Ahead of the NHL Draft on Tuesday and the opening of free agency on Oct. 9, TSN.ca keeps you up to date with all the latest rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.
The Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins are the teams on Oliver Ekman-Larsson's trade list, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger confirmed, after reporting the Edmonton Oilers have been told they are not on the Arizona Coyotes defenceman's short list of teams he would waive his no-move clause for.
Dreger added the Bruins and Coyotes were engaged in trade discussions for Ekman-Larsson prior to Bill Armstrong's arrival as GM in Arizona.
Dreger reported earlier this week that the Oilers are among the teams who have interest in the Coyotes captain. On Wednesday, Dreger added that the Coyotes would be looking for a first-round pick and one of the Oilers' young, developing defencemen in exchange for Ekman-Larsson, pointing out that Edmonton would also likely need the Coyotes to take another contract back to clear cap space.
"They’ve inquired (about him), certainly," Dreger said Tuesday. "There have been discussions on Ekman-Larsson, but go to CapFriendly.com and you can see this is a big ticket and a long term coming back the other way. There has been significant trade interest expressed in the Coyotes captain and the Oilers are among the teams with some interest. It’s in the preliminary phases and, again, given the cap hit that Ekman-Larsson brings back, this is not going to be an easy transaction for Ken Holland and the Oilers.
"I would put Boston in that group of teams with interest as well. But also keep in mind Ekman-Larsson has trade protection so he is, to some degree, going to manage this process."
Ekman-Larsson, who is now at No. 1 on the TSN Trade Bait board, had nine goals and 30 points in 66 games with the Coyotes this past season. He added one goal and four points in nine playoff games as Arizona lost in five games against the Colorado Avalanche in the first round.
The 29-year-old has seven years remaining on an eight-year, $66 million contract with an AAV of $8.25 million. The Oilers have $11.26 million in projected cap space this off-season.
Continuing with the Oilers, TSN Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli tweeted Wednesday that the team has made progress in talks to bring restricted free agent Jesse Puljujarvi back to Edmonton.
Seravalli notes talks have largely centred around Puljujarvi's "fit" with the team, but believes if he returns it will likely be a one-year deal worth $1.2-$1.5 million.
Puljujarvi departed the Oilers at the end of the 2018-19 season and played last season with Karpat in Finland's SM-Liiga. In 56 games with Karpat, Puljujarvi recorded 24 goals and 53 points.
The fourth overall pick in 2016 by the Oilers, Puljujarvi struggled to carve out a regular spot in the Oilers' lineup with multiple stints in the American Hockey League. In his third year with the Oilers, the Finnish forward had four goals and nine points in 46 games.
In 139 NHL games, the 22-year-old has 17 goals and 37 points.
Checking on Byfuglien
According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin met with former Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien two weeks ago to "gauge his desire to keep playing."
Russo reports that Guerin would have interest in Byfuglien if he chooses to resume his playing career, but feels that is a long shot at this point.
Byfuglien, a native of Roseau, Minn., sat out all of last season, agreeing a mutual contract termination with the Jets in April. He was previously signed through the 2020-21 season at a $7.6 million cap hit.
During the 2018-19 season, Byfuglien scored four goals and posted 31 points in 44 games before adding two goals and eight points in six postseason games. The 35-year-old has not played since.
Promoting From Within?
Nashville Predators general manager David Poile confirmed to the Tennessean that the team will not be re-signing pending unrestricted free agents Mikael Granlund or Craig Smith, noting that he plans to replace the forwards from within.
"We're going to make changes," Poile said when asked of the team's pending free agents. "Right off the top you've got two guys that are in our top nine in Granlund and Smith that are not... coming back, so that's going to open up a couple spots for some other, younger guys.
"I'd like to see some promotion from within."
Granlund's agent told The Athletic last month that his client would be testing the open market on Oct. 9. Acquired from the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline last year, he had 17 goals and 30 points in 63 games with the Predators this season. He added one assist in four games during the team's play-in round loss to the Arizona Coyotes He is coming off of a three-year, $17.25 million contract signed with the Wild in 2017.
Smith, 31, has spent his entire career with the Predators since being drafted by the team in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Draft. He posted 18 goals and 31 points in 69 games this season, but was held without a point during the Return to Play. He spent this season playing out the last of a five-year, $21.5 million deal signed with Nashville in 2015.
The Predators have $8.1 million in projected cap space this off-season with five players slated for unrestricted free agency.