NHL Rumours: Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL rumours

We’re almost to the weekend and it’s time for another edition of NHL rumours. The Edmonton Oilers made big news firing Dave Tippett, but now have to deal with the aftermath. What will General Manager Ken Holland do to give the team a chance at the post-season? We also have NHL rumours on the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning.

All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Edmonton Oilers

Rumour: Darren Dreger on TSN’s Insider Trading said that defence is more of a concern than goaltending for the team.

Analysis: Many people will blame goalies Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith for the team’s collapse since being on top of the league early in the season. However, Dreger pointed out that Edmonton needs a top-four righthanded shooting defenceman soon. The Oilers’ blueliners consistently struggle at giving away quality chances to opponents.

Holland is going to have to make a choice on whether he addresses the goalie or defence positions. He can’t add both because the Oilers don’t have the assets to make that happen. The righthanded shooting defenceman should be the first priority because it can help whoever the netminder is. Edmonton has to find a solution because great seasons by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are being wasted once again.

Dallas Stars

Rumour: Saad Yousuf of The Athletic talked to Stars Genearl Manager Jim Nill about the team’s plans at the trade deadline.

Analysis: Nill said the Stars are still “All In” when it comes to a playoff spot, but he did acknowledge the team’s first-half struggles. Dallas has been inconsistent at times when it will beat quality teams like Nashville. However, the Stars have also struggled against teams like the Arizona Coyotes.

Nill added that there’s still four to six weeks before the trade deadline and things can change. Dallas is still in the mix for a Stanley Cup Playoff spot, but it will have to step its play up in order to secure a spot.

There’s some decisions to be made about four big impending unrestricted free agents. Joe Pavelski, Braden Holtby, Alexander Radulov and John Klingberg will all be seeking new deals at the end of the season. Dallas’ play will determine if they’ll stay for now or if some will be traded. Klingberg has already sought out a team to be traded to because of his contract demands. All four players would help contending teams, but that’s only if the Stars bottom out.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Rumour: Joe Smith of The Athletic said that the Tampa Bay Lightning will likely be quiet at the trade deadline.

Analysis: General Manager Julien BriseBois told Smith the team will likely not be that active during the March 21 deadline. Tampa has made moves the last couple of seasons and its paid off with two Stanley Cups. However, this year will be different for a few different reasons.

BriseBois said the Lightning’s cap space is a main factor in them not being able to do too much. Tampa Bay currently has $100,000 in cap space and that’s thanks to Brent Seabrook and Zach Bogosian having their deals on long term injured reserve. This doesn’t allow for many moves at all unless they clear out some more space by trading players. It may not be likely, but never say never to anything at the deadline.

Another reason is the Lightning are getting value for their deals. Tampa’s fourth line of Patrick Maroon, Corey Perry and  Pierre-Edouard Bellemare only costs $3 million in total. Players like Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos draw the big money. However, Tampa finds a way to get players fit into roles at value costs. It does help that they have a great farm system and solid talent in AHL Syracuse. This allows them to replace players that move on due to the money crunch.

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