Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from Last Word on Hockey. As we clue up the first month of the season, teams are starting to get an idea of how competitive their club will be this season and if there are some changes that need to be made. Some teams are just focusing on keeping their core intact and are making the moves to do so. Just as the Nashville Predators did by locking up Captain Roman Josi. Today, we will focus on NHL Rumours from the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues and the Edmonton Oilers.
All NHL Rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: On TSN’s Insider Trading, Darren Dreger spoke of contract talks between the Flames and pending unrestricted free agents Travis Hamonic and T.J. Brodie. There were talks of an extension before the regular season to get Hamonic signed to an extension. However, the deal did not get done and the Hamonic camp feels it is in their best interest to not talk about an extension in season. This means that general manager Brad Treliving will have a tough decision on his hands at the deadline.
From @tsnjamesduthie, @DarrenDreger, @TSNBobMcKenzie & @PierreVLeBrun: Insider Trading – Leafs will run into salary cap issues upon return of Tavares, Hyman. MORE: https://t.co/TQvSVjr6wd pic.twitter.com/LhAq5Emk66
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 29, 2019
Analysis: If it is true that Hamonic does not want to have any contract talks in season, Treliving will have an extremely tough decision on his hands. Hamonic is one of the clubs top defencemen and would certainly be a key piece for the Flames in a playoff run. This is what makes the decision so hard to make. It’s every club’s goal to win the Stanley Cup. However, holding on to such an important player like Hamonic just to have him walk in free agency would be a tough pill to swallow. We watched it happen when John Tavares signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs after the Islanders elected not to move him. Although not the same magnitude, it’s definitely something Treliving would like to avoid.
Do you take the chance an hope this is the year you go all the way? Or do you go the safe route and move the player to look towards the future? At the end of the day, the goal stays the same. It’s not a guarantee that Hamonic would walk once the season ends anyway. However, given the cap space(roughly $22 million according to capfriendly), the increase to Hamonic’s contract as well as the other players the Flames would have to sign including Brodie, Rasmus Andersson and Andrew Mangiapane, it just makes the whole situation that much more complicated.
St. Louis Blues
Rumour: Another hit from Insider Trading, Bob McKenzie states that Alex Pietrangelo is now the most prominent pending unrestricted free agent defenceman. McKenzie says there haven’t been any talks in the past three weeks between Blues general manager Doug Armstrong and Pietrangelo’s camp. In that time, they’ve acquired and signed Justin Faulk to an extension, as well as Brayden Schenn.
Analysis: According to CapFriendly, the Blues have about $8.4 million in cap space for next season with some key free agents to sign. That is if the cap stays at $81.5 million of course. With that space, they would have to sign Pietrangelo, Vince Dunn, Jay Bouwmeester Sammy Blais, and Robby Fabbri. Some pretty key names to say the least. Vince Dunn will certainly require a massive raise from his $722K that he was making this season. His contract should eat up at least half of the space the Blues have left. If the Blues want to get these players under contract, Armstrong is going to have to get creative.
As for Pietrangelo, a lot of speculation was that he could be demanding a number around the same as what Roman Josi was asking for. With Josi signing an eight-year deal worth $9.057 per year, that makes things a lot more difficult for the Blues. That number is more than the Blues have available going into next season. So signing him leaves them with next to no wiggle room. Much like the Flames with Hamonic and Brodie, the Blues will have a tough decision to make regarding Pietrangelo.
Rumour: Jonathan Willis of The Athletic (subscription required) wonders in the Oilers will trade for a veteran defenceman as a stopgap while they await the return of Adam Larsson. Willis mentions Mark Pysyk as a potential candidate.
— The Athletic Edmonton (@TheAthleticEDM) October 29, 2019
Analysis: It seems as though this is a topic that comes up every year in regards to the Oilers. Do they need another defenceman? The short answer is yes. Losing Larsson was a big loss to the Oilers defence group who frankly is not that good on paper. However, thus far, they have played above their heads. Ethan Bear has stepped in and has been excellent for the Oilers in the early going. They also have Joel Persson who is on the verge of returning. While none of these players are as good as Larsson, they’ve been serviceable and have done a fine job thus far.
When you look at it in the long run, it would not be worth the assets to trade for Pysyk. Pysyk might be capable of playing on a team’s second pairing and defencemen tend to cost a little more on the trade market. The price tag for the Oilers to acquire him would be much better spent elsewhere. The Oilers desperately need some depth scoring and a third-line centre. Any assets that the Oilers have at this point should be used to upgrade those positions. Two potential names would be Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the Ottawa Senators or Tyson Jost from the Colorado Avalanche as we mentioned in our rumours segment on Monday.
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