Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part Two) – June 24, 2018

by | Jun 24, 2018 | Rumors | 22 comments

Latest on John Tavares, John Carlson, Jeff Skinner, Rick Nash and more in part two of your post-draft NHL Sunday rumor roundup.


TSN: In his listing of this summer’s top-60 NHL unrestricted free agents, Frank Seravalli mused over the possibility of the Toronto Maple Leafs offering New York Islanders center John Tavares a one-year contract at the league maximum salary ($15.9 million) for 2018-19. Such a move would help the Leafs avoid the salary-cap conundrum of finding sufficient cap space next summer to re-sign young stars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

A one-year deal would give Tavares a chance to skate with a potential Stanley Cup hopeful next season, as well as using that year to see what it would be like playing for his hometown team. However, Seravalli considers it a long shot that Tavares would give up long-term contract security. He believes the center will re-sign with the Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve seen a lot of recent speculation about Tavares putting off going for a long-term deal this year by doing the one-year thing with the Leafs. Such contracts, however, are rare among NHL stars. The last notable example occurred a decade ago, when Marian Hossa signed a one-year deal with Detroit. Regardless of where Tavares signs (and I also think he’ll stay with the Isles), I believe it’ll be for a lucrative long-term agreement. 


WASHINGTON POST: Isabelle Khurshudyan reports the Capitals are still talking contract with pending UFA defenseman John Carlson, but he will meet with other teams during the free-agent interview period this week. “Earlier this month, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson reportedly agreed to an eight-year deal worth $8.25 million per season, and Carlson’s agent is likely pushing for similar terms,” write Khurshudyan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t panic, Capitals fans. Like Tavares, Carlson is simply exploring all his available options to get the best deal possible. With over $58 million invested in 15 players, the Capitals have the cap space to re-sign Carlson to a big raise. Given his value as their top defenseman, they simply cannot afford to let him depart via free agency. I anticipate he’ll stay in Washington. 

**UPDATE: Carlson has agreed to an eight-year deal with the Capitals worth an annual average value of $8 million. **


TSN: cites a reports by FoxSports’ Andy Strickland claiming Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner has already used his no-movement clause to nix a few trades this offseason.

Could the Boston Bruins attempt to re-sign winger Rick Nash before July 1? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Skinner will be traded soon, perhaps as early as this week, but he definitely controls the situation. 

BOSTON GLOBE: With the Boston Bruins losing out to the Los Angeles Kings in the Ilya Kovalchuk free-agent sweepstakes, Kevin Paul Dupont wonders if GM Don Sweeney will attempt to re-sign pending free-agent winger Rick Nash.

Dupont writes, “Nash, according to Sweeney, continues to say through agent Joe Resnick that he isn’t sure if he wants to continue his career. He has had a few concussions over 1,149 career games (including playoffs) and now, amid the nearly daily stories of ex-NHLers dealing with addled brains, has to be pondering what his quality of life will be at 34 and beyond.” Sweeney said he’d be open to contract discussion with Nash, who’s indicated that he would consider staying with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Nash’s age and apparent health concerns, perhaps the Bruins would be better off exploring the trade market or kicking tires on other UFA options on July 1. 

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there’s strong interest in Toronto Maple Leafs pending UFA Tyler Bozak, saying the agency representing the center has fielded several calls for him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t surprise me if the Montreal Canadiens are among the suitors, especially if they’re unable to bolster their depth at center via trade in the days leading up to the start of the UFA market next Sunday. 


CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus reports the Blackhawks, who have around $10 million in salary-cap space for next season, have interest in Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk. They could also consider pursuing Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk or St. Louis Blues backup goaltender Carter Hutton via free agency on July 1 or perhaps acquiring either Scott Darling or Cam Ward from the Hurricanes as a contingency plan in case sidelined goalie Corey Crawford is unable to start next season. 

Lazerus also notes the no-movement clause in center Artem Anisimov’s contract ($4.55 million annually through 2020-21) becomes a partial no-trade on July 1. Management could ask for his 10-team list of preferred trade destinations. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shedding Anisimov’s salary would give the Blackhawks additional wiggle room for other moves. It’s believed they’d also like to trade the rights of all-but-retired winger Marian Hossa ($5.275 million AAV) but so far there doesn’t appear to be any takers there. GM Stan Bowman’s frequently displayed a willingness to make bold moves. He could find a way to move Anisimov (Montreal, perhaps?) and use the savings to bolster his defense or left wing via trade and/or free agency.



  1. If you did a one year go for the cup kinda deal then the leafs are out anyway. You do that with warshington or jets or pens.

    • I agree. Leafs have little or no hope of winning a Cup with their current defence.

      A one year deal with the Sharks, Knights, Penguins, Capitals or Preds maybe though I doubt Tavares goes that route at all

    • Leafs out In first round…pens out in the second, get used to it!

    • that’s silly.

      Leafs have a plethora of front end talent much like all the other teams, the middle situation would be Matthews, Tavares and Kadri which would rival any of those teams IMO. their only soft spot is d, something teams seem to be winning without, well defenseman, team defensive systems are important.

    • You from Prince Edward Island Chrisms? “Warshington?”

      • Good ol pburghese

    • I would not put the Pens defence much above the Leafs current blue line. Winning a cup without Letang and one with him.

      • Let’s break it down
        Letang > Riley
        Shultz > Gardiner
        Maatta> Zaitsev
        Dumoulin and Oleksiak >>>> than all the other plugs the Leafs use. And Ruhwedal is probably better than the Leafs 6th guy too. It’s not even close.

  2. Bozak will be good for the Habs – if they are looking for a age 30+ – 3rd line center looking for a four year deal.

    • The Habs could use just about anybody!

  3. Agreed why sell the farm for O’Reilly when there are two lesser but effective options in Anisimov and Bozak. My prediction is that Tavares and Carlson are just getting “market” both will stay.
    I think Detroit NYI and the Oilers had a good draft but I guess we will know in about 400 games 😁

  4. Carlson is a done deal. 8 years 64 million

  5. Leafs don’t need Tavares they need to stay focused and work on there defense. If they want Johnny than trade Marner for a good young D man and sign James Neal he would fit nice on a line with Mathews.

    • you sign Tavares to a 7 year deal then trade marner or nylander plus a 1st for your #1 D or #2 dman…. then it is still a win.

      • ie. JT signs in TOR for 7 for 11 right? then Marner or Nylander plus a 1st plus Gardiner for Karlsson in OTT…. then sign karlsson to an 8 yr deal….
        now you have your #1 right handed Dman…and your #1 C and try matching your D pairs with JT as center along with Austin Matthews. Great 1-2 punch.

  6. Crazy Leaf Fan Comment – What if the Leafs sign Tavares to be the number one centre and attempt to trade Matthews for either Doughty or Karlsson? Then they have true number one center and defence.

    • Why are Leaf fans suddenly eager to trade Matthews? He’s the best player on the team and would still be even if Tavares does sign there.

      I’ll say it again…sign Tavares, trade Marner or Nylander for a D.

      Matthews, Tavares, Kadri down the middle is the way to win a Cup. Nylander or Marner would return a quality D.

      Having said that, I think the Sharks and suddenly the Isles offer him equally interesting situations…but the Leafs should try. Vegas still has a chance.

    • I’ve thought of exactly this…a 3 team trade with OTT – TOR – LA where the Leafs get Doughty and the Kings get Karlsson and the Sens get salary cap relief from Ryan’s contract and some good prospects/pics from both LA and TOR to help kick start their rebuild.

  7. Tavares would be nice in Toronto … but I’ll say it again …. LEAFS …. focus on getting better at D… a must …, if you have to give up Wee Willy or MM to get that top pairing D …. then do it
    If they improved D with a new top 2 D …. that would add incentive for Tavares ….
    either way …. keeping D at current level severely hampers any chance of getting to ECF let alone SCF and IMO definitely prohibits winning it all.

  8. Sorry leafers JT isn’t signing in T.o., I bet he stays on the Island or goes West …SJ or Vegas.

    • I’ve rolled my eyes for years at all of the previous “this great player from Ontario will sign with Toronto” talk, but I think they have a legit chance at Tavares.

      The Sharks are good, but some of the key players are old, he might not want to commit there long term, lest he be Carey Price 2.0 (stuck in a rebuild for his epic contract).

      The new look Isles seem legit with Lou and Trotz, but he might have L.I.E.P.T.S.D and just want out of there.

      The Knights might stay a pumpkin next year.

      The Leafs are poised to be good for a good while. I could really see him taking $1 M or so less a year than other offers to sign there.

      *I’d still give the Isles slightly better odds, though. And SJ might be able to offer $2-3 M more per year given how much cap they have cleared.

  9. Why would Leafs want Karlsson? He cannot defend, will be increasingly injury prone and sulks….he is a better Jake Gardiner and would not solve their defensive woes. If I were JT I would sign in my home town but then again, I am a Cleveland Browns fan! And I have predicted a Leafs Cup win fifty one years in a row!! The Leafs current D is as good as the Caps or Pens but the difference is that both those Cup teams had gritty defensive forwards who bailed out the d..and their D knew how to exit the zone, which the Leafs D often struggle to do!!