NHL Rumor Mill – April 5, 2018

by | Apr 5, 2018 | Rumors | 40 comments

Latest speculation on Milan Lucic and Jacob Trouba plus a look at the Columbus Blue Jackets defense corps in your NHL rumor mill.

Could the Edmonton Oilers try to trade Milan Lucic this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)


THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell examined the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers finding a taker for veteran winger Milan Lucic and his expensive contract. He noted a buyout option would be punishing. While there’s a belief Lucic’s contract is untradeable, Mitchell suggested it’s possible if the Oilers are willing to take on another problem contract or sweeten the deal. Lucic also has a full no-movement clause until 2021, meaning he’d have to be willing to move on. Mitchell pointed out the Los Angeles Kings were able to peddle Marian Gaborik for Dion Phaneuf while the Oilers shipped Jordan Eberle last summer to the New York Islanders for Ryan Strome.

At the time of his signing with the Oilers, the Los Angeles Kings and Montreal Canadiens expressed interest. Mitchell suggested a swap of Lucic to Montreal for Andrew Shaw, who’s earning $3.9 million annually for four more seasons. He also speculated Lucic might welcome a return to the Boston Bruins, though it’s less certain if they’d be interested.

If Lucic were willing to expand his trade options, Mitchell proposed “Jason Spezza from Dallas (one more year at $7.5 million); Bobby Ryan from Ottawa ($7.25 million times four); Brent Seabrook from Chicago ($6.875 million times six years); Kyle Okposo from Buffalo ($6 million times five more years); Brandon Dubinsky ($5.85 million times three more seasons); Travis Zajac from New Jersey ($5.75 million times three).”

Mitchell also felt the Oilers might be better to wait until a team comes calling willing to overpay. They could also wait until 2020, when there could be another lockout that could be followed by another round of compliance buyouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Cap Friendly indicates the 30-year-old Lucic, whose performance declined noticeably this season, has five years remaining on his seven-year, $42-million deal. Factor in his no-movement clause and that’s a hefty contract to move. As per the examples Mitchell cited, it’s not impossible but trying to make it work won’t be easy.

While the Kings and Canadiens had interest in Lucic in 2016 a lot has changed for both clubs since then, so I don’t see them as potential destinations now. The Sens and Blackhawks could try to move Ryan or Seabrook this summer but I doubt they’d be keen to take back Lucic despite his lower annual average value. The Sabres, Blues Jackets and Devils would prefer to shed salary so I don’t see them as destinations for Lucic. As for the Stars, they could simply buy out Spezza’s final season and eat the $2.5- million cap hit in 2019-20. 


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited Bob McKenzie’s appearance Monday on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 discussing the contract situation of Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, who’s a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. He said he hasn’t heard of any contract discussions yet and wouldn’t be surprised if both sides have decided to wait until after the season to begin negotiations.

While the Jets have done a good job getting their key players under reasonable long-term deals, McKenzie noted that new deals for Trouba and winger Patrik Laine (who has a year left on his entry-level contract) could affect their salary structure. McKenzie also noted Trouba is represented by agent Kurt Overhardt, who landed an eight-year, $64-million contract for client Ryan Johansen with the Nashville Predators.  Trouba is earning $2.8 million this season and his camp will drive a hard bargain on his next deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trouba’s previous contract negotiations with the Jets in the summer of 2016 resulted in a lengthy standoff that wasn’t resolved until November of that year, when he inked his current two-year deal worth considerably less than the long-term deal his camp originally sought. During that time his name frequently surfaced as a trade candidate, but Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff insisted he wasn’t shopping the blueliner. Given the contentious nature of their previous negotiations, Trouba’s contract status could bear watching this summer. 


THE ATHLETIC: In the wake of the Columbus Blue Jackets re-signing defensemen Markus Nutivaara and Dean Kukan to new contracts, Aaron Portzline examined the effect those moves could have on the club’s offseason plans for their blueline. The Jackets currently have 10 defensemen on their roster.

Portzline suggests the chances of pending unrestricted free agent Jack Johnson returning with the Jackets are “almost nil at this point”, especially if they re-sign Ian Cole. It’s unclear how much of a raise Cole, another pending UFA, might seek over his current $2.1-million cap hit. With Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin due for big raises in the near future, perhaps Cole might be too expensive to keep. Ryan Murray is a talented restricted free agent hampered by injuries earlier in his career. That could affect his value if the Jackets decide to trade him. 



  1. I WAS a big fan of Lucic. 1 goal in his last 44 games while playing with either McDavid or Draisaitl for 3/4 of the year AND on the no 1 PP until recent he is not worth pursuing. Maybe a hit leader in the league but who cares for $6m. His lack of confidence around the net is amazing. HE needs to change the lie, curve, flex, and length on that twig because what is happening is an embarrassment

    • Peter Chiarelli is a lot like one of those guys that wins millions in the lottery and is back to being broke in a year. The guy has no clue what he is doing and has no problem letting everyone know it. You could see Lucic had lost a whole lot by the end of his Bruins run. Giving him 6 mill for that many years was just stupid.

      Jacob Chychrun is hurt again. That has to be worrying a lot of people on that team. Zona was playing decent hockey the last 20-30 games, Tochet finally got them to listen to him.

      Jack Johnson is going to have to sign a one year “show me” contract. Otherwise he’s looking at a 3*3 deal at best. If the Penguins could dump Hunwick I think JJ should sign with them for a year for around 2 mill. Their track record for reclaimation projects is pretty good.

      • I’m pretty sure Zona is doing better because they stopped listening to Tochett.

      • Hey Dee,
        I have to ask? Is Sheahan still snakebitten? I said he was nothing but an AHL player but then you made light of the poor wingers he played with in Detroit and that was the excuse for poor production. Now on the Pens with a much better line up, same production? some 10 goals? Snakebitten still or just not a very good player?

        it’s ok to be wrong…

        Striker I gave you heck for supporting Sakic and the Avalanche. It seems the Duchene trade was the one of the proper remedies to that line up. The Avalanche whether they make the playoffs or not have had a successful year. I was wrong!

      • I think Sheahan is playing great. The last time he scored 10+ goals he did so with quality PP time over 2 min per game.

        Another thing to be aware of is Sheahan is 6’3″ that puts him into the slower development group, like Dman, 400 NHL regular season games to full NHL development. He has played 363 as I write this.

        In 2013-14 Sheahan’s PP TOI/GP in Det was 2:06.
        In 2014-15 it was 2:23.
        In Pit this year it is 0:18.

        11 goals & 31 points playing as the 3rd line checking centre until Brassard joined the roster, with 1st unit PK duties, winning 54.2% of his faceoffs the best on the team, that is a solid season. & he’s doing it for chump change 2.075, the cost in trade virtually nothing. Swapping a 3rd for a 5th & jettisoning Wilson a border line NHL player.

        This was the best possible acquisition available to Pit in the summer due to cap constraints. He fit their need perfectly as identified well before they finally acquired him.

      • Ha-ha! Well done Chrisms. You had me laughing pretty hard.

        & Tocchet’s not alone. The players in NYI never even started listening to Weight & I’m sure players in Buf still don’t even know Housley is their coach, they thought it was alumni day & Housley was being honoured by being allowed on the bench. They just can’t figure out why the event is lasting 82 games.

      • Sheahan is doing very well. Remember it’s ok to say when you are wrong.

        @striker… thumbs up

      • Sheahan has 11 goals and 30 something points to playing on the fourth line. He’s an excellent denfensive player and wins a majority of his face offs. He has been a pleasant surprise and has earned a raise in his next contract. But yeah total glorified AHL player, what a dumb comment but like you said it’s ok you’re wrong.

      • Scott Wilson played with the same garbage players in Detroit and was miserable. Now he’s in Buffalo on one of the hottest lines in the league the last 2 months.
        And yeah I’m sure team play improves when they are left to their own devices and just do whatever the f they want. Makes total sense.

      • I don’t think Rutherford wants Jack Johnson on his team. He traded his rights to LA because of his concerns about Johnson’s lack of commitment to the team that drafted him.

      • yes please on dumping MH…ANYBODY else — good to go

      • I don’t think over a decade in the past has anything to do with anything. If the Penguins can dump Hunwick and get Johnson for the same money there would be no hesitation.

  2. No desire for Lucic in Montreal at the tail end of his career, not that I think he would waive the NTC to go there anyways.

    • Overall, agreed. Lucic could be ok with coming to Mtl though because of Julien and Gallagher, his summer workout buddy. That said a deal for Lucic to Montreal only happens if Edmonton retains salary (which I think will apply to any Lucic trade) and he is part of a package for either RNH or Draisaitl. I’m guessing Alzner goes back the otherway as well???

      Also, LA clinching a playoff spot get the Habs back there own 4th round pick this year giving the Habs 9 picks in the four rounds.

  3. Lucic to the Jackets? Not on your life!

  4. I think we’ve seen the end of these seven year, 6 plus million contracts for players in late 20s early 30s. The Lucic signing is as bad as the Clarkson one in Toronto.

    We’re looking at teams wanting younger players locked up to longer term deals in their prime, or bridge deals formrestricted free agents.

    • what have you seen from nhl gm’s that leads you to think this?

      • Good one, Chrisms, every time it looks as if GM’s have figured it out, they do something ridiculous again. This year, we can expect the same with Karlsson and Tavares and JVR and many, many more.

    • Not a chance. If you have a pulse & show top 4 D potential or top 2 line potential as a forward you are getting these long-term deals.

      We haven’t seen anything yet to imply your perception of such is true.

      If the cap is rising to 80 to 82 mil next season there will be zero restraint from most GM’s on such deals. They are the norm in today’s NHL & I see no way they are stopping unless the rules are changed to eliminate them. That’s not happening.

      We may see terms set on 2nd deals, contracts for players coming out of their ELC’s in the next CBA but I don’t think that will be the sword the NHL falls on. Far bigger fish to fry.

  5. Lyle.

    A question or anyone else that may know.

    If a player is bought out in the 1st buyout window 48 hours after the Cup is hoisted, does the team only need to buy out his actual salary & not a potential signing bonuses due on July 1st?

    • As per Cap Friendly:

      Signing Bonus
      Signing bonuses are paid to the player regardless of a buyout. Therefore, as explained in the buyout caphit formula above, signing bonuses are excluded in the equation when determining the total buyout cost, and are included in the AAV value when determining the remaining caphit.

      Signing bonuses therefore decrease the buyout caphit savings. In the case of players with significant signing bonuses, such as David Clarkson, the remaining caphit decreases minimally. Due to this, Clarkson’s contract has been referred to as a buyout-proof contract.


      • Lyle why is there no mention of Werenski if talking CBJ defense? The guy has 15 goals this year w/ 36 points while last year he had 47 points w/ 11 goals… He was drafted twice as late as Seth Jones but people want to talk about him for a NOrris haha? Also a side note from another site related to him… Werenski will play his 150th game vs. Blues… He has picked up 80 points joining only Dion/Zidlicky as D-men in last 20 years to have 25+ goals w/ .53 points per game in first 2 seasons :). Just seems odd I never hear much mention of Zach, even his + ratings have been 17 and 9…

    • Thank you, Lyle.

  6. I’ll give Lucic a pass to some extent on this season. We see players that sometimes have these forms of struggles only to bounce back the next season.

    Lucic’s game was never built on speed. Edm is stuck with Lucic for now, probably at least 2 more full seasons at which point his pay drops to 4 mil in real cash & a significant portion of his pay becomes signing bonus monies. The reason for my question above about signing bonuses affecting potential buyouts.

    If Edm wanted to move Lucic doing so just aft July 1st in 2020 would be the best time for them to do so. 3 of his 4 mil pay is a signing bonus meaning if traded that summer the acquiring team would only be on the hook for 1 mil in 2020-21 & then his final 2 seasons are 5 & 4 with his NMC moving to a modified NTC.

    With expansion & another lock out looming Lucic could get removed in either as well potentially.

  7. If I were managing the jets of move 1rst Meyers then if need big buff to make room for future signings like Laine and Trouba if needed.

    Meyers has never really impressed me and Not ready and Trouba could very easily be the top pairing. I like those two alot.

  8. Another forward washed up at age 30. It’s a young mans game, never give a forward a long deal into his 30s. Lucic I laughed the day the oilers signed him.

    • Okposo is done, he isn’t even 30 yet. But of course some idiot team will sign JVR to a 6 year deal and I’ll laugh again.

      • Louie Erickson Canucks
        Your right sickening signing . How Benning keep his job?

      • With the cap increasing, there will be more bad contracts signed. NHL needs to take a lesson for MLB this year. Most teams held out on the big contracts that older players were seeking and that worked out for a few teams. Some players even signed for less then they were offered earily in the offseason. But I guess its easy to sign old players to bad contracts when its not your money.

  9. Any thoughts on what WK in Vegas gets? 43 G (as at now); almost a point a game; +49 (league leader by leaps and bounds)—- just turned 25…. RFA making $1.0M now…. I would expect his agent starts demanding at 8 by 8 starting point—- thoughts?

    • Pengy I’m glad I don’t have to negotiate that contract ;). I figure Wild Bill has over 40 goals which is going to get expensive to keep him around… I would guess 8-10M for 8 years so like 64M-80M… Otherwise like 15M for a 2 year bridge or something along lines of 18M for 3 years at minimum :). Real hard to get value for him even if wanted to trade him. Its one GREAT year not a good year, hopefully for Vegas not his career year so he improves for 100 points w/ 50 goals within next 3 years ;).

  10. Teams have to start paying big bucks after one solid year. When they start putting three years together than fine but not after one.

  11. Lol that’s stop not start wow.

  12. I was never a big fan of LUcic… Though I think he would do well if Chicago traded for him. EVen Seabrook couldn’t do worse playing for Oilers than Chicago :). The real shock for me was seeing Keith score w/ like 8.5 seconds left to beat Blues in regulation only to hear it was 2nd of season :). I guess getting Kings into playoffs helps make up for his assault on Jeff Carter ;). I could see Lucic doing well playing w/ Toews to provide protection for a soft player who needs it. Kane seems to have done fine w/ that rookie who got his 28th that would be Calder winner maybe if not for BArzal :). Long as Chicago don’t have to retain salary they could handle trading Sea for Lucic. OIlers big problem is their head coach… He couldn’t win w/ Sharks team that was vastly better than any Oilers since their last Cup championship or even later than that ;). TAlbot was the MVP last year but they handed it to the child McNugger or so :). Berube might end up haunting Vegas since his play helped Chicago beat Blues among some other games perhaps that altered who placed where… Kings would be last team they would want to play in 1st round. Blues would ahve been

    • Your grammar is abominable. What’s up with sticking colons and semicolons any which where and a bunch of closing brackets with no opening ones? You have capitals in the middle of words for no reason. I can go on but you obviously don’t get it.

  13. If I remember correctly, Trouba holdout wasn’t just about money. There was talk that he wasn’t happy playing 3rd pair and also usual talk about maybe not wanting to play in Canada. Buff isn’t going anywhere. He had ntc. Trouba didn’t help himself missing nearly 30 games this season. I can see same standoff. Reports that Rangers might be interested in Karlsson don’t really make sense ( unless they are willing to move Shattenkirk). Trouba would fit exactly what Gorton would target. A younger guy capable of being a top pair for years to come. Rangers have the assets to make it happen. Will be interesting to see how Jets fair in playoffs. Was a lot of rumors about Zucharello going there at deadline. Add to that Rangers have a lot of picks in upcoming draft along with prospects they picked up at deadline. If I’m Gorton, Trouba is a guy I’m watching closely. Don’t see Rangers being very active in free agency this year.

    • Gorton went be the only GM watching closely

      • But he will be only gm with 3 1st rd picks

  14. And how many is he giving up for one player?

    • Just saying. Lots of picks and prospects accumulated at deadline. Add to that Zucharello was heavily rumored going there at deadline.