NHL Rumor Mill – May 28, 2018

by | May 28, 2018 | Rumors | 50 comments

A look at this summer’s top 12 NHL UFAs plus updates on the Montreal Canadiens in your NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: New York Islanders center John Tavares, Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson and Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk topped Luke Fox’s recently updated listing of this summer’s top-12 NHL unrestricted free agents.

Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny, former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk, Vegas Golden Knights wingers James Neal and David Perron, Detroit Red Wings blueliner Mike Green, New Jersey Devils rearguard John Moore, Boston Bruins center Riley Nash and winger Rick Nash and Devils winger Michael Grabner round out the remainder of the list.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk remains among this summer’s top unrestricted free agents (Photo via NHL Images).

Fox thinks the Islanders’ recent hiring of Lou Lamoriello as their president of hockey operations “is a great sign for retaining Tavares,” noting their recent meeting and the center’s apparent happiness over the Lamoriello hire. His presence could also make them a potential destination for Kovalchuk.

Evander Kane’s new contract ($7 million annually for seven years) with the San Jose Sharks likely spells the end of van Riemsdyk’s tenure with the Maple Leafs. Stastny is open to re-signing with the Jets but he could prove too expensive to retain.

Health could be an issue for Green, who underwent cervical spine surgery in early-April and his estimated recovery time was two months. The Bruins haven’t told any of their pending UFAs that they won’t be returning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello’s hiring is no guarantee Tavares will remain with the Islanders but it should at least improve the odds. Carlson’s followed up a strong regular season with a solid postseason effort. I believe the Capitals will re-sign him, perhaps eight years at $8 million annually. 

I think we’ve seen the last of van Riemsdyk in a Leafs jersey if he seeks a contract comparable to Kane’s. It’ll be interesting to see what effect reaching the Stanley Cup Final has upon Golden Knights GM George McPhee’s offseason roster plans. He could be tempted to keep Neal and Perron in the fold, even if doing so proves expensive.

The depth in talent in this year’s UFA market drops sharply beyond the top-eight. Rick Nash’s stock took a beating after yet another disappointing postseason performance. Riley Nash had a career year but rival clubs could be leery of signing him to a lucrative deal. Grabner really struggled with the Devils after joining them in a late-February trade from the Rangers and there was some speculation suggesting he could return to the Blueshirts.  


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples reports there’s ongoing buzz among some Montreal Canadiens follwerss expressing the hope their team might trade winger Max Pacioretty to the Edmonton Oilers “for either Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse or the 10th overall pick, or some combination of all of them.”

Staples dismisses the notion of a Pacioretty-for-RNH swap, pointing out the strong chemistry Nugent-Hopkins has with center Connor McDavid after being moved to the wing on McDavid’s line. He also noted Pacioretty turns 30 this fall and is eligible for UFA status next summer, while Nurse and Klefbom are heading into their playing prime.

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu suggests Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres or Elias Lindholm of the Carolina Hurricanes as two trade options to address the Canadiens’ need for depth at center.

While the Sabres biggest need is at defense, Basu indicates the Habs are stocked with second-round draft picks and young forwards they could package. They could also agree to pick up O’Reilly’s signing bonus and not ask the Sabres to retain any portion of O’Reilly’s $7.5-million annual cap hit.

The Hurricanes are reportedly open for business with only Sebastian Aho considered untouchable. Basu wonders if the Canes might be reluctant to re-sign Lindholm, a restricted free agent, to a long-term deal when he hasn’t shown significant improvement over the past two seasons. Still, he is a right-handed shot who scored the bulk of his goals at even strength, won 55 percent of his faceoffs last season and played on the Hurricanes’ special teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens need some long-overdue help at center, which explains the basis behind the notion of making a pitch for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. However, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli doesn’t intend to move Nugent-Hopkins. He’s not going to Montreal this summer.  Besides, a more realistic target Ryan O’Reilly.

The Sabres won’t just give O’Reilly away but I believe they’ll listen to reasonable offers. The Habs have the cap space to absorb his cap hit, which could give them an advantage over other potential suitors. As for Lindholm, he would be a good depth addition but he won’t address the Habs requirement for a decent scoring center.



  1. I believe Carlson will never hit the open market. Caps can/will resign him. Lindholm not going anywhere either.

    JVR will probably want to go to more of a contender rather than a “building” team. (lots of teams have cap space) Love to see with the Devils.

    • Vincois…. as a Pens and Leaf fan I would NOT love to see JVR with NJ…. but the logical interest by both JVR and NJ in this, in conjunction with TML not likely being able to afford to keep JVR… the JVR in NJ story not that far from a realistic outcome

  2. Before anyone in MTL makes any moves the ownership needs to evaluate their situation. Today’s NHL is all about HRR and more if the team owns the building. Marc Bergevin came from a strong, winning formula in Chicago and in his first two seasons actually made some interesting hockey moves that improves the team. Since his third year he’s been driving the Carey Price bandwagon and summarily hitting the panic button when it doesn’t work out making some questionable and poor moves; which decimated the blue line in two seasons. The Molsin family also needs to evaluate Jeff and finally bring in someone who knows the game. Much like the Leafs did. Until they fix the leadership there’s no point in making trades or chasing top tier free agents. Today’s hockey player looking for a Stanley Cup ring is smarter than that.

    • Agree on 110% on what you said . Molson needs to own the team , hire a smart hockey exec , let him oversee all of the hockey operations of the Canadiens.

  3. IMHO… the previous posts/chants of Chiarelli “should” be fired WILL be replaced with actual media headlines of “Chiarelli just fired” if he moves either RNH or Nurse for Patches… Patches way older than Nurse and a few years older than RNH …. and only one more year under contract . In the words of John Winger : “That’s a fact , Jack!”

  4. Think MTL should target teams looking to rid some cap space of players not in their long term plans such as

    Spezza from DAL and not have to give up any decent pick or prospect…giving MTL a center for 1 or 2 season

    Kessel from PITTS…maybe trade off an Andrew Shaw and a pick (not a 1st rounder)…if it gets it done…. gives them scoring options…..

    also look into

    Jumbo Joe Thornton ona 2 yr deal to give them real depth at center…to aide in prospect development and only cost $$$ which MTL has plenty of……

    Trade Alzner back to WSH for Orpik and clear up long term salary….

    They should avoid O’Reilly and any incoming contract that is a huge long term investment. This should be their transition summer out contracts such as Petry, A. Shaw….

    and see if they can get a top 10 pick for Patches….
    maybe (AZ) Domi & #5 for Patches & 3rd
    or (VAN) Hutton and #7 for Patches

    • IHC… great analysis and agree with almost all … can’t agree with last paragraph tho…. IMHO Patches value overstated … Domi + 5th overall for Patches + 3rd rounder is IMO a very lopsided trade in favour of MTL

      • I agree. I dont see why Patches and his no checking playoff vanishing act would be worth a roster player and a pick. Any trade involving Patches is a win for Montreal.

      • Oh no….i am definitely overly optimistic here….I will not hide that fact….. Both GMS would kindly say no…but perhaps it gets a conversation started…Patches is still solid but not in the Long term plans…… he can be that link for another team…..
        Domi fell out of favor and I do not see him getting it back….same goes for Hutton…..
        Schneider went for a top 10 pick…..
        Patches (although 1 yr removed from being a UFA) is in the Prime of his career and in the last 5 years has scored over 30 goals WITHOUT a #1 or #2 center.

        Think what my proposal was getting at was to use Patches to gain a top 10 pick along with an asset.
        That top 10 pick will lend to their retool

      • Domi is worth lots more then Patches. Domi might be young but his potential is lot higher then Patches. Leafs gave up 3 prospects and a 2nd for turtle neck (Rychel) is the only good piece coming back and the 2nd. But Patches wont get a type B+ prospect like Domi.

    • You want to sign old man Thornton for 2 years? But not trade for ROR who is 13 years younger.

      • YEs….absolutely… ROR’s contract is too long and Joe has proven time and time again to be a consummate TEAM player…good culture builder around a team like MTL in transition. He can be a solid role model to players like Drouin and Galchenyuk…..who, need someone to look up to, and has proven it year and eyar out in his career. Jumbo Joe is a pass first player…so we can dictate playing allow Drouin and Gally to shoot more…help them learn more nuisances of the game and be relied upon by Julien as well.

        Gives time for their prospect so in 2 years they can let Joe walk and pull up a young player…..or have cap flexibility to make other moves……

        ROR does neither for them……

    • Kessel for Shaw and a second. Why would Pitts even considered a low ball offer?
      Secondly I don’t see a Kessel having Claude Julien reunion on his 8 team trade list.

      • Agreed especially since Shaw finished the year sidelined with yet another concussion. He is very much in the “buyer be ware” category until he shows he can play and be effective.

      • all conversation pieces to see what it may take to land Kessel, IF the friction is that big between head coach and PK. Not saying that is what will land him at all….merely suggesting some beginning assets MTL should offer and see what else is being asked……

        I do think MTL should not give up considerable assets to land Kessel but if they can get him for value…then go for it…..

        Heck…add Petry and Hunwick into the deal and see where the conversation goes.

    • Andrew f’ing Shaw and a second round pick for a 92 point player?!? What are you smoking? For one thing the Penguins absolutely do not need Andrew Shaw who is pretty much a replacement level player now. For another that is a trash return for one of the best players to play in his era.

      • not saying it is a great deal…but Pitts gave Scott Harrington and Nick Spaling and Kapanen….. so please do not talk to me about a trash offer when Kessel has been traded for that level before……

        my point WAS…offer something along those lines and see where the conversation goes…. not worth giving up top end picks as MTL has too many holes they need to fill long term……but if something decent comes up…take it….he can keep MTL entertaining for a few years until Julien has a heart attack….

  5. I think Vegas should offer Neal and Perron short term deals above market value. think 3x 8 for neal, 2x 6.5 for perron. with no NMC. keeps them competitive, doesnt hurt expansion coming up, and lets them move on from the players as more of the youth demand more money. neal/perron might say no of course and seek longer term deals, but then I’d let them walk.

    • Hi Chrisms… for JN 3 @ 8 seems high IMO. concur on definitely NO NMC… would be forced to use a protected position when Seattle comes in… if Vegas gives him a big SB this summer and next and moderate Sal…. IMO he could be had for a cap hit of 4 @ 6.5 (Sal each yr at $4M with SB of $5M on each of 1/7/18 AND 1/7/19)… using SB again would reduce the cap hit … 2 SBs of $4.5 ea plus 3 Sal years at $2.5 … cap hit of 3 @ $5.5

      • Sorry bottom scenario at 4@ $5.5 M cap was for Perron …. one finger typing on iPhone… Doh!

      • its high for a reason… neal and perron would likely look for term on the market… overpaying to shorten term is an incentive to stay.

      • Signing bonuses count towards cap hit. Players on ELC’s or players 35 & over who sign 1-year deals, teams are allowed to defer these bonus monies if earned & they push a team over the cap. Any overages from such carry forward to the following season as I believe 8 teams did this past season, Tor leading the pack with 2.55 in overages which comes off this seasons cap space now.

    • I was kind of hoping Vegas would let both Perron & Neal go maybe bringing back 1 & if so ideally Neal if his contract demands are reasonable, say 5 or 6 years below 6, although your shorter term deal for greater monies would be nice if McPhee could sell Neal on such. Most of these players want both term & money.

      Tuch appears ready for far more responsibility & I assume Tatar was brought in to replace the loss of Perron.

      If Vegas doesn’t bring either back it doesn’t create significant holes on their roster & allows for all kinds of trade or signing possibilities with all that cap space.

      The 1st line is set for years. What appears possible if Perron & Neal walk as UFA’s would allow for Glass or Suzuki to move onto the 3rd line either as a C pushing Eakin to RW or as a RW. If either return Vegas’s roster has no room baring trade for either of these prospects until injuries hit.

      Marchesseault, Karlsson, Smith.
      Tatar, Haula, Tuch.
      Carrier, Eakin, Glass.
      Lindberg, Bellemare, Nosek.
      Spare. Carpenter.

      The D doesn’t really change at all. Sbisa walks as a UFA as well. Goal stays the same.

      The only waivable player above would be Glass.

      Vegas has made for a great story, everything they have touched has turned to Gold. How do you top season 1? I was reading Dobber’s Monday Ramblings & his opinion was almost identical to my own. Pure shock at the level of success.

      • Pardon me the only player not needing to clear waivers would be Glass.

      • Ya Striker, not sure Vegas needs to do much. One of the questions from this season is how big a benefit it is not to have long term contracts to all stars that turn toxic on the back end. Is this a one off magical potion, or a trend that continues where teams let stars walk? They are the only team I can think of that doesn’t have a least one of those.
        Why would they start handing them out now? They made it to the cup finals, and possibly winning it.
        They are winning with affordable talent spread across their lineup. Speed and skill everywhere. And all time stellar playoff goal tending.
        Might as well give that formula a go again next year.

  6. It would be dumb for the Sabres to trade O’Reilly. I don’t care what he SAID I care with how he played and he competed harder than any other Sabre. He just wants to win and losing is demoralizing. That’s all. Keep him.

    • Why are they contemplating trading one of O’Reilly and Ristolainen or both ?

      Unless it brings in a big return at the draft ( another top 10 pick /prospect )

    • I don’t think Botterill trades ROR just to trade him. I read that Botterill would want a Mike Richards type return which was Richards and a prospect for Simmonds, Schenn and a 2nd round pick. Just spitballing Galchenyuk, Alain and Montreal’s 2018 2nd for O’Reilly and a prospect. Please don’t substitute Patch in for Galchenyuk cause that isn’t happening.

      • I think Galchenyuk would be great on Eichel’s wing , Mittlestaat with Reinhart….but like i said earlier , Buffalo station were mentioning about who would be possibly moving , O”Reilly , Ristolainen , and possibly Sam Reinhart , but i think they are giving SR a bit more time before they decide to trade him if at all.

  7. “Rick Nash’s stock took a beating after yet another disappointing postseason performance.”

    But some team will give him a 3-4 year contract I’m sure

    • I don’t understand why Kovulchuk keeps getting mentioned as a player Lou can bring to Isles? He screwed him when he bolted Devils. And offense is not the problem. Team was 7th in league in goals scored and dead last in goals allowed!! And besides Tavares being a UFA, Lee and Eberle have one year to free agency. Considering if they sign JT, there’s not going to be a lot of money left to spend… besides fact that there isn’t much available as far as Dmen and goalies… I really don’t see Isles being able to keep him

      • I think Lou & Kovy mutually agreed to retirement for the betterment of both parties, didn’t hurt Kovy at all really going back to the KHL.

      • Striker, it was Kovy’s choice to go back. I don’t remember anyone in Devil land being ok with it. Even so, I think Isles have more pressing needs than the luxury of another hired gun. As I said, they gave up more goals than anyone. They have their own UFA’s and rfa’s to sign. Isles stuck with same decisions Rangers made at deadline. Are they really going to go all in just to please JT? Are they going to deal youth and picks to try and bring in some established players? Where will that leave them in a couple years?

      • The devils got out of a bad contract before it became toxic.

  8. If MTL can’t find the right deal for Patches just hang on until trade deadline; some over zealous team will give them a 1st, roster player and a prospect. The only issue will be it they find themselves fighting for or in a playoff spot at the trade deadline, then they potentially lose him for nothing.

    • One of MB’s many flaws is that he seems to determine a player needs to be traded (e.g. Subban, Andrighetto, etc), and then trades them, getting the best return he can… but maybe not a fair return.

      He’ll do the same with Patches. I think MB doesn’t see Patches in his plans, which means he’ll be gone ASAP and will not wait to get a better return.

      WIll be long, depressing years as a Habs fan until MB is gone.

    • Do you see Mon’s current roster as a playoff team?

      I don’t see how trading Patches will make them better, at least not in the short term. I assume they get an NHL ready player of some quality & futures, picks & or prospects.

      Baring a miracle addition at D or better yet 2 solid additions I don’t see how Mon can be a playoff team. Juulsen & Mete are solid young Dman but young Dman struggle mightily in their development.

      • No, as is Montreal would miss the playoffs again, I think. That said, with one addition on D and both Patches and Price playing up to form, Mtl could make the playoffs….squeak in maybe, but in nonetheless.Oh and 1 and done for the playoffs.

  9. After watching a week of great junior hockey at the memorial cup the following are my takeaways. Robert Thomas Of St. Louis and Sam Steele of Anaheim are the real deals. Steel should be able to take over some of the minutes that Ryan Kessler won’t be able to handle.

    As for the draft eligible players, Noah Dobson is unreal, a 6 foot three right handed dman who can skate. Although most publications have him rated lower I wouldn’t be surprised if he was among the top three defence been selected .

    • It’s very possible. After Dahlin at #1 you have consensus 2nd selection Svechnikov & 3rd Zadina, at least according to the ISS, CSB & TSN; Bobby Mac’s, panel of scouts & GM’s, then you have 4 D, Dobson, Bouchard, Hughes & Boqvist along with Tkachuk that could go at 4 in any possible order depending upon a teams need as well as a few other forwards.

      It’s a very deep draft & after the top 3 anyone’s guess as to the order following. The difference between 4th & 10th is virtually none existent.

      • I disagree. Picks 4 to 10 will rely heavy on need and good scouting. One of those pics will likely be a lemon. It will be a team’s scouts to find out which one it is.

  10. Lol it’s funny too see expectations from Habs fans for declining assents one year from USA status. Players and picks noted above made me laugh then it says a combination of.

    More realistic being patches, third overall and next years first for rnh, and Lucic.

    • I see what you did there.

    • All fan bases overvalue their players , Habs fans included….that being said , i wouldn’t give you my bag of pucks for Lucic ; Edm is stuck with him . Patches , i think , will go to a Metro team or a Western team .

  11. Ya, and Maroon is the dark horse!

  12. Very interesting UFA market started this year. We see the UFA College players get snapped up in March & April but the # of UFA players signed by NHL teams from Europe, Russia & the Czech Republic this offseason pales to anything we have seen in the past.

    I assume this is somehow related to the expansion process to some extent but an interesting development. Surprised by the total # signed so far.

  13. Question to all re Vegas … anybody know the issue with Brandon Pirri??? He did great in the AHL…. brought up for 2 games and scored 3 goals ???? I asked weeks ago if there was a dressing room issue etc…. his contract (when playing in the NHL) was not far off league Min … he can (and has) played C & W…. is it not worth it ; if either Neal or Perron leave …. then current roster players can move up in the line up…. and BP could be brought in at 700K as a 4th line W who can move up and down the line-up when injuries etc come about….this would allow 1 more year down for Glass/Suzuki …. look what has happened recently to players who have been given an extra year (or 2) before making the permanent step to NHL …. look no further than Boesser and Barzal who excelled huge when taking the perm jump to NHL at 20 instead of 19…. Glass can make it at 19 …. but I believe that if they wait until he’s 20 …. the benefit to him/team …. will be well worth the wait…. thoughts?

  14. I do have an interesting scenario …. Hear me out on this .

    So , the Habs as we know it traded Sergachev and a pick for Drouin, and MB got roasted for it by many fans and so called hockey experts .

    So…. what if ….what if a team offered the Habs a similar scenario , a high pick and good prospect for Drouin ? would you want Bergevin to take it , or stay with what he traded for?
    What do you think ?

    • keep Drouin…… Drouin is not the problem. The issue comes with surrounding assets and players built for their position, along with players being put in a position to succeed.

      MTL does not have a #1 or #2 C. They have dependable #3C and a workable #4C. Players, because of this, are being forced to play out of positions (i.e. Drouin and Gally as centers).

      I think this offseason players need to be slotted to where they can succeed the best regardless of linemate. Then look to see where holes exist and overlapping roster spots occur.

      Admit mistakes were made and remove as many long term contracts from the team except for Weber, Price, Drouin and Galchenyuk. Look for assets from other teams they cannot keep bc of term or $$, then use as stop gap to refill the AHL team with draft pick talent and build from within the next 3 years.

      then make GALLAGHER the Captain…..because he shows up every shift and get rid of the “moping” players who pout and bring negative energy to the locker room.

  15. Nobody wants Pacioretty or will trade a good Centreman for him. Montreal has no players to trade. Cupboard is bare. Ahl team sucked too. They need to suck and draft for a few years. Fire Bregevin. Hire Hunter.