NHL Rumors: Oilers, Coyotes, Rangers, Ducks

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there are a ton of changes to the Edmonton Oilers roster for their game on Wednesday. Can the offense perform well enough to give the team an opportunity without their star captain? So too, what’s going on between Mikko Koskinen and head coach Dave Tippett? The Arizona Coyotes have been back in the trade rumor ring as the debate continues about defenseman Jakob Chychrun. The New York Rangers want a defenseman. Are they considering Chychrun as one of their possible targets? Finally, some familiar faces have joined the Anaheim Ducks committee to search for and hire the team’s next GM.

Oilers lose three to COVID; Koskinen slaps back at Critics

There has been a lot of change to the Oilers lineup as Connor McDavid, Derek Ryan and Tyson Barrie will all miss Wednesday night’s game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs due to COVID. Oilers learned that Ruan NUgent-Hopkins’ injury may be more serious than initially believed. The forward could be out for 3-4 weeks. according to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug.

In the meantime, Zack Kassian will return to forward for the Oilers and Mike Smith will return in goal.

Speaking of goaltending, Mikko Koskinen was called out by head coach Dave Tippett after Monday’s loss to the New York Rangers and has fired back at his coach and critics who are of the opinion he should be blamed for the team’s struggles. He spoke to Tommi SeppalaYLE is a Finnish publication and it said:

“That’s how it usually goes in this business. If a team is performing poorly, the coach or goalkeeper are sacrificed. It doesn’t feel nice to anyone when thrown under the bus, but those coach comments didn’t evoke any more strange thoughts in me. You just have to go to the next game.”

source – ‘Shots fired! Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen claps back at his many critics’ – David Staples – Edmonton Journal – 01/05/2022

The question of whether Koskinen is being traded by the Oilers might be answered yes by David Staples, Edmonton Journal. However, he believes the Oilers will continue to play with him. He notes, “Indeed, he would not be here in Edmonton this year if he did not have one final year remaining on his $4.5 million per contract. Both he and the team are stuck for now.”

Some talk has it that Koskinen might be moved to Bakersfield, and Stuart Skinner could be called up to fill in for Smith as long as Smith is still healthy.

Tippet’s Job Security and Oilers Adding Before the Deadline

As for Tippett’s job security, Dreger cited a source claiming Tippett isn’t in immediate danger of losing his job. Further, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Holland has already dismissed rumors linking the Oilers to former Toronto Maple Leafs’ coach Mike Babcock.

Ken Holland, Dave Tippett
Edmonton Oilers President and Hockey Operations General Manager Ken Holland (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson).

Friedman also talked about the Oilers’ willingness to potentially add a rental to help their struggles and noted, “…does paying the price for a rental like a Ben Chiarot or Marc-Andre Fleury make sense? I don’t think missing the playoffs is an option, not at all. But also crazy is giving up your best assets for a short-term fix.”

Rangers Searching for a Defenseman

Arthur Staple of [Update News] writes that the Rangers are on the hunt for another blueliner, but he didn’t list Chychrun among his potential targets. He instead notes that the Rangers are looking for a rental to replace an expired deal. He mentioned Ben Chiarot and Calvin de Haan as possible matches.

Similar Articles: Maple Leafs Make Tough Lineup Decisions

Staple writes:

Already, there are teams that wave the white flag. Perhaps the most expensive rental thought to be available is the Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot. It is unlikely that Jeff Gorton, the newly appointed hockey operations chief, would be interested helping the organization that he quit seven months ago.

source – ‘Ten thoughts on two impressive Rangers wins’ – Arthur Staple – The Athetic – 01/03/2022

Chychrun Trade Picking Up Steam

Multiple sources speak out in favor of a deal that would see Jakob Chychrun, defenseman, moved by the Arizona Coyotes. TSN’s Darren Dreger was among the insiders who brought up a possible trade again and noted, “there has been speculation out there for the last several weeks.”

Jakob Chychrun Arizona Coyotes
Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers

He also added:

“Teams are actively calling Bill Armstrong, the general manager of the Coyotes, and offers are being made. But I think something we can all understand and appreciate is his age , his level of production, and the fact that he’s on a terrific contract . The asking price, according to GMs with interest, is a very significant one.”

That rumored ask from the Coyotes — and we’ve reported this before — is said to be four pieces. Apparently, the Coyotes are looking for a Jack Eichel type of return which includes a strong NHL player, a top prospect, and two draft picks.

Ducks Add Kariya and Niedermayer to the GM Search Committee

Anaheim Ducks has formed a committee to assist in the search for and interviewing of the next General Manager. The committee includes Scott Niedermayer and Paul Kariya, former players.

Friedman wrote that both the Ducks and Friedman wanted to be more involved in the franchise’s affairs, so it is seen as an internal win that the club was capable of getting these two to help narrow down the candidate pool. Friedman adds, “There is a ton of interest in this job, from both external and internal candidates. Anaheim’s had what I’d call “soft conversations” with people, just to gauge interest and see where things might stand. But now they really get going.”