NHL Rumor Mill – March 1, 2018

by | Mar 1, 2018 | Rumors | 106 comments

Ongoing post-trade deadline fallout plus a brief look ahead to the offseason trade and free agent markets in your NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin set a high asking price for left wing Max Pacioretty leading up to Monday’s trade deadline. The Los Angeles Kings inquired about Pacioretty, but Bergevin sought center Tyler Toffoli, 2017 first-rounder Gabriel Vilardi and possibly more. He also sought a return that included Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild. Friedman suspected the Canadiens target Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck but he Panthers didn’t want any part of that. He also believes clubs inquired about Canadiens’ winger Brendan Gallagher but those conversations were short.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t blame Bergevin for seeking a significant return for Pacioretty. The Habs need a package that helps them right away and over the long term. I don’t see the asking price going down this summer, especially if more teams get into the bidding for Pacioretty. As for Gallagher, he’s not going anywhere unless he demands a trade, and I don’t see that happening. 

The Ottawa Senators’ attempt to include Bobby Ryan in a potential trade of Erik Karlsson to the Vegas Golden Knights may have killed the deal. (Photo via NHL Images)

Friedman thinks a potential trade that would’ve sent Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson to the Vegas Golden Knights fell apart over the Sens’ wish to include winger Bobby Ryan in the deal. There were rumblings part of the deal would’ve included two first-round picks, a top prospect and a conditional pick based on whether the Golden Knights re-signed Karlsson. Friedman believes the San Jose Sharks told the Sens they could take on Karlsson and Ryan. Tampa Bay, Washington and Nashville are also thought to have made inquiries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Senators weren’t so insistent about adding Ryan to the package, Karlsson might be skating with the Golden Knights today. Ryan’s declining production and $7.25-million annual cap hit through 2021-22 makes him difficult to move on his own. Package him with Karlsson and that’s a deal breaker, at least at the trade deadline. Maybe they’ll have better luck this summer. 

There wasn’t a market for Buffalo Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Lehner didn’t have as much value in the trade market as previously assumed. Perhaps that changes during the offseason. His injury history and the fact he has arbitration rights this summer likely crushed his value. 

The Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets pursued winger Rick Nash before the New York Rangers shipped him to the Boston Bruins. Friedman speculates the Ducks may have had interest in Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nash is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. If he doesn’t re-sign with the Bruins or return to the Rangers, perhaps the Ducks or Jets come calling. 

Before the Los Angeles Kings acquired winger Tobias Rieder from the Arizona Coyotes, they took a look at Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nyquist carries a $4.75-million annual cap hit through next season. If the Wings weren’t wiling to pick up part of it, I daresay that played a part in their decision to go for Rieder and his more affordable $2.225 million for this season. 


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently observed there is potential for a lot of player movement news this summer. Topping the list, of course, is what New York Islanders pending UFA John Tavares decides to do by July 1. He also anticipates the Erik Karlsson and Max Pacioretty trade discussions could continue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t get any vibe from Tavares suggesting he’s keen to leave the Islanders. Yes, it’s certainly possible that he will, but everything I’ve heard from him seems to indicate a willingness to stay put.

You can bet the Senators and Canadiens will be hoping for more suitors flush with extra salary-cap dollars will get into the bidding for Karlsson and Pacioretty. 

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and LA Kings blueliner Drew Doughty, who are both a year away from UFA status, will attract interest. Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson must decide if he’ll re-sign or test the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams with a long-time need for a top-two defenseman (looking at you, Edmonton and Toronto) will likely monitor Ekman-Larsson’s situation very closely. If he proves reluctant to re-sign with the Coyotes, there will be a big bidding war for his services.

Doughty could do the same with the Kings, but I believe they’ll will find a way to get a contract extension done. He’s invaluable to the Kings’ defense corps. 

Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak are due to become UFAs. The Leafs must also re-sign restricted free agent William Nylander and decide if they’ll re-sign Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner a year before their entry-level deals end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews, Nylander and Marner will be in line for significant raises. Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello has a well-earned reputation for playing contract hardball with young players, so it’ll be interesting to see how things go. Unless Lamoriello can get those three under contract for well below market value, van Riemsdyk and Bozak are goners this summer.  

The future of Vancouver Canucks forwards – and pending UFAs – Daniel and Henrik Sedin will also garner attention, as will where Ilya Kovalchuk eventually ends up. LeBrun also wonders how much it’ll cost the Tampa Bay Lightning if they attempt to re-sign Nikita Kucherov this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  If the Sedins are willing to accept affordable, bonus-laden one-year deals, I think the Canucks will bring them back. I believe Kovalchuk’s preference will be signing with either the New York Rangers or New York Islanders. Kucherov accepted far less on his current contract with the Lightning. He could seek at least $10 million annually on a long-term deal. 



  1. And so it begins. Exactly 7 minutes into a rebuild and here comes Kovalchuk! Lol

    • And Tavares

    • Hey Nyr4life,

      That’s the exact same way us Leafs fans feel when everybody and their dog is added to the list of who we should sign. Stamkos didn’t sign with us, Tavares won’t, Karlsson won’t, Doughty won’t be coming either. Fun, isn’t it? Guess that’s part of being a team in a big market. I personally, don’t see why the Rangers would be interested in Kovalchuk if they are in a rebuild.

      • I agree. Pass. I’m not saying Kovalchuk can’t help a team. But no thanks.

        If he wants to be close to Brighton beach so badly, NYI’s are a better match.

      • As a Devil’s fan Lord knows I don’t want him ANYWHERE near my team.

  2. The Leafs better not pay Mathews double digit millions and come up with some sort of transparent bridge strategy. He is not McDavid, Malkin, Crosby or Kane. Even Koptiar for that matter.

    Toffoli involving Pacioretty is not a bad idea and starting point. Secondary pieces could get that done

    • Maybe he isn’t any of those players. But are any of those players available to Toronto today? Because if I’m Mathews agent, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

      You really can’t do these kind of comparisons when negotiating. It’s not about what Crosby, Kopitar mean to their teams. Mathews IS Torontos Crosby…. And they’re not landing anyone close to Crosby, Mcdavid etc if they decide to play hardball with Mathews.

      Eichel got 10 million. You can guarantee Mathews is getting 10 plus.

      • Matthew’s reps would be nuts to take anything less than Eichel…he will be close to McDavid’s contract no doubt. Lou’s paying him whether he wants to or not. He can play hardball all he wants in the end AM gets the big offer sheet and Lou will pay or let him go for unproven draft picks and if it’s a good team the picks will be low. You know what you so pay the kid

    • So what’s wrong with Matthews? 40g in his rookie season, 28 goals in 53 games this season, help lead the leaf in what will be two playoffs in a row. Of the players you listed, which ones would you trade Matthews for today? I’m a huge Crosby fan but I wouldn’t be giving up Matthews for him, or Malkin, or Kopitar or Kane. That leaves McDavid and all I know today is Matthews scored 40 goals in his rookie season and 28 goals in 53 games this season. McDavid also has 28 goal this season but in 63 games and isn’t able to lead his team to the playoffs. With that said i’m not paying Matthews double digit contract yet.

      • Extend 3 @ $7M/yr now and then 8 @ $15M/yr in his last RFA year …. Total $141M.
        (11 years) …. if they do 8 @ 11.5 now ….$92M…. then when he’s 29 it might be only 6 @ $12M because he is at high end of prime to start the contract… that’s $164 M (14 years) .extra $23m…. but risky in that anything could happen to his health over next 8 years but much much less likely over next 3…. same risk in deal for leafs

      • There is absolutely no reason to pay Matthews any more than a bridge deal unless an 8 year deal is very favorable for the Leafs – which I’m not expecting. I really don’t know why Edmonton went out and didn’t bridge McDavid given they paid top end for McDavid. Not saying he isn’t worth, they just didn’t have to do that.

        Given that, I don’t see the Leafs paying double digits when a bridge is available to them. Lou is as good as they come on this sort of thing.

        Regarding the comments above on Matthews not being as good as Malkin or Kopitar, Malkin has never been this complete a player and Matthews is a very similar type player to Kopitar in terms of 200 foot with the added benefit of being far better offensively.

      • I guess it depends on the player but if Toronto wouldn’t be willing to pay Matthews double digits, someone else would.

        He’s a player you invest in and build a team around and unfortunately, they don’t come cheap.

      • Mathews didn’t lead the leafs to the playoffs either , Freddy has .

      • The leafs can either sign Mathews to an 8 year deal or match the offer sheet that comes his way . Bridge deal on Mathews ? Are you crazy ? He will be signed this summer to 8 X something between eichel 10 and Mcdavid 12.5 , with the cap going up my guess is 8×12 . Lou will not expose Mathews to offer sheets , just like Chiarelli wouldn’t with Mcdavid , these would be the rare times when offer sheets would come out .

      • trekie… malkin is a far more complete player.

        and Mathews is worth 4 1st rounders. He will get close to a mcdavid deal or sign with someone else

      • All offer sheets are amortised over 5 years for determining compensation. The system isn’t structured for anyone to do so & should a team do so the team with the player will simply match.

        No NMC’s nor NTC’s can be included in offer sheets I believe, not certain but the last 1 was Weber & he didn’t get any form of protection.

        Offer sheets are to onerous to both the team making them & the player. Totally structured to the benefit of the team who holds the RFA.

      • In my opinion.

      • I like Mathew, and I like Malkin. But neither guy could ever be a Dave Bolland!


      • Who could. And with that reasonable contract too…

    • Maybe the Sabres overpaid for Eichel, but he’s making 8X10.

      Draisaitl makes 8.5.

      In all honesty he has scored 68 goals in 135 games. That’s on pace for over 40 goals a year on full season, it his first few years. And that’s with Hymen on his wing.

      I think you will sadly be mistaken if he doesn’t ask for at least McDavid money. The cap is going up again and MCD took a pay cut.

      I won’t be surprised is Matthews Is the highest paid player in the league on his next deal.

      • Chrisms, I don’t agree. Malkin is no where the player is in his own end as Matthews is already and Matthews will get better. We can agree to disagree on this point.

      • Watch the playoffs this year and how rockin malkin is in his own end. Shall revisit in june

      • I bridge all players at fair market value for 2 to 3 years & then if studs sign them to huge 8 year deals.

        That way these players don’t become UFA’s at 26, 27 or 28 but 2 to 3 years older, the age where most start significant declines in offensive production.

        Who wants 1 of these players coming up for UFA status at 29 like McDavid? To resign him then he’s going to end up getting 1 of those 5 to 8 years deals we hate seeing veteran UFA’s signing today, carrying him at a huge cap hit well into his late 30’s.

      • Your teams superstars poached by other teams.

      • Malkin has won cups and put up huge playoff numbers, Matthews hasn’t done anything in NHL yet. Matthews couldn’t hold Malkin’s jock.

      • How come Matthews as a center can’t put up more assists? 30 assists? Hardly a playmaker like McDavid. McDavid plays with terrible players around him.

    • Matthews is one of the more effective 5 on 5 centers in the league, and his production is a little slowed by the fact he doesn’t get near the power play time of other #1 centres. The Leafs will be paying him $10-$11.5M for the next 8 years. This deal will actually constitute better value than deals like Kopitars, Toews, or Kanes at the time they were signed, simply because the Leafs will be using a smaller % of the available cap than those deals, and they will be buying a better group of years (21-29) instead of having to buy a bunch of years that are more likely to be in decline.

      This isn’t to say that it’s a cheap deal, but there just isn’t much space to save a lot of money, and Matthews has to choose to accept a bridge deal, and there is little incentive for him to do so. While he has limited recourse under the CBA, nobody can make him sign a deal that doesn’t make sense. Matthews can literally only raise his stock by winning a Richard, Art Ross or Hart Trophy, so he has no incentive to take a smaller paycheck for a couple years and then really take a much bigger deal.

      When Players take bridge deals, they typically do so when they know there is considerable room for them to perform, then ask for much more. Kucherov and Subban are great examples of this. Subban increased his original ask by around 80%, and Kucherov is set to do the same.

      Matthews is right now in the ballpark somewhere between Eichel and Matthews. He would need to win a Hart and Art Ross to get to say $13M range (assuming the cap increases). Given how much it would take for that to happen, and how little of a real increase that would represent, he has no reason to want that, and what argument can you make as a GM to get him to take something less than what Eichel got? It’s not as if he’s just a solid 1A center who still needs to prove he’s an elite player.

      • Danny, very nice assessment. I know my comments leaned towards bridge vs double digits. I’m fine with very low double digits on Matthews. I can see 8×11 and I’m in and I think Lou is in on that number.

      • Well said Danny. I get the argument that a bridge deal benefits the team, makes perfect sense. Most player do not have leverage and usually accept far less on a longer term deal than they will be worth, some have the confidence to take the bridge and then cash in, like the examples you gave.
        Elite players like Matthews, McDavid etc know they have leverage and that the team wants them for as many prime years as they can get them for, and both parties are very confident that the player will continue to get even better barring injury and drive the annual cost up even more. History is on their side.
        Do you want to play hardball with the player that is the key to your success for years to come?
        I believe they negotiate a long term deal somewhere between McDavid and Eichel.

      • Chrisms, fair statement. My hope is I get to watch Malkin again the Leafs in the playoffs – just a hope. Good luck to Pitts, they are a favorite for final 4. I don’t see them getting to the cup – but I didn’t see them getting there last year either. Love what Kessel brings to that team. I’m so glad he is succeeding there. I always like him here, we just didn’t have the players to complement his game.

    • Don’t agree with that Silver Seven. Can you honestly say that McDavid has had a larger impact in Edmonton than Matthews has in Toronto? Check the standings.

      Toronto will have no choice to pay it and give him the C. Do you think Eichel deserved what he got?

      • Matthews is the best player in the NHL right now. Well rounded game. Still has a lot to learn, however he is better than McDavid and will be paid accordingly.

      • You really can’t compare the two teams and use one man on each to compare one another. You’re telling me that if you swapped Mathews and Mcdavid that that move would see Oilers higher in the standings? The biggest factor between the two teams in my opinion is goaltending, team construction, coaching, and then the addition of one superstar. In my opinion, I’d take Mcdavid or Mathews if I had to have one or the other. Not saying their is a big difference in the two, they have much different games, but Mcdavid has shown year after year he is top three in the league at getting points.

      • When mathews is put of the line up Toronto keeps winning. When mcdavid is put of the line up edmonton keeps losing. Who has more impact. You got me.bit I certainly think Mathews is one of the best in the game an will get well over 10 million and he deserves it.

      • Eichel is close to point per game playing on a line with Girgensons, Pominville, Okposo, Kane lol, Eichel playing with terrible players put up great numbers, also Buffalo has lowest scoring defense in league, players even stats need help. Eichel is 21, most players don’t become what they really are for 3-4 seasons(look at Mackinon breakout year), I’m happy with his points and 10 million.

    • Mathews is pretty darn close to those players named. If mcdavid is 13 mil. Mathews certainly is worth 10 at the least.

  3. I’m a big fan of Pacioretty and a bigger fan of his contract, but Bergevin is out of his mind.

    The expression “hang up the phone” gets used a lot, LA and FLA literally should have hung up the phone and then laughed hysterically at those asks.

    Also, this notion that John Tavares is going to leave the adrift ship he knows to jump on the Habs’ sinking ship is silly.

    The problem for Tavares is, how many winning teams will need and have room for him? He might end up a Leaf after all.

    • The Canadians ownership group is out of its mind for continuing to employ Bergevin.

      • Agreed but Geoff Moulson is as much to blame for this mess as anyone.

    • Well said MG, I couldn’t agree more with you. I wouldn’t trade Toffoli straight up for Pacioretty let alone just throwing in the team best prospect.

  4. One of the best storey lines to come out of the trade deadline, that didn’t garnish much attention but should’ve in my opinion was the fact Paul Stastny waived his no trade clause to go to Winnipeg! It’s often reported that Winnipeg is the number one team or most often appears on the list of no trade. Good for Stastny, good for Winnipeg and good for the NHL. Winning trumps everything for most players.

    • he only has to go for the end of one winter and into the summer. pretty sure anyone could suffer through that to get a shot at the cup.

    • I agree. I was listening to XM91 & apparently Armstrong & Winnipeg accomplished this in just over 24 hours. Came out of no where.

      StL has moved a solid UFA asset 2 years in a row, Shattenkirk the season prior. Very unusual business decisions but obviously Armstrong doesn’t feel his team can go any where in the playoffs.

      Winnipeg has a serious shot but unfortunately they will need to get by Nas in the 2nd round. I hope we get to see that series. Tuesday nights game was awesome.

      Would love to get to Winnipeg to feel the vibe in the community. Must be very exciting & cool for the city & fans.

      • Well the Blues lost like 7 games in a row, after last year getting hot after the Shattenkirk trade. STastny going to Jets opens the door for Kings, Avalanche, along w/ Sharks/Ducks if they don’t stay in top 3 of Pacific to make it as Wild Card. I think Flames will miss out having 2/3 California teams in the top 3. Last team Vegas wants to play in 1st round is Kings who have best road record in West. I thin Tampa has the best road record, so that is the worst team for Knights to face round 1.

        Nashville has a lot of expectations to do well or make the SCF. Though they could be playing a tough team in 1st round to not even make the 2nd. Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Avalanche, Kings, Ducks, Sharks all could be options. Jets just have to stay healthy while getting decent play in net. They had a few key injuries but kept on going strong when had every excuse to choke or lose. I wasn’t impressed w/ Rinne in the SCF at all. Winnipeg is so over due to win something. SEattle sold 25K tickets when had a goal of 10K to almost lock in coming as expansion team. I just hope they name the team Kraken not scrotums or totems among some other stupid options ;). Least Kraken is a cool name with many depictions that can be used to show or express it. Just as long as they don’t throw squids or anything on the ice or catfish like Nashville ;). They have a strong fan base for Seattle teams, this guy in NJ used to have season tickets for Seahawks that knew from fantasy keeper league for example. Just hope they don’t use laces on the uniform to look like some untied shoelace :). They should have a nice rivalry w/ Kings and Knights. I know many are saying Vancouver but those are the teams I expect things to get heated :). Lewieske or whatever who don’t get enough credit for turning Kings around will make sure to beat them every game they can :).

  5. If , as I believe , Pens make it to at least ECF…. then around draft week to FA day…. trade Kessel and Hunwick straight up for Parayko; flip Hags for something; sign Kov for
    2 years at 8.0/year…. I truly believe that PK will start his output decline next year and it is likely to be a rapid one …. Parayko is an extremely good D and on the rise….Kov, Malk, Horns …. Yikes

    • “Parayko is an extremely good D and on the rise…”

      He’s also locked up at 5.5 per for a while….

      Which is why they aren’t trading him for Hunwick and Kessel.

      How does Kessel fit into St. Louis. And why does Hunwick fit?

      More importantly, How does shedding 9 million and adding 13.5 work? That’s not counting Hornqvist new deal and everything else they have to deal with next year.

    • Kessel and Hunwick aren’t nearly valuable enough to get Parayko, especially considering that a team that just moved out a veteran while near the playoffs means this team is very much interested in managing assets efficiently. So Trading a 24 year old D signed at 5.5M for a 30+ winger with a cap hit of $6.75M isn’t a move that will fit with their MO. That isn’t a shot at Kessel, I don’t think he has ever gotten the respect he deserves for how consistently well he plays, but given the fact that the league has a dearth of solid RHD, I don’t see any team giving up a young one for an aging winger, no matter how good they are currently playing.

      • Realize it is a lingshot … and I’m the one who see’s the decline in PK coming next year…. but every broadcast I keep hearing the lauding of PK and how he’s worth more than the $6.8 Pitts paying …. if he has a stellar playoffs like last two … value remains …. if say Pens retain $1.0M ….. and don’t forget than Hunwick is going in this deal come hell or high water …. LOL…. I think St L might take the deal …. they are screaming for offence

      • Hunwick is actually a negative though. How does adding him help with the deal.

        The problem obtaining a good young skilled D, is that unless they are made available for internal reasons, chances are the amount you would need to pay in order to make a team consider moving them would be just way too much to consider paying the price. It is very ill advised to go and try to pry a young D from a team, PC in Edmonton is proof of that.

        If Pitt was trying to move on from Kessel, they would be better served looking around the League for players who might legitimately be on the block, from GMs a little more willing to stir things up.

      • Pengy, or Stl could just keep Parayko and wait for Fabbri to be completely healthy next year and use the money from Stastny to go shopping for some offense in free agency.

        This sounds a hell of a lot more logical to me than trading one of the leagues brightest emerging defenseman for a declining Kessel and completely useless Hunwick.

    • So basically you are implying that the Penguins should give up Kessel for Kovalchuk? Any idea why you are not the manager?

      • I do feel that next year Kov at 35 will produce more than PK at 31…. but I am really interested in the poised playmaking Parayko… I live in Toronto and can just remember sitting on my dad’s knee watching the last cup in ’67…. so at heart I’m a Leafs fan …. but my favourite player is #87 and for last 10 years my fav team is Pens …. very very close second is Leafs …. so if Parayko can come to either team … I’m good…. what about Weee Willy, Gardner and 1st, for Parayko , Kyrou, Fabri

      • This just gets worse and worse!

      • OMG are you serious Pengy? I’m not even going to respond to this one.

    • The Pens wouldn’t trade Kessel for Parayko. That’s ridiculous. For starters, the Pens top 4 defenseman are all tied up long term at $4+. They don’t need or want another one and can’t afford another one.

      Second, the idea that Kessel will declime soon is crazy. If we know one thing about Kessel, it’s that he doesn’t exactly put a lot of wear and tear on his body. He’s a player who should hold up well into his 30’s.

      • Kessel isn’t know to keep himself in good shape, especially in the off season. These types of players usually decline quicker than, say players like Marleau who keep in good shape all year round.

      • Hi Roku, I respect all views here. I know I am in the minority on PKs future value. I have actually watched over 600 games that PK has played (Tor/Pitt)… only a handful when he was a Bruin. In the last 3 years he is definitely appearing way more winded after every shift, he has gained weight in each of last 3 years; and if you watch his shifts closely he is actually skating (actual distance) less this year…. more gliding; and idle up hide ready for spurts. So far his absolute natural talent is rewarding him… but I do foresee a few more ponds over the summer and a little more being winded and his point total will be less next year and rapidly decline thereafter… his asset value will never be higher than late June this year…. why not trade him …. re Parayko back …. yes more $’s on D but gives flexibility in a trade for say Doumolin or Malta…. if a winger near same value is around for a swap… all just my opinion …. if I didn’t truly truly truly (and I do) believe that this IS PKs peak year…. I wouldn’t trade him

      • Maybe if they throw in Amanda Kessel too?

      • Hi Roku, I respect all views here. I know I am in the minority on PKs future value. I have actually watched over 600 games that PK has played (Tor/Pitt)… only a handful when he was a Bruin. In the last 3 years he is definitely appearing way more winded after every shift, he has gained weight in each of last 3 years; and if you watch his shifts closely he is actually skating (actual distance) less this year…. more gliding; and idle up hide ready for spurts. So far his absolute natural talent is rewarding him… but I do foresee a few more ponds over the summer and a little more being winded and his point total will be less next year and rapidly decline thereafter… his asset value will never be higher than late June this year…. why not trade him …. re Parayko back …. yes more $’s on D but gives flexibility in a trade for say Doumolin or Malta…. if a winger near same value is around for a swap… all just my opinion …. if I didn’t truly truly truly (and I do) believe that this IS PKs peak year…. I wouldn’t trade him

      • So this fat winded guy is going to land a “rising” top 4 young d-man cost controlled for 4-5 more years, with the added bonus of taking Hunwicks deal?

        Lay off the hard sell would you!

    • cause the core group of the pens has performed so poorly the past few years…

      • “Kessel isn’t know to keep himself in good shape”

        “and if you watch his shifts closely he is actually skating (actual distance) less this year”

        You are suffering from confirmation bias – you see what you want to see. But OK. Judging by his play this year, the more Kessel glides, the more he scores and the better all around game he plays. Lets hope that he keeps gliding even more.

      • Kevjam, regarding your Kessel statements and his workouts- absolutely untrue. He is known to work with Gary Roberts in the offseason. I know he appears winded all the time, this is more a result (so I have been told) of the meds he is on due to the cancer he had.

    • Good luck with that. I don’t see StL moving Parayko who they just signed for 5 years at 5.5 this summer.

  6. This offseason is where Lou is going to have to start getting crafty. After that $6.25mill for 3 years for Marleau signing Marner, Mathews, and Nylander is going to be difficult. Then there is also Gartner, who is a UFA after the 2018-19 season.

    • I have had this discussion many times with my sons… Marceau coming in was a smart move … 3 years was dumb…. should have paid him more per but only for 2 years …. the third year is the killer… because of the signing bonus structure of his contract … Marceau can play the very first game in Oct of ’19, collect $17.5M of the total $18.75…. retire right then (just after turning 40) … and Leafs are stuck with $6.75 M cap for the entire season

      • Sorry that’s $6.25 not 6.75

      • I see the Leafs having to trade Marner or Nylander for top pairing the d-man they are needing. The issue with that again is that d-man is not going to have a cheap cap hit. So then again they are back to where they started.

      • Pengy, Marleau’s contract was a function of UFA and other suiters. The Leafs did not have a 2 year option. I don’t disagree the risks on year three will potentially be substantial – but it’s only one year. I don’t think it’s any cause for concern.

        Marleau has been a very good add to team, more so will be what he brings in the playoffs.

      • Trekkie , what has marleau done in the playoffs over the course of his career ? On some great regular season teams ? He can teach the leafs young guys how to exit early gracefully . He’s had lots of experience with that .

      • there is always robidas island.

      • Not in this case Chrisms , his age at time of signing means the leafs have that hit for the 3 years unless marleau decides to allow a move to the minors or a trade . Not sure which one is less likely haha

      • @chrisms. Marleau is a 35+ contract. He can be bought out but only at his full cap hit and for the full duration of his contract. Also he can be sent down to the minors, but his full cap hit is still counted towards the Leafs cap. There is no way out of his contract until after its third year.

      • I don’t think 35+ contracts are exempt for LTIR, they just don’t come off the books when a player officially retires. Robidas was signed as a 35+ player, and he has his own island made of LTIR space.

        I don’t think this is likely for Marleau, unless he actually suffers a somewhat severe injury at some point. I think the Leafs will be left to deal with that contract for the 3rd year.

        That contract by itself won’t hurt the Leafs for re-signing their current young players, but it does make it hard to add for that 3rd year in particular, or to plan to add before that 3rd year. They could offset things a little by getting Nylander and/or Marner to bridge, but I think that could be dangerous as well. I think right now Nylander and Marner would be line for Ehlers type money, but after a bridge they could be pushing Draistl money, and that is a lot of additional cap space.

        The Leafs do need to be careful with contracts going forward. Lou has managed to get very solid deals done for the likes of Hyman, Brown, Kadri, Rielly, but seems to overpay for leadership and grit. Marleau wasn’t a bad add, but $6+ million is a lot for 20-25 goals. Martin was a bad pick up, and Zatisev got way too much money for that term after such a limited showing, and that deal looks particularly bad this year with him actually taking a big step back this year and looking really lost in the NHL.

      • Especially considering most here, including Lyle, didn’t think Marleau would even be in the NHL past this season. To old, skills diminishing, etc. We had that debate going back almost 2 years. I said he would & be handsomely paid to score 20 to 25 goals for someone. 3 years at 6.25 certainly qualifies.

      • @ striker. Slow 👏

  7. Lehner has always been overrated, he has done nothing since his rookie season

    Please tell me, other than the cap space they have, what could SJ realistically offer to OTT for Karlsson, other than taking Ryan? they don’t have any high end prospects other than Timo Meier. None of their young d-men are high end

    • IMO it would probably start with Martin Jones or Aaron Dell with a high d-man prospect. I really don’t know much about the Sharks prospect pool but I am sure they have a couple good defencemen in the prospect pool.

    • Kevjam, I’ve said this many times. The Leafs drafted Marner ahead of Hanifin as this is who Mark Hunter wanted. I trust Mark Hunter and so far I believe we made the right move. They are not going to turn around and deal Marner for a defenseman. They will figure that out internally or in two years. I believe the same is true for Nylander. It was interesting to see Lou’s press conference after the deadline. Lou never gives up anything but clearly stated Nylander or Marner were not an option.

      • IMO the only way that the Leafs get a top pairing d-man is to either trade for one that will include either Marner or Nylander, or sign one.
        Signing on is pretty much out do to Marleau’s contract so, that leaves the trade route.
        Just because Lou picked Marner over Hanifin (win win situation imo) doesn’t mean Lou won’t trade him for another d-man who just maybe better and more developed.

    • Craig, the fact that he has played a ton of playoff games is enough. That’s the most important element he brings. The fact that St Jose has not won is not on Marleau – please don’t try to hang that on him. SJ had some pretty good runs, unfortunately they faced better opponents.

      The Leafs will be facing better opponents this year. The big difference is Marleau is not the key element on the Leaf team as he was in SJ.

      • Kevjam, there are plenty of other ways the Leafs get a top pairing defenseman besides trade. Marleau’s contract will not be an impediment if UFA is an option. There are significantly smarter people involved then you.

        Have a nice day.

      • Very true, but that can’t stop me from having my opinion.
        A question that I have for you is, if the Leafs sign Marner, Nylander, and Matthews with Marleau’s contract still on the books how would they get another 6mill+ contract, which is the least a top pairing UFA d-man would bring with him, under the cap?

    • Lehner’s #’s, specifically his SV% are solid to exceptional in & of themselves. Considering he has played for the worst & lowest scoring team in the NHL since he arrived in Buf meaning they play almost every game from behind the fact Lehner has played as well as he has is shocking.

      I need someone from the Buf organization to confirm these rumours & BS to me. I’d gladly pay Lehner 4.5 to 4.75 on a 4 year deal to be my #1 goalie.

      If Lehner really moves on this summer someone is getting an exceptional good goalie at solid value.

      • Ullmark from AHL will play in Buffalo next year. I rather just have him play with a veteran back up. I don’t get the feeling that Botterill will re-sign Lehner

  8. Bergevin is dreaming if he thinks he is getting anything close to the proposed packages for Pacioretty.

    Montreal has to make drastic changes. Time to move on. It feels like they will wait and throw everything at Tavares if they get that chance.

    I doubt they will and because so they will have much of the same for next season and be abysmal.

    • Agreed. I think part of the high ask on Pacioretty is because he and the rest of the Habs wingers, are really the only enticing thinks about the Habs to try and lure Taverese. Fat chance, I know, but without him their is none. Oh, and if as expected Pacioretty is trade (or at least gives up the captaincy) Gallagher is the next captain of the Habs, no question. He was a little young last go round but is in a prime spot now. Weber is too old compared to Gallagher so forget Gally trade chatter in any and all cases.

    • Kevjam, the Leafs have taken a distributed approach to defensemen. The biggest reason is they don’t at the moment have a stud. This is no different than what Pittsburg has done winning two cups. Reilly is on the cusp of being a top tier defenseman. I love what Zaitzev brings as does Babcock. Gardiner is already a top endish type defenseman and may not be back after a year. Dermott looks to have all the right skills and hockey smarts as do 5-6 guys in our system today. No guarantees on whether any of them will become NHLers – I get that.

      I suspect we will continue using a distributed defense alignment, not relying on that one big stud. We’ll see how things progress.

      I wouldn’t get too hung up on Marleau’s third year. So many options there including him being very productive that year. I get that’s the year alot of our young guns will get paid. It will be interesting to see how that is resolved, but it’s a one year problem with Marleau. Not a big deal.

  9. To Kevjam re Marner or Nylander for #1 D post you had …. what about …..Weee Willy, Gardner and 1st, for Parayko , Kyrou, Fabri

    • Not to sure. I am a big Parayko fan, I have him in my fantasy hockey along with Nylander. At the same time I really haven’t paid too much attention to Gardner. I just know Leaf fans talk about him a lot and like him.
      Also I really don’t think St. Louis is interested in trading Parayko.

  10. What about a Marner for OEL dead this Summer?

    • What’s the financial situation like in Arizona? Would they be willing to pay Marner somewhere between 6.5 to 8mill after his ELC?

  11. I’d way rather have OEL than Marner, Chayka won’t make that trade.

    • Well if just looking at assets anything is possible but factor in the business side of the game & OEL is 1 year from UFA ststua free do go or sign where ever he wishes. Marner is cost controlled & doesn’t have UFA rights for 5 more years after this season.

  12. Why not pay Matthews long-term just like Eichel, McDavid, Crosby, etc? There’s no comparable available to replace him, and the deal will look better as the cap increases. Comparing him to another superstar is akin to comparing, say, Gretzky and Hull. Two really great players in their era, who do very different things for their teams. We leave with an open letter to the Rangers, from a disgruntled fan who just wants to see it get better:

    Dear Rangers,

    CUT IT OUT! Nobody wants a ruined rebuild. Stay away from bad contracts, move Lundqvist while he has value, and try not to disappoint your fan base with this because you’ve had such a brilliant start to it.


  13. My prediction is OEL to Philadelphia. They have the draft picks they have the prospects they have cap Space. A trio of ghost, Provorov and OEL would cement a foundation for the next decade.

  14. I figure Tavares is about 80-85% chance to stay w/ Islanders… Drew Doughty its more like 50/50 depending on variables how they do or who they keep/lose. King Karl I’d say is like 10% at best he stays w/ Senators. OEL I don’t think will return to the Coyotes unless they are moving to Mexico :).

    I’m still bothered by Knights trade of Tatar who I was never a fan of. A 1st round pick can get you somebody like Pearson in the last pick or Brock Nelson among others. You got later or mid round picks like King Karl or Kempe who I think both were around 15th. Tyler Toffoli is better than Pearson who was a 2nd round pick just like Voynov. The 3rd round you can get some solid players, even if its a trade for like Cole or Maroon. PK Subban was a 2nd round pick, lots of players were 2nd rounders if start looking around. So for a building franchise that has no real future goalies other than maybe Dansk… I think Vegas let likely winning Pacific go to heads or inflate value. Kings had Carter miss basically entire season.. Ducks had injuries all over, Sharks even lost Jumbo Joe, Oilers just plain sucked, Coyotoes are not going anywhere, Vancouver did better than expected before fading while Flames are about the same fringe playoffs type team. They run hot/cold make it then miss it, so having 2-3 players better than Tatar is better than having him in my view.

    I probably would have rather had Nyqvist than Tobias for Kings. I don’t think the 2.25M would have mattered much since the cap will likely go up about that much. LA should be able to afford pretty much all their players next year anyways. The best trades are often the ones you don’t make. Tyler Toffoli is a RW, he won Calder as a RW, so not sure how people think he is center… When he was on Manchester it was Vey at center the Bronze medal winner w/ Pearson at LW on that line ;). Tyler is probably a younger/better player than Max at this point of career anyways. Vilardi could be injury prone but probably best not to flip him unless getting a right shot D-man. It don’t sound like Max was eager to leave Montreal so it would have been a bad situation. Kinda like how Wayne took off the Kings jersey he was so unhappy being there during the big news conference etc. I knew there was trouble ahead when I saw that especially if a Toronto Maple Leafs fan :). I could see Drew or King Karl trying to get 100M for 8 years to stay where they are. Maybe LA can get Drew to take 80-100 or 72M at the low end haha. Jack Campbell looked good who is a former 1st round like 10th pick. If he can stay healthy they got some decent goalies after Quick is gone or traded or whatever hopefully :). For somebody like Drew that 8 year deal might be enough to keep him from leaving. He likes the Head Coach more than Sutter which is a factor in if he stays/goes too.

  15. SO here is how it will happen…inside sources ya know 😉

    Matthews signed to an offer sheet by NYR and give up their 1st rd draft picks to TOR (since they accumulated just now)

    TOR then turns around and signs JT the home town kid


    • Mathews can’t be offer sheeted until July 1st 2019… JT will be under contract to someone prob July 1st this year or within a week of

  16. Hi all… back in the thread after a few hours…. boy did I get lambasted re: Parayko hand Kessel posts…. I stick with…(1) would love to see Parayko on Pens; or (2) truly believe a Parayko in Leafland is the # 1 D and would be awesome. I stick with my assessment that PK will have less points each year starting next year and the decline nearing the back end of the contract will be substantial. The suggested trades to StL including Hunwick …. that’s just me taking another Hunwick shot… sneak him in a trade when no ones looking. Even in a game when he scores a nice one…. it doesn’t overcome the brutal ness of the balance of the game…. just saying

  17. I hope Mattthews asks for league max since he’s the best player in history of the world

    • And Eichel has shown???? For his 10 million?

      You destroy very fan base , every player… except Buffalo? Where do we start …. on the horribleness that is Buffalo?

      • When was I talking about Buffalo? I said I hope Matthews gets league max, he is the greatest player to ever lace of skates, he’s a better playmaker than Gretzky even with 30 assists in full season. I hate the Leafs and want them to be even more screwed with cap, it’s a natural thing for me to want this as a Sabres fan, just like a Rangers fan can hope for demise of Devils

    • In comments above some Leaf fan says Malkin is not as good as Matthews! Lol, Malkin has proven he can win cups and lead playoffs in scoring, Matthews hasn’t done anything in league.

  18. I suspect Lou will get Matthews, Nylander and Marner on either a two year bridge contract between 6 and 10, or an eight year deal at a slightly higher rate. They may see a bridge contract as a good lead into a higher eight year deal. He will find a way to sign JVR or get something for his rights. Komo and Bozak may get an offer of a one or two year deal at third or forth line money or they can go.

    The defense will be fixed from within or a trade for someone like Dumba which will cost picks and prospects, or Trouba which will start with Gardner. Then the top four will be solid with a lower paid third pair.

    Kessell is in better shape than he looks. According to Hockey Night in Canada he trained with Roberts last summer and is very strong. They reported a four hundred pound plus dead lift as an example. If you watch him play he checks and boxes guys out and once in a while rubs someone out. He is so quick so he takes few hits but wins puck battles with speed. This is a recipe for at least five more years in the League. I think Kessell has been unfairly criticized.

    • There is no way Matthews is getting a bridge deal, Eichel got 10 million and “Eichel couldn’t hold Matthew’s skates”…Matthews is already talked about as best Leaf ever(seriously)…there is no way he’s getting a 2 year cheap deal, they even say in Toronto he’s better than McDavid.