NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2018

by | Jul 27, 2018 | Rumors | 25 comments

An update on Erik Karlsson plus the latest Canucks speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

While Erik Karlsson’s made progress improving his surgically repaired ankle, recent trade chatter about him has died down (Photo via NHL Images).


THE ATHLETIC: Chris Stevenson reports Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is pleased with the progress he’s made on his surgically-repaired left ankle which hampered his performance last season. He said he expects it will be much better for next season.

While Karlsson was willing to discuss the condition of his ankle, he didn’t want to talk about the trade rumors that swirled about him earlier this month. Stevenson noted talk of an imminent trade have grown quiet. He said Karlsson rejected an eight-year contract extension from the Senators that was competitive with the $88-million deal recently signed by Drew Doughty with the Los Angeles Kings, but the Sens offer didn’t come with signing bonuses like that of Toronto’s John Tavares.

Stevenson believes Sens GM Pierre Dorion doesn’t intend to lose Karlsson to free agency for nothing next summer. If the Senators don’t come up with a better offer, Stevenson believes Karlsson will be dealt before the 2019 trade deadline.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars had talks with the Senators about Karlsson earlier this month and the Vegas Golden Knights attempted to acquire him at last February’s trade deadline. Stevenson believes it’s possible Karlsson could decide to play out the final year of his contract and test next summer’s UFA market, which could affect the type of return the Senators get.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I recently observed on Featurd.io, the high cost of acquiring and re-signing Karlsson (and others like him) likely accounts for why he hasn’t been moved yet. General managers could also be taking some time to re-evaluate after a recent hectic period that included the 2018 NHL Draft and the start of this year’s free-agent market. Some of them could also be focused on re-signing players who filed for salary arbitration.

A Karlsson trade could come at any time, but things might not pick up again until late-August or early-September as the start of training camp approaches. Interested parties could also be hoping Dorion lowers his asking price, of which the centerpiece could be a good young defenseman. It’s believed he asked for promising defense prospect Miro Heiskanen from the Stars and young blueliner Mikhail Sergachev from the Lightning.  If the Golden Knights are still in the mix, Shea Theodore might have to be part of the return.


TSN: Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning will take over the role of president of hockey operations from Trevor Linden, who surprised the hockey world by announcing his departure on Wednesday. Benning said Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini told him he’s not looking to hire a replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to Benning’s remarks, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported hearing Dean Lombardi was a “serious contender” to replace Linden. Lombardi is the former general manager of the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. Either the Canucks fully intend to carry on with Benning in the president of hockey ops role or they’re trying to tamp down speculation while they consider their options. 

THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford recently reports the Canucks’ attempts to help winger Loui Eriksson regain his scoring touch remains one of their most-challenging projects. In his first two seasons with the Canucks he’s managed a total of 21 goals. Botchford notes people consider Eriksson’s contract ($6 million annual cap hit through 2021-22) as untradeable, but he points out the winger received a $6-million signing bonus for this season, leaving his actual salary at $1 million.

In actual salary, Eriksson is due to be paid $14 million over the next four years, which could make his contract movable if the winger shows he’s bouncing back offensively. However, the cap hit remains $6 million annually. Botchford said the Montreal Canadiens are the only team that’s expressed interest in Eriksson thus far. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it’s possible Eriksson could be traded this season, it seems more like wishful thinking. In addition to that cap hit, Cap Friendly indicates he also has a full no-trade clause through 2019-20, after which he submits a 15-team no-trade list. Eriksson is also 33 and coming off two injury-shortened campaigns. It appears his best seasons are behind him. If the Canadiens had any interest in him, they may have moved on to younger and more affordable options. 



  1. Of course Marc Bergevin is interested in Eriksson, he’s about 5’5″ right?

    • ed,

      Yes I know MB tends to go for smaller guys— but I think Erikkson is actually fair sized — prob 6’2″ and 205

      Vanc best move is to wait until Jul 2nd next year (SB paid by Vanc) — then trade — balance in actual $’s is then only $9M for remaining 3 years— he’s tradeable then

    • yes, “Bergie the Brain” is incompetent – astonishingly so.
      Depressingly so.

      However he has never drafted a player in the 1st Round who was under 6′ in height.

      just a factoid.

    • Another soft smurf to elp power the Habs lottery drive.

  2. What a wonderful little game of chicken in Ottawa. They’d probably offer Erik the bonus laden contract, and it may or may not matter. I haven’t heard or seen him directly quoted as saying “I won’t play for the current owner” but that certainly is the narrative put out there. He built a new house here but that doesn’t always mean anything. Just because his mentor Alfy said it, doesn’t mean he said it. Still. All this comes to a head in the fall when it’s Lebreton time. Melnyk will need to come up with some capital. His original partner want’s nothing to do with him. He has an offer from Laliberte he’s pretending doesn’t exist – who knows, delay tactics to leverage more money…

    If he’s hell bent on leaving it to his daughter, sell Laliberte 51% controlling interest, leave the rest to his girl. If Lebreton takes off like everyone thinks it will, the investment grows. If it doesn’t his family still has half of a treading-water hockey club.

    • Just move Sens to Quebec City- that city will appreciate whatever team is on the ice.

      If somehow Karlsson walks…..

      • ds,

        and .. they would sell out for the next 4 years in QC, regardless of what players come over.

        My gut … Melnyk sells, they stay in Ottw, new development takes off, team starts to succeed (starting in 4-5 years)

      • FORGET Quebec City. No franchise can exist there without language politics entering – and ultimately distorting – the picture. From a small pool of capable management and coaches to the complete reluctance of Anglophone UFAs even considering putting their families through that crap and Quebec City appearing on 90% of the contract “no go” lists. Bettman knows this

      • George, you sound like you have never been in Quebec City. Yes there is a language issue if you want to call it that but it’s really nothing that will or could stop a team playing there. Great city filled with great peeps.

        Ottawa is the Canadian coyotes, quite frankly with a bit more on ice success. What is this now the 4th time they had issues floating and their management is about on par as the old MLSE group that literally did everything you could do to fail.

        Melnyk = modern day Ballard.

      • Ron Moore. Not questioning the fact that Quebec would support a team – at least for a few years or that Ottawa is a royal mess. Last time I looked I wasn’t comparing the two. But what is inescapable is that 1) any team in Quebec City MUST choose their GMs and coaches from a small Francophone pool (even a bilingual Anglophone will fall down the pecking order); 2) Most Anglophone UFAs will not, given other choices, subject their families to the rigid language laws, complete with Language Police, for 8 or 9 months of every year, along with the highest taxes in the country; and 3) you can bet most Anglophone players with “limited trade destination contracts ” will have Quebec City on their list of no-go.

        A franchise placed there is an ultimate formula for failure.

      • Quebec City will not get a team as long as separatist Pierre-Karl peledeau is the apparent front runner or the only runner for the Quebec City franchise. He will not get the votes he needs, thank god for that because he is another buffoon.

    • This owner considers hockey ‘just another one of my businesses’. Clearly this means the players are simply assets to be bought and sold. And the fan experience and venue are simply loonies above or below the line as his family collects chips. Not all successful businessmen are decent sports owners. Since there isn’t a fan or a player on the board, it helps if the owner is a fan and has real empathy for the players. Corporate owners and dispassionate ‘bottom-line’ individuals have a checkered history in sports. This owner may be a bad guy, or he may just be a green eyeshade type, but clearly he doesn’t share the passion of an owner like the guys in DC, or Pittsburgh, or Tampa, to name three.

      • Melnyk is a different head, with his own “checkered” past. If you want to take the time to look into his history with his main business interest – Biovail. He also has an interesting history with the SEC and Ontario Securities Commission and was banned from senior roles in public companies for 5 years. Then his merger with Valeant hasn’t gone all that well. The share price dropped 90% from 2015 to 2017. It has now turned around somewhat since, and I don’t know how much of his personal worth is in Valeant shares, or if he even has any at all anymore but that is big hit if he does.
        I don’t think you can totally separate what is going on with his finances and history from the decisions he makes as owner of the Sens.
        And not just with player contracts.

      • This is nonsense. Ballard and Melnyk are nothing alike. Ballard had money but didn’t spend it. He made money hand over fist with a team in the biggest and most lucrative market market in Canada and probably the NHL. Melnyk doesn’t have the money to spend. He owns a team in small city where half the city is fans of either the Leafs or Canadians. The team plays in an arena out in the burbs and has always had attendance problems if they are not winning a lot. There is little corporate support since it mainly a government town. Anyone own the Senators is gong to have the same money problems. Granted, Melnyk is also a jerk.

        As far as passionate owners being the secret of success, try looking at Buffalo.

      • He doesn’t share passion? Dispassionate? What horse pucky. You don’t remember him throwing fit and going ballistic when Cooke’s skate caught Karlsson’s ankle? He’s blown gaskets about scheduling and especially officials many times. What ever he is, he isn’t corporate and detached. If anything, he’s showed so much “passion” that he looks like a jerk a lot of the time. But you can’t pin detachment/dispassionate on him any more than you can pin the Karlsson-Hoffman soap opera or the Lee charges.

  3. read an article on the Hockey Writers web page “10 teams trending Down” listed at 10 was the Boston Bruins, the author say the bruins “most likely” a playoff team but Not a cup contender.
    He believes Toronto and TB will run away with the division. I believe TB will run away with the division. I believe Toronto has improved and with the expecations of all the young guys getting better their offense will be better; but unless there is improvement on the backend, they’ll battle it out with Boston for second.
    The Author suggest that both Florida and Buffalo will battle Boston for the third spot in the standings and potentially push the Bruins out of the playoff picture.
    At first glance sound absurd Boston finished 4th in the NHL with 112pts not going to fall off the playoff picture.
    Dive a little deeper and the last playoff spot in the east went to NJ with 97pts that’s a big margin 15pts, with the improve play of Carolina, Florida, Buffalo and NYR points will be harder to come by.
    The Bruins lost Rile Nash, Tim Schaller and Anton Khudobin; replaced by Wagner,Nordstrom and Halek.
    The talk of the summer is natural progression and everybody and their dog will be better this season then last, not one single player of youth will have a hiccup they will all improve. Well then the Bruins have McAvoy, Pastrnak, Debrusk, Heinen, Kurlay, Donato, Carlo, Grzelcyk and Bjork all will be better then last season. You know natural progression, Edmonton with Nail Yakupov is the only player in NHL history who didn’t have natural progression.
    When I here another point of view, I try to see it from that person view point and I do understand where the Author is coming from with Toronto addition of JT, the moves Florida and Buffalo have made; however there is no reason given or explained why the Bruins themselves not only won’t improve but will have a 15pt drop off in the standings. I still see the Bruins making the playoffs but need growth to be a true cup contender.

    • I the your take is pretty sound, and I agree that they will be a playoff team but I also don’t consider them a true cup contender, at least not how they sit today.
      Save to assume some of the young guys progress, some flat, some even a step back. My concern is their core at the most important positions on the ice are getting to the age where decline begins – Bergeron and Krecji 1C and 2C, and 1 where it could fall off a cliff Chara 1D. Who knows with Chara as he is a physical freak and fitness machine, but he is 41 and it is inevitable one of these years.
      The 3 most important positions on the ice other than in net are not going to improve at those positions and likely decline.

      • Ray I agree with that take, we’ve already started to see Krecji starting to decline; Bergeron had his best season in the NHL offensively last season ppg .98 but at 33yrs of age his numbers will start to drop off.
        I’m less worried about the defense as they’ll grow and be better with or without Chara.
        Rask is Rask, which means I find him soft and not someone I think the Bruins can win the cup with; however he is better then anyone else who is available.
        The Bruins have some solid prospect at C but will they develop or not we’ll have to wait and see.

  4. I hate to play this card – but did any of us or any pundit/author see the Golden Knights as playoff or even Stanley Cup contenders? So much of this game is chemistry/momentum and flow.

    • Not to mention an expansion formula never seen before that allowed them to, essentially, pick 3rd line F and 5/6 D from teams so good that these guys were only in that position because of the quality of those teams. Many could have been Top 6 F and Top 4 D on quite a few existing teams.

      • not only that george but got 30 players and only had to dress 18

      • And this proved without a shadow of a doubt that the nhl can safely expand. plenty of talent buried on teams, in the ahl, etc. Unfortunately in the CHL as well with that abomination of an agreement.

  5. Glad to see Linden out in Vancouver, would have been better if he had taken Benning with him though.

    Horrid drafting Virtanen and Juleovi to outlandish FA signings Beagle and Eriksson. Linden and Benning were and are the worst management team outside of Montreal.

    Years of flip flopping from “retool to make the playoffs” and “rebuild” for the future. Linden and Benning never formulated a plan and stuck to it. Even thisvoff season with their stated plan to make room for the young players on the roster they go out and sign 4th line muckers to 4 year deals.

    Vancouver fans I believe are willing to support and suffer through an actual rebuilding and the lottery finishes that come with it if they can see an actual plan in place.

    Thousands of empty seats last season reflected fans disapproval of the lack of direction.

    Vancouver has some good young talent in Horvat and Boeser and need to let the rest of the younger players play and forget the playoff pipedream.

    Good riddance Trevor, only wish this had happened 3 years ago and you were taking Jim Benning with you.

    • After reading about Linden leaving I am starting to think that ownership plays a role in these decisions and not committing to the rebuild.
      Benning has a solid draft history and it is why he got the job in the first place. All GM’s/scouting departments miss somewhat regularly and the Canucks have plenty of talent coming. The UFA signings you mention, tough to defend those. Especially Eriksson, what was he thinking with that contract?

    • Overeaction when all that matters is how the Canucks currently sit.
      Questions are they heading in the right direction. How is the cap situation? On both its going good.