NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2018

by | Jun 30, 2018 | Rumors | 58 comments

Updates on John Tavares, James van Riemsdyk, Ryan O’Reilly and many more in your NHL rumor mill.


NEWSDAY: With the NHL’s 2018 free-agent market opening on Sunday, Andrew Gross writes there’s still no indication what New York Islanders center John Tavares will do. Tavares met with the Islanders and five other clubs (“Maple Leafs, Sharks, Bruins, Stars and Lightning”) this week listening to proposals during the free-agent interview period.  Should Tavares depart the Islanders via free agency, Gross speculates they could target possible replacements such as Winnipeg’s Paul Stastny in the UFA market or pursue Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly in the trade market.

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis suggests Tavares could be leaving the Islanders if he hasn’t reached a decision by midnight tonight. The Islanders are the only club who can offer him an eight-year contract, provided he signs it before July 1. After that, they can only offer a seven-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  The free-agent market officially opens at noon ET on Sunday. We’ll likely learn Tavares fate by no later than tomorrow afternoon.

The futures of notable free agents, such as James van Riemsdyk, depends upon John Tavares’ decision over where he’ll sign on July 1 (Photo via NHL Images)


TSN: Frank Seravalli reports several of the six teams with interest in John Tavares are also ready to make bids to Toronto Maple Leafs’ pending UFA winger James van Riemsdyk. The Leafs, however, aren’t among those teams.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports multiple sources the Chicago Blackhawks inquired about van Riemsdyk but likely cannot match what other clubs can offer him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Tavares watch is affecting the free agent and trade markets. Teams that lose out in the bidding for the superstar center are expected to seek other options, including UFAs such as van Riemsdyk. Once Tavares makes his decision, we should see an increase in player movement, especially via trades. 


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports the Chicago Blackhawks are still trying to move the contract ($5.275-million annual cap hit) of all-but-retired winger Marian Hossa. They’ve also reportedly devoted $2.5-million to a one-year contract for former Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward and remain interested in Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk. There’s speculation they could move center Artem Anisimov, who submits a 10-team trade list on Sunday, but a source said the Blackhawks will only consider moving him if the deal makes sense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks could be forced to package a promising young player or a decent draft pick with Hossa’s contract if they hope to tempt a club into taking it off their hands. Failing that, they could be forced to consider moving Anisimov’s $4.45-million cap hit to free up room to acquire a defenseman or a winger.  

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas wonders if there’s a deal on the horizon that would send Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues. He noted rumors have tied the Blues, as well as the Montreal Canadiens, to O’Reilly. Given that the center is due a $7.5-million signing bonus on July 1, Thomas doubts the Blues would make a deal for O’Reilly before then.

The Blues have over $16 million in cap space but they were passed over by UFA forwards John Tavares and Ilya Kovalchuk. The pickings at center via free agency are slim, though they could find better options on the wing. They’ve shown interest in St. Louis native Patrick Maroon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk the Canadiens were willing to acquire O’Reilly before July 1 but so there’s no indication they’re close to a deal. If O’Reilly’s still with the Sabres by midnight tonight, that edge the Canadiens had will be gone and could lean toward other clubs such as the Blues. 

BOSTON HERALD/NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Steve Conroy reports Boston Bruins backup goaltender Anton Khudobin appears headed to the free-agent market on Sunday. If their bid for John Tavares proves unsuccessful, they could pursue a winger such as Michael Grabner or James van Riemsdyk. Meanwhile, Joe Haggerty reports a source said the Bruins have shown trade interest in Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek.


TSN: cites a report by Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan indicating the Arizona Coyotes are looking to add a winger on July 1 and have had discussions with pending UFAs such as David Perron, James van Riemsdyk and Michael Grabner

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Coyotes have over $19 million in salary-cap space with no restricted free agents left to sign. They’re not a cap-ceiling club so they won’t be investing most of that cap space, but it appears they’re also not going to hover too close to the $58.8-million cap minimum. Whether they can sign one of those noteworthy free agents remains to be seen. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen reports multiple sources claim winger Ryan Reaves is expected to re-sign with the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. Defenseman Luca Sbisa, however, will not return. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Sportsnet’s Mark Spector saying there’s a good chance UFA center Kyle Brodziak signs with the Oilers on Sunday. 



  1. Old Lou must be soiling his pants waiting for the Tavares decision.

    • I think he’s at that age where that tends to happen anyway… ain’t that right George?👊

      • Not yet. (touch wood)

      • They even have pills so you can still do that too!

      • Don’t need ’em yet (touch wood)

      • I sharted this morning and I am only 53.
        I think there may have been MSG in the take out last night?
        Going with that regardless.

      • 😂

      • I hear it’s like trying to shoot pool with a rope! Don’t wanma discover that for myself.

      • Whiskeydick is bad enough fo sho

    • If he can land jvr…good replacement for pts as he and Tavares have basically same stats…Tavares is not a elite…like jvr but are top line guys

  2. Is Tavares the only player in the League? If you know you are not getting him and you have targeted who you want then why not make the deal? Unless the players you want to acquire play for the teams in question regarding the Tavares sweepstakes. Outside of that if you are not in the Tavares sweepstakes and say don’t plan to sign someone like vanReimsdyk then why not pull the trigger on a deal? Anyway, all this waiting to see what Tavares will do makes for an interesting day tomorrow. My prediction…… San Jose!

    • If you’re talking about trades, a few have already taken place and more will likely follow the UFA spree. If you’re talking about UFAs, I’m sure teams have already laid the groundwork for signings – just that they can’t announce it until tomorrow. Of course, considering league rules and all, we’re supposed to believe that negotiations, salary settlements, term, etc for UFA signings announced within minutes of the starting gun all took place in that short time frame. It’s in the book!

    • I agree, San Jose seems to be the best fit.

  3. IF the Isles lose sign Bozak AND
    van Reimsdyk immediately for whatever it takes . Might be less combined AAV and shorter terms than Tavares will get. Doughty contract a comparable ? The players lucky day

    • Not sure Bozak would be Lou’s first choice. Top 6 wings solid for the Isles. They need a center(probably) and top 4 D more than another 6 million dollar winger

      Lou can offer Stasny more $ than the Jets and he would still get Anders Lee+Josh Bailey as his wings. Not quite Laine but still very good

      I could see a trade for a center vs the UFA market

      • Statsny needs laine they work well together, he knows this and wants to stay in the peg I don’t see him going anywhere else

      • I agree with you was just saying Lou should at least try Stasny over Bozak.

        I get the feeling Stasny prefers to try for a Cup vs the $ at this point

  4. I’ll stick with my original JVR prediction…6/36 with NJD…but Lou on the Island could definitely put a Bozak/JVR backup plan into place.


    I was looking over the list of UFA’s to find a hidden gem for the Pens and I did…only to read he’s already spoken for (most likely), but…Kyle Brodziak would actually be a great fit in Pittsburgh. They need a R shot who can play center or wing.


    No group of players has seen their salaries increase in recent years like backup goalies. I keep thinking the Pens should offer $800,000 to $1 M to guys who end up getting $2 to $2.5 M a year.

    There is a group of 4-5 goalies who I would love to sign if their price drops, though. After that, AHL’er Casey DeSmith for $625,000 or whatever starts looking better.


    Leafs, Sharks (tie)
    The other 3

    My best JT guess. I’d be stunned if he signed with anyone but those top 3 teams.

  5. J.T. will sign with islanders can’t see why he would leave?

  6. Question: Why announce the Doughty deal 2 days before FA day? To set the bar for others? Suddenly, the Carey Price deal doesnt look so bad…

    • Nope. It still does

      • Price deal looks bad because the team will not be a contender for the rest of his prime.

    • The Carey Price deal Robo is still horrible. A great goalie, who quite often doesn’t play, taking up 12.5% of overall team pay? The remaining 87.5 % going to a very poor team. Montreal is a mess. They should hear traded him already for picks, prospects, and roster players. They seem to have two identities, rebuild one day to thinking they are a contender the next. If I was a Habs fan I would be very discouraged with the GM in place.

  7. Price deal is bad because his goals against average has gone up the last 4years and his save percentage last year was 900 his worst since entering the NHL. He is 30 often injured and his contract is 10.5 for a long long time. Yuk

  8. Who is Steve bourque?

    • Simon Bourque and not sure.

      • Paul Maurice is asking the same question.

    • A hybrid between Steve Yzerman and Ray Bourque. He can play “Selke” type forward hockey and drop back when you need him for “Norris” type minutes. He has a lot of “Hart” and basically can do it all! Trouble is nobody can sign him because he is worth more than the going rate of $15.9 million dollars for your top end player as per salary cap percentage. He is the Babe Ruth of hockey!

      That’s who he is Chrisms! Oh yeah and to all you Leafs fans he is not signing with your team. There wasn’t money on the side for commercials.

      He doesn’t drink often but when he does he drinks Dos Equis!

  9. Winnipeg makes a salary dump of Steve Mason and includes Joel Armia and draft picks for Simon Bourque. I like this trade for Montreal, Armia is a nice player however what is Montreal going to do with Mason.
    Shirley you don’t want $14m tied up in goaltenders. But if Winnipeg couldn’t move Mason on his own, how will Montreal?
    Does this mean Stastny is staying in the Peg?

    • Hello Caper,
      Mason went to Montreal because Chevy knew he was dealing with Bergevin. But maybe Bergevin, is smarter than anticipated and is bringing in Mason to trade Price. He is “tanking” to land the pick next year? He can eat a little bit of Price’s contract and trade him for a boat load of picks, and prospects and another bad contract? Montreal needs to go into full rebuild mode. Start the yard sale now!

    • The cost of getting rid of a $4.1 mil cap hit for a 30 y/o back-up goalie? A 25 y/o 6′ 3″ 205 lb RW taken 16th overall in Round 1 in 2011 who had 12 g 17a and was a +3 in 79 gp with Wpg, a 7th round pick in 2019 and a 4th round pick in 2020 – and for that you get a 6′ 1″ 195 left-shooting D taken 177th in Round 6 in 2015 who played 46 games in the AHL with 0 goals 3 assists and a +3 with Laval

      So, Pierre Dorion, that should give you a rough idea what you might have to relinquish in order to get someone to take a 37 y/o so-called starting goalie costing $4,750,000 off the cap with TWO years to go. Good luck with that!

  10. Bruins sniffing around Koekkoek. rather see them go after a shutdown Dman and a scoring winger with size and grit to play on that #2 line

    • Cable, if they go after Koekoek, I think they trade Krug. Who’s name keeps coming up in rumors. Koekoek is bigger, and they give McAvoy 1st PP time, Grezlyk 2nd PP.
      Give Zboril another year seasoning, and he can play in a shut down type role. Z can’t play forever.

      • Zboril needs a few more yrs before the bruins even think of bringing him up, seeing a lot of him last yr he’s looking like a first rd bust bad pick by sweeeney

      • A bunch of fodder. Why would Bos be interested in Koekkoek? They have to many Dman today.

        I will be shocked if Krug’s moved unless another solid Dman is coming back for him.

        Bos needs to trade 1 of Miller or McQuad or come the 23 man roster deadline someone is being lost on waivers or sitting as the #7.

        Again I would like to see Bos sign UFA de Haan & a 2/3 UFA RW. Then look to trade 1 or both of McQuad & or Miller.

    • Actually Zboril had a decent season in the AHL, he concentrated on the defensive side of the game finished with 4g 19pts and a +12. He will get a good look at camp, he is far from a bust and I forecast that he’ll show his worth.

      • From what I saw in probably 35 games he missed a lot of his checks and was caught out of position a lot

  11. Lou backup plan if no tavares.carey price.
    Hosang dal colle. Ladd and a frst in 2019

    • Hahaha this isn’t play station any deal for Price starts with Barzal+

  12. I would love to get Lyle’s take on the Canadiens move. I like it but hoping that we can flip a goalie. I would love to see Mason go but who wants or needs him. Definitely want Habs to keep Niemi as the backup.

    • I responded to it when I posted the news in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines update. In short, it’s a good move by the Habs, using their cap space to picks up some assets from a club that needed to shed cap space in hopes of re-signing a pending UFA (Stastny). The Canadiens have until 5 pm ET today to buy out Mason. If they keep him, they could try flipping him to another club later this summer.

      • Thanks Lyle. I missed it. At work reading this on my phone and skipped it.

      • I Agree Lyle good move by the Habs armia is a decent pick up and the drafts getting deeper every yr picks are getting more valuable

      • Good move by both teams. Both winners.

  13. MTL will retain salary and flip Mason somewhere. If they keep half there will be a lot more interest as a back-up. WPG could not hold salary.

    • Montreal placed Mason on buyout waivers. Armia and a 4th that’s a sound move by MB

      • If that’s accurate that’s a black mark on the trade from Montreal side. Two years of empty cap vs 1 year of either the player or held salary. Even if no need for his services now injuries happen and a tram may have given another mid round pick for Mason eventually

      • Lol you have no idea what you’re talking about Chrisms, do you even know how much cap it will cost Montreal?

      • In which case?

      • If they hold salary and deal it’s 2 million and maybe another mid to late round pick. If they buy out it’s going to be done in the neighborhood of 1.5 cap space a year. Not a killer for a team but also not the wisest use of assets.

  14. Would Dorian offer Bobby Ryan for the HOSSA contract? From the owner’s standpoint it is better for him to dish out less cash to Ryan and just keep the cap hit to stay above the cap floor while having the flexibility to move more salary out…as it appears he does want to do.

    CHI on the other hand at least get s a body who will be playing. sort of like the Horton for Clarkson before Clarkson went on the LTIR again lol.


  15. Should TB offer Tyler Johnson, Killorn, & Coburn to Lou & NYI for their 11th and 12th pics this season…or DelColle & HoSang plus some picks to guarantee the cap space is open to sign JT??

  16. I was wrong, a full buyout. Someone could use Mason for a reasonable price as in slightly less than $2m.

  17. The Sabres owner doesn’t care about the big check to ROR but former Sabres Owner would have just given up Ryan for nothing to avoid paying the money. I’m happy we have an owner with all that money and doesn’t mind spending it. First time in 25 years. I knew ROR would be traded after the bonus was paid

  18. Again I’m late to the game… just reading all here now and seeing TSN saying Ward to be bought out by Montreal …. so basically (hopefully I’m understanding this correctly ) Montreal paid just shy of $2.8M in cash (1/2 deferred until next year) to get Armia … this is assuming picks rec’d and player Montreal gets …. never play in the NHL?

    If I have that right …. then knowing Montreal has the cash … not too expensive to get an asset … Mont not caring re Cap this year or next … pseudo win

    Peg frees up space to aquire Stastny … an important player in last playoffs and for future runs … cost … depth player that they’d have to re-sign –win

    Ward … loses about $1.3M in actual gross Sal (1/2 of retained is deferred by one year)… if he gets signed anywhere for $1.3M for this year …. no financial loss (gross dollars) to him … and I believe there are teams willing to pay him $1.3M …, no loss in gross Sal … new place to start over ….win

    Any team signing Ward for $1.3M one year … win

    So …. if I got it all logically right above … a move where it seems that everybody wins

  19. MG

    You’ve suggested a few times for GMJR to seek a back-up to “push” Murray and allow Jarry to mature in AHL…. is Ward at say $1.3M a scenario that would work ? Hit is about $0.650 M more in Cap space than Jarry or de Smith

    I’m still thinking a move for a top 6 LW would be great … if Hags moved … $4M plus current space can be used wisely to get one … Skinner???

    Why isn’t Jamie O re-signed yet … all the rest of the RFAs seem to be done … what’s he going to cost?

    • Do you mean Mason Pengo? You are confusing the heck out of me.

    • I’d write up a contract for $800,000 with no name on it waiting to see if one of about 6 free agent goalies ends up without a job.

      If none of the guys from that tier fell to them, I’d stick with DeSmith rather than pay more than $1 million for a backup.

      I’d like Ward or Bernier or Khudobin, but that won’t happen.

      Seems like there is a slight chance that Kari Lehtonen could be an odd man out and I’d have interest in him.

      I’d be willing to give Mason a shot, but I wouldn’t be overly optimistic.

      I wouldn’t want any part of Lehner or Mrazek. I had interest in Chad Johnson before I saw his numbers from last year.