Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish did little to stop trade talks with his recent press conference as some still feel the Oilers are looking at their trade options to try and salvage what’s left of the season. Meanwhile, the Coyotes may be looking to move out veterans and clear salary.
During a “state of the franchise” press conference last Friday, Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish announced no major changes were planned for his floundering club. His comments, however, haven’t put to rest the trade speculation which has dogged the Oilers for weeks.
Leading up to MacTavish’s presser, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos claimed the Oilers and Boston Bruins were revisiting trade talks and speculated Jordan Eberle could’ve been the topic of conversation. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports previous discussions between the two clubs involved Johnny Boychuk (who’s now with the New York Islanders) along with center Chris Kelly and either Niklas Svedberg or Malcolm Subban.
Haggerty speculates the Bruins are comfortable with dealing one of their right wingers – Loui Eriksson or Reilly Smith – in a package deal for Eberle. The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples, however, dismisses the notion MacTavish could move a skilled winger like Eberle for odds and ends from the Bruins.
TSN’s Darren Dreger notes Oilers stars Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins aren’t available this season, but wondered if that could change in the off-season. Given the Oilers lack of depth at center, he doesn’t see Nugent-Hopkins going anywhere. Responding to Dreger’s comments, David Staples doubts Hall will hit the trade block.
As the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson observes, there simply isn’t a season-saving deal out there for the Oilers. Any chance of shipping winger David Perron to Columbus for center Artem Anisimov died when Anisimov was sidelined two-three months with a torn triceps.
Despite speculation of dealing defenseman Justin Schultz to Philadelphia for center Brayden Schenn, Matheson claims all’s quiet on the Flyers trade front. He considers a rumor of Eberle heading to St. Louis for center Patrik Berglund as fantasy and doesn’t consider San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi an improvement over the Oilers current netminders.
MacTavish has obviously shopped around in hopes of bolstering his club’s sagging fortunes, but the sad reality is swinging a major trade at this point in the season is very difficult. Rival GMs covet the Oilers young stars but it will take a significant offer to convince MacTavish to part with those players.
YOUTH MOVEMENT ON IN ARIZONA?
The Arizona Coyotes recently made some minor roster changes. They traded checking-line forward Rob Klinkhammer to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a draft pick, demoted defenseman David Schlemko and placed Kyle Chipchura on waivers.
These moves raised speculation bigger moves could be in the offing. On December 4, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported Coyotes GM Don Maloney tore into his players following a recent loss and threatened to move players who carried limited no-trade clauses in their contract.
CapGeek.com indicates only four players – forwards Shane Doan and Martin Erat, defenseman Zbynek Michalek and goaltender Mike Smith – possess no-trade or no-movement clauses, and only Michalek has a limited no-trade clause. Doan and Erat have full no-movement clauses, while Smith has a full no-movement deal through 2015-16.
The Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan reports Maloney subsequently denied McKenzie’s report, claiming he merely told the players changes will be necessary if their performance didn’t improve soon. For now, replacing marginal players from within appears the method of choice.
McKenzie’s colleague Darren Dreger wondered if Maloney was waiting for new Coyotes co-owner Andrew Barroway to officially join the club before any significant roster changes are made. Barroway was supposed to become a co-owner of the Coyotes pending approval by the league board of governors by the end of November. So far, however, that hasn’t happened. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks cites a source claiming Barroway could be trying to back out of the deal.
Brooks also claims Maloney has been ordered to shed salary. An obvious candidate is defenseman Keith Yandle, who has another season at an annual cap hit of $5.25 million left on his contract, but Brooks wonders who else could be shopped.
The delay in Barroway’s approval by the board of governors is puzzling many observers and could potentially become another embarrassing chapter in the Coyotes’ ongoing ownership saga. If Maloney does engage in some cost-cutting moves he must ensure he remains over the $51 million salary-cap minimum. Currently the Coyotes payroll is over $58.5 million, fourth-lowest in the league.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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