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Photo Credit: © Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Weekly Rumours: Keith, the Golden Knights, Goaltenders, and More!

Surprise, surprise, the Duncan Keith rumours are still the talk of the town. It’s really been all that Oilers fans have been talking about for the last week so it’s fitting that we start there with this week’s rumours blog.

The latest that we got from Elliotte Friedman was really interesting. In his most recent ‘31 Thoughts Podcast’ he wondered if things between Edmonton and Chicago were getting to a “yes or no situation.” He added that they’re staring at each other and they know what’s on the table before going on to say that the Hawks would do Keith a solid and move him for a smaller return. He also talked about the possibility of the team buying out the soon to be 38-year-old defenseman.

If you’re Ken Holland and you hear the slightest rumblings that Hawks GM Stan Bowman is considering a buyout, you should be pulling your previous best offer. If you think there’s a chance to get the player for less money as an unrestricted free agent in a few weeks, it makes no sense to make a trade right now.

In my opinion, the best thing for the Oilers is for this negotiation to drag on a little bit. If Keith really wants to leave, and it sounds like he does, and the Hawks really want to get rid of his money, then Ken Holland should not do him any favours.

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Chris Johnston of Sportsnet did say today during a radio hit in Toronto that he believes Keith will eventually be an Oiler.

Here’s what else caught my eye on the NHL rumour mill:

BUYOUT SEASON

May 10, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward James Neal (18) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

This week on Daily Faceoff, Frank Seravalli wrote a buyout preview and mentioned ten players who are potential candidates to be bought out this summer. Remember: the window opens after the Stanley Cup is handed out so we could see some action soon.

Frank had Oilers forward James Neal second on his list and goaltender Mikko Koskinen was on the watch list. Ken Holland said himself that the Oilers could very well go the buyout route this summer and I would fully expect Neal to be bought out when the window opens. 

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As for Koskinen, I think they will find a way to make a trade involving the veteran goaltender. I think they can find a way to get that done.

Elsewhere, it sounds like Tony DeAngelo is a lock to get bought out in New York, which is hardly surprising. Keith Yandle (FLA), Erik Johnson (COL), Anton Stralman (FLA), Olli Maatta (LAK), and Danny Dekeyser (DET) were other defensemen that Frank listed.

Stars goalie Ben Bishop and Sharks goaltender Martin Jones were the other goaltenders listed. I wrote yesterday about how the Oilers should be interested in Bishop if he were to become a UFA.

As for forwards, Wild forward Zach Parise was the most interesting name on the list. This is really the last summer for the Wild to get Parise off their books. As Seravalli said, “The Wild can enjoy a $5.2 million savings next season before his cap hit jumps up again for each of the next three years, due to the nature of his back diving deal.” It’s an ugly buyout but it could very well happen.

BUSY SUMMER COMING IN VEGAS?

We all know that the Vegas Golden Knights front office is never afraid to make a big splash. In their short history, they’ve made big moves for Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and Alex Pietrangelo. That trend may continue this summer as the team is reportedly looking to improve their powerplay and centre depth. 

I would not be the least bit surprised if they are serious suitors for Sabres Captain Jack Eichel. He would help in both of those areas and they have the pieces to make a deal like that work with their abundance of draft picks and solid young players.

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Of course, to bring in Eichel they would have to clear out some serious cap space. Frank Seravalli mentioned three names recently on the DFO Rundown: Reilly Smith, Max Pacioretty, and Jonathan Marchessault. All of those players make at least $5 million. If they moved two of those pieces, they would have the money to make an Eichel deal potentially work.

On top of that, they’re on track to spend $12 million on their goaltenders next season with both Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury under contract. They very well might bring back both of them next season, but if they wanted some extra cap space it would make sense for them to move on from one of those two.

Penguins reporter Mark Madden brought up the idea of the Penguins looking into Lehner if Fleury is unavailable. The Penguins would make sense as a fit and there may be something to that rumour as Pittsburgh is in the market for a veteran goaltender to pair with Tristan Jarry.

QUICK NOTES

  • James Mirtle of The Athletic recently wrote about the Maple Leaf’s search for a goaltender to pair with Jack Campbell. In the article, he listed 16 names that could be potential options. One thing this showed me: the goaltending market is flooded and that is good news for the Oilers, who also need to add a goaltender to play with Mike Smith.
  • After dealing Viktor Arvidsson last week, the Predators could be a team to keep a close eye on as we head closer to the expansion draft. They might try to get creative in a deal with the Kraken.
  • There is still plenty of chatter around Johnny Gaudreau. The Flames are looking to change things up this summer and it would not be a surprise to see them move on from Gaudreau at some point in the next two or three weeks.
  • Philadelphia Hockey Now says that the Flyers may be front runners for Seth Jones. Personally, I think it’s too early to tell. A lot of teams will be calling the Blue Jackets and likely already have. I would imagine a deal will happen this month and GM Jarmo Kekalainen will have no shortage of offers to choose from.

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