Questions, Rumours and more…

Last night the New York Rangers acquired Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets for Neal Pionk and the 20th pick (the pick they traded to NYR at the deadline) in Friday’s NHL draft. Trouba wasn’t going to re-sign with the Jets, so they had to move him, but this looks like a big win for the Rangers. If you combine the trade deadline trade with this one, the Jets essentially traded Jacob Trouba and Brendon Lemieux to the Rangers for Neal Pionk and 20 games of Kevin Hayes. They traded their first round pick to acquire Hayes, and then got it back when they dealt Trouba. Trouba wasn’t going to re-sign with the Jets, and seemed very specific on which teams he would re-sign with so that likely impacted the return. Also the fact the Rangers weren’t allowed to speak with him prior to the deal, to discuss a contract extension, also impacted the return. I’m curious why the Jets wouldn’t have allowed that, or maybe the Rangers knew he’d sign with them, so they didn’t push for it, to lower the return.

The Jets are up against the cap as they have to re-sign RFAs Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp and Pionk along with UFAs Tyler Myers and Brandon Tanev. They have $25 million in cap space to sign those players, so they should get at least four, possibly five of them signed. Tanev is likely to test the market and he is a solid bottom six option. He is a tenacious, good skating left winger who can kill penalties. He chipped in 14-15-29 last year with decent underlying numbers.

Don’t be surprised if the Rangers make some other deals this week. I hear they want to unload Vlad Namestnikov, but at $4 million, they might have to eat some salary to do it. He has one year remaining on his deal.

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I’m surprised the Flyers didn’t land Trouba. He is exactly what they need and they have a lot of cap space to sign him. I expect the Flyers to be a big player in free agency or a trade. I’m surprised Shayne Gostisbehere’s name is out there, but I’ve read about it enough to think where there is smoke there’s fire. He has the 14th most points among D-men the past four years, and he is sixth in PP points over that time. I recognize his underlying numbers aren’t great, but how much of that is due to him and Ivan Provorov, two young defenders, being paired together for over 1,000 minutes the past three years and facing tough competition?

He isn’t a great defender yet, but he is so good offensively, I’d take the chance to acquire him and work on his defensive deficiencies. He also has an excellent cap hit at $4.5 million for another four years. I’m not sure he fits for the Oilers, as he shoots left, but if the rumours are true about him being on the block, I’d guess many teams would be interested.

And the Nikolaj Ehlers trade rumours are heating up. After 64 and 60 point seasons he only produced 37 points in 62 games last year. Opposing teams will try to buy low, especially knowing the Jets’ cap situation. The Blue Jackets will need some scoring after Artemi Panarin leaves, and maybe Matt Duchene does too.


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Nation reader GoodtobeLucky97 asked:

Over the past six draft years, how many U.S. born players going the NCAA route have stayed in school for three years and became UFA’s? Considering that, if the Oilers select a U.S. born NCAA bound player at #8, I wonder what are the chances of that player ever signing with the Oilers?

Since the 2012 draft, here are the players who were drafted in the top ten and went NCAA route:

2012: Jacob Trouba. Drafted ninth to Winnipeg. Played one season in NCAA and then signed with the Jets.
2013: None
2014: None
2015: Jack Eichel second to Buffalo and Noah Hanafin, fifth to Carolina. Both played NCAA during their draft year, but came directly to NHL for 2015/2016 season.
Zack Werenski, eighth to Columbus. Played NCAA during his draft year, then spent one more season in NCAA before joining Blue Jackets.
2016: Clayton Keller, seventh to Arizona. Played one season of NCAA and then went to Coyotes.
2017: Cale Makar (Canadian), fourth to Colorado. Played two seasons at NCAA and joined Avs during playoffs this past April.
Casey Middlestadt, eighth to Buffalo. Played one year of NCAA and then joined the Sabres.
2018: Quinn Hughes, seventh to Vancouver. Was drafted out of NCAA, stayed last year and then joined Canucks at the end of last season.

It isn’t an issue for high picks to stay the full three years in the NCAA and become free agents. You shouldn’t worry about it.

Bshaw asks: If Corey Perry is bought out would he fit in Edmonton?

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On a one-year deal, I’d look at him. I know he only had 10 points in 31 games last year, but he missed the first half of the season and trying to play catch up is hard. He had 49, 53 and 62 points the previous three seasons. He is a veteran RW and he could complement either Connor McDavid or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He knows how to play with skill players, and he is highly competitive. His speed is an issue, but Patrick Maroon and David Perron aren’t fleet of foot and they played key roles for the St. Louis Blues. Not every player has to be a burner for your team to win.

The big challenge would be the cost. How much does he want? He is 34 so he is likely looking for a multi-year deal, and I’d be leery of that. Two years max, but the wheels can fall off quickly for players who play his style, and that’s why I’d be much more comfortable on a one-year deal.

Shaun J asks: Should the Oilers buyout Brandon Manning?

No. It just means more dead cap space for the 2020/2021 season. The Oilers should just bite the bullet this year and put him in the minors. He will count just over $1.1 million against the cap, but then there is no cap hit next year. Every dollar matters, and the Oilers are likely to be more competitive in 2021 than next year, so I wouldn’t waste cap space on buying him out.


Darren Dreger reported the salary cap might be $82 million instead of $83 million, and with many teams up against the cap, that extra million dollars makes a big difference. It sure makes the Manning deal sting even more since he is going to count over $1 million towards the cap, and that illustrates how important cap space, even one million or less can be.

Lower cap means lower escrow and I’ve argued for years increasing the cap doesn’t get the players more money, it just increases the escrow they pay. It is kind of a false number. The players loathe escrow and I won’t be surprised if the cap is lower than the projected $83 million.

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  • vetinari

    $82M cap is going to hurt a lot of teams and will likely throw cold water onto the trade market unless it is a dollar-for-dollar trade… I wish Chiarelli left us in a better cap position so we could syphon off talent from other teams who need to become cap compliant and re-load fast but it looks like Holland may need 1-2 years just to clear contracts off the books. This off-season will be a success if we can snag a veteran goalie as a backup or 1B on a reasonable contract, 2-3 wingers on value contracts, a veteran puck moving defenceman and unload 1-2 bad contracts for cap relief/supplemental assets.

    • TruthHurts98

      It’s going to be very difficult to do. The Oilers are in tough compared to most other teams. I don’t have high hopes for this season but if they draft well this weekend and fans can still be patient, I think the long term future will get bright in a hurry.

    • Kepler62c

      I’ll be satisfied with a return to the playoffs this season, they don’t need to be “best in the west” or anything — as the STL win shows, you just have to make the playoffs to have a shot at the cup.

      • The future never comes

        As much as “people say look what St. Louis did”, if you looked at that roster on paper at the beginning of the year, they were stacked. Unlike our roster on paper.

        • Jason Gregor

          Bingo. Blues were supposed to be good at the start. Didn’t happen, changed coach and got a goalie who could stop pucks and some veterans started playing up to their potential.

          • HOCKEY83

            Yes this is it in a nut shell. Everyone thought with the acquisitions St. Louis made over the summer they would be the team they were in the second half right from the start. Berube and Binnington were factors but the team also finally gelled half way through. They will be tough competition from the start next season.

          • The future never comes

            Exactly, it was not like they were a bunch of misfits strung together. It is not exactly as people make it seem when they think any team that makes playoffs could win. We see year after year the team with a hot goalie, four contributing forward lines and six contibuting defensemen wins. The deepest team always wins.

    • kormega

      Chiarelli signed Connor and Leon for reasonable money. In the era when guys like Skinner got 9 mill a year and the ones like Panarin or Marner demand 10 (and will get it), 8.5 for Drai is almost for free and 12.5 for the Captain is quite good.

      • HOCKEY83

        2 years ago it wasn’t reasonable money but yes it is now for the 2 of them. Skinner’s salary will wind up being a boat anchor salary…nowhere near worth the money and Panarin and Marner will get between 10 and 11 mil. They do say 3 years in the salary world is like a generation gone by. Draisaitle’s 8.5 is a steal right now.

    • vetinari

      Assume you just want a basic explanation… the players and the owners agreed to split certain revenues from hockey sources 50/50. To ensure that the players do not receive more than their share, a percentage of every pay cheque for the players is withheld. If the share to the owners is too little, they claw back and take enough from the escrow account to make up the difference. When the cap goes up, the percentage taken from players also goes up. Think of it this way: imagine if you made $5,000 every month before taxes and your boss kept $250.00 from every payday until the end of the year and then kept some of it if certain totals weren’t met… you wouldn’t be happy. Also, your contract or pay wouldn’t necessarily be what you signed.

      • Total Points

        The deal is 50/50 split. The final numbers aren’t determined until the end of the season and all the revenue is added up. I don’t see what the players are complaining about.

        The cap hit at the start of the season is only a estimate

  • Hockey Bunker

    Oilers in a tough position up against the cap and a non-competitive team. Will take all of Holland’s skull to undo the mess without hurting the team. Many teams would probably offer to “help the Oilers” by taking RNH off their hands. With friends like that, who needs enemies. Oilers can’t do dollar for dollar deals then need to shed at least one big contract which may cost a prospect but then gives Holland a chance to build a team.
    On the other hand he’s very patient so he may just try to make it all work and wait for the vultures to stop circling


      While I will agree that Perry is in the twilight of his career, I would like to see the Oilers have a player in the top 6 who can get under opponents skin. I’m not saying that the Oilers need an Avery, but a player who can reliably play on the 1st or 2nd line and contribute to the offense while still getting opponents riled up is something we haven’t had in a long time (Kassian has shown he can play that style, but he takes too many boneheaded penalties sometimes).

    • HeadMetal79

      how fast do they need to be? if they have hockey smarts they will always be in the right spot. We need some veterans too! I’d give Perry a shot. Worked for Kassian and everyone forgot about what he did to Gagner’s jaw (except Sam)