NHL Rumor Mill – May 14, 2018

by | May 14, 2018 | Rumors | 82 comments

Latest on the Nashville Predators and New York Rangers in your NHL rumor mill. 

Could the Nashville Predators consider trading Pekka Rinne? (Photo via NHL Images)


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin examines the possibility of the Nashville Predators trading goaltender Pekka Rinne. While acknowledging Rinne is the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy this season, the 35-year-old failed to provide the Predators with clutch goaltending as they fell to the Winnipeg Jets in the second round. Rinne is a year away from unrestricted free agent status and backup Juuse Saros is considered his heir apparent.

Larkin also points out Predators general manager David Poile has a recent history of making bold moves, including swapping Shea Weber for P.K. Subban, Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen and acquiring Kyle Turris in a rare three-way trade. By moving Rinne and his $7-million cap hit, it would free up cap room to pursue one of the top forwards in this summer’s UFA market or perhaps bring in a cheaper option in return for Rinne. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At first glance, trading Rinne seems preposterous. He’ll likely win the Vezina, he has the full support of his teammates and Cap Friendly indicates he has a $7-million salary-cap hit with a modified no-trade clause. I doubt Poile will go that route as he could be content to tweak his roster instead of making a big trade. Still, it’s an intriguing notion. The Predators GM has made audacious deals in the past and could do surprise us again this summer. 


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks doubts the Rangers will trade a center like Kevin Hayes or Mika Zibanejad unless they get ” a legit top-four righty defenseman (now or future)” in return. They’d love to pry Jacob Trouba away from the Winnipeg Jets but considers him “probably out of reach”. He notes the Calgary Flames have a surplus of blueliners and need depth at center. While Dougie Hamilton might be obtainable, Brooks wonders if the Rangers would target Flames college prospect Adam Fox. 

Brooks also doubts restricted free agent forward Ryan Spooner fits into the Rangers’ long-term plans. They’ll have to decide if they’ll sign him to a one-year contract (possibly worth $3.5 million) so he’ll be a trade-deadline candidate or allow him to depart this summer via free agency. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hayes or Zibanejad aren’t enough to land Trouba or Hamilton. 



  1. I don’t know why trading one of their top two centers is even being discussed with Rangers. …Unless they’re getting Tavares… after dealing Stepan last odd season, all the talk was of how weak they are down the middle. They’re still looking to win next year, even though everyone thinks they’re in a rebuild… they’re not. Not a full one anyways. They just won’t be trading away youth. Adding Hamilton would be great, but assuming Anderson or Chytil will be full time next year is a mistake. And adding trading for Fox doesn’t really make sense, since we’ve pretty much added plenty of D prospects and probably will draft more. Spooner and Nemestikov, although they can play center, have mainly been used on wing. Zib and Hayes are both just hitting their prime. Trading one, will again create weakness down middle. If they don’t get Tavares, they’ll probably have to look to sign another FA center short term while kids develop

    • The Rangers aren’t looking to win next year

      • Nor should they expect to win anytime soon. It boggles my mind that Lundqvist reportedly wants to stick around. Go win somewhere else. The Predators could certainly use him.

    • I agree but it is Larry Brooks. He’s all about sensationalism, well that or stupidity.

      NYR should bounce back next season. I’m still shocked by the choices made but love the end result.

      NYR has picks, cap space & a solid young roster. Very interested to see what they do with those picks & that money. I think there is a very good chance both Anderson & Chytil play as full-time NHL players next season but due to waiver issues until injuries or trades hit 1 probably starts in the minors until an injury or trade opens a roster spot. Might Zuccarello with 1 year to UFA status be moved out between now & the trade deadline or retained if in a playoff spot or possibly extended this summer?

      Player development isn’t linear, there are peaks & valleys for most. NYR will be making at least 2 if not 3 moves this summer either in a trade or via the UFA market. I think a stabilising older Dman on the right side, As running with Shattenkirk & 2 young Dman Poink & DeAngelo is a concern. Grabner may well return & NYR could bid for a player like Bozak but a natural C to buy time for Andersson to start at the #4 as opposed to #3 C spot.

      Until something happens this is what I currently see.

      Kreider, Zibanejad, Buchnevich.
      Vesey, Hayes, Spooner.
      Namestnikov, Anderson, Zuccarello.
      Belesky/Grabner?/Chytil, Anderson/Chytil, Fast.

      As always move the wingers around any way you wish. Having the luxury of playing Namestnikov & Spooner on the wings until injuries require them to play C is a great luxury to have.

      I really like this forward group & NYR could add to it & improve it further. The concern is at D.

      Skjei, Shattenkirk.
      Stall, Poink.
      DeAngelo, Gilmour.
      Smith, Kampher.

      That group could use a RD who leans to defence or a LH D that can play the right side which isn’t really that big an issue for me. As always my favourite UFA Dman is de Haan. I’m not paying the monies needed to sign Carlson, Green, nor trading for Karlsson.

      • Judging by what’s happened over last year with Stepan and McDonaugh, I think Zucharello will be moved at draft. Not in long term plan. Beleskey will again be buried in ahl. Only paying half his salary. Smith I can’t see back. Issues there that I don’t see getting resolved. Showed up out of shape last year and when sent down broke his hand in fight with teammate. (Lettieri). I think Tavares is number 1 target, again a long shot. A trade for younger D man like Trouba or Hamilton I can see… I don’t really see Gorton going after Any of the other UFA. Maybe Kovulchuk on a short term

      • Slick62.

        I agree on Belesky i just show him by default at the moment until addresses in trade or via the UFA market.

        Do you have Smith’s final 3 years being bought out then?

      • Striker. Smith cap hit in ahl is only 3.8 or around there. Better than buying him out for now. Maybe they can include him with one of their first round picks as part of a deal this summer. Maybe a team with extra cap space. I’d like to see Lindgren get a shot out of camp too. Gives them a little size on backend. Kid can throw the bosy

      • Body

      • Don’t want Grabner back. No need

      • TO NYR: WEBER
        TO MTL: SMITH and a 1st

        NYR gets their#1 RD right handed to play with Skjei and they have the cap space

        Also helps stabilize their D core and help bring long the youth.

    • Kevin Hayes has trouble in the modern NHL due to his lack of speed and intensity. He is not a #2 center on a contender.

      • For sure, he is a 3rd line center on any contender. A very good third line center but not nearly good enough to be a 2nd

      • Hayes falls i to the monster category at 6’5″ & having only & having only 310 games of NHL regular season games played isn’t yet fully developed at the NHL level. He’s already taking all the tough defensive assignments but had to wait 2/3rd’s of last season before Vigneault finally relented & started giving him some PP minutes. His 25 goals & 44 points playing those hard minutes easily make him a #2. He would make the top 62 centers in the NHL comfortably.

        He will score 25 to 30 goals next season & 55 to 60 points. The season following, 2019-20 he could push 70 points. Assuming he plays at least 75 games.

      • I almost never agree with Striker on anything when it comes to NY. But I definitely see Hayes as a #2. He’d have no problem putting better numbers not playing primarily as a shut down guy. AV’s departure will change a lot of players #’s, roles and responsibilities imo.

      • Striker – here in lies the difference “He would make the top 62 centers in the NHL comfortably.”
        The point is that he is not a #2 on a contender.

      • Whether you believe Hayes is a 2 or 3 is irrevelant. I don’t see his role changing. He’s primarily matched against other teams top line…. Driving possession and keeping puck in offensive zone… look at who his line mates usually where last couple years. Miller. Vesey. Grabner. Fast. Not the highest skill guys but all strong, checkin line type of players, that provide offense too. This is why I don’t doubt they go all in on Tavares. A true #1

    • Slick62,
      The Rangers themselves are probably not discussing this at all! Unless, like you say, they are considering going after Tavares.

      • Caps 2nd goal came from a bad drop pass from TJ Miller to McDonagh on a pinch….

      • The lightning look like they’re outmatched in every area of the game. This one is going to be a short series!

      • I think if he hits free agency, we will make best offer. All depends on where he wants to play. He’s only a year older than Hayes. You give him the max contract and try to bridge Hayes.

  2. Larry Brooks is out to lunch as usual. Calgary Has Monohan & Backlund as their top 2 C’s Rookie Jankowski was sent down after earning a spot in camp until a roster spot was made available due to waiver issues he didn’t have to clear. Jagr’s injury issues made his promotion to the NHL possible opening up a roster spot. Jankowski pushed Bennett from C to LW on the 3rd line. Bude is a natural C as well that most likely starts as a winger in the NHL.

    As for Spooner, I see him staying & getting 4 to 6 years in or around 4 mil per.

    The Trouba situation is for me the most exciting possibility this summer, even more so than Karlsson & everyone & their dog will be bidding if he becomes available. NYR would be in a great position to bid with numerous young Dman & a ton of draft picks. Problem is the issue with Trouba doesn’t get resolved before the draft. Win will do everything they can to convince Trouba to sign long term. Only his reluctance & or salary demands will preclude such from happening. Can’t wait to see how this plays out & really hope he signs in Win.

    • Bude should read Dube. Ha-ha! Dam auto correct.

      • Oh so should Striker read Streaker? Ha Ha couldn’t resist.

      • He was talking about drinking too much in Vegas recently….

      • Ha-ha! Haven’t streaked since high school, it didn’t go well.

        On route to Van now, Vegas Wednesday morning, Seattle for the long weekend. Tigers in town.

        There will be some consumption in Vegas. Large group of friends wanting to party on the street out in front of NYNY. Vegas is ridiculously cheap at present.

    • Ya, it will be interesting Striker. If his #1 concern is the hockey side, you would be hard pressed to find a better organization to play for than WPG. They can pay as much as anybody, and they will if he wants to stay and the # isn’t ridiculous.
      If he wants to leave, and that is a big if, what would it take to get him out of WPG? Chevy will want a top D man back, or he did before so that makes it more difficult to get fair value if every GM knows he wants to leave. But you would think somebody steps up.
      Or it just goes to arbitration and they pay him what the arbiter awards. Seems most likely but who knows.
      Offer sheets seem like a tool of the past, so I don’t expect we will see one here either.

      • Zucharello, Gilmour, and 1st rd pick (tampas) for Trouba

      • None of that is getting Trouba, but will probably warrant a hang up.

      • The arbitration route will impact what another team might be willing to trade to acquire him.

        Really curious to see how this unfolds.

        Slick62, that isn’t getting it done. NYR certainly will bid but a ton of teams will.

        I hope he signs for 8 in Win in or around 8 give or take. Win owes him so money for those ludicrous 2 year deal they forced on him. I like the bridge term but wouldn’t have low balled him so much on the salary. Would have paid him 4.5 to 5, similiar to what TB did with Kucherov.

    • I’ve got my fingers crossed that he wants out. I agree Rangers have the assets to get him. Going back 2 years, I think his biggest issue was being behind Buff and Myers. And playing in Canada. He’s still behind Buff, who isn’t going anywhere. But he is getting tons of ice time. I think the better they do, the harder the decision to move him will be. I’m rooting for Tampa. Will give Rangers an extra 1 st rd pick next year.

  3. Nylander and Lilegren for Trouba. Just casting a line here as I am sure it will “bait” many comments.

    • That seems like a major overpay especially throwing in Toronto’s #1 D prospect who played very well as an 18 year old in the AHL (and still is).

      Maybe Nylander, lower level prospect and a 2nd?

      • Toronto is not trading Nylander, Marner or our best RD prospect for Trouba. What I might suggest is Gardiner + for Trouba. Winnepegs LD is much weaker than the right, so Gardiner would be an improvement for them on left and Trouba would be a vast improvement for the Leafs on the right. I think this works for both teams needs. Add propects or picks to it as you see fit. Just remember that Trouba still needs to be signed to a deal this off season.

      • Gardiner wouldn’t even crack the jets top 6! They don’t need offensive dman and that’s all gardiner is he is terrible in his own end

    • I think that’s maybe a bit steep and I’m a Jets fan. Hopefully Trouba just signs long term with Winnipeg in the offseason. (After they win the cup?) if Trouba wants out they should definitely ask about Marner and maybe Draisaitl. If John Carlson signs somewhere else as a UFA could the Jets pry Kuznetsov for an extended Trouba and a guy like Copp or Armia?

      • They will win the Cup! And I can’t wait to see it!

    • I’d do Nyalander, Liljgren and a pick for trouba and Connor (sounds like a fantasy hockey trade)

      • Geez have you been watching the playoffs?
        Connor is a rookie plays on the first line and is has blown me away how good he is!
        The only way Winnipeg trades Connor is if the leafs offer Mathews.
        Connor will be a superstar in this league

      • Why do you think I’m asking for him?

        Yes, i have been watching the playoffs.

    • Steven, that actually sounds reasonable, but I don’t think the Jets do it. They don’t need Nylander. They are as deep as any forward group in the NHL. Plus Nylander is a guy who needs to learn how to battle, he was invisible in the playoffs. My guess is that he will continue to mature and become that player, but not a sure thing. Lilegren has a ton of skill too, but even more unproven. Two high upside guys for a sure thing top pair D man seems close to fair, just don’t think it’s a fit for WPG. They will be looking for a guy like Reilly back.

  4. Trouba is second only behind Big Buff in ice time for the Jets. Yet imo he hasn’t played Trouba hockey. Since coming back from injury (concussion) he hasn’t been the same player, he wasn’t hitting, scared to get hit (coughing up the puck or blindly sending it up the middle) last game he gave the puck away on 3 separate occasions in the 2nd period.
    With that said in the last two games, he has been more engaged and driving with the puck more then he has at any other point during the playoffs.
    I contribute it from coming back off a concussion, I would think it’s a mental battle to engage in the physical play for fear of another concussion; however with each passing game he seems to be getting more comfortable with the physical play and that’s a good sign for the jets.
    Hope he resigns with the Jets, if not, unless you got a good young dman or solid d prospect with good upside, do not call.

    • You’re bang on Caper, it does take time to come back from a concussion. The thing is you don’t even realize you are holding back at the moment you hold back. It’s almost like don’t have a choice, even though you start to realize it’s happening. It’s weird, and it takes time.

  5. P.Rinne for T.Rask anyone?

    seems both of them had moments this playoff where they let their team down

    • So how does that change anything for either team? Ekholm for Lundqvist?

  6. Trading Rinne would not yield a big return. Typically goalies, even in their prime just don’t get a good yield from a trade perspective. Nashville is still in win now mode and placing the burden of a #1 on Saros at this point in time is a huge risk. Don’t see Rinne getting moved at all.

    • Yeah most likely scenario he returns next year, but his workload gets reduced. Gives the heir-apparent more experience and rests Rinne so he will be fresher come playoff time.

      • So he can let in more bad goals. In all honesty the Predators really need to consider this position. They need to trade for Lundqvist.

  7. I can see Rinne being traded draft day, maybe for a low second rounder tops. Maybe the Panthers or TB? Insurance for Vas plus giving him rest. Could be Rinne’s last chance for a cup.

    • i highly doubt Rinne gets moved. No way Nashville puts Saros in as their number #1 when next year they will be a cup contender. 50-50 makes total sense for starts and Rinne’s contract ends immediately after. The timing is perfect.

      • I agree but have the split still favoring Rinne greatly. Saros gets 30 to 35 starts baring injury to Rinne. I could see Rinne extended for 3 years this summer in Nas to allow for a standard passing of the torch with Saros taking over as the starter following the next expansion draft.

        1 more year as the back up, a year of shared duty & make to move in Saros holds up over those 2 seasons.

  8. The Rangers are cup contenders next year!!! Just look at those two top centers! Lol

    • I don’t know about cup contenders but they could be back in the playoffs next season if they can add a solid top 4 Dman.

      Neither Hayes nor Zibanejad are fully developed yet. Few teams have an elite C most have to make do with far less. If not for injury Zibanejad would have broken through last season. Hayes will be significantly better but you won’t see what he is fully until the 2019-20 season.

      These monster forwards take twice as long to fully develop & grow into their bodies as normal size NHL players.

      • Who are the rangers displacing? Lets have a quick look at the top C’s in the east

        Tampa – Stamkos, Point
        Boston – Bergeron, Krejci
        Leafs – Mattews, Kadri
        Sens – Duchene, Pageau/White/Brown
        Florida – Barkov, Trochek
        Buffalo – Eichel, ROR
        Montreal – I’m just gonna skip right over them

        Washington – Kuznetsov, Backstrom
        Pittsburgh – Crosby, Malkin
        Columbus – Dubois, Wennberg/Foligno
        NJ – Hischier, Zacha
        Philly – Giroux/Coutourier, Patrick
        Islanders – Tavares, Barzal
        Canes – Staal, Lindholm/Rask

        By my count 10-11 teams have a better top two C duo in the east.

      • Are we talking playoffs? Cause you could erase any leafs center! Just invisible

      • The Sens? Cmon!

      • Duchene 49 points, Pageau 29 points white 6 points, Brown 1!

        Hayes 44, Zibanejad 47, Chytl 3 Andersson 2…. I’m not sure where Ottawa is beating NY down the middle. Unless you have a different calculator than everyone else?

      • Hischier 52 points, Zacha 25

      • Staal 46, Lindholm 44…..

      • I have merely listed all the centers in the east. Not saying the Sens have a better duo (they don’t!)
        I did say I count 10-11 teams with better centers, Ottawa, Montreal, Canes etc don’t fall in those.

        @Big Bear, your comment is actually not that far off, other than Kadri who had a great series. For the games he was allowed to play in at least

      • Who are the 10-11?

      • And don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe Zibanejad and Hayes are ideal 1-2. Obviously Crosby, Malkin, Mathews, Mcdavid etc. are much better ideal #1’s. Hard to score those type of players not picking in the top 3 in any draft for 54 years! They didn’t just fall in these teams laps! A lot of tanking and sucking to get there.

        Sp contrary to popular belief…. the Rangers don’t suck enough!

      • The 31st best C in the league last year by points was a tie between Stepan & Zetterberg at 56. The 62nd best C by points was Wennberg with 35.

        It’s not about points but there is a reference point for 62 C’s. That’s accounting for 2 per team.

      • Sorry should read it’s not ALL about points

      • Careful taz! Ny will never let you live that bolland! Wait. I mean down!

      • Chrism, that comment is the steal of this board! Much like Niemi was the steal of UFA last year!

    • Matt, how’s Eichel and O’Reilly working out? 2 bitter guys that have garbage attitudes and want nothing to do with that franchise!
      I’ll take Zibanejad and Hayes over a whinny little tool bag, and a guy that’s “lost heart” any day!

      • You are probably the only one who would take Ziba + Hayes over the Buffalo guys.

        Buffalo clearly needs some better management and some Stanley cup veteran presence in the room to whip these guys in shape. You forget that Eichel is only 21.

      • 21 and acts 4! No thanks. Again, these “better players” are the ones griping the most! What’s O’Reillys excuse? He’s only 27?

        These are the guys that should be leading….not publicly crying, losing heart etc. it’s pretty well known this team is split down the middle… welcome to that hot mess Dahlin! Pick a side and crappy attitude, you’ll fit right in…. well on one side of the locker room.

      • A week ago, he’s picking Mathews apart for being dead weight and useless in the playoffs….. but Eichel who can’t even get there is the savior! Lmao!

      • @NYR4Life, are you talking about me? Not once did I say that Matthews was dead weight. He had a tough series but had to deal with some of the best defensive players with no wing support that he could rely on. Matthews was dealt a lousy hand. I think you are confusing me with someone else.

        I did openly question Nylander and his effort in the series. If you had watched all 7 games you would have the exact same opinion as me.

      • @NYR4Life, I think you have me confused with someone else. Here is my comment from when the leafs lost game 7

        “Taz on April 27, 2018 at 10:25 am
        I don’t agree with you Obe, Matthews is definitely a leader. Let’s not forget he’s only 20, the worst thing fans can do is point fingers at a 20 year old”

        Matthews had to deal with Bergeron, Marchand, Chara and Charlie Mac. The bruins knew his wingers were no threat and it was much easier to contain that line.

        So no, I wasn’t questioning Matthews. Jury is out on Nylander though, his play in game 7 was terrible.

      • I’m referring to Matt. Who doesn’t really have any room at all to talk about any teams success or lack of success

    • Maybe talk crap about other cities and franchises when Buffalo has something more than 4 consecutive super bowl losses and game 6 “Hull on the crease” to hang on to or talk about!

    • Let’s talk at end of summer. Rangers will address needs. Buffalo will do nothing.

      • Don’t agree about the Sabres – I think they will make moves and get better. Picking first this year is a bonus – Jason Botterill will build on his good luck.

  9. Any team (Buffalo) that lets an underacheiving over rated self indulgent player (Eichel) decide who is and isnt going to be the coach is headed nowhere.

    • It’s a serious problem.

      • And a problem that is hard to fix. How do you change someone’s attitude when he is your most talented and highest paid player. He didn’t get that way overnight, and he won’t change overnight, if ever.

      • And serious rumor that hasn’t at all been confirmed.

    • I think his own comments confirm his attitude.

  10. TO should forget about Trouba and go after Hamilton but they don’t have a center to give. They could give a good winger like Johnsson and/or the rights to JVR and a first round pick.

    If the Taveres rumour actually happens then Nylander might be on the move but I doubt it happens.

  11. I still say Mathews is not a leader- leaders at a young age show leadership they don’t pout hang there heads and they step up to the mike when asked. Obviously Babcock and Austin had a falling out but 20 year olds should listen to the coach a do what’s asked. He has plenty of time to prove me wrong time will tell.