In today’s NHL rumors rundown, one day after the Edmonton Oilers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there are questions about what’s next for that team? Who will stay and who will go? And, how bad was Darnell Nurse’s injury? Meanwhile, could the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks make for good trade partners?
Why did Don Sweeney fire head coach Bruce Cassidy and are the Vancouver Canucks the favorite to land free agent Andrei Kuzmenko out of the KHL?
Nurse Injured, What’s Next for Oilers?
ESPN.com’s Greg Wyshysnki took an early look at the Oilers’ offseason plans and wondered if the team would plan to keep Evander Kane? Saying he meshed well with Connor McDavid is one thing but it’s another situation to want to sign him to a long-term contract. Meanwhile, forwards Kailer Yamamoto, Ryan McLeod, and Jesse Puljujarvi are all restricted free agents, with defensemen Brett Kulak and Kris Russell potentially hitting the market as UFAs.
Related: 4 Questions Oilers Will Immediately Need To Answer After Playoff Sweep
He also wondered if the team would try to move Mike Smith and asked that even if they wanted to, could they?
It was announced that Darnell Nurse had a torn hip flexor and played through the entire postseason with the issue. It’s a massive injury that absolutely affected his play, especially in the Colorado series where head coach Jay Woodcroft started to limit his minutes. It is likely Nurse will require surgery, but it’s not clear how long he’ll be out of action for.
Should Blackhawks Trade for Petr Mrazek?
Jonas Siegel and Scott Powers of The Athletic believe the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maples Leafs might make for good trade partners and that the Blackhawks could target Leafs’ goalie Petr Mrazek. The Leafs have been rumored to want to move Mrazek’s contract and focus on Jack Campbell (or replacing him). The Blackhawks can use their additional cap space during a rebuild and can afford Mrazek’s contract.
The Blackhawks would seek assets in return for Mrazek. They probably understand they’re unlikely to pry a first-round draft pick from the Leafs, but they’ll be expecting something in that next tier of draft picks and / or prospects. Freeing an elite team like the Leafs of $ 3.8 million in cap space for two seasons, especially when the cap is not likely to increase, is quite significant. Spent wisely, that additional cap space could certainly help the Leafs get that much closer to contending for a Stanley Cup.
source – ‘Can the Blackhawks solve the Maple Leafs’ Petr Mrazek problem?’ – Scott Powers and Jonas Siegel, The Athletic – 06/07/2022
Bruins Sweeney Expects to be Busy This Summer
After firing Bruce Cassidy, Bruins’ GM Don Sweeney answered questions from the media about why the Bruins would do this. Cassidy appears to be a scapegoat but Sweeney said he felt the Bruins needed a new voice and said he spoke with ownership, scouts, and others before he arrived at this decision. He noted the players did not influence his decision but he did talk to them. In the end, Sweeney said this decision is meant to send a message.
There were rumors that certain players weren’t meshing well with Cassidy but Sweeney said he did not believe the coach had lost the room. The GM did not offer any updates on Patrice Bergeon’s future but did say that a rebuild could be in play depending on injuries and what Bergeron decides to do.
Sweeney is taking a lot of criticism today for his decision and the job he’s done as GM of the Bruins. He even admitted that he knows his decision to fire Cassidy will not sit well with most of the fan base.
Canucks and Oilers Still Trying to Sign Kuzmenko
Rick Dhaliwal reports that he has confirmed with sources that the Vancouver Canucks are working on a second interview with Russian free agent Andrei Kuzmenko and his agent Dan Milstein. The Canucks are still high on the list and were one of the final few teams Kuzmenko has considered.
The Oilers are also in that group of teams that Kuzmenko is quite interested in. Many believe that the Oilers being eliminated might mean a Kuzmenko decision is imminent.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio / video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”
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