Weekly Rumours – The schedule ahead, Kessel, and more!
1 year ago
The season is paused, COVID cases are still climbing, and the NHL has decided to pull out of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Merry Christmas to hockey fans!
Oh, and on top of all of that, when the Oilers finally do return to playing (who knows when that will actually be) they’ll be playing in front of half the amount of fans that they had before. Things aren’t going great right now around the hockey world. I mean, things aren’t going great in the real world either, but we don’t need to get into that.
The NHL has taken a pause and it will stay in effect until after the Christmas break. When will things resume? Well, according to the agreement, players must report back to their clubs on Dec. 26 for testing, practice or team travel, with practices to begin no earlier than 2:00 p.m. local time on that day.
The Oilers’ next scheduled game is on December 27th against the Calgary Flames. I would say that there’s a good chance that it gets moved. Calgary still has 19 players in protocol and the Oilers have six players and their Head Coach Dave Tippett still out. I haven’t seen it reported anywhere, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we have to wait until 2022 to see the Oilers on the ice again.
Honestly, the schedule as it sits right now will likely look vastly different by the time January rolls around. There are so many games that need to be made up and there is also talk that the NHL might be helping out a team like the Canadiens by sending them on a road trip while they aren’t allowed to have fans in the stands
If I’m the Oilers, I’d be sticking my hand up as well and saying “if they get that treatment, we want it too.”
The Oilers are knocked down to 50% capacity and won’t be able to open up their concessions. Why wouldn’t they want to head out on the road for two or three weeks, grind through a road trip, and then potentially come to a full barn and have a home heavy schedule down the stretch?
I have no idea if that is going to happen, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
As far as the team is concerned, there is a little bit of trade chatter around the team, so let’s dig into that.
CHYCHRUN A NO GO?
Nov 18, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (6) celebrates his goal scored against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Elliotte Friedman dropped an interesting line in his most recent 31 Thoughts blog, essentially saying that while he thought that the Oilers would be a great landing spot for Jakob Chychrun, he was told that it’s unlikely.
It really is a darn shame that the Oilers look at a young, cost-controlled, high-end defenseman and go “we’re good.”
Now, the ask for Chychrun is likely astronomical right now and that may play a role in this. If that price comes down between now and the deadline, then I would certainly hope that the Oilers make a call.
Chychrun isn’t the only Coyote with his name being thrown around the rumour mill though. I mean, pretty much their entire roster is reportedly up for grabs as they continue their quest to stockpile more draft picks than the OKC Thunder (basketball joke), but Phil Kessel is one player who will likely get moved before the deadline and many Oilers fans are wondering if he’d be a good fit.
Personally, I don’t see it. Yes, he’s been producing at a decent rate this year, but even if Arizona agrees to keep half of his $6.8 million cap hit, it will be tough for the Oilers to squeeze him in. The Coyotes would probably have to take another contract back and that would only drive up the asking price.
If the Oilers are going to find a way to open up more than $3 million in cap space for a rental winger, I think they can aim a little higher than Kessel. Yes, his playoff experience is intriguing, but there will be better players available before the trade deadline.
- Former first-round pick Zach Senyshyn has reportedly asked for a trade out of the Boston Bruins organization. Senyshyn will be an RFA at the end of the season, would make league minimum if he was in the NHL, and has 13 points in 21 games with Providence in the AHL. Not much of a fit for the Oilers in my opinion.
- Mike McKenna recently wrote a piece over at Daily Faceoff wondering about the status of Vladamir Tarasenko’s trade request. The latest we heard was that Tarasenko would still like to be moved but McKenna thinks the Russian winger should reconsider that request since he’s having such a strong season and the Blues look like a playoff team.
- Arthur Staple of The Athletic spoke to some scouts and asked them what the Rangers could look to add before the deadline. They said the team could use some veteran help on their blueline and a solid right-winger. That’s a team looking for pretty much the same things that the Oilers are.
- If you want the latest on the Calgary Flames and their arena drama, you need to follow our boy Ryan Pike. The guy is all over it.
- The Penguins are a team that could move a forward before the deadline and one name being talked about is Jason Zucker. The Oilers should be calling if he is available and the Penguins are willing to retain some money. He carries a cap hit of $5.5 million.]
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