NHL Rumor Mill – June 14, 2018

by | Jun 14, 2018 | Rumors | 58 comments

Latest on P.K. Subban, Joe Thornton, Paul Stastny, Philipp Grubauer and Ilya Kovalchuk in your NHL rumor mill.

Nashville Predators GM David Poile dismissed recent trade speculation suggesting P.K. Subban could be shopped this summer (Photo via NHL.com).


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Nashville Predators general manager David Poile is puzzled over the recent trade rumors about defenseman P.K. Subban. Poile said a Subban trade isn’t happening, saying no one has called him about the blueliner and he didn’t know where the speculation was coming from.

LeBrun guesses it originated from the Predators inquiring about Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson before the trade deadline, as well as the fact rearguards Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi will be due new contracts within the next two yers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the Subban trade conjecture also suggested his out-sized personality could rub some of his Predators teammates the wrong way, just as he apparently did during his tenure with the Montreal Canadiens. There didn’t seem to be any real substance to the chatter. Yes, Subban got traded once before and maybe he could get dealt again one day, but if we take Poile at his word (and I do), that’s not happening this summer. 

LeBrun also reports the San Jose Sharks could announce a contract extension for forward Logan Couture if all goes well by July 1. The two-way center become eligible next summer for unrestricted free agent status.

There’s also a sense the Sharks and long-time center Joe Thornton have a mutual interest in getting something done. Thornton becomes a UFA on July 1. LeBrun points out a lot can happen over the next three weeks, noting the Sharks have been linked to pending UFAs such as Ilya Kovalchuk and the New York Islanders’ John Tavares.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couture is currently earning $6-million annually so he won’t be cheap to re-sign. Still, I think they’ll get it done. Over the past three years, he’s become a solid performer and team leader. If the Sharks end up landing Tavares or Kovalchuk, I doubt they can afford to bring back Thornton. 

Agent Matt Keator, who represents Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny, said they’ve had no real contact discussions yet with the club. Noting the number of players due for new contracts between now and next summer (including Connor Hellebuyck, Blake Wheeler, Jacob Trouba, Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Josh Morrissey), LeBrun doesn’t see a fit for Stastny unless the Jets move out some salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun points out, Stastny is the second-best center (behind Tavares) in this summer’s UFA market. He’ll attract plenty of interest, thanks in part to his stellar performance for Winnipeg down the stretch and in the playoffs. The Jets would probably love to keep him but I don’t think that’s possible. 

LeBrun also suggests keeping an eye on Ottawa Senators center Zack Smith. While the Senators aren’t as eager to trade him as they are Mike Hoffman, there are teams who had interest in him during the season who could circle back this summer.


THE WASHINGTON POST: Samantha Pell reports Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan yesterday said he’ll be shopping goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The 26-year-old netminder is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who believes he’s proven himself as an NHL starter.

MacLellan said he’s love to re-sign Grubauer but understands the goalie’s need to be in a larger role. “The New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames are potential suitors for Grubauer,” said Pell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grubauer’s put up good career numbers (2.29 goals-against average, .923 save percentage) with the Capitals and did a fine job spelling off starter Braden Holtby when the latter struggled at times this season. The Capitals shouldn’t have any trouble finding a suitable trade partner.

Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have over $63.7 million invested in 16 players, but they’ll likely invest around $8 million annually to re-sign pending UFA defenseman John Carlson, which will take a big bite out of their remaining cap space. They could seek a draft pick and a prospect for Grubauer, rather than take back a salaried player. 


THE DETROIT NEWS: Gregg Krupa casts a skeptical eye upon reports linking the Red Wings to former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who intends to return to the league this summer. He considers the chances of Kovalchuk signing with the Red Wings to be slim.

Krupa feels the Wings’ rumored interest in Kovalchuk could be about bringing in an established star to skate with young players such as Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha, as well as perhaps anticipating a possible retirement of Henrik Zetterberg after next season and to boost ticket sales. Still, he doesn’t think Kovalchuk is a good fit for the rebuilding Red Wings, especially with the winger’s likely preference to join a Stanley Cup contender. 

SPORTSNET: Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill said he’s doing his due diligence on Kovalchuk, though he wouldn’t confirm or deny he’s met with the veteran forward. “I’m kicking tires on everything,” Nill said. “It’s my duty to see what’s out there so I am talking to all the free agents who are out there just to see where it’s at.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve merely summarized the main points of Krupa’s piece. I recommend reading the entire thing as he provides an in-depth explanation of why he doesn’t see Kovalchuk joining the Red Wings.

The Stars, on the other hand, could use some experienced secondary scoring and might benefit from having Kovalchuk on the roster. Remains to be seen, however, if Dallas is on his radar. 



  1. Kovy is going to go to any team that will give him a 3 year deal, around $6M per. He wants to play for a contender, but will any team in the hunt really give him what he wants?

  2. I wouldn’t go near Grubauer. Backup goalies on top teams often prove to be fool’s goal. They have a small sample to judge them, generally benefit from playing against weaker opponents and have a good defense in front of them. I’d rather take an chance on a young guy like Jarry, who would be far cheaper.

    • Not always, Anderson, ANH; Schneider, VAN; Jones, LA; Varlomov, WSH; Raanta, CHI. They’re some good goalies who came from good teams. Talbot might make that cut, depending on your geography. Hasek maybe?? Calgary’s only chance of getting him might be with a D prospect, not first rounder. Can’t keep giving them up.

      • You left Bob off your list. Back up goalie for the Flyers during a playoff season, now a 2 time Vezina winner for Columbus.

      • Bob would be the exception for sure. Flyers picked Mason over him I believe. It was the wrong pick clearly but that’s the gamble with goalies.
        another example would be when Bernier was the back up in LA. How did that one pan out?

      • I think Calgary’s best shot is to use defensive depth and prospects. Like Arnie said, there’s no picks to give up. But Calgary could really use a Grubauer who can pick up 30-35 games this year and then increase work load in 2019-20.

        With the Cap’s needing to dump salary to re-sign Carlson, Calgary could take Burakovsky and/or Orpik as part of the deal to lower the price. Plus then the Caps get to send him west instead of staying in conference.

        Could Do:
        To WSH:
        Adam Fox

        To Cal:

        This would send a 4/5 d-man to take over for Orpik at 2.5m/season less and a solid D-prospect to Washington while giving Calgary the solid 1b they need. If the Caps want to shed Burakovsky as well, Cal could use his scoring and send back someone like Bennett who needs a scenery change.

      • Vasilevsky behind bishop. He doesn’t seem.to be to bad now a starter.

    • Grubauer played 35 games this season & has 101 games of NHL regular season experience. He was drafted 8 years ago & will be 27 in November. If not buried behind Holtby for the last 5 seasons, Grubauer would be the starter in Was now. Also if not for Schultz’s surprise playoff run before the expansion draft Grubauer would have been selected by Vegas.

      You could easily argue Grubauer’s ascension to an NHL starter is 2 years behind schedule due to the fact Was was able to bury him but that is now no longer possible. To get Grubauer signed & he has arbitration rights after playing 35 games last season & starting the 1st 2 games as Was starter in the playoffs will cost at least 3.5 to 4.5 & make Grubauer a UFA next summer. Was can’t afford to pay Grubauer that money & with Samsanov coming don’t need to.

      I had Grubauer as the best goalie target available for the last 2 seasons. There are numerous potential landing spots now, Buf as apparently they don’t like Lehner, I do, Car, a great landing spot, Det, NYI a great landing spot, Ott or Phi are all logical possibilities.

      I would suggest you go to espn, teams, schedule & look at Grubauers starts, also pay attention to the # of games played in a short period & back to back games. you don’t play weak competition when you play 35 games nor does the NHL have any gimme’s really anymore.

      1 of the best goalies ready for a chance at full-time NHL duty. Grubauer is overdeveloped, he was ready to shoulder a starters role 2 years ago.

      • If I am Washington I trade Holtby now- I would rather have John Carlson +Grubauer compared to Holtby without Carlson

        Islanders have the 11th and 12th picks…

      • I don’t agree. Goalie that back up good teams and end up on not so good teams struggle. Raanta, Darling, Laak you could make the case for Schnieder and Grubauer. Schnieder was a backup to start the playoffs and so was Holtby. After Grubauer struggled Holtby was inserted and won the cup. Buyer beware and time will tell. Detroit should have no interest in Grubauer as they won’t be competitive anyway for the next 2-5 years. You can show out all the stats you want but Washington doesn’t win the cup with Grubauer starting.

      • I would take Grubby on Buffalo for the second round pick

      • Mrazek was once very promising. Won the starting job over Howard. Had decent regular season and playoff numbers. He went for what at the deadline 3rd and 5th Conditional picks while more proven than Grubauer.

      • Grubby is not worth Buffalo’s 2nd, #32 pick in this years’ draft.

      • Bcola.

        I never claimed Grubauer would have won the cup. I’m speaking to his abilities to be a starter.

        There are 31 teams Grubauer is going to be a starter in the NHL for someone if not next season then by the season following as he takes that job from someone shred with next season.


        Calgary won’t have to pay Fox to get Grubuaer if so inclined. I assume Grubauer will move for a late 1st bottom 11 if higher so form of pick swap with a lesser pick coming back in the 2nd round but with that bottom 11 pick a B grade prospect.

        Historically, going back as far as Varlamov’s trade goalies have moved for picks, not players.

        I never liked Lack nor did anyone else really he moved for a 3rd which is nothing which leads to how other teams valued him. I wrote numerous posts here & elsewhere last season about my distaste of the Darling signing, not specifically his abilities.

      • Striker, I don’t disagree that goalies would move for picks typically; but Calgary has no picks in the top 3 rounds. Also, Fox is a slight overpayment because Stone is also slightly overpaid at 3mill for the next couple seasons. But Cgy would need to send Stone back to absorb Orpik (plus it gets his contract off the books).

        With no picks, Cgy needs to be creative and aggressive if they want to pull in Grubauer.

      • All you need to do is to look at what happened late in the season when the Caps decided to go with Grabauer over Holtby. Exactly how long did that last? Not long.

        Yeah, there are some successes, although many only last 1 year. It’s easy to pick out the success stories and forget the greater number of losers. I could go through the Talbots, the Darlings, the Elliots, etc. The Flyers and Calgary search for a goalie alone makes my case.
        As far as Anderson is concerned, lets wait until more than one season has passed – see Talbot. And Sergei Bobrovsky doesn’t count because he was starter for a full year in Phil before being traded.

      • I know what you were saying Striker. All I was pointing out was the odds of success for Grubauer are against him judging by recent history and if i’m another NHL team why pay for something that doesn’t have a high success rate. Draft or develop from within. Take the islanders for instance is Grubauer an upgrade over Griess (Former backup) or Halak (former starter/backup) worth the cost to be possibily in the same boat? As I said time will tell.

      • Ricola. Gruebour under lying numbers are among the tops for goalies in recent years. Fa market and trade market light this season. It would be foolish not to take a gamble on him

      • Striker says Shultz but he means Schmidt and he will still act like he knows everything tomorrow.

    • The vast majority, as always, in or around 80% follow a standard development path to the NHL. They get drafted, most return to Jr or college for at least 2 years, then start their AHL careers playing 2 or 3 seasons in the minors seeing the odd cup of coffee in the NHL as injuries allow, then move to the NHL as a back up for usually 2 years & then either assume a starters role or play a shared starters role taking over more responsibilities heading towards the playoffs.

      Most NHL goalies don’t become undisputed starters for their respective teams until in or around 26. 8 years after being drafted if drafted.

      • Calgary should steer clear of Grubauer, they should sign Carter Hutton instead. He and Smith would ensure the Flames 2 quality goalies in 2018/19. Sign Hutton to 3 years this way he can stay on as they bring in one of the prospects after Smith is done. Great numbers in 2017/18 won’t cost the Flames too much just money.

        The Flames should however pounce on Burakovsky if Washington resigns Carlson. They’ll be in cap trouble – just like a couple of years ago when NJD got Marcus Johansson for a 2nd.
        Offer Washington a defenseman prospect this way they get a prospect but don’t inflate their cap and Burakovsky goes to the west so he doesn’t come back to haunt Washington.

    • I like Grubauer and think he could be a starter.

      But then I also liked Darling and thought he could be a starter.

      And actually, Darling’s resume was far superior to Grubauer’s when given a #1 job.

  3. Can’t see PK traded this year

    If Jumbo Joe not a Shark … who’s bidding for him and what’s it take?

    NYI need to consider move on Grubaur

    • I believe that Jumbo will end up with the Leafs. He’ll be a perfect stop gap while the young centres get ready for a bigger role

      • Goalie Dave

        Would be a good move but could only be done if it is for a single year— 2 year deal — when the big contracts kick in— no space

      • GoalieDave. Same can be said for Rangers. I think Tavares is top choice for most teams. Once teams are aloud to talk to him, other dominoes will start falling. If he goes to SJ, then Thornton probably becomes available. He’ll only get a 1 year deal coming off another knee surgery. Also chance he hangs em up

  4. PK Subban has been traded 100% of the time his GM has denied that he is being shopped.

    • SN,

      As they say in Anchorman… “60% of the time …. it works every time”

  5. Kovolchuk and Thornton are both over 35. Id be pretty wary about offering up more than a one year deal.

    • Especially Jumbo, he has been showing some wear and tear Lately.

  6. Subban is not getting traded. Jumbo Joe will likely re-sign in San Jose. Kovalchuk will not sign with many of the teams on the list he has apparently spoken to, especially if he wants to win a Cup. It’s simply negotiation 101. Plain and simple. However, if he does want to win a Cup he should get his agent to phone Nashville or Winnipeg. Even Vegas could be attractive when you consider their playoff success this year. His offence would have helped in the Finals.

    • Doug,

      not Boston or Pens?

      • Possibly Pengy. Boston was on the list Pittsburgh wasn’t. I think it’s about the payday also as much as it is about the Cup.

    • Who knows what teams are “cup contenders” right now? I seriously doubt anyone had a final 4 of Wash,Vegas, Win, and Tampa…The idea is that Kovy helps you become a contender. I’d say there’s a few teams that if Tavares hits FA will immediately become contenders. It’ll be an interesting few weeks

      • Just got home from work and reading that Dreger reports Tavares negotiating extension with Isles

  7. “Over the past three years, he’s become a solid performer and team leader.”

    I’ve had Couture on 1 of my fantasy rosters for 8 years, he’s been a solid producer every season but the injury-plagued season of 2015-16, 3 seasons ago.

    2014-15 27 goals 67 points in 82 games.
    2013-14 23 goals, 54 points in 62 games.
    2012-13 21 goals, 37 points in 48 games.
    2011-12 31 goals, 65 points in 80 games.
    2010-11 32 goals, 56 points in 79 games his rookie year, played 25 games the season prior.

    I’m not sure at what point he became a leader for SJ but was almost Sj’s 2nd line C since he entered the NHL.

  8. Detroit ran at 100% capacity last season so not sure how Kovy helps sell more tickets.


    Aren’t reporters who do their due diligence great. Kind of makes anything else they may share questionable.

    • They may have sold all the tickets but I watched a few Detroit games last year and the new arena looked very empty. I was surprised how many people were not going to the games. Looked like a scene from the terrible Wing teams of the 70’s.

      • Granted that happens everywhere. ESPN shows paid attendance, not turnstile attendance.

        I have been to games in tons of buildings & when I look at attendance & relate it to my live experience sometimes 1000’s as many as 5 are missing. Now those people don’t buy drinks, food or parking but those tickets were paid for why they choose not to just give them to someone on the street if not interested in going will never make sense to me.

        There are a multitude of resellers who could move a ton of unused tickets if the owner were inclined to do so.

        Kovy can’t increase ticket sales if they are already sold. Might he get more of those tickets used? Maybe his signing wouldn’t change my motivation I don’t like Kovy, in fact, I would boycott if signed as my destain for him is high.

      • True Striker but he may significantly increase the purchase of beverages when fans see how much the team is paying or a 35 year old who hasn’t played in the NHL for a very long time

      • Panther fan… you go to games in Sunrise? All those empty “red zone” seats cause they’re all inside their private club!!!!

  9. I wonder if Dany Heatley is available for a 3 year, 6 mil per deal as well?

    • Lol yeah! And Joe Thornton might as well give him 10 million for 3 seasons.

  10. There’s a real possibility Kovy signs with Dallas. They need second line depth and he’s best buddies with Radulov. Not to mention they’re bringing back fellow Russian Nichushkin.

    • Na Zdorovie

    • I really hope this is true. Dallas has had awesome success building through free agency lol.

      • Every dog has it’s day.

  11. Does Lou make a deal with the Devils?

    • I’m pretty sure that’s how he stayed in the nhl so long.

  12. Greatest trade idea ever

    to NYR: P.K. Subban
    to NSH: Brendan Smith, DeAngelo, the 26th & 28th picks overall and a prospect

    Done!! =)

    • That is very good! This is perhaps your finest work yet ihatecrosby.

      Where shall I affix your gold star sir?

      • thank you good sir…. this one was like 90% being serious so i put in 3 minutes of thought on it =)…. unlike all my others… which is usually about 3.14159 seconds of thought.

    • Wouldn’t Smith be the prospect now that he’s in ahl?

  13. The Flames have 3 good looking goalie prospects (Gillies, Parsons, and Macdonald). I’m not at all sure they would be in on Grubeur. They are in greater need of secondary scoring and I suspect that’s where any surplus defence goes.

    Isles definitely need help in goal and have assets to move. They could also really use another top 4 D man. If Hanifin is actually available I could see the Isles being in pursuit.

  14. Can someone explain why everyone stopped talking about the Wild. Basically like half the teams in the NHL are looking for a good center. And Ièm not sure Minnesota wants to depart with Charlie Coyle, but they will listen to calls. He’s a good #2C who is only 26 year old.
    Should NYI go for him if they are scared of loosing JT?
    I definitely think MTL and Ottawa should call for him.

    • mine would offer ennis and coyle for ROR

      • *minny

  15. Calgary and the Isles should consider Sparks. He is over developed now.