In today’s rumor rundown, things are starting to get down to the wire when it comes to William Nylander but it sounds like there’s a number out there that will get a deal done. The Oilers also called up one of their younger prospects in the hopes that a closer look by their new head coach could make a difference. There was a report on Saturday that two former head coaches may have teams interested in their services and an injured Dallas Star might be inching closer to a return.
6 Years and $6.9 For Nylander?
Chris Johnston of Sportsnet revisited the William Nylander contract situation — something NHL media will do often now considering there are only five days remaining to sign Nylander before he’s ineligible to play in the NHL this season. He reports the clock is ticking but that a six-year deal remains possible, with the Nylander camp perhaps willing to accept something around $6.9 million per season. Former NHL player Marc Sarvard said as much on Twitter the other day and he seemed pretty confident that the same number would get Nylander in a Toronto uniform.
— Marc Savard (@MSavvy91) November 23, 2018
Elliotte Friedman reports the two sides are getting closer, potentially within about half-a-million dollars of each other. Don Cherry seems to think the sticking point in contract negotiations is the numbers Mitch Marner will eventually get and that Nylander sees himself as comparable if not a better player.
Meanwhile, Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star believes the Maple Leafs have backup plans in place if a deal can’t get done. He speculates the Leafs have something brewing with the Carolina Hurricanes that could include high-end defensemen such as Brett Pesce, Justin Faulk, and/or Dougie Hamilton. So too, they may have something cooking with Anaheim Ducks blueliners Brandon Montour.
If it doesn’t look like a deal can be done, they might trade him to a club more willing to meet his demands. The Leafs have three regulars on defence playing in the last year of their contracts: Jake Gardiner, Igor Ozhiganov and Ron Hainsey. So, blue-line help would be a key to any swap.
source – ‘Trade fits tricky if Leafs don’t sign Nylander’ – The Star – Mark Zwolinski – 11/24/2018
Jesse Puljujarvi Getting A Closer Look
The Edmonton Oilers surprisingly called up Jesse Puljujarvi from Bakersfield where he had gone to the AHL to get more minutes and build confidence. He was playing extremely well but the word is new Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock didn’t want him down there when he could get a better look in Edmonton.
“I wanted responsibility for his development,” Hitchcock said (via Oilers’ Jack Michaels). “I didn’t just want to be watching him play in AHL. I feel this is the type of player we need to win in the Western Conference. I asked (general manager Peter Chiarelli) if he’d bring him up for practice today.”
The move leads to a few questions. First, is Puljujarvi here to play or just practice? Second, how much pull does the new coach have in Edmonton considering it took the general manager quite some time before he sent Puljujarvi down? Third, where will Puljujarvi play? If he’s a bottom-six forward there will be some controversy over the move citing that not playing bigger minutes will hurt his development over playing 20 minutes a night in the AHL. Finally, is this evidence that former coach Todd McLellan just wasn’t a fan of Puljujarvi’s and the big Finn had worked his way into McLellan’s doghouse?
More Coaching Changes?
While it doesn’t sound like anyone new is immediately on the coaching hot seat, there is specutlation when it comes to recently released coaches Todd McLellan and Joel Quenneville. Nick Kypreos said during the Headlines segment on Sportsnet some teams have shown some interest in both coaches.
“I do know that you need permission to talk to these guys from their respective clubs – Chicago and Edmonton – but you can gauge interest indirectly through a third-party, and we believe that’s what’s happened with both of these guys in some capacity.”
Some have speculated the Oilers reached out to Quenneville before hiring Hitchcock and Kypreos believes there’s a fit in Los Angeles where the Kings might believe McLellan is their guy. Of course, after that report came out, two reporters closer to the Kings said Kypreos’ report was inaccurate.
Jon Rosen tweeted the Los Angeles Kings are not courting coach Todd McLellan and Lisa Dillman checked with a source about the Kings reported interest in coach McLellan and less that four minutes after sending the text got a reply “No.”
Hanzal Not Quite Ready to Return
SportsDay’s Mike Heika reports that injured forward Martin Hanzal will travel with the team for their upcoming road trip, but is still a couple weeks away from returning. Hanzal has played only 38 games since signing with the Dallas Stars in the 2017 offseason.
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.”