NHL Rumors: Oilers, Blues, Blue Jackets, Red Wings

The Hockey Writers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Edmonton Oilers have a big decision to make with Leon Draisaitl and his contract could be tricky to finalize. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues might be looking to shake up the roster this offseason. Patrik Laine won’t be back with the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. Finally, are the Detroit Red Wings looking at a coaching change?

No News on a Draisaitl Extension in Edmonton

According to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, nothing is leaking out as it pertains to chatter about a contract extension for Leon Draisaitl. The belief is there are two main ways an extension could go. Matheson explains:

He can sign a four-year deal like Auston Matthews did in Toronto, not knowing where the cap is going to go, leaving himself room for another contract at 32. Matthews’ cap hit is $13.25M and Leon would want at least that, maybe a tad more. Or he can go eight years like fellow center Nathan MacKinnon’s deal in Colorado. MacKinnon took a hometown discount, at an AAV of $12.6 million, but the Colorado stud signed his based on a current cap of $82.5 million. I don’t think they’ll get Draisaitl for a number under 13 and the Oilers will want to know that pretty soon.

source – ‘Matty’s Mailbag: Oilers writer Jim Matheson answers some fan’s questions’ – Jim Matheson – The Edmonton Journal – 03/25/2024

Matheson adds that it’s best that the Oilers not let Draisaitl enter the 2024-25 season as a pending UFA. The Oilers should take advantage of the fact Leon sees himself as Malkin to Crosby and he’s not looking to split up from Connor McDavid. Matheson writes, “He wants to win, here. But, the Oilers will want that commitment, and fairly quickly, because we all know he could get more in free agency somewhere else.”

Blues Looking at Major Summer Shake-Up

According to Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic, the St. Louis Blues face another postseason miss and that could lead to a significant roster shake-up orchestrated by general manager Doug Armstrong in the upcoming offseason. Armstrong is unlikely to pursue major, costly acquisitions but might shed salary. Additionally, Rutherford predicts that the team won’t reach the salary cap limit for the next season.

Sammy Blais St. Louis Blues
Sammy Blais, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images)

The likelihood of pending unrestricted free agents Sammy Blais and Kasperi Kapanen returning is low. So too, Marco Scandella’s future with the team is uncertain, depending on Armstrong’s plans for the top-four defense and Scott Perunovich. Furthermore, Rutherford doubts the Blues will opt for a buyout of a high-salaried defenseman, citing Armstrong’s historical aversion to this strategy since assuming the GM role in 2010. He will look to package assets in an attempt to move out a bigger contract.

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Rutherford writes:

The team will still be in a retool, so I wouldn’t expect Armstrong to make any significant upgrades that cost a lot of money. I think any big moves will be about who they’re moving out as opposed to who they’re moving in. I don’t expect the club to spend to the salary cap, so it may not be money that gets re-spent.

source – ‘Blues summer shakeup coming? Buyout possibility? Neighbours’ next contract? Mailbag, part 1’ – Jeremy Rutherford – The Athletic – 03/28/2024

Laine Won’t Be Back for Blue Jackets

It doesn’t sound like Patrik Laine will be making a return to the ice for the Blue Jackets this season. As per Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, the forward is out for the rest of this season. Portzline writes:

This won’t likely come as a surprise, as Laine has been out of the lineup with a broken clavicle since Dec. 14 and enrolled in the NHL/NHLPA players’ assistance program since Jan. 28. But Davidson made it official to The Athletic on Saturday, saying: “He won’t be back this season.” Laine’s final totals: 6-3-9 and a minus-10 rating in 18 games.

source – ‘Bad luck or bad training for Blue Jackets? Injuries a major issue again as Adam Fantilli unlikely to return this season’ – Aaron Portzline – The Athletic – 03/31/2024

It’s also looking like Adam Fantilli won’t be back this season either.

Red Wings Coaching Change Coming?

As per Bob Duff of Detroit Hockey Now, “An NHL source is telling Hockey Now that the possibility of a coaching change is something that is being pondered by Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman.” The Red Wings continue their free fall out of a playoff position and Yzerman’s patience is running low. The source notes that former St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube might be the leading candidate for the job.

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