NHL Rumors: Oilers, Blues, Maple Leafs, Cooper, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news on the Edmonton Oilers dealings with Darnell Nurse, the Washington Capitals are trying to get one of their key players back under contract and the St. Louis Blues seem to be keeping an eye on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Is there a trade brewing? Finally, how hot is the seat coach Jon Cooper is sitting on in Tampa Bay?

Nurse Wants to be Part of the Solution

During the second intermission of the Edmonton Oilers versus the Vegas Golden Knights game on Saturday night, the Sportsnet panel discussed the Oilers blue line and after revelling in the emergence of Ethan Bear, Elliotte Friedman said the Oilers are working on their plans for Nurse. “Nurse is up after this year and he also has a situation where you really got to make a decision long-term.” What might help here is that Friedman said Nurse wants to be part of the solution.

Darnell Nurse Edmonton Oilers
Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Brian Burke believes the Nurse number starts with a five and is a reasonable length of time. Kelly Hrudey believed it might be higher but said it was good Nurse wanted to be part of the team’s future. That helps the Oilers get Nurse in at a reasonable rate.

Related: What Kyle Dubas’ Interview Says About Oilers Contracts

Blues Scouting the Maple Leafs

Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports that St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong and team VP of hockey operations Dave Taylor were spotted in Colorado watching the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Colorado Avalanche. It is believed they were keeping close tabs on the Maple Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs Nic Petan
Toronto Maple Leafs center Nic Petan (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

This is now the second time Armstrong has been seen scouting the team and many speculate there might be something coming. As most people know, the Maple Leafs might need to move a contract in the near future.

It is believed that perhaps the Blues could be looking for help at forward where they are down some key pieces due to injury. Could they be looking at a player like Andreas Johnsson or what might be considered a smaller piece like Nic Petan? We had Petan No. 1 on our Top-12 Trade Tracker list.

Related: Capitals Must Sign Nicklas Backstrom

Backstrom and Capitals Now Talking Extension

Elliotte Friedman reports Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals is now underway with contract talks to extend with the team. He’s long-been rumored as someone the Capitals have placed a priority on re-signing.

Nicklas Backstrom Washington Capitals
Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

There is some speculation Backstrom is willing to take a hometown discount to stay in Washington but how much is still unclear. And, whether it’s enough for the Capitals to re-sign Braden Holtby, who is also an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, remains a question.

Related: NHL Rumors: Coach Changes, Senators, Capitals, Oilers, More

Jon Cooper in Coaching Hot Seat?

Don’t expect head coach Jon Cooper to be fired by the Tampa Bay Lightning anytime soon. While one NHL coach has already been let go this season and people are waiting for the next shoe to drop, Cooper’s job is probably safe. This despite the fact the Tampa Bay Lightning now sit in seventh place, ahead of only the Detroit Red Wings in their division.

Head coach Jon Cooper
TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 27: Head coach Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Athletic’s Joe Smith suggests that Julien BriseBois’s long-standing history with Cooper gives him a lot more leash in which to try and improve things. He definitely doesn’t believe the Lightning have any interest in doing for the NHL’s newest free agent coach.

Smith writes:

But the Lightning aren’t going to get rid of Cooper to hire Babcock. The Leafs situation was quite different, too. GM Kyle Dubas did not hire Babcock, and they were rumored to have differences of opinion about the personnel and how the team should play.

source -‘Lightning mailbag: Should they fire Jon Cooper and hire Mike Babcock? … and much, much more’ Joe Smith – The Athletic – 11/23/2019

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