Oilers, Islanders, Leipsic, Vegas as Hub City, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, it was reported Friday that Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi might be open to a return despite previous demanding a trade. Is there more detail about the Finnish forward’s future with the team? Meanwhile, controversial player and former Washington Capitals forward Brendan Leipsic might have found a new job. There is news surrounding the New York Islanders, and Las Vegas has been chosen as one of the NHL’s hub cities.

More on Possible Puljujarvi Return to Oilers

It was noted Friday that disgruntled restricted free agent forward Jesse Puljujarvi might be open to a return to the Edmonton Oilers. Puljujarvi was quoted as having said “Never say never.”, which led to speculation that he’s softened his stance on a return.

Jesse Puljujarvi (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer notes that Puljujarvi is still a good prospect, but he believes it wouldn’t be easy for the Oilers to trade him for another prospect that has the same high ceiling as he does. So too, if Puljujarvi’s reps did still want him traded, what other team could offer up a chance to play with options like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the team’s top-nine?

Both takes suggest a return is more likely than a trade.

That said, Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal suggests the only way Puljujarvi returns is if he wraps his head around the fact that he’s not a top-six forward in the NHL. Matheson writes, “Let’s stop the narrative that Jesse Puljujarvi is a top 6 NHL winger. He is not.” He adds that Puljujarvi is a third-line RW based on what he’s done in the NHL to date.

Samorukov Heading to the KHL?

In other Oilers news, it appears highly-touted defense prospect Dmitri Samorukov will be signing a one-year deal with CSKA of the KHL. Mark Spector of Sportsnet broke the story and noted that GM Ken Holland doesn’t hate the idea.

Dmitri Samorukov, Guelph Storm, NHL Entry Draft
Samorukov plays a physical game and has offensive potential. (Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Holland says:

“The most important thing is that he is a developing 20/21-year-old player. If North American hockey doesn’t start again until December, we’re not sure, he has a unique opportunity here. The KHL is an excellent league and it’s right in his backyard.”

Samorukov’s agent Pat Morris confirms a deal could be close. “He wants to play,” said Morris. Understanding that while the chances of Samorukov making the Oilers team was low, he adds, “He doesn’t want to lay dormant for 8-10 months in this current situation. And he, unlike some other players, has this option. We’re exploring it long and hard.”

Related: Worst Trades in Oilers’ History

Ilya Sorokin Not Negotiating With KHL

Ilya Sorokin’s Russian agent Shumi Babaev told Sport 24 in Russia that rumors of the New York Islanders goaltender possibly staying in the KHL are not accurate. Babaev says there have been no discussions with them about a contract for next season. 

Instead, he admits that there was interest in CSKA’s part to keep him around but it is expected Sorokin will make his way to Islanders camp. So too, the hiring of Dan Milstein as his new North American agent doesn’t mean anything in respect to his future plans in the NHL.

In other Islanders news, it appears Johnny Boychuck is ready for a return should the NHL get up and running. Boychuk’s left eye is close to fully recovered.

Brendan Leipsic Heading to KHL?

It’s possible former Washington Capitals forward Brendan Leipsic may have landed work after it was discovered he made misogynistic comments on social media, many of which were targeting at his linemates wives.

Brendan Leipsic Washington Capitals
Brendan Leipsic, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Capitals quickly terminated his contract and Leipsic reached out to connections in the KHL to see if he could find work as quickly as possible. He did. Sergei Isakov, his Russia-based agent, told Sport-Express in Russia that Leipsic is closing in on a two-year deal with CSKA Moscow.

Vegas Has Been Chosen as an NHL Hub City

As was confirmed by Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, The Las Vegas Review-Journal has posted a story saying Vegas will be announced as a hub city for the Stanley Cup Playoffs by June 22. Johnston believes the announcement will actually come before that date.

Johnston adds in respect to a Canadian team getting the nod:

Ideally, the NHL would like to have a Canadian city serve as a hub alongside Vegas, but that won’t be finalized until the federal government makes a ruling. Toronto is the preferred destination, assuming the quarantine issue can be managed.

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