In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Edmonton Oilers newly-acquired forward Zach Hyman talks about his decision to leave the Toronto Maple Leafs and get a fresh start, while a veteran defenseman has finally joined his new Oilers teammates for on-ice skates. The Oilers, Devils, and the New York Islanders have invited a couple of players to camp on a PTO and what are the Vancouver Canucks looking at when it comes to the Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson extensions? Finally, the NHL offered a few updates on some of the biggest stories involving the league.
Islanders Bringing in Gustafsson on PTO
According to Chris Johnston of The Toronto Star, “Hearing the #NYI are bringing defenceman Erik Gustafsson to training camp on a PTO.” He is a left-shot defenseman and it seems like the Islanders want to see what he’s got left to offer if anything.
Gustaffson has moved around a bit and he didn’t play terribly well in Philadelphia when he was part of the Flyers organization. That said, he’s got a history of production and three seasons ago scored 17 goals and 60 points as part of the Chicago Blackhawks organization. If it pans out for the Islanders, he’ll be a cheap potential Nick Leddy replacement.
Maple Leafs Updates
There is a bit of news also coming from Johnston when it comes to the Maple Leafs. First, he notes that the NHL has confirmed that the Leafs and Buffalo Sabres will play outdoors at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton on March 13. Second, he talked a lot about Zach Hyman’s departure in a recent article.
Johnston notes that when Hyman started looking around at options that didn’t include the Maple Leafs, the idea of change became exciting. Hyman said:
“I think that when you’re in a place for so long things kind of remain stagnant from a personal situation. I know my role in Toronto, I know what I can do in Toronto and then it’s like, ‘Well, what if I went somewhere else? How much can I develop my game? Could I be a better player in another situation?’”source – ‘Former Leafs forward Zach Hyman is about to find out if the grass is greener on Connor McDavid’s wing’ – Chris Johnston – Toronto Star – 09/14/2021
This seems to confirm the reports from Michael Traikos that Hyman didn’t just leave because of the salary situation in Toronto. It was the catalyst to him exploring his options, but the reality of a different situation where he could expand and develop as a player became the reason he ruled out the Maple Leafs and wouldn’t take a team-friendly discount to stay.
Where perhaps Hyman differs from players like Jack Campbell, Ilya Mikheyev or Morgan Rielly is that Hyman was also a hometown Toronto guy and he didn’t love being pulled in different directions. He welcomed a chance to get away from the local distractions that come with playing in front of everyone you know.
Some Oilers Updates
Duncan Keith has joined the Oilers for on-ice skates. There was some chatter about why he wasn’t there with the rest of his teammates to start informal on-ice sessions, but he was still coaching his son’s team in Kelowna. Remember, one of the reasons he requested a trade and came to Edmonton was so that he could be closer to his son. The Oilers have absolutely no issue with him joining a little later.
The Oilers also announced that Dylan Holloway underwent a second wrist surgery and will be out for three months, the team has signed forward Colton Sceviour to a professional tryout agreement, and the organization has announced that they will not bring in another veteran defenseman to Bakersfield this season.
Author’s Note: We’ll have a lot more detailed information on each of these Oilers updates in our Oilers News & Rumors post coming later this afternoon.
Canucks Talks With Quinn Hughes and Pettersson Ongoing
Patrick Johnston of The Vancouver Province reports, “Don’t be surprised if the Hughes deal turns out to be a little north of $8m. You can probably figure out what that means for term.” The hint here is that the Canucks are looking long-term and eight years for Hughes, trying to avoid a bridge deal.
As for Pettersson, Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province writes:
It’s not a stretch to suggest that he’ll sign an extension that works for both sides, perhaps a five-year bridge deal that buys the club enough time to build a winner and allow Pettersson to plot the process.source – ‘For Canucks, a lot at stake in Elias Pettersson’s contract play for lengthy stay’ Ben Kuzma – The Province – 09/13/2021
He also believes the Pettersson camp could wait for big RFA signings like Kirill Kaprizov and Brady Tkachuk to get done before they agree to a new deal.
Devils Invite Three To Camp
The New Jersey Devils added a few interesting names to their training camp roster, signing Jimmy Vesey, Mark Jankowski, and Tyler Wotherspoon to professional tryout contracts. Vesey split last season between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks, and with so little veteran experience on the roster as far as forwards go, Vesey and Jankowski could both have a legitimate shot to make the team.
A Few NHL League Notes
As per Elliotte Friedman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly offered a few updates as far as the league was concerned during the NHL/NHLPA media tour. He noted there would be partial capacity in Montreal and Vancouver; he was awaiting guidance in Ontario, but full capacity in Alberta and Manitoba. He also noted the NHL salary cap is expected to go up $1 million for next season and that the league is still looking into the situations with Evander Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks allegations.