In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there are contract negotiation issues between the Carolina Hurricanes and Dougie Hamilton. How big is the money difference? The Pittsburgh Penguins have lost a key forward and he’s out long-term and the Boston Bruins have not put Jake DeBrusk on the trade market… at least not yet. The Edmonton Oilers could be trying to solve the dilemma of too many right-hand defensemen and is there a reason, beyond financial troubles, that the Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t extended their coach?
Could the Oilers Clear Space for Bouchard?
During an interesting conversation between Sportsnet’s Mark Spector and Oilers Now Host Bob Stauffer, the two NHL media analysts talked about the fact the Oilers might have too many right-handed defensemen. The logjam could create a need to make room and open up a slot for a player like Evan Bouchard.
Spector noted that he doesn’t love the fact Bouchard is playing on the left side and has been in and out of the lineup as a result. He claims that the Oilers are trying to break Bouchard in on the wrong side is problematic. Stauffer asked if Spector had ever seen the movie Moneyball. He noted in that movie, when a guy with similar skills is in the way, you trade that player.
Stauffer noted that the Oilers have two pending UFAs and one of them –Tyson Barrie — is not a penalty killer. The suggestion seemed to be that Barrie might fetch a strong return in trade considering the season he’s having and his contract, while also clearing the path for Bouchard.
This conversation was not to suggest a Barrie trade is coming, but it is interesting that the topic was being discussed. Meanwhile, in our conversation with Jack Michaels on the first episode of Oilers Overtime, the Oilers play-by-play man said he believes the team will do what they can to re-sign Barrie because there’s still some uncertainty surrounding Oscar Klefbom.
Zucker Out Long-Term
Forward Jason Zucker has been placed on long-term injured reserve by the Penguins, retroactive to February 23. He will need to miss at least ten games and 24 days. Head coach Mike Sullivan advised reporters this news was coming back on February 25th. Zucker being placed on LTIR just makes the news official.
His absence leaves a sizeable hole in the Penguins lineup and it will be interesting to see if the team tries to find a replacement for him prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.
Contract Issues Between Hurricanes And Dougie Hamilton
Add another name beyond RFA winger Andrei Svechnikov to the list of players the Hurricanes might be having trouble locking down to an extension. As per a report by Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, talks between Hamilton and the team have been basically nonexistent for the past month.
LeBrun suggests that Hamilton’s camp is looking for Alex Pietrangelo-type money ($8.8 million) but the Hurricanes see Hamilton as more of a Torey Krug level player in terms of salary ($6.5MM AAV). LeBrun writes:
“There should be a sizeable market for a player of Hamilton’s talent even in the flat cap environment. But the priority for both sides is to figure it out in Carolina where he’s happy.”source – ‘LeBrun: Hurricanes’ contract talks with Dougie Hamilton, John Tortorella’s Blue Jackets future’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 03/03/2021
Blue Jackets and Tortorella Extension Talks
LeBrun noted during the TSN Insider Trading segment that the Blue Jackets were putting their support behind coach John Tortorella but adds the reason this story about Tortorella has blown up is because his current contract is coming to an end.
LeBrun notes that Kekalainen confirmed the team’s finances were poor enough that a Tortorella extension was more difficult to do and that the Blue Jackets aren’t in a position to extend Tortorella before the year. LeBrun also explains:
I personally am not convinced that Tortorella himself was in a position where he wanted to extend before the season either, that maybe he wanted to see how this year played out. It’s an interesting story developing in Columbus”
Bruins Haven’t Made DeBrusk Available… Yet
As per a report by The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa, the Bruins have not made DeBrusk available in trade despite rumors he could be on the move. Shinzawa notes his source is one NHL assistant general manager but also claims another NHL source can see the 24-year-old winger eventually being moved.
Shinzawa says that if the Bruins do move the player, they should try to get back a similar-style forward or a much-needed defenseman. He writes:
The issue with trading DeBrusk is that it would further degrade one of the organizational soft spots: secondary scoring behind Brad Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak. The Bruins would have to pursue a hockey trade for a like-minded forward or left-shot defenseman — young, high ceiling, underperforming for whatever reason.source – ‘Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk trade dilemma: Ride it out or make him available?’ – Fluto Shinzawa – The Athletic – 03/02/2021
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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.”