NHL Rumor Mill – March 29, 2018

by | Mar 29, 2018 | Rumors | 28 comments

Updates on the New York Islanders and New York Rangers in your NHL rumor mill.


ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan recently explored potential offseason moves by the New York Islanders. Re-signing John Tavares, of course, is the priority, though general manager Garth Snow did himself no favors by failing to address the Isles’ porous defense and goaltending this season.

Could the New York Islanders target Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson via free agency this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

Signing a starting goalie should be next on the “to-do’ list, Kaplan suggests St. Louis Blues pending free agent Carter Hutton might serve as a good short-term option until prospects such as Ilya Sorokin and Linus Soderstrom are ready for full-time NHL action.

The defense must also be addressed. If Snow is unable or unwilling to spend big on someone such as Washington Capitals blueliner John Carlson, Kaplan proposes serviceable veteran free agents such as Ian Cole, Dan Hamhuis or Jack Johnson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Islanders have over $47.3 million invested in 14 players. Assuming the cap ceiling reaches $80 million for 2018-19, they’ve have over $32 million in cap room. If they’re willing to spend toward the cap maximum, they’ll have more than enough to re-sign Tavares to a big raise and pursue a starting goalie and perhaps a couple of quality defensemen.

Of course, that’s all easier said than done. There’s not many quality goaltending options available via free agency. Kari Lehtonen, Cam Ward, Ondrej Pavelec and Antti Niemi are past their prime as starters, Antti Raanta will likely be re-signed by the Arizona Coyotes. Even if he’s available he still hasn’t fully established himself as a reliable starting netminder. The same can be said for Hutton, Jonathan Bernier and Anton Khudobin.

Beyond Carlson, the depth in quality free-agent defensemen significantly declines. Age would be a concern for Hamhuis (35) and Detroit’s Mike Green (32). Johnson (31) struggled at times this season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Cole, 29, could provide reliable depth but the Isles would still need a good top-four rearguard.

With two picks in the first and second rounds of the 2018 draft, Snow could perhaps package one from each round in hopes of landing a skilled d-man via the trade market. 


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Bob McKenzie’s appearance Wednesday on NBCSN discussing possible moves by the New York Rangers, who carry 10 selections in the 2018 NHL Draft, including seven in the first three rounds, with three of those in the opening round.

McKenzie believes they’re “open for business” just as they were leading up to the 2018 NHL trade deadline. He feels Rangers GM Jeff Gorton will consider his options, including perhaps packaging some of those picks to move higher in the draft order. He also believes Gorton could be open to acquiring a good young NHL player – “a really good 21 or 22 or 23 year old” – using those draft picks as currency. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie acknowledged some fans believe if the Rangers are indeed rebuilding they should retain those picks and use them to draft and develop young talent. I don’t think Gorton intends to peddle most of those selections. However, if there’s an opportunity to move, say, a first- and a second-rounder for a young player who can immediately improve the roster, he could seriously consider it. If the Rangers don’t land in the top-three in the opening round of the draft, I can see Gorton using one or two of those picks to move up. 



  1. Again… I don’t see many scenarios where a team trades a young player the rangers would want to pay top assets for (1st 2nd round picks) being offered for those assets. Why trade a player already establishing himself for an unknown? Only 2 scenarios I can see where this makes sense. A team has too many rfas and can’t afford to sign them all… or a team is stocked up on young players and is afraid of the impending expansion draft(nod to striker). Anybody here know of any teams in that position?

    • Kessel, Hamilton…. it happens. How does Kessel not come to mind?

      • And very few players, I’d say less than 5% at the age of 20-21-22 are “established players” more like a work in progress. Most players have barely cut their teeth in the NHL at that age, nevermind established themselves.

      • established was a strong word… but 2-3 more years of growth and scouting gives teams a much better idea of where they project than an undrafted 18 year old. So barring a team having a very low opinion of their own player and the rangers having a very high opinion of the player, I don’t see a match. the trading team would have to think that the player’s potential was worst than a mid to late 1st and the rangers would have to think the player had the potential to be better than a 1st round pick.

        Hamilton had contract and personal issues at the time so it was a bit of a dump job… kessel I assume you mean to tor from boston? might be a good example of an exception but was there more behind it? Was boston not going to be able to afford him? I can’t remember.

      • How does Kessel not come to mind? Maybe because he’s not 21-23 years old….

      • Pretty sure Paul that ny was referring to his past trade

      • Paul, I was referring to his trade from Boston to Toronto which was 9 years ago. Kessel is 30 today … subtract 9 from 30 what do we get Paul? Cmon…. say it with me…. TWENTY-ONE!!!! Good boy!

        Now that we got math down….. was Kessel traded to Pittsburgh for Picks and picks only? ( move your head left to right and repeat) Noooooooo! He was not now was he?

        Ahhh being a snarky tool feels good sometimes! But at least have a half of a clue when you choose to do so!

      • What was I thinking? Asking a guy to subtract 9 from 30 when he clearly can’t put 2 and 2 together? Silly me!

      • Oh, gee, even without your handle, I would have known that you’re from NY. Since only a New Yorker would act like a total a$$, treat someone like they’re five years old and prove themselves to be a jacka$$. Did it ever occur to you, nyr4life, to actually state exactly what you mean? Oh, wait, no it wouldn’t since that would mean using more than the three functional brain cells you have.

      • Paul,
        First of all who started acting like an ass first? Hmmmmmm

        Second, Kessel has been traded twice. Once recently and once early in his career. And only one time for only picks…. his first at 21….Did you start watching hockey yesterday?

        It really didn’t need to be said which time I was referring to…. unless you’re a total idiot. Which seems about spot on in your case.

        Maybe next time just don’t comment when you don’t know what you’re talking about. Not one other person needed all this explained. Like I said, due to the age we were discussing, or the fact that players were involved in his second trade. It was pretty much a no brainer…… for someone that isn’t a complete and total drooling idiot!

        Now wipe off your keyboard and do some math!

    • If a team is really high on a player in the draft I could easily see a team trading with the Rangers for their draft pick. Especially if they have a pick in the top 10.

    • You could look at a team like Winnipeg, who have an abundance of youth, who are considered NHL ready and have played some games due to injuries but can’t get full time duty for a variety of reasons, for example Nic Petan skilled top 6 forward but small on size, not the kind of player the jets want on their bottom 6, but 51pts in 50 ahl games, he’s not replacing anyone on Winnipeg top 6 and he’s listed at 5’9″ plays center. Jack Roslovic is another, the jets are high on him so he won’t move. Then there is Brandon Lemieux (Claude son) looks like and plays like, just not good enough to get a room at the Inn.
      I’m not saying these guys, (except Roslovic) are getting a first round pick, but maybe a late 2nd or 3rd.
      With that said, I guess if your scrounging around teams AHL roster your most likely not wanting to give up a 1st or 2nd for the 22 and 23 years old down there that have been passed over by younger players.

      • this about made my point for me.

    • Jets fit that description with 7 UFA and 11 RFA due in the next 2 years (4 UFA and 9 RFA this year). Some very key young talent due for a payday and established older players looking to sign probably their last deal will make for tough decisions by management. Does Trouba sign or possible attempt to sign Stastny could either free cap space or further limit it.

    • Well it would be funny if Islanders traded Rangers Ho Sing who is crying about being stuck in minors for defensive issues :). I think 25 or 26ish is more realistic to expect to see a player traded like a Kane etc… You can look at Mirco Mueller who was traded to Devils to avoid losing in expansion by Sharks who was a 1st rounder pretty young…

  2. If Snow remains in charge there is no hope. He has no idea what he is doing nor do the owners and coach. The Titanic had better odds when they hit the ice berg. SNOW MUST GO and the Isles need to SHED THE DEAD WEIGHT.

    • Pete, wondering out loud “could Snow be the reason JT doesn’t sign.”

    • Well, not everything he has done is bad. You have to take the good with the bad.

      He turned G. Rienhart into Barzal & Beauvillier.
      R. Strome into Eberle.
      Acquired Boychuk for 2 2nd’s.
      Acquired Leddy for Pokka, Brennan & Nilsson.

      Would you like more examples?

      He has drafted well above average & stockpiled a ton of picks along the way.Including next season.

      The problem is he has made a few serious head-scratchers but what GM’s haven’t? He has done for more good than bad & only 2 teams in the NHL lose more money than NYI, Carolina & Florida.

      I still think the best place for Tavares to sign is NYI but I have significantly reduced the odds of such after their recent unravelling to 60%.

      • really? 60? not 58%? Maybe even an optimistic 63%?

      • Interesting that you have his probability of signing with NYI at 60%. I know you’re not the only one. I believe it’s close to zero.

        I can’t imaging Tavares has gone this far not signing with NYI, saw what happened this year and has any desire to stay.

        I know I’m going to get called out on this next statement but here it comes:

        I believe he will be kicking the tires hard on becoming a Leaf. I also believe it will cost the Leafs alot less to sign him then any other team. Go ahead and let me have it. If you do, I just want you to be prepared to eat crow come July 2.

      • LOL, so wrong. The latest polls put snow at the very bottom of drafting. Above average, that’s just dumb. He had Rienhart to trade because he was a terrible draft pick, same with Strome. Yes he got Boychuk for a good price and then signed him to a horrible contract. The Ladd, Clutterbuck, Boychuck contract are going to kill us. Anyone that says he is good, obviously doesn’t follow hockey.

      • Yes please do striker and while you’re at it explain their playoff success while under Snow leadership as well.

      • Caper least under Snow they won their first playoff series since the Volek OT goal vs. Penguins which I have the game on VHS :). Ironically enough I think it was Hickey who scored in OT who they did a waiver claim from Kings that beat probably Florida I think it was :). I think he should get credit for claiming Hickey for nothing who the Kings put on waivers like idiots for trash like Robyn Regehr to be on roster… Akin to the Sharks putting CArpenter on waivers instead of washed up trash like Ward who nobody would have wanted or claimed :). VEgas did well getting Carpenter, even claiming Subban helped them get a point vs. Sharks if nothing else… Though losing to Coyotes they are only 5 points ahead of SJ w/ 1 game left to play them :). Snow under most of his time had that imposed CAp where he had Tim Thomas on the roster refusing to play… Visnovsky decided to play after doing all he could to avoid it though :). I figure Tavares is about 85% to stay w/ Islanders… HE is a major reason they didn’t make playoffs going on the 8 game winless streak starting w/ choking vs. Toronto in a game they should have won. IF he was producing like a BArzal in that time maybe he would be more apt to leave. I think having a pretty solid forward group will make him lean towards staying rather than going.

  3. Well said about Snow!!

    Does anybody know or remember what Snow came into when he took over?
    Worst team in the league (that’s why we had the #1 pick) & not one player in the minors to bring up as a potential top 6 forward or top 4 defense.

    Now we have 2 of the top two lines in the league & some of the top talent to bring into the NHL (Bellows, Ho-Sang, Toews, Sorokin, Suderstrom, etc). Also, 2 first round picks & 2 seconds in a deep draft.

    How good would our 3rd line be if we put Ho-Sang/Nelson/Bellows!!!
    (We may have one of the top 3rd love new in the NHL).

    How many brilliant Monday morning GM’s (Islander fans) would of traded Bailey (Part of one of the top 1st lines in the NHL) & traded Barzal for Duchene (part of one the best 2nd lines in the NHL).

    I say keep Snow!!!
    Hopefully Tavares signs.
    Need help in goal & Trade for a D.

    I feel one step back this year, 5 steps forward next year!!!

    • Ya, I’m not anti Snow either. Like Striker said a mixed bag. Some good drafts and moves, some head shakers.
      Re: Ho-Sang. He is approaching Linus Omark territory faster than the NHL. His recent comments about not getting called up late this season just highlight it even more. A shame as he has serious skill.
      Getting benched by your AHL team at 22 years of age isn’t a positive sign either.

    • Howard the Duck :)? Much of the Islanders issues came from other teams being better than expected… I don’t know many if any who thought Flyers or Devils would be in the post season or some others like Florida nipping at the heels of them and CBJ. I think Snow will have 1 or 2 years before they get rid of him depending on if Tavares signs or some other moves. Islanders probably have a better 1st round history than some better teams like Dallas Stars to be fair… Even Kings took worthless trash Forbort who don’t belong in NHL over Tarasenko among others :). Kings drafted Hickey w/ like top 5 pick only to lose to Islanders without playing a game for them to keep trash like Robyn Regehr ;). I wasn’t crazy about the prior coach CAp, they ran away the good coach who is in Nashville so now its dead weight ;).

  4. NYI question—why didn’t they trade or acquire a D or goalie before tavares walks to show him that he was serious

    • jeff if Tavares walks his career will spiral downward much like losing him to stupid Olympics injury… Another reason established NHL players should not be playing at Olympics or this world cup BS. They were not that bad in net when Gibson played or Halak compared to Greiss even if records didn’t reflect that. They played a good part of their season without 50% of their defense if you count losing player to Calgary which will be a top 10 pick probably this year Harmonic. They did trade for Davison who was claimed on waivers earlier in the year :). Maybe that 3rd rounder would have been better if they got Ian Cole or Maroon like DEvils and CBJ :). If ever been a GM in fantasy hockey trying to make trades its hard if other teams are not willing :). Why didn’t other teams get Kane considering how little the Sharks gave up for him while overpaying for lesser talents like 1st/2nd/3rd rounder for TAtar :). Is the GM or the coach a bigger problem for NYI? WEight didn’t do well this year compared to last when he took over what seemed a hopeless team :). Having a new arena will help going forward even if Tavares walks like an idiot they got Barzal along w/ that saved cap space to buy 2-3 players…