NHL Rumors: Puljujarvi, Hayes, Hurricanes, Penguins, More

In today’s rumor rundown, there is possible tension building in Edmonton where the Oilers are not handling the development of young forward Jesse Puljujarvi very well. There is also word out of New York that the Rangers aren’t in a rush to trade one of their forwards and there might be a trade connection between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings. Carolina is looking at forward help, potentially more than just William Nylander and there are further developments regarding NHL expansion into Europe One high-level official in the NHL says it’s inevitable.

Jesse Puljujarvi Frustrated?

There seems to be an outcry of support for Jesse Puljujarvi in Edmonton and a feeling that management and the coaches are not developing him properly. Darren Dreger said on Insider Trading says that tension between the Edmonton Oilers and Puljujarvi might be mounting as he’s been moved down the lineup repeatedly and often a healthy scratch when he could be playing top-line minutes in Bakersfield for the Oilers AHL affiliate.

Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi
Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Dreger said there’s speculation he may still be assigned and suggested that might be a breaking point for Puljujarvi who wants to develop in his own way in the NHL. Others don’t necessarily agree with Dreger thinking that Puljujarvi might improve playing a ton of minutes in the AHL and in all situations.

Regardless, the handling of Puljujarvi has been suspect at best and if it continues on as it has, there could be issues between the team and the player.

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

Teams Interested in Kevin Hayes

Dreger was on NBCSN and was asked about which teams might have an interest in trading for New York Rangers forward Kevin Hayes. He said it might be too early to know for certain and that there might be some talk about moving both he and Mats Zuccarello in the New Year.

Kevin Hayes Rangers
Kevin Hayes, New York Rangers, Mar. 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Dreger said, “the reality is Kevin Hayes is playing pretty well for the New York Rangers right now. There are always teams in the market for centermen, particularly guys who are playing well and are 6-foot-5.” What he meant with that statement is that teams who are interested now will likely still be interested later and as Hayes play stays steady, his value may increase over time.

NHL Teams in Europe

Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic posted on Twitter that Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said it is “inevitable” that there will eventually be NHL teams in Europe. This could be a couple years down the road, but the NHL has worked hard to expand their brand overseas. Such initiatives include the Global Series games that have seen NHL teams play regular season matches on foreign soil (or ice, as it were).

This wouldn’t be an uncontested expansion as the KHL has already expanded into markets like China, Finland, and Slovakia. It’s never easy being the second league into a market like this that already has professional hockey.

Related: NHL Rumors: Quenneville, Nylander, Sens, Canucks, More

Connection Between Kings and Penguins?

With speculation the Penguins may look at moving Daniel Sprong and the Los Angeles Kings potentially looking at shaking up their roster, some have started to make a connection between the two teams.

When it came to the Kings, Dreger said, “Some believing that teams in the East are calling on Tanner Pearson, who is struggling offensively – maybe Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, something like that.”

Hornqvist Crosby Malkin Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin celebrate. (Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports)

The Hockey News’ Jared Clinton suggested Patric Hornqvist, Carl Hagelin or Derick Brassard of the Penguins could become trade candidates. The three veterans aren’t playing well right now and while Hornqvist carries a no-trade clause, it might be worth exploring his willingness to waive it. In the right situation, that could be a good trade for Pittsburgh.

Hurricanes Looking for Scoring

Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes are in the market for a scoring forward. The team started strong but has begun to struggle and there’s some pressure to improve things. It’s well known the Hurricanes have been monitoring the William Nylander situation but they’re also looking outside a potential Nylander deal.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported Carolina is testing the market for Valentin Zykov. They might try to package him with a second-round pick in 2019 for some short-term help.