NHL Rumor Roundup: Kings start overdue roster rebuild
Burakovsky on the block?Washington Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky continues to be the subject of trade chatter. With just 12 points in 44 games, the 23-year-old is still struggling to find his offensive groove.Earlier reports suggested the Capitals were reluctant to give up on Burakovsky, but management’s patience could be wearing thin. Despite his erratic play, he’s apparently drawing interest in the trade market. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun last week reported the Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks were said to have contacted the Capitals.Burakovsky is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. LeBrun noted it would cost $3.25 million simply to qualify his rights, which could dampen his trade value. Muzzin might not be the only Kings’ veteran to be shopped before the trade deadline. The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman reports forwards Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli and defenseman Alex Martinez frequently surfaced in this season’s trade-rumor mill. She also suggested pending free agent winger Carl Hagelin could become rental player.NHL DRAFT 2019: SN’s mock draft 1.0 | Top 31 big boardToffoli, 26, could be the most attractive trade chip. He’s a versatile two-way forward with three 20-goal, 40-point seasons on his resume. He also carries an affordable $4.6-million cap hit through 2019-20 and lacks no-trade protection.Dillman noted teams with interest in Carter might have to ensure he’d be willing to move. Though he doesn’t have a no-trade clause, there’s speculation he would retire rather than accept a trade. Having traded Muzzin, the Kings might prefer hanging onto Martinez, who has two more seasons remaining on his contract with a $4-million annual average value.What next for the Oilers?With the Edmonton Oilers in danger of falling out of playoff contention, the club fired general manager Peter Chiarelli last Tuesday. Assistant GM Keith Gretzky took over on an interim basis until the team finds a suitable long-term replacement.During a press conference following Chiarelli’s firing, Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson stated his belief the club can still make the playoffs. The Edmonton Sun’s Derek Van Diest, however, expressed skepticism they can do it with their current roster.Despite their difficulties, the Oilers came out of the recent All-Star break only three points out of a wild-card berth in the tightly-packed Western Conference. Nevertheless, their goaltending is questionable, their defense porous and they’re lacking secondary scoring punch.NHL.com’s Dan Rosen wonders if the Oilers would become buyers or sellers by the Feb. 25 NHL trade deadline. Nicholson said his club wasn’t ruling out trades if it would get them into the playoffs, but wouldn’t sacrifice young assets for a quick fix.Those assets include struggling-but-still-promising winger Jesse Puljujarvi, top prospects Kailer Yamamoto and Evan Bouchard, and perhaps their 2019 first-round pick. Problem is, they’re exactly what rival clubs will ask for if the Oilers seek players to help them now and in the future.Ferland a hot propertyA year ago, Micheal Ferland was a little-known winger enjoying a breakout 21-goal, 41-point performance with the Calgary Flames.Now with the Carolina Hurricanes, the 26-year-old Ferland is among the most talked-about players as the NHL trade deadline approaches. Despite missing nine games to injuries, he’s tallied 13 goals and 25 points in 41 games, putting him on pace for another 20-goal, 40-point campaign.The 6-foot-2, 208-pound power forward is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Recent reports suggest the Hurricanes could move him before the deadline rather than risking losing him to free agency for nothing.Ferland’s physical style and net presence makes him an attractive trade target for playoff contenders. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun last week reported the Pittsburgh Penguins are believed to have looked into his availability. He also wondered if the Flames might consider bringing him back.The Vancouver Province’s Patrick Johnston noted Ferland was being linked by several insiders to the Canucks. He noted there’s no certainty the winger would re-sign with the Canucks unless they overpay for his services. Ferland’s recent injury history also raises a red flag. Can’t get enough NHL rumors? Lyle Richardson’s Rumor Roundup column serves as a one-stop guide to the latest rumblings around the league.Other moves in store for the Kings?The Los Angeles Kings appear to be getting an early start on an overdue roster rebuild. On Monday night, they shipped defenseman Jake Muzzin to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the Leafs’ first-round pick in 2019 and prospects Carl Gundstrom and Sean Durzi.