NHL Rumor Mill – August 19, 2017

by | Aug 19, 2017 | Rumors | 45 comments

Can the Edmonton Oilers find a way to avoid making Ryan Nugent-Hopkins a salary-cap casualty?

Latest on the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes plus an update on Will Butcher in your NHL rumor mill. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples addressed speculation suggesting the Oilers could be forced to part ways with center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins after this season because of salary-cap constraints and the possibility he’ll be pushed down to the third-line center spot.

Staples thinks Nugent-Hopkins could get choice minutes alongside Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. He predicts the 24-year-old could have a career year and the Oilers will find a way to retain him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt the Oilers prefer to retain Nugent-Hopkins, who’s developed into a good two-way forward capable of filling the second- or third-line center position. However, I must respectfully disagree with Staples’ take.

The Oilers have over $60 million invested in just 13 players for 2018-19. Barring a surge in the Canadian dollar over the course of this season, the salary cap will likely rise to just over $77 million. That won’t leave much room to re-sign or replace their free agents or to bring in outside help to address a roster weakness.

That salary-cap crunch will force Chiarelli into shedding another big contract to free up more dollars. Nugent-Hopkins is the most likely to be dealt. A career performance on his part would enhance his trade value, making it easier for Chiarelli to find a club willing to take on his $6 million annual cap hit. RNH won’t be dealt during this season but I see him on the trade block next June. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander recently reported Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis is comfortable with his current roster, but isn’t ruling out taking action if a deal comes along that helps his club. Addressing team owner Peter Karmanos’ comment that the club lacked a first-line center but had four No.2 centers, Francis notes such players are in limited supply around the league and believes his club is in good shape at that position. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still think Francis will be in the market for a playmaking center this season. There’s speculation he could be forced to draw upon his depth on defense to address that need. If so, I think Justin Faulk would be the likely trade candidate. Last month, Francis seemingly ruled out pursuing Colorado’s Matt Duchene, saying he didn’t want to part with assets for a player who could depart via free agency in a year or two. 

NJ.COM: Chris Ryan reports University of Denver coach Jim Montgomery believes the New Jersey Devils are high on defenseman Will Butcher’s list of potential NHL destinations. Montgomery coached Butcher during the latter’s four NCAA seasons. The young blueliner is now an unrestricted free agent and is currently meeting with several NHL clubs. 



  1. Chiarelli shouldn’t be allowed to have a cheque book, he overpayed in Boston and it cost him his job, and he continues it in Edmonton

    • Yet he has a cup ring from a team that he built. FYI he wasn’t the GM who gave RNH his 6mil dollar contract.

      • That’s right, a cup ring and then total mismanagement. He overpaid almost every player and then it caught up to him, and he’s doing the same there

      • who’s overpaid on the oilers that the current gm signed? except russel?

      • Well, McDavid’s overpaid by about 1.5 million and Draisaitl’s certainly overpaid. Draisaitl’s had one solid season, so now, in Chiarelli’s mind, he’s worth $8.5 million? What a joke!

      • Laurie how many has eichel had ? Is he worth 10 million ? He’s going to get 9+

      • Mcdavid is if anything underpaid and leans deal seems about right. You pay for upcoming performances not past ones

      • I don’t give Chiarelli the credit for the cup in Boston.
        He did add a couple pieces trading away Wheeler.
        But most of the core players were already there.
        Thomas,Boychuk,Marchand,Bergeron,Krejci and Lucic were drafted before him.
        He signed Chara and Savard.
        Traded for Kelly,Siedenberg and Peverley.

      • PC didn’t sign Chara, Jeff Gorton did.
        If you look at what Gorton did as the interim GM in Boston in one off season, it is very impressive.
        Rangers got a good one.

    • Is that why he was let go? Or was it he wasn’t on the same page as his superiors?

      He has turned Edm from a joke to a cup contender in 2 years. He did the same thing in Bos.

      I don’t like either contract, both McDavid & Draisaitl are over paid for me & their contracts will put preasure on player decissions potentially as soon as next summer. Trading RNH next summer would elevate the problem for a year or 2.

      Having on ice success is expensive on your payroll. The players that helped achieve that success want to be paid.

      • Not really striker, he got McDavid by luck. Lucic, term is to long, McDavid and Draisaitl are both over paid. PC was let go because he miss managed the cap and the one good signing he had, he traded away for what is today nothing. Just because you say your OK with the signing, doesn’t mean its not an over payment. He Jacked up Draisaitl demand by signing McDavid first again poor management.

      • Connor McDavid could have gotten a $200 mil contract and still not be overpaid. You should all give your head a shake. Get a couple cups and manage the cap after. Or they will turn into the Capitals…

  2. For fun sake, lets say Lyle prediction is correct that salary cap goes up to $77m and the Oilers need to sign 10 players with $17m to do so, that’s an average of 1.7 per player. Out of the 10 players they have 7 rfa’s; 4f: Strome $2.5, Slepyshev $925, Caggiula $925, Pakarinen $725, 2d: Benning $925, Nurse $863 and backup goalie Brossoit $750. There is nobody on that list taking a pay cut. Nurse will be the interesting one out of the bunch because he might want big money after seeing the money PC is throwing around. They’ll need to upgrade their backup or if Brossoit has a good year he’s going to want more.
    The UFA’s Jokinen $1.1, Maroon $1.5 (actual salary $2m), Letestu $1.8, Fayne $3.625 the only one that maybe returning here is Maroon who salary is $2m which he was making with a season high off 11 goal, now he scored 27 and is still a big physical force, if produces the same type of numbers he’ll be making 3x his present pay. The Oilers will be in a tough spot next season and will have to move someone to get everyone signed. This is what happens when you miss manage the cap.

    • So what you are saying is that Maroon in going to get 6mil on his next contract? LOL
      Every contending team is up against the cap. That is just what happens when you have a good team.

      • LOL KevJam, that’s what I’m saying, if Maroon gets another 27g, he going to have big demands. Any player on Edmonton see the big money being given out is going to want his share. Yes Edmonton is a good team but are not Stanley Cup contenders.

      • Caper ,
        Maroon would be gone without hesitation if his ask was 6 million . Not even a negotiation .

    • not to mention Talbot will be wanting 7 mil for his next contract

  3. I dont see any cap mismanagement here. lots of palatable options to squeeze under cap. unknown ELC players, trading RNH are fine options. only bad deal I see is russel.

    • Russell for certain. And maybe it’s just me, but I get the feeling that paying $6 mil per for the nest 7 years to Lucic may turn out to be problematic. Not saying it’s a “bad” contract – but 50 points from a guy who spent a good portion of the season playing alongside McDavid, and who ostensibly was signed long-term to provide some physical help to the star C but who really did nothing against Anaheim in general and Kesler in particular to give the kid some room, while “chipping in” 2 goals and 4 assists over 13 games, isn’t much for $6 mil.

      • I’ll give you that one.

      • Russell was signed for 2 years . 4 was given to make it happen . Buys them two years for bear paigin jones and a 32 year old Russell at 4 million will have trade value when his no trade clause ends , I’m not saying he will return a top asset by any means but he will be dealt for a pick of some kind or prospect . If he gives us two years as a stop gap top 4 5/6 guy 4 million isn’t a huge price to pay .

      • Lucic wansn’t in the best shape coming into last season. He was asked to loose a some weight. I would expect a better Lucic this season. One that will live up to his 6mil contract.

      • 6 years remaining for Lucic & he signed 1 of those bonus ladden front end loaded deals so trading him 3 years out would be a walk in the park.if moved after July 1st 2021 team acquiring him would have to take the cap hit but actual salary owed would only be 2.5 mil.

        Only problem with that timeline is the NHL will be locked out yet again.

      • Russell logged top 3 TOI/GP minutes last season in Edm, 15 seconds less per game than his partner Sekera. He lead the team in PK TOI/GP for all players & is an elite level shot blocker leading the league for Dman yet again with 213. 4 mil a season is good value for what Russell does on the ice, minutes played & deployment, logs the hardest defensive minutes.

      • If you have to block shots you arnt controlling the puck or getting it efficiently out of your end. Generally the higher the amount of blocked shots the worse the d man

      • There is no statistical data to support that argument. Russell turned to puck over 60 times. At almost 22 mins of playing time being deployed in primarily defensive zone face offs that’s not extreme.

        A bunch of that shot blocking is done well killing penalties when Edm rarely has puck possession.

        Go look at dman being signed at 4 mil +. He’s being paid market value for a dman who was facing UFA status. Sekera’s injury probably even made the monies nominally greater.

      • “Statistically speaking, it’s a fact that 6 of the seven dwarfs aren’t Happy.

    • Trading RNH is a direct result of poor cap management. They would rather keep him but won’t be able to afford to do so. They’ll have to accept lesser value because of his salary and like Hall get less value in return.

  4. It won’t take long [2018-2019 season] before reality sets in for the Oilers. I doubt Draisaitl lasts very long in EDM, paying $21 M per season for 2 centers in a small market isn’t sustainable.
    He’ll be gone within 3 years times.

    • Back to Germany for his day with cup will be the furthest from Edmonton he gets .

    • So just curious. How has it worked in Pittsburgh, which is also a small market, paying Malkin and Crosby?

    • Edmonton and Chicago have the same comparables between their top two contracts.

      Chicago was a multiple cup winner before those contracts were given, not looking good now.

      They have had to send out multiple good pieces over the years. Not to stay competitive, but to become cap complient. They have been weakening every year. When they started winning cups, they had a better all around NHL team and prospect pool than Edmonton does now. Edmonton doesn’t even have an elite Defense. Not a cup contending one in my opinion.

      Chiarelli botched this promising possible dynasty before it even got started. He has shown to have no forsight when it comes to contracts. Lucic was uneccesary at the time and premature to their building. That one is going to hurt the worse in the long run. And everyone claims that the Draisaitl signing was the cap killer here, but he was over paid by only a million or so because I think he will earn that contract. But, in my opinion it was McDavid’s contract that has put the crunch on thier cap. He may or may not live up to that deal (Freak things derail promising hockey careers when your the focus of attention in the NHL), But at least, and it pains me to say it, Crosby didn’t have to break the bank to know he was, and is, the best hockey player in the world. He had his eye on cups more than monetary worth.

      McDavid’s cap hit is going to be a big stumbling block for Edmonton in this current cap world. It has already inflated the value of player salaries. And the better McDavid makes other players, the more they will earn. McDavid may be worth it, but taking that much money and leaving chump change on the table will certainly limit the quality of free agents they can sign and quality of player they can keep. Overall, there seems to be a ripple effect when a player is over paid, even by a very little, that has yet unseen bigger reverberating consequences to that team, over even a decade.

      And the cap probably won’t rise sufficiently each year until the next lockout to offset his and Leon’s huge cap hit. Edmonton may win a cup the next few years, but I don’t see multiple cups. Every current dynasty has had a strong pipeline of talent feeding the team with entry level contracts, where as Edmonton’s is meh.

      When the lockout comes it will dismantle every cap strapped team, and Nashville may be the only cup contender to survive. As an Avs fan in 2003 I saw the great dinosaurs of that era die off-Colorado, Dallas, Vancouver, New Jersey, Philly, etc. Only Detroit survived. That gave way to-Anahiem, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Washington, etc.

      As far as the Avs went, we had to let Foppa and Foote go. Those two leaving alone crippled the Avs beyond repair.

      Edmonton doesn’t even have their cup winning team completed yet, and will now find it difficult to assemble any kind of promising modern day dynasty in my opinion. It’s not all Chiarelli’s fault, but he is either too eager to please the fan base, simply can’t help himself, or just doesn’t have insight into the future cap world.

      • If he didn’t pay mcdavid most of the other 30 teams would have been happy to pay him Bucu and give up 4 1sts. The odds of any of those picks being first overall in a year with a generational talent is slim to none.

  5. Would Arizona benefit from making pitch for RNH? They could use RNH as the #2 as Strome develops in the #3 slot for now. Domi, Keller, Dvorak, Duclair, Perlini and Crouse can fill in the wing spots. That gives them less defensive responsibilities and allows them more free space to generate offense. Stepan and RNH are very good defensively.

    Maybe something like
    to ARZ : RNH and mid level draft pick
    to EDM: Rieder and a 1st

    • Rnh worth a first and player? I’d scoff but stepan retuned that from Arizona so maybe.

      • Arz also moved DeAngelo in that trade. He is a future #1 offensive PP Dman.

        Stepan is a better C than RNH. If RNH played like Stepan & RNH logged #1 ice time in all situations for years in Edm few would really be complaining about him.

        RNH is now a #3 C that can’t win faceoffs consistently. Trading him will prove very challenging & will end up being a salary dump & the return limited when it finally happens.

      • I value them about the same. Stepan better now but he is what he is. Rnh has value in teams hoping he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. I could see a similar return.

    • Arz won’t be trading for RNH. Dvorak looked great as a C in the 2nd 1/2 of last season. He & Strome will be the 2nd & 3rd line C’s, Cousins the 4th. That will push Richardson to 4th line RW.

      Move wingers around as you wish.

      Domi, Stepan, Keller.
      Perlini, Dvorak, Duclair.
      Martinook, Strome, Rieder.
      Crouse, Cousins, Richardson.
      Spare. McGinn.

      That’s a decent top 13. A ton of youth so mistakes & growing pains but Arz doesn’t need RNH, they just need time for all that youth to develop.

  6. I am almost certain that most teams are reluctant to take on AND retain $6m.. Edmonton cannot keep RNH beyond this season for sure.
    Nugent for Faulk straight up.

    • Good luck. RNH isn’t returning anything close to that quality of dman.

      As stated above when Edm is forced to move RNH his value will be even less than today. Playing as the #3 C next season will mean even less points than he generated as their #2.

  7. RNH led ALL forwards in average ice time at just over 21 mpg -2015-2016 season. Face off’s and PK. Some PP points and still very young as a number one overall draft…Points are a little down the list on his attributes…Draisailt will play some wing as well.
    Faulk will demand more in 3 years and I believe plateau’d. Maybe add a draft pick of some sort due for position

    • I am always wary when good players get significant injury that takes them out for long stretches, especially concussions. It isn’t the injury so much as the psychology of the man.

      When Landeskog played his first year in Colorado, he was a machine, a menace on the ice. But when he got that concussion in his second year, he hasn’t been the same player.

      A concussion destroyed Mueller’s career.

      Duchene started losing effect and being a perimeter player after he broke his arm, and isn’t quite the same player.

      Some players turn shy after an injury, some are simply damaged. Occasionally some players come back stronger and push through the fear, but those are rare. I have always disliked Crosby because the media force feeds him down our throats, and paints the picture that everyone else are just extras in Crosby’s show. (Now McDavid is the entire worth of the NHL.). This wasn’t an issue before Sidney came along.

      But I have grown some respect for Crosby for pushing through all those concussions that almost beat him down, and coming back stronger each time. That is strong character, and I appreciate that. I still want to decide on my own who I think is great, but Crosby has made a little case for himself with me lately.

      • before them it was mario and gretzky. the nhl markets their stars like the other big sports leagues… its s good marketing strategy. the nhl doesnt protect their stars which is pure bunk.

  8. Just curious if a trade between Edmonton and Montreal makes any sense. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Tomas Pleckanec. Both will earn 6 million this season. Habs need an offensive centre. Oilers could use a veteran centre who can play both ends of the ice. Obviously there’s an age difference. Pleckanec is an UFA in 2018. Once McDavid’s contract kicks in next year, Edmonton will need to shed some salary. Habs have the space to make this work and would still have over 8 million to spend. Just a thought.