NHL Rumor Mill – October 4, 2016

by | Oct 4, 2016 | Rumors | 68 comments

Don't expect Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov to receive an offer sheet.

Don’t expect Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov to receive an offer sheet.

Latest on Nikita Kucherov and Kris Russel, plus an update on the Anaheim Ducks in your NHL rumor mill.

TSN 690 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Bob McKenzie looks at the potential cost to the Tampa Bay Lightning if restricted free agent right wing Nikita Kucherov signed an offer sheet with a rival club. Should the Lightning match, it would create a salary-cap nightmare for them, giving the Bolts limited cap space to re-sign Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat next summer.

The cost for a rival club signing Kucherov to a deal worth between $7-$7.5 million annually would be a first, second and third round pick. The Lightning would also have to shed considerable salary to become cap compliant before the season opens next week.

McKenzie also notes the rarity of offer sheets these days, in part because a team that goes that route could one day find themselves in the same situation as the Lightning right now. He also points out a number of teams already have limited cap room for the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames have sufficient cap space to offer up a $7 million per season offer sheet to Kucherov. Of those clubs, the Panthers are well-stocked with scoring right wingers, the Oilers need blueline depth and the Jets, Sabres, Ducks and Flames have key RFAs of their own to re-sign. While the Hurricanes and Devils could certainly use a winger like Kucherov, they’re not expected to pitch an offer sheet to him or any of the other unsigned RFA forwards.

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reports unrestricted free agent defenseman Kris Russell and his agent overestimated this summer’s free agent market. With the start of the NHL season only a week away, Russell remains unsigned. Spector notes only 13 teams have more than $4 million in salary-cap space, and some of those (Calgary, Buffalo, Anaheim) still has prominent restricted free agents to re-sign. While Russell could end up signing with a club in the coming weeks, he won’t receive the same money that he might’ve gotten in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No question about it, Russell and his agent blew it. There’s talk the Flames want to bring him back, but that depends upon how much cap space they have left once they get young superstar winger Johnny Gaudreau under contract.

Of the teams that could afford Russell, rule out the Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Anaheim Ducks, Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers, as they’re already deep on defense. The Stars have no interest in bringing him back. That leaves the New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins and maybe the Buffalo Sabres as possibilities. 

NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford believes the Anaheim Ducks are primed to make a move. He notes RFAs Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell remain unsigned, NBC Sports’ Pierre McGuire telling TSN 1040 last week the Ducks were in trade talks with an Eastern Conference team to unload a “significant salary”, the club giving plenty of preseason playing time to young blueliners Shea Theodore, Brandon Montour and Jacob Larsson, plus the club’s already limited salary cap space.

With Lindholm expected to be re-signed, the Ducks could shed a blueliner. One possibility is Cam Fowler, who was linked this summer in trade rumors to the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens. Simon Despres could be another option as he lacks a no-trade clause. Veteran Kevin Bieksa’s age (35) and no-movement clause makes him difficult to trade. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Buffalo Sabres were also very interested in Fowler back in June. I daresay the Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers might be interested in him. Fowler would net the Ducks the best return, but the Ducks can’t afford to take on significant salary in return. Moving Despres and his $3.7 million annual cap hit through 2020-21 might be the better option. Trading Bieksa is possible, but also unlikely at this stage of his career. 


  1. NJ keeps coming up as a team that could use some D which is probably true, but with what I have seen of them so far this preseason they may have found a guy in this Johan Auvitu and with another year development of Sandinista Severson & Merrill the addition of Quincey Lovejoy it’s starting to look like unless it was a definite upgrade in the top 4 I’m not like a Fowler Trouba etc I’m not sure there is a as big a need or rush as some let on and I’m definitely not sure that Russell would be the answer.

    • NJ is my sneak pick to boot either NY teams back out of the playoffs… Better team… cap space… master trader at the helm…

      • He needs a top 4 RHD imo if he is a master trader that should be the target of his Jedi mind tricks. Down the left side they actually line up pretty well on D but if they could land a guy like Trouba
        Greene Trouba
        Aviutu Severson
        Quincey Santini
        Lovejoy (7th)
        Isn’t horrific

      • How in the world is NJ better than either NY team? I’ll throw Buffalo in that question as well.

      • I have NJ finishing 12th in the east. I had them 14th but bumped them up 2 spots after signing Quincey. I have both NY teams as locks to make the playoffs.

      • Not saying who they are better than but they only had 3 less wins than the Flyers last season and the Flyers made the playoffs…I think the Devils improved this offseason so I think they may not make the playoffs but they will be in the hunt, particularly if they can find 1 more significant upgrade to the top 4

      • I have the standings far tighter this season in both conferences. I have NJ finishing in the same spot, 12th as they did last season. I think most teams improved more than NJ. Carolina, Buffalo, Toronto, Montreal & Columbus will all be better teams making wins harder to come by for everyone.

        I think Carolina & Montreal will both finish higher than NJ in the standings this season possibly even Buffalo still undecided on that 1.

        I’ll keep tweaking my projections right up to opening night as injuries, trades & prospects solidify their spots or not.

      • I have NJ’s D now as follows but I don’t yet know what to think of Auvitu who’s come out of now where & played very well. He might play forward he might play D I have no idea.

        Greene, Lovejoy.
        Severson, Quincey.
        Moore, Merrill.
        Auvitu, Helgeson.

        I don’t see Santini making it out of the gate now. He looks to be getting seasoned 1st in the A until injuries open up opportunities. Helgeson, Merrill & Auvitu are better suited to sitting if necessary. Santini needs to play to develop playing large minutes in the A. Ideally Merrill does to but I have concerns about his future in the NHL. To young to write off but hasn’t really shown any progression, in fact he appears to be getting worse.

      • NY… that is why NJ is my sneak pick.

        Sticky… Lovejoy proved he is a solid number 5.

        striker… only locks I have for east are tampa, florida, wash, and pitt… its a crap shoot for the rest.

      • 3 less wins but 12 less point due to the NHL’s asinine points structure.

      • Honestly I don’t think NYRs will miss Yandle at all. Being a Pens fan, what did you see in Yandles post season performance?

        They also lost Moore, Stalberg and Boyle. Out of all of them, the biggest loss was Moore.

        They brought in Grabner, Pirri, Holden, Glendening, Vesey ( I don’t think he even makes the NY club out of the gate) Zbad, Buchnevich, Mcilrath, possibly Skjei.

        This is a younger, bigger, faster team that looks like the will be able to roll 4 lines with no problem.

      • they didnt bing in Z… they swapped brassard out… good trade dont get me wrong but probably favors OTT for a season or two. “They brought in Grabner, Pirri, Holden, Glendening, Vesey ( I don’t think he even makes the NY club out of the gate) Zbad, Buchnevich, Mcilrath, possibly Skjei.” grabner has crapped out of multiple teams now… speed is going down and has concrete hands. pitti… good signing… got nothing to say about that. holden is a bottom pairing d… yandle was at last middle pairing. skjei was absolutely the bright spot of the rangers vs pens series… going to be a good one but not liekyl this year. rangers made some moves towards the future and IMO should do that some more this year. Mini rebuild could kill it for rangers cause right now they are a borderline playoff team.

      • Grabner was brought in to kill penalties & play 4th line minutes.

        I have Zibanejad to be better than Brassard this year. All the kids will be better. Kreider, Hayes, Miller, Fast, Lindberg when he’s fit to play. McDonagh slides back to the #1 PP after lossing that role to Boyle & Yandle.

        Skjei & Buchnevich are both studs that appear ready but may have to pay their dues 1st & I think this is the year Stepan final puts it all together for a full season.

      • Stepan?

    • Not sure Russell in the “answer” for any team, but he is a good reliable defender with experience who would help any team he is a part of.

      • If he can help any team and is truly reliable I’d suggest he wouldn’t still be a ufa with just over a week till the beginning of the regular season, As Lyle mentioned above Russell and his agent gambled and misjudged their position thought he should be paid and have term like a or was a top 4 guy and 30 GMs currently feel differently about that.

      • I wouldn’t say 30 gms feel differently about its more about moving money around right now

    • I really like Severson. I have never been as down on NJ as posters like Striker. They are a type of team which can find a good team system, play well together and surprise many.

      Oh and Striker. I’m not taking a knock at you. You have sound reasons I can’t really refute as to why you think the Devils will perform so poorly. I just think for whatever reason they are going to be better than how they look on paper.

      • Jeff.

        You know they’ll play a solid system. It’s not that I have them getting worse I just think most other teams are getting better with the possible exception of Detroit & Ottawa. It’s going to be incredible tight battle for the last 2 playoff spots in the east.

      • this is where I disagree… I saw both ny teams get worse.. philly do nothing…boston not really do much about their biggest needs… buff not get a real starter… col/car not do nothing… of the teams ighting for a plyoff spot in the east the only team to get significantly better was nj.

      • Carolina added Aho, Teravainen, Stempniak, Stalberg & Bickell. Rask & Lindholm will be better as will those 3 rookie Dman Hanafin, Slavin & Pesce. Nor do I see Faulk missing 18 games this season.

        I have Carolina as 1 of the most improved teams in the NHL. They can actually ice 3 lines that can score & my have the best young D in the NHL. Generally a recipe for disaster but Slavin & Pesce were revelations last year.

        Skinner,Rask, Stempniak.
        Teravainen, Lindholm, Aho.
        Nordstrom, Staal, Nestrasil.
        Bickell, mcClement, Stalberg.

        I don’t know about playing all 3 kids together but that’s a solid improved roster.

      • fair point about carolina. again… with exception of the leafs and buffalo… whole east is a crapshoot for all but the top 4.

    • Holden was a top pairing guy in Colorado, but will be expected to hold down the 3rd pairing. Grabner still has good speed and highly unlikely he will ever be asked to be a top 6 guy.

      I have to say Buchnevich who I doubted made the club this year looks VERY solid.

      And I also have to say, whatever Glass did in the offseason should be mandatory for all Rangers. I’m not saying he’s going to be a hart / rocket Richard candidate. That’s not exactly his job. But his speed has increased insanely! I have no doubt AVs unending love for him will only be amplified times 10 this year. Again, this isn’t a Dave Bolland type guy? , but he is what he is. And what he is, is NYs most physical guy.

      Miller Stepan Zuccs
      Kreider Zbad Buchnevich
      Vesey Hayes Nash
      Gerbe/ Pirri/Lindberg/ Grabner/Glass

      Slice up the lines however you wish. It still looks better than last year.

      Add in

      Mcdonagh Klein
      Staal Girardi
      Holden/ Skjei Clendening / Mcilrath…..
      Still better than last year .

      My best guess is Girardi will be sat at times to make sure Mcilrath gets his 40+ games.

      After watching Yandle in the playoffs last year, I’d have given Buchevich, And Duclair to get rid of him. He almost made me miss John Moore! Lmao

  2. Hey guys I didn’t find time yesterday to respond to yogi and Shticky regarding my Trouba comments and his demands. So I’m am taking liberty now. I don’t actually believe any thing all 8 can do is take people at their word. After all the media types had Vesey making all kinds of unreasonable demands like a requirement of top 6 position and it turns out non of that was true. He is perfectly happy to earn ice time and if he is bottom 9 he doesn’t seem to mind any more than any other player who is striving to be better.

    So you all can believe the media types who have been wrong before regarding rumours of player demands. I will trust the person directly that it concerns till I see a reason to not.

    • As it turns out, Vesey could very much end up in Hartford to start the season.

      I can’t see NY in on Fowler. Unless they can move Girardi or Staal. As it is, Holden, and Clendening are making a serious case for roster spots. Which is going to be complicated. AV sounds like he’d like to let Skjei develop a bit more before seeing any time in NY.

      Mcdonagh Girardi
      Staal Klein
      Holden Clendening
      Mcilrath as their 7th.

      • I have Skjei making NYR playing with Holden on the 3rd pairing.

      • That being said Skjei is the only Dman that doesn’t have to clear waivers from that group to be sent down. He may have to go down until injuries come into play. Some teams carry 14F & 7D but most carry 13F & 8D.

    • Again I wonder if he would have a problem playing his offside if he was making 6 mill per or if he would turn down the contract and still hold out and demand a trade? Either way doesn’t say much for a team guy.

      • He’d prolly sit and Polish the players skates for 6 million. Yet it isn’t going to fall in his lap and I believe he believes that if he gets stuck on the left side for an extended period he won’t show to the powers that be how good he actually is and won’t earn that 6 million contract people want him to earn. Basically I am thinking he wants a big pay day. Who wouldn’t? I think his demand is more about being afforded the chance to earn a big pay day. Not a simple demand if pay it to me at this moment

      • True Shticky but today’s players have two teams; the team on the ice and the NHLPA. When players maximize salaries it’s good for them all. That’s their collective bargaining right. I am not sure it effects team chemistry for a player, who others view as valuable, to demand more. I posted your same sentiment several weeks ago and forgot who shared the NHLPA angle with me, but I have given it some thought and could have merit.

        Take Gaudreau, for example. I would gather that players on that team really like and respect him; however, I wonder if the same is true for Trouba. I haven’t really seen any evidence to suggest this is not true of Trouba, but Gaudreau certainly is a valuable piece of the Calgary team.

      • Not saying anything about his collective bargaining rights Steven if he wants to go that route fine, but don’t play the victim and claim it’s not about the $

      • Shticky just wondering if you could make more money in the future by getting moved to a different position with a company would you?

      • Who wouldnt bbb but I would accept the responsibility of my action and say it was for more money, not that I was more comfortable doing the exact same thing on the other side of the rink. Guess that’s the difference.

      • Oh and by the way Bbb yesterday you argued that Trouba wasn’t doing this for the money…so which is it?

      • Just wondering if you would try to better yourself or just settle

      • And by the way I said more money in the future not his current contract! If he doesn’t think a certain side suits his game to be his best ability and will affect him in the future than why not? It’s like drouin being played on the 3rd line that’s just bad coaching and drouin got what he wanted a top 6 role

      • Shticky it is always about the money. Name me a player in today’s game who isn’t after making more money and just wants to volunteer his services cause he just finds the game fun.

      • Jeff yesterday you were another one who said it’s about playing on his offside and maybe he wants to move for the future…and you would take him for his word blah blah blah…today you’re also singing a different tune. If he got the money he wanted in the first place his agent wouldn’t be whining about playing his offside now would he? That’s my point you can take him at face value and say it’s about down the road yada yada yada all you want it’s about money and instead of looking like another greedy athlete he is playing victim by saying he would be worth it if he played the right side. And money or not he is trying to dictate what he makes and how he is played….it’s his right yes but I’m not going to sugar coat it and say if only I could play the right side…

      • Shticky I am not signing a different tune. I either did not express myself properly yesterday or you misunderstood it but I will go an cut and past both comments one after the other so you can decide. I think he wants to play on the left side in order to have a better opportunity to EARN that big pay check that he and every breathing soul on this planet who has a brain that can think about more things than food, sex and sleep know won’t just be handed to him

      • This is what I said yesterday the 3rd. Simply cut and pasted. Oh and the number 8 was supposed to be the letter I.

        “Apparently this 15 min man isn’t demanding a huge contract but simply the chance to play to his highest potential to allow himself a chance to earn that big contract. There are lots of calls from people say he earned nothing. Well how is he going to earn anything playing his offside.”

        This is what I said today the 4th.

        “Hey guys I didn’t find time yesterday to respond to yogi and Shticky regarding my Trouba comments and his demands. So I’m am taking liberty now. I don’t actually believe any thing all 8 can do is take people at their word. After all the media types had Vesey making all kinds of unreasonable demands like a requirement of top 6 position and it turns out non of that was true. He is perfectly happy to earn ice time and if he is bottom 9 he doesn’t seem to mind any more than any other player who is striving to be better.

        So you all can believe the media types who have been wrong before regarding rumours of player demands. I will trust the person directly that it concerns till I see a reason to not.”

        I am absolutely misled that these two comments can be claimed to be expressing different things. What posters like shticky and others due, I believe through no deliberate fault of their own is place an ad hominem argument to counter a sound argument from another. They instead attempt to attack the person making the argument rather than the argument being placed as if that defends their position or makes them more righteous and as such gain value their opinion even if it is wrong. It is something people should strive to prevent themselves from doing. Oh and yes I can see the irony of posting this comment.

      • Shticky you just read what yiu want and not what is typed, of course it’s about money you stupid a**!! But why wouldn’t you want to be on the best side for your game? It’s like trying make a right handed pitcher use his left hand of course he won’t be at the top of his game! And his future contracts will be less duh!

  3. I think Ray Shero will swoop in and steal Simon Despres for a 2nd or 3rd round pick.

    • Steal? A guy signed for way too much money that hasn’t proven he’s a top 4 d-man, can’t stay healthy, and couldn’t crack Shero’s team back in the day? Doubt it!

      • Despres is a kid. Just turned 25 in July & has less than 200 games of NHL regular season experience. He played 33 games for Pittsburgh in the 2012-13 season, the lock out season, as a rookie, then split his sophomore season between Wilkes-Barrie & Pittsburgh before becoming a full time NHL player playing 59 games before Rurtheford moved him to Anaheim.

        3.7 for 5 years will seem like very good value if he can over come lasts season concussion.

      • 25 years old and less than 200 games… that says something… big gamble at 3.7 on a late bloomer.

      • Most NHL Dman don’t even make it to the NHL until 22 & then play limited games in year 1 nominally more in year 2 before finally becoming NHL regulars.

      • I’d love to see the stats on that… seems like we are seeing more 19-20 year olds playing than previously. I watched Despres play for awhile and he shines for about a minutes then craps out for the rest.

      • Just off the top of my head but go to NHL.com & look at D by team ages & games played.

        Krug, Brodie, Barrie, Savard, Klinberg, Dekeyser, Klefbom, Spurgeon, Scadella, Dumba, Beaulieu, Josi, Ellis, Moore, Severson, Merrill, McDonagh, Goistisbere, Schultz, Shattenkirk, Parayko, Stralman, Gadiner, Hutton, Orlov etc. All had similiar games played at 25 to Despres & if not for a serious concussion last season Despres would have played 50+ more.

      • Big if. Your a nerd if that was off the top of your head ?. Despres is a huge buyer beware. Like trump huge

      • Freak for sure. Never really been a nerd. Haaahahaha

  4. All RFA offer sheets if longer than 5 years are divided by 5 for the purposes of setting compensation. So 7 years at 7 mil per is 49 divided by 5 or 9.8 million for determining compensation. The draft pick compensation would be 4 1st round picks.

    See link below


  5. Carolina’s #6 Dman appears to be Murphy, Tenneyson or possibly Fleury. Nashville’s, Carle, Weber or Bitetto, Winnipeg even with Trouba playing has Stuart, Postma, Starit or Chiarot as their 5 6 Dman. Any of those teams could use Russell.

    • Buffalo has 6 Dman now in Risto; once signed, Bogosian, McCabe, Franson, Kulikov & Georges.

  6. Look out Leafs smell blood in the water.

    • Oilers will be unbeatable when we get trouba and fowler

  7. Is it me or does anyone else think a deal has already been done between Kucherov and TB ? Just waiting to open up space via the DL. Sure it’s a stop gap but it gives Yzerman a few more weeks to play with.

    • I assume Yzerman has a plan. As soon as Callahan is placed on LTIR, he will have the cap space until Callahan returns giving him 4 to 6 weeks to work out a solution. Callahan is due back mid to late November.

  8. The Lightning have $6.23M in available cap space. But with that said, that won’t re-sign you Kucherov. Yzerman has to unload either Stralman or Bishop, with Bishop obviously being the most valuable. Vasilevskiy is the future and they need to showcase that now, so that they’re not handcuffed again, when Bishop is set to become a UFA, or losing him to Las Vegas for nothing. Maybe try to line up some sort of trade in the ‘now’ timeframe.

    To Tampa: 2nd
    To Jersey: Stralman
    To Tampa: 1st + Ward
    To Carolina: Bishop

    Then Yzerman can try to pick up Russell for $3M per year and re-sign Kucherov. I know that aren’t trades that are possible, but it might bring some trade brainstorming from people in here. But knowing how some in here only judge others and are scared to post their own trade scenarios, mine won’t be enlightened upon with a better trade example, but trolled. Oh well.

    • Stralman isn’t being moved. 1 of the best transional Dman in the NHL today. Many won’t like him as he isn’t physical & gets over matched physically but that’s not his role or responsibility. Very sound positional, rides out & contains his assignments. Has a great contract. 3 more years at 4.5. He is TB’s #2.

      Bishop will be traded or become a UFA. Either way he’s not ending up in Las Vegas.

      • They’ll have to deal somebody if they hope to sign Kucherov, especially with Callahan coming off LTIR in November. Trading Bishop might be the answer, but it isn’t going to be easy finding a trade partner at this stage of the season. And nobody wants the over-priced and over-rated Garrison.

      • Once injuries hit & teams lose out on getting a Fowler, Trouba or even Russell the last UFA Dman with a pulse Garrison may be appealing to someone.

        Garrison has played as a top 4 Dman for the last 6 years. TB’s #3 since arriving for a 2nd round pick. Just another brutal Benning trade giving away assets for nothing.

        The wiggle room Callahan provides even if only on LTIR for 6 weeks may be enough wiggle room for TB take make the monies work for the season.

      • Garrison was terrible last year if he doesn’t have a bounce back yr he will have trouble finding work

      • Not likely. Not enough to stock 30 teams never mind 31. Garrison probably plays 5 more years at least the next 2 as a top 4.

        I thought he played well last season. He was awesome for TB in the playoffs as well.

      • Striker how can you say he played well last season? Even garrison said he had a bad year after the season

  9. That’s what I think. I still believe deep down Yzerman can’t keep all his RFAS for next year. Out of the big 3 Johnson and Drouin won’t be moved ,Palat is my choice to go.
    Ship him and a dud contract and it solves a lot of cap issues. This way they can keep Bishop to the end of the year if they need to. Sure they can lose him for nothing but TB won’t be the 1st team to let a FA walk.
    Either way the click is ticking.

  10. Clock..

  11. Lightning will probably have to trade somebody like Filppula or Callahan if they can’t trade Bishop. They should’ve saved some of that $$$$ to resign Kucherov instead of giving Killorn & Hedman such big deals.

    • Good luck trying to deal those two over-priced stiffs.