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Weekly Rumours – NHL Expansion Draft Rumblings and More!

There is a lot to get to this week in the rumours blog. There are some reports about where some big-name trade targets could end up and how much some pending free agents could get on the market. To kick things off though, we got some interesting nuggets of information from The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman regarding what the Oilers could do at the upcoming expansion draft.

In his most recent article, Nugent-Bowman says that the Oilers will likely be going the 7-3-1 route with their protection list. He went on to add that the Oilers could very well be leaving both Caleb Jones and William Lagesson unprotected if they agree to an extension with defenseman Adam Larsson before the expansion draft.

Yes, the Oilers could very well have a handshake agreement done with Adam Larsson and wait until after the expansion draft to officially sign him. Nugent-Bowman added that comes with some risk. He brought up the fact that that Seattle gets an exclusive 48-hour window before the expansion draft to negotiate with all unsigned free agents. He also added that “if Larsson gets to free agency, the odds of him returning to Edmonton are long.”

It was a great article by Nugent-Bowman and it featured a lot of great info. The Oilers have some interesting decisions to make in the next month and honestly, I wouldn’t be stunned if we see them make a trade in the next month to really change up their expansion draft situation.

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If they can find a team that would trade them a young top-nine forward in exchange for Caleb Jones, they should be all over it. It’d be better than losing him for nothing.

Here are some other rumours from around the league.

LA KINGS WILL BE ACTIVE

Earlier this week, TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted out that he expects the LA Kings to be in some big names this offseason. He says that the team is looking to acquire two top-six forwards this summer. 

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It makes sense. The Kings still have Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty on their roster, so the key pillars of their championship roster are still there. If they want to make one more run with those players around, they’ll likely need to do it in the next few years. They also have a deep prospect pool, over $20 million in expected cap space, and five picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft. They can be in on every trade conversation.

I expect them to be big players in the Jack Eichel sweepstakes. I would also expect them to be in on a guy like Sam Reinhart. They’re a pacific division team, so Oilers fans will want to watch what they’re doing in LA rather closely this summer. It’s also worth noting that they’re in the market for the exact same thing that the Oilers are. That makes things even more interesting.

THE COST OF ZACH HYMAN

Zach Hyman is one free agent that Ken Holland and the Oilers will certainly have their eyes on this offseason. He’s big, skates well, and has proven he can produce on a skill line. It’s easy to see why the Oilers might see him as a great fit in their top six. 

Last Friday on The DFO Rundown with Jason Gregor and Frank Seravalli, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston mentioned that he thinks Hyman could get close to $6 million and he’s not sure the Leafs will make him an offer that high. So it sounds like Hyman could be chasing a big payday on the open market.

If the cost is anywhere close to $6 million, I wouldn’t be comfortable going long-term with Hyman. If it was closer to $5 million, then I think a long-term deal is more stomachable. It’s important to remember that he just turned 29, so there is a risk to signing him to a five or six-year deal, especially if the price is around $6 million.

Either way, expect to hear Hyman connected to the Oilers a lot in the next month or so.

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QUICK NOTES

  • Bodog put out odds on which team Seth Jones will be on next season. The Blue Jackets were the favourites with the Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers next on the list. That’s surprising to me. I’m not reading too much into it, but it certainly caught my attention.
  • Elliotte Friedman said there is some chatter going on in regards to St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn. He’s been in the rumour mill for a while so I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he is moved around the draft.
  • Friedman also mentioned last Saturday that we could get an agreement soon in regards to NHL participation at the 2022 Olympic games. We are getting closer to seeing Connor McDavid at the Olympics!
  • Greg Wyshynski of ESPN says that he expects the Winnipeg Jets to prioritize fixing their blueline this offseason.
  • Hurricanes reporter Luke DeCock is saying that Dougie Hamilton has almost certainly played his final game with the club. He’ll be the best free agent on the market. He added that Petr Mrazek is likely not going to be back. I bet the Oilers make a call to Mrazek’s camp in free agency if they don’t acquire a goaltender via trade.
  • There is some talk that the Pittsburgh Penguins may be interested in pending UFA Frederick Andersen. I would imagine that the Oilers would be interested in him as well, but haven’t seen any reports about it.