Edmonton Oilers, Evgeni Malkin, Ken Holland, NHL Rumors, Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins, Top Story

NHL Rumors: Penguins, Panthers, Oilers, More

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In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is some buzz to the Evgeni Malkin trade rumors and one team interested might be the Florida Panthers. Still with the Penguins, there is talk of trading Olli Maatta and Phil Kessel, there is speculation as to whom Ken Holland will hire as the next Oilers head coach and the murmurs that Mike Babcock could have joined Holland in Edmonton are now being silenced.

Penguins and Panthers Talking?

Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now says that any speculation of Evgeni Malkin being traded is true. Malkin does hold a no-movement clause but the franchise is considering their options. Some sources are saying the Florida Panthers are one of the teams that are interested.

Evgeni Malkin Penguins
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins, January 2, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Panthers have been in a number of rumors when it comes to making a big splash over the summer. Names included in the buzz have been Artemi Panarin and if the Panthers could lure Malkin and add Panarin, that wouldn’t just be a splash but a cannonball sent to the rest of the league.

If the Penguins do decide to make a move, they will likely look for a high scoring forward, a first round pick, and a prospect in return. The conversation would probably have to start with Panthers 25-year old winger Jonathan Huberdeau. Prospects might include defenseman Max Gildon and forward Aleksi Heponiemi.

Elliotte Friedman knows that Malkin could be traded, but also believes the noise surrounding a trade is meant to send a message to Malkin to improve on his season or know he could be moved.

Still With the Penguins

Sticking with Pittsburgh, Dan Kingerski writes: Friedman reported what Pittsburgh Hockey Now mentioned earlier in the season that the Penguins had tried to trade defenseman Olli Maatta.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Olli Maatta St. Louis Blues' Robert Thomas
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Olli Maatta skates around St. Louis Blues’ Robert Thomas (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)

Kingerski mentions that the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings trades that took place with the Penguins during the season, at one time, included Maatta. Ultimately, the trades never happened that way.

Friedman also believes Phil Kessel will be traded before the start of next season and that the Penguins will make some bold moves.

Related: Oilers Introduce Holland as GM & President of Hockey Ops

Coach of the Edmonton Oilers

Ken Holland said during his introduction to the Edmonton media on Tuesday that his top priority is to find a new head coach. He informed Ken Hitchcock that Hitch would not be back and that this seemed like the best time for a change behind the bench.

Todd Nelson Griffins
Todd Nelson, Grand Rapids Griffins (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Holland wants to find a coach that will be with the team long-term. Someone that will dig in and grind it out with the organization for the long haul. One of the favorites might be Todd Nelson. Dave Tippet is also considered a front-runner but Holland is not going to be afraid to hire a new or relatively fresh NHL coach.

Nelson spent time previously with the Oilers and was hired by Holland to coach in Grand Rapids.

There was some speculation prior to yesterday that Mike Babcock might come over with Holland until Kyle Dubas said to TSN’s Bob McKenzie that Babcock would be back next season as the Maple Leafs head coach.

Holland also mentioned that he would love Keith Gretzky to stay with the organization but has not had a conversation yet with Gretzky. It is assumed Gretzky will stay, but his role is unclear.

There was no mention by Holland (and he wasn’t asked) about who might be coming over with him from the Red Wings organization.

Related: What Questions Did Oilers Ask Ken Holland?

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