NHL Rumor Mill – July 31, 2017

by | Jul 31, 2017 | Rumors | 52 comments

Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford remains in the hunt for a third-line center.

Updates on the Penguins, Rangers and Golden Knights in your NHL Rumor Mill. 

 NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz reports the recent re-signings of Brian Dumoulin and Conor Sheary leave the Pittsburgh Penguins with just over $3 million in salary-cap room. The focus now shifts to bolstering their checking-line depth at center. Given the limited options available via free agency, Gretz believes Penguins general manger Jim Rutherford will have to explore the trade market. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports Rutherford said knowing how much cap space he has left after re-signing Dumoulin and Sheary makes him more willing to trade for a third-line center.

Mackey notes the Penguins have $3.28 million in cap space, which doesn’t leave much room for UFA Matt Cullen if the 40-year-old decides to return plus leave a $1 million cushion for 2017-18. However, Rutherford doesn’t anticipate having to send out much salary to bring in a third liner. Mackey said that means they don’t have to trade someone like Olli Maatta if they don’t want to.

Rutherford tells Mackey there’s been more talk in the trade market now than there was earlier in the month. He also said he’s spoken with Cullen but the veteran center still hasn’t reached a decision yet on whether he’ll return for one more season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this month, speculation linked the Penguins to Colorado’s Matt Duchene ($6 million annually) and Toronto’s Tyler Bozak ($4.2 million). However, it sounds like Rutherford seeks affordable options worth less than $2 million. Rutherford could target teams looking to shed some salary. He could also wait until training camp to see if the market opens up.

Cullen earned $1 million last season and I daresay he’ll get the same from the Pens if he decides to return.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently observed depth at center could be an issue for the New York Rangers. Mika Zibanejad will be expected to take over the first-line center role previously held by Derek Stepan, who was traded last month to Arizona. Kevin Hayes could move up to the second-line center spot, David Desharnais could become their third-line pivot and the fourth line spot could be decided in training camp. New York Post columnist Larry Brooks recently suggested the Rangers pursue Toronto’s Tyler Bozak. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks suggested the Rangers offer up defenseman Nick Holden for Bozak, who’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. However, t’s doubtful the Leafs are keen to make that swap. The Leafs could use a little more experienced depth on defense but not at the expense of moving Bozak this year.

I think the Leafs and Rangers will wait for training camp and preseason to fully evaluate their respective rosters before deciding if they need to make additional moves via trade. Even then, it’ll likely take more than Holden to pry Bozak away from the Leafs this year.  

Fox also speculated that Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee will likely shop veteran forwards David Perron and James Neal at next year’s trade deadline for draft picks, preferably second round selections.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perron and Neal are eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. If they enjoy playing in Vegas and perform well for the Golden Knights, McPhee could try to re-sign one or both. But if they’re keen to test the UFA market, I agree with Fox’s assessment that they’ll be shopped for picks. 



  1. “Jason Mackey reports Rutherford said knowing how much cap space he has left after re-signing Dumoulin and Sheary makes him more willing to trade for a third-line center.”

    More or less what I said a few days ago when some were lamenting the total absence of ANY of the trade talk that had been predicted for this summer. GMs have to know what their respective RFAs are going to cost them before they can even think about roster-augmenting deals. And there are still a few arbitration sessions to go. Trade will start to happen early in August.

    • Lyle – do you have a list of the remaining RFA arbitration hearings as well as which RFAs without arbitration rights needs to be signed?

      • What’s the hold up in Edmonton, PC couldn’t wait to announce McDavid who had another year before his elc was up and now can’t get Draisaitl signed. Personally I think PC played this wrong. He should’ve signed Draisaitl first. Maybe the fact he was in such a rush to get Connor under contract at such a huge amount he didn’t realize the affect it might play on Leon. Draisaitl could be sitting there saying “yes McDavid is better then me but is he $5m per season better, plus I more goals and points then him in the playoffs.”
        If PC had of bridge or did a $7m per signing with Draisaitl first maybe it wouldn’t be an issue now. It’s apparent that Draisaitl wants more then Edmonton wants to give; otherwise he be signed.

      • It’s July 31st, training cap is still over 2 months away, the start of next season still over 3 months away. There are a ton of player signings to come, RFA’s like Draisaitl, or RFA’s & or UFA’s with 1 year remaining who were all eligible to be extended like McDavid on July 1st.

        I think McDavid’s contract effects everyone, it sets a new threshold. It’s all about leveraging the best deal possible. The closer we get to the start of the season the more leverage generally to the player as most teams capitulate, most but not all but there is no rush.

      • Many thanks Lyle.

      • So, looking at that list of arbitration hearings it should all be over from THAT respect at least by Friday August 4, although with 2 possible exceptions I don’t see any of them standing in the way of trades by their respective teams. Those exceptions might be

        NYI whose Calvin de Haan has his hearing on August 2, and right now, with $6,934,167 in cap space his new hit will see a significant jump from last year’s $1,966,667, so that will be whittled down quite a bit; and

        Buffalo which, with $10,921,309 in cap space, have to finalize the contracts of Nathan Beaulieu (cap hit of $1,000,000 last year) and Zemgus Girgensons (no arbitration) who will get someting higher than his last $1,150,000 – although not much,, so those contracts shouldn’t stand in the way of trades.

        But the link above also shows Johan Larsson as having his hearing today, but at the same time, CapFriendly shows him as an RFA in 2019-20 (his current hit is $1,475,000) – so what gives?

        That’s also true for Colorado’s Matt Nieto whose hearing is shown for today but CapFriendly shows him attaining RFA status in 2018-19, LA’s Kevin Gravel whgose hearing is Aug 2 but they show him too as an RFA next year.

      • I’d assume Draisaitl is hoping Eichel signs an extension soon. A big number there would give him a ton of leverage.

      • The season starts oct 4 Striker that is 2 months away so training camp is a little over a month away.

    • Yes you did say that George. As I was one of those lamenting the non trade summer thus far. Thanks for your insight; however, there still aren’t a lot of big deal trades to worry about like the Subban/ Weber blockbuster. The Duchene trade will only be a surprise with respect to Sakic actually showing he can make a decision. Oh well hockey itself is more exciting than trades anyway.

      • Right now, I’d settle for a passel of roster fill-out deals to keep things perking.

  2. Still do not understand the Rangers center moves yet but the team+Gorton surprised me to start last season. Hayes had 49 points as the 3rd pivot and DD had 14 for the Habs. So we lose 35 points and age 5 years.

    • Are we just going to transpose these players #’s from last season to next season. I’m struggling with the thought process

      Hayes moved up to play as the #2 when Zibanejad went down last season, you could even argue that NYR played 3 balanced scoring lines with Stepan, Zibanejad; when not injured, & Hayes all getting quality wingers but not the same quality of icetime.

      I’m comfortbale with Zibanejad, Hayes & Desgharnais as the top 3. I’m curious though as to what the final solution in the #4 spot will be. Do they go young; 5 options, Andersson, Lettieri, Tambellini, Fogarty or Fontaine, with the hopes that player moves in front of Desharnais by the All-Star break or do they bring in a veteran checking C at some point either on waivers or in trade?

      • I did understand Zib was out for good chunk which added to Hayes #s. DD is still not the 3rd line center I want but he could proof me wrong with two good wings to go along with his speed.

        If Gorton finds a 4th line option internally that keeps Rangers flexible to add salary if they can contend

  3. On that note Pittsburgh should consider Riley Sheahan if they can pry him out of Detroit. Detroit needs to clear cap space, Sheahan has 1 year left a 2.075 mil & will be an RFA following next season.

    He had a terrible year last season offensively but that should make the cost to acquire cheaper, good skater, decent face off guy & meets the limited salary requirement.

    • If he came cheap and Detroit held half mil or so could be a good effort. him at 1.75 and Cullen at 1 fills the pens depth nicely.

      • Dare I say it Chrism i like the way you are thinking Sheahan and Cullen…well done..not sure Detroit will take back salary though since they are trying to shed it…

    • There is no limited salary demand. If there is a deal for a Duchene to be had I’m sure they will take it. Sheahan is not good enough to play 3C on the Penguins and there is no urgency to settle for a player who appears to be in decline just because of his low cap hit. And Cullen is going to retire. He just is. He wants to actually help raise his 3 boys and he is going out a back to back champ. That is a fairytale ending to a very good career. The Penguins are not going dumpster diving for a 3C. Ideally they will find someone that can play with Kessel, that’s not Sheahan.

      • Dee i agree i wanted Matt Duchense too…but it seems like a pipe dream man $3.25 cap space and a $6 million dollar contract….people don’t want to give up Olli Matt and that’s the only way to remotely think about Matt Duchense.

        I would love a third line Duchense Hornqvist Hagelin.

        my next choice is matthew Perreault this guy is skilled, fast, can skate and fits Sullivan’s system and is locked in for 3 more years at $4.2 he and Olli Matta’s salaries perfect match a 1 for 1 swap. Perreault will score 20 plus with Pittsburgh.

        Sheahan is young and can skate needs a change of scenery he isnt terrible..but Perreault is an upgrade offensively over Nick Bonino

  4. Jets D is very weak outside of Buff and Trouba. The Rangers could offer up Holden for Perreault.

    • What about Enstrom, Myers who missed all of last season essentially, Morrissey & the just signed Kulikov as a UFA. I’d say their top 6 is set & no room for Holden.

      Enstrom, Buffy.
      Kulikov, Trouba.
      Morrisey, Myers.

      That may be 1 of the best top 6 D’s in the NHL, not top 4 elite like Anh, Min, or StL but solid depth across the top 6 & they still have Chiarot & Melchiori as depth guys, 7/8 bench warmers.

      • Pairings are tough to determine but Kulikov maybe better suited for 1st pairing minutes as more of a stay at home type with Buffy. Move them around as you wish.

      • Myers 3rd pairing for 5 million lol, he was a head case in Buffalo. Never seen a guy with such a lack of confidence.

      • Some teams have the luxury of spreading the wealth over 2 or 3 pairings but when specialty ice time both SH & PP is factored in still log top 3 or 4 minutes. Is Seabrooke a 2nd pairing Dman? Not really but he anchors Chi 2nd pairing, Keith their 1st. Look at Anh’s D, all 6 play similiar even strength minutes, only specialty teams really alters total TOI/GP. Don’t confuse the pairing a Dman plays on with what he is.

        What I was trying to address is that Winnipeg has no holes on D at present & no room for another Dman. They also have some solid prospect Dman coming in Stanley, Poolman, Green & the wildcard Niku.

        Myers maybe many things but solid top 34 NHL Dman, warts & all.

      • True but hopefully the goaltending works out.

    • The jets defense is amongst the top 5-6 in the league. Their defensive system is very weak, if anyone needs a new coach its the jets

      • Thank you Taz I have been saying for I don’t know how long! Get a new coach Jets!

      • You wonder how far they’d go with a defense-first system such as Boucher applies in Ottawa. It may not always be pretty – but there’s no denying its effectiveness. The only thing is, how many on the current Jets roster – especially the F – would “buy in?”

  5. Why do I get stupid pop up win a free iPhone ads when I go to this site or hockeybuzz? So annoying! Brand new iPhone, no viruses or whatever and I clear history but almost every time I get pop up iPhone ad…has site been compromised?

    • Clear your browser history and delete your cookies. Ads will come back but you can clear your cookies again if you get those annoying ads.

  6. Pens should explore moving hagelin. Not sure what market there is for him but even for a nominal return they could free up space for a more pricey third liner. I’d say target Marchessault from vegas.

    I also think if mcfee plays his cards right neal might be worth a first come deadline, perron a second… depending on if the have average to better than average seasons.

    • With what McPhee has done so far Vegas fans would be happy if he lands a 2nd for Neal within this decade.
      Normally, a player with Neal’s pedigree should easily be worth a first and prospect. The guy averages 34 per year per 82 games over the last 6 years. Its not like he’s an over the hill guy, he’ll be 30 when the trade deadline rolls around.

      • I would dearly love to see Ottawa make a p;itch for James Neal – he’d be a perfect addition at LW on that 2nd line rather than enter the season with fingers crossed that MacArthur can survive early season heavy contact.

      • James Neal will yield a nice package at the deadline.

        Pens reunion perhaps?

      • I imagine if McPhee let it be known he’d listen to offers at any time between now and the trade deadline (especially IF he gets any inclination that Neal is not interested in playing out the string in LV), there would be line-up of offers to pour though, including the Pens.

      • God I hope not. Guy is a total 💩. Malkin would be happy though

      • Never heard any details about that in any official way chrisms – other than in these fan sites. What’s the scoop thatleads you to that conclusion?

      • The Pens don’t need wingers they have more than they can use. I’d rather work Sprong and ZAR into the lineup for good than bring Neal back. Although I could bring my Neal jersey out of the back of my closet.

    • Ok Chrisms I knew agreeing with you about Sheahan and Cullen wouldnt last…LOL Carl Hagelin is very valuable in so many ways with his speed, checking and penalty kill. Pittsburgh is built on speed you don’t want to trade that away.

      Marchessault has had one good year and Vegas isn’t giving him up….

      • Agree with the Hagelin assessment. I really doubt Marchessault will have anywhere near the year he had last season. especially playing with Vegas. Why wouldn’t Vegas be giving him up though? they seem to be hell bent on giving anyone up for next to nothing.

  7. Would it make sense for Rutherford to offer Hagelin and Pouliot to the AVS for Soderberg and a 3rd?

    Soderberg only makes 750k more than Hags. He can play #2 or #3 center (better suited 3rd) and clearing out another winger the Pens can give more i.e. time to some of their younger talent. Soderberg is also 9 yrs younger than Cullen.

    Sadly though..Cullen doubled up Soderberg in pts last season lol. I chalk it up to the team he plays on as opposed to Soderberg being that bad.

    • How many years for soder? If it’s 2 or less I’d say that’s interesting. Especially if pens land butcher to flesh out d prospect cubby. I’d rather have an overpaid third center than an overpaid third winger with pens wing depth

    • I hate Crosby..first of all I hate that stupid title reeks of stupidity jealousy…but here goes your idea of carl soderberg to the Penguins well Soderberg sucks….period

      • Agree on all counts. Dumb name and bad trade idea. Soderberg is not the answer and that is giving up way too much to get him. All these people trying to throw Pouliot away in every trade for nothing are going to feel dumb some day soon.

      • Maybe. But he bit the dust for three different coaches and the crap about him looking over his shoulder is namby pamby bs. Sometimes a bust is just a bust. Goodness do what hope I’m wrong but….

  8. Penguins will win the Cup
    again! They have a moderate defence which continues to get the job done and two centres, Crosby and Malkin, who go get the puck themselves when the defence cannot get it up to them. This plus the fact that nobody else seems to want the Cup right now. The Penguins won the Cup against Nashville despite riding a very empty tank. The Preds and Sharks the year before just seemed happy to get there. Penguins beat Oilers this year and then Edmonton takes over from there. The steady stream of Cups north of the border between Edmonton, Toronto et al will start by the end of this decade! This of course predicted here by me, Steven on July 31, 2017!

    • Did you also predict that they would squeak into the finals this year on the strength of a knuckle-ball double-OT goal in a game 7 against an “upstart” team that many had missing the playoffs completely? LOL

      • Gather round young whipper snappers! I gonna tell you bout the time… oh… back in aught 17…. when the sens got as close to the cup as they ever will… that ol Kunitz, with his fire breathing eyes and laser hands knuckled a pick past Anderson. I remember those almost filled stands collapsing like a lung punctured with a broken hockey stick. Why? WHY!?!? Why did I have to be on my deathbed without ever seeing my beloved team get to the playoffs again? WHYYYYY!!!!!!

      • You do seem to pick and choose what posts you answer when asked a direct question don’t you? But that doesn’t stop you from chiming in with your so-called wit as and when you feel the urge. At one time I did consider you something of a wit myself – but now I realize I was only half-right.

    • yeah that’s not happening… Toronto not for a bit maybe Edmonton soon….

  9. To all the veteran hall of famer’s and legendary contributors to Spectors on here George O Striker Chrisms Taz Nyr4life you guys

    im newer on here so thoughts
    obviously i’m a big penguins fan hence the title

    penguins need a 3rd line center i think matthew Perrault woul be a great fit he is under control for four years, is an upgrade over Nick Bonino offensively and cheaper by a bit.. he will score 20 with Pittsburgh with his speed, skill and shot.

    a Ho do we get him without giving up Olli Matta? the salaries are almost identical so a 1 for 1 swap would be easy.
    b. the penguins have $3.25 in cap space Perreault makes $4/183 how do we get him?

    everyone talks about Bozak, Sheahan, Stahl soderberg and even Duchense for a moment at one point..perreault is a stud


    • Hi