In today’s NHL rumors there is news on the Buffalo Sabres seeking a forward, there is some clarity as to what is owed by the Los Angeles Kings to Ilya Kovalchuk on the 15th of December, and might the Edmonton Oilers be looking at Jason Spezza?
Sabres Still Looking for a Forward
Paul Hamilton was on WGR 550 and reported that Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill is actively seeking a forward to improve the sinking Sabres. He admitted he’s having trouble navigating a big trade with so many teams cautious of their salary cap but he’s working on it.
With nine defensemen on the roster, he may have to move one but it doesn’t necessarily mean his plan is to swap a blueliner for a forward. One thing that is a given is that whatever trade happens, it has to be money-in, money-out.
It might be a trade that has to wait since Botterill suggests November is a trickier month to make a move.
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The Infamous Kovalchuk Bonus
There has been a lot of talk about the Ilya Kovalchuk bonus that appears to be keeping him a member of the Los Angeles Kings despite both sides wishing they could move on. It has been widely reported this signing bonus to be paid on December 15th will be the trigger that allows the Kings to find trade partners.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic clarifies the amount of the payment being owed to Kovalchuk $2.65 million on the 15th. That would leave less than $5 million total remaining on his $18.75 million contract.
Meanwhile, Kovalchuk remains on the outside of the Kings lineup looking in.
Oilers Looking at Jason Spezza?
Yesterday we noted that Jim Matheson mentioned the Edmonton Oilers are looking for a third-line center. Jean-Gabriel Pageau is a name that has come up in some of the discussion. Might there be other options, namely Jason Spezza?
The issues in Toronto between Spezza and the Maple Leafs are evident. He’s not playing much and they aren’t winning much. The team is looking to make a change and Spezza is looking to get himself in a situation where he sees more consistency.
Alex Thomas of The Sports Daily looks at the idea of trying to acquire Spezza and what he’d cost. With the Maple Leafs needing to shed contracts to fit returning players in, there might be a fit there. He writes:
At $700,000 for the season, Spezza is providing good value for the Maple Leafs. As a depth center, he provides leadership and offensive ability. He should chip in around 30 points this season, which is good production from the bottom six.
Spezza scored a nice goal last night and in only 13 games for the Maple Leafs has seven points. He could be an improvement over a player like Gaetan Haas and the Oilers might be looking for inexpensive pick-ups like this. He wouldn’t be looking for a pivotal role, just a chance to contribute every night and play his part.
More Barrie News
Sticking with the Maple Leafs, there is still lots of talk surrounding flipping defenseman Tyson Barrie, and the play last night where he got stripped at the blue line and the Maple Leafs got scored on isn’t helping his case. Barrie has said he’s bothered by the fact he’s playing in a contract year and struggling. Things are compounding for the d-man and a change of scenery may be necessary.
In what seems like an unbelievable dodging of a bullet, Elliotte Friedman was on SN590 and said there were rumours that Vancouver had interest in trading for Barrie before the Maple Leafs acquired him and were going to try an extended him at a big number, possibly $8 million over eight seasons.
Bobby Ryan Joins Player Assistance Program
In a bit of unfortunate news, we want to send our best out to Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators.
We won’t speculate as to the reasons, but the NHL & NHLPA have announced that Ryan will be away from the team while taking part in the player assistance program.
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.”