NHL Rumor Mill – August 4, 2018

by | Aug 4, 2018 | Rumors | 22 comments

Does Mark Stone’s one-year deal with the Senators set the stage for his departure next summer? What’s the latest on the Blue Jackets’ Artemi Panarin? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Ian Mendes believes Mark Stone’s new one-year, $7.35-million contract with the Ottawa Senators raises more questions over the club’s future than it answers. Because he signed a one-year deal, the Senators cannot open contract extension talks until Jan. 1, 2019. Leverage will shift with each passing day to Stone, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Mark Stone’s new one-year contract raises questions over his future with the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images)

The one-year deal also raises questions over whether Stone wants to be with the Senators for the long term. He joins Erik Karlsson and Matt Duchene as the Senators’ notable pending UFAs next year. “The Senators could be poised for the mother of all rebuilds if they choose to move all three of those players in the coming months,” writes Mendes.

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren also agrees the Stone signing raises uncertainty over the winger’s future with the Senators. Noting the UFA status of Stone, Karlsson and Duchene next summer, he speculates they could become potential trade candidates before next year’s trade deadline.

Warren points out only three players (Bobby Ryan, Marian Gaborik and Zack Smith) “have contracts that extend beyond the 2019-20 season.” He noted Ryan’s been attached to the Karlsson trade rumors while Gaborik could be bought out of the remainder of his contract.

Warren also noted there’s a theory among Senators fans that has owner Eugene Melnyk chopping salary in order to sell the franchise. However, Melnyk has consistently denied any intention to hang out the “for sale” sign.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy speculates the state of the Senators’ organization leaves Stone, Karlsson and Duchene little incentive to stick around any longer than they have to. If the Senators shop these assets, GM Pierre Dorion must get the best return possible.

The asking price will be significant for a superstar like Karlsson, who has the skills (when healthy) to put any playoff club over the top. Kennedy believes Stone and Duchene, while they won’t attract as much as Karlsson, would also be attractive to playoff contenders. He feels the Senators shouldn’t let either guy go “for anything less than a first-rounder and something else (either a prospect or more picks)”, assuming the team acquiring them is confident of re-signing them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s difficult to find many observers confident in the Senators’ ability to re-sign Stone to a long-term extension next year. I think it’ll take a significant reversal of the club’s fortunes to convince Stone (and Karlsson and Duchene, for that matter) to stay put. This is a franchise lacking long-term stability with no indication they’re going to be a perennial playoff contender in the near future.

Stone could be taking a “wait-and-see” approach but another horrible season by the Sens could convince him to test the free-agent market next July. That will in turn force the Senators to shop him – as well as Karlsson and Duchene – before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline. 


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers cites a source claiming Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin would be interested in returning to the Chicago Blackhawks if he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. The source claims the Blackhawks would be “very seriously considered” by Panarin. His agent, Dan Milstein, declined to comment on anything about his client’s future plans.

The Blackhawks traded Panarin last summer to the Blue Jackets. The 26-year-old winger has been reluctant thus far to discuss a contract extension with the Blue Jackets and recently told the club he doesn’t wish to discuss a new deal after Sept. 13.

Powers acknowledges the Blackhawks would have to do “some serious cap managing” to afford Panarin but doesn’t consider it impossible. “Whether it’s realistic for Panarin to return to the Blackhawks may not be known until next offseason, and obviously a lot can happen between now and then.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Panarain is interested in returning to the Blackhawks as a free agent  they could be willing to sign him However, making the dollars work and the effect upon other areas of their roster could derail that opportunity.

Powers assumes Panarin could get $9 million annually on a long-term deal when looking at the possibility of the Blackhawks signing him under a potential salary-cap ceiling of $82 million for 2019-20, using Cap Friendly‘s “armchair GM” feature.  That also assumes a $6-million annual cap hit on Nick Schmaltz’s next contract. While that move would reunite Panarin with Patrick Kane and bolster the Blackhawks’ offense, their defense corps wouldn’t be any different than it is right now. 

Another 80-plus point season on Paranin’s part will push him into the $10 million annually club. Maybe he would be willing to leave money on the table to return to Chicago. Time will tell. 



  1. As crazy as all that sounds as soon as the rebuild at the other two care defensemen positions is complete with departures of Seabrook and Keith, this could happen.
    It is not just the way he thrived with Kane, but the way Panarin was embraced and the organizations high standard of treating employees and the city’s Russian speaking population along with the way the hawk players treated Artemi are why he just might be homesick. The trade took him by surprised, and found out first hand how the Salary cap can bite a player and team if there isn’t give and take in fitting.
    This would be a really crazy turn, but we have seen that anyone can be traded, and maybe even anybody can return.

    • As a factoid, I don’t believe that my previous life experience includes reading a sentence where four of the first nine words were the word “as”.

      Thank you for today’s unique life experience and smile.


  2. JT,Keith, Seabrook,Crawford…big number guys seemingly in various stages of decline. Seems Bowman has to cap manage before he can really manage that roster.

    • The situation Chicago is in rite now is going to prevail on a bunch of upcoming teams with cap issues like the Jets. The demand for high salaries is creating teams to have 6-8 core players and rest farm team players who will be moved season after season because they cannot afford to pay them. Mark Stone at &7.35 mil. Ugly.

  3. And the Sens are a train wreck. ..every discussion sounds like guessing where the caboose lands.
    Ultimately. ..does the league step in and do something at sOme point?

    • I feel bad for their fans, even during the darkest Leaf fan days we never had to worry about them leaving.

      • A move has to be league approved…current ownership has displayed the inability to afford an NHL franchise. Does Bettman allow Mel a different market?

    • The Sens lost Game 7 of the Conference Finals 14 months ago. I have never seen the landscape of a team change so quickly

  4. only way to get the Bread Man back in a Hawks sweater, is if they can convince a team to take one of two contracts of Seabrook, Saad and/or Anisimov.

  5. chicago = overrated players who are over paid and grossly under perform – and it’s always a problem when a gm bowman tries to convince you how good his team is GOING to be next year. Talking with words, not actions is what the snake oil salesmen did in the old days.
    2016/17 = OUSTED in the first round by the Blues and bowman says this will NOT happen again.
    2017/18 = FAILED to even make the playoffs (bowman was right, they didn’t lose in the 1st round!).
    2018/19 = If bowman is trying to work toward having the 1st overall pick in 2019, that’s about the only area where he’s succeeding but chicago will probably give him the boot before he gets there.

    • You mean 2015/16 lost in seven to the Blues

      2016/17 swept by the preds on their run to the final. They only managed to score three goals in the four games b

  6. If Ottawa manages to trade Duchene, Karlsson, Stone, and Anderson (who requested a trade) sometime before the season or during the haul of 1st round picks and high quality prospects would be astronomical. There is no need to trade Bobby Ryan as his contract will be needed to hit the cap floor. If Ottawa was smart they would hit the reset button,blow it up, and give their fans a new crop of prospects to sell them on a future with their team, to go along with the new rink. Many Senators fans have simply just lost faith in ownership/management. Time to start fresh

    • If any team wants to completely blow it up like many suggest Ottawa does since trading those players will give them a great haul of 1st rounders but that’s no guarantee of future success and plus without the right vets to help shelter the young players, you just end up another Oilers.

    • I have said this on twitter and other places before.
      This is what I think is happing behind closed doors.
      The team is negotiating a sale which is impending contract negotiations/ trades.They are getting the two RFA taken care of short term to buy time for the sale.
      I think Melynk knows his time is up in Ottawa, he is getting what he can from this deal and getting out of town. The tipping point was his biggest money maker play refuseing to resign until he is gone. He knows the arena will be maybe half full for Montreal games at best if they trade Karlsson and the league won’t let him move because of his limited funds and the bullshit Melynk cost down in the states a couple years back when he sold another one of his companies.
      My guess within a year lebreton along with others will have baught the Sens made Daniel Alfredsson president of hockey operations. Karlsson/Duchene/ Stone resign and fix the team.
      I also believe the Anderson thing had nothing to do with the team. Notice how New York kept coming up? That’s where his wife was getting treatment. I hope I am wrong but I think it is along those lines why he asked for the trade.

  7. How can you say Ottawa can’t afford players or the owner can’t afford the team … Didn’t they just make a deal to get Duchesne and gave back draft picks and minor leaguers … that’s adding salary also don’t they have the worst contract in the league in Ryan again if they were struggling they would of bought him out a long time ago

    • For the life of me, I don’t know how you make the Duchene trade without knowing he will sign an extension immediately!!

    • Also has Boedker and Gabby if you’re talking bad contracts.My ex has a credit card but it doesn’t mean she can afford one..but to my point, the recent loan for near $140m and projected attendance slightly below a Tuesday afternoon 67’s game..I’ll stand by my assumption.

  8. Duchene trade Probably had something to do with the broken locker room dynamic, and behind the scenes stuff. Turris had some less than friendly comments about Melnyk post trade,and they needed a 1C

    • I don’t care what’s going on. They didn’t deal Hofmann until off season. This wasn’t a deadline deal done for a playoff push. Makes no sense unless you’re locking up Duchene long term

  9. I may be mistaken but wasn’t Turris on an expiring contract anyways? They got another year of having a 1C out of the deal?

    • But now they lose Duchene and 1st round pick +… You don’t trade a guy on expiring contract with intention of getting another guy that’ll walk!!

  10. Even if the Senators manage a new rink that isn’t in frickin Kanata, fans will just never be willing to trust the mutual relationship between fan and team if Melnyk is running it. Let’s be realistic, he is over Dorion’s shoulder telling him exactly what to do.

    The only thing that can begin the healing process is to have a change of ownership, a new rink closer to the centre of town, and for god’s sake, no Pierre Dorion.