2018 NHL Draft Rumor Mill (Day Two) – June 23, 2018

by | Jun 23, 2018 | Rumors | 56 comments

Plenty of trade speculation entering Day Two of the 2018 NHL Draft. Here’s the latest on John Tavares, Ilya Kovalchuk, Artemi Panarin and many more in the rumor mill.


TSN: Darren Dreger believes the status of pending unrestricted free agents John Tavares and Ilya Kovalchuk explains in part why there were no trades involving NHL players during the opening round of the 2018 NHL Draft. The interview period for UFAs to speak with rival clubs begins Monday, June 25. Tavares is expected to declare today if he intends to go through the interview process.

If Tavares stays with the Isles, Dreger speculates that could put pressure on teams like the San Jose Sharks, who cleared considerable salary-cap space to perhaps take a run at signing Tavares, to instead pursue Kovalchuk. If the winger comes off the deck, perhaps that forces some of the teams interested in him to instead pursue Carolina Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner or Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reports the Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars could be among three teams assured of meetings with Tavares if he opts to go through the interview process. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Los Angeles Kings (“the latter a long-desired destination of Tavares if he were to leave the Isles”) could also get into the mix.

In other Islanders speculation, Staple notes they still need a goaltender. Those who might be available – Ottawa’s Craig Anderson, Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov via trade, Robin Lehner and Carter Hutton via free agency – won’t knock anyone’s socks off. The Isles are also believed to have interest in Canadiens winger Pacioretty. The asking price is said to be “a roster forward, a prospect and a draft pick”.

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong confirmed his club isn’t in on the bidding for Kovalchuk.  The Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights are believed the suitors for the Russian winger. Speculation suggests the Blues are among the clubs with interest in Carolina’s Jeff Skinner. In other Blues news, the Buffalo Sabres parting ways with goaltender Robin Lehner could make the Blues pending UFA goalie Carter Hutton a target for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given all the buildup of speculation heading into the opening round involving several noteworthy NHL stars, the lack of movement was a significant letdown for hockey fans anticipating a major deal. Of course, a major move could take place today, tomorrow or in the days leading up to the start of free agency on July 1. But with this year’s first-round picks now off the board, that could also affect potential deals in the trade market. 

The recent increase in the salary cap ceiling to $79.5 million provides a significant boost for clubs looking to bolster their rosters next season, but some of them could be waiting to see what Tavares and Kovalchuk do before opting to invest in the trade market. The Islanders still need a goaltender. The Canadiens still need a quality center. The Blues and Kings want to improve their scoring punch. The Carolina Hurricanes still appear intent on shaking things up. It’ll be very surprising if they all leave those issues unaddressed over the next couple of weeks. 

Does Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin want a trade out of Columbus? (Photo via NHL Images)


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are willing to trade winger Artemi Panarin, who’s declined to discuss a contract extension at the present time. However, no team will trade for him unless they can get assurances he’ll re-sign with them. If he’ll only play for limited markets (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Vegas) it significantly restricts the Blue Jackets trade options. Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen could trade Panarin this weekend, next week, next season or not at all. 

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin isn’t interested in signing a long-term contract extension with St. Louis. Multiple sources claim Panarin has his eye on a “major market”. He added the Blues don’t appear to be among the clubs Tavares could meet with via the interview process.

EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson also reports Panarin “only wants to play in a big city’.  Matheson believes the Jackets need a first-line center who’s better than Pierre-Luc Dubois and Alexander Wennberg and suggests Los Angeles or Chicago as possible destinations.  “Would the Jackets take winger Tyler Toffoli and something else from LA? Would the Jackets take young centre Nick Schmaltz and send him back to the Hawks where he loved it?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of mixed messages starting to appear about Panarin’s status. On the one hand, he’s reportedly told the Jackets he’d be willing to talk contract in the fall. However, these reports that the winger wants to play in a big city and isn’t interested in signing with the Blues suggests the Jackets are fielding offers or actively shopping him.

If Panarin indeed wants a trade to a big market, the Blackhawks could be interested in getting him back, but I don’t think they’re keen to part with Schmaltz. The Kings could be reluctant to move Toffoli. Vegas has the cap space and assets to get into the bidding, but I’m not sure the rebuilding Rangers want to take on a high-salaried winger at this time. 


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Prior to the opening round of the 2018 draft, Joe Haggerty reported of rumblings linking Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom to the Boston Bruins. He noted Bruins blueliner Torey Krug has been often speculated as a player who could go to Edmonton in return for Klefbom.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports if the Tampa Bay Lightning make a trade it won’t involve center Tyler Johnson. His no-trade clause kicks in on July 1 but the Lightning aren’t expected to move him. Smith adds the Lightning would rather tweak their roster than remove a core player.





  1. From the article above it sounds like Bergevin is trying to correct all his mistakes with one move. A roster player, a prospect and a draft pick for a 17 goal scorer that disappears at playoff time times an unreasonably high price to pay. Especially when you consider Patches is an UFA after the season.
    Ill be shocked if Bergevin comes anywhere near that.

    • I don’t know what they can realistically get for Max but most GMs are smart enough to see what he is and not wish for him to be what he isn’t. It would have been great for him to be a Cam Neely or Lucic (when he could) but he Max isa perimeter player and in the seams shooter. When you enable him, he’s good for 30 goals with mediocre talent. Enabled and insulated by elite talent, Max might produce more. The elevated game in the playoffs requires his type of player to be better insulated. You can scoff at this type of player, you can judge him as weak, but like Kessel, effectively used he can be a significant addition to a team.

      • I agree – not everyone can be a superstar – unfortunately, the way the CBA is now sometimes you end up having to pay a guy for what you THINK he can become at the time and not what he ends up being for his career (look at Dion Phaneuf’s contract with The Leafs). It is what it is – The NHL isn’t full of superstars – every first round pick has the potential to be one but reality is they won’t all be one and about a 3rd of them don’t even become a factor on an NHL team…

  2. I’d love to see Orpik with the leafs. He’s won a couple cups now, has more grit than anyone we currently have. I think he’d be an asset for a couple years at least. Thoughts?

    • As a pens fan I’d love to see orpik with the leafs too….

    • It seems like the move was designed so that Orpik could resign with the Caps at a cheaper rate.

      If he does end up with a different team, I think it would be the Devils. Cuz Shero and their D sucking, etc.

      Of all the ex Pens D on the market, I’d take a chance on Simon Despres over Orpik or Martin.

      • Because despres worked out well…. when?

      • Because he still has knees.

      • You sure about that?

  3. Wouldn’t it make the draft more interesting if free agency was held the week before and not after the draft?

    • Thats a great idea, would certainly result in more trades I think.

    • Exactly! That’s how nfl does it! You address needs in FA, and then draft best available players not based on need, which is what teams should be doing either way. Fans comment on picks are ridiculous when you figure most of these kids won’t see nhl for a few years and needs change.

  4. Lots of good stuff here today Lyle!! Would be interesting if Tavares announces he’s going to explore options. I would think Any team would be interested in Panarin, especially the Rangers. He’s only 26. Based solely on what we’ve heard as far as guys in rumor mill, maybe a package starting with center Kevin Hayes and Zucharello ( started with Rangers when Torts was still coach)?? Hayes has developed into a solid #2c . Zuc is a consistent 50-60 point guy. Hayes is same age and Zuc older so doesn’t affect “rebuild” Ranger fans seem pretty disappointed that they passed on Wahlstrom, as we never seem to have that kind of sniper. Took another left dman with 22nd pick,something that we have an abundance of…. maybe lmclude a prospect or future pick.

    • Jackets would be asking for Kreider-fits the team style and 30 goal potential every year. Kreider speaking Russian goes a long way in the dressing room… Cannot see Columbus interested in Hayes.

    • Hayes & Zuccarello for Panarin???? right on fanboy …

      • Ed Vanwimp.
        Said a deal “package starting with Hayes and Zuc”
        Ds. Not sure Rangers would part with Kreider.

  5. I still seriously doubt that the Sharks take Kovi. If Tavares is locked up by the Isles, I believe Wilson will save his cap space and patiently wait for a deal during the season. Taking on an older slower player with a 6 mil cap hit for two years is not going to get the Sharks anywhere in the playoffs. As it seems they intend on bringing back Thorton for another year, they don’t need another guy who is slow.

    • I don’t think Kovulchuk would be considered slow. Especially on a team with Burns,33 Pavelski, 34 and Thornton…adding a guy that was a point per game in his nhl career with window of other players closing fast would actually be a good thing. If Thornton comes back, that’s a team with good mix of size, speed, and a ton of firepower

  6. With all the pre draft buildup, there isn’t anything to discuss this morning in regards to a major trade or medium deal.
    If Chicago waits a year they can have Panarin back at no cost of assets, as it appears he maybe waiting. If the statements are correct only wanting to play in a big city, he also hurts Columbus chance of getting the player they want.

    • There’s no way Colombus let’s him hit FA without getting return, unless they hire Snow as GM

  7. Many (most?) of the names on the trade block are wingers, most of them right shots.

    Kovalchuk is clogging the Panarin/Kessel/Simmonds/Max P./Skinner market.

    He needs to sign today.


    Bergevin deserves some credit for taking Kotkaniemi. So many GM’s cave to those public rankings. A very good center is worth as much or more than a great winger.

    …Ottawa better hope they don’t find that out the hard way next draft.


    I love Phil Kessel and I’d be happy to watch him indefinitely but…

    Only so much of your core can be over 30 if you expect to win. The Pens already have Sid, Geno, Letang and Hornqvist.

    To me, that’s the reason to pursue a Phil trade now, not any squabbling with the coach.

    • Panarin for Kessel! To a coach that did not pick PK for the Ccup… when he is easily the 2nd most dangerous american player

    • “…Ottawa better hope they don’t find that out the hard way next draft.”

      Why? Can you guarantee them, even if they finish dead last, that they will be a sure thing to get the 1st pick? Be great if they gave up the pick to Colorado in that belief … and then fell to 4th next year when the pick there may not be anywhere near as good as Tkachuk.

      • George O I would think Colorado was hoping to get the 4th pick last night. As you said there is no guarantee even if Ottawa finishes last that Colorado gets the first overall all or if the player they pick will be as good as Ottawa pick.

      • If i’m Ottawa i’m finally happy about something – Tkachuk’s gonna be a beauty…

      • If I could GUARANTEE that they will be a SURE thing to get the 1st pick, I probably would have said “Ottawa WILL find out next year” rather than “Ottawa better hope they don’t…”.

        But if there is another team more likely to finish 31st next year, I can’t name them.

        Especially with the cloud of “are you worried that you will finish dead last and give up the top overall pick for a mediocre player who might leave at the end of a lost season anyway?” hanging over their heads all season.

      • i agree as a avs fan i was hoping sens give us the pick last nite….but next year who knows just know the avs probably have one ballin the machine and maybe 2… i love what sakic has been doing in co…it took him awhile to take the training wheels off and he learned the hard way withsigning stuart and beauch but hes gotton religion and that duchene trade is the gift that just keeps giving!

      • Well MG, your crystal ball must be a lot clearer than mine. Do I see Ottawa finishing in the playoffs next year? No I don’t. Do I see them finishing at or near the bottom? No. They still have Stone, Duchene, Dzingel, Colin White, Pageau, Ryan (hopefully with real NHL gloves),Chabot, Ceci, presumably a healthy Borowiecki and possibly Wideman pairing (they began falling apart defensively when that pairing went down within days of each other in November and the resulting domino effect), and the probable arrival of Logan Brown, Wohlanin, Alex Formenton and Drake Batherson and quite possible Brady Tkachuk.

        The biggest question mark is in goal with Anderson allegedly requesting a trade (good luck with that Craig) so I expect to see Dorion address that soon.

        I’m not ready to assign them to the garbage heap just yet – hell, I’m not about to assign ANY team there after watching a scrabbled-together expansion lineup play their way to the cup final and another dig themselves from a 22 56 4 48 pts season to a 43 30 9 95 pts season (Colorado).

        As bad as they were – and split as they were in the dressing room – the Sens still finished19 points ahead of that Colorado mark of a season ago, so only someone who thinks they have it all figured out in June should be bold enough to start making predictions now.

        Sure, the usual suspects will do that, but that’s a fool’s errand.

      • Almost everyone I’ve seen predicting ott to finish last also predicted Vegas would be a disaster for several years.

      • What almost HAS to happen now, Chrisms, is Dorion needs to get Karlsson signed. Withe way things have developed since all the bad press, and with Stone Duchene soon needing new deals, it’s all about the “message” now. With Karlsson locked up that not only makes it more enticing to Stone and Duchene, but it gives the kids coming in a real boost to see the team keeping its stars.

        Yeah, Dorion likely listened – and is still listening to – offers for Karlsson, but if he’s true to his word that he wants to remain a Senator then it’s incumbent upon Melnyk to get the hell out of Dorion’s way. We’ll see soon enough which way it’s going.

    • MG Kovy can’t sign until July 1st.

      • He could and did. He didn’t have an NHL contract waiting to expire so he could sign at any time.

        It does open up one realistic trade scenario for Kessel, though. If the Sharks miss out on Tavares and Kovalchuk after clearing all that space, they would have the need and ability to take on a guy like Phil.

      • He could agree to a contract for some time due to the nature/type of UFA he was, it just can’t be filed with his signature till July, 1st.

        Just a stupid technical issue.

        He’s heading to LA regardless better them paying him 6.25 for 3 years than someone else, especially my own team.

  8. Does Pitts trade Kessel for a top pairing D or multiple depth players and draft pics then sign Kovy to a 2 yr deal…..? He’d be cheaper and is friends with Malkin

  9. Sakic made an unanticipated good trade before the draft. Not planning to keep Orpik may mean he has a trade lined up for another defenseman.

  10. Kovulchuk signeing with Kings

    • Noted. I’ve also added it to my Analysis of Notable Trades at 2018 NHL Draft. Not a trade but the signing could affect the trade market.

      • Very surprised Rangers took a goalie. Wander if they re planning a trade

    • maybe just to give them youthful competition as Gorgie was good but they ill need 2 solid goalies come the King’s retirement. or they will be promoting Gorgie tot he backup role and then need someone to fill in the ahl roster spot…. etc…

      slick …you know anything about this russian kid they drafted over wahlstrom?

      • He’s big. Fast. Comparisons to Caps Kutznetsov. ( I know I butchered that name) I’m ok with pick, just makes me nervous with Wahlstrom going to isles. Never hear end of it

      • Also scares me that we seem to reach on every pick. Goalie we took wasn’t even one of the higher ranked guys. Again, we passed on a couple guys that where projected higher in Wilde( Isles again) and Mcleod( kid my son really likes)we’re picking up a bunch of left D to add to a position we’re already deep..and same for the goalie positio

      • It’s just a depth move. I’d imagine Georgiev will be a full time back up to Lundqvist next year. Pavelec is a goner. But that seat is pretty much Shestyorkins barring some injury or serious regression.

        I wouldn’t read too much into anything involving a trade. Just a shuffle of the deck.

      • And a Shestyorkin / Georgiev combo would look pretty nice on 3 years. I think Shestyorkin is the real deal. I’ve been screaming his name for 2-3 years now.

  11. Blockbuster trade about to be announced between Calgary and Carolina
    Sounds like Hamilton, Ferland, and Fox going to Carolina
    Lindholm and Hanifin coming back maybe more we will see shortly

  12. dougie hamilton to the Canes for lindholm and hanafin

    good move by CGY to free up cap space…… and maintain depth….

    gives them flexibility to move Bennett if needed for a bigger move….

    and $$ to go for JVR or someone.

    Canes I guess are going big here hoping this pushes them into the playoffs…. they definitely need a center now….

    • I think resigning Hanafin & Lindholm will cost more in cap hit & salary than what was sent out in Hamilton & Ferland.

      Good trade for both teams as long as Fox eventually signs in Carolina. If not Calgary wins this deal from my perspective.

  13. Not sure who but someone earlier this month “nailed it” except it was Bennett with Hamilton They will miss Ferland’s toughness but I think a steal of a deal for Calgary . New coach would have had some input and wouldn’t know them first hand . Not sure this going to save them cap space but maybe a wash if Hanifin bridges. THis makes up for no pick in the first 3 rounds.

    • I think 99% of people commenting here swore Hamilton wasn’t going anywhere.

      • Yes, I was one of them. I was convinced Hamilton would stay and Brodie would be traded. Listening to the local station here in Calgary there are a lot of comments that Hamilton is w bit of an odd duck that did not really fit in with the team and is a loner.
        On the other hand Hanifin is very excited to come to Calgary, they could not get a hold of him because he was already talking to Mathew Tkachuk who are best friends, he is also close to Johnny Gaudreau so this could be a great trade for Calgary. Lindholm is a right shot that can play center or wing. Calgary was in need of a right shot forward. Maybe he will play with Monahan and Gaudreau, if he does I can see his stats increasing. I have heard some commentary on the NHL network saying Carolina have won the trade and statistically that is true but the 2 players Calgary get are still very young top players both very high draft picks.
        Carolina also gets a very good young defensemen in Fox, but Treliving was interviewed on the local station here in Calgary and he said fox,s agent let him know he was not signing with Calgary so that is why he was included in the deal.

      • I was hoping Rangers went for Hamilton. I like him but Canes can’t say they won the deal until Fox signs. Slight chance he goes the Vesey route …Calgary fans

      • I wouldn’t expect anything huge out of NY anytime soon. I think yesterday and today showed this is a full on rebuild.

        If anything, they’ll be subtracting players from the roster, not adding.

      • Unless moved for another quality Dman which he was in Hanafin.

        That’s 2 teams that have traded Hamilton now in a very short period of time. Curious.

      • I like the trade better for Calgary but as stated above until we know what happens with Fox down the road & if Ferland can be retained 1 year from UFA status the winner is unknown at present.

        Lindholm’s contract demands and the shape of Carolina’s roster having drafted an NHL ready scoring RW at #2 made him expendable as with Necas stepping in at C no spot for Lindholm in a scoring role & his contract expectations preclude him playing as a 3rd line RW.

  14. Peters WOULD know the players first hand

  15. This may be one time wear Bruin fans should be happy Sweeney didn’t get his man in Kovy. Three years and over 6 million is to long and to much but I guess time will tell. Now I hope he doesn’t offer Nash extra cuz he missed out on Kovalchuk.

  16. Dougie Hamilton was traded because he can’t fit in a locker room. He spends a lot of time trying to kick start his brother Freddie’s career and not enough time being a good teammate.