NHL Rumor Mill – May 22, 2018

by | May 22, 2018 | Rumors | 53 comments

Updates on the New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights and Ilya Kovalchuk in your NHL rumor mill.

Expect big changes for the New York Islanders if Lou Lamoriello takes over their hockey operations (Photo via NHL.com)


NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports a source claims former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello will soon take over all hockey operations of the New York Islanders. It’s unclear how this will affect current GM Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight. Cyrgalis notes the Isles had to have received permission from the Leafs to hire Lamoriello.

Lamoriello’s first order of business is re-signing Islanders captain John Tavares, who’s due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He reportedly met last week with Tavares, which can be seen as a positive sign toward retaining the superstar.

Larry Brooks believes the anticipated hiring of Lamoriello will bring an end to years of the Islanders hoarding draft picks and selections. Brooks noted how he packaged picks and prospects to bring in “upper-echelon veterans” during his tenure as GM of the New Jersey Devils.

The Isles enter this year’s draft with two selections in the first and second rounds and are bursting with promising youth within their system. Brooks speculate Lamoriello could draw upon that to land a legitimate top right defenseman, someone such as Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba, for example. Such a move could help convince Tavares to re-sign.

Brooks also expects Lamoriello could get into the bidding for free-agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk, pursue an upper-echelon goaltender and add more toughness to the Isles lineup, perhaps by bringing back Matt Martin from the Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Islanders in the coming weeks because things are going to get interesting. Cap Friendly indicates the Islanders have over $46 million invested in 13 players for 2018-19, giving them more than enough room to re-sign Tavares and bring in additional talent to bolster the lineup. Given the promising youth in the Isles system and their additional picks in the opening two rounds of this year’s draft, Lamoriello’s got a lot to work with if he intends to make bold moves this summer. 


NJ.COM: Chris Ryan recently looked at potential destinations for former New Jersey Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who intends to return to the NHL next season. He listed the New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers as possible landing spots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d include the Islanders in that mix, as Larry Brooks noted the connnection between Kovalchuk and incoming Isles executive Lou Lamoriello during their days with the Devils. The Rangers are believed to have spoken to the Kovalchuk camp and could be his top destination. The Panthers missed the production of Jonathan Marchessault last season and could consider Kovalchuk as a short-term replacement.

Golden Knights GM George McPhee has a willingness to make big moves, attempting to pry Erik Karlsson away from the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline. I wouldn’t rule out McPhee kicking the tires on Kovalchuk. The Stars could also look at the veteran winger, provided they can shed Jason Spezza’s contract this summer.

Improving the defense is the priority for the Maple Leafs and Oilers. I don’t think they’ll be interested in Kovalchuk. 


FRS NETWORK HOCKEY: Chris Nichols recently cited Darren Dreger’s appearance last Tuesday on Toronto’s TSN 1050 discussing possible moves by the Vegas Golden Knights. Dreger believes they must be considered a top-10 team entering next season, though there’s going to be some changes based on what they do with their pending UFAs. However, he wonders if Vegas GM George McPhee attempts to sign John Tavares if the New York Islanders’ captain hits the open market, or takes another crack at acquiring Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knight’s stunning success in their inaugural campaign, their location in America’s Sun Belt and their cap space ($50.6 million invested in 19 players for 2018-19) should make them an attractive destination for UFAs or players being approached to waive their no-trade/no-movement clauses.

As Dreger points out, much will depend upon whether they re-sign pending UFAs such as James Neal and David Perron. McPhee could put an emphasis on keeping his roster intact as much as possible, which could take them out of the bidding for big-ticket players. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Golden Knights attempt to make a big move this summer. 



  1. The only way I can see the Leafs giving Lou permission to go to the Islanders would be to help with a sign and trade of Taveres to Toronto.

    The Leafs need Taveres. The only way they can trade for a D-man without damaging their forward core would be by bringing in a new star forward.

    The Islanders know the writing is on the wall. No way Taveres wants to stay with a rebuilding club. If he did he would have signed long ago. At least with a sign and trade they could recover something.

    The Leafs need to average Taveres’ cap hit over 8 years to bring down the AAV. So giving up a first roumd pick would be worth it.

    • He isn’t going to Toronto, like Lyle said they desperately need defense it is bottom 5 in the league for shots and scoring chances against

    • The Leafs probably can’t afford Tavares, considering all the RFA/UFA contracts they need to deal with in the next two years and the fact that they need to sign Laine to a long term contract. Besides,as Big Bear pointed out, the Leafs have plenty of offense, it’s their defense that needs work.

      • You made a mistake

      • Is it like one of those machines with the naked ladies in dive bars with two pictures and in one the ladies nipple is cockeyed?

    • Keep dreaming I know Toronto is the destination for every free 5 years before they become one I swear if it wasn’t for the fans I could probably watch a leafs game or two

  2. my biggest concern is a rumour i read elsewhere; oilers send drai, and nurse to the desert for ekman larsson. please NO

    • I don’t like this on the Oilers side of things. With Nurses progression the last couple years he should be at least a top 2 d-man, with a possibility of being a number 1 d-man. Also in giving up Draisaitl that would be creating a hole at centre. I am all for the Oilers going after OEL, but not at that cost.

    • If that happens PC will have officially lost his mind.

    • I think that package could get you Doughty for sure and maybe even Karlsson. Too much for OEL. Great player though.

      Karlsson/Hoffman for Draisaitl/Klefbom/10th pick. Maybe the Oilers throw in a prospect.

    • Rest assured …. this is a “two drunk troglodytes in a bar” rumour… that trade wil NEVER happen… Nurse alone (with many years left B4 UFA status) for OEL (1 more year to UFA) is a much more sensible trade … OILERS …. keep Nurse… only trade I’ll cop to would be to T. O. for Wee Willy … sundries on both sides to balance the trade equation

      • I think you could get oel and a pick for Leon let alone throwing in nurse

  3. Does Toronto get a pick from Isles for signing Lou? Or because he’s no longer GM, but a “consultant” warrant a pick? I think no pick. JT will be an Islander, and couldn’t go to Leafs (even if they wanted him) with who they have to sign in next few years.
    Besides, is Toronto a coveted place to play? Vegas/Fla better Tax destinations. Keep the $$ you make. Just ask Stammer

    • No they will not get a pick. I believe the league addressed that issue last year saying there would not be anymore compensation to teams who lose execs to another team if still under contract.

  4. The situation with Lou is pretty simple IMO. His 3 year commitment was over as GM, the Leafs wanted to go in a different direction, which seemed like the plan all along. He could have stayed on in another capacity, he chose not to. That language may have been, and likely was, included in the contract. But even if it wasn’t, the Leafs were not going to force Lou to stay, or try to extract a draft pick or swing a deal for Tavares. Shanahan and Lou go way back and there is too much mutual respect and professionalism to pull a move like that.
    Also heard on the radio that Hunter and the Leafs have mutually agreed to part ways. Not unexpected, but it will be interesting to see where he ends up.

    • I could see Hunter also going to the Isle now that Lou is there as their GM. He may start as assistant GM with a clear path to the job within a couple years.

      Agree with your comments Ray regarding Lou and the Leafs.

      With respect to JT, it really depends on what he wants. The Leafs, IMO are not dealing for him, nor are they paying anywhere near what the Isles and likely a few other teams will pay in contract dollars.

      Lou going to the Isle will have a big influence on JT IMO

      • Ya Trekie, this is the biggest decision of JT’s professional life. Too me it would be a mistake not to have all the information available to you before you make it.

      • Mark Hunter is not going to join Lou on the island. The whole reason he is leaving the leafs is because Dubas was made GM and not him. Why would he go somewhere that he will not be able to fulfill his dream of GMing an NHL team. And the isles didn’t hire Lou short term

      • Lou is taking over hockey operations according to article above. If he wants Hunter as his GM, he can hire him as his GM. Zero idea if that is in the cards or not, just that he can.
        Or he goes back to being just an owner of the London Knights and waits for an opportunity he likes better.
        The Isles are set up pretty good for the next while with cap space and young assets to get what you need. As Lyle laid out above.

  5. Devils and Kovulchuk weren’t even an option last year when they had his rights and he wanted to return to nhl. Considering Lou was GM when Kovy bolted, how is it that they’d reunite with Isles? Not happening.

    • I agree. Why would he sign a contract with a guy who stabbed him in the back like Kovalchuk did. I believe Lou has very specific rules and once you break them or screw him over, your toast.

    • Drew, Lou is mid-70s. There is likely a similar plan in the Isle to what was in place for the Leafs – stop gap, meaning the GM job will open up in 2-3 years. Second, GM jobs don’t grow on trees. Hunter left now, and is better positioned to get a GM job from within then trying to land the only job that may still be available – with Montreal. I don’t believe the Habs are replacing Bergevin right now and I don’t believe any other team at the moment is looking for a GM.

      This part of the debate won’t be resolved until mid-late July, early August

      • I’m not sure Waddell is a long-term solution in Carolina as GM. They made that move as every other person they approached said no. NYI didn’t hire Lou as GM but President of hockey operations, Garth Snow will be GM or he will be replaced with someone else.

        This is the new evolving model in the NHL, a committee approach with the President of hockey operations having the final say & the GM performing specific functions, Lou’s in Tor was handing all trade discussions outside the organization. It takes far more people today to deal with all management factors.

        Ken Hollands days in Det are numbered, Chiarelli is on the hot seat, who knows what Florida is doing they keep flip-flopping, Bergevin should already be gone in Montreal, Dorion got a vote fo confidence from Melnyk in Ott but what happens when Ott’s 1st next year wins the lottery, Ha-ha! & Colorado gets to draft Jack Hughes 1st overall? Sorry, some bad humour there.

        There are several potential GM jobs coming up in the very near future, 1 may exist today in NYI as Lou didn’t take that title.

      • Numerous others for Lou as well. Working to develop Hunter & Dubois. Tor was management by committee with Shanahan having the final say but Tor is currently the only organization where the coach controls the top 25 roster players. A very odd situation that lead to some issues with specific players as Lou & Babcock didn’t see eye to eye. Poor Leivo was trapped in this model. Babcock didn’t wouldn’t play him but Lou wouldn’t move him & as he had to clear waivers he ate up 1 of their 23 roster spots all year pretty much as a press box player every night.

      • Some rumours also surfaced in Chicago regarding Bowman’s future a few months back.

        Very interesting watching teams trying to transition to a new management model with so many factors in play now with the cap *& business aspects in play. Most teams now have multiple asst GM’s each assuming different responsibilities. 1 guy is player development, another statistical analysis or the capologist or some combination of a few.

        Gone are the days of a single GM making all the decisions the good 1’s & or Presidents now being in charge is to allow everyone to do their jobs & work all towards a common consensus on how to proceed.

        We talk about meddlesome owners, some far more than others but due to long-term contracts pushing into 10’s to over 100 million all owners sign off on many things today as they have to write the checks.

        This isn’t the pre 2004-05 NHL. The game has grown significantly, exponentially & that is due to Gary Bettman & his staff’s vision of the new NHL.

  6. If Draisaitl’s salary is problematic for Edmonton why wouldn’t be for another team ?
    Not sure they can do much. Trading Nurse solves nothing and would only exasperate their issues. They need to hope a youngster or two takes a big step. Their 10 th may get something for immediate forward help

    Hope JT signs early in the process with who ever

    • Draisaitl is more problematic for Edmonton because no other team in the entire NHL has a 12+ million contract to work around.

      • The Draiz contract is not as problematic as the Lucic one …. pay Luc his SB on 1/7/18 and the trade retaining 25% …. save $4.5 in Cap and worth it financially for a non cap ceiling spending team … actual cost to them just around 3 1/4 M…. Arz???? Oil get something back and free up valuable cap space

  7. Knights next order of business is meeting with Mr Bettman and letting him know who they want to beat in the Finals so Gary can arrange to have game 7 officiated according to plan.

    • What a joke.

    • Ron.

      Did you have Vegas getting to the playoffs never mind the Cup final? If you did you were alone in that assumption.

      It took 82 games to determine who made the playoffs. Then Vegas had to beat LA, SJ & Win to get there.

      There is no conspiracy. Everything Vegas has touched has turned to gold through hard work & sound management. I’m still in shock. I had Vegas to be the best expansion team ever but still be really bad.

      Vegas had the best expansion rules ever but they still weren’t great. For 1/2 a billion US they didn’t get a single superstar today. They got to draft the 10th to the 12th best player on every team depending upon which format teams choose to protect with a few exceptions, those being where teams weren’t well set up for expansion forcing them to make trades to pay Vegas to pass on the players they wanted to keep.

      Bettman didn’t hire McPhee nor Gallant. He didn’t draft & trade for a single player on this roster, he didn’t put rules in place for Vegas to win games & he isn’t having officials call games in their favour.

      To think such, please see the comment above.

      Now what Bettman did was to help grow the game significantly choosing to put a team in this market. Its success is great for the game. Vegas leads the league this year in merchandise sales! & they get to keep every dime of that revenue if generated within 70 miles of their arena. Less the NHL royalties already built in.

      I have met very few people that aren’t happy for Vegas. You being 1 of the rare exceptions. I think its fabulous & great for the growth of the game.

      • Most people I talked to had Vegas making the playoffs! They put a great team together and if you follow the players you knew most of them would be better when they got a chance

      • There are quite a few folks here in Edmonton that seem bitter about VGK getting to the finals Striker. I am not one of them, but you hear it from some.
        Most seem upset that they have had to suffer through a decade plus of poor management and losing with the Oil, and that the VGK fans haven’t had to deal with the same disappointment.
        I get that emotion, and if any fan base deserves a cup, it is EDM. But it’s not like it’s Vegas’s fault.
        The entire team is playing at the top of their game with MAF having a playoff’s for the ages. Bill Murray couldn’t have come up with a better Cinderella Story than this one.
        Was rooting for WPG to beat them, but it has been great for the league.

      • I’m a firm believer in opportunity & by that, I mean quantity & quality of ice time. Players like Karlsson, Haula, Theodore, Schmidt, C. Miller, McNabb, Tuch, etc. Most have never had the chance to even see the opportunities in the NHL that they got in Vegas.

        Well, your friends & associates are in the minority, congratulations to them on their prowess in assuming such. I hope they had the fortitude to lay wagers.

      • I don’t think anyone is shedding a tear for the Oilers, They won their 1st Stanley Cup in year 5 after entering the NHL & made the cup final in year 4. 5 cup wins in 7 Stanley Cup appearences. No sympathy here.

        You can thank Kratz & Lowe for the mess that has been the Oilers for the vast majority of the last 12 years.

      • Big 🐻 is full of 💩

      • Lol Chrisms is a 🇺🇸🦃 who wouldn’t know 🏒 if he was a hockey players 💩

      • really i think it cheapens the game

      • Mnnnn. 🇺🇸🦃. With stuffing mashed 🥔 cranbrerry sauce and 🍠?

      • Well said Striker. There is no conspiracy in Vegas with the NHL. Now of course I am sure Bettman is happy with the Knights success…. but come on look at that line up. No way anybody saw this coming!

    • Another bitter Canadian.

      Hey. Since you’re losing hockey you want b-ball in return?

      • you americans dont get it. never will. you make it all about money. and by the way the knights have one of the highest percentages of canadians on it. go figure.

      • And the jets had the highest number of Americans. Why? The growth of the game outside of Canada. It’s not about money its about growth. Teams don’t need to win in Canada to grow the game… the local suckers will continue to show up to games and grow and nurture future nhl talent. If Canada doesn’t get a cup in the next 50 years the country will still be a top performer. Canada is a victim of its own obsession

      • We are a victim of our own obsession, wow, gettin deep Chrisms! Yes it is about growth of the game in other countries. That is a good thing for the game.
        It is simply a numbers game, more kids playing hockey outside of Canada, than in Canada. So the % of Canadians in the NHL compared to the rest of the world will shrink. The coaching community is also more global now so other countries have caught up there as well.
        As far as Canadian teams not winning a cup for 25 years, I agree there is more to it than just a bad streak. US teams by all probability should win more cups than we do as they have 75% of the teams. Are the bad player asset decisions borne by fan obsession? Fan pressure? In theory wouldn’t that increase the desire to succeed for the GM? Most teams spend close to the cap so if they win would the teams not make even more $$? I think our obsession causes CDN teams to lack patience and look for quick fixes, which doesn’t really work anymore. Most successful teams have a core that was drafted and developed, and in today’s cap world it is even more important to sustained success. That requires patience from the ownership on down to fan.
        Unless of course you are the VGK.

      • That was s damn well thought out and articulated response and I agree with about all of it.

        It’s been pretty eye opening to see the bitterness spewed about Vegas, again from my observations mostly from Canadians, with very little valid arguments against Vegas path to success. It’s brought out a lot deeper frustrations in a lot of fans.

      • Yep, feeling sorry for ourselves.

      • Yeah every time we win international tournaments we feel like victims. You’ll never understand what hockey means to Canadians because there is nothing that brings Americans together on that level. There is no victory that turns your whole country into an instant party like hockey does for us. And your growing the game argument is a joke. My home town has 40 000 people and there are still more NHL players from here than there are from the entire states of Pennsylvania and Arizona. Give the game to the people who deserve it.

  8. Erik Karlsson to Rangers lol, Who will he pass the puck to? they have no centers

  9. As a die hard Habs fan I mourn the 25 year drought! Leafs fans even more so. But to bash an expansion team because they defied ALL the odds so far? That’s just shortsighted. Look at the human aspect here; all these players in Vegas were pretty much unceremoniously DUMPED by their former teams. When that happens to an individual they’re usually motivated to prove someone wrong; see what happens when you put several slighted people in one room? Talk about motivation and inspiration! This bunch just told 30 other teams that they screwed up. Think the Pens wouldn’t want MAF back right now or the Panthers for Marchessault? Never underestimate the human factor because it can make what’s on paper and the analysis of such as worthless as a political promise! I say go Knights make your point boys!

    • Pretty much all accurate. Except most non bandwagon fans wouldn’t deep down want maf back now. He might have outplayed Murray this year if on the pens but Murray is the future.

    • Yes, I applaud Vegas for doing a masterful job in setting their strategy and sticking with it.
      The people that are mad should be mad at the other 30 GM,s for cutting off their nose to spite their face allowing multiple players and draft picks for Vegas so they wouldn’t,t take one player off their roster.
      Having watched Vegas play against Winnipeg I am so impressed with how fast they play and how they attack. Even when a player is out of position he will use his speed to recover and get back into position. Also I have never seen a team that can check like Vegas. It seemed every time there was a scrum along the boards Vegas came away with the puck.
      I am so impressed with the style they play I firmly believe they will set a trend that other teams will try to emulate.
      I thought for sure Winnipeg would beat Vegas but now I am on the band wagon and thing Vegas will win the cup

    • I don’t want MAF back and neither does Rutherford. You can’t put the Penguins lack of success this season completely on Matty and just like Rutherford told Mackey yesterday, there is no way the Penguins could have had 10 million in cap space given to goalies this season. Murray is 2 million cheaper, 10 years younger and in 2 years will be light years better. MAF let the Penguins down in the playoffs for almost a decade. Good for him for having a good year but he should have been playing for another team since 2013, maybe that team wasn’t so patient with his flaws and didn’t re-sign him, then he’s a KHL player if he’s lucky. Marchessault had a great season last year but Florida may have thought he was just another Brandon Pirri?

      • Marchessault Is an odd case. He’s 27 and has been passed by FOUR teams in the NHL. Picked up by NYRs, passed, picked up by Columbus, passed, picked up by Tampa, passed, picked up by Florida, passed……
        I don’t believe in the “needs a change of scenery ” bs that gets tossed out daily. But once in a while, and I mean rarely this actually may be the case.