Welcome back to NHL Rumours, where each day we take a look at what is going on around the league. As the NHL Draft and NHL Free Agency approaches, all teams are busy looking to improve themselves. That leads to a ton of NHL Rumours. So be sure to check back in later today and tomorrow too. Today’s NHL Rumours focus on the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, and Arizona Coyotes.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun was on TSN1050 and reported that Tyson Barrie will not be receiving a contract offer from the Toronto Maple Leafs this offseason. Instead, he will be testing free agency.
Analysis: This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to anyone. It was also reported that Cody Ceci likely won’t be returning next year either. Again, not a shocker. What will be interesting is to see what exactly Toronto does to replace them on the blueline. They have been linked to Alex Pietrangelo at times, but that can’t be the only option.
The Leafs likely have a few names that they will be looking at both in free agency but also for trade talks as well. Who exactly those players are is hard to say. However, they moved Kasperi Kapanen this offseason already to clear space, it seems highly unlikely they let it go to waste.
As for Barrie, he will look to get a fresh start in his career somewhere else. Given the flat cap and his poor performance, he seems like a prime candidate to take a one-year deal at a lower cap hit than expected. This would be a prove-it deal to show he still has it and he could get paid when it is up. However, if he wants some stability, he may have to settle for a three or four year deal, again not at a super high AAV. That would also likely cut down his market significantly. If he is open to a one or two-year deal, there will be lots of suiters.
Rumour: TSN’s Ryan Rishaug tweeted out today that he believes if the Edmonton Oilers want in on a big-name free agent goalie, they’ll be trading Mikko Koskinen to make space.
For the Oilers to be in any of the major goaltending free agents, a deal for Koskinen would likely have to be found. May be tough at 4.5 to move him, but just don’t see them spending 5 or 6 on FA a goalie without moving him.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) October 1, 2020
Analysis: This seems like a very reasonable assumption from Rishaug. Spending 10 million or over on their goaltending is a tough pill to swallow. Some teams can do it. However, the Oilers also want to shore up their depth at forward so they could use every dollar they can get. If the opportunity comes, they may jump on it. If a Jacob Markstrom or Robin Lehner comes available, maybe the Oilers do it. Some have also suggested Brayden Holtby, although that would be much riskier considering he hasn’t been the Vezina goalie most people remember him as lately.
Either way, they may look for someone cheaper as a tandem option. Koskinen had a lot of success being a tandem with Mike Smith, maybe they look at someone like Cam Talbot who has been pretty solid over his career. That would cut the AAV down from five, six, or seven to maybe two or three million.
This would be a much cheaper option and it would also mean they aren’t pressured into making a deal. You know if other managers know Edmonton needs to move Koskinen, they won’t be offering much of value to help. Ken Holland will have to be smart in how he approaches this, and no doubt he will look over every possible option.
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Arizona Coyotes defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has made it known that the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks are the two teams he wants to go to.
Ekman-Larsson’s list (for now) is believed to include BOS & VAN. Things can always change.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 1, 2020
Analysis: It sounds like both teams do have interest in OEL, but to what extent will be figured out soon. The contract here is a tough thing. He makes over eight million for seven more seasons. Considering he is already 29-years-old, you really need to get value out of that contract now. However, that is where another interesting factor comes in. Maybe he will rebound with a better team, but Ekman-Larsson hasn’t been as good in the past few seasons.
A team acquiring him for big assets of value is making a big gamble. Maybe it’ll pay off, but there is no guarantee that he will be worth eight million next season, let alone in seven years. TSN’s Darren Dreger did mention a rumoured package for OEL too.
What’s the farm? Ariz will want a 1st and likely one of the Oilers young, developing blueliners. Edmonton would also likely need the Coyotes to take another contract back to offset the OEL cap hit. As we reported yesterday, there have been discussions. Unclear if there’s a fit. https://t.co/JNuFv5vesZ
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) September 30, 2020
This is for Edmonton, however, it seems reasonable that the ask will be similar. Maybe it isn’t a blueliner, but a first and a prospect of some kind. If they take a bad contract back the other way that would at least help things. Regardless, teams need to be cautious when looking around here.