The NHL season is in full swing. There are lots of moves being made still while each team figures out what is working and what isn’t for their roster. With lots of moving parts in the background, there are numerous NHL rumours as a result. Today we will be looking at NHL rumours surrounding the Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Rumour: According to Darren Dreger on Insider Trading, the Edmonton Oilers are currently focused on staying in the playoff hunt, but could shift sights to negotiating with their upcoming unrestricted free agents, such as Adam Larsson and Tyson Barrie, as early as next week.
Analysis: The Oilers could begin preliminary talks with Barrie and Larsson next week. These two players are bigger names for Edmonton, and it gives some peace of mind if they decide what they’re going to do with them. Barrie is a very offensive player who struggles with defence. Barrie currently leads NHL defenceman in points, with 28. The majority of his points, however, are generated on the powerplay or come from secondary assists. This, in combination with his poor defensive results, should be a warning to the Oilers not to overpay. While Barrie can sometimes provide value to a roster, they should not give in and fall for the smoke and mirrors that is his high point total.
Adam Larsson is the polar opposite of Tyson Barrie. Larsson is defensively responsible that doesn’t drive much offence. As the return for Taylor Hall, Larsson has been with the team since 2016. Larsson was acquired to provide defensive stability to a very defensively liable team. He’s done all he can with the Oilers. It would be in Edmonton’s best interest to retain Larsson, as his simple play and skills defensively might cost less than a point-producing defenceman. Edmonton should be looking to get these players signed for the 2021-22 season, but only if it’s for the right price. They can’t afford to overpay more players.
New York Islanders
Rumour: According to Pierre LeBrun on That’s Hockey, the New York Islanders make sense as a fit for Taylor Hall.
Analysis: With it being announced that Anders Lee is out for the season, the Islanders should acquire another forward. The Islanders may be punching slight above their weight as is. Ranking 18th in the NHL in GF/60, they aren’t exactly a stellar offensive team. Now that they have lost Anders Lee, things only look worse. Thankfully for the Islanders, they rely on strong defence and goaltending to win their games. Adding Taylor Hall would help fix their one area for concern though.
Teams can’t just defend their way to wins all season. They need to start scoring goals as well. Taylor Hall would help fill the hole of the loss of Lee. Lee, while having an incredible offensive season, would have his role filled almost perfectly by Hall in terms of on-ice results. While the two play very different styles, the fit makes sense. The Islanders also have a strong group of young players or draft picks to deal with.
Rumour: According to Elliotte Friedman on ESPN 102.5, the Flyers may not be a big player for Mattias Ekholm moving forward like initially thought. Friedman thinks that the Flyers are looking at their team and thinking they’re not as good as previously thought.
Analysis: The Flyers are currently struggling. They currently sit outside of a playoff spot, at 5th in their division. They haven’t generated as much offence as they’d like and have received league-worst goaltending at all strengths this season. If they want to consider looking at rentals rather than selling, the roster needs to turn around quickly and prove it’s worth competing this season.
While the Flyers haven’t been incredible defensively this season, goaltending is definitely the aspect that is sinking them. If they were to give up assets for a player like Ekholm, it seems they want more security of making the playoffs than they do right now. They have a little under a month before the deadline to turn things around. They will need to pick things up in order to signal to management that they’re a team worth betting on.
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