NHL Trade Deadline Rumors: Oilers Scouts Out In Full Force

NHL Trade Rumors

We are 14 days away from the NHL trade deadline and things are starting to (finally!) heat up in the NHL. The Edmonton Oilers are in full-on sell mode with their season down the tubes, and they are doing their due diligence on teams around the NHL.

As per our own Jimmy Murphy, the club’s Senior VP of Hockey Ops, Craig MacTavish, was at TD Garden on Saturday night to watch the Boston Bruins take on the Buffalo Sabres. In addition to MacT, Scott Harlow, a regional amateur scout, and Director of Player Personnel Duane Sutter were in attendance.

The Oilers also had a large contingent in Montreal scouting the Habs/Preds game, as assistant GM Keith Gretzky and pro scout Paul Messier were listed as reps for the club. NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty pointed out that Bruins Director of Player Personnel John Ferguson has been scouting Edmonton as of late.

My Thoughts: The Oilers will almost certainly move Patrick Maroon between now and the deadline, and it appears there is a real market for him. We know the Bruins are interested, but Nashville’s name has been tossed around a bit as well. Los Angeles and St. Louis also have confirmed interest in the forward, as does Tampa Bay. The Lightning, according to sources, also like Mark Letestu.

Edmonton is looking for close to NHL ready prospects, and I suspect Boston and Tampa have the advantage in that regard. I also wonder if someone like Ryan Spooner would appeal to the Oilers.

Ottawa’s Hottest Trade Piece:

Is it possible that Derrick Brassard, not Erik Karlsson or Mike Hoffman, is the hottest trade piece in Ottawa right now? According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, there is some serious interest in Brassard from around the league right now. On a personal note, I’ve heard Brassard’s name connected quite a bit to Pittsburgh in the last few days.

Friedman does mention that the Sens worry about what they could look like down the middle without the veteran pivot, but finishes by saying they have some action on him. You can catch the whole quote on HNIC’s Saturday Headlines segment.

My Thoughts: It appears that the Senators are preparing for a rebuild, and if that is the case then moving Brassard makes the most sense. If Ottawa is going to tear this thing down, then they might as well sell off their veteran pieces. Brassard fits that mold and could likely garner a very solid return for the Sens. It’s something the club should at least explore in my opinion.

Domi Out In Arizona?:

Later in Saturday’s Headlines segment, Friedman mentioned that the Coyotes are testing the market on young forward Max Domi. While they aren’t dumping him, per se, and he isn’t requesting a trade, the team is gauging the market and seeing if someone is interested in the forward, perhaps thinking they can restart him.

[Read More: NHL Trade Rumors: Max Domi on the Move?]

My Thoughts: After a terrific rookie year (18-34-52), Domi has slowly regressed in terms of points year over year. He posted just 38 a year ago in 59 games (9-29-38) and currently has only 23 (3-20-23) in 55 games. That said, as Sportsnet’s Andrew Berkshire writes, the underlying numbers look good for Domi and this season appears to be a case of horrible luck. I think it would be a mistake for Arizona to move him at this point, and would jump at the risk if I were a GM of one of the other 30 clubs.

Zack Smith Garnering Interest: 

Back to Ottawa, where The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports that the Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames have shown interest in Senators center Zack Smith. Smith is gritty center who is known for his physical play and gritty nightly effort. He’s locked up through the 2020-21 season, and carries a cap hit of $3.25 million per season. The acquiring team would likely be doing Ottawa a favor by getting that big-ticket off their books, while acquiring a solid bottom-six center.

My Thoughts: I think Smith makes a ton of sense for the Calgary Flames. A group that doesn’t feel it is tough enough, the Flames currently sit outside of the playoff picture in the west and likely need a jolt prior to the NHL trade deadline. They make a ton of sense here. San Jose, who is minus Joe Thornton for the foreseeable future, also needs center help and would make sense here. I’m not sure what kind of return the Sens can hope for here, especially if they don’t have to retain any money.

JVR A No Go:

Teams are calling, but Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that the Toronto Maples Leafs aren’t listening when it comes to pending UFA forward James Van Riemsdyk. Although it appears unlikely the Leafs will re-sign JVR, the team appears keen to keep the goal scorer around as a “self-rental” for a potential playoff run this spring. The Leafs are firmly in the picture in the Atlantic Division and will likely face Boston in the opening round.

My Thoughts: If the Leafs could add another forward, say Patrick Maroon, that plays a similar style, they likely could move JVR for help on the backend. That doesn’t appear to be the case, however, as the Leafs are going all in this season for the Cup. JVR should help immensely, as he is a big and skilled goal scorer. He’ll be motivated to have a good run too, as the prize of cashing in as a UFA is on the horizon. It’s boring, but keeping JVR as a “self-rental” is exactly the right thing to do if you are Toronto.

[Read More: NHL Trade Rumors: Are The Boston Bruins Looking To Add Michael Grabner?]

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