NHL Rumor Mill – April 9, 2018

by | Apr 9, 2018 | Rumors | 44 comments

Latest on the Blues, Flames and Wild plus an update on Ilya Kovalchuk in your NHL rumor mill.

Should the St. Louis Blues consider trading goaltender Jake Allen? (Photo via NHL Images)


ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan believes the St. Louis Blues must address their goaltending, find a center for Vladimir Tarasenko’s line and acquire depth scoring.

Starting goalie Jake Allen was inconsistent this season. The Blues hope he’ll rebound next season but Kaplan suggests he might need a change of scenery. The safest bet is re-signing backup Carter Hutton to a one-year contract.

Kaplan suggests the Blues pursue New York Islander center John Tavares if he hits the open market in July. She also proposes the Blues “should be active bidders for any forwards on the market this summer.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The market is thin this summer for good goaltenders via trades or free agency, so I expect the Blues will return with the Allen-Hutton tandem next season.

The Blues were reportedly shopping for scoring help in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, lined to Montreal’s Max Pacioretty and Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman. It remains to be seen if they’ll go after those guys but I do expect them to pursue a scoring forward this summer.

Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have over $64 million invested in 20 players for 2018-19 with all their core players under contract. Assuming an $80-million salary cap, they could have sufficient room to pursue Tavares if he becomes available and still have enough to fill out the rest of the roster. 


THE ATHLETIC: Kent Wilson proposed an eight-point plan for the Calgary Flames to make the most of the offseason. Among his suggestions is finding depth at right wing, making a decision on forward Sam Bennett and find a goaltender capable of splitting time with starter Mike Smith. Regarding Bennett, Wilson feels his trade value could be affected the farther he drifts from his draft year and the promise of being an impactful player. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Right-wing depth was an issue throughout this season for the Flames. The options are very thin via this summer’s free-agent market, with New Jersey’s Michael Grabner as the best of the bunch. They could have better luck via the trade market, perhaps by targeting a club looking to shed salary by packaging Bennett with a top prospect .

They could have better luck via free agency finding a reliable, affordable backup goalie. Options could include Boston’s Anton Khudobin, Colorado’s Jonathan Bernier and St. Louis’ Carter Hutton. 


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Michael Russo was asked if he expected a higher salary-cap ceiling for next season could generate more trade activity and which players were most likely to be moved by the Minnesota Wild. He believes it will be a busy summer for trades. He expects the Montreal Canadiens to be active, pointing out they wanted to do a deal with the Wild before the trade deadline involving forwards Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk. “It never really got close, sources say, mostly because the Wild weren’t willing to trade futures or significant players off their roster. The time just wasn’t right then. It very well could be this summer though.”

One reader brought up the Wild’s need to re-sign Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba plus a desire at some point to re-sign Eric Staal, wondering if Charlie Coyle could be their best trade option. Russo considers Coyle, with two years remaining on his contract at $3.2 million per season, to be “very moveable”, as well as perhaps Jonas Brodin, ” who will have three years left at $4.167 million per.”

Russo also doesn’t rule out the possibility of the Wild attempting to move forward Tyler Ennis, possibly by eating part of his cap hit. He also thinks a buyout is possible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyle was one of the players the Canadiens were reportedly looking at in the trade market. Maybe they’ll revisit that option with the Wild this summer. Brodin has surfaced in the rumor mill over the past two years but the Wild appear reluctant to move him. Buying out the final year of Ennis’ contract will free up over $2.4 million of cap space for next season. 


SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not doubting Eronko or his source, but let’s wait and see if the Rangers confirm this. 



  1. Classic and typical Rangers move. Work on your rebuild off by signing a 35 yr old has been.

    I hope they never fire Gorton or Sather.

    • I think this youth movement in NYR isn’t designed to take 3 to 5 years. A retooling would be a far better description.

      With Zibanejad; 24 years old, Kreider; 26, Spooner; 26, Hayes; 25, Namesntikov; 25, Fast; 26, Buchenich; 22, Vesey; 24, Skjei; 24, Poink; 22, DeAngelo; 22 & Gilmour; 24 all still developing & their best years still ahead of them but most ready to pop NYR could be back in the playoffs as early as next season, if they can secure a solid #2 Dman minimum.

      With that much cap space; 30+ mil, & those 3 1sts, 2 2nds & 2 3rds Gorton has something up his sleeve I just hope it isn’t Karlsson. My favourite UFA Dman is de Haan, he would fit this retooling perfectly, solid defensive Dman & penalty killer who also isn’t yet fully developed but plays a sound defensive game & might make a solid safety net for Shattenkirk.

      Like all teams, I’m not doing anything rash until I know what is going to happen with Trouba.

      • Ron will never see any of that. No sense in an argument. He comes in , throws up on the board with disdain for every player and team in the league and bails until his next angry rant. He’ll never defend or back up anything.

        He’s the one hit wonder guy!

        The fact that he says “typical Rangers move in a rebuild ” shows how little he knows.
        When is the last time NY went through a full on rebuild that anything is typical!?

        2004-05 when they traded Leetch, Kovalev,let Messier walk and brought in solid youth like Straka, Naslund, and Jagr?

        Those moves for those “young guys” had them back in the playoffs overnight after a 7 year drought.

        But what do GMs know that brilliant Ron doesn’t?

      • It speaks to what an old team the Rangers were in 2004 that Jagr (a 13 year NHL veteran at that point) and Straka (an 11 year NHL veteran at that point) represented “solid youth”.

      • The “youth” part was sarcasm. Hence the …..those moves for those “young guys” part. The quotation around “young guys” being the dead giveaway.

        And exactly my point. They rebuilt with a mixture of guys like Straka, Nasland and Jagr while developing guys at the same time.

        R.i.p sarcasm. You had a good run of a few centuries until we lost you!

        Aye aye aye!

      • But here’s the problem…intended sarcasm or not, the statement was true.

        Messier, Leetch, a broken down Lindros, a broken down Holik, the final gasps of Vlad Malakhov, etc.

        Jagr and Straka were spry young gazelles compared to them.

        The Glen Sather version of a youth movement.

      • No, it really wasn’t a youth movement….It was stop gap moves while the Anosimovs, Stepans, Staals, Stepans etc. developed.

        Ny never used “youth movement ” or the word “rebuild ” during that period. Nor was it meant to be either.

        And people can say what they wish, but that worked out pretty well for NY. Especially Jagr. They hijacked Washington in that trade. And had Washington pay 1/2 his salary for the entirety of the deal.

        Any other NHL team would have been brilliant for picking up a 100+ point player for a bag of pucks. In any era, in rebuild or not.
        But this is NY/Sather so it has to be discredited.

      • Yes Chrism. Stepan is so freaking good I named him twice!!!!

      • OH… I thought maybe he had a twin brother named Stephen.

    • Funny, I don’t remember hearing any crap about Toronto signing 37 year old Marleau for 3 years at 6.5. Lundquist is 36 with 3 years left on contract. Signing Kovy makes sense. Not trading away any youth to get him. Not hurting anyone’s development. If we learned anything since deadline, it’s a lot of these kids playing aren’t really nhl ready. And there’s a few guys at forward that I dont see back next year

      • excuse me? Almost everyone outside of Tor and many in Toronto absolutely shellacked that trade with crap. They primed it, then double coated it with crap.

      • In my mind I crap on the signing each day.
        The two biggest blunders I see made by the Leafs are Signing Marleau – which is miles and miles ahead of second place, which is protecting Matt Martin ahead of Leipsic

      • First off Marleau scored 27 goals this year so it was not a bad sign. It could be problematic in the final year because of other cap issues but if you go back lou did an interview just after the signing, with Bob McCowan and they asked him about the tstructure of the deal because it is so front loaded, I think the salary in the final year is only $1 million. lou said they did it that way because it makes him easily tradeable in that final year. lou doesn’t say much but when he does he is pretty candid.

      • TB… you don’t think Kovulchuk can score 27?

  2. If the Rangers confirm it, they’ll admit to tampering…which they clearly have engaged in if that report is true.


    Taking a quick glance at the brackets, I might still pick the Pens to go very deep, but…they have serious question marks around them, which they didn’t have going into the past two playoffs.

    1) Matt Murray. For most of this season, he’s been playing way too “technical”. He appears to be constantly thinking about his angle and positioning and not much else.

    Some goalies fall into a trap of being big, technically sound and playing the percentages, as if there job is to take away 92% of the net and if the puck hits the other 8%, so be it. He’s not battling for saves the way he needs to do.

    2) The 6th D man spot. Ruhwedel is better than Hunwick but neither are good enough. The Hawks proved in 2015 that you can win playing only 4 or 5 D, but…

    3) Their #1 D man was solid instead of a wild card. Kris Letang’s game is a mess more often than not. The Pens can win a Cup with no Letang but they can’t win a Cup with bad Letang.

    • If Rangers confirm Kovalchuk signing, it’s not tampering. As per NY Post’s Larry Brooks:

      “Ilya Kovalchuk becomes an unrestricted free agent upon turning 35 on April 15 and does not have to wait until the pre-July 1 interview period to talk with NHL suitors. Kovalchuk can negotiate with clubs and reach an agreement in principle but cannot sign a contract until July 1.”


      • My bad. I thought April 15th was when he could start talking to teams.

      • I assume you are correct MG, he isn’t eligible to speak to any teams until the 15th but almost every Russian wants to play in NYR due to the large Russian presence in the city.

        On the topic & not directed at you, 2 or 3 years for Kovalchuk wouldn’t be the end of the world. I don’t think NYR’s retooling or quick youth movement that started with the trade of Brassard to Ottawa for Zibanejad won’t take very long. NYR is still a very solid team, the concern for me at present isn’t the forward group the C issue has been addressed with the acquisitions of Namestnikov & Spooner both capable of playing C & Chytil & Andersson NHL ready but all that youth at D.

        A great long-term problem but few teams have been competitive icing a young D. Nas being 1 of the few exceptions over the years.

      • It’s not the 15th yet… Gorton had press conference this morning. I’m working and haven’t watched yet. But as far as I see from reporters, nothing about Kovy.

      • Listened to Gorton presser. Very last question was could he comment on Kovulchuk….answer was no… he’s still someone elses

    • Your Penguins facts are as dumb as your tampering statements. Murray has always been a “technical” goalie. His brain works like a computer and he is like a terminator goalie. You want him to throw himself out of position like MAF does on every save so he has to hurl his body here and there just to make saves? I don’t, I would rather he know exactly the optimal position to make a save. It’s not as estically pleasing but it is much more efficient. The number 6 dman is not that important especially when the 5 in front have so much talent and the top 4 have so much experience. This is a dumb argument. Especially when the Penguins have the best forward corps in the league. I’ll take Letang and what you see as his faults over all but maybe 6 dmen in the whole world. Letang struggled a little, just like the rest of the team, during the first third of the season, but he has found his way back to elite status. I have been a Penguins fan for 31 years and even I hate other Pens fans. All doubt and doom and gloom, complaining just to complain. This team has not had a better roster in the last decade and yet people like you are crumbling at the seams.

  3. Even if the Rangers signed Tavares and Kovalchuk the team D is not ready to be a contender.

    • Agreed but wouldn’t Trouba look good in Rangers blue?

      I have been waiting 2 years to see how the next 2 will play out with Trouba. Is he willing to stay in Win? He has arbitration rights & it’s going to cost Win at least 8 mil per for 8 years to retain him, if not he elects arbitration takes a 2-year award & is a UFA coming out of it, as a UFA there would be a huge bidding war pushing him over 10 easily & he’s still not fully developed at the NHL level, just turned 24 & has only played 326 NHL regular season games. He now holds all the cards/leverage.

      This is the most interesting story floating around for me currently, even more so than where Karlsson is going to end up or what happens to Tavares. Very curious to see how Trouba & Win’s standoff from 2 summers ago is now going to play out. This kind of asset, a solid 2 way Dman that can play it any way you want is by far the hardest commodity to find in the NHL.

      • Yes a Trouba would be huge for the NYR. Karlsson makes zero sense. Trouba is RHD… Shattenkirk and Pionk(he looked very good to me) should see a lot of time on that side next year.

      • Trouba is also a right handed d.

      • I’m with you on Trouba!! Hoping Jets go out in 1st round. Rangers have a ton of left handed D prospects. Need a big right D. Shatty not a 1st pair guy.

      • I do not understand the appeal of NY (or LA/Chigago, etc). Millions of people living on top of each other, traffic up the waazzoo, cold weather much of the year. If I was a FA I would have Carolina, Tampa, Zona, San Jose, circled on my go to list. I get why natural born people would want to stay.. hell I live in Pittsburgh and Love it… but it’s f’in snowing out my window right now in April!

        to each their own I guess.

      • Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess county in NY ( 20-45 minute ride) is rural country. Lots of space/ land.

        I’ve lived in NYC, westchester and Florida. Florida is not much on culture, food or land.
        What winter is in the north, summer is in the south. 95-100-110 everyday, humidity 99%. May-October on north Florida…. forget south Florida. Bugs the size of dinosaurs, hurricanes, flash floods, etc.

        You can’t golf in NY in December…. but there is a trade off trust me!

      • That’s ridiculous. Who cares how much culture is in ny if everyone is miserable every day of their lives dealing with 4 seasons and an overinflated cost of living. Florida is always warm and has no state taxes. I’ll take that over going to see some dumb play any day.

  4. I’d say that puts the Nash returning rumors to bed. It’s a little early to judge anything. The picture will become clearer after the draft and July 1st. Ny certainly has the assets to make some waves. Hopefully it’s an interesting summer.

    • I can’t wait to see what Gorton has planned. 30 mil is a ton of cap space & with 3 1sts, 2 2nd’s & 2 3rd’s this summer in a great position to do almost anything.

      This has been a very interesting restocking of solid prospect talent in the blink of an eye.

      • His “first” are close to being seconds.
        They’re late rounders I believe.

      • 30 million? Based on how many rostered players? I’m assuming you’re not counting any of the UFA and rfa’s?

      • When NY was trading late 1st rounders they were making a huge mistake, now they stockpiled 3 mid-late 1st rounders and they are as only good as 2nds? Jesus people make up your minds!!!!

      • NYR don’t worry, their second round picks are almost firsts

    • I think bringing Nash back would be a huge mistake. Seems more a sentimental thing. Already ripped the bandaid off trading him. Leave it alone.

  5. Price to the Blues? Price may say yes – smaller market, consistently good team that can compete with him on the roster. Habs may say yes – Blues stocked with young talent and could take a bad contract in return to make it work.

    Just spitballing. (Personally, I still think Price to the Canes makes the most sense, if MB were to try and trade him = which he should, in order to start rebuiling the franchise)

    • That had meant to be “Habs could take on a bad contract to make it work”… not that this idea has gained any traction anyway lol

  6. Good signing by ny. Woulda liked to see him in the burgh but dems the brakes.

  7. Grabner is a LW not a RW. Devils acquired him hoping to play him at RW but he told the coaching staff he prefers LW. And that’s where he was successful with the NYR

  8. Thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the tragedy in Sask Friday night. Sympathies and condolences to the families of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.

    Sons, husbands and fathers all taken too early. May you all rest in peace.

    • Ron who gets the 2M+ they raised for that hockey team? Why isn’t there a call to ban motor vehicles or buses if not traffic? Seems when something happens they want to ban everything… Maybe if they didn’t have the hockey to play in first place everything would have been fine… Need to ban everything until even living or being alive is against the law. sorta like Logan’s Run, I try to just focus on the game not the stuff off the ice personally…

      • Nothing but class again daoloth……… or nothing anyways.

  9. Daolth I hope you get banned from this site . There are a lot of posts that I do not agree with but enjoy reading what these guys have to say. This is a hockey site and the whole hockey world is in morning over this . Go Broncos always in our hearts