In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news about the Edmonton Oilers and their needs heading into their scouting meetings, the Vancouver Canucks are planning to negotiate with one of their goaltenders and is Nicklas Backstrom negotiating his next deal with Washington without an agent? Finally, is Monday’s St. Louis Blue game versus the Nashville Predators going to be a blood bath?
Oilers Needs and Immediate Plans
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal tweets that the Edmonton Oilers had their pro scouting meetings in Las Vegas while on their current road trip. A shopping list of sorts was produced and on GM Ken Holland‘s list is a right-handed, third-line center that can win faceoffs and an offensive left-winger that can play on the second line.
This is not the first time Matheson has tweeted something like this as he specifically mentioned Jean-Gabriel Pageau a few days ago as a target the Oilers might have in mind.
Allan Mitchell of The Athletic notes that options for that third-line center spot include Pageau, Joel Ericksson Ek, and Mathieu Perreault. Mitchell notes the price for Pageau would be high. He also writes of Perreault:
He doesn’t play centre in Winnipeg; the organization is flush with options. He could slide into the No. 3 role with the Oilers immediately. His offensive ability would be a welcome addition to Edmonton’s bottom six forwards and he can help on the power play.source – ‘Lowetide: Why Dave Tippett’s deployment is a sign the Oilers need a No. 3 centre’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 11/23/2019
In other Oilers news, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is dealing with a hand injury and missed Sunday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. It is expected he will also miss Wednesday’s game versus the Colorado Avalanche. Outside of that, the injury isn’t too serious. Jujhar Khaira should be back with the team on Wednesday, also recovering from a hand injury.
Canucks Want Markstrom Back
As per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on the latest edition of “Saturday Headlines” Jacob Markstrom and the Vancouver Canucks have yet to formally begin contract extension talks. That said, Friedman notes those discussions are expected to “intensify” over the coming weeks.
Despite having some depth at the goaltending position, it is believed that the Canucks want Markstrom back. If they are successful, they will then decided what to do with goalie prospects like Thatcher Demko and Michael DiPietro, possibly keeping all three.
Backstrom Negotiating Deal Without Agent
We mentioned in yesterday’s rumor rundown that the Washington Capitals and Nicklas Backstrom were beginning contract talks. There’s been an interesting wrinkle added to the story.
“I’m told … that he has begun talks with the Capitals without an agent,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said on the latest edition of “Saturday Headlines.” That’s an interesting approach by Backstrom but not an unfamiliar one in Washington where Alex Oveckin did the same thing when he signed his last deal.
There is always a risk that the player will leave money on the table in this sort of situation but if you know what you want and what you’re worth, especially if you know you want to stay in your current situation, Backstrom likely has a number in his mind and this should be too difficult a negotiation.
He’ll likely be looking for a slight bump on his current $6.7 million contract.
Predators vs Blues to Get Nasty?
Ken Campbell of the Hockey News writes that tonight’s game between the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues should be one to watch. After Robert Bortuzzo of the Blues viciously crosschecked Viktor Arvidsson and got away with only a four-game suspension, the two teams play each other just two days later.
There is a sense in Nashville that the NHL Player Safety committee dropped the ball here and that they need to send a message. Long gone are the days of head-hunting in the NHL but Campbell still contends “Get your tickets and set your PVRs because the Predators will be out for blood.”