In today’s Rumor Rundown we look at a few different teams. All of the teams have underachieved thus far in 2017-18 and there is some concern that changes might be required.
The Edmonton Oilers are off to a terrible start and as such, people are starting the speculate they may be looking to add a piece on the blue line before things get off the rails. The Nashville Predators seem to have an extra defender and one that might be available via trade for the right forward. Finally, the New York Rangers are struggling but aren’t ready to make a move at all. They believe their problems are in-house and fixable in-house.
Edmonton Oilers Looking for Defence?
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal thinks the Edmonton Oilers need another experienced defenseman until Andrej Sekera returns and that the experiment with placing second-year players in more responsible roles is backfiring. Matheson cites the Vegas Golden Knights as a team with too many blueliners and Matheson thinks either Jon Merrill or Jason Garrison could be available. The Ottawa Senators may also be willing to make a move with both Johnny Oduya and Erik Karlsson returning to their lineup and Thomas Chabot sitting.
The Oilers have said they weren’t planning on adding another piece yet but losing changes everything. Matt Benning will draw back into the lineup on Tuesday and the Oilers will re-evaluate based on his play.
Emelin a Trade Chip?
The Nashville Predators were absolutely adamant at the start of the year that they didn’t want to move much, if anything, from their blue line. They also didn’t expect Samuel Girard to get off to such a positive start. As such, Adam Vingan of The Tennessean is reporting that thanks to Girard’s play, Alexei Emelin could be traded to help the team in an area of need. Emelin is a pending unrestricted free agent and the Predators believe they could use a little more scoring punch.
It seems odd to think that the Predators would trade the new guy on the block so quickly, but Emelin is a different type of defenseman on a team full of skilled defenders and the trade isn’t imminent if it happens at all. Nothing will move forward until Ryan Ellis is either good to go and back to his normal self or the team determines if he requires a bit more time.
Alexei Emelin expected to fill void left by Ryan Ellis's long-term injuryhttps://t.co/qnHmZA3RvV
— Pro Hockey Rumors (@prohockeyrumors) September 9, 2017
One of the things Nashville has to consider before making this kind of move is whether they are comfortable with keeping Girard on the roster and burning a year of his entry-level status. He’s playing well and a strong addition to the power play but when Roman Josi returns and Ryan Ellis are healthy, it could change Girard’s ice time.
Rangers Not Ready to Make a Move
Despite getting off to a lousy 1-5 start, the New York Rangers are not looking to make a major trade, although they would like to find another center. The coaching staff has come under fire from Ranger fans but word is, they too are safe and any rumors of Alain Vigneault being on the hot seat should be ignored as he’s not going anywhere.
Even if the Rangers wanted to shake things up, they don’t really believe that’s an option at this time. Part of the reason is that teams are not keen on making big moves this early into the season and the other is that the Rangers view their problem as internal. It’s not other teams, it’s not a lack of talent, it’s a lack of execution and chemistry that is causing them to lose hockey games and they believe a solution can be found from within.
There’s More Going on Than Money For Athanasiou
Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News thinks the dispute between Andreas Athanasiou and the Detroit Red Wings is about more than just money. The forward has no arbitration rights and virtually no negotiating leverage yet he’s still digging his heels in over approximately $500K worth of salary (pennies in the. larger scheme of things.) Krupa believes the player may not be happy with his role and is looking to force a trade by December 1st. Athanasiou’s agent is really hitting up the fact that his client may go play in Europe if things aren’t sorted and more and more this is looking like a possibility.
There’s either some calculated gambling going on with a serious bluff or Athanasiou wants out and is trying to force the Red Wings hand.
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.”