NHL Rumor Mill – June 13, 2018

by | Jun 13, 2018 | Rumors | 64 comments

Latest on Ilya Kovalchuk plus an update on the Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.

There’s growing interest in unrestricted free agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk (Photo via NHL.com)


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes the top contenders for unrestricted free agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk include the Los Angeles Kings (who met with Kovalchuk on Friday), the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks (who met with him on Monday). He thinks the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks could also have interest.

LeBrun’s colleague Kevin Kurz noted there’s mutual respect between Kovalchuk and Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer, who coached the winger during their days with the New Jersey Devils. If the Sharks sign Kovalchuk to a deal comparable to that of Toronto’s Patrick Marleau (three years, $18.75 million), it’ll take them out of the running for New York Islanders center John Tavares if he tests this summer’s UFA market. Kurz sees the Sharks’ interest at this point as simply kicking the tires, pointing out their biggest need remains at center, not on the wing.

Jeremy Rutherford lists several reasons why Kovalchuk might make sense for the Blues. Given Kovalchuk’s goal-scoring prowess, he could help the Blues’ woeful power play. He’s also a right-handed shot, which the Blues have in short supply. They  have the cap room to sign him and wouldn’t have to give up player assets to get him. However, Rutherford thinks they could balk at signing a 35-year-old player to a lengthy, expensive contract.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty noted the reports of the Bruins having interest in Kovalchuk. He feels the winger would be a better investment than re-signing pending UFA winger Rick Nash. He thinks a “short-term, bigger-money deal with Kovalchuk would be less of a gamble with no player assets sacrificed”.

TSN:  Darren Dreger reports the Red Wings are believed among the teams making a push for Kovalchuk.

FRS HOCKEY: Chris Nichols cited Bob McKenzie’s appearance Monday on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 discussing Kovalchuk’s status. He believes the winger could seek a two- or three-year deal worth more than $6 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Craig Custance cites former NHL player and KHL assistant coach Dmitry Yushkevich saying he believes Kovalchuk is returning to the NHL to win a Stanley Cup. If so, that takes the rebuilding Red Wings out of the equation. It could also rule out the Rangers, though it’s believed Kovalchuk wouldn’t mind playing in New York.

Ducks GM Bob Murray reportedly wants his roster to get faster so he might pass on an aging Kovalchuk, especially when he’s got several 30-somethings (Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler) carrying expensive contracts. I concur with Kurz’s take that the Sharks could be simply exploring their options and are likely to focus on boosting their depth at center. The same could be said for most of the teams on this list. They could simply be doing their due diligence as they await to see how things shake out in the trade market and the days leading up to the start of free agency on July 1. 

Some will scoff at the notion of Kovalchuk getting two-three years at over $6 million annually, but he can rightly point to Marleau’s contract as a comparable. He’s also three years younger than the Leafs winger, who tallied 27 goals and 47 points last season. I don’t think anyone’s expecting Kovalchuk to be a 40-50 goal scorer again but interested parties could see him as a winger with 25-30 goal potential. Still, his asking price could narrow down the potential destinations.


FRS HOCKEY: Chris Nichols cites Elliotte Friedman telling Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 that he expects the Canucks could be among this summer’s most active teams. He thinks they were aggressive in pursuing Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin, perhaps by offering up their first-round pick (seventh overall) in this year’s upcoming NHL Draft. However, he doesn’t believe they offered up that selection to the Buffalo Sabres for center Ryan O’Reilly.

THE ATHLETIC: Jason Brough spoke with Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden on Friday. Brough said there’s “a very, very strong possibility” the Canucks will retain their first-round pick, adding they’ll have to get an offer that blows their doors off, such as a young player they like plus something else. He believes that should quash those “Hanifin-to-the-Canucks” speculation.

“The speculation has gotten a life of its own,” said Linden, who admitted to rolling his eyes after seeing the seventh overall pick on TSN.ca’s Trade Bait board.” Still, Brough cautions that doesn’t mean it’s a certainty the Canucks won’t trade the pick, acknowledging anything can happen. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the Canucks have set a high asking price for their first-round pick. If, for example, the Hurricanes want that pick, it’ll cost them Hanifin plus perhaps a draft pick (other than Carolina’s first-round pick) or a prospect. 



  1. Spector.

    Thanks for taking the high road this morning.

    (much respect from Ottawa)

    • Dark G, unfortunately one of these players need to be moved. At present there is a lot of speculation but nothing proven. However these two players can’t exist on the same team.
      Hoffman will be traded, te bigger question is how much is his stock fallen? or has it at all? Best place to trade him is the western conference only see them twice a year, but is that where the best value is?
      It is a dark day in Ottawa with the players and Randy Lee. Brighter days a head.

      • Not proven, but wives of other Sens players/former players are acknowledging the claims by the Karlssons. Truly a sad situation.

      • Caper, I totally disagree. It won’t be Hoffman that gets traded. There is not a team in the NHL that would bring that controversy into the dressing room.
        I think Hoffman is now untradeable unless he can 100 percent clear his name of this.

      • Dr.Pepper you very well could be right; but we’ll have to wait and see where this goes. The player himself is not part of the allegations and believes his fiancée has done nothing wrong.

      • I would think that it all depends on what Karlsson wants to do. If he decides to stay with Ottawa then they will have to do something with Hoffman, IMO.

        Someone will trade for Hoffman, given the opportunity, and probably for less than we would have expected a few days ago. He is still a highly skilled proven goal-scorer.

      • Some Edmonton fans are already texting TSN 1260 suggesting Lucic for Hoffman.
        With Dr Pepper, I don’t know how you can bring him into a dressing room if he knew about this and did nothing.
        But we do not know what is true and what isn’t yet. It may turn out that he had no knowledge of this, or even that the claims are false.
        Bottom line is that until this is sorted out I don’t know how you can trade for him.

      • Dr. Pepper.

        Ott won’t have trouble moving Hoffman. It will impact his value somewhat but not the 1st time weird things have happened between players on a team or in society. I mentioned 3 yesterday, Pronger, Kesler & Jeff Brown.

        Someone will take Hoffman. If his girlfriend is found to be involved or leading this harassment he will need to be cut her free. In the meantime we let the judicial system play out, I believe you are innocent until proven guilty but we all know how true that is. You have already painted Hoffman guilty & the allegations & order aren’t against him but his fiancee.

      • Striker
        I don’t know where you get that |I have “already painted Hoffman guilty”, please re-read what I wrote,
        “Hoffman is now untradeable unless he can 100 percent clear his name of this”
        I am merely stating that if the allegations are true than Hoffman must prove that he had no knowledge of what his fiancee was posting.
        if it is proven that she did indeed post those horrible messages and he still defends her than that would say a lot about his character and I highly doubt anyone would want to take on that baggage. Just look at how Colin Kaspernick has been blackballed and all he did was take a knee.

      • I got that from your statement. “Hoffman is now untradeable.” Sorry if I misconstrued your opinion.

        I think Hoffman will be traded before the end of the entry draft & numerous teams will happily take him & his goal-scoring ability. I also assume there will be multiple trade options for Ottawa with Hoffman.

        Will his value be impacted? I assume somewhat but Ott will still garner a solid return & if Ott has any hope of retaining Karlsson Hoffman has to go & quickly.

      • Ahhhh yes the old I will only read have the comment trick.
        If you leave out the “unless he can 100 percent clear his name” portion than I suppose one might come to your conclusion.
        I see you left that portion out again in your rebuttal

      • I closed with apologised for misinterpreting. All good on my end.

      • I closed with apologising for misinterpreting. All good on my end.

      • Hoffman has nothing to clear regarding his name. His fiance is accused of cyber bullying. He is standing by her side. The issue will be as the players wives pick sides and the playera do as a result a rift will form in the team.

        Hoffman being traded is pretty much a certainty. Karlsson may likely get traded as well.

    • Ottawa is a mess. From their owner to the GM, to the AGM, to the coach, their superstar & wife not wanting to be there any more, to Hoffman’s situation.
      What more could go wrong?

  2. I don’t see Kovalchuk playing for the Wings. They need D and to get out from some contracts first. 4 years ago, sure.

    • Makes no sense for Detroit to waste dollars on him. Kovolchuk is a puzzle piece for a team that deems themselves a contender.

  3. I have always found Rick Nash to be very over rated. I don’t particularily care for either but if forced to choose I’d have to take Kovolchuk over Nash if the term and dollars were similar. Both however are about to be grossly overpaid by someone desperate enough to risk it.

    • Nash is the worst playoff scorer, he should retire or go to KHL. Not sure why any team would want him at this point. Maybe a team that needs to just make playoffs but not a chance for a cup.

      • It is going too far to suggest that Nash is no longer an NHL caliber player. With that said, he certainly is no longer a first line winger either.

        He is now best suited to 3rd line duty and special teams. He will probably get paid like a higher-end winger though, and whatever team does that will regret it.

    • I have no inside info – this is just me watching him play but Nash seems very upright when skating and doing a lot of reaching with his stick without bending – looked like he had a bad back for Boston this spring… He was Canada’s best player in 2010 in Vancouver but he’s too inconsistent – shows flashes where he looks like Mario with a huge power move to the net with D-men hanging off him – then he disappears for the next 5 shifts…

  4. I’m ok with Kovalchuk on the Bruins if it’s a one or two year deal at $6m max.

    • Same here. There has been talk of breaking up the Bergeron line and putting Pastrnak with Krejci. I hate the idea of breaking that line up, and perhaps Kovalchuk would prevent that.

      I do worry some about stunting the growth of some of the young guys in Boston though…

    • Rumours are Kovy wants 3 years at 6+. I don’t want Kovy for even 1 year, never mind 2 or 3. Let the 35-year-old sign elsewhere please. Let the kids play stay the course, again Bos needs a #2/3 RW & a #3 C.

      I’m still pissed at Sweeney & the Bruins for trading for Nash, if they sign Kovy I will be disappointed. I sure hope he signs elsewhere.

      • Kovy only cost is money, no issue for me, the kids can still play. If Kovy can pot you 25 to 30 goals i’ll take that, don’t care about your age as long as you can produce. Preferably 1yr but a max of 2; otherwise no thanks.

    • I would pass rather spend the $$$ on the D for someone who can shut it down and trade Krug in a package for a goal scorer

      • Goal scoring hasn’t been an issue for Boston. They finished 2017-18 6th in scoring with the 4th most efficient PP. 2016-17 13th in scoring 7th best PP. 2015-16 5th in scoring 7th best PP.

        Do you not feel that Krug the 13th best offensive Dman in the NHL since entering the league 5 points behind Doughty at 8th over that time frame & still not fully developed at the NHL level having just completed his 5th season but only having 398 NHL regular season games of experience posting his best offensive season ever with 14 goals & 59 points & just turned 27 having played 3 years of college hockey going undrafted.

        It takes 400 NHL reg season games for most NHL Dman to get even be considered fully developed. Krug is a huge part of what drives Boston’s offensive success & PP efficiency & the best is still yet to come.

      • I may have to stop posting if I can’t get this weird lag issue resolved. Let the laughing & cry’s of halleluja start now. Ha-ha!

  5. I noted the Hoffman situation in my headlines today. Perhaps that might explain why Hoffman frequently surfaced in trade speculation this season. We’ll see.

    • Lyle, I well remember the Patrick Kane “incident” in Buffalo and how, when the story first emerged, there were some who wanted to hang him by his heels – if not another more sensitive part of his body – and when the truth finally came out (including the planting of evidence by the mother of the complainant) it just sort of faded away (as did those wanting a rush to judgement). Right now there are only allegations. The fact that it has reportedly been under active investigation since last November suggests real muddy waters not easy to negotiate. Otherwise, charges would have been laid a long time ago.

      Having said that, this ongoing litany of embarrassments surrounding the organization (including the Lee fiasco – what the hell is it about Buffalo? – threats by Melnyk to sell the team, firing a Director of Operations barely a year after he was hired – Anselmi – covering of 1,500 seats to “disguise” dwindling attendance, Alfredsson turning his back on the team – twice – and then calling for new ownership – the clown act of the NCC bureaucrats in getting off their collective asses on downtown arena approval) suggest that, maybe, it’s time to pull the plug on the franchise. Sell the franchise to owners in Houston and move it.

      • One of the big differences with this issue, versus something like Kane’s, is that there is no winning for the Sens. Either Hoffman’s fiance is harassing a teammates wife, or Karlsson’s wife is making it up and took legal action against a teammates wife without cause.

        I don’t see an outcome where the relationship between the two isn’t damaged. I honestly don’t know which is worse for Ottawa.

      • Danny, back when I was regularly posting MY opinionated comments I often made it clear I was not a Hoffman fan. Yes, he’s fast. Yes, he has a wicked shot. Yes, he scores goals. But from my observation these usually came either when the team as a whole was firing on all cylinders, or when they were getting blown out and he’d pot a couple when it didn’t matter. I just never saw him as the type who would LEAD a team, be the guy to bring them out of a slump. And defensively, he can’t spell the word (something like Ryan couldn’t ever spell intensity according to Brian Burke). Hoffman’s a follower – not any kind of leader. And IF – I stress IF – the allegations ever prove to be true, then she’s been leading him around by the nose. Again, IF the allegations turn out to be accurate, the ONLY way he becomes of any potential value in a trade is if he publicly denounces her – IF it’s true – and they part ways. In that event, however, IF it turns out she is that diabolic, I’d be watching my back at every turn.

        Regardless, this is a royal effing mess with no immediate relief for the team. Watch the draft closely – keep and eye on the body language/eyes of the kid they draft. I can see an “aww f*^k – not there” reaction.

      • George, I don’t think it would be difficult to move on from Hoffman, but when a team keeps popping up in a negative light, it’s hard to get full value. For a team that may need a rebuild, there seems like inevitable pain in the future given this situation.

        In a perfect world, I do think Ottawa needs big sweeping changes, if for nothing else, to send a message to the fan base that things will be different.

        If things stay murky, and Ottawa goes into next season as is, without a 1st next year, it could get ugly, no matter what is happening behind the scenes.

      • should have just called it the McDavid reaction George. Or for an older generation, the Lindros reaction…
        or to be fair

        The Lemieux reaction

  6. Sharks look pretty good with Pavelski/Couture/Hertl down the middle, and little Joe could slide to RW if big Joe re-signs. So how does SJ look weak down the middle ?

  7. How many episodes of “The Real Housewives of _____” and “_____ Wives” are on Monica Caryk’s DVR?

    I cannot conceive of an actual human being behaving that way.

    And what does it say about Hoffman that he defends her? Zero chance I’d acquire him if he’s still with/supporting her if I were a GM.


    Unlikely but not inconceivable…the Pens trade Kessel for future assets and cap space and sign Kovalchuk.

    They have too many RW, not enough LW and playing with Malkin would likely appeal to Kovalchuk.

    • good article in the trib today about how strong the pens are on lw.

      • Strength is relative. Compared to their RW and C depth chart, LW is the weak spot in the F group.

      • I agree with you. It’s why I advocated moving kessel for d help if they could sign kovy to a 2 year deal. Strengthen lw and d and have sprong join horny and rust.

    • I agree. Feels like an episode of the Kardashians or something. I’m beginning to wonder about the guys who are talking about the Karlsson/Hoffman thing. I thought only women watched that crap.

      • Only women? Can you spell misogynist?

  8. First it is Hoffman’s fiancée A little different than be married . Second in addition to the players Striker noted there was also Phaneuf in Calgary and Brindamour when in Philly both traded for spousal exploits . Not the first and not the last . Hoffman will move and for fair value just like all the others before him .700 players there is bound to be some off ice drama

    • NHL teams can carry 23 man rosters, that’s 713 players, most ice at least 30 per season factoring in injuries. Teams can carry 50 NHL/AHL/ECHL contracts that’s 1550 players potentially & that doesn’t include drafted players or players who are designated non-roster but signed playing in Jr or oversee’s.

      This stuff happens, it will get addressed resolved & everyone will move on. Unfortunate but life.

  9. The Kings and Detroit have so many terrible contracts, many forwards signed until late 30s, sure why not add another bad contract with Kovalchuk, more than 1 year for him is a joke, he won’t be able to play in today’s NHL at age 36-38. Does he back check? I can’t remember.

    • I don’t think he has ever heard the word backcheck.

      • Striker sure he has, he is coming BACK for s big CHECK.

  10. Remember when Pronger had to leave Oilers? Guys sleeping with other guys wives, what a mess. To win a cup you need a tight team not a bunch of drama queens.

    • definitely wont be winning with players being over dramatic… like publicly talking about losing heart, or usurping your coach, or driving your car into a donut shop…

      • Yeah lol, we are going to trade ROR. Build a young fast team, he’s too old at 27 and slow

  11. I don’t see how the Kings or the Ducks could afford Kovy.

    • Anh has 9.2 mil in cap space at today’s cap hit according to Capfriendly with 17 players signed. They show Terry, Larsson & Petterson as part of those 17.

      The cap is supposed to be going up to some where between 78 to 82 mil. Escrow just came in at 8% 3.5 less than the 2016-17 season so a very good chance the NHLPA approves the 5% escalator or a significant portion of such so closer to 82 than 78.

      Anh also has 2 players heading for LTIR at some point Kesler & Eaves, that’s another 10 mil available over and above the 14 to 16 mil they will have when the new cap is set.

      That’s a ton of cap space & I assume Anh will be signing a UFA Damn or trading for 1 as I’m not sure they plan to roll out both Larsson & Pettersson as NHL regulars next season.

      As for LA a contract would need to be shipped out otherwise it gets really tight. There have been rumours for almost a year now that 1 of Muzzin or Martinez may be shipped out for scoring help although I simply don’t see the need for LA to reduce it’s strength at D. Stay the course keep adding youth & speed.

      That said with add Pheneuf with Muzzin & Martinez as trade bait & if 1 is moved LA still has a solid top 4. Dought & Forbert have been a fixture on the #1 pair since Forbert entered the NHL & Martinez & Muzzin the 2nd pairing. Making Phaneuf the #5 potentially. With Ladue & Fattenberg ready for greater responsibility & college free agent signing Brickey LA may trade from strength to make the cap space to sign Kovy.

  12. 2 trade options… feel free to blast away

    to edm perry (ANA)
    to minny Lucic (EDM)
    to ana ennis (MIN) & 10th overall(edm)

    • To ott Corey Perry
      To Ana Hoffman and Burrows or MacArthur

      It’s clears locker room wife issue and gets winger and ride of burrows or MacArthur cap. If NTC’s are waived

    • The oilers may be trying to get rid of Lucic but I’m pretty sure there not desperate enough to trade for an aging player whos skills are fading and give up the 10th pick to boot. I think this is where you give your head a shake.

  13. I still think Kovy will end up in NY. 2 years . 5.5 mil. He has a home in NYC. Rangers aren’t as far off as most make them out to be. They’ve done a good job of restocking the farm. Will add a few more pieces. Still have an all world goalie for 3 years. Fully expect either a trade or a major FA signing . Not going to throw a bunch of 18 and 19 year olds on ice next year. If Tavares becomes available they’ll take best shot.

    • I think he would pair well with Buchnevich and help him make better decisions of when to drive and when to dish off. He would most certainly help his learning curve for the positive. Think pairing them with 3rd line center Namestnikov….would build some comradery. but woh knows. if they can get him 2 yrs 5 mill…then worth it… heck they pay Smith over 4.5 to play AHL hockey…

      • Smith situation was unfortunate. Hopefully he shows up in shape and maybe they can get something out of him. 6/7 dman or possibly move him at draft as part of a deal including a 1st rd pick. Kovy is a high end player. I laugh at people who act like he’s way too old. He just turned 35. Ovechkin will turn 33 when season starts. Jágr was 39 when he came back from Khl in 2011. Had 54 points in 73 games. Added a couple seasons of over 60 points.

  14. Until the actual allegations are voiced in open court everything is guess work. Innocent until proven guilty. As for Kocalchuk not sure why some are panicking about speed. Up until this past season a very aging veteran who had slowed significantly before this season had several more productive years in the NHL. Jagr was productive; the big difference was his contracts were reasonable. If Kovy is willing to leave some cash on the table he could be worth the risk.

  15. Bruins give Oilers Krug for Looch at 4 million a year Oilers eat 2 and 10th overall and Milan comes home where he shined.

    • Maybe for Krug with money held on Lucic’s cap hit but not with the 10th overall. That is serious overpayment. Maybe a third round pick but not a top 10 in a strong draft. That is seriously overvaluing Krug.

      • Disagree Deee, I think that is an over value of Lucic and the 10th overall. From what I am hearing the top 9 of this draft is where the talent is.
        Lucic, while I can’t see another 1 for 46 slump in his future, he was brutal last year. The game has changed and your body simply can’t take running around and drilling guys for an entire NHL career. That was his value. He has played with talent his whole career, and his point totals reflect that.
        But that isn’t even the biggest problem. The main issue with Lucic is he has frying pans for hands. He can’t take or give a pass. The play simply dies with him. Last year he played at a level of a 4th line grinder, and a slow one that pouted.
        You absolutely can’t play him in your top 6. Will he be happy on Boston’s 4th line?
        With Obe’s proposal you are giving up Krug for a $4 Mil 4th liner and the 10th overall. So Krug plus $3mil in dead salary for a maybe at 10.
        I usually agree with Obe, but gotta pass on this one.
        Edmonton will likely ride with Lucic because the market won’t be there. And hope.

      • And just to add, Krug won’t go anywhere without a top 4 D back. They may give up offence for more D. As long as he can skate.
        Krug is a very good offensive D Man. Has warts yes, but the B’s don’t have a sure replacement. Need another year to see how McAvoy and Grezlyk develop. Can’t see the B’s simply hoping to replace that offence without gaining defence. They are trying to win now.
        Krug straight up for Klefbom, as per the rumor, works for this B’s fan.

      • I don’t know, I’m no Bruins fan but their d prospect depth is one of the best in the league. Krug reminds me of a Jack Russel Terrier, he has talent no doubt but he’s too small to be so chippy. 1-9 is always where the talent is but there are some great players in the 10-20 round every year and this year looks like the top 25 are all, at this point, good options. Some better than others but is Boston wants a top 9 winger at 4 mill and a top 10 pick it will cost more than Krug.