NHL Rumor Mill – December 11, 2019


The latest on Alex Galchenyuk, some potential trade targets for the Golden Knights, and a recent blurb regarding Taylor Hall and the Dallas Stars in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Eric Engels wonders if there’s an NHL team out there willing to believe Pittsburgh Penguins winger Alex Galchenyuk can change. Now on his third team in his eighth NHL season, the 25-year-old winger has the talent to be a top-six forward but is too much of a liability to play in the top-six.

Is there much of a trade market for Pittsburgh Penguins winger Alex Galchenyuk? (Photo via NHL Images)

Galchenyuk is seeing fourth-line minutes with the Penguins. General manager Jim Rutherford is reportedly attempting to trade him. An Eastern Conference executive isn’t impressed with Galchenyuk’s performance. “Everyone knows what he is. Not sure who will want to acquire him”, he told Engels. “And more importantly, what will they want to give up to get him knowing all that?”

Engels points out Galchenyuk is on an expiring contract carrying a $4.9-million annual average value. He doubts rival clubs will offer up first- or second-round picks to acquire him as a playoff rental. He also speculates Rutherford might have to absorb part of the winger’s cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s quite an indictment of Galchenyuk’s performance. He’s got no one but himself to blame. Montreal coaches Michel Therrien and Claude Julien, Arizona coach Rick Tocchet, and Penguins bench boss Mike Sullivan were unable to improve his overall play. It won’t help his value in next summer’s UFA market. Maybe someone will take a chance on Galchenyuk before the Feb. 24 trade deadline, but it doesn’t sound like the Penguins will get much back in return.


THE ATHLETIC: New Jersey’s Sami Vatanen and Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere are among Jesse Granger’s list of possible blueline trade targets for the Vegas Golden Knights. Detroit’s Mike Green, Buffalo’s Marco Scandella, and Chicago’s Erik Gustafsson round up the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but Gostisbhere are due to become unrestricted free agents in July. Vatanen would be the best all-around option. Gostisbhere’s $4.5 million annual cap hit through 2022-23 could be difficult for the Golden Knights to squeeze within their limited cap space for this season and next. Green, Scandella, and Gustafsson could be affordable rental options. Green is the only one on this list with no-trade protection. He has a full no-trade clause until Feb. 1, after which it becomes a 10-team list.


NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2019


A look at some potential trade targets for the Canadiens, plus the latest on Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Included Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and Anaheim Ducks rearguard Cam Fowler on its list of six trade targets for the Montreal Canadiens to shore up the left side of their blueline.

Should the Montreal Canadiens pursue Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler? (Photo via NHL Images)

Gostisbehere’s star has fallen a bit over the last two seasons. He was a recent healthy scratch and might benefit from a change of scenery. Having already parted ways with Corey Perry earlier this year, the struggling Ducks could be ready to move on from some of their established talent. The 28-year-old Fowler is among their top trade chips to bring in pieces for the future.

Other options include Calgary’s T.J. Brodie or Oliver Kylington, Pittsburgh’s Juuso Riikola, and Chicago’s Erik Gustafsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin seeks a top-pairing left-side, Fowler is the best option. He’s a solid, all-around blueliner who would bring a big boost to their defense. Those traits are also why the Ducks are unlikely to part with him unless they get a terrific offer, like a good young scoring forward as part of the return. Fowler also has a four-team trade list and might not be keen to go to Montreal. 

Gostisbehere’s struggles since last season have sparked speculation over his future in Philadelphia. He’s a skilled puck-mover but his defensive game often leaves much to be desired.

Brodie’s recent medical scare and UFA status could make him a risky acquisition. Then again, those factors could also make him more affordable. Kylington is young (22), has potential and won’t cost much to acquire, but the Habs are likely in the market for an established top-four defender.

Riikola has been a frequent healthy scratch and I don’t see him significantly improving the Habs’ defense. Like Gostisbehere, Gustafsson is a mobile puck-moving d-man but his defensive play is an area of concern.


NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton has to figure out what to do with his overcrowded crease. Current backup Alexandar Georgiev has played very well spelling off veteran Henrik Lundqvist. However, he’ll soon become waiver-eligible once he plays his 60th NHL game.

“There’s a lot written about who’s going to be here, and waivers and all that stuff, said Gorton. “We’re just worried about the team playing well, and let events play themselves out.” He insists Georgiev remains “a big part of our team.”

Cyrgalis, however, believes Georgiev could be a very attractive trade piece as the Feb. 24 deadline approaches. He feels the Toronto Maple Leafs are an obvious landing spot. Moving Georgiev would create room to bring up promising Igor Shesterkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cyrgalis believes Gorton will still be active leading up to the trade deadline. He feels the Rangers GM wants to bring in assets that will eventually make the Blueshirts a Stanley Cup contender, not just a playoff contender.

When Georgiev’s name first surfaced, I dismissed the notion he’d be available if the Rangers were in the playoff chase by the deadline. If Gorton’s plan is to build a future Cup winner, perhaps he’d consider parting with Georgiev for the right price.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 9, 2019


The latest on Alex Pietrangelo and Carey Price in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: (subscription required) James Mirtle recently wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs should pursue St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo to fix their blueline now or during the summer. The 29-year-old defenseman is eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July. With limited salary-cap space for next season, the Blues could find it difficult re-signing him.

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs look into acquiring St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo? (Photo via NHL Images)

Mirtle doubts Pietrangelo is going anywhere this season. He carries a full no-trade clause, loves playing in St. Louis, and the Blues are one of the best teams in the league. However, contract extension talks with the Blues are nonexistent. Mirtle notes Blues management have been sniffing around the Leafs lately.

If the Leafs pursue Pietrangelo next summer, Mirtle suggests they’ll have to subtract dollars from their forward lines to free up sufficient cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m encapsulating the main points from Mirtle’s piece, which goes into far greater detail on this subject. Pietrangelo and the Blues could part company in the near future, but it won’t happen during this season. They’re sitting atop the Western Conference and intend to stage a serious defense of their Stanley Cup championship. If the Leafs, or anyone else, want Pietrangelo, they’ll have to wait until next summer.

Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have over $73 million tied up in 15 players for 2020-21. Recent speculation suggests the Pietrangelo camp could seek around $8.5 million annually on a long-term deal. Assuming the cap jumps to $84 million, they won’t have enough to re-sign Pietrangelo and leave enough to re-sign restricted free agents like Vince Dunn and Sammy Blais without making one or two cost-cutting trades.

The Leafs, meanwhile, have over $65 million invested in just 10 players. Except for Morgan Rielly, all their current roster defensemen are due for new contracts next summer. Signing Pietrangelo will take up a big chunk of their cap space, leaving little to suitably restock their blueline unless they trade away a salaried forward. It’ll take considerable creative accounting to pull it off without significantly weakening their depth elsewhere.


TVA SPORTS: Michel Bergeron recently restated his belief the Montreal Canadiens should consider trading goaltender Carey Price and defenseman Shea Weber. He cites Price’s desire to win the Stanley Cup, pointing out he and Weber aren’t getting any younger. Bergeron suggests it’s time to move on.

Acknowledging Price’s no-movement clause, Bergeron believes he could waive it for the right destinations. One could be the Colorado Avalanche, who could win the Stanley Cup this season. Another is the Vancouver Canucks, which is close to the small North BC town where he was raised.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price isn’t going anywhere. His no-movement clause is a sticking point, and so is his $10.5 million annual cap hit through 2025-26. In addition to Price agreeing to be moved, the Habs could be forced to pick up a big chunk of his salary-cap hit to get a deal done. 

The Avs seem content with their current goalie tandem of Philipp Graubauer and Pavel Francouz. Maybe that changes if they struggle in the playoffs, but I doubt GM Joe Sakic intends on shaking up his goaltending this season.

As for the Canucks, they’ve given no indication they want to move on from Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko. They could be in the market for a starter next summer if Markstrom departs via free agency, but it’s too early to say that’s going to happen.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 8, 2019


Still more Taylor Hall speculation, plus the latest on Alex Galchenyuk and Andreas Athanasiou in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports some teams believe it might take four pieces to acquire Taylor Hall from the New Jersey Devils. He adds the Devils’ conversations with other teams have been one-sided thus far. They’re encouraging clubs to make their best offers, but there’s not much back-and-forth discussion.

The Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, and Edmonton Oilers are believed to have interest in Taylor Hall (Photo via NHL Images).

Johnston said there’s a lot of teams sniffing around, but the feeling in the industry is the Colorado Avalanche are the favorites right now. He adds they’re pushing to try to get Hall, perhaps as soon as the Dec. 19 Christmas break.

DENVER POST: Mike Chambers believes Hall would make the Avalanche a Stanley Cup contender. He believes they have the salary-cap space, as well as the depth in prospects and draft picks to make it happen. He feels the left-winger would be a near-perfect addition, either on the top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen or on the second line alongside Nazem Kadri and Joonas Donskoi.

Chambers feels the Avalanche are in the Hall sweepstakes regardless of whether they can re-sign him. If the winger is to be a playoff rental, Chambers suggests offering up Tyson Jost, their 2020 first-round pick, and a B-level prospect like Martin Kaut or Shane Bowers. If it’s a trade-and-sign scenario, he proposes a package of Jost, A-level prospect Conor Timmins, and a second-round pick.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater list several reasons why he’s against the Avalanche acquiring Hall. He feels their offense is deep enough, and it could cost them a top prospect like Timmins, Bo Byram or Alex Newhook. The cost of re-signing Hall would complicate efforts to re-sign Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Cale Makar within the next two years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting perspectives from two Avalanche beat writers. Both raise good points for and against acquiring Hall. It will come down to the Devils’ asking price and the willingness of Avs general manager Joe Sakic to pay it.

Sakic recently told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun he wants to evaluate his injury-riddled roster once it is healthy before deciding on which roster needs must be addressed. Depending on how long Makar and Philipp Grubauer are sidelined, he could be forced to wait beyond the Christmas deadline.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports sources have confirmed the Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, and Edmonton Oilers have already had extensive conversations with the Devils. He points out the Avalanche have a self-imposed salary-cap ceiling, the Oilers are tight against the salary cap, while the Coyotes lack the depth in blueline assets the Devils covet. Leavins acknowledges the asking price for Hall could be too expensive for Oilers general manager Ken Holland, but he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t look into it.

THE ATHLETIC: Craig Morgan recently reported sources confirmed the Coyotes have interest in Hall. GM John Chayka declined to comment about Hall, though he said he always has to explore opportunities to improve his club. Morgan said Chayka is happy with his roster and would prefer keeping it intact.

Morgan doubts the Coyotes are a top-of-the-list trade partner. He speculates the Devils’ starting point would be a first-round pick and a high-end prospect, with a conditional pick and a roster player or another prospect thrown in. Morgan said Chayka’s shown no willingness to move goaltender Antti Raanta. He also noted the Coyotes’ limited salary-cap space and the high cost of re-signing Hall could work against acquiring him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers don’t need Hall. They need a reliable third-line center and to shore up their defense. Jim Matheson recently observed the Oilers have given up too many goals over their last 10 games, which saw them go 5-4-1 over that stretch. Hall won’t address that problem.

The Avalanche have lots of cap space, but we’ve overlooked the possibility that could be by design. They could insist on the Devils picking up a healthy chunk of Hall’s $6-million salary-cap hit. A self-imposed cap could also make it difficult to re-sign him. If the Coyotes want Hall, the Devils will have to absorb part of his cap hit or take back one or two salaried players to make the dollars fit.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Islanders should get into the bidding for Hall or New York Rangers’ winger Chris Kreider. He points out GM Lou Lamoriello’s history of making big acquisitions when he believes his club has a shot at contending for the Stanley Cup, as well as his attempt to sign Artemi Panarin last summer. If Hall or Kreider prove too expensive, Brooks wonders if Lamoriello would consider a reunion with Devils center Travis Zajac.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Lamoriello is willing to overpay, I don’t see the Devils sending Hall or Zajac or the Rangers sending Kreider to the Islanders, even as a rental.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Pittsburgh Penguins winger Alex Galchenyuk has surfaced in the rumor mill. He cited comments by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford to The Athletic’s Josh Yohe suggesting there might not be room for Galchenyuk on their forward lines once their sidelined players return to action. Friedman said the Pens are looking around to find the right fit. He thinks the Buffalo Sabres looked into it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Galchenyuk’s stock has plummeted since he was dealt by the Montreal Canadiens to the Coyotes last year in a one-for-one swap for Max Domi. He had a respectable 19 goals and 41 points last season before being included in last summer’s package deal for Phil Kessel. He’s struggled through injuries and adjusting to his new teammates, managing 10 points in 21 games. Given the Penguins’ limited cap space, they could flip him for a draft pick or a prospect.

A club in need of scoring depth, like the Sabres, could be willing to take a chance on Galchenyuk. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. If he doesn’t work out, his new club can just let him walk away.

MLIVE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Ansar Khan was asked if Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou might benefit from a change of scenery. He thinks so, pointing to his struggles this season, including a league-worst plus-minus of minus-33.

Khan doubts Athanasiou has a future with the Wings, as GM Steve Yzerman will focus on locking up young forwards Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi to long-term contracts. He believes the winger could be shopped by the Feb. 24 trade deadline or before the 2020 NHL Draft next June.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Athanasiou is also a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Given his previously contentious contract negotiations and his struggles this season, it wouldn’t be surprising if he hits the trade block before Feb. 24. I agree with Khan that Athanasiou could regain his scoring touch on another team.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2019


Potential goaltender trade targets for the Maple Leafs, and examining Sami Vatanen as a trade option for the Golden Knights in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen listed 10 potential backup goalie targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They’re badly in need of a reliable understudy to spell off overworked starter Frederik Andersen. Their limited salary-cap space could hamper those efforts. Analyst Brian Burke believes Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas could be forced to overpay by giving up a second-round pick or a good young prospect. Nevertheless, Burke feels it’s worth it to address this issue.

Options for under $1 million from the AHL include the Philadelphia Flyers’ Alex Lyon, the New York Islanders’ Christopher Gibson, the Nashville Predators Troy Grosenick, and former Leafs backup Garret Sparks, who’s now in the Vegas Golden Knights’ system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Dubas is unwilling to part with Burke’s suggested asking price for a quality backup, he could be stuck with these options. I don’t see any of them suitably addressing the Leafs’ backup issue. I doubt a reunion with Sparks is in the cards for the Leafs.

Could the Toronto Maple Leafs attempt to acquire Pittsburgh Penguins backup Tristan Jarry? (Photo via NHL Images)

NHL options under $1 million include the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Tristan Jarry, and the Los Angeles Kings’ Jack Campbell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Georgiev is close to becoming waiver-eligible. Based on his performance this season, I don’t believe the Rangers will part with him. Same goes for the Penguins with Jarry. Campbell’s a possibility but only if the Kings are confident in calling up promising Cal Petersen this season.

Those that are above $1 million include the Anaheim Ducks’ Ryan Miller, the Penguins’ Casey DeSmith, and the Chicago Blackhawks Collin Delia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Miller will accept a trade to an Eastern Conference. Boylen speculates the Penguins could prefer keeping DeSmith as insurance in case Jarry or Matt Murray become sidelined. The Blackhawks could consider Delia as their backup next season once they part ways with Corey Crawford or Robin Lehner next summer.

TORONTO STAR: Rosie DiManno wonders if the Tampa Bay Lightning might consider parting with Curtis McElhinney. Like the Leafs, the Bolts are stuck in a funk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, but I don’t think the Lightning are at that stage.


LAS VEGAS SUN: Justin Emerson suggests Sami Vantanen could address the Vegas Golden Knights’ pressing need for blueline depth. The 28-year-old right-shot defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

Emerson points out Vatanan’s been a solid offensive performer his entire career, plays a responsible defensive game, and is among the best players on a bad Devils team. With the Devils season slipping away, they could put Vatanen on the trade block. His addition would enable the Golden Knights to shift Nate Schmidt or Shea Theodore back to the left side where they’re more comfortable. He could also skate on their second power-play unit.

The asking price could be draft picks or prospects, something the Golden Knights have in abundance. They could offer up one of their second-rounders in the 2020 draft or one of their three in 2021, along with a later-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know if the Golden Knights are eyeing Vatanen as a trade option. As the season progresses, however, I daresay Vatanen will start drawing interest from playoff contenders seeking a top-four blueliner.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 6, 2019


Once again, all the notable trade chatter is about Taylor Hall. Check out all the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Arizona Coyotes are “definitely interested” in acquiring New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall. He claims the Coyotes aren’t concerned about the asking price at this point.

Another day, another round of trade speculation regarding New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have the depth in promising young players and prospects to tempt the Devils. They’ve got limited salary-cap space ($2.65 million) but could afford to take on Hall if they move a salaried player and if the Devils pick up part of Hall’s $6-million salary-cap hit.

However, they might not be interested in him as a rental player. Earlier this week, former Coyotes captain Shane Doan told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that they should go after Hall “if you can get him for a long-term contract.” If Hall isn’t willing to do that, the Coyotes could pass.

Pierre LeBrun reports Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic wouldn’t mention Hall during a recent interview. However, he indicates he wants to evaluate his injury-riddled roster once it’s healthy before determining what their needs are. Sakic also doesn’t want to risk upsetting the team’s chemistry. Nevertheless, LeBrun said the Avs management have discussed this internally. They’ve got the assets to make it happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic could pull the trigger on a Hall deal if he believes his club has what it takes to make a serious run for the Stanley Cup next spring. In my opinion, they’re the front-runners in the Hall sweepstakes.

Bob McKenzie reports there’s plenty of speculation over the Devils’ asking price for Hall. Some suggest it could cost a first-round pick, a top prospect, a young player and maybe a conditional first-round pick. However, he said it’s his understanding the Devils haven’t set any parameters and are asking teams to make their best offer.

Devils GM Ray Shero seems open to anything, from package deals to a one-for-one swap. He’s also open to retaining some of Hall’s salary. McKenzie also said it’s wide open as to when the deal could occur.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shero may not have any parameters set yet, but I think teams making their best offers will include a first-round pick, a top prospect, and a good, young NHL-ready player. A one-for-one swap won’t be akin to the one that brought Hall to New Jersey. I believe Shero will want an impact player in return in that scenario.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples doesn’t see the Oilers getting into the bidding for Hall in a trade-and-sign scenario. He doesn’t dismiss the possibility of pursuing him as a rental player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before, the idea of the Oilers bringing Hall back to Edmonton makes for sexy headlines. Perhaps GM Ken Holland has looked into it.

Hall, however, won’t address the Oilers’ need for a skilled third-line center and additional defensive depth. That’s where Holland’s focus must be. If he wants more scoring punch, affordable options will be available leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty doesn’t believe the Bruins should pursue Hall. He feels it would cost the Bruins the equivalent of what the Ottawa Senators received from the Vegas Golden Knights for Mark Stone (“forward and D-man prospects along with a high draft pick”).

Haggerty also wondered if young Bruins like Brandon Carlo, Anders Bjork, or Jake DeBrusk would be in the Devils’ crosshairs. He feels it would be a steep price to pay for a player who could depart via free agency in July. He also doubts they can’t afford to re-sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good points by Haggerty. Nevertheless, the Bruins are in “win-now” mode and secondary scoring is a concern. It wouldn’t surprise me if GM Don Sweeney takes a serious look at Hall as a playoff rental.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens examined if it was realistic for the Anaheim Ducks to pursue Hall. He considers it a fanciful notion, pointing out GM Bob Murray’s reluctance to part with his 2020 first-round pick. He also noted Hall’s injury history and his previous relationship with Ducks coach Dallas Eakins.

Josh Yohe believes the odds are against the Pittsburgh Penguins acquiring Hall. He feels they lack the type of promising young assets to outbid other clubs. GM Jim Rutherford isn’t unwilling to part with his first-round pick, but he also wants to ensure he has sufficient prospects for when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are done. Given Matt Murray’s struggles, they could be reluctant to part with a goaltender right now. Shedding salary to free up room for Hall’s cap hit, even on retained salary, won’t be easy.

Kevin Kurz believes Hall to the San Jose Sharks seems unlikely, but GM Doug Wilson has made creative deals for big-name talent in the past. However, they lack a first-round pick in the 2020 draft, possess limited salary-cap space, and lack depth in young assets to outbid other clubs.

Arthur Staple includes acquiring Hall among his list of possible moves for the New York Islanders to add depth to their roster. Hall’s not a center but Staple considers him a lineup-changer. They have the salary-cap space, but he wonders if GM Lou Lamoriello would invest assets in a rental like Hall.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski was asked about the chances of Sabres GM Jason Botterill pursuing Hall. “Zero. General Manager Jason Botterill isn’t in the market for rentals, especially one as expensive as Hall,” replied Lysowski.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t consider the Ducks, Penguins, Sabres, or Sharks as serious bidders for Hall’s services. The Islanders, on the other hand, have the cap space and the assets to be an intriguing bidder. Granted, their more pressing need is for third-line depth, but a first line with Hall skating on the left side of center Mathew Barzal could be dynamite. If Lamoriello believes his team has what it takes to make a run for the Cup next spring, maybe he can make it happen.