NHL Rumors: Canucks, Avalanche, Maple Leafs, Rangers, Bruins, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, no immediate changes are coming to the Vancouver Canucks, even if the team needs a boost to get on track. In Colorado, rumors of defenseman Samuel Girard being shopped are not accurate. Why did the Toronto Maple Leafs trade for Kyle Clifford when they could have claimed him from the waiver wire and are the New York Rangers going to bring in help now down both Sammy Blais and Vitali Kravtsov? Finally, is there really any chance Tuukka Rask could be a target for the Edmonton Oilers?

Canucks Not Making Changes… Yet

As a follow-up to yesterday’s report that the Canucks might be looking at making a change to get the team motivated, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, despite a meeting between ownership and management, immediate changes are not expected.

Jim Benning
Vancouver Canucks’ general manager Jim Benning (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Dreger explained:

“Benning did meet with Francesco Aquilini. I think all involved with the Vancouver Canucks organization, ownership, management, certainly coaching know that their play on the ice has been unacceptable. But change isn’t coming, at least not quite yet. The belief is that ownership is willing to continue to be patient but the expectation is that the results on the ice have to change.”

Changes could still come, especially if the Canucks don’t get things figured out quickly, but for now, both Jim Benning and Travis Green are keeping their jobs.

Girard Trade Talk Overblown

As per Pierre LeBrun, the rumors involving Samuel Girard being available out of Colorado aren’t entirely true. He notes there was some connection to the Jack Eichel situation but that the Avs didn’t get very far when it came to a conversation with the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado has not shopped Girard following the Eichel trade to Vegas.

Colorado Avalanche's Samuel Girard
Colorado Avalanche’s Samuel Girard (AP Photo/Chris Seward, File)

LeBrun says that any rumors the Avalanche are trying to move on from Girard and that Bowen Byram is being viewed as someone who has made Girard expendable are not accurate. LeBrun also wrote in his column for The Athletic:

“Whatever it is, we can end the Girard talk now. Listen, as I always say, things can change, a team could call Colorado with an offer they can’t refuse down the road. But all things being equal, we can end the Girard talk. The Avs have no intention of moving him.”

source – ‘LeBrun: Details on the potential Penguins sale, opting out of the Olympics, Blackhawks’ GM search’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 11/16/2021

Why Maple Leafs Traded for Clifford

Outside of their desire to bring back a familiar face they know has some experience, grit, and adds physical play to their lineup, the reason the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for Kyle Clifford versus simply claiming him from the waiver wire is that the organization wanted to be able to assign him to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. The move was all about roster flexibility.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Mrazek Mistake & Finding Real Help for Jack Campbell

As for why the St. Louis Blues made the move, they got Oskar Sundkvist back and there wasn’t room for Clifford. The team also had to make room for Scott Perunovich and while the team could have sent Clifford back to the Springfield Thunderbirds, he wasn’t part of their long-term plans.

Will the Rangers Look to Replace Sammy Blais

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, don’t expect the Rangers to address the loss of Blais to a season-ending knee injury by going out and making a trade. Even though the team is light at the forward position, they believe they have some options internally that can come fill in where Blais leaves a hole. Brooks thinks either Morgan Barron or Tim Gettinger should get a shot before making a rushed trade.

Sammy Blais, New York Rangers
Sammy Blais, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

It’s a bit surprising to hear the Rangers aren’t looking around, especially when you consider they already don’t have Vitali Kravtsov in their lineup after he left to join the KHL and is awaiting a trade.

Rask Not a Likely Option for the Oilers

There was a bit of chatter this week that the Edmonton Oilers could be a team that would have interest in Tuukka Rask out of the Boston Bruins organization. Matt Larkin of the Hockey News threw Rask’s name out there, and NHL insider Chris Johnston did suggest that Boston is his preferred destination but didn’t rule out the possibility of him latching onto a contender if the fit isn’t there.

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Don’t expect that to happen. It’s not that the Oilers wouldn’t be interested if Rask decided to explore his options, but Rask likely won’t explore his options. He’s said repeatedly that it’s the Bruins he wants to return to and if he’s willing to play for the league minimum, there’s no reason to assume the Bruins wouldn’t try to make it work, even though they have Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark on the payroll.

It’s a nice thought for the Oilers and there are certainly questions in goal for the team, but something unexpected would have to happen in Boston before Rask became available to rest of the NHL.