Friedman: ‘I think at least the chatter is picking up’

Although there doesn’t tend to be much trade activity this early in the season, it sounds like the chatter level is increasing behind the scenes.

Elliotte Friedman had a Friday afternoon Oilers Now segment on Edmonton’s 630 CHED. Following a lengthy initial discussion on the Oilers, Friedman was asked about the notion that even if general manager Peter Chiarelli wanted to upgrade his roster right now, teams around the league are kind of in a holding pattern on the trade front.

“I think it’s starting to change,” indicated Friedman. “St. Louis is here this weekend and they’re playing Toronto on Hockey Night tomorrow night. I don’t think the way they’ve started, but they made a lot of changes. We’ll see. There’s a lot of noise around Columbus, but that’s not really of their own making, that’s kind of just the situation that they’re in. We’ll see. I think at least the chatter is picking up.

“I really do believe that Edmonton’s biggest ‘fix,’ if you want to use that word, is internal. You’ve got to get Draisaitl going. I mean, we’re here at this point and the Oilers haven’t scored a goal when he’s been on the ice without McDavid, and that has to change.

“I know there’s always a big debate about whether or not he should play with McDavid or he should play separately from McDavid. I’m a big believer in flexibility - there’s no reason you can’t do both. But he’s got to be at least - when he’s not out there with McDavid - he’s got to be more of a force.”

A short time later in the conversation on CHED, Friedman was asked to follow up on his comment that trade-related chatter was starting to pick up.

What’s out there?

“I think Columbus is a team to watch,” considered Friedman after a moment of contemplation. “Again, I’m not convinced what exactly is going to happen there. I know they’re really frustrated at the amount of rumors around their team, and they feel that a lot of them aren’t necessarily true. There’s a real frustration coming out of there with what’s being said about their hockey team… the rumors about Bobrovsky and Panarin.

“I just sense that teams are really trying to figure out what Columbus is trying to do with those two guys.”

Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky are in the final seasons of their respective contracts, and neither has seemed to be inclined to sign any sort of extension with the Blue Jackets at this point.

Friedman was asked about Josh Anderson.

“It’s an interesting one. Nick talked about that,” noted Friedman of colleague Nick Kypreos on a recent edition of Hockey Night in Canada’s Saturday Headlines. “That was a bitter contract dispute. But I think Columbus likes him as a player. I think they do. He’s a good player.

“The one thing I kind of wonder about is sometimes early in the year teams sort of feel and say, ‘What if we try this. Is this going to work if we put this guy up here.’ I think maybe last Saturday night in Tampa he might have been a victim to that. He went down in the lineup because they were trying some things. I mean, we’ll see long term. But they got blown out in that game, they lost 8-2, so whatever they tried didn’t necessarily work too well.

“But I do think they like Anderson. I just think that everybody knows that was a difficult contract negotiation. You wonder what that’s going to be for the future.”

Anderson is in the second season of a three-year, $5.55 million contract that was signed in October of 2017, and he will be eligible for arbitration on his next pact.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly