The rumor that just won’t go away early this off-season is a potential swap between Western Canada rivals Vancouver and Edmonton of Loui Eriksson for Milan Lucic. Originally thought to just be a hypothetical deal – one that readers were split over – it turns out that the possible exchange of bad contracts has actually been discussed. TSN’s Jason Gregor reports that sources within the Canucks organization say that GM Jim Benning and company did actually sit down with the Oilers to discuss a trade centered around the two former Boston Bruins. However, Gregor notes that these talks took place in April and May and does not specify whether new Edmonton GM Ken Holland has been involved in any of those discussions. On paper, there is a discrepancy between the term and contract structure of Lucic and Eriksson, making Eriksson the lesser of two bad contracts. Yet, Lucic has been slightly more productive and brings a consistent physical edge. Eriksson arguably has the higher ceiling though, if he is able to stay healthy. Any deal between the two sides would likely have to provide an additional benefit to the Canucks, beyond just bringing home the Vancouver native Lucic, likely in the form of a pick or prospect. But the idea that the two sides have actually had talks about a trade takes this rumor from a convenient hypothetical talking point to an actual trade that could, and may even be likely, to go down this summer.
- A rumor that did go away has surprisingly resurfaced. TSN’s Andrew Zadarnowski reports that former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov is drawing considerable attention on the open market. Markov, 40, is a free agent after his two-year deal with the KHL’s Ak Bars Kazan expired and he is considering all of his options. No sooner did Markov leave for the KHL than did word get out that he was eyeing an NHL return, but nothing came of it. Now, Zadarnowski states that he has already received three NHL offers, as well as a KHL offer, while Kazan has publicly stated that they would be open to re-signing the veteran leader. The NHL interest may come as a surprise, but Markov has stayed productive even in his older age, recording 47 points over two seasons in the KHL and 36 points in 62 games in his final season with Montreal in 2016-17. Surely no team in North America is willing to offer Markov a multi-year deal at age 40, but a one-year flier may work out well in the right situation.
- “Unless there is a change of heart soon”, don’t count on women’s professional hockey in Canada in 2019-20. After the Canadian Women’s Hockey League folded earlier this spring, the National Women’s Hockey League announced a planed expansion into the Canadian market with teams in Toronto and Montreal. However, with 200 of the game’s best female players on strike, the Associated Press reports that the NWHL is likely to hold off on expansion talks until next year. The league will continue operating with five American teams and will keep working toward a resolution that is best for the game of women’s hockey.