In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news out of Edmonton that the Oilers won’t be making significant changes to the roster this offseason. If true, what moves will they make? In New Jersey, is a report that the Devils may have soured on defenseman Damon Severson true? In St. Louis, some are wondering if Alex Pietrangelo walking away from negotiations is a bluff and in Winnipeg, what the issues between the Jets and Patrik Laine really all about? Finally, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final Saturday night and discussed the early outlook for next season.
Oilers Only Plan to Tinker With Lineup
According to Oilers Entertainment Group President Bob Nicholson, the Edmonton Oilers will not be making big changes to the roster this offseason. He discussed the team’s plans (at least partially) with Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer on Friday and noted the team was disappointed with the way things ended but that huge roster changes aren’t coming.
“We’ve got two of the best players in the world and we’re not going to make huge changes but Ken will tinker with this line-up and make us a better hockey club and maybe more importantly get us to where we’re more consistent, so maybe not just one year but a number of years ahead of us.”
This doesn’t necessarily mean the Oilers will be out on players like Darcy Kuemper or other names that they were supposedly connected to over the past few days, but it’s not likely Holland goes chasing down a contract for a player like Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The situation would need to be just right.
Have the Devils Soured on Severson?
During a guest spot on TSN1040, NHL analyst Ray Ferraro was discussing possible options on the blue line for the Vancouver Canucks. When the host got to the name Damon Severson, Ferraro stopped the conversation to say, “He’s your guy.”
Talking about how underrated he believes Severson is defensively, Ferraro said the Devils may be looking at only the warts in Severson’s game and not seeing him for what he can be. He said, “He can skate, he’s got a howitzer for a shot. Right shot. Yeah, if he’s available in a ballpark you can make work, he’s the guy I think you can make work.”
There is no confirmation that Severson is actually on the trade block but Ferraro noted that if the Devils do decide to move him, one team is going to be happy with the acquisition.
Something Going On Between Jets and Laine
Elliotte Friedman recently noted that he’s hearing there are real issues between the Winnipeg Jets and Patrik Laine. He’s not sure how seriously they are at this moment in time, but his exact words during an interview were, “There’s something going on there.”
“I don’t know if Laine is not happy, or whatever it is. I think he wants to play with [Mark] Scheifele, I’m not sure that’s what Winnipeg is looking at right now, there’s something there.”
It could be these potential issues that are fueling the speculation Laine might be on the trade block and Friedman noted the closer and closer the Jets and Laine get to free agency, the more this resembles a Jacob Trouba situation.
When asked if there was anything to the rumors Montreal might be interested and a package of Max Domi and picks could go the other way, Friedman said, “I don’t know if Max Domi and picks is going to be enough. This is a guy that is still rounding his game but has all the hallmarks of an elite goal scorer.”
Pietrangelo Not Bluffing
During Saturday’s Headlines report, Friedman also updated fans on what was going on between the St. Louis Blues and Alex Pietrangelo. Some have wondered if the news that Pietrangelo has broken off talks is posturing. Apparently, that’s not the case.
Friedman made some calls and it was said the numbers between the Blues and Pietrangelo weren’t even close. His decision to no longer talk extension is about his being prepared to seek a deal more to his liking.
2020-21 NHL Season Could Be Delayed
Gary Bettman held his annual Stanley Cup Final meeting on Saturday before Game 1 of the Finals and commented on a number of issues. Among the key comments were that the start of the NHL schedule may have to be pushed back to late December or early January 2021, that he’s opposed to playoff expansion and that he’d like to avoid playing games in the summer.
In respect to whether or not the league would have fans at games, he responded, “It’s conceivable that we start with no fans, move to socially distanced fans” and then move to fuller buildings. “How we start isn’t necessarily how we’ll finish” next season.
He was also asked about the Seattle expansion and if there’s any chance it could be delayed. He said, “No. I want that answer to be as definitive as possible.”
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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.”