NHL Rumor Mill – August 11, 2018

by | Aug 11, 2018 | Rumors | 37 comments

Updates on the Red Wings and Wild in your NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance examined the implications of Dylan Larkin’s new five-year, $30.5-million contract upon the Detroit Red Wings’ salary cap. His new deal puts the Wings slightly over the $79.5-million salary-cap ceiling even after all-but-retired winger Johan Franzen ($3.95-million annual cap hit) is placed on long-term injured reserve. General manager Ken Holland estimates they’re about $1 million over the cap. Custance proposes burying Martin Frk and Luke Witkowski in the minors to make them cap compliant.

Is Henrik Zetterberg healthy enough to play for the Detroit Red Wings this season? (Photo via NHL Images)

Custance also noted Holland’s concern over the healthy of captain Henrik Zetterberg, whose nagging back problems casts doubt over his ability to play in 2018-19. If Zetterberg can’t suit up, placing him and his $6.08-million cap hit on LTIR will resolve their salary-cap issues.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan suggests defenseman Trevor Daley could become a trade candidate if the Red Wings are out of playoff contention come February. His no-trade clause expires 10 days prior to the Feb.25, 2019 trade deadline. Signed through 2019-20, he’d be more than a rental player for playoff contenders, which could increase his value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly has the Wings sitting at $82.7 million for 2018-19, putting them well over the cap ceiling. They’re allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the season opens in October. They’re currently using offseason LTIR (over $3.2 million) which would explain why Holland estimated they’re about $1 million above the cap.

If Zetterberg is able to play, Frk or Witkowski are likely to be demoted to free up the necessary space with Franzen being permanently on LTIR. On the other hand, placing Zetterberg on LTIR means there’s no reason to demote anyone simply for cap reasons.

Zetterberg’s potential absence means Larkin will become the first-line center with Frans Nielsen likely moving up to second-line center. They’re expected to bring in Michael Rasmussen full time which could see him in the third-line role with Luke Glendening in the fourth-line spot.

If Rasmussen struggles during training camp and preseason, Holland might be forced to look toward free agency or the trade market. UFA options could include Daniel Winnik or Mark Letestu.

As for Daley, he could join Gustav Nyquist and perhaps Jimmy Howard as potential trade chips if the Wings are out of the playoff race by the February deadline. He won’t fetch a roster player but could land them a decent draft pick or two. 


THE ATHLETIC: During a recent mailbag segment, Michael Russo was asked about Eric Staal’s future with the Minnesota Wild. The 33-year-old center will become a UFA next July. Russo said Staal and Wild GM Paul Fenton will wait until the season is underway before opening contract extension discussions. If the Wild are out of the playoff race by February, they could consider trading Staal. If they re-sign him, Russo figures it could be for around $5 million annually.

With the Wild carrying eight defensemen under contract for 2018-19, Russo was asked what might happen with Gustav Olofsson. He doesn’t consider it a risk placing him on waivers if necessary and thinks the Wild have tried to trade him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal regained his form after joining the Wild as a bargain free-agent signing two years ago. His 42 goals last season marked the first time he reached the 40-goal plateau since 2008-09. It could be asking too much to expect him to do that again, but another 60-point campaign could earn him a three-year deal at $5 million annually. If the Wild decide to shop him at the deadline we can expect he’ll attract plenty of interest. 



  1. Sad way to watch Zetterbergs career come to an end. Not a Red Wings fan but always liked Zetterbergs game.
    I like the Larkin signing, pretty decent money for his skillset.
    Not sure there would be a huge market for Howard. Maybe as a backup for a contender but not asva starter anywhere. Minimal return for Detroit in any deal.

    • Howard to Long Island of Greiss/Lehner do not pan out.

    • Howard to any playoff team that would like solid insurance. He is a good goalie.

      • I suppose its possible Howard has one of Strikers patented “bounce back” seasons. Otherwise if youre going to use the term “good goalie” to describe Howards play you best preface it with a “was”.

      • Howard had his bounce-back season after battling through injuries for 3 years. His play in Det the last 2 years was solid considering the team in front of him.

        Goalies are a different breed than skaters. You can’t bounce back if the team in front of them isn’t good, as always just ask Price last season, Schneider the year prior, etc. Take a great goalie & put them on a bad team & you get a bad goalie.

        Howard’s .910 SV% last season in 60 games playing behind this team was solid work. His .927% seeing 26 starts in 2016-17 was exceptional. Considering Mrazek played 50 as the starter posting a .901 that season why wasn’t Howard given more starts! That was on Blashill as Howard deserved to be given the ball to run with considering Mrazek’s play.

        Howard will be moved at some point between now & the deadline I assume at or very near the deadline. The return won’t be exceptional as he’ll be 35 in March, but the price should be what a decent insurance goalie moves for at the deadline, a late 2nd to 3rd, possibly with a marginal prospect.

        Howard played great in front of the US at the World Cup.

    • Better – and more credible – than claiming a skin rash I guess.

      • Nice one.

      • I agree with you George & was having this very conversation with a friend yesterday. I think Zetterberg may play this season at 3 mil in salary but no way he’s playing the final 2 at a mil per. Like Robidas, Lupul, Hossa & future players just like this headed to LTIR.

        The NHL allowing these things is embarrassing if you ask me & these teams should have been held to address these contracts better. Tor even claimed Lupul was fit to play for the expansion draft then redesignated him to LTIR. A total shame but for some reason, the NHL doesn’t care.

    • Zetterberg has been on borrowed time for 3 years, not too many come back after the type of back injury and surgery he had.

      As for Howard, his value is in his experience and expiring contract – the return won’t be spectacular, but he will get at least a 3rd round pick.

      • Zetterberg hasn’t missed a single game in those 3 years, he has literally played all 82 all 3 years in a row. Granted he apparently had to stop practising at some point last season but if he was being paid his cap hit & had it been spread out over the term & not front-end loaded I assume he would.

        We talk about hard caps & the NHL’s is certainly the hardest of the major pro sports but even it isn’t a true hard cap. Why this cap hit formula was created is a significant portion of the problem. There shouldn’t be a cap hit & salary hit they should be 1 & the same. Monies earned & paid should count against the cap in that season not be deferred like they are under this cap system & why players are doing what these players have done & will continue to do if allowed.

  2. Anyone watch team USA get Greg Lougainussed last night At the Gretzky/Hlinka Tournament?


    • Yes watched game was exciting was to bad they don’t use video review. Sure wasn’t Refs fault it was like .2 of a second to late. Still pretty young players lots of giveaways but plenty of talent.

  3. This year will be another trading players for futures for the Wings. Howard, good goalie(regardless of what Jull thinks as his Vancouver team hasn’t been much since when?), Nyquist(Could be a good fit for McDavid as he is speedy and competent offensive player), and maybe Kronwall(IF, and I mean IF healthy at the deadline)

    Also available would be Helm and Ericcson. Helm is signed for 3 more years(including this one) at 3.85 per) is a solid defensive and fast player. Can play wing and hit. Ericcson is not much more than a 3rd pair D man but would still be good insurance during the playoffs.

    All said, I would hope that the Wings could get at least one 1st rounder(Nyquist) back and a few other picks/prospects at the deadline.

    • Im no Nuck Lover…a million miles from it

  4. Off topic but looks like Tkachuk going to leave BU and sign with Sens

  5. It’s not just as easy as sending Frk & Witowski down to be cap compliant. Det like every team has to submit a 23 man roster on Oct 2nd, Injured players can be on that roster when submitted or designated to LTIR prior.

    Lyle you had told me once before what the difference in cap allowance is when a player is designated pre or post the 23 man roster deadline the day before the season starts but again I can’t remember?

    If Frk & Witowski are waived & CapFriendly currently shows Det with 22 skaters, 1 short of the 23 man threshold with Fransen & Zetterberg on that roster, 14 being F’s, 6 D & 2 G’s. The conventional 23 man roster is 13 F’s, 8 D & 2 G’s with minor variations due to waiver issues, injury’s, giving a rookie his 9 game cup of coffee, etc., forcing alternate scenario’s. No team carriers 6 Dman once the season starts, they juggle their rosters on opening day most designating their LTIR players if the cap or roster requires them to do so.

    Witowski can play D but is currently shown as a forward on CapFriendly but when he played last season it was mostly as a 4th line player. This is an unusual situation although not uncommon specifically, several teams have a black ace that may play D but dress as a forward due to business issues.

    That means if Franzen were designated to LTIR, Witowski & Frk sent down Det needs to add 4 players to be 23 man roster compliant. 4 other salaries would have to be added & few make less money than Witowski or Frk.

    The wildcard here is Zetterberg. If both he & Franzen are headed to LTIR problem solved at least cap wise.

    • They must have at least 20 players but not more than 23.

  6. George.

    Tkachuk is apparently going to sign. This is a scenario where I am happy to be wrong with an assumption. Now I hope that if by chance he isn’t NHL ready that he goes to the AHL for some seasoning as opposed to the OHL.

    I think the #2 LW spot on this roster is his if he is NHL ready & it really helps to balance out 3 lines. The wild card here is whether Gaborik is fit to play.

    His coming opting out of college may impact another prospects NHL start but nothing wrong with that problem, that’s a good problem to have. He could very easily follow in his brother’s footsteps posting a very similar rookie season.

    • Indications r that if he doesn’t make the Senators he will go down to the London knights.

      • I would like to see him play in the WJC’s but would rather he play in the AHL so he can come back up during the year on more than an emergency basis or very late in the year if not yet truly ready.

  7. Is Russo implying that the Wild who finished 4th in the hardest division in the NHL last season with 101 points, 8th overall in the entire NHL may miss the playoffs next season?

    I have Minnesota as a contender for the Stanley Cup, not a playoff spot. Fenton has done nothing to alter this roster nor did it need to be, he has signed UFA’s Fehr, Brown & Hendricks. 2 4th line players & a 13th forward a black ace in Hendricks.

    If not for injuries to Parise, Coyle, Niederreiter & Spurgeon Minny would have been a significantly better team last season nor did they have the depth on D to cover for the loss of Scandella, Haula & Tuch due to the expansion draft. Scandella sent packing prior due to protection issues & Haula & Tuch to Vegas. Few teams were more poorly constructed for expansion than Minnesota nor stood to lose as good a quality of player. Anh & NYI for me were right there with Minny.

    The injuries to Spurgeon during the season & Suter going into the playoffs opened the door for Seeler to see some added opportunities & his play was very surprising, his addition next season full time with Greenway, Olofsson, and the added development of Dumba, Brodin, Coyle, Eriksson-Ek & the health of those mentioned above should have Minny competing with Nas & Win for the division.

    What ailed Minny last season depth wise has been addressed. Will injuries plague Minny again? Possibly Parise is an injury waiting to happen, Spurgeon’s size coupled with his willingness to engage physically regardless lead to a whole range of injuries, he’s 5’9″ 164 lbs but won’t back down from doing what has to be done to be successful & get the job done.

    For me, this is 1 of the NHL’s elite teams that has struggled to get over the hump for several years. They have made the playoffs every year since coming out of the 2012-13 lockout, 6 years running. 2012-13 lost to Chi; 1st in the NHL, in the 1st round Chi won the cup, 2013-14 lost to Chi; 7th in the NHL, in the 2nd round, 2014-15 lost to Chi; 7th in the NHL, in the 2nd round Chi went on to win the cup, 2015-16 lost to Dal; 2nd in the NHL, in the 1st round, 2016-17 lost to StL; 10th in the NHL, in the 1st round & 2017-18 lost to Win; 2nd in the NHL, in 1st round.

    • The game was pretty good. Lots of action, sucks it came to a missed call for the US.

    • Minnesota, playoff calibre team? Yes. Legitimate Cup contender? No.
      The Wild are the Blue Jackets West. Good, but not good enough.

  8. It seems clear that the Senators are well set up for a full rebuild, as opposed to a re-tool or, gods forbid, still “going for it”.

    Up front they have Brady Tkachuk and Alex Formenton on left wing, Colin White, Logan Brown and Drake Batherson at center, on right they have…..rrriiiight.. at defence Thomas Chabot, Ben Harpur, Christian Jaros, and even Cody Ceci perhaps, who is only 24, are decent pieces.

    Trading Erik Karlsson, Matt Duchene, and Mark Stone would bring in the draft picks and highly touted prospects required to round out that list of futures. If they lose them for nothing, or decide to supply complements to them in the hopes of pushing for the playoffs, I can see this team heading for even worse times ahead.

    I didn’t even mention the sorry state of the organization’s goaltending pool.

    • Ottawa’s prospect pool is solid, well above average. Trading for Duchene was a mistake. God forbid their 1st round draft pick next season becomes Jack Hughes for Colorado.

      I assume a ton of picks are coming Ottawa’s way at this point & they may as well go full rebuild as that’s where they now find themselves.

      Let’s let go of the present & look to the future in Ottawa. Something almost all Canucks fans have wanted from Vancouver yet they just refuse to do. They should have started a full tear down after losing to Calgary in the 1st round of 2014-15. Here we are 4 years later almost & only in 1 of those 4 seasons have they done so moving out Burrows & Hansen.

      These signings of veterans over the last 2 seasons, & their not having started sooner has cost them millions in revenue as no 1 wants to watch this team play. Most tickets have been sold but 3 to 5 thousand paid ticket holders just aren’t showing up & many like me have given up their season tickets.

      I don’t have a clue what’s currently going on in Van. The signings of Beagle, Roussel & Schaller make ZERO sense & are causing waiver issues & delaying the NHL futures of several prospects. No 1 wants to pay to see these players play. Bring on the Gaudette’s, Goldobin’s, Dahlen’s of the world who are all being blocked out by these signings.

      Just leading to middling picks unless they get lucky in the lottery like Carolina did last season.

      • Quite right, Vancouver is as disastrously complex as Ottawa and Montreal, in terms of asking: “what the hell are they doing?”.

        I understood the Jay Beagle signing, I thought that even at that price, he was a solid replacement for Dorsett and a great model for the youngsters. It was the additional signings of Roussel and Schaller that made me scratch my head. There seems to be no room at all for Dahlen, Goldobin, and one of Pettersson and Gaudette. The bottom six collection of Schaller, Roussel and Gagner seem like wastes of space.

        Tanner Kero, Brendan Gaunce and Brendan Leipsic, who was very good for Vancouver late last season, seem to be doomed for the press box or the minors. Makes no sense Striker. I’m dumbfounded.

      • The issue for me is Goldobin has to clear waivers this season to be sent down. That isn’t happening he would be snapped up. The Canucks have 16 forwards & the only 2 that can clear waivers are Boeser & Gaudette.

      • Starts & ends with Aquilini.
        Otherwise everything looks rosier than you try to paint.
        Nobody is blocked as you weakly complain. Goldobin is inconsistent & Dahlen hasn’t been held back. Waiving vets is easy enough.

  9. If the Lightning and Senators are serious about a Karlsson deal, I think Cal Foote would be the better option for Ottawa than Mikhail Sergachev, as a right shot defenceman with big offensive and special teams potential and a solid two-way game.

  10. Colorado has a very nice piece in the Senators first round pick next year. Not sure if I were them that I would move it but I’m sure they could get a very good player for it.

    • I’m not moving that pick until I know what it is. No way you give up a shot at Jack Hughes for almost any trade option today. Npo 1 is trading you a Jack Hughes. This is a generational player & part of the 1st real wave of US studs just starting to be developed by US Hockey & the USHL. Skates like McDavid & shoots like Patrick Kane.

      Like Matthews & McDavid he will just step straight into the NHL as a star.

      • I agree, Hughes was beast in the tournament in bc last week. No way Id move that pick either until I knew where it was.

    • If the Avs end up picking first overall, then it is game over, the Avs will become the top team in the western conference instantly. I can imagine in a few years time:

      Landeskog – MacKinnon – Rantanen
      Jost – Hughes – Kaut
      Kamenev – Kerfoot – Compher
      Fourth line can be anything really.

      Scary good team.

      • Especially if they shore up their defence.

      • That started last season Ron a huge reason they became a playoff team.

        The continued development of Barrie and Zadarov whos contract holdout hampered his start, the acquisition of Girardi in the Duchene trade but oddly enough the addition of Nemeth off waivers from Dallas was significant, even Barberio acquired on waivers from Mon helped cover for injuries with prospect D Lindholm. This added depth even with Johnson missing 20 games barely caused Colorado’s revamped D to miss a beat.

        Help is coming to but not needed immediately. Makar & Timmins are 2 of the best prospect Dman yet to see the NHL. Colorado may have lost the 2017 lottery but the consolation prize of Makar was nice at #4.

        Col only has 2 of the 8 Dman currently shown on CapFriendly as right-handed leaving 6 as lefties, so several will be playing their off side. Only 2 are waiver eligible Girardi & Lindholm.

        I can’t even fathom how their pairings may be put together yet next season due to all these lefties but by TOI/GP next season I do see them as follows. Johnson, Barrie, Zadorov, Nemeth, Cole, Girardi & Barberio. As for the #8 spot I’m not sure either Lindholm or Timmins is suited to this role & it will be held by someone else better suited as both Timmins & Lindholm need to play & play a ton of minutes to keep developing.

        Might the #8 spot go to a player like Graves acquired late last season from NYR who has to clear waivers to be sent down? Although only 23 having been drafted 5 years ago if he has an NHL future might it be as a black ace. A practice insurance player?

  11. No body skates like Mcdavid

    • They are coming. Everyone review of Jack Hughes I’ve read starts with he skates like McDavid.