NHL Rumors: Sabres, Kings, Oilers, Barrie, More

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.

Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill
Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

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.

Related: Jack Adams, the Man and the Award

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.

Los Angeles Kings left wing Ilya Kovalchuk
Los Angeles Kings left wing Ilya Kovalchuk (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

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.

Related: Spezza Works His Way Out of Maple Leafs’ Press Box

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?

Jason Spezza Toronto Maple Leafs
Jason Spezza, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

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.

Toronto Maple Leafs Tyson Barrie
Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Tyson Barrie (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov)

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.

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

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.

Related: NHL Rumor ShootDown: William Nylander Trade Needed