NHL Rumor Mill – March 16, 2018

by | Mar 16, 2018 | Rumors | 39 comments

Updates on John Tavares, James van Riemsdyk, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mike Hoffman in your NHL rumor mill.

Could the New York Islanders and John Tavares explore a “sign-and-trade” scenario? (Photo via NHL Images)


TSN: Pierre LeBrun speculates a sign-and-trade scenario could be an option this summer for the New York Islanders and center John Tavares if the latter decides to depart via free agency on July 1. While not saying that’s going to happen, LeBrun feels it could make sense if Tavares wants to ensure he gets an eight-year deal, which he’d only get from the Islanders and could then be flipped to another club. That eighth year would lower the annual average value and the cap hit. The Isles, meanwhile, would get something in return for a player who’s departing.

Darren Dreger reports Tavares will meet with agent Pat Brisson at season’s end to map out their strategy. They’ll then meet with Isles management to inform them of their intent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  LeBrun said a sign-and-trade hasn’t happened in the salary-cap era, but Marian Hossa was signed to a new contract by the Ottawa Senators on Aug 23, 2005 and hours later shipped to the Atlanta Thrashers for Dany Heatley.  However, Cap Friendly indicates Hossa wasn’t up for unrestricted free agent status at that time and his new deal lacked no-trade protection. He didn’t have any say over where he would be dealt.

Tavares has no-trade protection on his current deal. Still, a sign-and-trade scenario would give him control over where he could be dealt. He probably won’t want to be shipped to a struggling club such as the Arizona Coyotes or Buffalo Sabres. The Isles would likely give permission to interested clubs to speak with the Tavares camp to determine those that would be acceptable options and their willingness to take on what is likely to be an expensive eight-year contract.

Noting the lack of contract talks between Toronto Maple Leafs management and pending UFA winger James van Riemsdyk, Dreger suggests the Leafs should get ready to adjust to life without him. He thinks van Riemsdyk is “a $6 million-plus player on a seven-year term according to some teams, and if he goes slightly under, maybe on a five or six-year term, then he’s probably closer to $6.5 million.” Considering the cost of re-signing young stars Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner, the Leafs could be unwilling to go that high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have just over $50.4 million invested in 17 players for next season. If they re-sign Matthews and Marner this summer, their new deals won’t kick in until July 1, 2019. Nylander is the only one whose new contract would count against their 2018-19 cap payroll. Assuming an $80-million cap ceiling for next season, that leaves more than enough to re-sign van Riemsdyk and Nylander with plenty left over to sign or replace such notables as Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov and perhaps leave enough to add a quality defenseman.

However, Leafs management will be looking beyond 2018-19, when the new contracts for Matthews and Marner kick in. Sure, they could play hardball with the talented duo in hopes of signing them to affordable bridge contracts, but it’s unlikely they’ll go down that road. Factor in the obvious need for a skilled top-four defenseman, and van Riemsdyk’s chances of re-signing with the Leafs appear slim. 


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch poured cold water on the notion of the Ottawa Senators shipping winger Mike Hoffman this summer to the Edmonton Oilers for center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “Indications are the rumoured deal was never discussed, and it’s highly doubtful the Senators would move Hoffman after resisting offers to trade him at the Feb. 26 trade deadline because he’d developed such strong scoring chemistry with centre Matt Duchene.”

Dorion’s presence at two recent Oilers games was merely part of his Western scouting trip that saw the Sens GM take in some college games, the Western Hockey League and pro games in San Jose and Calgary as his staff prepares for the 2018 NHL Draft (June 22-23) in Dallas. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, the Hoffman-for-RNH speculation was fun while it lasted. 



  1. Should have traded Taveras at the deadline. His play and leadership this year have been on the decline. But with Garth Snow running the Titanic we will lose him for nothing as owner Malkin does not care. Some old same old crap. fans should boycott going to the games instead of the usual 10 thousand going all stay home.

    • I see Tavares resigning in NYI.

      Not directed at you but on topic. Nor does NYI need to sign & trade Tavares for him to get 8 years from another team. He could be traded & signed before July 1st & sign for 8 years with the team that acquired him.

      I thought NYI fan’s were already boycotting games. They have the worst attendance in the NHL this season & have had the worst attendance 6 times since the 2004-05 lock out also having the lowest total attendance overall over those 13 years.

      • A sign and trade is the only way to get an 8 year deal from another team.

        The stipulation in the CBA is that only a team that had a player on their active roster prior to the trade deadline in the final year of the contract can offer an 8 year deal.

        So a team trading for his rights does not get the ability to sign to an 8 year deal as part of the return. If NYI does trade his rights, Tavares actually loses the ability to sign an 8 year deal with any team.

      • Striker the fans are not boycotting so much as the arena is horrible for sight lines to watch hockey… Even if the Islanders were competing to win the President Trophy the game experience at Barclays is horrible. I know a guy who worked there who moved himself out… I forget if he went to Nassau Coliseum or where… Though he was telling me how horrible it is to just get there and back. Brooklyn is not a save place, sister was a cop at Brownsville… She used to buy crack from 50 cent when she was a DT too :). He is the only guy that made it out of those projects that she knows of ;)…

        Islanders have the new arena coming, will split some games w/ Nassau w/ less seating. Yet I bet those games at Nassau coliseum sell out before Barclays does ;). Weight failed as a head coach this year making bad moves… Starting Gibson the first of a home/home or whatever vs. Washington was a mistake. He should have rolled out Halak then went to Gibson the next day.

        If Weight coached Vegas they would be lucky to even be in position to make playoffs much less win division… While if Gallant was the Islanders coach they would least be competing for a spot at worse… EVen their fired coach in Nashville would have got this team there this year ;). Until they move to new arena it will be a rough year or two ;).

      • Thks Danny. I wasn’t aware of that provision.

      • NYI’s attendance issues go back 13 years. They have been at Barclay’s for 2 I believe.

        You can’t lose your #3 Dman de Haan for the season & your #2 Boychuk for 19 games & expect to make the playoffs.

      • Well STriker the biggest reason for the last 13 years struggling attendance is solved by the new arena being built. You got ownership issues over that time. Milbury trading their franchise goalie in Luongo for trash. If they had Luongo they would have come much closer to winning the one for the thumb cup. Lots of issues were from Nassau Coliseum being old, not having enough seats like the newer arenas that can seat 20K or 17K or whatever. Nassau is down to I think 14K max right now or something for AHL or college games over NHL :).

        Remember when Islanders were bought by the savior who turned out to be a scam :)? They had ownership issues worse than the Kings who had a great owner until they went after him for like not paying taxes or something on those coins? Kings were much like where Islanders are now a laughing stock who looked like they would move to KC or whatever. Kings got lucky they were eventually bought by a guy willing to shell out money without imposing the cap like Islanders…

        You had Islanders have Tim Thomas just to be near the minimal cap hit. You had Islanders trade Palffy their best player for nothing to point NHL stepped in to force Kings to include Jokinen. Wang was a bad owner, Milbury was horrible, Snow isn’t much better but least had more excuses about forced trades or people not wanting to play there. Even when they were sold w/ the Barclays to block the KHL preseason games from being played there. That was a total mess, Wang runs the NHL site still I think though.

        Finally after 13 years of BS, horrible teams, owners, GMs, firing any decent coach they had or hiring awful ones. Free agents or players not wanting to be here or refusing to play like Visnovsky… Remember what a fuss Visnovsky stirred up, then he finally decided to play there. I think people feel good about the current Islanders ownership, direction team is heading in. Though most will probably wait until they are in the new arena to show support… YOu need to win as the Islanders or least be competing for a legit playoffs spot not going on an 8 game winless streak. Its like the Mets to Yankees, JEts to Giants… Islanders are a team that has to win if they want the fans to show up there. Tampa tends to do great since they have that 1 cup compared to Panthers in their own state. Choking like Islanders did, Snow being hated, not making a decent trade at deadline… Losing players for nothing, besides Long Island is expensive… Then when moved to Brooklyn it was over, just to get there is taking life into own hands. Your looking at heavy traffic, riding train, trying to not get robbed or killed. Going to an Islander game is usually a few hundred dollars between tickets/parking… SMG the same people who bankrupted Penguins or so nearly put that team for sale/moving… Even before they won their recent Cups there was talk of Penguins being sold and moved. The arena deal was another issue, almost all their money had come from the insane cablevision deal of original great owner :). Its not like the Islanders were Senators on verge of SCF having issues selling tickets in playoffs ;). Canada is supposed to be so great for hockey or selling out games… Yet Senators have their issues probably for many of same reasons Islanders have last 13 years :).

    • Hey Pete,

      And with 10,000 attending the League keeps expanding. I have heard some talk of more playoff teams, which I am actually not totally opposed to; however, this talk is coming from the percentage of teams who do not make the playoffs due to expansion. Well, contraction would lead to fewer doormats like the Islanders and make sense once again to have 16 playoff teams. I can think of a number of teams who could be invited to take a long walk off a short pier. But that’s just me.

      • Steven the Islanders are not a doormat who has 4 more Cups than many other teams who have none like Blues ;)… Islanders missed playoffs last year by like a single point or two at most… That is hardly a doormat like say Senators who go from nearly making SCF to going for draft lottery. Buffalo, Arizona who should move to Mexico would be better examples of doormats… Islanders were in the playoff race this year then got into a 8 game winless streak besides devastated by injuries on defense etc. Hell give some credit to teams like Florida, Carolina, CBJ, Devils, Flyers, among others having bounce back seasons… NHL Is tough, West will be a real fight for the final spots to make playoffs.

        Contraction would be dumb since Vegas has shown there is vast talent who isn’t used or buried in minors. You got a guy on verge of 40 goals who would be getting 3rd line minutes on CBJ toiling for 10. The only problem having more teams is that it makes goalies thinner… YOu got less solid duos, on bright side less of them have to leave to play in KHL too. Attendance isn’t connected just to records or other things… Senators were having hard time selling tickets when on verge of SCF. If teams are having problems selling tickets when in Conference Finals for playoffs its the ownership fault usually :).

        Society has changed to point people would prefer to watch games at home. I’d rather watch NFL at home even when sister had season tickets… Actually going to a football game sucks even the Army college game could suck ;). Your trapped there in a place where these days have to worry about attacks… Instead of home, watching on HDTV, able to rewind live or rewatch the period between intermission ;). Tickets are expensive, foods/drinks, going to games tends to cost a few hundred a shot ;). Last year Devils were a doormat, Colorado, few other teams who suddenly in the playoff mix ;).

        I think they should stop at 32 teams after Seattle though. Let things settle down a bit, maybe move Coyotes to Mexico :).

    • If Tavaras isn’t resigning long term they must move him..period

  2. I think the sign and trade is a myth. When was the last time something like that happened?

    • Mick while not an expert way they do it in NHL w/ cap. I think in theory a team signing him could pay the signing bonus or some sorta roster bonus before flipping him in a trade. That way he gets more money while the team he is being traded to isn’t on the hook for the full contract value. So say it was 8 years 80M, if 10M of that or 1-5M was a signing bonus paid by the prior team. then traded or they had some sorta roster bonus to delay the trade until at or around the draft so it would be more in the news or whatever. Offer sheets are pretty rare in NHL… I think Reiley was the last, Penner was another off hand if recall. NFL I saw some player just signed then team matched paying him 4M more per season then the 10M they offered so 14M for some safety I think it was on Bears or Packers had the offer sheet ;).

  3. Kyle Connor scored his 25th goal of his rookie season last night. That must be the quietest 25 goals by a rookie, he is 2nd amongst rookies for goals and 4th in rookie scoring. Connor and Laine are both rfa’s after next season and with Trouba up this year the Jets could have their own cap issues comings.

    • who’s kyle conner?

      • Just another prospect the Bruins passed over when they had three in a row, the other being Barzal

      • They missed Thomas Chabot too.

      • SNAP!

      • Van I’m no so concern about Chabot because I believe. Zboril will prove to be a better all round defenseman. Also I should clarify I’m also quite impressed with DeBrusk. Time will tell how well Boston did with their 3 consecutive picks

    • Yeah most the attention for rookies is on Barzal right now… Ehlers already has 27 goals I doubt many talk or know about that ;). Even Blake Wheeler is at about 80 points already :). Myers is having one of his best seasons in a long time. Laine is chasing record for most goals by a teenager held by Jimmy CArson w/ nearly 100 goals :). Jets don’t get much TV time or attention for the most part… NBC is often showing Buffalo or crap teams vs. other trash teams while Jets go unviewed :). I remember a while back they had another game over Jets vs. I think Vegas or Nashville :). I know once it was like Kings vs. Oilers in a shutout beating by them. Its going to be a White Out, though Jets don’t seem to match up well or do great against Predators ;(. So I’m worried they could get bounced early or in 2nd round if Predators are their opponent at all this playoff season.

  4. Being at the Panthers game last night, watching the mascot dump a big bag of popcorn on a Bruins fan on the jumbotrom, which happened to be in my section was all fun and good until the mascot decided to take the young fellows Bruins banner, crumble it up and throw it away was way overboard, the young man was very visibly upset. My ruin his experience for the cheap laughs, as I and several other fans of both teams said that was simply rude and crossed the line.

    • The best thing I ever seen was at a lightning game, the mascot decided to throw a Flyers fans Jersey off his seat into the crowd. The flyers fan immediately started kicking the crap out of him and of course got ejected plus!

      But that bug got exactly what he deserved!

    • You know that’s all staged and preplanned right? That same guy probably pretends to be a fan of the visiting team every night.

      • No Dee it wasn’t staged, I was sitting in the section, and what happened after the camera’s turned off and his reaction and interaction with the security, it wasn’t staged, and the fan was there the whole game.

  5. Here we go again! JVR signed for 7 years is a joke! The guy will be 29 during next season, does anyone think he will still be good in year 5-7 at age 34-36? Star Forwards these days are usually done at 31-32. He’s no Mike Richards, Vinnie LeCavier or the many others that were done at early 30s.

    • Different league now – players don’t get worn down physically the way they did at one time – you could make the case that JVR will play at a high level for many more years – are you sure that Nylander and Marner are going to become big-time players? Wish I was.

      • You might not have a shorter career from cross checks/cheap shots that cost Mike Bossy… Though you can still get hit with a slapshot… Lose an eye, have concussion problems, take a fluke fall or hit to end a career… Depends on the player there those who coming off decent contracts who flame out before or around 30. Mike Richards is a guy who looked like something special to many for example. Clarkson hasn’t played much since he cashed out that big contract from Toronto :). Usually its more about D-men becoming useless as the game changes. Kings had that guy shultz or so who was bought out after having a decent contract… Then he toiled in AHL entire season before coming up around 2014 to help get their final cup :).

        Players tend to have longer careers from training entire year… Not like the days of Bernie Nichols where the only thing he ever picked up was his bag… Super Mario smoking cigs :). In general the top players are dedicated w/ diet along w/ exercise… Though Jumbo Joe blew out knee from age maybe, then gets hurt again this year. The body breaks down at some point even if the will wants it to stay intact :). Hossa looked like a decent contract much like Jeff Carter… Then he ran into some fluke issue which seems like it ended his career. If players are more dedicated in general then a person can have a shorter career by not being able to stay above the wave too… Easier to hide a forward who is fading in one of 12 spots than a D-man in 6 or 7 :).

  6. The Leafs have zero chance at a cup now just wait until they have Nylander at 8.5-9 million, Marner 7-8 and Mathews at league max(because he’s “already beat Leafs player of all time”).

    • What is a beat player?

  7. I stress again that it is imperative for Leafs to do a bridge deal with Wee Willy… downside of holding firm and exposing to offer sheet —- very rare— very very rare— only 1/2 teams as at now eligible (if wanted) to do an offer sheet — have to own their own pics— that will be reduced at Draft when more pics exchange hands— if the very long shot comes in and offer sheet happens— Leafs can match or use the bundle of pics to their advantage— hold firm on the bridge for WW—- strengthens negotiation position with MM and AM— locking long term in for WW has the threat/risk of over-valued contract down the road— bridge mitigation– get him for 3 more years— then long term (8)– locked for 14 years (if health and sustaining performance); lock long term 8 now— he’ll be in late 20’s for next contract and at that risky point of 8 year extension into mid/late 30’s– bridge now and the contract after 14 years can be a walk-away one (if needed) when he is 32/33…. Hold firm KD… just sayin’

    • I think it could make sense to sign Nylander to a bridge deal, I wouldn’t rule out negotiating both options. Nylander is likely the type of player where going straight to his long term contract might be preferable.

      I know many continue to state that bridge is always better, but some of the best contracts in the league were signed because players were extended long term rather than bridged, so it’s worth considering in the right circumstance, as cap savings now can be worth more than a couple extra years of control.

      Also, there are players that you don’t really have the option to bridge. McDavid was never accepting a bridge, and trying to exert leverage over a player who clearly has nothing to gain from a bridge, and is the face of your franchise, is just plain bad business. That doesn’t mean because someone is your best player they don’t get a bridge, but McDavid had virtually nothing else to gain or prove, so what’s in it for him to accept a bridge? Why sour the relationship?

      Nylander is interesting because his price is going to be somewhat based on what he has done, and what he could do. Meaning there is more room for him to prove himself. He has played like a ~$6M winger to this point, but his ceiling could be higher, especially if he can be a very good center. So a bridge can be appealing to give time for evaluation and immediate cap relief, but it can also be appealing if you can get him signed for ~$6.5M as you aren’t vastly overpaying if he never improves, but could be getting an excellent deal if he continues to develop.

      Guys like Mackinnon, Shiefle, Barkov, Jones, Rakell, Lindholm, Josi, Gaudreau, Hall, and Courturier are some of the better contracts in the league, and will be for several more years. None were bridged. It can go the other way as well, but there are enough deals like this to at least warrant keeping the option open. Also, guys like Tarasenko, Ehlers, Pastranak, Forsberg, V. Rask, Trocek, may not quite as huge a value per $ paid as the group above, but their contracts look as if they will be getting more and more attractive as each year passes, and none of them looked bad when signed.

      Also, there are several deals where players could have been had much cheaper, but were bridged instead. Subban, Kuznetsov, Giroux, Voracek, O’Reilly, and Johannssen are all getting max dollars for what they represent, and deals like Kucherov’s could bring about similar situations.

      The issue is, bridging means negotiating longer terms with a player that has arbitration rights and more games played to make their case, who many times feel they need to make up for being underpaid for a 2-3 years. This isn’t always ideal.

      I am not saying never bridge, just that when you have multiple tools in your tool box, keeping an open mind about which ones to use, especially where there is compelling evidence of their success, it doesn’t make sense to rule out an option automatically.

      • Well said Danny, again.
        Another point is that the leverage increases to the player the closer he gets to UFA status, if he is a top level talent.
        We can all agree the biggest overpays come to UFA’s. If you bridge him for a couple years, then he gets arbitration rights and he can accept short term arbitration awards that are generally fair market value or simply come to terms on a fair short term deal. Then jackpot.
        Only point I am making is similar to Danny’s; that there is risk involved for both sides in all scenarios. There is no guarantee the player will automatically sign an 8 year deal after the bridge and poof, you have him for 14 years. You could lose him in the middle of his prime as well, which swings the leverage to the player after the bridge.

  8. Seeking clarification from any/all— Re: Tavares– who can sign him to 8 years— different posts hither and yon have (1) only NYI who can sign him to 8; or (2) any team owning his rights on June 30th; or (3) whoever has his rights on the last day of regular season? My understanding was always that any team can extend a player for 8 years that they own rights to . Although trade deadline has passed, trades are still legal. Trade deadline only in place for eligibility for this years playoffs. Teams can trade now if they want. NYI basically out of playoffs— so under that thought process— could then not trade JT now to another non playoff team who then had negotiating rights to sign to 8 ext? Other reports had Leafs looking to send pics for his rights (after playoffs and before Draft day)—- as that they would then have right to sign him for 8— what is the real answer on rights to sign to 8…. thanks all

  9. why would Tavares agree to do this? Is one more year worth making the team he is traded to much weaker by giving up the assets it would take to land Tavares? If it was only about the money he stays in LI. If its about going to a competitor then why would he want them to give up assets that make the team weaker? When he could just sign with them for 7 years and keep the team intact?

    • And what do you the team that is trading for him after negotiating his contract is going to have to pay ? A 3rd or 4th round pick?

      Its not like NYI would have any leverage in the deal and they would have already come to terms with him leaving.

      This would be them scrambling to get anything they could, it would be similar to trading his rights before July 1.

    • I think the fact that he doesn’t have to do it, could keep the return down on such a deal. I don’t see it being a 1st plus kind of deal, more an ok prospect or a 2nd.

      The reason for doing it might be to get the AAV down a little for a contending team. Essentially, add a year at 6M at the end of a bunch of 11’s, and you get a contract just over $10.5. It isn’t much, but some teams might pay a 2nd to get that, and Tavares might appreciate the extra $6M in security added.

      • You don’t really believe Tavares is getting just a 2nd and ok prospect do you?

        So he’s basically worth the same as Grabner?
        Not a chance. I don’t believe he’ll be traded , but if he was, a 2nd and ok prospect aren’t even sniffing Tavares.

      • Me and you? You and me? I think someone wrote a song once to describe this moment

      • Danny its more likely he would sign for original team paying a signing or roster bonus. So maybe they pay him 1-10M to sign or via some roster bonus if they don’t trade him until draft or whatever. Then the new team has him for 8 years while paying him less money even if the cap hit is still say 10-13M. Islanders could probably give him like 10M to sign it then new team only has to pay the remaining 70M. I think the Price contract was setup via some sorta weird signing bonus where he gets paid even if they have a lockout he gets paid or whatever.

    • Well Christmas its a bit of a multiple part answer to that… First Tavares along w/ his agent wouldn’t want to hurt their image around the league… Especially the agent who will have to deal with teams in the future including the Islanders. If they shafted them then teams will be less likely to pay or want players associated w/ him. Tavares don’t need to tarnish his image which would hurt him in making money outside of hockey via commercials or endorsements…

      Without looking it up what did Snow get for Moulson, Vanek, Nido, Okposo, so the notion he will weaken a team trading with him is absurd :). If anything he might take a bad contract or help the team he trades with :).

      Tavares figure looking at Kopitar got 80M over 8 years… I doubt many will give Tavares 7 years for 80 million… Or if he wants 100M for 8 years I doubt they would give him that over 7. So by signing 8 years he is making at least anther 10M in theory. Most of that money will be loaded in the first 6 years of his contract even if they bought out the final 2. I’m sure they can get Vegas to give them a 1st, 2nd, 3rd pick like they blew for trash Tatar who sucks. If Islanders traded Tavares without getting least a return as good as basically a 3rd round pick in Tatar who was like 60th overall… Then Snow ill be banned from the NHL along with anybody else associated :).

      Teams want Tavares for 8 years given his age to keep the cap hit down… King Karl a team would be more willing to give 5-7 years since he is already aging/declining and injury concerns. So maybe JT might not seem to have a reason to sign for 8 years to casual observers… Yet that 8th year gives him least another 10-13M in value ;). So if I could make another 10-13M I’d play ball with my team :). If a team gives up a 1st, 2nd, 3rd rounder for him compared to Tatar w/ 1 goal it would be a steal :). Hell even Maroon who was only a 3rd round pick in trade is producing more points than Tatar while impacting his team in a vastly more positive way. Look at that penalty Tatar took against the Devils in the 8-3 beating for an idea what a crap player he is compared to the cost ;).

      I think Islanders would get least a 1st round pick along w/ a prospect for Tavares. Maybe a 1st rounder or some conditional picks etc. I do think if Tavares leaves the Islanders it will be a mistake for his career. STamkos stood w/ Tampa for a lot less money who really isn’t any better than many teams… They blew their chances to get another cup I think already. I’m not sold on their current goalie being able to handle the load to win it. HE already is tired by his own admission fading in his play when needed most ;).