In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is talk of Phil Kessel being connected to the Minnesota Wild, but not wanting to go there. There is also news surrounding the Edmonton Oilers who appear on the verge of a deal with head coach Dave Tippett and Swedish forward Joakim Nygard.
Phil Kessel to the Wild?
There was talk about a deal between the Minnesota Wild and Pittsburgh Penguins for Phil Kessel and that rumor gained steam on Thursday when it was confirmed by sources the Wild are dangling Jason Zucker again. That said, Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic notes he has been hearing Kessel will NOT waive his no-trade clause to go there.
Things in that respect may change but for now, it sounds like Minnesota is not being considered. Of the eight-team trade list Kessel does have, there are a few teams that have called and conversations are ongoing.
All signs point to that he will be dealt now, it’s just a matter of where.
Jesse Marshall of The Athletic weighed in on the Kessel talk and said, “A lot of people seem to think that JR’s intent is to move Kessel as a means to moving Jack Johnson. From what I understand, this deal is to move Kessel, and it’s a bonus to find a way to move Johnson at the same time.”
The Issues in Moving Kessel
There are many who believe Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is in a losing position as the return for Kessel will disappoint fans and there are fewer teams interested that one would think because teams aren’t ‘enamored with Kessel,’.
If fans thought acquiring Jason Zucker out of Minnesota wasn’t going to be fair return, that may be the best deal available.
Oilers and Dave Tippett Deal Not Finalized
Mark Connolly, host CBC Radio’s Edmonton A.M. and CBC Olympic Sports Source said last night that Dave Tippett is going to be the Edmonton Oilers new head coach. He said an announcement will come shortly.
In a somewhat different report, Ryan Rishaug of TSN, as well as Bob McKenzie of TSN, said on TSN 1260 that Tippett’s deal with the Oilers is not finalized yet. He hasn’t agreed to any terms and the process between the two sides continues.
Neither said he wouldn’t be the coach, just that it was not a done deal.
Tippett is a safe bet for the Oilers but there will be some questions surrounding the hire considering he’s a defense-first coach and concern will be that he’ll stifle guys like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Hopefully, Holland has asked Tippett not to put any restrictions on those two players.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal said, “If Dave Tippett is eventually hired to coach Oilers, keep Ray Whitney’s name in mind as an assistant coach because he could bridge the gap.” Matheson notes that Whitney is not far removed from playing, only 47 and relatable to young players. Whitney played for Tippett in Ariz, got 77 pts and might make an excellent power play coach.
Nygard Chose Oilers?
We discussed yesterday that Swedish reports had surfaced that free agent forward Joakim Nygard was deciding between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. It sounds like he has picked the Edmonton Oilers.
The confirmation first came out of Sweden but Ryan Rishaug of TSN has heard the same. The team has not yet announced the signing but it is expected the terms are a one-year entry-level contract and Nygard will become a UFA again after the 2019-20 season.
It is likely he chose Edmonton because he’ll have a better shot at the top six and better production means a bigger contract over the summer.
Leafs Need One More Coach
Bob McKenzie discussed the hiring of Paul McFarland who ran the Florida Panthers power play last season. McKenzie believes the Leafs aren’t done hiring coaches and will need to find an assistant to run the defense and the penalty kill.