NHL Rumor Mill – November 27, 2019


Update on Jesse Puljujarvi plus the latest on the Sharks and Sabres in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reports it seems certain Jesse Puljujarvi will remain Edmonton Oilers property to the end of this season. It’s also certain the restricted free agent winger won’t be signing with the Oilers, or any other NHL club, before the 5 pm ET deadline on Dec. 1. That will make him ineligible to play in the NHL for the remainder of this season.

It’s unlikely the Edmonton Oilers will trade Jesse Puljujarvi before Dec. 1 (Photo via NHL Images).

During a recent radio interview, Oilers general manager Ken Holland said all’s quiet on the trade front. He’s spoken to several teams but there’s nothing new to report. Holland indicated he’ll probably end up dealing with Puljujarvi’s situation at next year’s NHL draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi will probably be traded during the 2020 NHL draft weekend. What the Oilers get in return depends upon his performance in Finland, and several European tournaments, during this season. As “Cousin Mark” points out, Puljujarvi’s NHL stock will suffer if he does poorly or fails to be named to Team Finland.


THE ATHLETIC: During a recent mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz was asked if the San Jose Sharks could make a move in the net if the club remains around .500 and starter Martin Jones fails to improve. He believes it would be complicated. The Sharks need help on the right side, but lack suitable trade assets to address both needs.

Kurz feels a few tempting goalie targets could become rental options later in the season. They include Chicago’s Corey Crawford or Robin Lehner, Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, Ottawa’s Craig Anderson, Philadelphia’s Brian Elliott, and Anaheim’s Ryan Miller. All are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks have improved in recent weeks, taking some pressure off GM Doug Wilson to shop around for help between the pipes. If Jones and backup Aaron Dell continue to improve, Wilson will likely stick with them for the remainder of the season. Should one or both struggle again, he could end up shopping for an affordable rental to keep his club’s playoff hopes alive.




NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2019


Updates on Kyle Turris and Chris Kreider, plus the latest on the Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton reports Kyle Turris has become frustrated over his limited playing time with the Nashville Predators. Despite the club’s recent slump and winger Viktor Arvidsson sidelined for six weeks, Turris has been a healthy scratch from three straight games.

Kyle Turris’ status with the Nashville Predators could be coming to a head soon (Photo via NHL Images)

Clinton speculates Predators general manager David Poile could be amenable to trading Turris, if for nothing else than to get some salary-cap relief. Considering how much Poile gave up in a three-way trade with Ottawa and Colorado to get Turris (Samuel Girard, Vladislav Kamenev, second-round pick), Poile won’t want to move Turris for next to nothing. However, the 30-year-old’s annual average value ($6 million) and declining production means his trade value is low right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clinton points out there’s no simple solution here. Turris is unhappy over his situation, but coach Peter Laviolette seems to have no interest in playing him. His trade value is low and he’s carrying a hefty cap hit. Unless Poile is willing to take on a toxic contract, he could be forced to absorb a big chunk of Turris’ AAV and accept a low return to move him.


NEW YORK POST: Noting the Rangers’ video tribute and ovation for former Blueshirt Mats Zuccarello last night, Larry Brooks wonders if Chris Kreider will be in a similar situation next season. The 28-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Kreider said he remains unworried about his future, focusing instead on the present.

Brooks observes there are salary-cap issues ahead for the Rangers, wondering how much the club would be willing to invest in Kreider. Both sides have kept mum over the winger’s contract status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Rangers will shop Kreider if they’re out of playoff contention leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Kreider’s asking price could be over $6 million annually on a long-term deal. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $65 million invested in 14 players for 2020-21, with restricted free agents Ryan Strome, Tony DeAngelo, and Brendan Lemieux in line for big raises. There won’t be enough room for Kreider.



NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2019


Could the Oilers pursue Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau? What’s the latest on the Sabres and Leafs? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell believes the Edmonton Oilers still need a third-line center. He feels a trade is the best option to address this issue, but the best options might not become available until closer to the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

Could the Edmonton Oilers pursue Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau? (Photo via NHL Images)

Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau would be the best option, but Mitchell feels the Sens will work hard to re-sign him before the deadline. If he becomes available, the asking price could be steep.

Mitchell also thinks Minnesota’s Joel Eriksson Ek or Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault could be worthwhile targets. He suggests offering up a defenseman like Kris Russell or Matt Benning in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pageau would be the best fit but also the most expensive. Eriksson Ek’s name has surfaced in the rumor mill, but it remains to be seen if Wild GM Bill Guerin intends to move him as part of a roster rebuild.

The Jets have rebounded from a shaky start. Their need for blueline depth isn’t as dire as it was a month ago. If they stay in playoff contention, Perreault won’t be going anywhere. He also has a five-team no-trade list.


WGR 550: TSN analyst Darren Dreger said he’s been informed Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill has made offers for forwards, but he doesn’t know which teams or forwards Botterill has targeted. He also said the conversations are ongoing as Botterill sees his forward depth as an area of concern.

Dreger also indicated Botterill and other GMs interested in making trades are facing the problem of several teams having players on long-term injury reserve. He estimates there are 10-12 clubs in that position.

Botterill could be open to just about anything. Dreger feels Botterill might prefer adding a top-six and a bottom-six forward. Acquiring a top-six forward would mean giving up a piece from the roster.

Dreger suggested the return of defenseman Zach Bogosian could mean parting with a blueliner such as Marco Scandella. If Botterill is reluctant to draw upon his defensive depth, Dreger thinks it could take moving “a pretty damn good prospect or a prospect and a draft pick.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A player-for-player swap isn’t impossible at this point in the season, but finding the right fit is an issue. As Dreger indicated, the unusually high number of teams with players on LTIR make it more difficult to swing a deal. With his club sinking in the standings, Botterill is under growing pressure to do something soon.


TORONTO STAR: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin McGran was asked if the Maple Leafs could also pursue a trade after bringing in Sheldon Keefe as their new head coach. He feels GM Kyle Dubas will want to evaluate the club’s performance under Keefe and give it until Christmas.

McGran points out the Leafs have extra forwards and need a backup goaltender. He feels Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry ($675K) would be a good fit under the Leafs’ limited salary-cap space, speculating the asking price could be one of a Leafs’ fourth-liners or scratches.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If that’s all it would cost for Jarry, I think that deal would’ve been made by now. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford isn’t in any hurry to move him, perhaps hoping to drive up the goalie’s trade value.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 24, 2019


A suggested Gaudreau-for-Hall swap, the Blues are scouting the Leafs and an update on Nicklas Backstrom in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks points out New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall has just three goals in 21 games. He wonders if the Calgary Flames would trade winger Johnny Gaudreau to Devils for Hall if they knew they could sign the latter to a contract extension. Brooks was also curious if Devils GM Ray Shero would make that deal or seek a more traditional rental return (first-round pick, top prospects, etc) for Hall.

Should the Flames consider swapping Johnny Gaudreau for New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks is doing his usual spitballing. Hall could be moved by the Feb. 24 trade deadline if the Devils are unable to re-sign him, but the Flames won’t be giving up Gaudreau for him. The latter is younger, healthier, and carries a reasonable contract. Hall is also expected to seek over $10 million annually on his next deal. 

Gaudreau’s been more productive (405 points) than Hall (306) since 2014-15. Injuries hampered Hall’s offensive output during that time. While Gaudreau’s had his struggles (19 points) this season, Flames GM Brad Treliving made it clear last week that he’s not trading the 26-year-old winger.


SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong and team VP of hockey operations Dave Taylor were in Denver watching the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Colorado Avalanche. It’s the second time Armstrong’s scouted the Leafs and he’s had several senior staffers around Toronto games this year. Johnston believes it’s something to keep an eye on as the February trade deadline approaches.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues play the Leafs on Dec. 7 so that could explain Armstrong’s interest. Still, the Blues could be in the market for some depth on the wings with Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Steen, and Sammy Blais sidelined. Maybe they’re eyeballing Andreas Johnsson or Kasperi Kapanen, or possibly a lesser light such as Nic Petan.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Nicklas Backstrom has initiated contract extension talks with the Washington Capitals without an agent. It could be a good sign that the two sides can get something done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July earning an annual average value of $6.7 million on a 10-year contract. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s willing to accept a hometown discount to stay in Washington. If he leaves some money on the table, it could help the Capitals re-sign goaltender Braden Holtby.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2019


Check out the latest on the Canadiens, Predators, and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu wonders if the Montreal Canadiens are hoarding their salary-cap space for a big move at some point in the season. Noting the Habs have over $6.3 million in salary-cap space, Basu points out general manager Marc Bergevin will have plenty of room to go on a spending spree near the Feb. 24 trade deadline if he so chooses.

Mitch Melnick, meanwhile, believes the Canadiens’ recent struggles are indicative of a team in trouble. With Jonathan Drouin sidelined, Max Domi mired in a goalless drought, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi battling a sophomore slump, Melnick feels it’s time to make a significant move for scoring punch before the season goes sideways.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin could be stockpiling that cap room in anticipation of a big trade at some point. Then again, he also had lots of cap space last season and made only minor moves that did little to boost his club’s playoff chances. If there’s a deal to be had that can help his club, one that won’t gut his depth in draft picks and prospects, Bergevin will make it. Otherwise, he’ll bank that cap space and seek more affordable options.

Is Kyle Turris on the outs in Nashville? (Photo via NHL Images)


NASHVILLE POST: Michael Gallagher recently wondered where Kyle Turris stands with the Predators after being a healthy scratch in consecutive games this week. Unless he’s nursing an undisclosed injury or the Predators are saving him for a potential trade, Gallagher finds it puzzling Turris is being scratched in favor of less-productive players such as Mikael Granlund, Craig Smith, and Austin Watson. He feels it’s a situation that could be worth monitoring in the coming days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turris was the subject of frequent trade speculation throughout the calendar year. Despite his improvement this season while bouncing around the Predators’ lineup, his $6-million annual average value is considered a deal-breaker.

Unless the Preds pick up a healthy chunk of that cap hit or take back a toxic contract, they’ll have a difficult time finding suitors for Turris. Banishing him to the press box will keep him healthy if a deal is being worked on, but it could also hurt his value if interested teams can’t evaluate his performance.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion’s been shopping around for a defenseman for his banged-up blueline. Christian Wolanin (shoulder), Andreas Englund (lower-body), Erik Brannstrom (hand), and Cody Goloubef (undisclosed) are currently sidelined. Meanwhile, Nikita Zaitsev is in Russia attending to a personal matter but should return Monday. The Sens recalled Max Lajoie and Christian Jaros on Friday.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 22, 2019


Could the Canadiens make a pitch for Taylor Hall? Where could former Leafs coach Mike Babcock end up? Are the Sabres shopping around for a scorer? Read on for the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


Could the Montreal Canadiens consider acquiring Taylor Hall? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPORTSNET’s Eric Engels took to Twitter citing colleague Elliotte Friedman wondering if Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin will make a big move in this season’s trade market. Engels believes speculation is bound to increase over the possibility of Bergevin pursuing Taylor Hall as a playoff rental. The New Jersey Devils winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

Engels thinks it’s possible, pointing to the Canadiens’ good play this season, their 12 picks in next year’s draft, and their deep prospect pool. So far, however, all’s quiet on this front.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll depend on where the Canadiens are in the standings by February. If they’re riding high in the Eastern Conference, Bergevin could pursue a big-ticket rental like Hall. If they’re struggling to reach the playoffs, it’s not worth wasting assets on a player who might make them, at best, a marginal postseason team.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Mike Babcock wants to take some time and decompress following his firing as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. His contract could be a sticking point, as the Leafs could insist on his new club picking up the entirety of his remaining term. He’s owed $5.875-million annually in guaranteed money for the next three seasons, as well as what he’s owed for the remainder of this season. LeBrun speculates the Seattle expansion franchise could come calling if Babcock’s interested.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton also believes the “Seattle Whatchamacallits” could be among Babcock’s suitors. Others could include the Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks, and Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clinton points out the interest from those existing franchises depends upon this season’s performance. Another missed postseason could spell the end of Bruce Boudreau’s tenure with the Wild. Ditto John Hynes with the Devils. The Sharks have overcome a poor start to this season, but an early playoff exit could spell the end for Pete DeBoer. The same goes for Jon Cooper with the Lightning.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill has made offers for forwards but the trade market is gummed up a bit. There are several teams with players on long-term injury reserve, making it difficult to find a fit within their salary-cap constraints. Some observers believe Botterill would like to make one or two trades soon but he’s got to find the right fit and the right match.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a hot October, the Sabres have cooled off in November. Jack Eichel is the only Sabres to reach double-digits in goals. Sam Reinhart has just three goals in his last 10 games, Jeff Skinner only two in his last dozen contests, Marcus Johansson only two in 13 games before he was sidelined on Nov. 9, and Victor Olofsson only one since mid-October. If Botterill can’t find a suitable scorer or two soon, his club will fall into a hole too deep to climb out of.