Saturday’s episode of Headlines provided a lot of information when it comes to a few players in the NHL and their futures with their respective clubs. From what is happening with James Neal in Vegas to Jaromir Jagr’s not really working in Calgary, there is a lot bubbling behind the scenes and sooner than later, that bubble might burst.
In other news, the John Tavares situation is getting more complicated as the Islanders struggle and there is speculation that the Oilers continued roll to the bottom of the NHL standings could cost someone their job.
Vegas to Re-Sign James Neal
Nick Kypreos reported that there haven’t been any contract extension negotiations between the Vegas Golden Knights and pending UFA James Neal. That doesn’t mean there won’t be.
The Golden Knights do want to keep Neal and would consider a four or five-year deal. At 31 years of age, to think that Neal would get a seven-year deal from an NHL team might be a stretch but five years at $6-$7 million is not out of the question and that’s the benchmark the Golden Knights may have to meet.
Neal has said he’d like to stay with the team and they have been far more successful than any NHL “experts” ever could have imagined.
The Oilers May Make a Major Change
Nick Kypreos is also reporting things in Edmonton are not good. Clearly, the team has struggled this season and their hopes of making the postseason are looking more bleak as every game passes. But, Kypreos is now starting to hear that the team’s struggles might cost someone their job.
The Edmonton Oilers have four more road games before their bye week and if they don’t come home with a winning record off that road trip, Todd McLellan could be looking at his final days. Others have suggested that by the end of this trip, the Oilers playoff hopes will be dashed and the club might let McLellan finish out the season and remove him once it comes to a close.
Some have argued the Oilers lack of success isn’t due to effort. The team is among the tops of the NHL in shots and hits but their special teams is atrocious and the issues are puzzling.
Related: Oilers: Lack of Effort Not the Issue
Jagr to be Released
Elliotte Friedman is reporting the Calgary Flames could release winger Jaromir Jagr and the two sides are working “on an exit”. He’s been plagued with injuries and not provided nearly the offense the team was hoping he would when he signed a one-year deal as the season got underway.
Friedman has reported that the club has given Jagr’s agent permission to speak with every other NHL club and no one is interested. There’s talk he could join the Czech National Team but speculation that this is not the case and that he’s focused on an NHL career and nothing else.
Also of note is that if Jagr plays another eight games in the NHL he is owed a $150,oo0 bonus and beyond that, there are over $500K worth of bonuses in his contract.
Concern Over John Tavares
Finally, the New York Islanders and John Tavares are quickly becoming an issue of concern. There was always worry about how the team would handle the Tavares pending unrestricted free agency status but once the new deal to stay in town was announced, hope was that it would become clear Tavares wouldn’t leave. That hasn’t really happened and the Islanders have been told the Tavares camp is not interested in talking contract extension during the season.
Meanwhile, the Islanders are listening to trade offers so that if the club doesn’t make the postseason or should it look obvious Tavares is leaving, the Islanders have a move to make to improve the club. Because the club is now struggling to string wins together, the issue has become more complicated. One has to think that the more the team struggles, the more likely it is that Tavares looks at other options.
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.”