College Hockey, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, Joonas Korpisalo, NHL Rumors, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Top Story

NHL Rumors: Oilers, Rangers, Blue Jackets, College Free Agents, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are rumors the New York Rangers have been trying to trade for Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. How realistic is that deal? There is some college free agent buzz and are the Columbus Blue Jackets looking to trade one of their No. 1 goaltenders?

Nugent-Hopkins to the New York Rangers?

Larry Brooks of the New York Post noted in a recent mailbag segment, that he’d heard lots of rumors about the New York Rangers trading for Edmonton Oilers center/winger Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Edmonton Oilers
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

While it seems clear the Oilers would not want to move Nugent-Hopkins, he does have one more season on his current contract, will likely seek a raise and the Oilers may have salary cap issues moving forward. Brooks added that the Rangers will attempt to bulk up at center for next season.

If Ryan Strome leaves in free agency and if Filip Chytil isn’t quite ready, the Rangers could dangle defenseman Tony DeAngelo as trade bait.

All that being said, Brooks isn’t buying into the rumors. He doesn’t believe the Rangers will pursue Nugent-Hopkins and for salary cap reasons. The Rangers certainly can’t afford to pay whatever new salary Nugent-Hopkins will command.

Related: Top 10 NHL Backup Goaltenders

Could the Blue Jackets Trade a Goaltender?

Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports the Columbus Blue Jackets believe they have two top-level goaltenders in Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins and may elect to trade one of them this summer. Both are restricted free agents this summer and pending UFA’s next summer.

Columbus Blue Jackets Elvis Merzlikins
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Portzline writes:

With one year to go before they hit their “unrestricted years,” expect the Blue Jackets to accept nothing less than a two-year term. It’s unlikely either player would want to go longer than three or four years, but we shall see.

source – ‘Reading the goalie market: When should the Jackets deal Merzlikins or Korpisalo?’ Aaron Portzline – The Athletic – 03/31/2020

There’s not really a rush to move either player since the Blue Jackets can protect Korpisalo during the summer’s expansion draft, and Merzlikins is exempt.

Related: The Worst Free Agent Signings in NHL History

College Free Agent News

There are some updates when it comes to potential college players who could enter the NHL sooner that later:

Kawaguchi Getting Tons of NHL Interest

Hobey Baker Hat Trick Finalist and undrafted center Jordan Kawaguchi.  recently told Postmedia’s Steve Ewen that he has had interest from a “handful” of NHL teams. That said, the 22-year-old noted that he is considering returning to North Dakota for his senior year as well.

Wit 45 points in 33 games, he was the second-leading scorer in the NCAA behind only Jack Dugan, a fifth-round pick of Vegas back in 2017. His size, or lack thereof, might be part of the reason that Kawaguchi is considering staying at North Dakota for his final season. He may want to try and prove this past season wasn’t the ceiling for what he can do, but the baseline.

Ryan Shea Not Signing With Blackhawks

According to Rinkside Rhode Islander reporter Mark Divver, Ryan Shea will not sign with the Chicago Blackhawks and instead will become an unrestricted free agent later this summer. The left-handed defenseman recorded 31 points in 34 games this season. He was a fourth-round pick of the Blackhawks back in 2015 but played a year in the USHL before heading to college. Shea recently completed his senior season at Northeastern University, where he served as captain.

Luke Martin Not Expected To Sign With Hurricanes

Andy Strickland of Fox Sports Midwest reports that Luke Martin will likely not sign with the St. Louis Blues. Martin, 21, is a defenseman drafted 52nd overall in 2017 and has played for the University of Michigan.

Catch up on all the latest NHL Rumors

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