NHL Rumors: Oilers, Blues, Sabres, Maple Leafs, Flyers, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there’s news on Mike Smith’s injury during the Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks game last night. Meanwhile, contract talks in Toronto may be shifting from Morgan Rielly to Jack Campbell. Rumors about a possible Claude Giroux trade have been shot down, while chatter that Jack Eichel is trying to build a legal case looms over a potential trade.

Mike Smith Day-to-Day for Oilers

There was concern in Edmonton as goaltender Mike Smith left Tuesday’s game in the second period against the Ducks. He had allowed four goals on 15 shots and head coach Dave Tippett was going to let him battle back but a tweak of some kind brought him off the ice and it was clear he wasn’t feeling right.

Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

After the game, Tippett was asked about Smith’s status and he responded, “Just tweaked something. He didn’t want to hurt it any worse. Lower body injury. Day-to-day.” The coach added that Smith will see a doctor today and the team will be advised how much time, if any, Smith will miss. The Oilers may need to call up Stuart Skinner for the upcoming road trip if Smith is unable to go.

In other Oilers news, Elliotte Friedman noted in his latest 32 Thoughts column that GM Ken Holland is willing to spend if the team is successful during the regular season. He did not clarify if that meant a rental or a player with term and team control. It’s too early to make that call, but it’s interesting to know that Holland is already thinking longer-term.

NHL Suspends Buchnevich For Two Games

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Tuesday night that St. Louis Blues forward Pavel Buchnevich has been suspended for two games after delivering a headbutt to Arizona Coyotes’ forward Lawson Crouse. As per TSN’s Chris Johnston, Buchnevich will forfeit $141,463.41 in salary over the course of the two-game suspension.

Head coach Craig Berube knew the suspension was likely coming. He noted after the incident took place, “You know something like that is going to get looked at. You can’t do that, we all know that.” Berube did defend the player a little when he said he thought Crouse targeted Buchnevich with a crosscheck in the face.

Related: Oilers Should Pursue Blackhawks’ Dylan Strome as a Trade Target

This is now the second case of a headbutt in the NHL this season. Rasmus Andersson was found to have not headbutted Kailer Yamamoto, although it seems pretty clear that’s what he was intending to do. Is this is a new thing in the NHL that the league will have to watch for?

As per Friedman’s article on Tuesday, he wonders if Jack Eichel and his people are trying to build a case to argue that the herniated disc replacement surgery is considered an acceptable resolution to his injury issue and if so, force the NHL and Buffalo Sabres to allow the surgery to take place.

Buffalo Sabres Jack Eichel
Buffalo Sabres Jack Eichel (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Friedman writes:

“Eichel’s been seeing doctor after doctor in search of support for the artificial disc replacement. The more support they get, the more they will argue it is an acceptable practice and that the new CBA agreement is not meant to prevent what could be seen as a reasonable medical choice. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t predict if that will work, but it’s definitely the basis for some kind of legal challenge/grievance should we get to that point.”

Maple Leafs’ Attention Swinging to Jack Campbell?

While most of the talk in Toronto when it comes to contract extensions will be focused on defenseman Morgan Rielly, Friedman also noted that the attention may quickly shift in Toronto and towards goaltender Jack Campbell. The Leafs are interesting in keeping him and Campbell is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Jack Campbell Toronto Maple Leafs
Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)

He’s currently on the final year of a deal that pays him $1.65 million and Friedman writes, “Cal Petersen’s three-year, $15M extension in Los Angeles raises the bar if Campbell continues to carry the load.” Should Campbell have a strong season and proves himself to be a legit starter over the course of a starter’s workload, it’s going to cost the Leafs a good chunk of money to retain him.

Giroux to Ottawa Rumors Shot Down

Finally, rumors that Claude Giroux would be okay accepting a trade to the Ottawa Senators and that the Senators would be among his only choice for a team if he were moved have been shot down by multiple sources.

Morning Skate newsletter Click To Subscribe

Rumors got started when TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that the Flyers and the player were going to hold off on contract talks for a while. That opened the door to speculation considering he’s a free agent at the end of the season. Giroux has a full no-movement clause so he’d have to approve any trade if the Flyers were thinking of going there.