NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2018

by | Apr 23, 2018 | Rumors | 34 comments

Latest on the Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils and Montreal Canadiens in your NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: In the wake of the Colorado Avalanche’s opening-round elimination by the Nashville Predators, Scott Burnside believes it’s incumbent on Avs general manager Joe Sakic to add pieces to a roster that overcame a horrific performance in 2016-17 to reach the playoffs this season. They must improve their defense, their depth at center, add secondary scoring and assess the health of their goaltenders.

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan suggests the Avalanche improve their scoring depth. She recommends Sakic consider adding a veteran scorer via free agency. She also proposed re-signing backup Jonathan Bernier or add another veteran backup capable of replacing starter Semyon Varlamov if his health issues return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic did a fine job silencing his doubters (myself included) this year, especially with the return he got in the Matt Duchene trade last November. Cap Friendly indicates the Avs have over $49.6 million invested in 18 players for next season, with Bernier their notable unrestricted free agent and Matt Nieto, Nail Yakupov, Patrik Nemeth and Duncan Siemens their noteworthy restricted free agents.

Bernier could be re-signed as he did well filling in for the oft-injured Varlamov. I doubt Yakupov will be back and re-signing Nieto, Nemeth and Siemens shouldn’t take too big a bite out of their cap payroll. Depending upon how much ownership is willing to spend, the Avs could have sufficient cap space to become a player in this summer’s UFA market. Sakic could also consider targeting clubs looking to shed salary via trade. 

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi acknowledges the Philadelphia Flyers’ improvement this season, but points out their opening-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins exposed their weak goaltending and shoddy defense. Noting GM Ron Hextall has a significant amount of salary-cap space this summer, he speculates Hextall might try to add another veteran goaltender, another veteran defenseman and perhaps a third-line center.

Carchidi also wouldn’t be surprised if pending UFAs Val Filppula, Matt Read, Brandon Manning  and Johnny Oduya aren’t re-signed and doubts restricted free agent goalie Petr Mrazek gets a qualifying offer. Carchidi think the final season of Jori Lehtera’s contract could be bought out.

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan also believes the Flyers must address their long-standing problems in goal. With promising Carter Hart in need of AHL seasoning, she speculates Hextall might need to turn to a veteran goalie as a bridge until Hart is ready.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with Carchidi’s take. As for cap space, they have over $59.5 million invested in 19 players so there’s lots of room to bring in one or two veteran players at reasonable prices to bolster their depth. Addressing the goaltending, of course, will be the most difficult. There really isn’t a lot of quality depth in this summer’s UFA market. There’s been some talk suggesting the Buffalo Sabres might make Robin Lehner available in the trade market but there’s no guarantee he’d be a significant improvement. 

Could the New Jersey Devils pursue Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlsson via free agency? (Photo via NHL Images)


NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco wonders if the New Jersey Devils might pursue Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson via free agency this summer or Ottawa Senators blueliner Erik Karlsson via trade. She observes the Devils have the salary-cap space to make a marquee move and also pointed out Karlsson was linked to the Devils near the February trade deadline.

Mastracco also thinks the Devils could attempt to retain pending UFA winger Patrick Maroon but doubts Michael Grabner will be back. While notable forwards such as the New York Islanders’ John Tavares, Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk and San Jose’s Evander Kane are intriguing names in the UFA market,  David Perron could also be a smart addition. Mastracco also wonders if they might trade goaltender Keith Kinkaid for some scoring or a young two-way defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $55 million committed to 17 players, the Devils have sufficient cap space to re-sign their key players and perhaps add a scorer or a defenseman. Of course, it’ll depend upon how much ownership is willing to invest in the roster.

Tavares,Carlson, van Riemsdyk and Kane would be very expensive additions and New Jersey might not be on their list of potential destinations. Assuming Karlsson would accept a trade to the Devils, the Senators’ asking price and the cost of re-signing him would likely be too expensive. As Mastracco observed, Perron could be a good addition.

GM Ray Shero has shown a recent willingness to swing significant trades, swapping Adam Larsson for Taylor Hall in 2016 and Adam Henrique for Sami Vatanen last fall. I expect he’ll be busy via the trade market this summer. Considering Schneider’s inconsistent play this season, I expect Shero will retain Kinkaid for the time being. 


SPORTSNET: Eric Engels recently examined how Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin could address his club’s depth at center this summer. Noting the Canadiens could have over $20 million in salary-cap space this summer, possible UFA targets could include John Tavares or Winnipeg’s Paul Stastny. Depth options could include Boston’s Riley Nash, Toronto’s Tyler Bozak or Tomas Plekanec, San Jose’s Joe Thornton, Carolina’s Derek Ryan, Philadelphia’s Valtteri Filppula or St. Louis’ Kyle Brodziak.

Trade options could include Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly, Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom (if the Capitals fall short again in the playoffs) or Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Engels also proposed the RFA offer-sheet route, listing San Jose’s Tomas Hertl, Tampa Bay’s J.T. Miller, Carolina’s Elias Lindholm, Arizona’s Max Domi, Vegas’ William Karlsson, Detroit’s Dylan Larkin and Toronto’s William Nylander as potential targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I remain skeptical over Montreal’s chances of signing Tavares. I concur with Engels’ view of Stastny as a serviceable short-term option as a No. 2 center. It wouldn’t be surprising if Bergevin explores the possibility of acquiring O’Reilly, though the asking price will be expensive. The Sabres would want a considerable return, especially after getting only a second-round pick for Evander Kane at the trade deadline.

If Backstrom becomes available you can bet Bergevin would be interested, but of course that depends on the 30-year-old center accepting a trade to Montreal. Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli recently said Nugent-Hopkins wasn’t going anywhere this summer and I believe him.

Engels acknowledged offer sheets are a rarely used tactic that seldom succeeds. Even if Bergevin is desperate enough to go that route I doubt he’ll be able to pry away any of those players on Engels’ list.  



  1. Couple of goalie options that might creep up…
    hutch in peg. Possibly schneider/Kinkaid, Holtby or gruebour, dell… could see some goalie movement this year

    • The goalie market every summer has an oversupply of possible goaltenders suitable of being solid backups or even 1B options to help mentor or provide a safety net for a young up & coming goalie. This summer is no different.

      UFA’s. Lehtonen, Halak, Ward, Bernier, Pavelic, Khudobien, Hutton, Hutchinson, etc. & a few RFA’s may not be qualified, Mrazek for sure & I have heard some say Lehner in Buf may be allowed to walk. This seems crazy to me as the only thing ailing Lehner like anyone else playing in Buf is Buf.

      Then as you have stated we have goalies ready for starter roles blocked like Grubauer, who as an RFA is due a substantial raise, something Was can’t afford for a backup. This was my favourite goalie available in the last round of expansion & was surprised Vgs didn’t leverage the choice of him or Schultz to extort more out of Was.

      With the next round of expansion 2 summers away this has to play into most teams trades even this summer. It has the potential to be an interesting summer but we say that every year & generally are let down. Not always though.

  2. I think MB can atleast make a play for 1 or 2 rfa’s, atleast show u r trying to turn this effin ship around from the point of no return. Maybe try make a play for Carlson an Stastny. Don’t b settling for a return of learnout an maccaron players who have been given a chance an have showed no return or improvement, so please effin do something this summer or MB can find him self on the unemployment line..

    • Where he should have been a long time ago, I really don’t see us landing dahlin or Tavares so atleast have a back up plan, an well that would b a solid back up plan,..

    • JJ I think one the issue was the Canadians is drafting, they have not drafted well since 2007 when they draft Ryan McDonagh, Max Pacioretty, PK Subban and Yannick Weber. 2016 was also good with Sergachev and Mete but otherwise they have Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk to show for all their draft picks.
      That wouldn’t be a bad 4 dmen, McDonagh, Subban, Sergachev and Mette. Still have one of them.
      Price starts his new contract will be interesting to see what if anything MB does but they definitely need to be more consistent when drafting and developing their picks.

    • what was wrong with Lernout. he played decent enough when called up.mccarron is another issue.

  3. The Flyers need to get rid of Gudas, Manning and AMac. 3 pylons that don’t do anything well, except cheap shots and dangerous hits. Their young d players deserve every slot available. Provorov, Ghostisbehere, Hagg, Morin, Sanheim, these guys are the present and the future.

    • Young D make mistakes, Provorov & the Ghost struggled mightily in this series against Pit. They will get better with each passing year & Provorov is already their #1. You need to shelter most young Dman to help them learn, as Chara has done for Carlo last season & McAvoy this season.

      Building a solid defence is a long, hard, difficult task. You can’t just dress 6 kids, that would be a disaster.

      • Ordinarily, I would agree with that, but gudas simply cant play unless he is borderline nasty. The rest of his game simply does not work unless he is running people over.

        In a Flyer uniform he will never get the benefit of the doubt from the league so he must go. He also simply should not have been playing.Sanheim would have been a better choice and Haag should never ever have been scratched before Gudas. Rookie or not that decision is justification for a coach to be fired.

        I’d rather run an entirely young d out there than Gudas and Manning. Macd is fine. He actually had a decent season. He is just a whipping boy for local fans that don’t buy tickets.

        They desperately need a couple of veterans on d and Manning and Gudas need to go.

        Provorov prob should have been scratched as his shoulder is a mess. He could not even make a 4 foot pass.

        The team has Provorov, Ghost, Haag, Sanheim, Myers and Morin. Add a top 4 pairing guy that can kill penalties and be out there up a goal w a min left and they will be fine.

      • My favorite UFA dman is de Haan, he would fit well. Gudas is a disaster, simply dressed to make life difficult for opposing forwards down low & in the corners & not good enough at that to be dressed regularly.

      • Provorov played 30 minutes a game with a bum shoulder. It makes no sense to play veterans that are replacement level players because they have experience. Let the younger, vastly superior players learn. This antiquated notion that a team needs a bunch of washed up veterans is dopey. Let them make mistakes and let them learn from them. How many good young players careers were ruined or almost ruined by control freak coaches that had them on a short leash while letting older players off the hook for being bad?

      • how many good young players were developed properly because the coach let them grow away from the limelight? how many bad young players were coached out of the game that would have never made it? what works for some players doesn’t work for others… hence the different styles of coaching and consistent coaching changes. look at DP… sucked for three coaches and two gm’s… actually make that 4 coaches and 3 gms. look at schultz and oleksiak on the flip side.

    • That said amac was their best d man several of those games.

      • The only issue I have with MacDonald is his salary, he plays a sound simple game & provides stability to this young developing D.

  4. I think Joe Sakic has earned his keep. The media pressure for him to trade Duchene was immense. I remember listening to Pierre Lebrum on tsn 1290 in Winnipeg and he stated “Sakic should just take the best offer on the table and move forward.” I guess in the end Pierre was correct because that’s exactly what Sakic did a few weeks later.
    Good on Sakic not listening to outside noise he did right for his team and easily won the trade, turned around the team and they were considered just as unlikely to make the playoffs of the Vegas Golden Knights.
    It will be interesting to see what’s next from Burnaby Joe but one thing is for sure, no one will be doubting him or his patience.

    • Yeah, Joe is slowly showing he is far more competent than many have thought. I was critical of his handling of the Duchene situation, as I thought he may have missed his best opportunity, but he showed he knows what he is doing.

      Patience is likely one of the more important virtues for a GM, not forcing trades is your best protection against making bad deals, and taking good trades when they do finally present themselves. It’s easier said than done, but its starting to show pieces of a future contender in Colorado. It’s not just the result, but the pieces that result was built on. That top line is lethal and young, and Mackinnon basically looks like McDavid lite, signed for literally just over half the price.

      He also didn’t over react and move players like Landeskog, Barrie, or Rantanen, and all started playing very well. If he stays the course and continues adding a solid piece here and there as they opportunities come up, he will build a sustainable contender, which is the best way to win a cup. It’s a nice idea to go all out in a year and just go for it, but putting yourself in the mix continuously gives you the best chance of pulling it off.

      Here’s hoping Sakic is as close to Yzerman as a GM as he was as a player, because having Colorado in the cup contender conversation just feels right.

    • He didn’t do what Pierre suggested. He waited until he got an offer acceptable to him. It just happens that Pierre like most just kept regurgitating the same rhetoric over & over. I heard Pierre make that statement for months.

      Sakic doesn’t have to really do anything. Stay the course with the rebuild, let all the youth develop don’t block their ice time.

      Everything Burnside is suggesting with the exception of in net is happening, Jost, Kerfoot, & Compher are all natural centres & 1 is already playing out of position. Kamenev is NHL ready & is also a natural C that will have to move to the wing to find a roster spot in Colorado & McKinnon is entrenched as the #1 & Soderberg the #3 & Bowers is developing in College.

      The D has been improved significantly & few teams have the prospect depth at D coming that Colorado does. Makar & Timmins. Zadarov is developing, Nemeth was a solid acquisition & Girardi all played well for being just kids. With Jonhson & Barrie that’s 5 NHL Dman & Timmins may step straight into the NHL.

      My favourite UFA Dman is de Haan & he would fit in well in Colorado. A solid young Dman who can log big minutes against the leagues best & still not fully developed himself having played only 304 NHL regular season games.

      There are a lot of people eating crow on their opinions of Sakic, Barrie & Duchene now.

      • LOL Striker, that was my point in regards to Lebrum in the end being right was sarcasm.

      • I was struggling as you said essentially both, confusing me, a very easy task as I’m in a total fog; jetlagged, & missed the sarcasm.

        How’s the vibe going in Win, it must be very exciting time to be in the city?

      • Winnipeg is nuts, Jets 24-7, this series against Nashville should be great hockey. I will not be one of the 15,0000 fans standing outside, as I get annoyed when two people walk by me in the mall. The vibe is extreme even light hearted hockey fans are down town soaking up the atmosphere. Can’t wait to see Boston here in a few weeks.

      • Colorado was historically bad last year. Was easy to wait out offers when your team is expected to go nowhere. We’ll never know if Salic tried to move Barrie. That said, congrats to them on a fine season.

  5. That would be awesome, as that’s my ideal final as well in my bracket pool as well as what I’d like to see, in my other leagues I entered some alternates & the draft leagues you go where you’re forced to based on draft position & other peoples plans.

  6. I feel as if the Avs could be a real sleeper team on the Tavares front.

    Fairly young team that SHOULD be trending upward.

    They already have cap space and they might be looking to move Colin Wilson and Soderberg for just about nothing to get rid of those contracts.

  7. Flecher fired. Guess that answers comments from yesterday

    • Striker nailed it again!

      • Ouch! Lol. . he does put himself out there. I’m a Ranger fan 1st and foremost. I don’t have strong opinions of other teams.

      • I don’t like the use of “they won’t, never happen ” . Type of things when it comes to players, coaches etc. Personally I go with ” I don’t think” or ” I doubt “.

        It’s the difference of stating opinion vs. stating a fact. And you can’t make fact statements when you really don’t know.
        I’ve seen a lot of “never happen ” go very wrong a LOT on here lately.

      • Exactly. Like all the comments that Tavares would never play for Rangers. I don’t see him hitting FA, but you never know …. I’d love to get Hamilton, but realistically, if I’m Flames, why would I trade him?

  8. When will “Yakupov” and terms like “noteworthy” finally stop being used in the same sentence?

    • Perhaps he just needs a change of scenery from his change of scenery from his last change of scenery?

      • never happening

  9. There was part of me hoping the Flyers would let Alex Lyon run with the ball in the playoffs. Elliott and Neuvirth just cant perform consistently at a high level. Id let Lyon and Stolarz man the net next season and deal with what happens. Hold the fort until Carter Hart is ready to be the man. Lyon and Stolarz cant possibly be worse than Elliott and Neuvirth, although I do admire Neuvirths determination he is just too injury prone to be a reliable #1 option in the NHL. Buy them both out and play the kids.

  10. Philly should look into Weber in MTL and Schneider in NJ

    they have assets to maneuver and the cap space to take on Weber.


    TO MTL: Giroux & MacDonald
    TO PHI: Weber & Andrew Shaw

    Weber will help anchor their young Dmen in Provorov, Ghost and Sanheim. Court and Patrick are the# 1 & #2 centers. They can fill in the winger spots by resigning Simmonds & with the cap space letting Valeri Filipula walk.

    If they can steal Schneider for say 2 2nds…he is certainly better Neuvirth & Elliot…but they can resign Elliot and run a decent tandem.

    in this MTL gets their # 1 center to play with Drouin

    • King of trade proposals. Most bad. But I love the effort and the willingness to go out on a limb. 🤘