NHL Rumor Mill – August 27, 2018

by | Aug 27, 2018 | Rumors | 44 comments

Updates on Craig Anderson and Luca Sbisa plus the latest Oilers speculation in your NHL rumor mill.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports goaltender Craig Anderson is ready for a fresh start with the Senators. It’s his first public statement since a report in late-June claiming he asked for a trade. While he declined to comment about that, Anderson said he didn’t want to go through another season like 2017-18.  “I’m 37 years old and drama is something I don’t do well with,” he said, adding he loved living and playing in Ottawa.

Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson doesn’t want to go through another season like 2017-18. (Photo via NHL Images)

Anderson said he hopes the issues that plagued the club like season have been resolved. He also said he’s had no discussions with captain Erik Karlsson – who’s been a frequent subject of trade speculation this summer – and had no knowledge of the issues between Karlsson and now-former Senator Mike Hoffman, whose fiancee was accused of cyberbullying by Karlsson’s wife.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch speculates Anderson’s trade request may have been made for family reasons. His wife recently battled throat cancer and their two children spent the past two years living in Florida.

Anderson’s age (37) and his less-than-stellar numbers last season could account for the Senators’ inability to move him. Cap Friendly indicates he’s under contract through 2019-20 with a $4.75-million annual salary-cap hit and a modified no-trade clause. That might make him difficult to move. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins said he hasn’t paid much attention to the Erik Karlsson trade rumors. “It isn’t that the Oilers could not manage his $6.5m salary this year. It’s more about the double-digits he will command as a UFA in the Spring. Even if you make the leap that Karlsson would be interested, the roster would require major surgery in order to pull that off.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. Cap Friendly indicates the Oilers currently have around $3.9 million in projected salary-cap space for 2018-19 with restricted free agent defenseman Darnell Nurse to re-sign. Granted, they’ll get some cap flexibility when sidelined blueliner Andrej Sekera gets placed on long-term injured reserve at the start of the season. With over $62 million invested in 13 players for 2019-20, the Oilers have the cap room to pay Karlsson over $11 million annually but it wouldn’t leave enough space to fill out the remainder of the roster. 

Leavins still considers Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk a trade option for the Oilers. He suggests it could cost them a roster player and a high draft pick, pointing out the low return the Hurricanes accepted from the Buffalo Sabres (a prospect and three draft picks) to part with left wing Jeff Skinner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One big difference between Skinner and Faulk is the former will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July while the latter has two seasons remaining on his contract. The Hurricanes were desperate to move Skinner this summer rather than have questions over his status hanging over them when the season began. Skinner also had a full no-movement clause giving the Hurricanes few suitable trade options.

Faulk, on the other hand, has a 15-team trade list giving the Hurricanes more possibilities if they decide to trade him and more time to entertain suitable offers. While a roster player and a high pick sounds reasonable for Faulk, I expect that player will be a top-six forward, preferably a center. The Oilers could lose out to a rival bidder with more established assets. 




  1. Anderson would have been difficult to move when, going on 36, Dorion decided to give him that two-year $4.75 mil oer extension. That immediately upgraded it to impossible.

    • George

      Right you are— bordering on the impossible move.

      I hope his wife is now fully past all health issues.

      Perhaps (????) this personal pressure and potentially ebbing dressing room issues are now in the past and his game will come back to previous levels.

      I think he will rebound (‘scuse the pun!!) a bit– how much, who knows.

      • I find Anderson’s comments about being unaware of the situation between Karlsson’s wife & Hoffman’s girlfriend/fiancee very odd. If he wasn’t aware of it what issues were plaguing the dressing room?

      • That was a weak avoidance of weighing in on the issue – of course he would have heard the chatter and whispers. How the hell could he not? He should simply have said “no comment.”

      • Hi Striker,

        yes odd. However, there could be more dressing room hub bub than has been reported. Perhaps it is just a general tense situation in the room and oft’ angst between some team members.

        I would be naive to think that the girlfriend/wife issue is the only damper/instigator in the room. Captain staying/leaving, public statements/confidence, angst over ownership/poor team play, general pissiness over some performances during games.

        If he did know, he’s deflecting, hedging or lying. If he didn’t know, perhaps he saw a dressing room battle between the two but didn’t know what it was about.

        Either way — the dressing room near year-end could not have been a jovial one.

        Hoping there is more jocularity to the room now and some of the pressure is subsided.

        I do see him playing better this year. How much better….. as George says — the proverbial $64K question.

      • Agreed George. How could he have not.

      • Pengy.

        I don’t see Anderson being better next season. The D has gotten worse, not better. Youth is being served & it will be better long-term as they develop but in the short term kids make a ton of mistakes, miss assignments, etc. as they learn.

        I don’t blame Anderson for his play last year. As always take the best goalie in the game & put him on a bad team, especially 1 with a soft D & you get a bad goalie. See Price in Mon last season, Schneider in NJ the season prior, any Dallas goalie for several years. The opposite is also true, take a below average goalie & put him on a good team with a stellar D & you get a very good goalie. See Budaj in LA in 2016-17, he looked like the 2nd coming of Jaques Plante, playing 53 games posting a .917 SV% winning 27 games, posting 7 shutouts!

        Was it Anderson’s fault Ott gave up the 6th most shots against, many of the high scoring variety or their PK was brutal 5th worst & their PP just as bad 5th worst as well.

        Is Ott’s roster this season better than last seasons? I don’t want to slight Chabot, Wolanin, Harpur, Wideman & whoever comes back in trade for Karlsson but youth isn’t a good thing at D especially when all are being deployed at once. Who is going to mentor these kids, who plays as their safety nets? Ceci himself is only 24 & not yet fully developed; 362 NHL regular season games, you should know what that means for me, himself & he already has 1 foot partly out the door, 2 years from UFA status. Ceci is a great example of what its like to be thrown to the wolves at D in the NHL at such a young age.

        It isn’t going to go well in Ottawa & Anderson can’t hope to post any where near an average SV% playing behind the D being deployed in front of him. Playing from behind is terrible on your defensive play it forces you to have to take chances just making it worse, not better.

        Could I be wrong? Absolutely & time will tell soon enough. Stone, Duchene, Karlsson & Dzingel all have 1 foot out the dorr so the dressing room is assured of being a mess as who would want to stay.

      • Striker: As I’ve said many times, Anderson and Condon were a huge part of the problem last year and were more of a problem than the D. Repeated crippling/demorolizing goals late in games cost Ottawa at least 10 if not closer to 20 points. They still would have missed the playoffs, but not the disaster they were in the end.

        It’s great to have your insight on the Ceci situation. Ottawa took Hoffman to arbitration a few years back and got a favourable settlement, but Hoffman still resigned for 4 more years. I am not a big Ceci fan, but I’ve read nothing about him wanting to leave Ottawa. I think Ottawa made the right decision taking him to arbitration and can decide if it is worth signing him long term next summer.

      • Further, Duchene doesn’t sound like he’s itching to leave Ottawa based on his recent tweet. He seems to thoroughly enjoy playing close to home and I get the sense something could get done there. I have no idea what will happen with Stone and Dzingel, but my guess is Dzingel will stay if Duchene sticks around as they’re good friends.

      • Van what Striker constantly overlooks are the facts as you stated, plus they lost a pretty good 5/6 pairing when BOTH Borowiecki and Wideman went down long term. That caused no end of shuffling on the back end, exacerbated by the Phaneuf trade at the Feb deadline. Piled onto the dressing room drama and the generally weak play of both Anderson and Condon (many shots that even the best D in the world would not have prevented were also not stopped by the goaltending – many should have been).

        As I’ve said repeatedly, we just don’t know how well – or poorly – kids like Wolanin, Harpur, Englund etc. are gong to play and how much better Chabot will be with a season and a half under his belt.

        We will soon see – and IF Karlsson goes anywhere, you can bet a serviceable D – either young or a veteran – will be in the line-up as well. Right now we – just – don’t – know. We know Striker’s speculation – we’re reminded of it daily – but right now he doesn’t KNOW any more than the rest of us.

      • Striker, I read article this morning. What Anderson meant about not being aware of was the off ice issues with the wives and girlfriends. He said his wife stays in Florida and wasn’t around the others. Although there was awkwardness in locker room, he said he focused mainly on showing up and doing his job. He had his own issues and didn’t get involved with other drama.

      • Guys, if you want statistical evidence to find some answers to your discussion, check out In Goal Magazine for an explanation on how goalies should be measured/paid/awards vs how they traditionally are.


        If you want the stats/rankings Corsica Hockey has them.
        They measure standard save % vs expected save %. They look at where the shots come from high danger chances vs lower danger. Everything from where the shots are taken from, forward vs D taking the shot, 2 on 1’s, breakaways, PP & PK.
        All of it is logical and makes sense.
        Bottom line – Craig Anderson and Scott Darling were brutal compared to there peers in net.
        The best are Gibson and Bob.


  2. Good point regarding the patients in moving Faulk. With the influx of young wingers coming up and the addition of Ferland, Carolina has reason to want to assess what they have…might hold on to Faulk till Darling plays 15-20. That may be their real need.

    • I sure hope Darling can play at the league average for starters in SV% this season, a starter for me needs to start a min of 41 games & then only if injury precludes him from starting at least 55. Darling was terrible last season. Good for at least 1 very soft goal a game most nights which is incredibly deflating & odd behind the D Carolina roles out. Failing that Mrazek better.

      Had Carolina had better goaltending they may well have made the playoffs last season. Darling killed any hope of such, well, that & Peters odd player personnel decisions, specifically his deployment of Skinner but also the low % shots he forced his players to take essentially turning over the puck.

      • Striker,

        Yep— an improved Darling will make a difference. Just using 1/2 of your stated “soft goal per game”…. take those 20 or so goals off the scoreboard and they win maybe 3 or 4 more games and his save percentage goes up to around .905

        Improvement in goal a must for Car.

        Still, IMO, outside looking in come April.

      • Darling cost Carolina far more than 3 or 4 games last season. I watched Carolina play well over 15 games last season can’t even remember how many a ton, 4 live & Darling cost them way over 3 or 4 I’d say at least 10 probably higher giving up that soft goal early forcing Carolina to have to play from behind.

        The team that scores 1st has a much higher chance of winning the game than the team that doesn’t, significantly so.

      • Carolina allowed the lowest shots against in the league last season, yet allowed the 10th most goals against. A weird disconnect there.

      • Curious… wouldn’t a starter need to start a minimum of 42 games?

      • Hi Striker

        Ya I was just bandying around with some simple math on my broad assumptions.

        If you are right re him directly costing 10 or more games with soft goals ; and using broadly the 97 point threshold (that made playoffs) … he’d need to turn the 10 or more games lost due to softies; into 7 or more Regulation wins

        Not sure if it’s doable… maybe but I’m skeptical

  3. If I was to guess the oilers probably plan on staying the coarse. I don’t incision a tank-a-thon but I don’t picture them in the mix with Vegas, San Jose, Calgary thus making a realistic playoff appearance likely.

    They have just started to fill the prospect cupboard the past few years( other top picks immediately filled rosster spots) and they more than likely will be moving expiring assets like Talbot etc this year I’m opposed to chasing big fish like EK.

    But who knows maybe I’m wrong. At best tho I see them as a middle of the pack team in the west that may be in the playoff picture come Christmas

  4. No way Faulk gets that! He’s a heavily sheltered defensemen and his numbers are inflated as a result. A second round pick and a B-level prospect is the best Carolina can hope for.

    Faulk is one of the worst D-men in the league at actually playing defense, and he would make the Oilers worse not better!

    • Faulk stepped straight into the NHL 7 years ago & has played as Carolina’s #1 Dman ever since leading Carolina Dman in TOI/GP in 4 of those 7 years starting as a rookie NHL Dman, in the other 3 he was 2nd in TOI/GP with under 20 seconds less TOI/GP than Sekera once & Slavin twice.

      He may get favourable assignments but that’s not a sheltered role. The NHL is littered with Dman that lack strong defensive abilities. I get everyone wants a Weber, Suter, Hedman, Doughty but few exist. Most offensive Dman lack strong defensive abilities & a big reason is they take chances & drive the play almost playing as forwards jumping up into the rush making it hard to be positional sound defensively.

      I still believe the team that scores the most goals wins, don’t they? I get you have to be good defensively as a team but finding a Dman who can play a shutdown role is fare easier & can be taught than finding 1 who can score goals and drive offence something Faulk did well, scoring goals, until last season where his shooting % for whatever reason took a nose dive. His career shooting % going into last season was over 7 but last season dropped to 3.8, I call that an aberration & more likely to bounce back than continue down. His 31 points were respectable on this team.

      Faulk has a great shot & gets it off often. He is a #1 PP quarterback & had he played for another team he would have posted far better #’s but he didn’t he played for Carolina 1 of the worst lowest scoring teams in the NHL over his 7-year career all played in Carolina.

      He’s going to command far more than a 2nd & a B grade prospect when eventually traded. That could potentially be as late as the 2020-21 seasons trade deadline. Carolina even with the loss of Skinner should score far more goals next season, I’m projecting 25 to 30 more but Faulk will most likely have lost his #1 PP spot to Hamilton regardless he should still post in or around 35 points getting very close to double-digit goals.

      • Striker,

        Great points w.r.t. Faulk. I believe he is better than most seem to perceive him as. I’m not quite as high on his value as you; but up there.

        Re: Potential move to Oilers. I just don’t see the fit; and especially for what they will need to give up to get him.

        Oilers, IMO, need to get the contract finalized on DN and then start season and see how things play out.

        This year still very hard for them to make the playoffs (trades or no trades) as I find it hard to imagine them jumping over any of the Cal teams, VGK, or Cgy. It will be tight and the possibility (however slim) is there; but making a move now without seeing how things start out in Oct; is not, IMO, the right thing to do.

        That said— expect the unexpected from Ed.

      • I didn’t comment on what I think his value is just that he’s worth more than a 2nd & a B grade prospect for me but how much term remains at the point of trade will impact his return. That said even at the 2020-21 trade deadline he would demand more not significantly more but more. I’d say throw in a 3rd as well if he hangs around that long.

        Moving him soon makes sense as Carolina has a solid D with de Haan having been added to the mix & Hamilton replacing Hanafin in trade. Carolina would be better served to maximise Faulk’s return with 2 years remaining on his contract & trade him soon.

        Numerous teams could use Faulk’s skill set & it starts at with at least a solid 1st round pick for me. Chi, Det, Edm, Mon & Tor could all use Faulk’s skill set today. Not an ideal solution to some but he would help any of them.

        I still don’t understand the return on Skinner. What was the rush other than needing his roster spot due to waiver issues but it could have been worked around until a better deal could be found. Same for Hoffman really. Although weird dynamics in play there.

    • Mistaking should with will.

  5. Attention Flyers: PLEASE trade either Elliott or Neuvirth (ha! or BOTH!) to Ottawa for Anderson and allow either Stolarz or Lyon to play for the big club. Anderson is an upgrade over Elliott & Neivirth, and can help mentor the young goalies along the way.

    • Elliott? Been there – done that. No thanks

    • Thankfully Phi final has a solution in net coming, just a question of when Hart will be handed the reigns. Very few goalies become an NHL’s starter without solid seasoning in the minors usually a min of 2 years followed by at least 1 year sheltered as a back up then mentored for at least 1 by a vet in more of a balanced 1A & B role. Hart may come out of the Seattle expansion draft as Phi’s #1. That would put him in very limited company.

      Can’t wait to see what Hart will do when he gets to the NHL level. Goalies are really hard to predict but he is considered to be 1 of the best goalie prospects seen in years.

      • The same is being said of Gustavsson who Ottawa got from Pittsburgh in the Brassard deal. Same process with him. Get some AHL seasoning then up for a year or two as a back-up. The question is, of course, behind who? Because Anderson sure won’t be around that long, and Condon is what he is – a mediocre back-up. Barring the tossing of Gustavsson to the wolves, Dorion is going to have to address that issue sooner than later if Anderson doesn’t bounce back for at least one more decent season.

      • Finding a decent veteran or cast off goalie in the offseason isn’t that difficult. Gustafsson is a solid prospect.

        George, I may not like the situation that Ottawa has put themselves due to Melnyk’s penny pinching & interference but the prospect kitty is solid, 1 of the best in the NHL.

        What scares me is all may have to be deployed far too quickly. My concern is what if all pending UFA’s & Ceci, Pageau & Boedker the summer following all force Ottawa to trade them. That’s ominous.

  6. Carolina has the unfortunate battle of being in the Metropolitan Division, making their playoff aspirations a little more difficult. However, I see them as a playoff team, or hanging on right to the end in a tight race for that coveted 8th spot. With average goaltending, and the moves they made to make themselves a more complete team I have them making the playoffs. They did give up a lot of offensively gifted players, but I feel they are a more complete team. Darling should rebound, and have a better season than last. Perhaps they edge out a Columbus team mired with potential distractions in contract/trade speculation with two of their biggest stars and it seems Torts is back to being angry Torts. Good luck managing those stormy waters.

    • I had Carolina doing just that last season. Parity in the NHL has never been stronger. The quality of kids coming through the draft has improved significantly since the 2012-13 lockout & this has allowed teams to turn the corner very quickly. What NJ & Col accomplished last season was shocking. What Vegas did still has me dizzy & dumbfounded.

      Anything appears possible even if unlikely nor supported by the odds of probability. I’m not happy with ownership in Carolina firing Francis & I think Waddell is an idiot but I do like Dudley, I assume his hands were all over signing de Haan. This is the type of Dman all teams covet & it cost Car nothing more than a very reasonable 4 years deal at 4.55.

      de Hann is a solid defensive player who can play against the leagues best & man a #1 PK unit. He also has untapped offensive abilities but he may never get to display them as he sees hard defensive assignments. A good comparison for me would be a younger version of Vlasic in SJ but still hasn’t played above the #3 slot nor seen any form of PP time as Vlasic has in the odd years.

      Having just turned 27 with 304 NHL regular season games under his belt the best is still yet to come from de Hann. This was my favourite UFA Dman for any team in need of a Dman. He would have been a perfect fit for Tor or Edm; after having lost Sekera after the fact, even though a lefty he just would have had to play his off-side & in a defensive role just not an issue for me.

    • Carolina is not going anywhere until they get a decent goalie. Darling is a glorified Andrew Hammond and is much better suited to be a backup, too bad he’s getting paid to be a number 1. The Canes don’t have a decent goalie prospect on the way either, although some of the best goalies of the last 2 decades have been guys who were mid to late round picks that kind of came out of nowhere. Until they figure it out they are 6th in the Met and probably 10th in the east.
      Francis wasn’t so much fired as he and the owner realized quickly that they had irreconcilable differences in philosophy of the future of the franchise. I wouldn’t be shocked if Francis took over for Jim Rutherford in a couple of years right in time for the Penguins rebuild given Mario’s long history of treating his friends like family. Technically it should be Guerin that is next in line but he might not want to wait and take a job with another team. Very unrelated but I was reading a blog about how spoiled Penguins fans have been in the last 28 years. 15 of the last 28 Art Ross trophies were won by a Pens player, 6 cup finals with 5 wins, 7 Hart trophies, 2 Richards, multiple division and conference trophies, no wonder everyone hates us.

      • Since there’s nothing else to talk about does anyone remember these good old days?

  7. I have a feeling that which ever team gets Karlsson may be disappointed. Yeah he is only 28 years old, but has had a some injuries issues the last couple years. Also his numbers have taken a dip the last couple of years, along with his games played. That and the price it will take to get him it is a gamble.

    • I think the “injury issues” with Karlsson are getting way overblown. He played over 70 games last year when he missed 6 games late in the season after the death of his unborn son. He missed 5 games early in the year recovering from surgery. In the 4 years before that, he played 82 games three times and missed 5 games with the foot injury the season he led the Sens to the ECF. That isn’t injury prone.

      It must suck when you have a down year and only get 62 points in 71 games. Those are great numbers for a forward, let alone a defenseman on a crappy team. For those who like analytics like Corsi etc., his numbers are superior to Doughty’s over the last few years and quite significantly. Like many UFA’s, Karlsson will likely be overpaid by the end of an 8-year deal. However, I think whoever gets him will have great value for most if not all of the contract.

      • Van… 100% Agreed!!! Karlsson if I’m not mistaken, is currently 8th all time points per game for d men! His defensive play is under rated and over shadowed by his offensive skills. If you look at Nic Lidstroms numbers from when he was 28 on, he actually out performed his younger years. Burns won Norris at age 33. Karlsson is and will be elite for at least 6 more seasons… and then still better than average after that.

  8. George O wondered who would be a suitable goaltender for Ottawa’s Gustavsson to play behind and I would venture that on a 2 or even 3 year deal at a reasonable salary, that Semyon Varlamov would be the perfect candidate. Varlamov comes off the books after this season, and Ottawa could either buy out or trade Anderson’s last season if Gustavsson is ready, or, heck, if there is a decent backup on the UFA market who would come in on a one year deal then why not? If Grubauer is lights out this season, then maybe an in-season deal of Anderson (salary retained) for Varlamov could work, where Anderson could back up or split time with Grubauer in his old stomping grounds. I suppose Anderson would have to be having a reasonably good season to make that work, but I don’t see why not..

    • Augustus: Not that you directed this to me, but I am a Sens fan. Your plan with Varlamov would make sense if not for the fact that Anderson and Condon still have 2 years left on their deals. I don’t anticipate either of Anderson or Condon being bought out, but Anderson could have trade value if he rebounds nicely this year. I expect Gustavsson will get 2-3 years in the AHL and be an injury call-up to backup the remaining veteran goalie. If Anderson is traded late this year or in the off-season, Ottawa may simply go with a Condon/Gustavsson or Condon/Hogberg tandem next year. Hogberg is a decent goalie prospect and a year further into his development. Regardless, I simply want to see Gustavsson and Hogberg get enough games to develop properly as one of them should be Ottawa’s starter within 3 years.

      • Van,

        The term on Anderson and Condon’s contracts is a sticking point. Which is why a swap of Anderson for Varlamov at the deadline would make sense. Varlamov could be extended for a few years after arriving in Ottawa and Condon would be his back-up for 2019-20, allowing Hogberg and Gustavsson to run the table in the AHL before one of them backs up Varlamov for 2020-21. When Varly’s contract runs out, that goaltender would hopefully be ready to take over.

        The buy-out route would be feasible if Ottawa waited until next offseason. They would only have one year of his deal to buy out, and they could pursue Varlamov as a UFA to start in front of Condon for the one year.

        You being the Sens fan know more about Hogberg and Gustavsson than I do. If they are truly prospects that could step in to play with Condon for a year, then great. But if they aren’t ready, Mike Condon and an uncertainty would be a goalie tandem to be afraid of (as a Senator).

      • If you mean trade Anderson for Varlamov this year with Ottawa possibly extending Varlamov max 2 years, that may work. I think Hogberg and Gustavsson are at least 2 years away from even playing 25-30 games a year in the NHL. Condon as the backup to Anderson or someone else next year is a better option IMO.

    • Varlamov, who turns just 31 next April, would be the perfect temporary replacement for Anderson. Hopefully stay healthy and so limit Condon to maybe 15 games a year while he’s still under contract, and then bring up Gustavsson to serve as backup for a season. That kind of solution anyway.

      • Van,

        That is precisely what I mean. I think it is just too tantalizing to pass up. Varlamov would be an upgrade for sure, as long as he remains healthy. He knows that Grubauer is intended to be Colorado’s starter in the future and Ottawa is a place where he would see plenty of crease time.

        Perusing the depth charts, there are few other attractive options. If Thatcher Demko develops more quickly than anticipated, Jacob Markstrom could be expendable as of this season, and could be a decent fill-in, I suppose. It would require a buy-out of Anderson as Vancouver would not take him on, making that less likely.

        If Cory Schneider picks up his game, Keith Kinkaid could be another stop-gap, but I don’t think he would bring what Varlamov can.

        After that, the market really thins out for viable goaltenders that could potentially play 50+ game.. Varly is the one I would trust to do that (when healthy).

  9. Still no Leafs News what a Jokester