Hockey is back and it feels good. The first few weeks of the season are always exciting and considering how short the regular season is this year, they’re even more meaningful than usual. From the perspective of this rumours blog, I wonder how quickly teams act after a slow start. If a team loses four out of their first five games or something like that, will they be looking to shake things up? Or will quarantine rules lead to teams just sticking with what they have?
From an Oilers perspective, I don’t think we’ll see any big roster moves in the first month of the season, but their goaltending situation is something to keep an eye on. After losing Anton Forsberg on waivers to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Oilers will likely be looking for a third goaltender to sit behind Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen on the depth chart.
The weird part: that goalie just might end up being Anton Forsberg.
Should Forsberg end up with a Canadian team — perhaps even back with the #oilers — he won't have to observe a 14-day quarantine since he stayed where he was and didn't cross the border.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 13, 2021
It would certainly be an odd turn of events but the fact that Forsberg is staying in Edmonton would leave me to believe he thinks there’s a chance he stays in Canada.
Here are some other rumours I’m keeping an eye on.
CANUCKS LOOKING FOR A WINGER
On TSN’s Insider Trading, Darren Dreger reported that the Canucks are actively looking to upgrade their team and GM Jim Benning is interested in acquiring a top-six winger. Just how many of those are on the market? Probably very few, if any, this early in the season. That sounds like a deal that could get made in a month or so but even then, the Canucks don’t have a lot of money to spend.
Personally, I think they would be foolish to pull the trigger on anything this early in the season. It’s probably worth waiting until some teams fall out of contention and the market picks up.
YANDLE OUT IN FLORIDA?
There have been multiple reports over the last seven to ten days that Keith Yandle has fallen out of favour with the Florida Panthers and that he might be made a healthy scratch at some point in the near future. That would end Yandle’s 866 game consecutive games played streak, which would be a shame.
It sounds like the Panthers tried to trade the veteran defenseman but his contract makes that hard. He has three years left on his current deal which pays him $6.3 million a season. It’s also worth noting that Yandle has a full no-movement clause.
It sounds like the Islanders had interest but they couldn’t make the money work. Unless the Panthers retain a significant portion or take back a bad contract, it could be hard to make a trade.
LATEST ON DUBOIS
It’s obvious that there are plenty of teams interested in Pierre-Luc Dubois. He’s a number once centre who is just 22-years-old. It also shouldn’t be surprising that the Blue Jackets aren’t just going to trade him for the sake of trading him.
“He wants out” is what Head Coach John Tortorella said earlier this week, adding that Dubois has not given the team a reason why he doesn’t want to be in Columbus anymore.
I personally didn’t think he would get traded this season and that a move was more likely to happen in the summer. However, Elliotte Friedman wrote in his most recent ‘31 Thoughts’ that teams who are interested in Dubois are being pretty aggressive in their pursuit of him. It sounds like a trade could certainly happen sometime before the trade deadline.
- It will be interesting to see if any of the current unsigned free agents get scooped up in the next few weeks as injuries hit. There are a few names out there like Michael Grabner, Justin Abdelkader, and others that I could see teams bringing in if they have a few forwards go down.
- I hope it never comes to this, but I wonder how long the NHL will allow a team to push back its schedule if it runs into COVID issues. Can they let a team go ten days in the middle of the season without playing? Or will they ever force a team to play with less than 18 skaters, as we’ve seen with some teams in the NBA.
- I’m also interested if teams will be willing to trade within their own division considering how many games they have to play against each other. Will we see two Canadian teams make a trade this season? Hard to imagine it.