NHL Rumours: Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, and More

NHL rumours

It’s time again for another set of NHL Rumours. As the Stanley Cup Final moves into the final phases with the St. Louis Blues leading the Boston Bruins three games to two. Game 6 should be an exciting affair as the Bruins are on the ropes in a do-or-die situation.

Today, we will discuss five teams to see what they are up to. The Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo SabresEdmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, and the Vancouver Canucks.

All of our NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.


Arizona Coyotes

Rumour: The TSN Insider Trading show dropped some significant news on Matt Duchene. Darren Dreger mentioned that if Duchene doesn’t re-sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets that he was told that the Arizona Coyotes are making Duchene their primary focus.

Analysis: It goes without saying that general manager John Chayka needs an injection of offence for his young team. Matt Duchene would do very nicely. The only thing is where will the money come from to pay Duchene the size contract he might expect? The team only has $14 million in cap space once Marian Hossa is placed on long term injured reserve.

Dreger mentioned, that the Coyotes have new ownership and perhaps there’s more capital there for Chayka work with. It has been rumoured that we may get to know about the new ownership of the Coyotes at the owner’s meetings.

Needless to say, if Chayka could work some magic to get Duchene signed he will acquire that long overdue number-one centre he’s been looking for.

Buffalo Sabres

Rumour: Jason Zucker may be pursued by the Buffalo Sabres according to Pierre LaBrun in the TSN Insiders video. He’s heard that the Sabres are looking for a second-line centre and a top-six winger via trade or free agency.

Analysis: Zucker must be getting tired of being rumoured to be traded as it has happened twice already with the 27-year-old forward. The last rumour involved him going to the Pittsburgh Penguins along with Victor Rask for Phil Kessel and Jack Johnson. That never happened when Kessel nixed the deal.

Zucker is a talented forward who has scored 76 goals over the last three seasons for the Minnesota Wild. Now that the Sabres have Jeff Skinner locked up for eight years they want to strengthen their forward line further.

NHL Rumours: Edmonton Oilers

Rumour: Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet stated on the Oilers Now show that the Calgary Flames are looking to see what James Neal may be worth on the trade market. One scenario presented was that the Oilers have thought about acquiring Neal. A three-way deal was proposed by Oilers broadcaster Bob Staffer. It would include Edmonton moving Milan Lucic to Vancouver, with Neal to Edmonton and Loui Eriksson of Vancouver to Calgary.

Analysis: Lucic, who just turned 31, has four more years left on a deal that pays him $6 million per year. He scored six goals and 20 points in 79 games last year and was minus-9.

He possesses a full No Movement Clause, meaning he’s the only one of these three players who can’t be sent to the minors or traded without his consent. If a team bought him out, they would save just $2.5 million against the cap over time.

It’s no secret that Lucic’s underperformance for the salary he is receiving has been a thorn in the side of Edmonton’s management. He is a hard-hitting forward with a large body (6’3″, 231 pounds) but has only averaged 0.56 points a game over his 12-year NHL career. He would assist in protecting Swedish star Elias Pettersson.

Edmonton would need to add something to this for the Flames to even consider such a trade.

NHL Rumours: Calgary Flames

Analysis: Neal, who will be 32 in September, has four more years on a deal that pays him $5.75 million per year. In 63 games last year he had seven goals and 19 points and was minus-5. He has scored 25, 23 and 31 goals in past seasons. If a team bought out Neal they would save $7.6 million on their cap hit. There would be a $1.8 million per year cap hit for the next eight years on the bought-out contract.

Friedman refuses to believe that Neal is as bad as his stats showed last season. He should still have some value. The Oilers could use a good, tough forward like Neal, but will they give up Neal with a return like Eriksson?

He also believes such a trade is unlikely to happen.

NHL Rumours: Vancouver Canucks

Analysis: Eriksson, who will be 34 in July, has a No Trade Clause but has talked of not getting along with the coach in Vancouver. He has three years left on a deal with a $6 million per year cap hit. He had 11 goals and 21 points in 81 games last year and was -11. It was his third season in a row where point scoring has eluded him. If a team bought out his contract now they would get $1.7 million in cap hit savings over time.

Eriksson is the oldest of the three players and he’s also had three poor seasons in a row. Neal seems like a much more valuable player, though the added term on his contract could be a bigger issue.

Rick Dhaliwal: Vancouver GM Jim Benning on the comments made by Loui Eriksson that criticized head coach Travis Green: “I am going to talk with Loui maybe this week and ask him about what he said and where he was going with those comments and I think Travis will want to as well.”

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