Maple Leafs, Oilers, Bruins, Flyers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, is William Nylander worth the same thing David Pastrnak is? One former NHL GM seems to think so. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers lost again and many believe they are in kind of tight spot where a bad trade might be the only real option. There have been no contract talks with Owen Tippett in Philadelphia. Finally, are the Boston Bruins going to use a clause in their NHL contract with Milan Lucic to move on from the player?

Is David Pastrnak’s Deal the New Nylander Comparable?

During the latest Talking Point segment on TSN, former NHL general manager and current TSN Director of Scouting, Craig Button, presented a compelling perspective on William Nylander’s contract negotiations with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Button asserted that Nylander’s new deal, irrespective of the signing location, has experienced a significant surge. When it was believed the forward might have been worth $9.5 to $10 million, his new deal will now align with the benchmark set by David Pastrnak’s contract with the Boston Bruins.

David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins 2023 Winter Classic (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Emphasizing Nylander’s worth, Button dismissed the notion of the initial belief that Timo Meier’s deal in New Jersey or a $10 million range could serve as a comparable. According to Button, “The prices never go down.” He added, “So when you start to look at what the price should be for William Nylander, how about starting with David Pastrnak’s $11.25 million annual average value? And whoa David Pastrnak. Yeah. David Pastrnak.”

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Button praised Nylander for effectively betting on himself and said it is possible the Leafs get him for less, but it will only be because he wants to stay. The idea that he’ll sign a deal similar to Timo Meier’s contract in New Jersey is long gone though.

Oilers Will Likely Make an Ugly Trade to Avoid Doing Nothing

It what sounds like a ludicrous game plan, but Allan Mitchell (Lowetide), scribe and radio host, proposed several strategies for the struggling Edmonton Oilers, currently burdened with a 5-12-1 record. Mitchell outlined potential solutions, including calling up AHL players Raphael Lavoie and/or Ben Gleason or securing the services of Jaroslav Halak. However, he anticipates a different course of action, predicting a substantial and challenging trade that involves sacrificing future assets for immediate gains.

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Mitchell speculated it would be a trade the Oilers would likely lose and it would cost the team assets like their first-round picks, Philip Broberg, Xavier Bourgault, and various miscellaneous items. In his colorful description, he joked the Oilers would add, “hood ornaments, odds and sods, your mom’s pancake recipe, and anything not nailed down” as potential components of the trade package.

The suggestion here is that, having already fired the coach and with limited other options that would make a real dent, a bad trade is the only option left.

Could the Bruins Terminate Lucic’s Contract?

Milan Lucic, now enrolled in the NHLPA Players Assistance Program, faces the prospect of the Boston Bruins terminating his contract due to a breach of the moral clause. This revelation comes from Joe Haggerty of Boston Hockey Now, who explains that while there has been no indication the organization is thinking about doing so, the Bruins possess the authority to sever ties with Lucic, thereby relieving themselves of his cap hit entirely.

Milan Lucic Boston Bruins
Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The ‘Morality Clause’ in the Standard Player Contract empowers teams to dissolve agreements with players engaged in “conduct detrimental to the best interest of the Club.” Players are bound to uphold high standards of honesty, morality, fair play, and sportsmanship both on and off the rink, refraining from actions harmful to the team, the League, or professional hockey.

Haggerty draws a parallel with the Los Angeles Kings’ termination of Mike Richards’ contract in 2015 following his arrest for illegal possession of prescription drugs. Although the Bruins are presently exempt from Lucic’s cap hit due to his placement on long-term injury reserve and enrollment in the Players Assistance program, the option to terminate the contract remains open, providing flexibility for potential future decisions by the team.

Tippett Unaware of Any Contract Talks

Owen Tippett has gotten off to a decent start for the Philadelphia Flyers this season, but that hasn’t led to contract talks for the pending RFA. According to Jonathan Bailey of Philly Hockey Now, “No [contract talks],” Tippett said matter-of-factly. “Not that I know of”.