NHL Rumors: Oilers, Devils, Lightning, Hurricanes, Red Wings

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In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Edmonton Oilers were in on a lot of the action that was going down ahead of the NHL trade deadline. There were more players they looked at before Mattias Ekholm became a realistic option. The New Jersey Devils are working on a contract for Jesper Bratt, while the Detroit Red Wings were open to keeping the contract of James van Riemsdyk.

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Finally, what other deadline deals were the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes in on that they couldn’t quite make work?

Oilers Pivoted Away From Chychrun and Gudas

The Oilers had a busy deadline, both in terms of what they were able to accomplish, but also when it comes to the deals they were working on but didn’t complete. Elliotte Friedman notes in his latest 32 Thoughts column that the Oilers considered both Ekholm and Jakob Chychrun, “..but ultimately chose Ekholm because they considered him a better fit for two reasons — they felt his skillset better fit what they needed and, even though he’s older, his history is much healthier.” Friedman notes Ekholm has only missed about 20 games in the past nine seasons.

Mattias Ekholm Edmonton Oilers
Mattias Ekholm, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

He also writes the Oilers did have an interest in defenseman Radko Gudas. A depth right-shot defenseman who can play up in a team’s top four, once they acquired Ekholm, Gudas was no longer on their radar.

Friedman also says that the Oilers were in Timo Meier, but they weren’t the only team thinking about doing what Ken Holland was going to do — acquire the player and up his value only to flip him in the summer and before the draft for a potential profit.

Devils and Bratt Talking Deal

The New Jersey Devils are continuing to work away on a deal to keep Jesper Bratt for the long term. Friedman writes, “Jesper Bratt and the New Jersey Devils are engaged in extension talks. He’s restricted in July, one summer from unfettered free agency.” He adds, “A bit of a poker game right now, but there’s plenty of time.”

The Devils have the money to ink Bratt to a long-term deal — $17.4 million worth of contracts is coming off the books between UFAs Tomas Tatar, Miles Wood, Erik Haula, Damon Severson, and Ryan Graves but GM Tom Fitzgerald needs to find the money to sign Meier, Yegor Sharangovich, and MacKenzie Blackwood.

Lightning Ran Out of Assets to Trade

The Tampa Bay Lightning want to do more at this season’s trade deadline, but they simply ran out of assets to trade. Friedman writes that GM Julien BriseBois was complimentary of his current blue line, but noted, “I do think he looked pretty hard at other options.”

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He adds that because the organization has been blowing through its draft capital to win multiple Stanley Cups, they simply ran out of assets. He believes BriseBois also looked at Gudas but says he’s not surprised the Panthers didn’t trade him there.

Hurricanes Inquired Into Lindholm’s Availability

The Athletic’s Michael Russo confirmed that the Carolina Hurricanes did try to make more of a splash than they ended up making at this season’s deadline. Specifically, they targeted Elias Lindholm out of Calgary. Friedman notes that the Flames weren’t considering moving Lindholm at the time of the deadline, but says that Calgary will have some difficult future decisions to make. “But they’ve got six interesting players with one year remaining on their current contracts, so the calendar dictates this will be a direction-defining summer,” he writes.

The Flames have a tough road ahead to make the playoffs, but they are only four points back of Winnipeg. A productive Lindholm will be key to them getting in, should they be able to pull it off.

Red Wings Were Open to Keeping van Riemsdyk

Anthony Mingioni, Senior Writer for Center Ice Philly Magazine tweeted that the Detroit Red Wings were open to keeping James van Riemsdyk on their roster if they had successfully traded for him at the NHL Trade Deadline. Considering he’s a pending UFA, he’s an interesting target for the team, especially if they don’t make the playoffs.

It’s not clear if they were going to get a sweetener for taking him on or if the intention was to re-sign him to a new deal. It wasn’t the plan to immediately flip his contract. Ultimately, a trade didn’t happen because GM Steve Yzerman needed to first trade another player and he was unable to do so.

In respect to the Tyler Bertuzzi trade out of Detroit, Friedman writes, “Think the stalemate between Detroit and Tyler Bertuzzi was term. Two sides couldn’t bridge the gap, and Boston benefits. What a deadline for the Bruins.”

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