NHL Rumours: Florida Panthers, Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks

NHL rumours
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“You get a trade, you get a trade, everyone gets a trade!” seems to be the vibe in the NHL these days, with rumours coming up for every team in the league. And we at NHL rumours are here for it. The trade deadline is still two months away, but the battleground is setting up who is on the market and what teams are looking for. Let’s dive into a new segment of NHL rumours.

NHL Rumours

Florida Panthers

Rumour: On The Jeff Marek Show yesterday, Jeff and Elliotte Freidman say that the Florida Panthers are in on Jakob Chychrun

Analysis: On the show, Freidman said, “I do think they’re in on defence, and I just think they feel if they have one more (defenceman) who can play in their top four, I think they’d feel really good about themselves.” The Arizona Coyotes‘ Chychrun is certainly the best defenceman and player on the trade market right now. The Panthers have $4.68 million in salary-cap space, just enough to fit Chychrun’s 4.6 million cap hit. His presence will solidify the top four of Aaron Ekblad, Mackenzie Weegar and Radko Gudas.  Chychrun being a left-shot defenceman certainly helps with the other three being right-shots. The icing on the cake is that Chychrun is from Boca Raton, Florida. That is a 30-minute drive from the FLA Live Arena, so they get a rare homegrown player on their team.

The price the Coyotes are looking for according to Marek is a top young player a top prospect and a first-round pick. Marek brought up a package of Anton Lundell, Spencer Knight and a first-round pick for Chychrun. There is no way the Arizona Coyotes say no to that package. Florida will be resistant to offering two-star prospects in Lundell and Knight, but it shouldn’t be out of the question. Sam Reinhart or Sam Bennett can be the second line centre behind Aleksander Barkov for the long-term future, so Lundell isn’t essential to the future of the team. The Panthers are not going to be able to move Sergei Bobrovsky‘s contract, so it does bring into question where Spencer Knight fits long term. Owen Tippett and Grigori Denisenko could also be swapped in.

Edmonton Oilers

Rumour: On the same Jeff Marek show, Marek said, “it seems like it is periscopes up for the (Edmonton) Oilers to try to find a goaltender.” 

Analysis: The Edmonton Oilers just held scouting meetings to discuss what they need to do to push their team forward. Marek said coming out of that meeting was that Edmonton has to find a  goaltender. The player both Marek and Freidman said makes sense is Semyon Varlamov from the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin is seven years younger than his Russian counterpart and looks to be ready to become the Islanders’ starter with a .927 save percentage this year. With the Islanders tight to the cap, it makes sense to move Varlamov. He makes $5 million for this season and the next,  and trading him allows New York to find a cheaper backup for Sorokin. The Oilers get an excellent goalie in Varlamov who they can rely on. In his 13 year career, Varlamov has had a save percentage below .910 only three times. Varlamov marks $500,000 more than Mikko Koskinen, so if Koskinen can go the other way, that almost makes the money work for a cap-strapped Oilers. At the same time, the Islanders can get out of Koskinen’s contract at the end of the year when it expires.

What does this cost Edmonton? I’d say a second-round pick and another later-round pick could get it done. Other goalies connected to the Oilers include Vitek Vanecek, Joonas Korpisalo, Braden Holtby and Marc-Andre Fleury. Varlamov makes the most sense because he is under contract past this season, giving Edmonton some certainty.

Chicago Blackhawks

Rumour: Number eight on The Athletic’s Trade Deadline Big Board is the Chicago Blackhawks left-winger Dominik Kubalik

Analysis: Dominik Kubalik is a newer name to the trade discussions. The 26-year-old left-winger scored 30 goals in 68 games during his rookie season in 2019-20. Since then he has still been a scoring winger, but not to the same pedigree. Last year he scored 38 points in 56 games, good for third on the team in scoring. This season he has 16 points in 39 games for sixth on the team in scoring. He is in the last year of his contract, leaving him with one more year until he hits unrestricted free agency. If he or the team doesn’t see a long-term fit, it makes sense to move him now when he has more value due to being under team control for this past year.

One has to wonder if it makes sense for the Boston Bruins to trade Jake DeBrusk to Chicago for Kubalik. They are both around the same age and are scoring middle-six left-wingers. In The Athletic, they cite the Oilers as a fit because of their need for secondary scoring. Edmonton needs to first figure out their goaltending situation before looking at depth scoring. The New Jersey Devils are another team that can add scoring depth on the wings to complement Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier. The Nashville Predators could bolster their wings as well.

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