NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Oilers, Sabres, Rangers…

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Ilya Mikheyev’s camp responds to rumors of his trade request while one NHL insider notes that Morgan Rielly’s potential extension keeps getting more complicated. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers have signed forward Cooper Marody to a new deal. Will he get a shot at the main roster? The New York Rangers are working on a long-term deal with Mika Zibanejad and finally, what happens with Jack Eichel if he’s not traded, reports to camp, and fails the physical?

According to Lance Hornby of Post Media, Ilya Mikheyev‘s agent Daniel Milstein wouldn’t comment on Elliotte Friedman’s report that his client requested a trade at the end of the season. Friedman did report that the Maple Leafs were not willing to accommodate the trade request and the agent notes that his client has been told by the team that he is a big part of their plans for this season.

At this point, both sides are just likely to move on and Miheyev will try to make the most out of his opportunities under coach Sheldon Keefe.

More Morgan Rielly Complications

In other Maple Leafs news, NHL insider and Toronto Star columnist, Chris Johnston hinted at the fact that new deals for defensemen like Dougie Hamilton, Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, and even Cale Makar could severely complicate matters for the Leafs when it comes to re-signing Morgan Rielly to a new deal. It’s already playing a toll as Johnston says there have been very few discussions between the Leafs and Rielly’s representatives as a result of the current market for defensemen in the NHL.

Morgan Rielly Toronto Maple Leafs
Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Johnston notes:

That explains in part why there’ve only been a couple of surface-level conversations between Rielly’s camp and Leafs management to this point. The CBA has permitted them to sign a deal that would take effect in July 2022 for more than six weeks now, and during that period the marketplace has evolved.

source – ‘Has the new defence market created a salary bridge too wide for the Maple Leafs and Morgan Rielly to overcome?’ Chris Johnston – Toronto Star – 09/11/2021

Kyle Dubas said in a recent interview that he believes a lot more players will be playing out their UFA seasons and then making decisions based on the new reality of the salary cap.

Oilers Sign Cooper Marody

According to an announcement published on the Oilers official website and via their social media channels, the organization has signed Marody to a one-year, two-way, contract extension. He recently finished up his entry-level contract and while there was some speculation a new deal wasn’t a slam dunk, his rights were controlled by the Oilers, so this extension shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.

Marody had 36 points in 39 games last season in Bakersfield, including a league-high 21 goals. There’s a decent chance he gets a look with the Oilers this season, especially if Dylan Holloway’s potential setback with his broken thumb turns out to be something that limits his shot at a spot with the Oilers out of camp.

Rangers Working on Deal with Zibanejad

The Rangers have started discussions on a contract extension with Zibanejad, as per a report by Larry Brooks of the New York Post. He writes:

“Individuals familiar with the situation have indicated that the parties share the mutual objective of getting something done and are earnest in trying to reach that end,”

source – ‘Rangers, Mika Zibanejad starting delicate dance toward new contract’ Larry Brooks – New York Post – 09/07/2021

There was talk the Rangers were a favorite to land Eichel, but it wasn’t believed the team could sign Zibanejad and trade for the player. If they’re focused solely on Zibanejad, they’re probably out on Eichel.

Things Between Sabres and Eichel Could Get Ugly to Start Camp

As per a report by John Vogl of The Athletic, if Eichel is not traded this offseason and either a) comes to camp and isn’t healthy or b) refuses to come to camp, things could get very interesting. Vogl assumes that if a trade doesn’t go down, it won’t take long to figure out if this will turn south as the opening day of camp features physicals, which Eichel will likely fail because of the herniated disk in his neck.

Jack Eichel Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Vogl writes:

Article 16.11 of the collective bargaining agreement states: “A player who finishes an NHL Season on the Injured Reserve List and continues to be disabled and unable to perform his duties as a hockey Player by reason of the same injury at the time he reports to the Club’s Training Camp in the next League Year will again be eligible to be placed on the Club’s Injured Reserve List.”

source – ‘Sabres mailbag: What happens if Jack Eichel isn’t traded? Can LTIR be used? Who can replace him?’ John Vogl – 09/10/2021

Vogl calls this the cleanest option but also notes the Sabres’ history as an organization suggests they don’t always take the cleanest option. He cited what the team did with Teppo Numminen in 2007, then again with Pat LaFontaine when they wouldn’t let him attend training camp because team doctors wouldn’t clear him because of concussions.

Vogl breaks down what happens with Eichel if he doesn’t report and doesn’t have the Sabres’ permission to miss camp. He writes, “With a salary of $10 million this season, 1/275th of Eichel’s pay is $36,363.64. He’d forfeit it for every day he was absent without permission.” 

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