NHL Rumor Mill – May 18, 2018

by | May 18, 2018 | Rumors | 47 comments

Latest on the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes in your NHL rumor mill.

Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug continues to surface in the trade-rumor mill (Photo via NHL Images)


BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont recently reported Boston Bruins president Cam Neely said his club would like to add some size to the left side of their blueline in the offseason. Dupont noted hulking Zdeno Chara and the much smaller Torey Krug and Matt Grzelcyk skated on the left side this season.

GM Don Sweeney could seek that bigger left-side d-man via trade or free agency. Dupont suggested it could take peddling Krug ($5.25-million cap hit). While he’s their top offensive blueliner, Dupont pointed out he “doesn’t provide the quality five-on-five minutes that a traditional top-four blue liner must contribute.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty listed Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin, Edmonton Oilers blueliner Oscar Klefbom, Minnesota Wild rearguard Jonas Brodin, Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk and Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds as possible trade/free-agent targets for the Bruins.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe McDonald reported Bruins GM Don Sweeney isn’t ruling out making a deal to get back into the first round of this year’s draft. Sweeney dealt away his first-round selection to the New York Rangers as part of the return for winger Rick Nash.

McDonald noted the Edmonton Oilers could be willing to part with their first-round pick (10th overall) for the right offer. He suggested perhaps packaging Krug with some other assets in an offer to the Oilers, giving the Bruins flexibility to acquire an elite left-side blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s obvious Sweeney intends to work on improving his defense corps for next season. He’s got the depth to perhaps put together a trade to address that need, with Krug as the likely centerpiece. 

Hanifin would be the best fit and Sweeney attempted to move up in the first round of the 2015 draft in hopes of landing him. The Hurricanes could shake things up this summer but it could take more than Krug in a package deal to pry Hanifin out of Carolina.

As for swapping Krug for Klefbom, the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson recently tweeted the 27-year-old Krug is two years older, only two years away from UFA eligibility, currently earns $1 million more per season and shoots left, not right. In other words, Krug probably isn’t the right fit for the Oilers.

Brodin could be a viable option. Like the Hurricanes, the Wild will be under new management and could look at some kind of roster reorganization.

As for bringing in a scoring forward, van Riemsdyk could be easier to get than Simmonds, as I’m not convinced the Flyers want to part with him. JvR won’t be cheap, as he’ll likely seek over $6.5-million annually on a six- or seven-year deal. 


FRS NETWORK HOCKEY: Chris Nichols cites TSN insider Bob McKenzie talking about the possibility of a culture change for the Buffalo Sabres in his latest “Bobcast.” He believe they’ll be “all ears” for everyone except Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin, suggesting center Ryan O’Reilly as the most likely core player to be dealt this summer. He feels the Sabres want to surround Eichel and Dahlin with younger players.

Given O’Reilly value as a top two-line center, McKenzie believes he should fetch multiple pieces, “very similar to the Mike Richards from Philadelphia to Los Angeles style of deal” in 2012.  He thinks the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens could be interested in O’Reilly. His contract, however, could be a sticking point, as he’s earning an annual salary-cap hit of $7.5 million through 2022-23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t surprise me if O’Reilly gets dealt this summer, perhaps in the week leading up to the 2018 NHL draft weekend (June 22-23). Despite O’Reilly’s hefty salary, his skills will certainly attract lots of attention if he’s placed on the trade block.

Cap Friendly indicates he lacks no-trade protection, giving the Sabres plenty of potential trade partners to work with. The Hurricanes’ depth in young defensemen gives them an edge over the Canadiens, but the Habs could be more willing to take on his contract. 

Speaking of the Hurricanes (and some pundits have been doing a lot of that lately), McKenzie believes change is in store for their roster given their recent shakeups in the front office and behind the bench. He believes winger Jeff Skinner’s time in Carolina could be coming to an end, though he has a full no-movement clause and controls the situation. He’s also a year away from UFA eligibility and McKenzie doubts the Hurricanes will get a big return for him. Still, McKenzie thinks there’s interest in Skinner and believes the Los Angeles Kings could be among the suitors. 

McKenzie doesn’t see young defensemen such as Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce heading out the door, but believes the Hurricanes could listen to offers for Noah Hanifin or Justin Faulk. He also thinks they could listen on center Victor Rask and suggested they could have interest in Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like O’Reilly, Skinner has popped up quite a bit of late in the rumor mill. While he could put the kibosh on a trade, I think he’d be willing to waive his clause to go to a contender, especially one that would be willing to ink him to a lucrative contract extension. The Kings could use his offense but I’m not sure if they can comfortably afford signing him to an expensive new deal. 

The rise of Sebastian Aho and the possibility of promising Martin Necas cracking the roster next season could make Rask expendable. I still think the Hurricanes would prefer moving Faulk rather than Hanifin but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the latter getting dealt if a rival club makes a big pitch for him. 



  1. Why trade Hanifin still a big upside
    Faulk Skinner 3 round package to the Oilers for 10th and Klefbom and maybe Caggiula

    • You have to give to get and Hanafin may be the price required.

  2. Dont watch any Canes games, so not sure who has the most upside out of those three D men.

    • If I’m the GM, Canes D – in actual current order: Slavin, Pesce (both should be untouchable), vanRiemsdyk (RFA), Hanifin, Faulk, Fleury.

      In terms of potential upside: Hanifin, vanRiemsdyk, Slavin, Fleury, Faulk, Pesce.

      I don’t answer the phone for Slavin and Pesce. Impatiently waiting on all calls for Faulk. Not actively shopping Hanifin, but I’ll listen.

      • My opinion is Slavin should be untouchable. My order for upside is Hanifin, Slavin, Fleury, Faulk, Pesce, van Riemsdyk. Thats not the order of how well they each played last year. Trading Faulk right now would be a mistake. I wouldn’t want Carolina to break up the Pesce Slavin pairing.

  3. Bos is going to move their elite level offensive Dman in Krug why because he’s only 5’9″ & 189 lbs? I don’t think so, he tied Subban in points this year. He has now played 398 NHL regular season games breaking through at the normal time now he just hums along for the next 5 to 7 years just as he is a top 10 offensive Dman.

    Bos isn’t trading Krug. At least not yet, now if he can’t be extended next summer at a # acceptable to Bos absolutely, with 1 year to UFA status at that time & expansion looming at the end of his current contract that can be considered.

    Bos doesn’t need to do anything. The prospect kitty is full kids are NHL ready. I don’t care if Krug & Grzelcyk are small every other Dman is big to huge. 1 of Miller or McQuad will be moved this summer, as the D’s to full for both.

    Chara 6’9″ 250 lbs, McAvoy 6’0″ 205 lbs.
    Krug 5’9″ 189 lbs, Carlo 6’5″ 203 lbs.
    Grzelcyk 5’9″ 174 lbs, K. Miller 6’4″ 212 lbs.

    What size problem?

    Perhaps Bos can trade McQuad & a pick & get Spooner back to be their 3rd line C or Krejci’s RW on the 2nd line. Boy, I hated that trade for Rick Nash.

    Bos doesn’t need a Dman they need a #3 C or a #2 RW depending upon what role Backes plays next season.

    • I totally agree on the Nash trade, and it only looks worse in hindsight.

      I view Nash as more of a 3rd liner with PP and PK time now, so resigning him doesn’t fill the #2 RW. Would Kovalchuk, at the right money for two years make sense for Boston?

      I say let the kids fight it out for the 3C slot, JFK, Donato, Heinen…one of them could handle that role and if it doesn’t work out after the first few weeks of the season look for a trade or see if Backes can handle it.

      • Loved the Nash trade! Your “big” left D man, Lindgren, will look good in Ranger blue next season.. Mayb we’ll trade O’Gara back to you? Or you can re sign Holden!

    • I never thought Krug would get traded. Until Striker said “Boston isn’t trading Krug” .
      That’s usually a sure sign that a player WILL be traded.

      • I never said they won’t trade him just not until next summer at the earliest.

    • And no… why on earth is NY trading Spooner for Mcquad and a pick? Does Gorton feel bad about winning the trade? So now he’s suddenly compelled to even it out a bit?

      Just what NY needs to complete a rebuild. A 31 year old 3rd pairing D-man!!! Success!

      Stanley cup, here we come !!! Wooo hooo!

      • That was a joke, you may need a little pick me up this morning.

      • Mcquaid and a 1st for Smith and Beleskey back! Lmao

      • I would prefer the trade just never happened. Bos lost that deal the minute the NHL’s central registry approved that deal. Not even close.

        It doesn’t rival trading Thornton, Wheeler or Seguin but it is awful & as Spooner blossoms to a 25 goal 60 to 65; as long as he plays 75 games, point player next season many will go what was Bos thinking. It’s only going to get worse, good for NYR but not Bos.

      • Off topic but a heathy Dan Girardi looks a little better than a younger Brendan Smith…

      • Never really got buying out Girardi or signing Smith. If they felt he was capable of 1st line minutes, he certainly could be trusted on a 3rd pairing. Not ideal $$$ for a 3rd pairing guy, but better than basically paying Smith 6-7 per (counting Girardis dead space) to play in Hartford.

      • I feel a little bad. Give back O’Gara!!

    • I couldn’t disagree with you more. I’ve been saying the whole season I wasn’t sold on Boston D and that game to fruition in the playoffs.
      Krug and Grzelcyk both 5’9″ that’s one to many for me. Krug tied for 9th in points by dman, probably bring back the best return.
      If Krug can be packaged and Hanafin is the return get it done. McAvoy, Carlo and Hanafin, Grzelcyk, Chara and McQuaid fine by me.
      Grzelck is a better all round dman then Krug. McAvoy, Grzelcyk and Carlo still have offensive upside. Zboril isn’t to far from cracking the lineup.
      I know everyone likes to talk about the league getting smaller, this isn’t necessarily true, yes there is a place for smaller skilled forwards, but there is a desire for forwards that are bigger and can skate.
      Winnipeg, Washington and Las Vegas can all play a heavy game. Part of the reason Tampa but Boston out was because they were more physical and hit the bruins at every opportunity and it worked. The only games Boston were competitive is when they were hitting.
      Sweeney tried to move up in the draft with his 3 first round picks in hopes of draft Hanifin, maybe now he can get his guy.

      • I agree that the Bruins would be better served with just one 5’9″ D Man on the left side. While I like Grezlyk as well, it is repetitive and he doesn’t have Krug’s offensive skill/instincts. Not yet any way, but so far looks like a legit NHL D Man.
        The problem with trading Krug, is you solve one problem and create a massive hole on your PP. Krug is an elite PP quarterback, but a below average defender as he gets dominated down low on the cycle, and was targeted in the playoffs and got knocked around pretty good. To his credit, he doesn’t shy away from it and is tough. Offence drivers like him are more rare than a good skating physical D man without offensive skill.
        He missed Carlo big time. Carlo is a excellent defender. 6’5″ with who can skate and excellent lateral mobility for a man that size. A nice match with Krug.
        Zboril is likely still another year away, but another good sized, physical, outstanding mobility in all 4 directions skater. Left shot. Can pound the puck.
        Move Grezlyk if you want to move a small guy who is smart and can move the puck. Should get a decent return for him, find a bigger LD who is mobile and physical to form another shut down type pair. Let Krug play in the 5 role and PP. Agree with Striker, wait a year to see what Krug will accept and make a decision then.
        Agree with Caper, would like more size come playoff time on the left side.
        Don’t trade Krug. Yet.

  4. Why would Carolina want to trade so many young players with a new coach coming onboard? Why not see what he can accomplish with them before looking to blow everything up?

    • Because that would make for a very boring summer for those of us addicted to speculating about hockey transactions…obviously! haha

    • I think they will trade a few players to get better players that can help immediately, its not a fire sale as some are speculating. You bring up a good point. I think BrindAmour will get more out of each player than Peters did and I would not make too many changes.

  5. Yeah I don’t see Lollipop guild member Tory Krug bringing back Klefbom or a 10th overall pick. He’s pretty overrated. Put him on a team without Chara to stick up for him when he’s yipping like a miniature poodle behind a fence and he’s ground beef.

    • Not really, the NHL is getting away from the model where there is any kind of consequence for yapping…or kissing and licking for that matter. Besides, Chara and Krug are rarely on the ice together.

      • McQuaid, Millar one of the 3 is always out there, if they aren’t then Krug is acting like an alter boy.

    • He doesn’t play with Chara. Never has. Since entering the NHL Krug sits 13th in points, 3 points out of the top 10.

      He is an elite level offensive, transitional Dman who isn’t afraid to hit or be hit, he isn’t a total train wreck defensively, Bos expects him to join the rush & help drive offense, not play a shut down role.

      • It’s fun to type things about the Bruins just to imagine Stikers head spinning 360 degrees around. Krug is elite level much the same way as Darling is an elite level backup goalie.

      • Krug is basically Gardiner with someone to help him out on defensive duties, whether it be the stellar two way forwards that Boston has or his defensive partner.
        Put him on a team like the Oilers and he comes undone pretty quickly.

  6. I don’t often disagree with Bobby Mac but if Carolina can’t get a solid return on Skinner why trade him? Yes 1 year to UFA status reduces his value some what but Skinner is a solid 30 goal scorer.

    Peters buried Skinner this year. The #’s said that Skinner & Williams playing together dominated possession & scoring chances. Peter’s kept them apart regardless.

    Skinner turned 26 3 days ago, is 3 & a 1/2 years younger than Patches. Who would you prefer in trade?

    Who knows what Carolina is going to do. We now have Dundon & Waddell running things.

    Trading Skinner if he can’t be extended makes sense to me but not giving him away for nothing. If teams are low balling then keep him & move him at the trade deadline when max value can usually be had in picks or futures.

    Does anyone care what Carolina is doing? Sorry bad joke.

    • …some of us do…

      If Skinner brings a legit starting G, then yes. Otherwise it’s just pointless re-shuffling. I don’t see where getting rid of ~30 goals makes a goal-starved team better.

      • I agree with you whalercane. It seems to me that all of this trade with Carolina came out of nowhere once Bill Peters left. Maybe I was missing something as I don’t really pay much attention to the Hurricanes. I think a lot of people are watching now as to what will happen as there are plenty of decent players to inquire about. Your logic regarding letting a 30 goal man go makes sense also; unless of course it is directed at improving other areas of the team such as goaltending.

      • Well, Doug, truth be told a lot of the chatter has come from the Hurricanes own (new) front office. I’m guessing they’re just trying to get a read on valuations to see what’s out there. That said, this isn’t that bad of a team talent wise, and it needs a culture change. Losing became acceptable. Questionable effort became acceptable. Lack of consequences for questionable effort became acceptable. I would say that crappy goaltending, while not acceptable, became the norm. Enter Rod Brind’Amour who will (hopefully) not allow those things to fester. As part of that, I’m guessing the Canes mgmt is determining who will be on board, and who won’t. If they’ve circled a few who won’t, then you need to check values and work a trade(s).

        This team is not that far off, and there is a relatively large amount of help on the way in Charlotte and hopefully the draft at No.2. One or Two key pieces could make the difference.

      • oh, and a follow-up on the bad goaltending – team rank in save percentage the last 6 years:
        12-13: 27th
        13-14: 18th
        14-15: 27th
        15-16: 29th
        16-17: 27th
        17-18: 31st

        Even the worst GM can spot the primary issue.

      • Agree the Hurricanes pipeline has some talent in it, and so does the roster. They have consistently been identified as a team “ready to break out”.
        The obvious – until they get a tender, they aren’t winning anything.
        The brutal reality is that they don’t score enough to contend and are even worse at keeping it out of their own net. Not a good combo. This team is not a sum of it’s parts.
        Loved Brind’amour as a player, and if he can turn this into a playoff team he will win the Adams. Has his work cut out for him.
        They won’t get much for Skinner, check what the Oil got for Eberle. One dimensional player and should be a similar return.
        When your top paid guys won’t play within the structure and cheat to create offence, it goes all the way down the roster. Not winning hockey and it needs to change in Carolina.
        Somebody will pay Skinner and trade for him as his goals are attractive, but I don’t think there are any that will trade much for him.
        It would be ironic if EDM did. Strome for Skinner!

    • Striker, I agree with your opinion on Skinner. And thank you for continuing to post so many comments regarding the Hurricanes. We appreciate how much you care.

      • I guess all of you dont know the real reason why Jeff Skinner is probably on the trade market. Dundon and Waddell want to build their team with bigger, faster and meaner players, something Skinner is not except for speed. He’s a talented player but he’s not physical and has a concussions history. I agree with Bob McKenzie about Skinner and he never said the Canes would trade him for nothing too. I think Skinner will change of team this summer.

    • I would take a chance on Skinner for Buffalo, he might work well with Jack or Middlestadt. Hanafin is guy I really like, I love fast defensemen, my favorite D man was Paul Coffey(the way he skated and passed, Gretzky said he was the best break out passer of all time).

      I really would love to get a hold of 2 or 3rd overall pick in this draft.

  7. I don’t see ROR getting moved before draft. His contract is front loaded with a huge roster bonus due July 1st. Why pay bonus if you don’t have to. Also, most teams will wait on Tavares before giving up multiple pieces for ROR

    • I agree the Tavares situation will be sorted out first before ROR if/when traded but if Buffalo pays the roster bonus then the price will go up. Remember there is no rush to trade ROR, he has 5 yrs of term remaining so Botterill can wait till the right offer comes along or go into the season with ROR on the roster. Botterill isn’t Murray and won’t make a trade just to make a trade.

      • Hey Len,

        In all likelihood, nothing of any great substance will be accomplished until after Tavares re-signs with the Islanders.

      • The Sabres owner doesn’t worry about money, he really is different than many owners, money is no object, he won’t worry about roster bonuses.

      • Matt, not about the owner it’s about Botterill using it to get more out of a trade. To be honest that came from Bob McKenzie.

    • I see ROR traded after they find out if Casey Middlestadt is ready to be a top 6 player, once they figure out if he’s ready to play 18-19 minutes as number 2 center than they will trade ROR, same with Ristolanen, he won’t be moved until they find out Dahlin if he is the next Bobby Orr.

  8. Whalercane,
    Thanks for the info regarding the Hurricanes. But maybe my point regarding allowing Brind’amour a chance to address the team’s fortunes through coaching can allow management to fairly assess who wants to adapt to a new culture. But looking at the goalie numbers you supplied investigating trade options to improve that area makes sense. Looks like Carolina could be the team to watch leading up to free agency.

  9. Krug and Backes to EDM for Lucic and the 10th overall? LOL

    BOS gets their 1st rounder and a LW who is not confusion prone.

    • Maybe this is tongue in cheek but I kinda like it. Oil would have to hold a tad of salary on Milan. Maybe throw on a Benning.

      • *concussion

        so…ya…. it will allow EDM to shop klefbom or sekera to free up more cap space to shore up their wingers….
        backes can slot #3C when he is able to play….

        mostly tongue inc week

        but ya….something to mull(et) over