Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 1, 2018

by | Jul 1, 2018 | Rumors | 70 comments

It’s the opening day of the NHL UFA market. Here’s the latest on John Tavares, Erik Karlsson, Paul Stastny and more in your Sunday rumor mill.

**Follow this link to check out the listing of today’s notables UFA signings**

The John Tavares watch could come to an end today (Photo via NHL Images)


NEWSDAY: Andrew Gross reports the ongoing wait for John Tavares to reach a decision on his future doesn’t bode well for his possible return to the New York Islanders, though they still have a chance to sign him. As he’s now an unrestricted free agent, they cannot offer him an eight-year deal and can instead only ink him to the seven-year maximum for UFAs. The Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs are among the other suitors. Tavares’ new deal could exceed $12 million annually.

NEW YORK POST: Whether Tavares re-signs with the Isles or elsewhere, Brett Cyrgalis points out they’ll still have some glaring roster holes to address. They’re in need of a starting goaltender, blueline depth and one more scoring forward.

THE ATHLETIC/TORONTO SUN: If the Leafs miss out on Tavares, James Mirtle reports they’ll target former Carolina Hurricanes center Derek Ryan. Lance Hornby also reports they could pursue Ryan but doesn’t rule out the Leafs bringing back Tyler Bozak.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer it takes Tavares to reach a decision, the more it appears he could be leaving Long Island. Still, some pundits were speculating the cone of silence on his decision could be the doing of Isles GM Lou Lamoriello, suggesting they’re still very much in the mix. So far, there’s no hint as to which club he favors. Hopefully, we’ll find out by this afternoon. As for Ryan and the Leafs, TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports he’s expected to ink a three-year deal with the Calgary Flames. 


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the waiting game between the Senators and captain Erik Karlsson continues. The Sens can officially open contract extension talks with Karlsson today but there’s a feeling he could be traded in the coming days. Ottawa is the only team that can offer him an eight-year contract and Garrioch doesn’t rule out a “sign-and-trade” scenario.

The Vegas Golden Knights are among a group of teams with interest in the Senators’ superstar and they could also be willing to take on winger Bobby Ryan in the deal. Garrioch notes the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals had interest in Karlsson leading up to last season’s trade deadline and may have re-entered the picture.

Garrioch also expects the Senators will be active in the free-agent market. They’re believed among a group of teams that “kicked tires” on former Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny. There’s talk they had interest in former New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan, though he might return with the Isles. They may have contacted former Vegas winger David Perron.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given all that’s gone done with the Senators since last fall, it’ll be very surprising if Karlsson opts to stay in Ottawa. They’ll have to pony up something at least comparable to LA Kings’ blueliner Drew Doughty’s new contract (eight years, $88 million) to have a realistic shot of tempting him to re-sign.

The Senators will set a high asking price for Karlsson if they trade him but there will be teams willing to meet it. I don’t think the Capitals are among them, as they seem intent on keeping their Cup champion roster intact. As for the Lightning, a decision on Karlsson could depend upon whether they win the Tavares sweepstakes.

WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe reports the door remains open for Paul Stastny to return with the Winnipeg Jets, who shed $4.1 million in cap space by shipping goaltender Steve Mason and restricted free agent forward Joel Armia yesterday to Montreal. However, they’ll need to invest between $1.25 million to $2 million of those savings in a backup goaltender. Possible backup options could include Chad Johnson, Kari Lehtonen, Petr Mrazek and Calvin Pickard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe shedding Mason’s contract was done with re-signing Stastny in mind. Cap Friendly indicates they now have over $28 million in cap space for 2018-19, but they must re-sign RFAs such as Connor Hellebuyck, Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey and they’re in line for significant raises. They must also ensure sufficient cap space beyond this season when Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Tyler Myers will need new contracts. 


THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports the Buffalo Sabres paid center Ryan O’Reilly his $7.5 million signing bonus for 2018-19. He wonders what effect that could have upon his value in the trade market, as clubs interested in his services were unwilling to pay out that bonus.

It could mean the Sabres keep O’Reilly or perhaps this will push up their asking price for the 27-year-old center. The Montreal Canadiens and St. Louis Blues are believed among the suitors. Where John Tavares signs could also effect O’Reilly’s trade value.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports the Blues are unwilling to part with promising Robert Thomas as part of the return for O’Reilly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams that lose out on Tavares could set their sights on O’Reilly. It’s possible he could be dealt later this week, but the Sabres aren’t under pressure to trade him. With O’Reilly under contract through 2022-23, they can take their time and wait for the right offer. 


LA PRESSE: Richard Labbe reports the Montreal Canadiens are among a dozen teams with interest in former Chicago Blackhawks winger Anthony Duclair. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports the Carolina Hurricanes are believed to have contacted free-agent goaltenders Robin Lehner and Petr Mrazek. They’re also still listening to offers for left wing Jeff Skinner, though they haven’t yet received anything to their liking. 

SPORTSNET: The New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets have interest in former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov.



  1. Why would the Islanders still be in the running? Why would he wait out the timeline to get that extra year and then sign back with them? Doesn’t make any sense.

  2. Wish this Taveres crap would end sick of hearing about it. Especially when he’s done nothing to deserve all this attention. He’s no Lemuiex, Gretzky or Hull. Just a whiny locker room cancer.

    • I kno, he’s no Patrick maroon. I don’t get all the attention he’s getting, he’s only an Olympic gold medal winning elite centre who has been a great player on a bad team for his entire career. A guy who can make players glike Matt molson, Kyle okposo and Josh Bailey look elite. It’s just terrible.

      • Maroon is the darkhorse of free agency son!

        You must have some kind of man crush on him is there something your not telling us?

    • He’s earned the right to be ultra-careful about where he probably spends the rest of his career – for the sake of himself, his wife-to-be and maybe a family down the line

      • George, you hit the nail on the head. I’ve been saying for awhile now I think it boils down to where he and his soon to be wife want to raise a family. I read somewhere how they spent time in north Cali last summer, leading me to believe SJ could be his team. Also, based on family, TOronto

    • He’s going to sign 7×12 in Toronto and have a career ending injury after the first home game.

      In the meantime, that geeky looking kid in Toronto will have traded nylander there next first and second rounders for Karelsson who will walk after next season and Ottawa will have the first overall pick the next 2 years.

      End of rumours today folks. Enjoy your Canada day!

    • Really? He’s anything but. There is only 1 Gretzky or, Lemieux. Hull had a great career but Tavares is a better player than Hull especially by the time his career ends. He is an elite level NHL C & has been since entering the NHL.

      Tavares sits 9th in points since entering the NHL 9 years ago 21 points out of the top 5.

      • Tavares better then Hull? What drugs are you on dude?

      • Tavares career isn’t over yet. Brett Hull played in the glory years of NHL scoring. Hull was exceptionally 1 dimensional. An elite level scoring forward but in some alternate universe, I had to choose between the 2 I’ll take Tavares.

        That said it’s very difficult to compare players from such different era’s. This isn’t meant to slight Hull. 1 of the greatest goal scorers the game has ever seen. Tavares plays a complete game in a far faster, more talented, lower scoring league, exceptional lower scoring.

        Mike Bossy was the greatest scoring winger of all time, still holds the best GPG% of all time but I would take Tavares before him as well in that alternate universe.

    • You need to pY more Attention to hockey if you think he is a problem in the locker room, if that was the case Islanders would have traded him ,

  3. How on earth could the capitals ever afford Karlsson at this point? There’s no way, unless Ottawa’s wants Orlov.

    • Good…’s finally over. Enjoy your new team JT. Toronto is now officially a contender.

  4. No way capitals get Karlsson. Not unless Ottawa wants Orlov lol.

  5. JVR to the Flyers. 7 million for 5 years. A little more than I would like in both dollars and term but when compared to the Kane deal Hextall got decent value. More depth for the top six. I wonder if this means Simmonds is a definite trade candidate?

    • I was wondering the same about Simmons now that JVR IS signed. Need now is a top 4 right hand defenseman.
      Would St. Louis be interested in Wayne Simmons with Colton Pyrenko coming back?

      • So would the Bruins but Krug is LH

      • Might take more than Simmonds ( UFA at years end). Maybe Simmonds and a prospect dman?

      • That jvr contract will be an anchor in 2yrs, the guy is so one dimensional. Hextall should never been allowed to do big signings, that’s why he’s the worst gm in the league

      • Exactly, a winger who scores a lot of goals, that’s a dimension no team should want in their game.

      • Ron Jill, I agree it may take more than Simmonds. But as part of a package.

      • Ummmm yes but not for Colton. No thanks to that deal

      • Simmonds can fetch a deadline score if the Flyers are not in it

      • Simmonds, top 2 prospect and 2 2nd rd picks for Shea Weber?? that would give them the #1 right handed RD they need…and he still can play..


      • I’m not convinced Simmonds will be moved. Will all depend on if he can be extended, cap hit & term? Phi has had issues icing 2 solid top 2 lines. Have kind of been a player short. This gives Phi 2 solid lines & the makings of a 3rd.

        Giroux, Cloutier, Voracek.
        JvR, Patrick, Simmonds.
        Raffl, Laughton, Konecny.
        Weal, Lehtera, Weiss.

        Phi also has a few prospects very close Leier & Lindblom. Leier needs to clear waivers to be sent down this season.

        Nor is the D that bad. A solid veteran would help & as always de Haan is my favourite for anyone.

        Provorov, MacDonald.
        Hagg, Gostisbehere.
        Morin, Sanheim.
        Gudas, ?

      • Cloutier? Jacques? Isn’t he a goalie and isn’t he retired?

      • Sorry not sure why autocorrect choose that spelling, the weird lag issue I have on this site is also in play.

        I think you know who I mean but thks for pointing it out.


      • I’ll go with the montrael fans calling this an anchor… no teams fans would recognize one more.

      • Scott

        Philly would have to offer Simmons and another roster fed plus prob Ghost to get Parayko

        This is not under-valuing Simmonds…. he’s top notch

        It is just that , IMO, Parayko is that good that he’ll command that much in a trade

        I’ve said before… I truly believe Parayko will be top 2 D for Can at next Olympics

        Think Pronger with a much nicer attitude

  6. Come on J.T. make up your mind your keeping at least 6 teams in the dark on the most important part of the offseason

  7. Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t it time sports writers/pundits retired the “kicked tires” cliche?

    • Agreed. Lol

    • I don’t know what they would replace the cliché with but they should definitely kick the tires on some different saying…

      • LOL. Touché. But the reality is, back in the days when people did actually “kick tires” when purchasing a vehicle, the gesture was, in reality, as useless as teats on a bull.

    • That and sweepstakes. “the john tavares sweeps.” drives me bonkers

  8. The Isles are not going to be very good next season. In addition to losing J.T. they still don’t have a goalie and have a thin blue line
    The Flames are turning into the Calgary Hurricanes. Maybe they can add Skinner and Faulk and call it a day

    • Losing JT would suck but it doesn’t significantly alter NYI’s fortunes. The money saved will be spent elsewhere.

      • It’s losing him for zilch that ultimately sucks. At least Ottawa won’t wait THAT long to peddle Karlsson, so something is coming back in terms of assets. Same with Duchene if he balks at an extension and, quite possible, Stone. All told that would be a gutting to end all guttings – but at least the cupboard would be stocked.

  9. Bruins got a little grit with signing of Chris Wagner

  10. Marc Bergevin worst GM Thomas Plekanec really are you kidding me.

    • I don’t know Sweeney is up there trading a pile for Rick Nash when the bruins aren’t close to being contenders

      • That’s for sure…..1st day of draft wouldn’t have been that boring …..Rick Nash

      • I hated that trade still do but Boston was a contender going into the playoffs. They were 1 of the best teams in the NHL after over coming all their injury’s to start the year. From late Nov on in almost any statistical category offensively or defensively.

        You nailed the Nash trade but are far off the mark on contender status. They are aginbthis season as well. Rosters is littered with kids developing & getting better & more coming.

        Not happy with sweeney for paying that for Nash & he’s on notice but unfortunately you have to take the good with the bad you just hope the good far out weighs the bad & he’s still on the positive side of the ledger.

      • Big difference between the regular season and playoffs! Boston barely beat a weak leafs team and were dominated by Tb who was dominated by the caps, the bruins aren’t contenders they’re a one line team which really showed against Tampa whose defense is way better than Toronto’s

      • We had this discussion once already & won’t bother to regurgitate the #’s which don’t support your position.

        Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak.
        Debrusk, Krejci, Spooner/Nash.
        Heinen, Nash, Backes.

        That looks like 3 scoring lines to me that allowed Bos to be the 6th highest scoring team in the NHL last season.

        Boston didn’t play well in the playoffs. McAvoy struggled, Rask was below average, numerous players were invisible, Krug going down in game 5 killed their transitional game, power play & TB brushed them aside easily.

        We will never know but I liked there chances better with Spooner than Nash but what is done is done.

      • The playoff numbers sure do support my position! You had Vegas being bottom 4 in the league cause you just read the numbers on the players they brought in, but if you watched those players they were just guys who who didn’t get a chance yet on their teams. You have to see a players on ice play and who they’re playing with before just reading the stats

    • That was one of his best trades or maybe his best. 2nd pick turned out to be Jacob Olofsson and prospect Rinat Valiev is a big D. Re-signing him is not a terrible move-they need ANY help down the middle and winning draws.

    • Plekenec is a solid defensive C now. He will return to playing as Mon’s 3rd line shut down C killing penalties on the #1 unit. I like this signing for Mon. He wants to be there & the cap hit should be reasonable.

  11. According to Bob McKenzie the Sabres don’t have to pay the signing bonus RR until midnight tonight. Therefore he could still be dealt before having to pay his signing bonus. I’ll take Bob at his word.

    • Ya bobby is the only real insider in my books

      • The crazy thing about Bigbear saying that Bob McKenzie is the only real inside or is that big bear’s real name is… Nick kypreos.

      • Bobby? You know him personally?

      • Didn’t you call him bobby when he was a kid George? You were 40 when he was born weren’t you? Lol

      • Lebrun is solid as well, that’s pretty much it for me. Neither sensationalize. Dreger was close as was Friedman but they have lost sight of such & are more interested in hits & increasing their revenue at the sacrifice of taking the high road for me.

      • Maybe when he was three.

    • Wow … I thought it was last night … good to know … much more likely he gets traded today

  12. By Tavares not letting the islanders know in advance be screwed them out of getting JVR and Stastny. Real great guy he is…

    • Same with the other 5 teams. Maybe the leafs can package marner with a few plusses and pick up EC . As the playoff exits in round 1 the past few years attest, they need to upgrade their defence…

      • erik christianson?

      • Elisha Cuthbert?

  13. Assuming that reports are true and Kunitz and Brodziak will sign elsewhere, I’d like the Pens to kick tires on Shawn Matthias or Jason Chimera for that last forward spot.

    Need someone who can help on the PK.

    • They still need a 13th forward but the top 12 barring a trade which apparently Rutherford is trying to achieve the roster looks set.

      Guentzel, Crosby, Hornqvist.
      Hagelin, Malkin, Kessel.
      Simon, Brassard, Sprong.
      ZAR, Sheahan, Rust.

      If Pit could move out Hagelin & something for a player like Skinner or Patches that would be awesome for them.

      • if pitt wants real depth then simon should be 13. though with what 3rd and 4th liners are signing for I’m not sure who they could afford. GMJR might just wait for the dust to settle to see who he can pick up off the bargain table.

      • Chrisms

        He’s already re-signed with VGKs … but I would have jumped on Pirri as a depth fwd …, $650 K…. and can jump up in lines if need be at times

        I just don’t get why he has been kept down in AHL ….has to have been messing with player’s (or coaches) wives

  14. Any word on Tavares?
    The leafs, probably with alot of other teams are waiting on it.

    Leafs lost jvr,bozac,plecanak. Statsney, derek ryan are gone…
    maybe the leafs will save a few bucks and just call up a few marlies if they dont get tavares.

    They can ride on cruise control for the next 10 or so years, even well they lost in the first round they have made playoffs 2 years in a row. Thats pretty much like a cup win for most leafs fans and should tide them over for atleast another 61 years.

    • Yes, reports say he signed with Toronto. Those delusional fans were right.

      • even a old clock gets lucky twice a year on his birthday and anniversary or something like that.

      • tb

        No reports yet have said that he has signed with Leafs… their reporting “likely” and basing it on the fact that Leafs not really moving in with any option B’s after losing Boz and JVR… I’ll count it when it’s official …. it’s 50+ years for me … been dissapointed before

        SJ also hasn’t done anything but shoring up Couture which was expected anyway

        I’m baffled that JTs camp hasn’t at least told any of the confirmed “out” teams that they are signing elsewhere

    • What are your Oilers going to do now twin? Your Darkhorse, haven’t heard any news about him yet.

  15. NYI just told JT not coming back