NHL Rumor Mill – May 31, 2018

by | May 31, 2018 | Rumors | 78 comments

Latest on Phil Kessel and Ilya Kovalchuk plus an update on the Montreal Canadiens in your NHL rumor mill.

The Phil Kessel rumor mill grinds on (Photo via NHL Images).


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton takes note of recent speculation out of Pittsburgh suggesting the Penguins could listen to offers for winger Phil Kessel, whose relationship with head coach Mike Sullivan has reportedly soured.

Moving Kessel and his $6.8-million cap hit could also make financial sense for the Penguins. They could have around $9 million in cap space for next season, and while their notable restricted free agents (Tom Kuhnhackl, Bryan Rust, Riley Sheahan, Dominik Simon and Jamie Oleksiak) won’t be expensive to re-sign, it will limit how much room they’ll have to bolster their roster for next season.

Kessel has an eight-team trade list, giving him a measure of control over where he could be dealt. Clinton feels a return of some draft picks or prospects could help restock the Penguins’ prospect cupboard. He suggests the Vegas Golden Knights, St. Louis Blues, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings as possible destinations.

Clinton thinks the Golden Knights have the cap space to take on Kessel. The Blues have $18 million in cap room and a deep prospect pool. The Isles, who have four picks in the first two rounds of this year’s draft) could make sense if they re-sign John Tavares. The Hurricanes also have cap space and prospect depth. The Kings would likely have to part with Tyler Toffoli or Tanner Pearson to make this work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If, and it remains “If” at this point, the Penguins shop Kessel, his potential destinations will depend upon what clubs are currently on his preferred list and, perhaps, his willingness to expand that list.

The Golden Knights’ success would make them a good fit, but is he a good fit for them? General manager George McPhee pursued Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson at the trade deadline and could be more interested in revisiting that option. The Blues need offense but their preference is adding a scoring center.

I agree the Isles could be a good fit if they re-sign Tavares, but president of hockey operations Lou Lamariello might not be keen to add a player who has a reputation of clashing with coaches. I don’t think Kessel is interested in joining a perpetually rebuilding club like the Hurricanes, and I don’t see the Kings moving Toffoli or Pearson to acquire him.


NHL.COM: cites TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting representatives for free-agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk is talking to NHL clubs about a possible return next season. It’s unknown what clubs he’s speaking with. Kovalchuk cannot officially sign a contract until July 1 but he can agree to one before then.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin suggests the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins as possible destinations for Kovalchuk. He also recommends keeping an eye on the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers and Vegas Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Isles president of hockey ops Lou Lamoriello has a good history with Kovalchuk. Convincing the Russian star to join his new club could help Lamoriello convince Tavares to re-sign. Cap Friendly indicates the Kings have just over $70 million invested in 20 players with all their core players under contract. If Kovalchuk agrees to a reasonable short-term deal he could be a fit there.

Larkin points out Kovalchuk and Stars winger Alexander Radulov are friends, which might help him readjust to the NHL. The Panthers also have the cap room ($65.9 million invested in 19 players) to sign him. They took a chance on Jaromir Jagr a few years ago and it worked out well, so maybe they make a pitch to Kovalchuk. The Bruins could use second-line scoring depth and Kovalchuk might be a good addition there.

Despite Kovalchuk’s ties to Hurricanes GM Don Waddell, I don’t see them as a destination. Larkin doesn’t buy the rumors linking Kovalchuk to the Rangers, as they’re committed to rebuilding with youth. However, they could use a veteran leader or two to take some of the burden off those youngsters. The Golden Knights are a possibility, but I agree with Larkin’s take that Kovalchuk might be a luxury for them.


NHL.COM: Mike Zeisberger reports Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin won’t trade their first-round pick (third overall) in this year’s NHL Draft unless he’s blown away by a trade offer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, unless someone pitches a first-line center in his playing prime under contract beyond next season, Bergevin’s not moving that pick. 



  1. Zibanejad and the 26th pick in the draft for Montreal’s 1st rounder. Take it to the bank.

    • Makes no sense for Rangers. Zib coming into his own as a top center.

      • I agree about Zibanejad coming into his own. I like him a lot as a player. My proposed trade has nothing to do with Zibanejad as a player, rather, it has everything to do with my gut feeling that the Rangers are doing a full rebuild, not a “re-tool”. To me, the fact that they offered Lundqvist the opportunity to leave says it all (if the plan was a re-tool why even ask Lundqvist if he wants to be traded?). If I’m correct and it is in fact a full rebuild, the opportunity to draft #3 overall would be huge and well worth trading Zibanejad.

      • Zibanejad is young enough to be part of a full rebuild. He just turned 25. But nothing coming out of NY indicates that they don’t want to still compete. Zibanejad is signed to a cap friendly deal. I say zero chance they’re even considering moving him at this point. Nor do they have that luxury to move him right now.

        Depending on Andersson and Chytl, Hayes may become available. But I doubt NY makes that move not knowing if they’re ready.

        I wouldn’t read too much into NY willing to give Lundqvist an opportunity to play elsewhere. He’s earned that right, and they have Shestyorkin coming soon. And Georgiev more than likely assumes a full time back up job this year.

        Not to mention shedding a good portion of Lundqvists deal wouldn’t exactly hurt either.

      • Coming into his own as a top center??? 47pts and -23.. looks like Drouin numbers.. y would habs trade their 1st round for a player with similar numbers as Drouin that they consider isn’t a #1 center??

      • Zib ceiling is not quite a Stamkos and another center who should really be a wing.

        Probably top 35th center in the NHL

      • Lemieux was once a -33 and -25. I don’t put a lot of stock into +/-.

        I don’t think anyone is saying Zibanejad is the next Lemieux…. but contrary to popular belief a #1 center doesn’t have to be a Crosby, Mcdavid.

        Zibanejads biggest problem in NY so far is his health. He missed 10 games and it took a while for him to return to form.
        I think he could easily be a 60-70 point player. With the right guys on his wing.

        Once he returned to form, he played very well. 14 points in march. Playing alongside Kreider and Fast for the majority of that stretch.

      • How much of that +\- was second half of season? After shutting down Shattenkirk, and trading McDonaugh?

      • I’m not knocking zib, just saying why would habs trade their 3 overall pick for a player similar to drouin? Drouin can learn to play center, and become a 60 to 70 point a year with the right wingers. So habs are better off drafting a pure sniper then trading it away to get a player similar to guys they already have

      • I think Drouin would be much better off on the wing. Learning to play center, especially on the fly is easier said than done.

        Montreal was 29th in fo% this year. It seems they could benefit by trading for a center. Maybe not Zibanejad, but any help at center couldn’t hurt.

    • To what purpose? Zibanejad is right on the cusp of breaking through, injuries have derailed that opportunity 2 years in a row. Zibanejad just turned 25 in April & hit the 400 game threshold for development in players of his size with 409. Zibanejad has a massive frame at 225lbs+. he weighs 227 lbs according to the NHL.

      NYR traded for & locked Ziabanejad up to a great contract still having 4 years remaining at a cap hit of 5.35.

      He’s not being moved for Montreal’s 3rd. Finding C’s with this size & combination of skills isn’t easy & their not giving that up for a 3rd round pick which should be a LW in Zadina. Have you looked at NYR’s left side? Kreider, Vesey, Namestnikov & Zuccarello can play either side.

      I see NYR bouncing back exceptionally quickly. I think they will be in the hunt for a playoff spot next season. Not saying they’ll make it as it’s far to early to predict where most teams will be next season until we see what everyone has in store this summer.

    • The #26 picp? Habs pass. Make it the #9 and you have a conversation. #26 will not cut it, but I agree any discussion about the #3 pick from NYR starts with Zib. If (and I think NYR should and does think this) is not willing to move Zib, don’t bother calling

      • Don’t bother calling? Add in the 9th overall? So Montreal Picks up a guy that no question is the #1 center for a player who may or may not be playing in the NHL next year and moving back 6 spots? Yeah, they ain’t calling, but more like don’t sit by the phone holding your breath not calling.

        Ny is under no pressure to make any crazy deals. All their terrible expensive contracts come off the books in the next 3 years.

    • the sperm bank maybe

    • I would do the trade for the #2 perhaps not the #3 pick. Of course that depends on who carolina is taking but all mocks pt to Svechnikov, going 2 and that would be the pick for me. Otherwise get the 4th or 5th pick for something a little less costly, i think that is where the action is coming up from 9th.

    • “Moving Kessel and his $6.8-million cap hit could also make financial sense for the Penguins. They could have around $9 million in cap space for next season,”

      Huh??? With the cap increase, they already have more than $9 million space for next year, even without trading Kessel.

  2. Have to think Rangers waiting to see what happens with JT. Otherwise, very good chance they sign Kovy. Gorton has already admit to some discussions. The idea that Rangers aren’t going to sign guys just because of so called “rebuild” is absurd. Lundquist still in net. Only 2 players dealt last season that where under contract this year… Miller and McDonaugh. Replaced by Spooner, Nemestikov and a boatload of picks and prospects. Gorton will put a team on the ice to compete, just won’t sacrifice future. Signing a couple FAs is inevitable. If they miraculously sign Tavares, does this not make them contenders?

  3. THR– sorry IMHO — can’t take it to the bank. I agree with S62— NYR not letting him go. Too much upside— not worth the offer

    • Besides fact you never know how 3rd pick will pan out. Could end up a bust and 26th pick could end up a stud. With Zib, you already know what you have and he still hasn’t hit his ceiling

      • Exactly. As an example, I’m baffled about Jesse Puljujarvi; some people thought he should have been taken ahead of Laine that year and yet he still hasn’t made any real impact. Is it an Oilers bad mojo thing?

  4. Montreal needs to keep all their picks including the second rounders the cupboard is bare . Maybe a couple of seconds packaged for another first
    Very tough to rebuild from a scorched earth. Too painful and years in the making with some luck needed at the draft table. I doubt the Rangers are going down that road.

    • Agreed – there is little chance the Habs move #3 – unless, someone comes along and offers a top center (not Zib) for #3. O’Reilly would not be near enough for 3 and I doubt the Sabres would want him so close to Buffalo.

  5. Re Clinton’s view on Pens trading PK for picks/prospects— I can’t see it— Pens in the here and now— win now— prime of Eugene and Sidney. An NHL regular must come back as part of the PK deal. Re: his take on possibilities: Vegas Golden Knights— might be on PKs list; cant see the fit/desire by VGK.

    Re: NYI– also could be on PK list– good fit; not sure of desire by NYI. It would have some impact on JT motiviation— what is the return?
    Carolina– wont’ be on PKs list
    LA– stronger possibility on PK list— what is the offer?

    StL– much higher chance on PKs list–there are deals to be had and I will throw out a whackadoodle/pie-in-the-sky/never gonna happ’n trade— PK+That Which Shall Not be named for Boumeester and Kyrou (who is NHL ready BTW). St L wants to unload JB; Pens want to unload TWSNBN. Both JB and TWSNBN had brutal years. StL getting similar problem at much cheaper; they give up potential scoring future for current production. Pens betting on Kyrou and with Kyrou on EL contract; net cap gain in trade is about $2.8M. BTW – do not qualify Khun. Take the chance he signs elsewhere.
    My final delusional trade— PK + TWSNBN + Sheary for Colton Parayko — St. L coughs , snorts, derides, and vomits. I guy’s got to dream right?

    • I couldn’t comment on Clintons story as I don’t have facebook but the only team that made sense was LA with the two players he mentioned. the other ones showed a distinct lack of hockey know how.

      • The Clinton story is nothing. The award for to dummest Kessel proposals goes to some named Sonny Sachdeva at sportsnet.ca. He suggests that a good deal would be for the Pens to trade Kessel to Columbus, now get this, Brandon Dubinsky and his 5.75 million cap hit!!!!

        Really, I didn’t make this up.

      • Well. At least he would probably stop cheap shoting Crosby then…,

    • Who is “that which shall not be named?” He would have to be pretty bad to even consider taking on that which used to be Jay Boumeester.

  6. The Pens won two Cups being faster than every other team. Those teams were small and not very physical but it didn’t matter because they were that much faster.

    The league has started to catch up to the Pens speed and many of those teams are bigger and stronger. The final 4 featured 4 teams that were almost as fast as the Pens, almost as skilled, but much bigger.

    The Pens cannot repeat the 2016 formula and expect it to work forever in a league that adapts quickly.

    So, from here there are only two ways to improve the team…get even faster even if you get smaller or start getting bigger players who can still skate.

    Moving on from guys like Kessel and Sheary is a must if they move in the latter direction…and I’m not sure where they find the players to do the former, so that might be their only option.

    • MG—re “get even faster”— see my previous post on my whackadoodle/pie-in-the-sky/never gonna happ’n trade— PK+That Which Shall Not be named for Boumeester and Kyrou —Kyrou is dang speedy

    • think it’s going to take a great offer to pry Kyrou or Thomas from STL. PK and change doesn’t do it. Sorry, TWSNBN ??

      • Pens should trade for Klim.

  7. Re Larkin on Kovy:
    Bruins— don’ t see the fit/desire for the sal/cap needed.
    ‘Lina—Nyet—too much $’s
    NYR—Nyet Nyet— rebuilding
    LA- possibility – cap space?
    VGK- possible but Kov not their style of player
    Stars— cap space?
    NYI—more likely — yes possible impact on JT decision. Lou connection.
    Panthers— Nasdarovje—fit/space—IMHO- most likely

  8. Regarding Larkin on Kovy:
    Bruins— don’ t see the fit/desire for the sal/cap needed.
    ‘Lina—Nyet—too much $’s
    NYR—Nyet Nyet— rebuilding
    LA- possibility – cap space?
    VGK- possible but Kov not their style of player
    Stars— cap space?
    NYI—more likely — yes possible impact on JT decision. Lou connection.
    Panthers— Nasdarovje—fit/space—IMHO- this is most likely

    • Pengy, I agree that the Bruins signing Kovy is unlikely, I wouldn’t rule them out.
      Sweeney has shown he is in full win now mode. As he should be as a big chunk of his core is on the back nine. Bergeron-32, Krecji-32, Backes-34, Chara-41.
      There are not probable replacements for Bergeron 1C, and Krecji 2C ready soon, or even in the system yet. There best prospects are on the blue line, which highlights the win now mentality.
      The immediate questions for the next year are 2nd line winger and 3C.
      You can put hope that Donato and Heinen to fill both those spots, but hope is not a plan. Backes is too slow for the 3C, and not an top offensive guy that fits with Krecji. Methinks he will want more certainty.
      If they resign Riley Nash to a reasonable deal for 3C, then we bruins fans have some certainty at an important position and see which of the young guys fits in best up front and add at deadline if it doesn’t work out. (please don’t pay double what you should for a Rick Nash again)
      If they don’t, he may spend that $$ on a Kovy to fill the one hole with a proven goal scorer. Then hope one of the young guys learns quickly enough to play the 3C role.
      Personally, I don’t like the idea of signing Kovy, just trying to guess what Sweeney will do.

    • I think LA & Dal could fit Kovy in under the cap if so desired.

      • Playing in both places will force him to travel a lot. Wondering if Kovy, at this stage of life really wants to do that. He always seems to be focused on NY area, wondering if the riggers of travel especially at this stage of life will sway him to stay in the Northeast and maybe take a little less money to do so.

        Kovalchuk is the big wild card of the summer; he talks more about a Cup thank $$$.

      • Playing in both places would certainly require a lot of travel, but I am pretty sure he would have to choose one or the other…

      • It’s gonna be one of the NY teams, or one of the teams in the Northeast. I’d bet on it.

      • Travel as we discussed the other day would certainly be an issue for me if I’m a UFA choosing a destination. Opportunity, monies then location. Those big 3 could change order depending upon what each opportunity provides.

      • Kovy had New York area in his sights when he was a Thrasher.

      • Travel? Every team plays 41 games on the road. Every team has their own plane. Travel is no more and no less a concern for any team over any other.

  9. I don’t think a rebuild would necessarily rule out NYR.

    If Kovy is looking for money on a one year deal and a platform to show he is still NHL ready it could be a great destination that could work for both sides.

    NYR can bring in a player to help play today, but showcase him all year, and possibly trade him to a contender at the deadline and get some free assets.

    Kovy can play in NYC, get guaranteed ice time, and basically guarantee he ends up in the playoffs as long as he is playing well enough to warrant being traded.

    Teams and players don’t often make this sort of move, but I can see it being mutually beneficial, and I don’t know why more veteran players aren’t used this way.

    • Danny– I concur if Kovy was considering a 1 year deal— can’t see him doing that no matter what teams offer him— I believe he will be looking for 3 years and maybe 4 (if structured to his liking). IMHO NYR not looking for a 35+ contract for 3 years— thoughts?

      • I’m with you that very unlikely he signs for only 1 year. I was leaning towards 3 as well, 2 at a bare minimum. There will be suitors willing to give Kovy 2 possibly 3.

      • I am basing the one year on what Radulov got coming back (despite wanting more). I think teams have been a little more apprehensive than in the past and getting 3+ might be difficult given he is coming from the KHL.

        That said, maybe someone is paying it, and if that’s the case NYR should steer clear.

        I think there could be benefits to Kovy from doing a single year. First would be he can probably get a better single year payout that way, teams will overpay on a one year deal to keep flexibility.

        Secondly, he can sign with a team he wants to try out, but know that if he wants on a playoff team later, it’s an easy enough request.

        Finally, like Radulov, a single year audition could result in a far better contract than you might expect the next year.

        So it would depend on Kovy’s demands, but I do think rebuilding teams should be some of the more active in the UFA market, at least when it comes to veteran players on shorter terms looking to prove something. Great value to be had in that market, and it creates rentals later on.

      • Kovalchuk is more of a known commodity than Radulov though. Radulov had one decent season before leaving for KHL, Kovalchuk was well on his way to a hall of fame career.

        I would think that Kovalchuk desires stability, a guaranteed paycheck and probably a chance at a cup more than hoping for a little more money after a “show me” year. The idea of being available to a contender does fit the cup aspirations but not the rest. It will be interesting to see what he does.

      • Any team that signs a forward like him over the age of 35 to a multi year deal is insane. If he cries and goes home after one season that team is stuck with that cap hit for remaining seasons. Insane!

  10. Fascinating people’s opinion of Zib. If I’m montreal I laugh, hang up the phone.

    That’s not even close to what it would take to pry the 3rd overall pick from him.

    And I can’t stand the Habs.

    • Equally as fascinating is the thought that a 3rd overall will come in and have an instant impact.

      I’m not saying Montreal should trade it for Zibanejad, however…. it’s not like Montreal has the luxury of a long rebuild given the contracts of Price and Weber.

      Is a 3rd overall coming in this year or next and carrying Montreal on his back to return to the playoffs? Will he even make next years roster other than by default?

    • I agree. Zibanejad is a good player, but the 3rd pick for a player who’s career high in points is 51 isn’t going to happen. Montreal has been rumoured to RNH for the last couple of off seasons and the Montreal first round pick has never been part of the conversation. Would NYR fans consider RNH is worth a 3rd over pick? RNH is the same age and has 3 seasons of 50+ points.

      • Kevjam, NYR might consider but Ed will only be trading RNH in a trade that includes a current NHLer coming back…. Ed is re-tooling … can’t afford to re-re-build

      • I’m not saying that Edmonton should trade RNH. If fact I don’t want them to trade RNH. I’m just asking NYR fans if they think Zibanejad is worth the 3rd overall pick then would that make RNH worth the 3rd overall pick?

      • Honestly, I wouldn’t trade RNH or Zibanejad for a 3rd round pick. I’m not even sure why it’s being discussed.

        Does NY need 4-1st round draft picks this year? I’d be shocked if NY still has all 3 on draft day.

      • Not 3rd round… third overall!!!

      • Other than Quinn being the new coach, I doubt NY has anything more than lukewarm interest in bring in Tkachuk. Why Montreal would have interest is beyond me.

        Every mock draft out there has NY taking Bouchard. Maybe NY packages picks to move up to 5 or 6. But more than likely for d help. Not another winger.

    • I’m with you on this one Dark-G, Zib isn’t landing a 3rd overall. the 26th pick gets it close but it’ll probably need another pick thrown in.

      Montreal is in a pretty rough spot right now. Weber and Price will both decline inevitably by the time any prospect is ready. Montreal also cannot go shopping for high end talent and sacrifice draft picks.

      What do the habs fans think?
      A. Go get lots of talents in trades and give up draft picks?
      B. Sell off as much as possible and ride out the Weber and Price contracts?
      C. Rebuild on the fly

  11. Kovalchuk mansion is complete just 20 min outside NYC Have friends in the construction business I’m sure he wants to spend time in the home which took years to complete and from what I’m told it’s gorgeous Commuting to Brooklyn and Long Island for games and practices to me doesn’t seem practical he’ll be spending a lot of time driving Rangers have practice facility 30 min north of him and midtown Manhattan without traffic 30 min I’m probably wrong but I wouldn’t want to drive to Brooklyn and Long Island constantly traffic is horrendous especially Long Island

  12. Kessel for Subban

  13. That’s a lot of ink on a trade that’s never going to even be considered by either team Mon or NYR. There isn’t even a discussion to be had there for either side with those 2 assets in a discussion.

    Kreider, Zibanejad, Buchenevich.
    Zuccarello, Hayes, Spooner.
    Vesey, Namesntikov, Fast.

    That’s a decent top 9 & Andersson & Chytil both look to be NHL ready. Might they be held down initially for business reasons?

    Zuccarello can play either side & with 1-year remaining it’s time to extend him or move him, doing so would potentially make room for Kovy & even if retained, fast could be moved to the 4th line, Kovy to the #2 LW spot & Zucarello to the #2 RW spot pushing Spooner down. As always juggle these wingers anyway you wish.

    Namestinkov can also play LW, Spooner C & if Andersson & Chytil are NHL ready which I assume both are, it gets crowded very quickly & allows NYR to role 4 lines as almost all NHL teams are starting to do now 5 on 5.

    This team is far better than most are giving them credit for. This isn’t a rebuild but a very quick & odd retooling that has been very quick & successful & Gorton still has a ton of cards to play this summer.

    The D is the concern as it’s incredibly young with the additions of Pionk, Gilmour & DeAngelo. At least 1 if not 2 of these Dman still need more seasoning in the AHL & or playing very sheltered minutes in the NHL. Specifically DeAngelo but Gilmour as well, Pionk looks NHL ready.

    I assume Gorton will be very active this summer. The prospect kitty has been restocked & NYR is sitting on 3 1sts, 2 2nds & 2 3rds in this year’s draft. The will use some & spend some, they will sign at least 1 UFA if not 2. Kovy & de Hann? & they have the cap space to do whatever they want.

    I think people are going to be exceptional shocked at how good this team is next season. Baring another terrible run of injuries like last season.

    • You think with the openings in Tampa now MSL heading there ?Great insight I’m hopeful for Kovy 2 years 10 mil and maybe sign Carlson one thing for sure draft day going to be interesting

    • There is not a single true all-star in that lineup. Look back over the last 10 years and you will see that all teams that win the Cup have at least 3 all-stars. Typically you see two upfront and one on the blueline. This rangers team is 3 true all stars away from winning anything.

      As it relates to draft picks, if they were smart they should do everything they can to get into the top 3 and then pray that one of them turns into an all-star. Because the way the league structures contracts, signing 3 all-star UFAs is highly unlikely.

      • Lol, All stars like the Vegas team ? Mcnabb was an all star… ooops I mean hos uncle was a pro bowler!

        So trade and pray huh? Sounds like a logical way to run a team.

        Maybe they could hold onto guys like Andersson, Chytl, the 3 1st rounders from this year and praying? instead of doing anything rash?

        This may be the worst comment I’ve seen on this board, and that speaks volumes!

        Why would a team that’s rebuilding be loaded with all stars? Aye aye aye!

        I like it though…. trade and pray! I see a new wave of GMs crashing the league with this ideology. Forget stats andvanced stats, we’re trading and praying! Lmao

      • Did I say NYR was a cup contender?

        I said that is a decent top 9. This is a very young team with a ton of players that have decent NHL experience yet most nowhere near fully developed & who knows what they may eventually be when they are.

        Only 1 team can win the cup & I know that is the goal of every team but not everyone has a superstar, it could take years, maybe a decade to truly acquire 1 & there are tons that have 1 or more & have won nothing regardless, more than have won again as only 1 team can win.

        The game is changing. It’s faster, there is more talent, almost all teams are rolling 4 lines now & it’s going to keep getting better & deeper. Skill, speed & puck possession is starting to usurp, dump & chase, trap, physical neandrathal hockey. We just need the NHL to stop setting standards & call the rules as written. Call all slashing, cross-checking, hitting to hurt, interference, boarding, charging, etc. to the IIHF standards used in the WJC’s. That’s my hope.

        It would significantly eliminate the frustration we all share with the inconsistencies of the current system.

        Sorry, I digressed off topic there significantly but it ties into depth, something NYR is really starting to develop.

      • Players in all star game this year from
        Vegas: Fleury and Neal
        Caps: Holtby and Ovi
        Rangers had Lundquist. So by your logic…1/neither of these teams should be where they are .. or 2/ Rangers should be in finals if we sign Tavares

      • You are right! over the last 40 years teams that win cups have high impact star players. Usually have 1 impact two way D man, Only 90 Oilers and 2005 Canes didn’t have a star D man. Vegas has stars, 1 guy with back to back 30 goal seasons and one guy with 43 goals, plus they have a goalie who’s won cups. Rangers have garbage.

      • Correct Matt, only one team in the last 25 plus years has won a cup without at least 1 player taken in the top 3 in the draft. Often more than one. The canes you mention are that team. The top 3 is where you normally find the stars, of course there are anomalies and quite a few.
        That pattern will hold true again this year.
        Agree that the game is changing and teams are rolling 4 lines and spreading the ice time, at least up front, which in theory will lesson the impact. Perhaps that will change this pattern, but I will wait to see it before I believe it.

      • I’ll take the Rangers garbage over Buffalos all stars that wish they played elsewhere on a daily basis.

        Not to mention anfractured locker room ! Remind me again, with such stars like Eichel , O’Reilly, etc…. where did Buffalo finish this year again? Eastern finals?

    • Kevin Hayes as your 2nd line center is not a good option. He has good hands and hockey IQ-still lacks modern speed and any sort of edge. Unless his wingers make up for his issues I have no issues moving him along

      • Ray- I believe the Canes had Eic Staal in their lineup for their cup run. He was drafted 2nd overall if I’m not mistaken.

    • Striker agree on all counts, except DeHaan. I think he’s more of a bet to stay with Isles than JT…plus Rangers need is more on right side. Pateryn is big, he hits and would be an inexpensive add. Would be a good fit while younger continue to develop. Lindgren reminds me a little of McDonaugh. A little bigger and more physical. As I said, like a lot of teams, signingTavares will explored. If not, I Definately see Kovy and possibly someone like Thornton on 1 or 2 year deals. Doesn’t cost anything but cap space.

  14. ASSUMING the Isles bring back JT and re-sign Lee, I don’t understand the numerous rumors that are floating around about Kessel and/or Kovalchuk coming to the Island. JT put up incredible numbers with Lee and Bailey (who just re-signed) and the 2nd line of Barzal, Beauvillier and Eberle had incredible chemistry as well. Unless LL can find a way to dump the contracts of Ladd, Clutterbuck or Cizikas, our bottom 6 forwards which do need upgrading will be very expensive. Plus, would Kessel play 3rd line minutes? Isn’t that why he was complaining in Pittsburgh about. Are you going to take Lee off line 1 when he put up 40 goals? The better bet IMO is that Lou looks to bolster the D and goaltending by trading a 1st round pick with a player such as Nelson and possibly look to trade one of the 3 lousy contracts in the bottom 6 and open space for Bellows.

    • If Tavares returns & I’m at about 50/0 now, a coin toss for me as I wouldn’t sign to play for Lou under any scenario. No beards, no drinking on team flights after games, etc. What decade is it? This isn’t the 70’s or 80’s.

      Lee, Tavares, Bailey.
      Beauvillier, Barzal, Eberle.
      Ladd, Nelson, Bellows.
      Prince, Cziskas, Clutterbuck.
      Spare. Quine.

      That’s a decent roster, if Tavares walks move Barzal & Nelson up, Beauvillier to 3rd line C & or spend the savings to stop-gap with a UFA C like Bozak or other.

  15. Unless one has an untenable contract on ones hands, there is not reason not to get good value in a trade, unless you aren’t very good at it. It’s pretty clear some GM’s win more than 2/3 of their deals and some lose more than 2/3. Yet ownerships seem far more reticent to change GM’s than GM’s are to change (and blame) coaches. How did Montreal get to be so bad? How was Edmonton flush with assets but not success. If Kessel is such a bad item, how did he help win cups? Speaking of using assets, where does on get them? Scouting, drafting, and development. If I’m a bad team, bringing in an aging star might put a few folks in the seats, and make a bad record slightly more acceptable, but a fanbase might react better to spending the bucks on scouting, drafting, development, a solid organizational philosophy and a GM & coach in tune with it. There are a couple of formerly hapless teams taking that road, with success. Does anyone know who the next great director of player development might be, and which teams are looking at same? There are some ownerships whose talents don’t extend to sports management, who tolerate GM’s who may be experienced and even revered ‘hockey people’ but who don’t evidence the necessary team building skills. If PK comes to your team, it may be time to worry about your management, unless you are in a position where he can do for your third line what he did in Pitt, & is willing. Hard sell for me.

  16. If the Habs are looking for a good deal I would suggest the #3 and Lindgren to the Isles for the #11, #12 and the rights to DeHaan. There are good centers and defenseman available at those picks which is what the Habs need. The Isles get a very good player to add to convincing Taveres to stay. The Habs then can look at what they want to do with Patches, Galchenyuk and Weber if they want to make their rebuild more comprehensive?

    • DeHaan is an UFA. No need to trade for his rights

  17. PK is tired at the end of his shift. Thought that is the way it is supposed to be? He has won two cups and his point total this year is his best ever. Leafs sent him for assets to rebuild. Now he is exactly what they need, a Stanley Cup experienced veteran that still produces. He is said to be a natural that dead lifted something over 400 lbs last summer at Robert’s workout facility.

    I am a Leafs fan that wants to keep JVR but if not would take PK for Kapenin if Penguins keep some money. I have appreciated what he brings even if he is difficult.

    Only a few guys can score 92 points. Anyone can be a banger. Although I did see him throw a couple hits this year. Skating takes less of a physical toll than banging so I see him more like a Marleau than a Hartnell as he gets older.

    Rutherford knows what he is doing so if PK is still there then he is still an asset.

  18. Aside from Kreider the blue shirts lack any physical edge up front. You won’t win with a team of Zuccarello’s. A player like T.Wilson Hornqvst or Simmonds is needed. Hayes is big body but kinda soft .Anderson from Clb and yes even Lucic is the type they need. Any team nervous about playing the Rangers ? If they can a couple that fit this mold and they will make the playoffs NJD will take a step back

    • Yeah Lucic is exactly what they need! A guy that’s grossly overpaid and 3 steps behind every player in the league for 4-5 more years! Lol

      A team of Zuccarellos may be a bit of an exaggeration. #1 because actually for a little man Zuccarello plays pretty physical. #2 most of that roster isn’t anywhere near as small as Zuccarello.

      I’m not saying they couldn’t use a little grit up front, hell, Tampa made the ecfs and I think they were purely outmuscled by Washington…. but Lucic? Lmao. No thanks .

      Ny has 3 years left on Lundqvist, Staal, and Smith. 2 years left on Beleskey. None of which will interfere in a rebuild. Why on earth would they put themselves in a position to take on a toxic contract that will interfere?

      Ny has been pretty successful in the cap era. They’re 12 minutes into a rebuild and people act like they’re the oilers?

      Today, they have 25 million in cap space, + the cap increase this year! they have some excellent young talent in the pipeline, they have stockpiled picks and prospects… let’s give them an hour before we start treating them like the sabres or oilers!