In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news out of Toronto that the team might be making moves and interested in an unexpected international player. And, while they negotiate, the team will be making moves to free up roster spots for two returning players.
Also, one insider gets into detail about how likely a Taylor Hall reunion with the Edmonton Oilers might actually be. Would he actually want to come back?
Finally, there is news out of Florida where the Panthers have just signed Brian Boyle and are concerned about an injury to Alexander Barkov.
Maple Leafs Clearing Space, Looking For Help
Just a couple of days ago, Sportsnet insider Chris Johnston explained that the Toronto Maple Leafs have a potential interest in Konstantin Okulov out of the KHL. That said, they aren’t the only ones.
While other teams are rumored to have backed off due to Toronto’s known interest, the Montreal Canadiens aren’t shying away from trying to land Okulov as well. And, why not? The KHL forward had 20 goals and 31 points last season and is doing well to start this season with 13 points in 17 games.
Still with Toronto, Sportsnet is reporting that defenseman Travis Dermott and forward Zach Hyman are close to being activated but the Maple Leafs are going to need to clear some roster spots. As a result, the Maple Leafs are an organization to watch as they shuffle things around.
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported that Toronto may have to clear at least four players from their roster which could include sending players down to the Toronto Marlies, or more likely, a trade or waivers. Elliotte Friedman suggested the Maple Leafs are looking at moving Nic Petan, a newer member of the team who is also reportedly not in Mike Babcock’s good books.
Petan isn’t the only player to keep an eye on here. Names like Jason Spezza, Nick Shore, Justin Holl, Kevin Gravel and Martin Marincin could be in play.
Finally with the Maple Leafs, forward Andreas Johnsson was not at practice Sunday after blocking a shot Saturday. According to TSN’s Kristen Shilton, his X-rays showed there’s noting too serious going on and he shouldn’t miss much time.
What’s Next In Florida As Far as Boyle Goes?
The Florida Panthers signed free agent Brian Boyle to a one-year contract on Sunday worth $900K. He is expected to immediately join their bottom-six and center the fourth line.
The Panthers moved Henrik Borgstrom to the AHL to get more playing time, and that open spot is where Boyle will now fit in, hopefully assisting with puck possession and adding leadership.
While he’s not a replacement, the timing helps because just before Boyle was signed, there was some concern that Alexsander Barkov was seriously hurt after leaving Saturday’s game during his second shift. He didn’t seem to take a hit, just hurt his left side and didn’t return.
The first reports about the injury come from TSN’s Bob McKenzie who is reporting that Barkov is out day-to-day with an upper body injury.
How Likely is Hall to the Oilers?
As often as Taylor Hall to the Oilers talk has sprung up, there’s also often been an underlying belief that it’s not incredibly likely based on the history that surrounded his exit out of Edmonton. Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal believes that history is not the factor many make it out to be.
Leavins describes how there were four influential voices in the Edmonton Oilers decision to trade Taylor Hall. They were Peter Chiarelli. Kelly Buchberger, Head Coach Todd McLellan and Craig MacTavish. None of those people are still with the team. As Leavins notes, ”If there were any hard feelings in the Hall Camp at the time (and there most definitely were) those who embodied those feelings are no long around.”
Leavins also notes that Hall liked Edmonton and enjoyed the Canadian market experience. Those that are close in Hall’s circle are also close to many inside the revamped Oilers organization and Leavins writes:
I use the term “the Hall Camp” (by the way) because the group that will influence Taylor Hall’s future should be defined more broadly than just the player and his agent, Darren Ferris (who, incidentally, also represents Philip Broberg). Hall’s circle of most-trusted advisers is a little bigger than that.Source – As the 7-and-1 Edmonton Oilers rocket out of the gate, we gaze deeper into a Taylor-made future: 9 Things – Kurt Leavins – The Edmonton Journal – 10/20/2019
Leavins finishes by saying that the wounds felt back in 2016 as a result of Hall being moved have largely healed and that’s huge factor in Edmonton’s favor. The only questions now are what other offers will Hall be weighing against a return to Edmonton and how the Oilers afford his asking price if they are interested.
Tyler Seguin’s House Destroyed?
There were early reports from Dallas that the tornado that ripped through the area had done major damage, including to Dallas Stars’ forward Tyler Seguin’s house. Seguin took to Twitter on Monday and reached out to fans thanking them for their concern but that the house that was destroyed was one he’d just moved out of.
He was trying to sell the home that was wrecked. Seguin is safe and there is no word yet on if he’ll miss any games to take care of business regarding the home he’s trying to sell.
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.”