It’s time for another edition of our NHL rumours. We take a look at all of the news swirling around possible trades and contracts. It’s the middle of the Christmas season and general managers are looking to get some deals for items on their wish list. Today’s NHL rumours centre on the Los Angels Kings, Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and subject to change.
Los Angeles Kings
Rumour: Chris Johnston of Sportsnet talked about the latest in the Ilya Kovalchuk saga during the Hockey Night in Canada “Headlines” segment. The Russian hasn’t played a game in five weeks, but that could change sooner.
Ilya Kovalchuk's contract is about to become a whole lot cheaper on Sunday.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 15, 2019
Kovalchuk will be paid a $2.65 million bonus on Sunday and will only be owed a pro-rated $700,000 for the rest of the season. General managers looking for chap scoring help could be interested in the 36-year-old.
He and the Kings will sit down in the next few days to find a place for the veteran forward.
Analysis: Kovalchuk has struggled on offence this season with with three goals and nine points in 17 games this season. He’s been on the sideline for over a month, but he feels that he can contribute for an NHL team.
The forward has a rich pedigree and has 436 goals in 897 career games. Let’s also not forget he tore up the KHL before returning to North America.
Los Angeles will either buy out the contract or there may be a trade available because that bonus is off the books. His contract runs out at the end of the 2020-21 season.
Rumour: In the same Headlines segment, Elliott Friedman of Sportsnet said the Oilers and Zack Kassian are slated to talk about a new contract. The Windsor, Ontario native is on his way to a career-best season and general manager Ken Holland is looking to lock down the forward.
Zack Kassian is enjoying a career year on the @EdmontonOilers' top line.
Before he becomes a UFA in the summer, Kassian is expected to meet with Edmonton to talk extension.https://t.co/yubnZBm7PZ
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 15, 2019
Friedman said about the 28-year-old that “He’s happy there, the Oilers are happy with him and I believe that the Oilers and Kassian are going to sit down in the near future to see if they can get an extension done.”
Kassian has 11 goals and 22 points in 31 games so far. He is on the final year of a three-year deal that has him making $1.95 million a season.
The right winger is close to eclipsing last year’s career-high of 15 goals, which he accomplished in 79 games. Kassian is in his fifth season with the club and is being trusted with some big-time minutes.
Edmonton does have some salary decisions to make with Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear and Matt Benning being restricted free agents. Holland will have to find some money to give Kassian his well-deserved raise. The Oilers are tight against the cap right now, but do have some players coming off the books this off-season.
Rumour: Dave Isaac of (Cherry Hill, N.J.) Courier-Post talked about how the Flyers and general manager Chuck Fletcher might be looking for centre and other forward depth if the team stays in the playoff hunt.
Isaac went on to say that the team doesn’t want to clear out a ton of cap space at the moment. The team is also in a holding pattern because of the status of Nolan Patrick. The former second overall pick has been out long term due to a migraine disorder.
The mailbag went on to say that the division is tough and the Flyers need depth to keep pace because injuries always take a toll.
Analysis: One hopes Patrick can return to the lineup once he’s healthy. The 21-year-old won’t be rushed back and would love to start producing at a clip that warranted his high selection. Patrick has been traveling with the team.
Some of the readers asked about trading James van Riemsdyk, who has struggled at times this season. He’s created offensive chances, but he hasn’t finished and that’s something that’s haunted him in both of his stints with the Flyers.
However, Isaac said the team is practicing patience and isn’t expected to deal “JvR” anytime soon. Management thinks van Riemsdyk is due and he’s always been a streaky scorer in his career.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 18: Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the Los Angeles Kings takes the puck down the ice during the second period against the Washington Capitals at Staples Center on February 18, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)