NHL Rumors: Oilers, Flyers, Devils, Tim Peel Firing & Sports Betting

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, one insider suggests the Edmonton Oilers have a very specific need heading into this year’s trade deadline while the New Jersey Devils have run into a speed bump when it comes to Kyle Palmieri’s extension. The Philadelphia Flyers are being aggressive but not finding any trade partners and did the NHL fire official Tim Peel because of a loose connection to sports betting?

Oilers Need a Third-Line, Right-Shot Center

As per TSN’s Frank Seravalli, the Oilers will be looking for a faceoff specialist who can play third-line center while killing penalties. Not only that, but Seravailli notes that general manager Ken Holland will try to secure such an asset with a fourth-round pick.

Detroit Red Wings Luke Glendening
Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The Oilers don’t have much to give, but Seravalli notes Holland is looking at Luke Glendening out of Detroit. A pending UFA, he leads the league in faceoff percentage and he won’t be returning to the Red Wings next season. Glendening is a relatively inexpensive cap hit at $1.8 million and he’s cheaper than the alternatives the team might be looking at. Those alternatives include Brandon Sutter of the Vancouver Canucks and Derek Ryan of the Calgary Flames.

The fact that the quarantine mandate of 14 days has been lowered to seven days now increases the odds Edmonton might look to make deal with a team like Detroit.

Related: Flames Have Multiple Rentals They Could Sell at Deadline

Devils and Palmieri Extension Talks Not Going Well

During the same segment, Pierre LeBrun noted that the Devils have held talks with the Palmieri camp but the insider notes, “I’m told both sides are struggling to find, what is, common ground on a contract in this flat cap environment with so much uncertainty.”

LeBrun adds that while things could change, it’s more likely that Palmieri gets dealt. The 30-year-old projects to be one of the top forwards available and while he’s not had a huge season, he still should have plenty of suitors and be able to command a raise on his current $4.65 million per season salary if extended.

Flyers Being Aggressive Before the Deadline

Pierre McGuire said during a hit on TSN690 that he expects the Flyers to be very aggressive as the deadline approaches. He notes they desperately want to do something. He didn’t say what it was they’d be searching for, but speculation to date has them looking at a defenseman.

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher
Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher (Jose F. Morena/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher admits that their blueline is “not right” and they are trying to find the “right mix.” Unfortunately, Fletcher also said they’ve not gotten many calls. He adds:

“I’ve been much more aggressive than a lot of people, just looking at different options. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of teams willing to take on dollars and term at this point in time.” … “If we can fill a box for the long-term right now, we can potentially explore that. But certainly, if we can upgrade our team, we’ll do that.”

source – ‘Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher is in buying mode and says the team’s poor season ‘starts with me’ – Sam Carchidi – Philadelphia Inquirer – 03/24/2021

NHL Draft to Be Held Virtually Again

Seravalli also notes that the NHL Draft is scheduled to be held virtually again this year but that the league is trying to find a way to make it special for the prospects being selected, including potentially finding some sort of outdoor centralized venue that can house most of the draft selections.

Each of the 32 teams will make their picks from their own respective war rooms but the NHL wants to add a bit more flare the proceedings this time around.

Did NHL Remove Peel Because of a Gambling Perception?

Over the past 24 hours, there has been heated debate about the NHL’s decision to remove long-time referee Tim Peel from being able to officiate games and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman notes that part of the decision might have come down to the issue of sports betting.

Gary Bettman
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Friedman said he spoke to a few sources, including some retired officials who thought there was a “business factor to all of this”. Because gambling will become a bigger part of the NHL landscape, keeping Peel might have been perceived as an issue with games being fixed, thus it made relieving him of his duties even more important.

Friedman wasn’t suggesting Peel was doing anything improper, more that as the NHL wants to reach a bigger audience and welcome the sports betting community to get involved, they can’t allow any hint that something improper could be happening.

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