NHL Rumors: Avs, Oilers, Stars, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news out of Colorado where the Avs might be pitching a big-name free agent, speculation out of Edmonton that the Oilers will hang onto an underperforming forward and the Dallas Stars might add to their coaching staff.

Avs Going After Artemi Panarin

Adrian Dater is reporting that the Colorado Avalanche have will have some salary cap space to work with this offseason and will use it to go after a big-time free agent.

Artemi Panarin Blue Jackets
Sonny Milano could have a future golden opportunity depending on what happens to Artemi Panarin. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Avs are rumored as ready to make a pitch for pending free agent Artemi Panarin. Dater says if Panarin instead chooses a team like Florida, it would be more of pure financial decision and not a decision based upon the odds of winning or losing.

Related: NHL Rumors: Markov, Oilers, Canucks, Sens, More

John Stevens to Join Dallas Stars?

Bob McKenzie is tweeting that there has been some talk that former Los Angeles Kings coach John Stevens could join the Dallas Stars. Stars coach Jim Montgomery and Stevens have a previous relationship working together and are close friends.

In Los Angeles, it is expected that Todd McLellan will bring in almost an entirely new coaching staff.

Related: NHL Rumors: Kings, Oilers, Maple Leafs, More

Tobias Rieder Staying Put?

Jonathan Willis notes that the Edmonton Oilers might be reconsidering just abandoning Tobias Rieder this summer. It was almost a given at the end of the season he wouldn’t be back, but with Dave Tippett now coach, things may have changed.

Willis says you have to wonder with Tippett now leading the Oilers and his previous relationship and ability to get a lot out of Rieder when he played under Tippett in Arizona, could he rebound? If so, the Oilers know he’ll be an inexpensive re-signing and the team could use some of that this offseason.

Still with the Oilers, David Staples of the Edmonton Journal wrote that Oilers GM Ken Holland was on CHED 630 and it sounds like defenseman Andrej Sekera will be back next season to help mentor some of their young defensemen.

Oilers defensemen Andrej Sekera
Oilers defensemen Andrej Sekera (Perry Nelson-USA TODAY)

Holland said:

“I always reflect back on my Detroit days. You know you look at Sekera whose a really good veteran, I look at the impact that Niklas Kronwall had on Dennis Cholowski, had on Filip Hronek. Sekera can have that role. You got to have some veteran well respect people in the locker room that mentor those young kids.

source – ‘Excellent! Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland hints that Andrej Sekera will be back next year’ – David Staples – The Edmonton Journal – 05/29/2019

Holland suggested he needs to find the right mix of veterans to youth, especially on the backend.

Related: Confirmed: Oilers Hire Dave Tippett as Coach

Latest on Jeff Skinner

Bob McKenzie said on NBC Sports last night that the Buffalo Sabres and Jeff Skinner are getting closer on a new deal. McKenzie said, “The sense seems to be that there’s optimism, but not to the point where either side is entirely comfortable with the numbers.”

Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner
Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner (53) celebrates his game-winning goal following the overtime period of an NHL hockey game against the San Jose Sharks, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, in Buffalo N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

McKenzie expects more dialogue between Skinner’s [representatives] and the Buffalo Sabres and that he believes the sweet spot for a number is an eight-year deal somewhere between $8.5 million per year and $9.5 million per year range.

Buffalo and Skinner seem to want to make it work but both sides have to be happy with the dollar figure and term. McKenzie said, it’s very close, but it’s not done. And until it’s done, it’s not done.

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