Remember when we thought Derick Brassard was going to be an Oiler? Those were good times. Now, we’ll likely have to go through another couple of weeks without any significant Oilers new. That, combined with more RFA drama, sparked the rumour mill and made writing this weeks rumour report a lot of fun!
DERICK BRASSARD CAME & WENT
Fun fact, I originally wrote this weeks rumour report with 500 words on the potential Derick Brassard signing. That was a really good use of my time because pretty much as soon as I finished, the reports came out that he was going to sign in New York with the Islanders, not in Edmonton as Georges Laraque had reported.
I’m naturally skeptical when someone who isn’t a legitimate reporter or insider with either TSN or Sportsnet reports something, but Laraque has actually been pretty money with his reports/predictions as of late.
From what I hear, these will be confirmed tomorrow Duchene-Nashville, Bobrovski-Florida and Pavelski-Dallas. Habs will present an offer sheet! De ce que j’entends, ce sera confirmé demain, Duchene-Nashville, Bobrovski-Floride et Pavelski-Dallas. Le CH présentera une offre hostile
— Georges Laraque (@GeorgesLaraque) June 30, 2019
His recent track record of nailing this kind of stuff gave me a lot of hope. I thought this was legitimately going to happen and I was excited. Brassard is far from a perfect third-line centre option, but he would have been an upgrade on their current group of candidates.
Did he struggle last season? Sure, but he still scored 14 goals despite being traded twice during the season. He’s averaged 19 goals a season over the last five seasons. I’m not saying that he would have scored 20 goals in Edmonton, he’s 31-years-old so I expect more regression, but I think he could have been a serviceable third-line centre who could have chipped in 10-15 goals and helped on the powerplay.
One thing that worried people with the potential Brassard deal was cap space, but that shouldn’t have been an issue. Right now, PuckPedia says the Edmonton Oilers have $2.5 million in cap space with 14 forwards, seven defenseman, and two goalies signed. This also includes Brandon Manning’s contract being buried in the AHL, which will surely happen.
Ken Holland needs to leave some wiggle room for potential in-season moves and any potential Mike Smith bonuses which will count towards the cap. Any forward that the team brings in, means they need to subtract a player from the roster. Let’s say they bring in another bottom-six centre for a $1 million, that means they have to send down a player to the minors. If it’s someone like Tomas Jurco, it would save them $700k. If it’s Kyle Brodziak, it would save them just over $1 million.
There’s room for Ken Holland to make one more small move in free agency. Brian Boyle and Riley Sheahan appear to be fits, but there hasn’t been any substantial talk linking the Oilers to either player.
Rumours of Mitch Marner going overseas to train surfaced this week. Originally from Rick Dhaliwal in Vancouver and then confirmed by both Darren Dreger and the Zurich Lions themselves.
I view this as nothing more than a negotiating tactic. Scott Wheeler summed it up really nicely the other day.
All of the Marner posturing seems less and less important the more you consider that if he isn’t signed by opening night that the Leafs literally can’t afford to sign him due to the inflated first year cap hit and we all *know* he’s not sitting the year/doesn’t want to be traded.
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) August 20, 2019
Chris Johnston from Sportsnet also reported that the two sides aren’t very far apart either. I think a deal will get done before the beginning of the season. I just cannot see Marner sacrificing an entire season of being a Maple Leaf and roughly $10 million in salary next season. It’s simply not worth it if the two sides are arguing over a $1 million on a five-year deal.
Next summer will be interesting for the Leafs as well and I still think that a point will come where they will need to trade one of their big forwards, but this fall is not going to be when that happens. From what I’ve gathered, Marner will have a new contract by the season opener.
As for the other RFA’s (Point, Tkachuk, Laine, Rantanen, Connor) things could be a little bit more difficult.
I talked about the Calgary Flames and Matthew Tkachuk last week and nothing has changed. I’m still of the belief that GM Brad Treleiving will have to clear out a contract if he wants to get Tkachuk signed to a long term deal.
Joe Sakic appears to be ready to just wait and see when it comes to Mikko Rantanen.
“We prefer long term,” said the Avalanche GM. “If it has to be short term, it has to be short term. We want to make sure we have him signed.”
That part wasn’t very interesting, but his next quote was.
“There’s a lot of players (in the NHL) in that same situation, a lot of great hockey players that are coming up. We’ll just see how all the players and agents handle that. There are comparable numbers that are starting to come in. We’re open to different possibilities,” he added.
I would imagine that the Tampa Bay Lightning are in the same spot as the Maple Leafs are. They don’t have the cap flexibility to sign Brayden Point during the season due to the inflated first-year cap hit that comes with signing an RFA after the season opener. They’ll need to get a deal done soon.
If Sakic wants to wait for some comparables, I think he’ll get his wish sooner rather than later.
Patrik Laine made some interesting comments to Sportsnet last week that have led some to question whether or not the star winger wants to be in Winnipeg next season. Trade rumours have followed and of course, Oilers fans are wondering if there’s a fit. The simple answer is no.
Laine will make too much money and the Oilers don’t have the future assets necessary to make that move. I would imagine if the Jets do deal Laine, they’d want a stud defenseman and probably a good young forward in the deal as well. While the ideas of sending Darnell Nurse, some picks, and Jesse Puljujarvi is interesting from an Oilers perspective, the money wouldn’t work and Winnipeg would want much more than that. Laine to Edmonton just isn’t realistic.