NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Flames, Oilers, Predators, Penguins, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Tyson Barrie remains hot for the Edmonton Oilers which will lead to questions both short-term and long-term. The Calgary Flames barely played Sam Bennett in Friday’s game. Does that mean more trade rumors are likely to surround the disgruntled forward? There’s more talk about Mattias Eklhom being traded, Sidney Crosby addressed trade rumors out of Pittsburgh and finally, did the Toronto Maple Leafs turn down a trade offer that could have landed them MacKenzie Weegar?

Barrie to Stay on Top Unit with Nurse?

Barrie seems to have found a home on the top-pair of the Oilers blue line and he’s meshing well with defensive partner Darnell Nurse. The two have found such good chemistry that it might shift the thinking about where to place Ethan Bear when he returns from injury.

Until he started missing games due to injury, Bear was slotted alongside Nurse but it’s hard to imagine head coach Dave Tippett wanting to disrupt a good thing. Barrie’s assist on the opening goal Friday increased his 2020-21 totals to 3-12—15 in 19 games played and puts him in second place in the NHL for scoring amongst defensemen.

At what point might the Oilers start thinking about Nurse and Barrie as the top tandem in Edmonton for the foreseeable future?

Related: NHL Goalie Controversies: The Hot List

Crosby Addresses Trade Rumors

Speaking with reporters, including NHL.com’s Wes Crosby, Crosby downplayed talk that the Penguins might decide to approach him about a trade this offseason (or in the future) if the team struggles to make the playoffs in 2020-21. He said:

Nothing’s changed. [The rumors are] definitely kind of a new subject that I’ve had to deal with and hear about a little bit. But I love playing here. This is where I’d love to play for the rest of my career.

Noting he can’t really control what’s being said or potential rumors he might be moved, he didn’t discuss a scenario that could see him willing to “help the team out” but he made it clear that he has no desire to be traded.

Flames Bench Sam Bennett

Let the rumors start again. Just as it appeared things might quiet down as it pertains to chatter of Bennett being traded by the Flames, he barely played in the game versus the Oilers on Friday night (just 6:30) and was stapled to the bench in the third period.

Sam Bennett Calgary Flames
Sam Bennett, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

When Flames head coach Geoff Ward was asked about Bennett’s lack of ice time, including no shifts in the third period: “We’ll keep that internal.” The coach did suggest that it was a one game thing and that it was more about his play than some indication of a rift or trade speculation.

On Friday, the GM of the team spoke about Bennett trade talk during a radio interview on Sportsnet 960 The Fan. He said:

We’ll determine – whether it be Sam Bennett or anybody else – what their scenery is and when it’s going to change, and until such time, Sam is a member of the Calgary Flames and he’s like every other member of the Calgary Flames.

Related: NHL Rumors: Ducks, Blues, Rangers, Plus Eichel and Hall Trade Talk

Four Possible Landing Spots for Ekholm

Over the past few days, Ekholm’s name has come up a lot in the rumor mill. When TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said that he could see the Nashville Predators listening to offers on the defenseman, insiders began to speculate which team the defenseman might be headed to. LeBrun did say that the Predators aren’t actively shopping Ekholm but he did list four clubs that could have interest.

The Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers and Winnipeg Jets could be the frontrunners in any Ekholm talks, but it could cost a first round pick to acquire the 30 year-old.

Maple Leafs Turned Down Weegar Trade?

As per a conversation (42 minute mark) between Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek, the Maple Leafs apparently turned down a deal that could have seen them land Weegar from the Florida Panthers this past offseason. Granted, the rumored trade offer took place before Weegar turned into the player he’s become for the Panthers this season but it’s interesting to hear that GM Kyle Dubas valued his two players more.

The rumored trade was Weegar for Travis Dermott and Andreas Johnsson and Dubas said no. Considering Johnsson is now with New Jersey and Dermott is a bottom-pair defenseman, this feels like one of those times Dubas might like to press the rewind button.

Sign up for our 'DAILY BEST Newsletter' for the latest & greatest hockey news & analysis.