NHL Rumor Mill – May 29, 2018

by | May 29, 2018 | Rumors | 57 comments

Updates on the Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks in your NHL rumor mill.


Could Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson become a trade candidate this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Tom Jones believes the Lightning shouldn’t blow up their roster or fire anyone after failing to reach the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. General manager Steve Yzerman indicated he won’t overreact to the club’s setbacks. If changes are coming to the Lightning roster, Jones feels it’ll be “a trade or two. There could be a free agent or two. A young kid or two could make his way up from the minors.”

Roger Mooney notes Yzerman believes the Lightning’s championship window remains wide open and he’ll attempt to keep it that way. He wondered if Yzerman will do it via free agency, a trade or calling up a promising youngster. Mooney noted Chris Kunitz, Andrej Sustr and Matthew Peca are due to become unrestricted free agents on July 1, while forwards J.T. Miller, Cedric Paquette and Adam Erne, defenseman Slater Koekkoek and goalie Louis Domingue are restricted free agents.

Mooney also pointed out center Tyler Johnson’s no-trade clause kicks in on July 1. “There could be a trade or two, mostly minor unless Yzerman moves Johnson while he still has the flexibility.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE:Cap Friendly indicates the Lightning have over $68 million invested in 18 players, with Miller and Paquette as their notable RFAs. There’s sufficient cap room for Yzerman to re-sign his key players and leave enough for an affordable addition or two. Yzerman must also ensure he has enough cap space for next summer, when Nikita Kucherov, Yanni Gourde, Brayden Point, Anton Stralman, Dan Girardi and Braydon Coburn will become free agents. 

Yzerman has a history of making bold trades, and if he feels he must bring in a young, faster and cheaper defenseman, maybe he’ll draw upon his forward depth to address that issue. If he needs some salary-cap flexibility he could perhaps attempt to move Johnson and his $5-million annual cap hit through 2023-24 before his no-trade goes into effect on July 1.

Still, I don’t see Yzerman making any wholesale changes to the Lightning roster. A tweak or two seems likely. 


NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: In the wake of the San Jose Sharks re-signing Evander Kane to a seven-year, $49-million contract, Marcus White wondered if they can afford to pursue New York Islanders center John Tavares via free agency and still re-sign their remaining free agents. With the salary cap projected to rise to between $78 million and $82 million, the Sharks would have between $10.5 million and $14.5 million in cap room. That could increase to $12.3 million to $16.3 million if rookies start next season with the Shark’s AHL farm team.

Still, signing Tavares and re-signing their free agents (including Joe Thornton) could push the Sharks cap ceiling in excess of $80 million. Even trading or buying out defenseman Paul Martin or trading Mikkel Boedker would still “require some maneuvering from San Jose general manager Doug Wilson” to sign Tavares and Thornton. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson could pull off signing Tavares, Thornton and key RFAs such as Tomas Hertl, Chris Tierney and Dylan DeMelo. However, it’ll depend upon how much those players seek.

Inking Tavares could cost over $11 million annually. Thornton’s willing to take a pay cut to stay in San Jose but he could still cost around $5 million on a one-year deal. Hertl, Tierney and DeMelo are due raises, with Hertl perhaps getting $5 million annually and Tierney over $2 million per. Even shedding Martin and Boedker would still make it a tight squeeze. 



  1. If Tavares doesn’t sign with Isles, Rangers will be all in on him. I think depending on how strong he feels about staying in area they would have a good shot. Most feel he won’t go to rival team and I honestly feel SJ would be best choice for him. They would become one of top teams in West instantly. He wouldn’t need to deal with any fallout from NY press. I seriously doubt Sharks would sign Thornton if they landed JT. He would actually be a good fit with Rangers for a year. Him on Kovulchuk for a year or 2 would help put a competitive team on ice, while allowing some of the prospects to develop in ahl and would keep them from being eligible for expansion draft. As much as I’d love to land Tavares, we could possibly add 3 much needed players for same price. Thornton,Kovy and a guy like Pateryn on defense would put us back in playoffs without giving up assets. Not going to throw a bunch of kids out there with Henrik still in net

    • Players that play on an NHL contract which includes the AHL are expansion draft eligible.

      The best place for me for Tavares to sign is in NYI.

      • The Islanders have won 1 round of playoffs with, 2 first round exits and missed 5 seasons all since Tavares signed with them. I think he should move on. They are a consistent bottom dweller with or without him.

      • Striker why do you think the best place for JT is NYI? I think he would have an excellent chance at a cup if he signs in Winnipeg.

      • People make the strangest rationale as to why JT should sign here or there. He belongs on the island. One of the top 3 centers in the league.
        And no, he’ll never go the Rangers, he hates them.
        That would be spitting in the eye of his loyal fan base.

      • Yeah. Stars never play for their original teams rivals….

        Ring ring

        Hold on a sec guys… I got jags on the line

        JJ! Sup!

      • Caper better the evil you know. Not a believer that the grass is greener on the other side.

        How does Win absorb Tavares’s contract?

        Apparently Tavares doesn’t like notoriety, that kills any Canadian city, as an NHL player you get approached endlessly.

        There are a ton of US spots almost all that most NHL players can just blend it but frankly your chances of winning a cup any where aren’t great.

        I admire loyalty, the chance to play for 1 team your whole career is appealing to me personally. I like the current roster NYI has compiled, they aren’t a cup contender but certainly in the playoff mix. Roster is literated with young developing players.

        Then there is the advantage of playing in the North East. The NHL travel schedule doesn’t get any easier.

        Only a small # of teams could take on Tavares cap hit & term with out moving an asset out to accommodate such.

      • Rules for draft. Lists made available to choose players from
        “Players with 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons”

      • It’s professional games. Not nhl games. Ahl is professional hockey

      • Did Nosek have 70 nhl games? Carrier? Brinkley?

      • Slick62, that’s part of the other dynamic that a certain # of players need to be exposed meeting that requirement but not all but doesn’t address the contractual issues.

        See NHL’s news release for basic rules here.


    • What a slap it would be to Islanders and their fans if Johnny T signed with the Rangers. Sharks can give what he needs financially and a pretty good supporting cast.

      Overall, I would surprised if he left the Islanders.

      • I agree. I respect it’s Tavares choice but choosing to sign in NYR would shock me. Would be great for NYR & potentially Tavares but a harsh message to NYI fans.

        With Burns, Vlasic & Kane all getting huge monies, Thornton a UFA on July 1st Pavelski, Couture, Donskoi & Heed all UFA’s 1 year out, Hertl & Tierny RFA’s today, Meier, Lebanc & Ryan RFA’s next season can SJ really afford Tavares?
        I assume Couture & Pavelski are both extend on or about July 1st.

        I’m sure they would find away to make it work if Tavares were interested but would mean something has to give down the road & with expansion looming that also factors in some how.

        If you look at SJ’s current mix adding Tavares makes for 8 keepers at forward. Much will depend on when Seattle is added. I assume they commence play 2020-21. If later that would be better for SJ in such a signing.

      • And the “fans” showed a harsh message to Tavares and the islander organization by not showing up! Dead last in attendance this year…. dead last!

        So I don’t think Tavares is worried about what the 12k fans that show up think. I think he probably cares about winning, money, and security. In no particular order.

        I’m not saying he jumps to NYR’s, nor am I hoping he does. But let’s be realistic here. Other than for sentiment reasons, there aren’t a lot of reasons to stay where he is.

      • @Nyr4life, spot on comment.

      • NY4life. I agree way too much made out of rivalry and how fans react. On top of last years attendance, they’re now looking at splitting time at 2 different venues. Can’t help. Players come and go all the time. If they’re not on my team, I really don’t care who they’re playing for. If you take Tavares off Isles, Rangers have a better, younger team. Period. And now with deals we made, have much better prospect pool moving forward.Tavares might say he “hates” Rangers to promote game, but fact is he’s seen how Isles will always be 2nd fiddle to Rangers. And he’s seen that unlike his employer , they do what it takes to put a winning team on ice. Isles hiring Lou at the last minute isn’t going to save them. Too little, too late

      • Have you seen a hockey game at Barclay’s? I wouldn’t attend either, oops I made that mistake once, + it’s a transitional home, their fans are in a different Metro. Wierd & terrible situation. The NHL may be a gate driven league but numerous teams do very well on their regional sports networks of which NYI is 1 or they would lose even more money than they do. They sit 3rd last in operating revenue to Car & Flo.

        They are getting a new building, just a time issue now.

      • Regardless , why does he feel the need to not insult this non existent fan base?

        I hate when people can’t separate the business side from the sentimental side in sports. I haven’t had those kind of emotions about any player in any sport since I was 6.

        John Tavares owes the Islanders organization and fans nothing, zero, zilch, nada.

        He’s been a trooper his entire career, one of the best cap hits in the game for a player of his caliber for YEARS. And the organization has failed him.
        If anything, they Owe Tavares a chance to make this choice and move on if that’s what’s in his heart and mind.

      • For arguments sake ny. Do the rangers owe lundquivst a shot at a cup by trading him as part of this rebuild?

      • If he wants out, absolutely. Why not? Brian Leetch said it best when he was asked how he could be traded, ” well, they weren’t winning with me ”

        I’m definitely not a guy who turns on a player the minute they walk or get traded. I don’t bash Stepan, Dubinsky, Anisimov, Brian Boyle, Mcdonagh, Miller, Hagelin, Nash, etc.

      • Chrism
        Rangers brass went to Lundquist, told him their plans, and asked him if he wanted out. His choice to stay. Doesn’t mean they won’t still be looking to put a winning team on the ice

    • Not too sure Couture would be thrilled with J.T. in San Jose. Back in the 2005 O.H.L. priority draft Couture was wooed and told all along by Oshawa that they were going to take him number one overall but then the O.H.L. ruled that J.T. was exceptional and could be drafted as a 15 year old and Oshawa took him….. Couture subsequently fell to 12th and landed in Ottawa.
      Don’t think Couture would be happy to be second fiddle to J.T. again

      • People… mature after so many years. Most people at least.

  2. Joe Thornton better play for 1 million next season, playing 8 million for a geriatric old guy is not wise. If he really wants to win he will take way less money.

    • Thornton will get 5 to 6.5 on a year bonus laden deal some where. Still an elite passer. Game was never built on speed. Can still post almost 3/4’s of a point per game & man a st or 2nd line C position & 1st PP unit.

      A great solution for a team with a short term need as the end is near for Thornton. I would think 2 more years maybe , will depend how his surgically repaired knees hold up.

      • The Sharks would be crazy to give Thornton a 1-year deal at 5-6.5 million. He’s injury prone now, he’ll sit more than he’ll play.

      • Well that maybe but someone will, I didn’t say it would be the Sharks simply somewhere.

      • If Joe actually wants to win a cup he will take much less than that. I remember one year Karia took 1 million for 1 year for chance at cup, then he cashed in later. Joe has enough money, now is time to let his team add more talent around him and he has to actually do something in the playoffs for them to win, too many seasons Joe has been a playoff bust, no where near his normal ppg average, teams that win cups have their top players have big playoffs.

  3. Why bother with Thornton at all if you get Tavares? You still have Kane, Pavelski, Hertl, and several others up front. I think San Jose should let Joe go.

  4. Caper,

    Winnipeg has an excellent chance at a Cup with or without Tavares. Putting him there would certainly improve things for them considering how close they are.

  5. JTs decision will lie mostly with team (current/possible new); teammates; SC potential etc…. basically hockey… but layered with that decision is (1) financial (rec’d from Sal/bonus) plus sponsors/ads etc and tax benefits if location chosen and (2) personal (does he own a home now? Sell/move/build…. AND he is recently engaged (I believe she is Canadian and from GTA)…. this matrix of effects on his decision of where to sign are then layered with (3) suitors and what they will offer and (4) JTs sense of loyalty (fans/franchise) …. IMHO status quo and signing back with NYI less attractive to JT than signing elsewhere … SJ great fit; big move . I don’t realistically see T.O. …. more likely NJ or VGK before SJ. Even FLA as an outside outside chance

    • He’ll have a ton of options & do what ever he wishes & thinks best. A right he’s earned. Everything will factor in.

      As much as playing in a nice warm location appeals to me personally the NHL schedule & the playoffs are physically draining. 82 games spread over 7 months. Add in camp for several weeks & potentially a 2 month playoff grind & that’s potentially 10 months of travel, for me that’s a factor in my choice, a major 1.

      Hockey is just as physical as football, requires far more cardio yet football players play 16 games spread over 18 weeks. Playoffs are 1 & done. Tons of time to rest & recuperate no such luxury in hockey so i choose the east coast, ideally the north east.

      • Striker … bang on re what NHLers go through … there is absolutely no other sport in the entire world that has more physical demand/drain on an athelete than hockey… Football has bigger and stronger atheletes but your not getting hit with as much speed (hence force) and frequency… plus 18 games … once a week …, wow…. yet unfortunately hockey players are paid less than basketball, soccer, football; and baseball players …. ’nuff said … with ur logic re NE as place for him to sign …. are you envisioning him more at centering Hall or remaining to play eventually at the Horsetrack?

      • Especially with the increased travel if he signs with a west coast team.

      • I hope he stays with NYI but respect any choice he makes. I don’t see him signing in NJ, he could but if leaving NYI having a ton of options why NJ? Does NJ have a better shot at the cup than NYI?

        NJ had a great season, Shero has done a great job but these teams share numerous similarities what’s gained moving from NYI to NJ?

      • Islanders have had a ton of time to resign him. Rarely does the player stay when the courtship lasts this long. Stamkos was a rare exception.

      • I agree for the most part, just a personal preference. I would assume most players still play the majority of their careers with 1 team. The majority barely play 4 years, only good players hang around for a long time.

        It’s shocking how short NHL careers for most players that so much as make it to the NHL are.

        Careers appear to be getting shorter for players drafted. Even though we are now at 31 teams soon to be 32 simple supply & demand. Way more players being developed world wide but especially in the US.

        Very rare now for players in their mid 30’s & older to still be playing. The cap has also forced many teams to integrate younger more cost effective players sooner.

      • The average NFL player earns 1.9 million per, the average NHL player earns 2.4 per. The guys in the NFL earning 1.9 never have Anything guaranteed. One snap of the ball and they could be done forever.

      • I assume you’re referring to contracts, not injury disability issues. 1.9 for 16 games compared to 2.4 for 82 seems better to me.

        I’m not a fan of guaranteed contracts & hope that eventually they are removed from hockey. Unfortunately bigger fish to fry in the next lockout than guaranteed contracts. That will be another 2, maybe 3 lockouts or around 25 to 30 years out. I’ll be dead & gone most likely. Ha-ha!

      • The nfl will go to guarantee contracts before nhl stops. Not happening. Be disgraceful if it does. Unless it’s mutual. If a player signs his contract and out plays it then they can terminate it and seek more money elsewhere. That would be fair

    • Sorry … one more picayune item to consider by JT re any move from NYI… I know he’s not an egomaniac by any stretch …. but moving to a team where he would be Captain …. might also play some roll in decision …. currently w/o perm. Captains: Arz, Buff, NYR, Leafs, Van, Vegas…. and Note : NJ and FLA have captains long in the tooth and nearing retirement … so count them as well… rule out Arz, Van right away and I just don’t think T. O. Can make finances work with eventually Two $11M+ centres. Eichel has probably already demanded of Pagula, a handshake deal that he’ll be captain… so if being a captain of a team plays any role in decision….NYR, NJ, VGK, FLA…. NOTE : adding financial …. taxes in FLA and VGK gain him almost a full extra $1M take home annually over NYR and NJ

      • Hi Striker, stay or go to NJ will change absolutely nothing personally or financially.; and he’d be captain in NJ and is captain in NYI… so if comparing the two … loyalty and waiting for new arena vs better shot (IMHO) at getting to SCF sooner in NJ… I know NYI has building blocks and not as bad a team as recent outcomes indicate …. but if I’m honest, weighing everything …. if JT did go to NJ …. he’d have a better shot (sooner shot) at getting to SCF… IMO anyway. If NYI does make some big changes/acquisitions (read mostly change in net)… I’m with you on better chance with NYI… Lou … start making your calls

      • Who knows. The quality of prospects now coming appears to be changing how quickly a team can turn the corner.

        These 2 teams have nu erous similarities & way to early to predict what next season holds or the future. Both have solid foundations at present but neither is a cup contender today.

        If cup aspirations in the near term are at the top of the list neither is a good choice.

      • Whatever Tavares lose in paying state tax he’ll more than make up in endorsement deals in NY

      • Have you looked at NHL endorsement deals? Few are m

  6. Hi Striker, stay or go to NJ will change absolutely nothing personally or financially.; and he’d be captain in NJ and is captain in NYI… so if comparing the two … loyalty and waiting for new arena vs better shot (IMHO) at getting to SCF sooner in NJ… I know NYI has building blocks and not as bad a team as recent outcomes indicate …. but if I’m honest, weighing everything …. if JT did go to NJ …. he’d have a better shot (sooner shot) at getting to SCF… IMO anyway. If NYI does make some big changes/acquisitions (read mostly change in net)… I’m with you on better chance with NYI… Lou … start making your calls

  7. Sports Talk Live Featuring Striker and Pengy!

    • How come striker gets lead name on marquee?!?!

      • Youth gets top billing

  8. Thanks, Pengy for seeing the humor in my post.

  9. If John Tavares goes to NJ I will give up on life. Every been to NJ, good God what a terrible place.

    • Could be worse. You could live in downtown New York.

  10. Why not Carolina for Tavares? It is a much shorter trip back to where he grew up, and to where he has played and enjoyed living, than San Jose is. The Hurricanes (after this draft anyway) will boast a top 5 centre, a talented and improving defence corp, and plenty of pieces and prospects at forward to compete for the playoffs immediately, and possibly a cup within five years (all depending on the Hurricanes finding a true starting goalie).

    • Top 5 center?

    • Would boast, not will boast. Meaning Carolina would have an NHL top 5 centre if Tavares signs, not through this year’s draft.

      • Makes a bit more sense. But top 5? Crosby mcdavid malkin Mathews Benn Bergeron Eichel coultierier seguin kopitar with more on the way might beg to differ.

      • Obviously a good point. There are so many great players it is often difficult to rank them.

        Of your list, I think Tavares is better than Eichel, Couturier, Seguin and Kopitar overall.

        For me the top 5 consists of Crosby, Malkin, Tavares, Bergeron and McDavid. This is based on performance, intangibles and ceiling. I think MacKinnon is well on his way too.