The Expansion Draft has dominated the rumour mill over the last few days, but once that is out of the way teams will get back to wheeling and dealing. It’s still expected to be one of the busiest summers we’ve seen in a few years and that means there are no shortage of rumours for potential moves.
Usually, I only write one rumours recap a week, but there’s so much to talk about that I’m already on my second blog in as many days. It should be a wild finish to the week and an even crazier weekend.
Outside of the expansion draft, the biggest Oilers-related story is definitely the Adam Larsson situation. The 28-year-old defenseman is a pending UFA and was left unprotected from Seattle, although that wasn’t a surprising move. A few weeks ago, it seems like a lock that Larsson would be back with the Oilers next season. We had seen multiple reports from a handful of insiders that led us to believe that he liked being here, the team loved having him around, and they had found a middle ground in contract negotiations. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
Mark Spector, Ryan Rishaug, and Frank Seravalli have all reported different things when it comes to this negotiation and it’s honestly really clouding things up from a fan perspective.
Spector has made it seem, through tweets and radio hits, that the Oilers have tabled a handful of offers to Larsson’s camp and all of them are different when it comes to length and AAV. They all sound like fair offers but Larsson hasn’t given any indication that he’ll sign one of them. Still, out of all the reports out there, Spector’s leaves me feeling the most optimistic that a deal will be reached.
Now, we get to Seravalli’s reporting, which makes it sound like a deal is unlikely and that it’s more likely that Ken Holland brings back Tyson Barrie. Jason Gregor has pointed out that Larsson is a thoughtful individual and is likely just making sure he is 100% certain in his decision.
It truly sounds like this will go right down to the wire and my take is this: it would be a massive mistake for Ken Holland to let Adam Larsson walk over a couple hundred thousand dollars. He’s a vital piece to this blue line and on the right side specifically, he plays a massive role. Letting him walk and replacing his spot with Tyson Barrie would not put this team in a better position to win a playoff round next season. They need Larsson and I really hope Holland recognizes his value to this group.
We will wait and see though. Based on all the somewhat conflicting reports out there, it really does sound like this will come right down to the wire and there very well may be a 50% chance that Larsson walks.
Now, let’s look at some of the other big stories from around the league:
KAPRIZOV’S NEW DEAL
The 24-year-old electrified the Minnesota Wild fan base in his rookie season, racking up 27 goals in just 55 games on his way to a nearly unanimous Calder Trophy victory. He was the most dynamic player the organization has had since the days of Marian Gaborik, but now, it sounds like there’s a chance that he may not be back next season.
There are rumours that the KHL team that Kaprizov previously played for, CSKA Moscow, has made Kaprizov a legit contract offer. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic says that some believe it may be just a leverage play, but regardless, the offer is significant.
The Wild think there is a lot of time for this to play out but LeBrun adds that the current issue is term. This issue was also tackled by Frank Seravalli and Jason Gregor a few weeks ago when they were joined by Wild Reporter Michael Russo on The DFO Rundown. He also said that term is believed to be the biggest sticking point between the two sides.
GM Bill Guerin and the Wild would apparently love to lock up their franchise player but Kaprizov wants a shorter-term deal that would bring him closer to unrestricted free agency, when he could really cash in.
LeBrun speculated that the NHL’s Olympic decision could play a role in this. He also added that he believes a five-year deal would make sense.
LATEST ON EICHEL
Another interesting wrinkle in the Kaprizov negotiation is how it could affect the Wild’s pursuit of Jack Eichel. It’s been known for a while that Minnesota is very interested in acquiring him but I personally wonder the Kaprizov situation could change that.
In his most recent 31 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman mentioned the Wild as a fit. He made it sound like the LA Kings, Calgary Flames, and Anaheim Ducks are out on Eichel. He also wondered if the New York Rangers would circle back.
I think the Rangers could put together a better offer than the Wild and I could understand why the Sabres might not want to move him to a team that’s so close to them, but if they give you the best offer I think you’d have to take it. Eichel on Broadway would be cool to see.
I would imagine we see some sort of resolution before the draft comes, so that means we could potentially be just days away from an Eichel trade.
- LeBrun talked about potential suitors for Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. He mentioned both the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets as potential suitors but said there are several teams interested. He’s one year away from unrestricted free agency.
- Connor Garland is going to be one of the most sought-after scoring wingers on the trade market this summer. Darren Dreger says talks between Garland’s camp and the Coyotes aren’t going well and there are at least a dozen teams interested. Frank Seravalli has also reported on this a lot over the last month. It sounds like a lock that Garland gets moved and the Oilers should probably be one of the teams calling.
- The Oilers and Coyotes sound like good trading partners but let’s be honest, the talk about Phil Kessel coming here is a little far-fetched. I can’t see him waiving his limited NMC to come to Edmonton and the Oilers should probably be looking for younger options to play with either McDavid or Draisaitl. No legitimate source has put that rumour out there either, at least not that I’ve seen.
- Zach Hyman to the Rangers? Elliotte Friedman wondered if there’s a fit there. He’s my best to be the most overpaid forward from this free agent group.
- Taylor Hall wants to be back in Boston and multiple reports suggest the Bruins want him back. It sounds like they’ll go right up to the wire to try to get a deal done. If he gets to unrestricted free agency, I bet the Oilers would be one of many teams to make him a serious offer.
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