NHL Rumors: Oilers, Sabres, Rangers, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, indications as to the direction of the Edmonton Oilers came out of their season seat breakfast on Monday, there are some updates on the Buffalo Sabres and what they’ll do with a number of their assets this offseason and the New York Rangers might be running into some contract complications with forward Chris Kreider.

Oilers Will Not Have a GM Prior to NHL Draft

At the Edmonton Oilers season seat breakfast on Monday, CEO and vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group, Bob Nicholson answered a few questions from fans. One of the most interesting confirmations he provided was that the team will likely not have a general manager in place by the time the NHL Entry Draft rolls around.

CEO and Vice-Chair, Oilers Entertainment Group, Bob Nicholson
CEO and Vice-Chair, Oilers Entertainment Group, Bob Nicholson (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

Nicholson admitted that teams who employ managers the Oilers would like to speak have not given the permission needed to speak further and as such, the team has endorsed their faith in Keith Gretzky to run the show at the NHL Draft. While it is expected Gretzky can handle the load, simply put, the team had little choice.

While the Oilers have said they will take their time with the next GM hire (and they probably will), there is some concern that not having a GM in place before big dates like the draft of NHL free agency might lead the team towards another hasty hire. Nicholson also admitted he was guilty of doing such a thing in the past when he didn’t even bother to interview former GM Peter Chiarelli.

Related: Oilers Season Seat Event Didn’t Help Sway Fans

Buffalo Sabres Quick Rumor Hits

Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News reported a few updates on the Buffalo Sabres plans going into and through the offseason. The biggest among them is what could be conceived as good news regarding forward Jeff Skinner.

Jeff Skinner and Jack Eichel
Buffalo Sabres’ Sam Reinhart (23), Jeff Skinner and Jack Eichel (9) celebrate a goal during the third period of the team’s NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Buffalo N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

First, the plan is to add more size and physical presence. Second, Lysowski believes the team will get Skinner signed and that he won’t be going anywhere. Third, both Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark will be back next season and finally, Jason Pominville would love to return to the Sabres next season but doesn’t see it happening.

There is also speculation that pending RFAs Johan Larsson and/or Zemgus Girgensons may not be back and that defensemen Marco Scandella,  Rasmus Ristolainen and Matt Hunwick could be shopped in trade.

Needless to say, the Sabres will be busy.

Related: NHL Rumors: Quenneville, Senators, Blue Jackets, More

Kreider Won’t Report to Rangers Camp

Larry Brooks of the New York Post writes that there is “not even the slightest chance” Chris Kreider will report to New York Rangers training camp in the fall without a contract extension in place. The speculation is that should the Rangers and Kreider struggle to find ground on an extension, he would be traded.

Chris Kreider Rangers
Chris Kreider, New York Rangers, Mar. 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Whether the Rangers choose to offer Kreider an expensive extension will be interesting to watch. The team is rumored to want to make the rebuilding process as speedy as possible and moving Kreider for draft picks and prospects certainly slows down their odds of being successful right away. It also lessens the odds they would go all-in for a player like Artemi Panarin if they aren’t prepared to surround him with proven pieces.

Kreider is just two goals and four points from his previous season highs. There would be a number lot of teams lining up for his services if available. He’s got one more season at $4.625 million after this one before he requires a new deal.

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