Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman made his weekly appearance on Edmonton radio, and commented on a few topics from around the NHL.
Friedman broke down some potential sellers, saying he could see “a lot of teams throwing themselves at Johnny Oduya” out of Dallas. The Stars have lost six of their last seven games, and are now seven points out of the final wildcard spot. Other names out of Dallas include pending UFAs Patrick Eaves and Patrick Sharp, and “maybe” Ales Hemsky. The latter was expected to be done for the season, but will play again this season according to Mike Heika of the Dallas News.
One of the few clear sellers, the Colorado Avalanche, has set a “very high price” for their players, according to Friedman. However, there may be a wider market than many realized. Friedman listed Pittsburgh among others as unexpected teams calling GM Joe Sakic. Citing GM Jim Rutherford’s willingness to win now and “sort things out” in the offseason, Friedman speculated that the Penguins could consider moving Olli Maatta as part of a package for Matt Duchene. To be clear, Friedman isn’t suggesting the Penguins have made an offer, simply that they’re interested and Maatta is the kind of player that the Avalanche would be interested in. Another potential suitor for Duchene could be Montreal, but GM Marc Bergevin “doesn’t like the price.”
Former Canadiens forward and Flyers UFA signing Dale Weise will be a healthy scratch in Edmonton tonight; he has just two goals and five points in 46 games after signing a four-year contract worth $2.35MM per season. Friedman pointed out that many players struggle in their first year with a new team, but the Canadiens won’t be interested in re-acquiring Weise at his current term.
Staying in Philadelphia, Friedman said it’s not just Shayne Gostisbehere who “doesn’t look like himself.” The whole team is looking for answers; after their ten-game winning streak earlier this season, they’ve won just eight games of their last 25. Friedman told Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer that several teams scouted Gostisbehere “to death” over the summer, and he hasn’t been able to adjust his style.
It remains to be seen what will happen in the next couple weeks, as the GMs are all playing “one big poker game” leading up to the deadline, according to Friedman.
Trade deadline aside, Friedman chatted about the MVP race this season. With Brent Burns sitting between Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby at the top of the scoring race, Friedman predicted a scoring title would guarantee an MVP title for Burns. However, he also said that if Edmonton makes the playoffs, then Friedman “doesn’t know how [he’s] not going to vote for Connor McDavid.”
Another consideration is goal scoring. Both Burns and Crosby are outscoring McDavid considerably, but Friedman pointed out that McDavid has clearly put the Oilers on his shoulders and elevated them to a playoff team.