NHL Rumors: Holland, Smith-Pelly, Avs, Sabres, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, it appears Ken Holland will be accepting the role of General Manager for the Edmonton Oilers, there is buzz that a certain Washington Capitals forward won’t be back, the Buffalo Sabres may have signed a Finnish prospect and there is no truth to some interesting rumors out of Colorado.

Holland to Accept Oilers GM Job

It’s not official and the team hasn’t announced the deal yet but reports out of Edmonton seem to indicate that Ken Holland has accepted the job as GM of the Oilers. The deal will be five years and $25 million. If Holland accepts, either Sunday or Monday, Dave Tippett would become the lead candidate for the team’s head coaching job.

From the sounds of things, Holland will fill the Red Wings organization and the Illitch family in on his decision. Tyler Wright is expected to join Holland on the amateur scouting side.

Darren Dreger wrote of the reports:

The paperwork still has to get done. Provided all of that is managed today, expect the Oilers to introduce Holland as the new GM in the next few days. Holland will have autonomy and Nicholson could take on a bigger role as well.

It is unclear what Dreger meant by Nicholson taking on a bigger role as well. Is this suggesting he’ll be more involved in the hockey side of negotiations, deals and day-to-day operations? Or, will he move to another position within the organization? There’s not too many places he can go higher than the position he already holds.

Related: NHL Rumors: Islanders, Canucks, Maple Leafs, More

Capitals Expected to Let Smith-Pelly Walk

One contract the Washington Capitals aren’t sure they’ll hang on to is that of unrestricted free agent Devante Smith-Pelly. Speculation is he will not be returning to Washington next season, according to NBC Sports J.J. Regan.

Capitals right wing Devante Smith-Pelly
Capitals right wing Devante Smith-Pelly (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

There was talk of the team wanting to retain key players in their Stanley Cup Championship run last season but Regan notes that things don’t sound like they were always all that smooth with Smith-Pelly’s camp. General manager Brian MacLellan said, “Internally we had a couple of issues we had to work through.”

Of the rumors Smith-Pelly was not in good condition coming out of the break last season, the player responded:

The summer was different for a lot of guys,” he said. “I mean, very short. Guys are hurt going into the summer so obviously you don’t have the same routine as you’ve had in years past to get ready. I guess that just affected me more than some other guys. You try to get your footing and stuff happens.”

Sabres Lands a Prospect Out of Finland

The Athletic’s John Vogl reports that a Finnish source (Twitter link) has stated that the Buffalo Sabres have come to a verbal agreement to sign Finnish prospect Arttu Ruotsalainen.

There was rumored interest by both sides a few days ago and it sounds like they’ve come to a mutual understanding. The entry-level deal would be signed after the World Championships.

Andrighetto Hasn’t Signed in KHL

Pierre LeBrun is reporting that despite speculation out of Russia that Colorado Avalanche forward Sven Andrighetto had signed a contract with the KHL, it is not true.

Avalanche right wing Sven Andrighetto
Avalanche right wing Sven Andrighetto (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

LeBrun admits there is interest from the KHL but he plans on waiting until after the season to make any decisions about next season. The Avs are still in the middle of a playoff run and it seems like strange timing to be signing deals with another league in the midst of such a run.

Listen to More On Ken Holland Rumors

Is this a mistake by the Oilers to rush to hire Holland? Is it a knee-jerk reaction to not getting Kelly McCrimmon or trying to avoid Seattle going after the former Red Wings GM?