NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2018

by | Mar 2, 2018 | Rumors | 54 comments

Potential destinations for John Tavares, the possibility of the Rangers pursuing Erik Karlsson and more in your NHL rumor mill.

The future of New York Islanders captain John Tavares remains a hot topic in the NHL rumor mill (Photo via NHL Images).


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Darren Dreger’s Thursday appearance on Edmonton’s TSN 1260 discussing the lack of significant moves by the New York Islanders at Monday’s NHL trade deadline. Regarding pending free agent center John Tavares, Dreger believes the club’s re-signing winger Josh Bailey could have some influence on the Islanders captain. However, he remains uncertain if Tavares will re-sign with the Isles.

As for possible destinations if Tavares hits the open market this summer, Dreger doubts he’ll sign with the New York Rangers, noting they’re starting to rebuild. He feels the superstar center wants to play for a winner. He suggests the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks will be “primary contenders”. Citing the good relationship between Tavares’ agent Pat Brisson and Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, Dreger feels the Habs could make a pitch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I could be wrong, but I just don’t get a sense that Tavares is keen to leave the Islanders. Yes, they still need improvement and their new arena is years away, but he recently said reaching the playoffs this year wouldn’t influence his decision. He also didn’t rule out re-signing before the season ends. Granted, Tavares could be engaging in public deflection, but I’m not convinced he’s ready to leave the Isles.

If Tavares does go to free agency, I don’t believe he’ll join the Habs. After all, if he wants to play for a winner, the Canadiens certainly aren’t looking like a Cup contender. And no, money won’t be enough to sway him. Sorry, Montreal fans, but Tavares signing with the Habs is a pipe dream. 


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Pierre Lebrun’s appearance on Edmonton’s TSN 1260 discussing the many moves made by the New York Rangers leading up to this year’s trade deadline. Noting the high number of draft picks the Rangers have in this year’s draft (three first-round picks, two seconds and two third) and their extra cap, LeBrun suggests perhaps GM Jeff Gorton could use those assets to accelerate his club’s rebuild.  “What if they go out this summer – and heck – go after Erik Karlsson? Not the craziest thing in the world because they have assets now,” said LeBrun. “So we’ll see how that plays out. But I think the Rangers are well-positioned.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers have over $49.8 million invested in 13 players, with forwards Ryan Spooner, Vladislav Namestnikov, Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Vesey and defenseman Brady Skjei as their notable restricted free agents. Assuming they can get those five under contract for, say, a combined $15 million, they could have over $15 million in cap room if the ceiling rises as expected to $80 million for 2018-19. Perhaps Gorten considers pursuing Karlsson this summer. If the Rangers acquire him however, it’ll cost a big chunk of change to re-sign the all-star blueliner (perhaps $12 million annually) beyond next season. 


THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford recently reported St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong had talks “Ottawa and Montreal regarding Mike Hoffman and Max Pacioretty” before the recent NHL trade deadline. He also attempted to shop the first-round pick he acquired from the Winnipeg Jets in the Paul Stastny deal in a package deal. However, the teams he spoke with also insisted on Armstrong including one of his top prospects (Klim Kostin, Jordan Kyrou, Tage Thompson and Robert Thomas) in the deal. Blues veterans Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka and Jay Bouwmeester came up in the rumor mill but Rutherford said there just wasn’t suitable interest. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Blues fail to reach the playoffs this spring, I expect there will be more changes coming to their roster. I wouldn’t be surprised if Armstrong revisits his interest in Hoffman and Pacioretty. 



  1. I had the Rangers going after Karlsson in the summer, but before the trading. I think they are genuinely rebuilding and they do not have what Dorion wants, a franchise piece.

    Maybe their Russian goalie prospect Shestyorkin who is among the best in the KHL. But that’s really it.

    The key will be trading Bobby Ryan, possibly, and the Rangers can’t afford another buyout as it is rumored that maybe Staal or Smith will be bought out.

    I also don’t think Tavares will sign with the Rangers. Not because for the main reason being that they’re not Cup contenders, but because he is a class act and wouldn’t go to a detested rival, as Bobby Holik did. Tavares has class.

    • Why is it about class? Like if your current team offers you 3 million, and a rival offered 9… you’re not taking it?

      That’s seems more ignorant than classy imo.

      • Tis not always about money for the players, it generally IS for the agents and the fans though. With a gap that big it would seem illogical to take that smaller sum, however, stranger things have happened. If you take too much of the cap as a star, your team cannot afford the pieces round you then your value falls since you can’t put up the numbers.

    • When are people going to start talking about Tavares’ dismal play most of this season. I’m an Islanders fan who was in full favor of trading him at the deadline as he clearly is a not engaged with the Islanders this season! If they lose him for nothing now, when clueless GM’s would’ve paid a ransom for him, it will be further proof that this team needs an overhaul of huge proportions, starting with Snow and the entire coaching staff!

  2. Can’t see Rangers going after Karlsson. Why trade McDonaugh? Yeah Karlsson is better but will also be pushing 30 when he’s going to want a big $, long term contract. Unless somehow you include Shattenkirk, which I doubt he’d go to Ottowa. Curious if Arizona ends up with #1pick (Dahlen), would OEL be shopped? If I’m Rangers, Trouba would be guy im most interested in. Wouldn’t cost as much as Karlsson and still young. Going back to yesterday’s thread, I can easily see adding Kovulchuk for 2years max. Yeah we’re in slight rebuild, but still trying to win in Hanks last few years. Not many pure snipers like that there for the taking.

  3. The Rangers need these multiple prospects and picks to rebuild the right way. Trading 4 or 5 of them for one player makes little to no sense.

    • The safe drafting of Lias Andersson could come back to haunt-Is his ceiling higher than Spooner, Namestinikov or Zibanejad? Will Chytil play center or wing? The go from a lack of centers to too many with none being even a 1C imho. There is 3rd line center Hayes too.

      Game breaker(s) and 2 top pairing D the needs.

      Honestly new coach will go a long way

      • I’m not a Vigneault fan, never have been. His player personal decisions have frustrated me since he coached the Canucks. Had he dressed Schneider in game 6 in Montreal I honestly believe Vancouver would have won the cup, regardless had they lost that game then he could have gone back to Luongo at home for game 7.

        Hayes & Skjei not seeing PP virtually all season until recently is a joke. Vigneult isn’t a big fan of young players & holds them to a completely different standard than veterans which also frustrates me.

        Even though he’s 1 of the winningest coaches in the NHL he isn’t the right coach to be moving forward with if NYR is implementing youth movement & it appears that they are. He is playing youth today but he doesn’t have a choice at the moment, there is no 1 else.

      • Sorry Boston. Arghhhhh

      • Striker what do you mean Desharnais is not more qualified than Hayes and Skjei for PP time? What hockey are you watching? If AV had his way Desh would be #1C and be in the running for the Maurice Richard Trophy…..

    • The success of Vegas, with a lineup not as top-heavy as many, may influence some GM’s. Better tolerance of injuries, slightly more even distribution of minutes, contract and financial flexibility, etc. I think if they go far in the playoffs, others may copy, as opposed to the constraints of a FA superstar.

      • Othets always copyvsuccessful teams. Sometimes failing at it.

  4. Rangers are rebuilding… doens’t make sense at all. Infact, the next two years, they should take a couple terrible contracts off others hands along with prospects/draft picks. They should use the cap space to get richer in young prospects/picks to push the rebuild along. NYR aren’t going anywhere the next couple of years, so put the cap space to work for them.

    • I don’t see NY as a graveyard for players and bad contracts. They already own a few of their own, and as Lyle points out above they have some players to re-sign or replace.

      They could possibly take 1 or 2. But between Staal, Smith, Beleskey, Lundqvist and Girardis buyout, they can’t really risk taking on any deal lasting more than a year or two.

    • I think you maybe surprised at how quickly NYR’s rebuild transpires, this isn’t so much a rebuild as a retool on the fly. Lossing McDonagh is the biggest concern for me, that’s a solid 2 way Dman who can play against the leagues best but with all that cap space what are NYR’s plans?

      Lost were Nash, Grabner, McDonagh & Miller, in were Namestnikov, Spooner & a ton of picks & prospects. Going to be curious to see what NYR’s plans are this summer. This may not take years but we will need to see what happens this summer to get a better handle on what is actually goin on.

      There were rumours Grabner & Nash could be sent packing only to return on July 1st?

      • NY has a total of 12-13 Nhl players either RFA or UFA this year. And a bunch on the Ahl level that may make the jump.

        I’m not exactly sure what that leaves ? Especially if the ones Lyle mentions eat up 15 million.

      • It appears to me the top 3 lines are potentially set next season depending upon what Gorton does with that cap space.

        Kredier, Zibanejad, Buchnevich.
        Vesey, Namestnikov, Zuccarello.
        Spooner, Hayes, Fast.

        I have no issues with that as a top 9.

        The D is very young currently & that scares me. Having Shattenkirk & Staal playing such significant roles causes me pause. I love Skjei, Pionk & Gilmour have been very pleasant surprises.

        Very curious to see what NYR has up it’s sleeve. If they could buy Trouba or even sign de Haan as a UFA the D will be fine.

        I’m still struggling to wrap my head around what NYR is doing but boy have they set them selves up well for expansion & the future & the future may not be that far away.

      • I believe Andersson and Chytil play for the Rangers next season. Gives them a logjam in the top 9

        Kreider, Zibanejad, Buchnevich.
        Chytil, Namestnikov, Zuccarello.
        Spooner/Andersson/Hayes, Fast/Vesey

        Stuck with Shattenkirk and Staal.
        If Gorton thought Shatty was the missing link without replacing Stepan why bother signing him at all?

        If a contender bows out early maybe we can pry a top 4 D from them

      • The rangers forward lines didnt look too horrible against the canucks the other night, they were fast and had some good chances. although there defence was very porous,and they gave up 50+ shots against my canucks!! if it wasnt for lundquvist standing on his head, the score would have been much higher!! shattenkirik isnt really a responsible defensive D is he?? even when he returns this wont help out a ton in his own zone
        I dont think this rangers rebuild/retool will take quite as long as expected, and just wishing vancouver had gone the same route!!! sure not all draft picks work out, but having that quantity is great!

      • My biggest concern with McDonaugh is his injury history. Good move trading him. Nash, Holden, and Miller for Spooner,O’Gara, and Namestnikov was a wash. So basically all the picks and prospects for McD and Grabner is the way we should look at this. Rangers made out pretty good getting younger and not having to worry about resigning McDonaugh. Nash not getting signed at 34. Maybe Grabner, cause he skates like he’s 20. Shattenkirk was playing on a bad knew, so hopefully he earns his check next year. Wouldn’t worry about all the centers. Plenty of centers end up on wing in nhl all the time. As far as Skjei, didn’t deserve PP time. Not really good handling puck and was a disappointment this year. Everyone had high expectations, but sophomore year always a little tougher

  5. Not sure if he will take a discount but Rick Nash so far looks real good as a Bruin. Gives them a great 2nd line and it seems to have given Krech a new lease on life.

      • Glad Nash has some new life. As I have said a few times on this page ‘the most overrated and underrated player in the NHL’

      • Spooner seems to be fitting nice in NY as well. Win win

  6. I’m not paying Karlsson more than 9.5 for 8 years, any more & I pass. I don’t see him in NYR but there will be about 8 to 10 bidders this summer & the return significant.

    The Dman I’m waiting to see what happens with is Trouba, he has arbitration rights this summer & 2 years from UFA status if he chooses, he simply elects arbitration declines all overs from Winnipeg & takes a 2 year arbitration award giving himself full control of where he plays & how much he wants to make.

    Is winning going to be enough to keep him in Win long term? No idea but this is the 1st Dman I’m interested in. Always has been since his contract dispute & 2 year bridge deal.

    I hope Win can get him resigned but if another team I’m waiting to find out before spending assets else where. Trouba is as good a 2 way Dman as exists in the NHL & there is a ton of untapped offensive potential there. Still has another year before even fully developed at the NHL so best is yet to come.

    He will never be an elite top 5 point producing Dman but 45 point potential playing as good a defensive game as anyone is more valuable than a 1 dimensional Dman or 1 that has serious warts defensively.

    • Trouba could also sign an offer sheet this summer.

      • The offer sheet formula is so onerous it hasn’t been used in it’s current incarnation since the 2012-13 lockout except for the 2 year deal Cal offered O’Reilly.

        Having to amortise contracts regardless of term if over 5 years at 5 years precludes a player of this quality being given 1.

        Cal is also lucky Col matched as O’Reilly would have had to clear waivers before Calgary could have rostered him. Never happened so not an issue as Col did what any team would do & matched. How does that get a player out of where he potentially doesn’t want to be?

        Nor do I believe that an offer sheet can contain NTC’s nor NMC’s. Not certain but Weber’s didn’t.

  7. Lyle,
    I couldn’t agree more! Tavares is going nowhere. He will resign. They all do. Now, why he would is beyond me but he will.

  8. I’m with Peter on the Karlsson topic. Why rebuild and go after Karlsson? That would be like a Robert Frost poem gone real bad!

    • But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep…….?

      • Good one BC Leaf fan

  9. Rangers need a #1 center more than a top d-man. They gave Shattenkirk all that money last offseason, and Brady Skjec is a very good top d-man.

    but they are fooling themselves if they think Zibenjad, Hayes or Namestikov are #1 centers

    • Not all teams get a stud #1 C, many have to play the position by committee nor is it an easy position to fill, the 2nd hardest position to fill after solid NHL Dman.

      Zibanejad falls into the 400 NHL regular season game range for full development for me so his breakthrough should come next season. 6’3″ & or 220 lbs+. Hayes also fits this model. Zibanejad has 392 & Hayes 292 NHL regular season games played.

      Zibanejad started great the last 2 seasons only to be derailed by injury & not the same player upon his return.

      • So Striker, how important is a goalie? I am sure the Penguins are pondering that one right now.

      • A solid D & willing group of forwards to back check is far more important to me. Take an average goalie & put him behind such & you get a great goalie. LA with Budaj last season. Or a great goalie behind a bad group of the 2 Price this season or Schneider last season.

        Why pay huge money to a goalie when really good goalies can be signed for in or around 5 mil. Take the savings in net & buy help at D or upfront to help the goalie have a better chance.

        Trying to acquire a goalie in season isn’t easy, teams don’t generally want to give up they depth they have but during the off season simply not an issue & supply & demand comes into play significantly.

    • I think people generally judge a #1 center by using the Crosby, Stamkos, Tavares, Mcdavid, Mathews type center as the bar.

      It’s a great bar, but a bit high. Most #1 centers aren’t sniffing 80-100 points.

      • The 16th best C today has 57 points, the 31st 44 assuming Pavelski, Namestnikov & Johnson are C’s. Pavelski only is as Thornton’s injured, Namestnikov played far more as a LW before moving to 3rd line C in TB several weeks back, ironically pushing Johnson from such to RW but back to C now that Namestnikov has been traded.

        In the 2016-17 season the median average of 15/16 was 59, 30th 52.

      • At 24, I think Zib has shown promise as a #1 when healthy. Agree, he’s not in top tier guys, but on the whole, Rangers seem better up the middle going forward

    • Rangers top 4 D is not good
      no one/no one

      • I don’t disagree & curious to see what Gorton’s plan is. The kids are getting some valuable experience late in the year, Gilmour, Pionk & DeAngelo. They also have day & the kid just acquired Hajek & I assume Smith may get another crack next season as with 3 years remaining buying him out seems unlikely but hey NYR shocked me buying out Girardi with 3 years remaining.

        I assume some of that cap space will be spent on a Dman as a UFA or in trade.

      • Very impressed with Gilmour. I said earlier, Trouba should be a main target for Rangers this offseason. Nobody really mentioned Zucharello still being on roster. Was heavily rumored to be dealt at deadline, with Jets one of the most talked about destinations. Instead they picked up Stastny as a rental Wonder if Jets don’t do well in playoffs will they revisit. With Rangers deep now in young dmen, possible they package With Zucharello .

  10. Blue Jackets in LA last night – the hockey equivalent of a sprinter running a marathon – great start, then disaster for the second and third periods. Not pretty but, with Tortorella behind the bench, always interesting.
    Glen Gulutzan is starting to look like Torts; same effect on his team too.

    • I was and never will be a fan of Gulutzan
      He has managed to coach a good team to under achieve.
      The flames have a terrible home record which could cause them to miss the playoffs.
      Also I think if they miss Treliving will fire him especially after he traded a 1st and 2 seconds for Hamonick which potentially could be a lottery pick for the islanders which does not look good on him.

  11. I’m curious about attaching Ryan to the karlsson trade.

    Is it legal for Ottawa to simlly attach a percentage of Ryan’s cap to the Karlsson trade and keep Ryan at a lower cap hit or does Eyan have to move and salary retained?

    • So karlsson costs the team he signs with 14M?
      Not sure if this is allowed, I doubt it – but either way, I dont see anyone doing this.

      If Ryan is a part of the deal then only salary being held is by Ottawa

      • Don’t really care if it makes Sense.

        If they take Ryan with karlsson karlsson and Ryan will cost 17 mil. If Ottawa retains 2.5. Does that make sense?

        I was just wondering.

    • No, you can’t just move cap hit, you can move a player & retain up to 50% of the cap or salary.

      • Thanks

        GMs ate finding all kinds of ways to tradd bad contracts.

  12. BCLeafFan
    “The only way round is through”. Seems Robert Frost is not lost….. on Torts! This approach can be tiring.

    • George O would be proud

  13. No top player in their right mind would go to Montreal! Tavares could go there and score 20 points in 10 games and if he fails to score the next game the fans and media will just act like fools! He would never sign in Montreal. Montreal fans and media treated Dryden terrible his last season and he won 6 Cups in 8 seasons, his last game they booed him off the ice. Montreal will never win a cup because of this.

    • Ya i think the habs had a few since Dryden.
      As sad as it is they are still the last canadian team to win one.

      • Toronto is still the toughest place for stars to play with fans that aren’t very knowledgeable and only listen to Toronto media to a money hungry owner and not worried about winnin! I can see Matthews wanting out when the elc is over

  14. Taylor and Tyler wow both Boston and Oilers made big mistakes trading those two.