Welcome to another edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The 2022-23 regular season has begun and players will be evaluated. Now, with free agency moves mostly done, rumors are still around.
Clubs are always working to improve their rosters for next season. Some teams are having difficulty creating enough cap space to make moves. Others are experiencing severe injuries to star players. Trade rumors/signings are still prevalent. In this Sunday edition of NHL Rumors, we will take a look at the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
New York Rangers – Is It Time for the Rangers to Panic? The Eastern Conference Might Force Them To
Rumor: Per – Adam Gretz – bleacherreport.com. We are more than a quarter of the way through the season, and the Rangers have not yet looked like the Stanley Cup contender they were supposed to be.
With the quarter-mark of the new 2022-23 season already surpassed, the Rangers are currently out of a wild-card playoff position with 27 points after 25 games. It goes without saying that the expectations of the New York club being a Cup contender have not kicked in yet. An important point made by Gretz is that the rest of the Eastern Conference has improved enough to perhaps prompt some panic for the Rangers.
Much can be attributed to their lackadaisical start this season. Gone are Frank Vatrano, Andrew Copp, and Ryan Strome. While they did add Vincent Trocheck (8-G, 8-A), the expected elevation of the play of the youngsters has stalled. Alexis Lafreniere (3-G, 7-A), Kaapo Kakko (4-G, 4-A), Filip Chytil (4-G, 7-A), Vitali Kravtsov (1-G, 1-A), have not pitched in enough to ease the loss of Strome (21-G, 33-A, 74 games).
Another important factor is the play of goalie Igor Shesterkin. Last season he was sensational winning the Vezina with an impeccable 36-13-4 record. He also had a 2.07 goals-against-average, as well as a .935, save percentage, leading the league in both categories. If the Rangers think that their goalie can obtain those stats consistently, they are mistaken. If they don’t start playing like the team everyone thought they’d be this season, they could find themselves scurrying for a playoff spot. And, that’s not a good feeling.
Edmonton Oilers – Looking For a Forward With an Edge
Rumor: Per – Elliotte Friedman – sportsnet.ca. Latest rumors on Edmonton forward trade talks.
Losing Evander Kane to that gruesome wrist cut has made the Oilers a less nasty team and they want to see if they can remedy that via a trade. The team has been linked to possibilities like Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds and Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Ritchie of late, but to this point neither deal appears close. Then, there’s also Philadelphia Flyers forward Zack MacEwen who is available and would bring sandpaper, but it’s yet to be confirmed the Flyers and Oilers have connected on any specifics.
With critics stating that the current Oilers aren’t a very tough team to play against, will GM Ken Holland address the situation? Star players Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl would likely have something to say about that as the team continues to win hockey games. The Oilers predicted finish would be outside of the playoff picture, even with super-stars like McDavid and Draisaitl leading the way. According to hockeyreference.com‘s predicted finish of teams, the Oilers would not qualify. It’s just a projection, so we shall see if NHL rumors like this prevail.
Adding that additional ‘tough guy’ player may indeed help the Edmonton club gain back their success of last season when they went to the Western Conference Final against the eventual Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.
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Pittsburgh Penguins – Will the Penguins be a Playoff Team?
Rumor: Per – Matt Larkin – dailyfaceoff.com. Which NHL team out of a playoff spot at Thanksgiving will still get in?
The Penguins have too good of a team to miss the playoffs. And they’ve been better lately posting four wins in a row entering Thanksgiving. The Pittsburgh club has been very streaky. They have had a seven-game losing streak and a five-game winning streak. So, it’s tough to predict which team steps out on the ice each game. One sure prediction is that the play of Sidney Crosby cannot be understated. He is again taking the team on his back with 12 goals and 20 assists in 24 games. He is scoring an average of 1.33 points per game.
The team continues to have issues on the power play with just a 16.7 percent success ratio. They are a respectable 11th on the penalty-kill with an 80 percent rate. So, they could be in the postseason as a wild-card team, but getting there is the challenge. That means that teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings, or New York Islanders may need to falter to make room for Crosby and company.
One never counts out the Penguins, but don’t forget they are one of the oldest teams in the NHL. It’s a long season, so we shall see how they fare.
That concludes another edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to catch our next article, and as always, thanks for reading!
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