who could cost as much as $7.5 million collectively.

Ethan Bear
Ethan Bear, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Oilers currently have over $71.2 million invested in 17 players and there’s still UFA players like Mike Smith and Tyler Ennis to look at, with rumors the Oilers had some interest in free agents like Taylor Hall and Mike Hoffman (not sure that rumor has many legs). There’s simply not enough room for everyone which means potentially having to try and move a player like Kris Russell or flipping Athansiou.

Mitchell writes:

It goes without saying the increased pool of talent at the deadline has the potential to either solve roster issues or open up more trade options for summer. Athanasiou, as an example, could be signed for one year, several years or dealt over the summer (perhaps for a pick). That would mean signing Ennis or possibly a big-name free agent before the fall.

source – ‘ Lowetide: NHL season on hold might impact Oilers evaluations, summer plans’ Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 03/13/2020

Related: The Day the Mark Messier Era Ended in New York

Stars to Shop Radulov?

It’s hard to imagine that there’d be many takers but Matthew DeFranks of The Dallas Morning News pondered whether or not the Dallas Stars could move Alexander Radulov, trying to clear up cap space to land a young second-line center.

Alexander Radulov Dallas Stars
Alexander Radulov, Dallas Stars (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Radulov’s no-movement clause becomes a modified no-trade on July 1 and at that time, he’d have to submit a 15-team no-trade list. But, as DeFranks also points out:

“This is the player you’d be trading: a 34-year-old (on July 5) winger with a cap hit of $6.25 million that is coming off a career-worst goal-scoring year. That’s not going to get the value Radulov probably gets last year at this time.”

source – ‘Matt’s mail: On the Stars’ playoff positioning, prospects, third jerseys and more’ – Matthew DeFrank – Dallas Morning News – 03/08/2020

This is not, unfortunately, the best time for the Stars to try and maximize Radulov’s value in trade, especially when the UFA market will have plenty of wingers to select from, most of which who will be less expensive.

Related: The Best Free Agent Signings in NHL History

LeBrun on College Free Agent Signings and Olympics

With the news of the NHL rosters being frozen, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun notes NHL teams can conduct business with regards to college free agents and future year deals, “But no current year contracts allowed until anyone knows what the current year looks like.” So for now, any signing means the deal is dated July 1 and goes into effect next season.

LeBrun also noted that the Olympic decision, one way or another, will play a part in the NHL’s playoff scheduling decision. He cites that the Tokyo Games are slated to go July 24-Aug. 9 and with the pause, the NHL playoffs could go deep into July should the season start back up again.

In no uncertain terms, there is a lot more to consider if NHL games are possible in the not-so distant future.

Related: NHL Rumors: Penguins, Coyotes, 24-Team Playoffs, Travel, More

Swedish Club Targeting NHL Blueliners

According to Swedish news source Hockey Sverige (article requires translation), the club Biel plans to go after some impending NHL free agent defensemen. Specifically, the article names Anaheim Ducks’ blueliners Christian Djoos and Joel Persson and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Gustav Forsling.

While the club might be interested in these players, there’s no indication that any of these defensemen are looking to leave the NHL or jump to the NLA to play for Biel. Mostof these players will likely fair well enough in NHL free agency to find a team and a contract that works.

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