In today’s edition of NHL Rumors, we look at the Edmonton Oilers’ potential interest in Taylor Hall and the Carolina Hurricanes’ desire to bring in a top-nine forward. Plus, what are the Los Angeles Kings going to do with Jonathan Quick, and is Rasmus Ristolainen content as a Buffalo Sabre?
Oilers Interested in Hall Reunion?
In an interview on Sportsnet’s Tim & Sid, Elliotte Friedman suggested that if the New Jersey Devils want to move pending free agent Taylor Hall this season the Oilers could be a trade partner. Such a trade would be a reunion as the Oilers drafted him first overall in 2010 and he played his first six seasons with them.
It would not surprise me at all if Edmonton is a big suitor here. I don’t know if they can make a trade, I don’t know if they have enough to make a deal, but it just wouldn’t surprise me. Put it this way: it’s long been believed that if Edmonton had a chance to correct and bring him back, that they would be interested. But there’s a new GM there now, so we’ll see.
However, in response to Friedman’s suggestion, the Edmonton’s Journal’s David Staples refuted the rumors. (from ‘Other teams likely in better position than Oilers to bid high for Hall,’ Edmonton Journal, 10/17/2019) While he acknowledges that Hall could help the Oilers, he says the trade is basically impossible for Edmonton. Any team that’s going to pay the high asking price the Devils would seek would only do so with the intention of extending Hall. Staples references the package the Vegas Golden Knights gave up (a top prospect, NHL roster player, and a second-round pick) to acquire Mark Stone as a comparison. They then signed Stone to an eight-year, $76-million extension. An Oilers package would have to include a prospect like Evan Bouchard or Philip Broberg as the centerpiece.
That doesn’t even factor in that the Oilers would have difficulty extending Hall. The Oilers already have $57.5 million committed next season to nine NHL players and have to re-sign Darnell Nurse and make a decision on Mike Smith, among other moves. When you factor in that Hall is likely to get between $10 and $11 million per season on his next deal, it would be nearly impossible for the Oilers to consider re-signing Hall. And that’s saying Hall would even have interest in signing with Edmonton.
Hurricanes’ Targeting Top-Nine Forward?
On the most recent edition of TSN’s Insider Trading, Pierre LeBrun suggested that the Hurricanes are kicking the tires on options to add to their top-nine forward group. Specifically, he mentions that the Hurricanes have inquired about New York Islander Josh Ho-Sang and Oiler Jesse Puljujarvi.
The Hurricanes are making inquiries. At, I think, the end of the day, after not getting that deal with Anaheim, there’s still that hole in their top nine. So they’ve made inquiries.
The Hurricanes and Puljujarvi have been connected in the recent past, with Julien Gauthier rumored to be the return. It’s unknown whether or not the Hurricanes would part with Gauthier, their 2016 first-round pick, as he’s gotten off to a good start in the American Hockey League this season. However, it will cost a lot in assets to acquire Puljujarvi considering he continues to light up Finland’s Liiga, where he has 12 points in 12 games.
Ho-Sang is a bit different. After not making the NHL roster out of training camp this season, the 2014 first-round pick requested a trade, and has yet to report to the AHL. The Hurricanes could almost certainly acquire Ho-Sang for less than it’d take to get Puljujarvi, and they could attempt to help him find his game again.
Quick’s Future in L.A.
Another rumor that comes from Insider Trading is Bob McKenzie speculating on Jonathan Quick’s future with the Kings. McKenzie points out that with the way Jack Campbell is playing, plus the upside of prospect Cal Petersen, currently in the AHL, Quick could be the odd-man out. Quick’s .793 save percentage on the season is also worst in the league and he’s now struggled for two straight seasons. The 33-year-old netminder has played a lot of hockey in his career (595 starts in the regular season alone), and it appears that Campbell has supplanted him as the Kings’ starter. The Kings would certainly love to move him, and perhaps a new setting would help him find his game again, but his $5.8-million cap hit through 2022-23 will be difficult to move, even though he doesn’t have trade protection.
One possible solution would be to trade Quick in a goalie swap for another not-so-great contract. One destination could be the Ottawa Senators, where Craig Anderson has struggled the past three seasons. With the Senators in the middle of a rebuild, strong goaltending isn’t a necessity at the moment, so Quick wouldn’t be under much pressure. Anderson is in the last year of his deal that has a $4.75-million cap hit. His contract does have a modified no-trade clause in which he submits a 10-team no-trade list, so that could be a stumbling block. Another destination could be the Minnesota Wild, where Devan Dubnyk is struggling as his numbers have regressed for the third straight season. He’s 33 and has one more year left on his deal with a $4.3-million cap hit and a modified no-trade clause. His clause allows him to submit a 19-team approval list.
Ristolainen Staying in Buffalo?
Lastly, after months of speculating on where Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen may land after he reportedly asked for a trade over the offseason, it appears that he could be staying put in Buffalo. After the team’s great 6-1-1 start, according to LeBrun, Ristolainen is happy with the team and new head coach Ralph Krueger.
Here’s a guy in Ristolainen that sounds happy playing for head coach Ralph Krueger and right now that’s the case. I don’t see a trade happening at this point, and we’ll see if Ristolainen continues to be happy.
Ristolainen is in his seventh season and the Sabres have yet to reach the postseason in his career. With how much better the team has looked to begin the season, and the talent that surrounds him on the roster, him finding peace with the current situation would be the ideal solution for all involved. The Sabres are still relying heavily on Ristolainen, who’s averaging a team-high 23:52 per game, and that’s despite 2018 first-overall pick Rasmus Dahlin being on the defense. It’s a situation to continue monitoring throughout the season, but if Ristolainen remains a Sabre, he could certainly be an asset in their path of returning to the postseason.