Oilers News & Rumors: Hyman, Kane, Gavrikov, Standings Race

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, Evander Kane has not been on the ice for the Oilers this week. What is keeping him from practicing with the team? Meanwhile, Zach Hyman won First Star of the Week honors in the NHL. How good is that contract looking right now? The Oilers are said to be interested in Vladislav Gavrikov and one should question if that’s the right decision, and the team has played itself into a position where a beneficial schedule could see them at the top of the Pacific Division by the end of next week.

Evander Kane Likely to Miss Wednesday’s Game

Reports this week were that Evander Kane took a leave from the team for personal reasons. He missed practice on Monday and was not on the ice again Tuesday according to TSN 1260’s Jason Gregor. Gregor tweeted, “Kane not on ice again today. Still in San Jose for his bankruptcy case/proceeding.” It is believed he will miss Wednesday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Evander Kane Edmonton Oilers
Evander Kane, Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic adds that “The word from the Oilers was that Kane missed practice for “personal reasons.” He shot down comments that it might have been a “maintenance day” which usually indicates a player is dealing with a minor injury. This absence reportedly has nothing to do with his rehab or returning from a gruesome injury where he was cut by a skate and returned to the Oilers far sooner than most people projected.

Zach Hyman Gets First Star of the Week Honors

Hyman has been on a tear for the Oilers. With four goals and five assists for nine points in three games, he was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week. He’s got 24 goals and 56 points in 47 games for Edmonton this season and has already surpassed his previous season high which was 54 points last year, his first in Edmonton.

Needless to say, Hyman is living up to his contract and might be among the best values in the NHL. When asked about how he’s played this season, he responded, “You just try to be a better version of yourself the previous year.” A number of fans in Toronto who watched the Maple Leafs organization let him walk in free agency labeled his contract in Edmonton and disaster and a huge overpayment. Those fans are eating their words now. And, even if Hyman’s production drops in a couple of seasons, he’ll still have been an outstanding addition by GM Ken Holland.

Oilers Said to Be Interested in Gavrikov

Elliotte Friedman noted during the 32 Thoughts segment of Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast that the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs are both believed to be interested in Vladislav Gavrikov of the Columbus Blue Jackets. As solid a player as Gavrikov might be, I’m not sure the Oilers should go here.

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The price for the defenseman is going to be astronomical simply because the demand far outweighs the supply. The Oilers (or any team that lands him in a trade) will have to overpay for this player and in Edmonton, he’s destined to be not much more than a rental. Bringing him in and signing him to an extension means having to trade Brett Kulak or demote/trade Philip Broberg. That means moving out two contracts of better value for a player that might be getting the benefit of good press.

This is not to say that Gavrkiov isn’t good or couldn’t help the Oilers. This is more about the cost to acquire a rental and if he’s the player the Oilers should move a first-round pick and more for.

Can the Oilers Win the Pacific Division?

With six consecutive wins, the Oilers have the hottest streak in hockey right now and only Boston has a better record in their last 10 games. The Oilers are clearly feeling good about their game and the schedule is beneficial over the next few weeks. The Oilers only play two games this week, both against lottery teams in Columbus and Chicago. From there, they play Detroit twice, and Philadelphia, Ottawa, and Montreal once each.

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No games are assumed to be winners and the last thing Edmonton wants to do is play down to their opponents, but this is an opportunity for the Oilers to move into first in the Pacific.