NHL Rumor Mill – April 30, 2018

by | Apr 30, 2018 | Rumors | 60 comments

Latest on Jeff Skinner, Tyler Bozak and Ilya Kovalchuk in your NHL rumor mill.

Carolina Hurricanes could shop winger Jeff Skinner this summer. (Photo via NHL Images)


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman recently reported the Carolina Hurricanes need an edge as they feel they’re too easy to play against. Winger Jeff Skinner is a year away from eligibility for unrestricted free agency and they’re going to test his value in this summer’s trade market. Friedman believes the Los Angeles Kings would be interested in Skinner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings might be interested in Skinner but they might not have what the Hurricanes need. In addition to toughness, Carolina also requires more scoring punch at center. Maybe they’ll try using Skinner as trade bait to address that problem. They could also dangle one of their good young defensemen. If Skinner’s available, he’ll be attractive to teams in need of offensive depth. The Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks could come calling. 


TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons speculated the Maple Leafs could look at re-signing Tyler Bozak. He pointed out how thin this summer’s free-agent market is for centers beyond John Tavares. He noted the Leafs asked Joe Thornton last summer if he was interested. Thornton’s a UFA again this summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winnipeg’s Paul Stastny and Boston’s Riley Nash are UFAs this summer. After them, however, the depth drops off. If Bozak’s willing to accept a reasonable short-term deal, I could see him back with the Leafs next season. 


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reported Rangers general manger Jeff Gorton acknowledged making preliminary contact with Jay Grossman, the agent for former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk. “We’ve checked in with him. It’s fair to say that’s something we’re going to look at again further and see what’s going on,” he said. Kovalchuk, 35, spent the past five season in the KHL and became an unrestricted free agent on Apr. 15. He’s free to negotiate with NHL teams but cannot officially sign a contract until July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation linked the Rangers to Kovalchuk for several months now. Other NHL clubs could also come calling but it’s believed the Blueshirts could be the front-runners for his services. 



  1. Would Thornton even be willing to shave his beard to play for the Leafs – assuming Lou is still GM?

    • Kadri would help thornton trim that nest

    • Why would they want an old forward who never shines in playoffs?

      • Unlike those studs O’Reilly and Eichel who have just amazed year after year?

        How does a Buffalo fan criticize every single player and team in the league out loud? Shouldn’t you be hiding under a paper bag somewhere?

      • Thornton has played 160 NHL playoff games, scoring 27 goals, 96 assist & 123 points. He’s made the playoffs every season of his career but 3 having played 21 years in the NHL, 20 played as 2004-05 was lost. In that time frame; 21 years, Thornton sits 11th overall for playoff appearances & if not for injuries would be in the top 5!

        Sorry, you’ll have a very difficult time convincing me your comment is nothing more than trolling. I assume you think Nash has been terrible too. The 1st thing that counts & is important is getting to the playoffs, followed by winning games, that means games played. I don’t care how many points a player gets specifically come playoff time I care about winning.

        I don’t begrudge Matthews for his 2 points this playoff year. Young the bounces didn’t go his way but 2 points in 6 games, -4, left me disappointed. He did get 27 shots though so bad bounces are a factor as are his linemates, no slight to Hyman & Brown, I love both these 2 players but they aren’t exactly offensive juggernauts, at least not yet, curious to see who gets JvR’s & Bozak’s PP time next season as I would like to see Hyman get some.

        I assume Kapanen, Johnsson & possibly Leivo if he’s still with Tor when waivers play out.

      • joe Thornton has always failed in the playoffs when the game is on the line, great players like Messier, Crosby always find a way to get that game winning assist or goal, Big Joe is a playoff bum. I can say anything I want, the Internet is a freedom of speech place. Just like Ny Rangers fans can say anything they want.

        Hey Striker here is a great example of a guy who has stats but was a loser, Pierre Turgeon, he would get a few points in a blow out loss at end of game to pad stats but he never helped any team over the top.

        Anyone who thinks signing 38 year old Joe Thornton is a good idea is not thinking clearly, he made 8 million this year and played what 47 games? He’s done.

        Ranger and Leafs fans can trash talk now but we will see you next year.

      • Joe has never had any playoff year with more than 3 goals. lol. Scored 29, 36, 37 goals before but playoffs even though the pp was focused on his passing and shooting(example: one year 18 playoff games 48 shots 3 goals)…

        I’m not the only guy who calls him “No show Joe”

      • 2005-06 Joe had 125 points and in playoffs was under a point per game, don’t star players who come through in playoff usually have same points per game or even more? Answer is YES.

      • “We’ll see ya next year” the Buffalo sabres slogan since…..? Hahahahaha…. every year same excuse. Let me guess… Dahlin is taking the sabres all the way from the bottom of the east to the promised land? Good luck with that! Lmao!

        Buffalo fans should be sucking their thumbs in a corner with that bag over their heads not talking ANY trash about ANY team or player! Period!

        It’s funny Matt, I’ve seen you destroy every team, Mathews, Thornton, etc. where is the well deserved criticism for your fractured franchise? Two of your top players crying all over the place .a team that regressed this year from the prior…… I can’t wait to watch Buffalo pull the chain on Dahlin!

    • He isn’t

    • No.

    • Lou is not going to be gm this year

    • Lou is out

  2. It’s time for big Joe to hang them up shave his beard and go to work for TSN or ESPN. Pretty good career just no cup and that’s the Holy Grail.

    • Well if we are grading players on Cup wins that’s a very select group. Thronton isn’t ready to retire nor will he have to until he decides to. His game has never been built on speed but smarts & passing ability. He will be playing somewhere next season & getting a ton of money from someone to do so.

    • I really hate that “no Cup” BS. Henrik Lundqvist has 0 Cups, Chris Osgood has 3 rings. Hank will be a first ballot HOFer, Osgood…. not so much.
      Joe Thornton will also be a first ballot HOFer barring a ridiculous class. Just look at the year he was traded and what the Sharks have become with him. His numbers speak for themselves, sucks his TEAM never won the Cup.

      • Agreed. Bourque wasn’t winning a cup if he wasn’t traded to Colorado. Ditto Hasek to Detroit . Then Mike Rupp has a cup, a cup clinching goal! Ben Lovejoy headed to the hall anytime soon? This list goes on and on both ways.
        When people say things like that, it’s a shortcut to thinking.

        Right place right time!

      • Same for coaches. I liked Vigneault… bit to listen to fans and their ridiculous argument that he’s never won it all belittles the fact he’s accomplished everything but.. by the cup standard, is Keenan greatest NYR coach ever?

  3. Skinner would work for a number of teams. Oilers ? Bozak is a decent Center just not a number 1. Leafs should retain him.

    • Leafs need to bite the bullet and move Nylander to center and find a big winger who is tough to play against and can put the puck in the net (so does ever other team, i know) and no, not Lucic.

      Team needs for offseason: Big LW, the leafs should look into Jenner.
      #1D man – no idea how they will land that

      • Kreider for Nylander should work for your big L winger who can score

      • No thanks on that. No slight to Nylander, but Kreider should not be even considered at this point. I think he steps up even more next year. He had a great finish with Zibanejad and Fast this year. They should be the lock 1st line next year.

        NY should not be doing any more gutting of what’s left up front. If they could add something to that defense, I think they could surprise a lot of people next year.

      • Maroon and Kane both ufa

    • Skinner and a 2nd for Nugent-Hopkins? McDavid gets a scoring LW (other than Lucic) and Carolina gets a centre.

      • That’s actually not a bad suggestion. Helps both Carolina and Edmonton.

      • Not with Skinner 1 year from UFA status. RNH is locked up for 3 more years. His ability to slide to McDavid’s LW balances out the roster for Edm & gives them the ability to move RNH back to C if injuries require such. Strome has actual fit in well as the #3 C, he needs to work on his face off skills but oddly enough this move which was obviously planned as he saw for little time at RW is allowing for this change & Khiara appears to have a solid NHL future as a #3/4 C.

        This deal doesn’t make sense to me for either team. There are far better landing spots for Skinner.

  4. Skinner is an interesting trade chip. He has been solid goal scorer whenever he is healthy, and is a young left handed LW, who can skate well and is a puck possession driver. He seems to tick so many boxes no matter how you look at players (aside from injury history). The problem is trading a winger for a center is difficult at best. Not many teams with Centers close to as good as Skinner, are trading them for a winger, because not many teams have that many centers who are that good.

    Bozak makes sense to bring back for Toronto if they can’t get someone like Riley Nash on a reasonable deal. Given that the Leafs should be spending more time trying to address their RHD via trade, it makes more sense to do something a little easier for the C spot. If Bozak can be had on a 2-3 year deal at a reasonable cap hit, then it can make sense, as long as it is cheap enough that if he ends up playing 4C, that he isn’t an albatross, or just short term enough that it doesn’t matter.

    Kovalchuk is interesting depending on the type of deal. Big money on a 1-2 year deal probably makes the best compromise, as I do think he could probably come right in and be a 25-30 goal scorer still, playing LW and the point on the PP, which will make him a great add that doesn’t cost anything other than cap space, which is fine if the deal isn’t long term. It’s when he starts pushing for 3+ years things get dicey.

    • Danny I agree with most of what you said except I wonder when fans will stop talking about Skinner’s injury history. He has played 579 NHL games, more than anyone in his 2010 draft class except Tyler Seguin. He has only missed 8 games in the last 4 years. There are only 4 players in the 2009 draft that have played more NHL games than Skinner. During Skinner’s 579 NHL games he has been the most targeted player on his team so at least in my mind he has lost the fragile label.

      Skinner is still very capable of a 40 goal season, if he ever gets to play with a number 1 center.

  5. Riley Nash is a 3rd line center coming off his best statistical year with 15g and 26a 41pts all career high, he was almost a point a game player subbing for Bergeron on the top line with Marchand and Pastrnak. His salary is $900K.
    Not sure if Boston will be able to resign Riley as he may never get an offer as he might get this offseason his highest salary was $1,150,000 for one season.
    Will someone offer 2yrs at $3 to $4 M? can’t blame him for taking the best offer out there and running with it.

    • Riley is a good player but Boston has plenty of young guys who can step in. Bruins May even need to trade a couple for a pick or two as there isn’t enough room on the big club.

      • Nash has definitely had a solid year for the Bruins. Will be sad to see him go, but he is definitely going to be seeking a huge raise and as Obe said they have cheaper options in the system.

        Does Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson get the chance to earn that 3C job next year in training camp?

      • I assume Donato may well play as the #3 C next season but there are potentially several options, Backes could move back into the middle but I don’t like paying 6 mil for a 3rd line C.

        Forsbacka-Karlsson may get a shot, Heinen can also play C & by moving him to C would open up a roster spot at LW for Bjork.

        I assume Nash will get a 3 or 4 year deal on the open market to be a 3rd line C for someone at or near 3.5 a season but that won’t be Boston paying it. Considering he see’s no PP time he had an incredible season.

    • Riley Nash will probably leave simply because he has no opportunity to move up. Bergeron and Krejci are firmly entrenched as the top 2 Cs. The salary offered to him will also reflect that fact.

  6. Remember when Bozak was Leafs top center? Or when they signed Jeff Finger? Now they are pretty good.

    • Or when Buffalo Signed that beast Leino? That was one of the best UFA deals ever! And when they traded their franchise goaltender for a bag of pucks!? Awesome!

      Paper bag! Get one!

      • A Rangers fan who brings up bad contracts lol. go sign somemore 38 year old forwards, trade your first round pick to Tampa for a washed up 38 year old lol. When your 39 year old goalie retires you will prob be dead last, he is the entire team, you have no centers, no anything. Go sign Kovalchuk lol. or maybe he’s not old enough yet.

        Sabres beat Rangers 1 time 4-1, Rangers beat Sabres one time 5-1 and the other games were all one goal games. Take out your goalie you are nothing!

      • Bobby Holik and Eric Lindros lol. Great signings.

      • Both prior to the cap….. take away your entire fractured team, and you may have a team. Ultimately it’s still in that pit called Buffalo anyway so….

        Martin St. Louis was traded for Callahan plus who want 6+ for 6-8 years from NY…. I’d trade him plus away again today …literally today for avoiding that contract…. also he helped NY reach the scf’s…. what has Anyone on Buffalo done lately? Or ever while we’re at it?

      • “Probably dead last” like Buffalo today you mean!? Lmao.

        NY is a team that pulled the plug 3 points out with 2+ months to go and STILL finished ahead of Buffalo. What does that tell you?

      • NYR4Life: No need to be like that. Let people have their opinions.
        Your Rangers team success don’t afford you any room to be pointing fingers. You are just starting to tank.

      • First of all, Matt comes here daily ripping Toronto, Mathews, NY, Boston, Colorado, Thornton, Etc. sorry, Buffalo fans should just shhhhhhh….

        Buffalo fans have ZERO room to rip anybody! None, zero, zilch, nada….

        Opinion is one thing. Being a troll to every fan base, player, and organization is another!

        I’m a ny Jets fan, I’d have some set of b—s ripping a sf fan, Cleveland fan, or better yet a packers , NE, fan etc.

        The rangers have been one of the most successful franchises over the last decade. And I don’t believe they can afford a Buffalo / Edmonton tank 10 year rebuild/ festival!

        They sure didn’t look like a team trying to lose even after gutting themselves to the bone…. and again still finished ahead of Buffalo! Who do nothing but bottom dwell, and suck up high picks year after year!

        If The Rangers success “doesn’t afford any room to be pointing fingers”…. just imagine where a Buffalo fan stands today!?

        They shouldn’t even be allowed to comment here at all by that thought process….

        Again, daily from Matt! Don’t be another homer sticking up for that worthless , fractured franchise…. and a fellow fan that still thinks he has room to criticize ANY team or player!

        Look to yourselves! A hot mess of a losing franchise! The two top players seeming like they wish they were ANYWHERE else speaks volumes of where that pile of pooh is headed!

      • Buffalo high school football rules!

  7. don’t forget that the Sabres want to trade O’Reilly, especially after his comments about losing his passion for playing. They can trade him for a winger and then put Mittlestat as the #2 behind Eichel

    but doubt the Sabres will trade ROR within the division, especially across the border to Toronto

    • I don’t give a crap if your team is awesome or if they suck. No one needs to be trashed for who they root for. If you say Matt is a troll, then feel free to trash him for it.

      Sabres fans may have never had a cup to cheer about, but we also haven’t been bottom dwellers the entire time, unlike the Browns. Yes, the last 5 years have sucked, but every team that rebuilds goes through a period like this.

      For the record, the Rangers did not “gut themselves to the bone” they traded a couple of players and bailed out on this season. If we want to go there, we could say they quit on their fans.

      I also love how high and mighty people get because no one else can have any brains because they don’t cheer for their team. Sounds a bit “troll”ish to me.

  8. Ottawa Sens fan here, and I wanted to know what you guys think of who the best 4th pick for the team would be. Most people have Dahlin,Svechnikov, and Zedina going 1,2, 3, respectively, and that leaves the Sens with a bit of a head scratcher because there has been a lot of inconsistency with 4th and lower. Sens could use a wing, but I’m a little worried that Tkachuk doesn’t have the skill to be a top 6. If we lost Karlsson, then Boqvist would probably be the best bet as far as the most straight forward replacement, however he is small.Then there is Bouchard who looks more like the complete package. How would you guys pick if you were the sens?

    • The consensus, ISS, Central Scouting, Bobby Mac have the 3 you mention & Tkachuk but a few bloggers who spend a ton of time researching such have several Dman entering the mix at #4. Bouchard, Hughes, Dobson or Boqvist.

      Teams usually select who they feel the best player is regardless of position but with Carolina moving up so significantly & no idea who’s making their selection apparently the owner or Don Waddell, YIKES, who knows what they might do.

  9. Bozak won’t hurt the Leafs he’s a reliable option in most situations. It would be nice; however, if all discussion regarding the Leafs focused on their need for defence in the future. The need is obvious. We need a defenceman, or two, that can actually assert their presence in the defensive zone.

  10. Well it has just been confirmed Lamoriello won’t be back as the GM so maybe that facial hair rule will go with the didos. Wonder who it will be who replaces him… Hunter or Dubas. My guess is Dubas. Bozak is the most likely of the 6 UFAs to come back but I still don’t think it is likely. Ultimately that will come down to how much of a hometown discount he’s willing to absorb (he claims his family wants to stay) vs what he could earn elsewhere.

    • I would like to see Dubois get the position as well & I also agree with you very unlikely Bozak returns. There will be no short-term cap friendly deal to be had, he will take his opportunity to cash in elsewhere.

  11. The NHL is moving away from toughness to speed a speed & puck possession game. If a tough player can’t play at least 12 mins a night in a 4th line role there is no place for such in the NHL.

    Carolina hired Francis as GM in April of 2014. He was 4 years into a solid rebuild. The core of this team was & is very young. They have 1 of the strongest young rosters & prospect groups in the NHL, all their picks & a ton of cap space.

    They don’t need to trade for toughness nor scoring. They just need to stay the course let all these young players adapt & add those coming. Necas, Zykov are NHL players next year for sure. Winning the lottery & moving up to #2 was huge for them.

    Staal, Rask, Aho & Lindholm can all play C & Necas will push Rask to the #3 slot very quickly & Lindholm most likely back to RW where I like him far better.

    That said who knows what this wingnut owner is going to do, giving the reigns to the prehistoric Waddel makes no sense. His claim to fame was building the Atlanta Thrashers, in a decade he got them to the playoffs once & his management skills 7 time as President now has them in Winnipeg! As they were brutal in almost every way.

    Great person to have running the 3rd biggest money-losing operation team in the NHL & now you are giving him the keys to player opps! What a nightmare.

    The misery Carolina fans keep getting subjected to never stops.

    • Sorry, the 7 should read &.

    • Teams were always better off with high end speed and skill, like 80s Oilers. Not sure why any teams wanted big slow players. Any year of hockey teams that had the most high end talent and speed usually was a great team. Speed and high end Talent has always been my recipe for success. When my Sabres were good they were one of the fastest highest scoring teams in league. 2005-2007. Now they are the slowest team in league thanks to former GM Tim Murray. It will change soon with guys like Dahlin, Guhle and Middlestat.

    • Tom Dundon is one of those managers that says he doesn’t want to surround himself with yes men then fires everyone that disagrees with him.

  12. Bozak won’t have to accept a short-term reasonable deal from anyone. There will be multiple bidders for his services & I assume he will get 6 years at or near 5 mil per from someone. Crazy I know but Lyle just stated it. The # of UFA centres available is incredibly low. Simply supply & demand & with the cap rising to 80 to 82 mil fiscal sanity will again take a back seat to greed.

    Bozak will play somewhere next season as a teams 2B C it just won’t be in Tor as their top 2 C positions are set.

    • Bozak will actually hurt the Leafs IMO. He would be the 3rd line center, which I think should be the position for Nylander.

      Figure out the lines with Brown, Hyman, Marner, Marleau, Leivo, Kapanen and Johnsson as the wingers.
      I’d like to see Kapanen or Johnsson get some time with Matthews as well.

      Maybe give Grundstrom a shot and/or Aaltonen as 4C.

      • It would be more like a 2B situation with Nylander at C. Most teams are rolling some form of 3 scoring lines in today’s NHL & it means you have a 1A, 1B or 2A or 2B scenario but really I agree with you essentially.

        The concern with Nylander at C is being young his defensive game & commitment to such especially in puck pursuit is a concern. No concerns about his offensive potential but the difficult defensive responsibilities will be born by Kadri still 5 on 5. Kadri doesn’t kill penalties which I have always found odd considering how Babcock deploys him 5 on 5.

        I also have concerns that if Komorov doesn’t return whose going to kill penalties on the 2nd group after Hyman & Brown. Kapanen played that role somewhat when playing & although Komorov like Brown, Hyman & Kapanen is a winger he & Hyman took almost all the SH faceoffs & won 55.3% of them. Hyman took nominal more but only won 41.4% of his.

  13. If a team wants to build a Stanley cup contender all they have to do is sign the fingernail twins JVR and Bozak, Komarov who looks like he’s a blood vessel from a heart attack, Plekanec who could skate faster with a pair of rubber boots, Polak who plays with rubber boots.

    There’s a combo any team would die to get. All you have to do is overpay them.

    Toronto will do better without these players but the biggest loss was getting potential prospects and draft picks if they would have suckered desperate teams that would have overvalued their actual abilities.

    After the Boston series, everyone knows who they are under pressure. Useless.

  14. TO needs to let Altonen, Lindholm, Gauthier and Nylander fight for the three and four center. If Gauthier doesn’t make the roster he should be moved to a western conference team.

    Can’t see them signing Taveres unless it is a rich one or two year deal. Would sooner see them invest in JVR. Let Komo, Bozak, Moore, Polak and Plekanic walk. I love Komo and Polak but younger guys can replace them.

    The immediate need is one good right handed defenseman. After that experience is a factor.

  15. Not hearing much about the draft but if I was Montreal I would offer the #3 pick, Gallagher, and Patches for both the Islanders 2018 first round picks, a 2018 second, a 2019 second round pick, and a prospect or roster player. There are a lot of centers and defensemen in the draft early to choose from at #11 and #12. There are even a few French Canadians for consideration.

    Habs need to get some real good center prospects while the Islanders need to prove to Taveres they can compete next year.


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