Speculation persists over possible moves by Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli. Sportsnet's Mark Spector considers it only a matter of time before Chiarelli pulls the trigger on a major deal, likely during the 2016 NHL Draft in June. Spector doubts the Oilers GM can land a top defenseman but feels it's likely he'll bring in a No. 2 or No. 3 blueliner.
Spector canvassed several NHL GMs and coaches regarding which Oilers could fetch the best return. While left wing Taylor Hall has the most value, it's unlikely Chiarelli parts with him. It's assumed right wing Jordan Eberle or center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are the best bets. Defenseman Justin Schultz and right wing Nail Yakupov could also be moved, but they're considered “complimentary pieces.”
If Chiarelli puts Nugent-Hopkins on the block, the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson suggests the Minnesota Wild as a trade partner. He believes they're in need of a center. Matheson suggests Chiarelli should focus on Wild rearguard Jonas Brodin, pointing out he and Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom are childhood friends.
Brodin, 22, carries an annual salary-cap hit of $4.166 million through 2020-21. The 22-year-old Nugent-Hopkins is also signed through 2020-21 at $6 million annually. The Wild could balk at taking on additional salary.
Schultz could be one Oiler on the move by the Feb. 29 trade deadline. The Journal's Jonathan Willis believes it's time for the Oilers to part ways with the 25-year-old, who hasn't played up to expectations. Willis advocates dangling Schultz, a restricted free agent in July, as a post-season rental player for the best return possible.
DUCKS MIGHT BE WILLING TO MOVE GOALTENDER
Teams in need of goaltending depth could be calling the Anaheim Ducks. Promising John Gibson has seen the bulk of their recent starts, prompting TSN's Darren Dreger to suggest Frederik Andersen or Anton Khudobin could be available soon.
Andersen's contract status could also attract interest around the league. The 26-year-old netminder is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next July. He's also only a year away from eligibility for unrestricted free agency. ESPN.com's Craig Custance reports contract talks have been quiet between the two sides.
If Andersen is shopped, Dreger speculates the Calgary Flames or Montreal Canadiens could have interest. He also expects the asking price to be high.
With Carey Price sidelined until January, the Canadiens are making do with backup Mike Condon. They're unlikely to go after Andersen. The Flames, with the league's worst goaltending could certainly use him. However, the Ducks could be unwilling to deal with a division rival. Same goes for the Arizona Coyotes, who could need help if Mike Smith fails to overcome his current slump.
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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