NHL Rumor Mill – July 14, 2018

by | Jul 14, 2018 | Rumors | 34 comments

An update on Erik Karlsson plus the latest on the Blackhawks in your NHL rumor mill.

After a flurry of trade speculation last week, things remain quiet on the Erik Karlsson trade front (Photo via NHL Images).


THE ATHLETIC: Chris Stevenson reports a lack of signing bonuses may be the reason defenseman Erik Karlsson rejected the Ottawa Senators’ eight-year contract offer. Citing a source not affiliated with the Senators who has knowledge of the offer, he said the club’s proposal was closer to $11-million annually but came up short in signing-bonus money.

Stevenson points out that over $40 million of John Tavares’ $77-million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs is paid in signing bonuses in the first three years of the deal. That the Senators didn’t offer more in signing money could be evidence of how cash-poor they actually are, noting their recent refinancing of $100 million US in debt.

He also observes the lack of information on the Karlsson trade front after reports last week had the Senators talking to the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning. He believes Senators general manager Pierre Dorion is taking his time and moving between the interested parties, “shopping offers back and forth”.

Stevenson feels the pressure point to get a deal done could be the start of training camp, as Karlsson has more trade value if a team can get him for the entire 2018-19 season, which is also the blueliner’s last one under his current contract. He believes Dorion is willing to start the new season with Karlsson in the lineup, “as uncomfortable as that might be for all the parties concerned.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever team eventually lands Karlsson via trade or free agency must be prepared to pay a big chunk of his salary in signing bonuses. Players like this feature because it pays them up front at the start of each season (which for contract purposes is July 1) and provides a measure of financial insurance in case there’s another lockout in 2020 or 2022.

Dorion has plenty of time to entertain offers in hopes of setting off a bidding war that will fetch a suitable return for the Senators. It’s obvious the Stars and Lightning are pursuing Karlsson and there’s speculation the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks could be revisiting their interest in the two-time Norris Trophy winner. It’s believed Dorion wants highly touted defense prospect Miro Heiskanen as part of the return from the Stars or promising blueliner Mikhail Sergachev from the Lightning. 

Late last week, there were reports suggesting a deal could be close between the Senators and Lightning. While nothing came of it, there’s a belief the Lightning are trying to find a way to make the dollars work, both to take on Karlsson’s $6.5-million cap hit in 2018-19 and to ink him to a contract extension.

The New York Rangers are reportedly willing to help the Lightning free up some cap space, perhaps by bringing back former Ranger Ryan Callahan ($5.8-million AAV). However, they also want other assets, like a draft pick and a prospect, included in the deal. 


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers projects the Chicago Blackhawks could have over $5.8 million in actual cap space to work with for 2018-19, anticipating the promotions of forwards Victor Ejdsell and John Hayden into the lineup and the possible call-up of forward Andreas Martinsen. They also have a salary-cap overage from last season of over $1.2 million.

With that cap space, Powers believes the Blackhawks could pursue a top-six forward and a top-four defenseman. He cites a league source claiming the Hawks contacted the Carolina Hurricanes about left wing Jeff Skinner and blueliner Justin Faulk. “The source said the asking price for both players is (Nick) Schmaltz and a first-round pick.

Powers also believes the Blackhawks could enquire about Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty. Unrestricted free agent winger Rick Nash could also be a target if he decides to return to action.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An earlier report from Powers cited reports claiming the Hurricanes wanted Brandon Saad in exchange for Faulk. Schmaltz and a first for Skinner and Faulk would certainly provide immediate help for the Blackhawks but it could hurt their long-term future. 

Trading away the promising 22-year-old Schmaltz, who tallied 21 goals and 52 points as an NHL sophomore last season, would weaken the Blackhawks’ depth at center, meaning they’d have to move Artem Anisimov back up into the second-line center spot and find a third- or fourth-line center via trade or free agency.

Giving up a first-round pick could be seen as dealing away another piece of their future for a quick fix now. Another big downside is Skinner’s UFA eligibility next summer. He could seek a significant raise over his current $5.725-million cap hit. Faulk is at least signed through 2019-20. 

If the Blackhawks are interested in Pacioretty, I daresay Schmaltz would also be the Canadiens’ asking price. 



  1. I dont see Chicago making a move for Patches. Maybe someone younger with term left on their contract.

    • A lot of chatter of shmaltz and a pick for patches! Patches will score 30 with toews and Kane

      • Agreed, part of Patches scoring dip last season was due to not having a skilled playmaker at center to play with. I still wouldnt trade for him but your point is accurate.

      • As a hawks fan I would be pissed if they give up Schmaltz for a aging bum the patches.

      • You can’t be that much of a hawks fan if you don’t realize they need scoring lol patches is a top 5 goal scorer it will be schmaltz plus

    • Buffalo should make the trade for both players in Carolina… we have very likely 3 first round picks in 2019…Nylander (#8 overall 2015) and more to work with. i would offer Conditional 2nd rd pick 2019 but if Skinner signs then that becomes our second 1st in 2019 (3rd #1 if traded), Nylander, Bailey and Molson (one yr contract dump) for Skinner and Faulk.

  2. Whether anybody believes that the Rangers should or shouldn’t trade for Karlsson, I still think it’s a ridiculous idea to help Tampa Bay get him by taking on Callahan’s contract. As GM, Gorton Must know what players are involved in the deal and how that would make. Tampa that much harder to compete with in the future….

    • If Gorton can get “other assets, like a draft pick and a prospect” from Tampa, I’m all for it. I’m a Ranger fan, and if we can get one of the prospects Tampa didn’t wouldn’t give up in the McDonagh-Miller deal, I think it’s a great move. If Tampa goes on to win the cup, then we get their 1st overall pick too.

      You’re always going to have to play tough teams to win, and there are other teams with cap space who could also jump in. For me I’d like to get the assets if Tampa is going to land Karlsson anyway.

      • How can Tampa have the first overall pick if they win the cup? They won’t win the cup but they also won’t have the first overall pick.

      • I believe he said TB’s 1st overall pick. Meaning their 1st not 1st overall.

    • It’ll have nothing to do with helping Tampa but improving rangers. If they don’t do the deal another team would. Jersey. Phoenix. Vegas. Buff. Etc.

      • That would be why I mentioned he must know who’s involved. Sometimes have trouble with site and couldn’t really elaborate before. Typing takes forever. But yes, if you feel that deal will get done anyway then you do what’s best for Rangers. I still think we should be pursuing Karlsson though. Players like that don’t become available that often.

    • I don’t think anyone is suggesting the Rangers would do this for free. TBay would need to offer up something for them to take Calahan and then the Rangers would have him as an asset to move elsewhere if they held salary.

      • I just don’t think Tampa will offer anything worth it to the Rangers. Not on top of what they would have to give up to Ottowa.

  3. Any insinuation of Schmaltz in a trade should be a non-starter for the Blackhawks; especially if the returns include aging wingers. Another year of mediocrity, and the associated high draft picks, should be fine with Hawks brass and fans. The window hasn’t closed quite yet; and with their current roster it’s easier to imagine winning one more cup with this core in the next 3-4 than selling out to try to win one every year. The (unsexy) medium term should be the goal of the Blackhawks. Take a page out of the Bruins playbook on this one.

  4. Hahaha. I’m a habs fan and I think the Hawks would be dumb if they did a Schmaltz for Patches deal. I like Paccioretty but that would be a steal for the Habs. Honestly I would give Pacioretty and a second rnder + something else (a depth player or late rnd pick) to get a young talented player like that (Schmaltz). And even then, don;t think it’s gonna happen because Skinner is a more interesting winger to me than Paccioretty (saying this as a habs fan)

  5. I have said years back that RIck Nash was a decent replacement for Hossa

    • It would be so Hawks to use the fake retirement of one player in order to sign another player out of one.

  6. Originally (as a Pens & Leafs fan) I was hoping for any EK move to be to the west …. if I just have my Leafs touque on; then under further consideration …. it would be best if EK went to Tampa as that would force Dubas to finally aquire a top 2 D they need …. I remain a firm believer that they don’t have anybody now in their system that will fit that bill and their roster D and prospect D as is will not win them a SC. As is… I do see them vying for Div or Conf champs…. but just not there for SC… if TB gets EK … then TB will IMO be in SCF for next 2 years … but then cap room crunches and they slide …. by that time (with Leaf D shore up listed above)…, then Leafs are the Eastern SC Finalists

    …. as a Pens fan ….EK must go West

    Re Ottw and TB trade …. all along media has said that TB must get a third party to take on Callahan …. why has there been no consideration of Ottw taking Callahan in deal and netting more in return

    Ottw due to pay EK $7.5 M this year…. Callahan has $9.4 yet due to him …. Ottw could take him in deal and immediately buy him out (I think window still there as they have at least one Arb case filed) for 2/3rds .. just less than $6.3M…. or Ottw could take back 50% and trade him … receiving team then gets Callahan for $2.35 per year …. worth at least a mid rounder

    If Ottw does take Callahan (and does buyout or take-back/flip) in deal …. should be able to get Serg+ Katchouk + Raddysh + 1st (’20)

    Since EK coming to TB would mean substantially less minutes for other D ( McDonnaugh + VH + EK will easily eat up 80 mins of 120 game D minutes (2D at 60 Min)….. they don’t also need all three of Stralman, Coburn, Girardi

    Girardi only owed $2.75 this year…. put Girardi in deal as well and Ottw gets another 3rd rounder (’19)

    Net …. TB trades Cal + Gir + Serg + Raddysh + Katchouk + 1st (’20) + 3rd (’19)…. for EK …. TB net is an increase in Cap space of $3.2M

    Ottw then takes back 50 % on both Girardi and Call and moves them on…. has to get at least 2 third rounders for that

    Ottw financial net : EK (7.5) ; Girardi @50% : + $ 1.38; + Call at 50% : + $4.7; plus Serg : $0.9… they end up $500 K better and get:

    Serg and Raddysh and Katchouk and 1st (’20) and THREE 3rd rounders

    Thoughts ????

    • “why has there been no consideration of Ottw taking Callahan in deal and netting more in return”

      You haven’t thought this through. You expect Ottawa, the team desperately trying to dump Ryan’s contract, to take on Callahan’s contract too ? There isn’t a team in the less like to do this.

      “Since EK coming to TB would mean substantially ***less*** minutes for other D.”

      Not “less”, “fewer”. I know grammar is hard but at least give it a try.

      • So, Mr. Perfection what, exactly, does “There isn’t a team in the less like to do this” mean for all us ignoramuses?

      • 👏

      • Stasiuk,

        I did in fact think this through, and did lay out my logic as well as benefits to Ottw.

        BR contract is much more difficult to move (term and value).

        Sorry, I throw grammar to the wind when typing with one finger on the small screen of my iPhone and posting my thoughts on my recreational passions with people with similar interests; all while son #3 is blasting at the screen playing GTA; my daughter is screaming at the cat for messing up her art work; and wife #1 is sarcastically berating me for the third time as to why I accidentally picked up 2% milk instead of the clearly printed (and abundantly reminded of) 1%.

        My humblest of apologies

        Yours in Christ


      • Anyone that worries about grammar on a hockey chat forum needs to get a life

    • IF you want that many you’ll have to take Foote rather than Sergechev. And probably a second, not a first. This is still better than Dallas or Vegas is likely to offer. Ottawa has to trade & it’s an auction, & I believe the start of camp is a time limit. Ot might get the more functional Ciburn as opposed to Girardi, who has a better role in Tampa than Ottowa can provide.

    • The bolts are not going to give up a third of the team to get Karlsson , he is just not worth that much .

  7. Are you people all lost how many times do I have to say it patches only scored 17 goals because he was injured and a lot of drama over him being captain and being traded … he is a natural 30 goal scorer with no Centre with one he is easily a 40-50 goal scorer

    • I’ll give you 30 to 40 for Patches if he lands in a good spot but 40 to 50 is too much of a stretch for me. In the last 5 years since the season following the 2012-13 lockout, we have had 21 40+ goal seasons, accomplished by a total of 18 people, Ovy having accomplished the feat 3 times in those 5 years.

      Patches came close once scoring 39 in 2013-14 & 37 in 2014-15. I don’t see a career year for goals out of Patches at 30. Not impossible just improbable.

      I’m with you Patches should bounce right back to career norms if he see’s 1st line ice time & PP minutes if not I reduce #s in accordance with opportunity.

      • Sorry, posted to the wrong thread.

  8. So everyone’s logic is something like this ….. mcdavid, kopitar, stamkos, benn, seguin, Crosby, Malkin pick a star and they get hurt and is out for the season they only scored 7 goals and played 15 games … that means let’s trade him for a 5th round pick he only had 7 goals that season like get rid of him …. like wake up people this isn’t PlayStation Pacioretty is still the same guy who is the top 5 goal scorer in the league

    • I’ll give you 30 to 40 for Patches if he lands in a good spot but 40 to 50 is too much of a stretch for me. In the last 5 years since the season following the 2012-13 lockout, we have had 21 40+ goal seasons, accomplished by a total of 18 people, Ovy having accomplished the feat 3 times in those 5 years.

      Patches came close once scoring 39 in 2013-14 & 37 in 2014-15. I don’t see a career year for goals out of Patches at 30. Not impossible just improbable.

      I’m with you Patches should bounce right back to career norms if he see’s 1st line ice time & PP minutes if not I reduce #s in accordance with opportunity.

    • Habs fans are not going to like the return for Pacioretty.

      • You’re very wrong mg , pacioretty will get a very good return 8-10 teams bidding on him with 4.5 million cap hit.

      • I agree
        As long as Bergevin is making the trade I’m all set to be underwhelmed