NHL Rumor Mill – August 6, 2018

by | Aug 6, 2018 | Rumors | 44 comments

Reviewing Sportsnet’s recent update on this summer’s notable unsigned RFAs in your NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently examined the status of this summer’s noteworthy unsigned restricted free agents.

William Nylander hopes to ink a long-term contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo via NHL Images)

Center William Nylander hopes to ink a long-term extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He said he intends to take it day-by-day and see what happens, adding he hasn’t thought about the possibility of still being unsigned when training camp opens next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Still plenty of time for Nylander and the Leafs to reach an agreement. Still, if there’s no deal in place when the calendar flips to September, we’ll likely start hearing a lot more speculation over his status. Some observers suggest the Leafs trade Nylander for an upgrade on defense. His name could surface in the trade rumor mill if he’s not re-signed by the time training camp starts in mid-September.  

The Detroit Red Wings and center Dylan Larkin are working on a five- or six-year contract. He’s confident he’ll be signed before training camp begins. The Wings only have around $2.8 million in cap space, meaning they’ll have to shed a salary after signing Larkin to be cap compliant when the season opens in October.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s talk Larkin could get between $5.5 – $6 million annually on his next contract. They’ll get over $3.9 million in cap relief by placing Johan Franzen on LTIR at the start of the season, but as Fox points out, they’ll still have to find a way to free up cap room before then. 

Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving doesn’t foresee any difficulties getting recently acquired defenseman Noah Hanifin under contract. The club recently freed up salary-cap space by buying out winger Troy Brouwer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanifin is the Flames’ only remaining free agent. As per Cap Friendly, they’ve got over $7 million in cap room. The only sticking point here is how much he wants and how much (and for how long) the Flames are willing to pay. I’ve got a feeling he’ll get a long-term deal with an annual cap hit over $5.5 million. 

Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill last week said there was no updates on forward Sam Reinhart’s contract situation. Reinhart’s name surfaced at times last season in trade rumors. Botterill doesn’t view re-signing the young forward as a difficult situation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart exceeded 40 points in each of his three NHL seasons, but he tends to be a streaky scorer. That could lead to him getting a bridge deal. 

Anaheim Ducks center Ondrej Kase is due a significant raise over last season’s $670K cap hit. The Ducks have around $8.7 million in remaining cap space with Nick Ritchie also to re-sign.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m guessing Kase gets a two- or three-year contract worth around $3 million per season. 

With just under $5 million in salary-cap space, the Edmonton Oilers could be forced to go with a short-term deal for defenseman Darnell Nurse.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a salary-dumping trade by the Oilers to clear more cap room, Nurse could end up with a two-year contract worth around $4 million annually with the promise of a lucrative long-term agreement down the road. 

Fox wonders if Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey will accept a two-year bridge deal in hopes of landing a more lucrative deal after that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That might be the best move for Morrissey and the Jets, who must also re-sign Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor next summer.  

Barring a big trade, defenseman Shea Theodore should be a key part of the Vegas Golden Knights blueline for years. Theodore was mentioned as part of the rumored return in a proposed trade for Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, “but those talks have stalled if not disappeared.” Cap space isn’t an issue for the Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Golden Knights could still be interested in Karlsson, recent remarks by GM George McPhee about possibly adding a forward at some point during next season suggests his interests have changed. I also think McPhee is keen to retain Theodore, who should blossom into a reliable top-pairing rearguard. 



  1. Leafs

    Please do not sign Wee Willy (WW) to an 8 year contract … bridge is best if you are keeping him

    I’ve posted my arguments on this several times …. Bridge deals ensure you have the athelete for 13 or 14 total years before the risky 8 year extension thereafter when athelete is at/near 30 years old.

    If Leafs bridge now for 2 ; then sign for 8…. they’ve got him until 32 and can decide against extending if play declines.

    However signing him to 8 now… risky decision on an 8 year extension after that (from age 30-38)

    There is also the possibility (however small) in play tapering over the next 2 years. Then Leafs don’t have to sign for as high.

    The only risk is if WW goes absolutely gangbusters and then the 8 year contract to be paid two years from now is that much more…. lower risk IMO… and he’d still be RFA then.

    The other isssue with extending him by 8 now … Leafs lose all power of negotiation on AM and MM as a precedent has been set

    The negotiation power right now all lies with ownership.

    That aside , I stick with my other repeated set of posts wrt Leafs . I’ve been waiting now 50+ years. This city deserves a cup. However, IMO Leafs must make a move on defence.

    Leafs will shoot the lights out and will battle in reg season for Div lead if not conference lead. The team with current and upcoming defenders however, IMO, is not built to get to SCF let alone win it.

    With that in mind… WW an excellent trade componentfor aquiring that needed DMan

    I’m not blind to the fact that my opinion on this is in the minority. However, it is one belief that I’m very strong on.

    Leafs(just like my ask of Jack Johnson for this upcoming year) please please please prove me wrong


      • Gary

        Any deal that ends with Parayko in a Leafs jersey is absolute music to my ears.

        I truly believe he will be top 2D for Canada at next Olympics

        He’s the real deal. St L is highly unlikely to part with him but the deal you propose IMO is reasonable.

        This won’t happen as it includes Parayko as a Leaf…. a dream of mine…. my dreams don’t come true 🙁

        I will hold out hopes though

    • I agree with you Pengy
      The leafs have no choice in my opinion, they have to bridge him. I would guess he will get around 3 million per for 2 seasons. They can see where they are after next season and decide if they want to move forward with him long term or trade him.

      • Flame Fan

        Even if he gets $5M or even $5.5 M for two years… much better to bridge for sure …. OR package for Parayko (my dream) … see above

    • Pengy, I think if the Leafs were to sign Willy to a bridge deal they may be shooting themselves in the foot. I understand it gives them rights over players for longer periods but I think bridge deals are best for players that may have over achieved or who’s scoring totals have been a little inconsistent. At only 22 I think Willy still has lots of room to grow especially considering the 2 guys he’s mostly played with (Hyman/Matthews) are still relatively fresh faces in this league as well. I think the possibility of his totals going up on a bridge deal is much more realistic than going down. Therefor, if you can sign him now for (And these are just rough estimates) 8 years at 6-7 million, you do it. Because if those totals go up and his overall game improves, which at 22 years old I think it will, he may ask for 8-10 million in a couple years from now. And with a 2 year bridge + and 8 year deal, the 2 extra years your getting are age 30-32 when a player usually starts declining a tad. And while it’s great to think ahead, I wouldn’t spend too much time worrying about what he might want for a contract 8 years from now.

      I do agree that trading Willy is their best chance at acquiring a legit d-man but I would wait. There’s no rush right now. With such a young core I think this team still has 2-3 years to really figure out what they have. It might not look like they have a young stud in the minors but dmen can take a while to develop and you really can’t judge what you have until they actually make that jump to the NHL and play meaningful minutes. Imo, they should sign Willy for 8 years now at the best price they can get and a couple years down the road if they know they need a top piece on the backend, they’ll have a really good young trade chip in Nylander, who I believe would have more value as an established player

      • NBLeafsguy

        Your points have great merit. I see your point re $’s paid at 30-32 as a risk.

        Signing 8 year two years from now vs 8 year starting this fall will cost a little more per if he keeps at current pace and could as you pointed out (if he absolutely goes gangbusters) as much as almost 2 more per than now…. so up to $16 M more over term (starting in two years) but a bridge now would be at $2 M or more less than 8 year rate now…that’s $4M and therefore the most he could cost Leafs extra over now 10 years is an extra $12M. That’s if he’s gone gangbusters.

        The flip side of him going gangbusters is that knowing his value has sky-rocketed in 1 1/2 to 2 years… so has his trade value (my contention always being that Leafs have to address the D situation).

        There is a very minuscule chance that WW’s play dimishes … new contract in 2 years cheaper. Highly unlikely but a chance all the same.

        With the logic I’ve laid out; IMO worth the risk doing bridge.

        The biggest factor however is that if the Leafs give him 8 now… Leafs have absolutely no negotiation leverage on MM or AM…. none whatsoever.

        Bridge and stand pat… (1)re-up for 8 after bridge or (2) trade for D after bridge; or (3) sign cheaper/shorter if somehow play diminishes; or (4)trade now in package for a D…. Note: I don’t think Faulk is the D answer for Leafs tho.

      • I completely agree regarding Faulk. I think he’s a good player but he’s not the type of guy the Leafs need. They need an old fashioned shut down dman. Someone who will block shots, clear bodies away from the front of the net, throw some checks, and eat big minutes. And I don’t think the Leafs need to trade young players or prospects for someone who doesn’t bring much more to the table than Gardiner

    • Why does Toronto deserve a Stanley cup? Because their fans spent 5 decades paying the highest ticket prices in the league for a mediocre on ice product? Because their fans buy any piece of crap that has a leafs logo on it? Toronto doesn’t deserve a cup any more than any other team. Teams that come the closest to actually deserving a cup are the ones that are managed properly from the players to the office, to the ownership. The teams that are constantly giving back to the community not just monetarily but they have thei player out meeting the fans. They visit sick kids in hospitals and donate equipment and time to underprivileged kids. Just because there are more fans in Toronto and media types does not mean the deserve a damn thing.

      • “This city (Toronto) deserves a cup …”

        That kinda caught my eye too Deee. I’ve seen it before, however – many times. I don’t know what they base that on – perhaps the fact their fans have waited 5 decades for a cup win? Nut so have St. Louis fans. So what?

        I don’t think anyone can say the fans of any team “deserve” a cup. It will come to those who can combine the right amount of management/coaching acumen, players willing to pay the price of a grueling playoff run – and just plain dumb-s*&t luck.

      • Let’s get this straight. The fans don’t pay the high ticket prices, corporations due. They buy most of the season tickets, don’t care what it costs and then gets a tax break to boot. The NHL as a whole is largely funded by corporations.

      • man if I could post GIF’s on this site it would be Awesome/Disastrous.

      • LOL

        Nice clip … no one quite as cool as Clint with his one liners

  2. Aquiring Theodore at the expansion draft may be the most under rated moves McPhee has made. Its hard enough to dradt and develop a good young defenceman, Theodore is a potential minute eating stud.

    • He had a rough finals though … he looked like he was out of gas… eating minutes is fine, but he needs to improve yet.

      • Ed

        I truly believe that was an anomaly. I can’t see that performance as likely happening again. Theo, IMO, is a star on the rise.

      • I agree. Theodore could have been better in the Finals but his celing is very high. Knights struck gold with him I believe.

      • Shea might be the hold up in a deal for EK- maybe Vegas will not deal him.

        I thought EK to Vegas was done deal when Perron/Neal walked with thinking that Bobby Ryan comes in the deal.

      • That’s who the Sens should be shooting for in a Karlsson deal. Ask for Theodore & Cody Glass. Worth a shot.

        The asking price for Parayko is probably sky high. Blues could pit teams like Toronto and Edmonton against one another. I’m sure there’s others teams as well. Ask for Draisaitl or Marner and just wait it out. Nylander won’t get it done.

    • Ron,

      McPhee did an excellent job via expansion draft; some moves prudent and purposeful and others sereptiuosly (Karlsson ) proved to be gargantuan boons.

      I concur that the move to get Theo was his best. He did benefit from Anaheim having to protect other young D further along in development … but a fantastic move.

      If McPhee is still in the hunt for EK however, Theo will be the key roster player coming back in the package deal though.

      • That’s who the Sens should be shooting for in a Karlsson deal. Ask for Theodore & Cody Glass. Worth a shot.

        You haven’t been paying attention. Ottawa already asked for Glass, which is what killed any possible deal at the deadline. Including Theodore on top is absolutely absurd.

    • Getting Haula and Tuc wasn’t bad either.
      How about Reilly and Marchessault?

      • Taz

        Yep … all fantastic scoops. Even with the haul he got… and I knew it was ripe with talent…. I didn’t see them being anywhere near as successful as they were. Once again happy to be proved wrong.

        McPhee did some very good moves and threw out some very successful bluffs … great job.

        Theo acquisition was great.

        Seattle will be under same rules but now teams will be strategizing better with contracts and rosters… can’t see Seattle building as successful a team as McPhee did.

        He’s also got great prospects who’ve yet to play a single NHL game (Glass, Suzuki, Whitecloud, Hague).

        …. and also has 4 goalies under AHL contracts… not sure what he’s going to do there?

  3. Bridging or trading Nylander may be the best move for Toronto. Have him for a couple more seasons at a reasonable rate while he maxes out his developement or use him to obtain a piece of the puzzle they’re missing.
    The Leafs are running the risk of having too many similar type players on their roster. They will never have any playoff success when all their top players not named Tavares could be nicknamed Cottonelle because theyre so soft.
    Leafs are resembling the Capitals of old, great regular season players that disappear when the heavy hitting of the playoffs begins.

    • I agree with your basic idea….but I think there is a lot of time ….a year maybe more to sort it out….they may do well this year, but there are better teams in their division and in the East….but as a Leaf fan of over 50 years I can give time for Dubas/Shanahan to change some of their forward assets to defense assets …

      • Old Blue Dog

        You and I must have gone to school together…. concur concur concur

        I’ve also been patient for 50+ years… we must have gone to school together. LOL

        I can remember staying up past bed time to watch ’67 cup games with my dad.

        My Dad has passed now but my own kids (now all in their mid 20’s) have been waiting their whole lives for a cup …. they are impatient

    • RJ

      Yes , Yes, and more Yes.


    • It’s fine to say Nylander needs a bridge deal but if he doesn’t agree he can hold out until he gets closer to what he wants. A 22 year old with 185 games and 0.72 ppg is worth more than 3-4 mill a year. I would not be surprised if he gets close to Draisaitl money. He should be playing centre and would be on a lot of other teams. Unless Parayko asks for a trade he’s not going anywhere.

  4. Where have the Justin Faulk rumours gone? All was silent on the Skinner front until. WHAM! He’s off to BUF! Faulk would look great in blue and white.

    Would C. Brown, #1 2019 and prospect A. Borgman get a deal done?

    • Faulk would definetely be an upgrade for the Leafs blueline. Worth a 1st round pick.

      • A 1st rounder (picking between 20-25) where the Leafs will prolly be) isn’t worth that. I would want a quality roster that helps now rather than player that a potential player that is 2-3 yrs away from NHL. Canes have a good D corps, I would think they want a good FW or goalie for J.Faulk

      • I’d offer Dingbat Don Waddell a conditional 3rd for Faulk … he may just bite. All kidding aside, def worth a first from the Leafs, that pick will be really low.

      • Nobody called him dingbat Don when he swapped Hanifin for Hamilton…I’d offer Nylander and a third for Faulk…solve the point and contractual issues.I just can’t see the leafs holding all of these forwards together for the long term anyway.
        If they’re making a serious run for it now,they need the breakout Dman.

  5. Blake Wheeler 23g-68a-91pts his highest point total of his career. He’ll turn 32 August 31st and a UFA next season.
    Start of the 2019-20 season he’ll be 33yrs of age, if he keeps the same totals what’s his worth as a 33yr old UFA? I would do 3yrs @ 6m per and additional year the average drop 4yrs @ $5m per

    • That would be a great contract for the team – but he is at least looking at being paid as much as the teams highest paid player – maybe less if there is term their until he 37-38. He has proven himself capable of putting up ~70 points consistently over the past number of years – he is a leader – he may take a discount to stay in WPG but that is hard to say. If he were to hit the open market his salary will be well over 7 mil per even at his age.

      Never underestimate GMs abilities to make horrendous financial decisions come July 1

    • Giving a player like this term is what sets back teams for years … Jets would be best served by letting him play and then see what happens, most likely he walks … there are always going to be free agents out there every off season to replace whoever leaves.

      • Thats the trap many teams fall into. Rewarding a player for past performanes, not what they may be able to provide in their mid to late thirties.
        Wheeler is a very good player but at age 33 Winnipeg needs to be wary of term more than actual dollars.

    • The Jets should do what the Blues did with Backes, let him walk if he wants too much term, which he will as somebody will pay. Not the same player, but reality is that age gets everybody.
      To quote the Patriots, probably Bilichek, “I would rather move them a year too early than a year too late.”
      The exception being Brady, which is why Bilichek wanted to kepp Garropolo.
      Jets won’t be able to keep everybody, just the reality of the cap world. Keep the younger guys.

  6. I personally think negotiations will start around a 4 year 7.5 mil per season, maybe even 8. For the kind of player and leader Wheeler is that is still a deal on his part. He has been Winnipegs MVP since being named captain and I feel the risk in regards to age with him is minor. His playmaking ability especially on that top Powerplay unit is extraordinary, and his chemistry with Scheifele both on and off the ice has been great. At some point I expect Scheifele to take over the leadership reins in Winnipeg and really whatever they have to do to keep those two together while the young core (including Scheifele) continues their development the Jets ultimately will do.

  7. If they do not sign Wheeler, what other options do they have via free agency that they wont have to overpay for on a comparable player? Winnipeg is not a dream destination for anyone, as there are better cities and climates out there for players and their families. Mark Stone, a Winnipeg boy, is the only one that comes to mind. Would he take a discount deal to come home? 6 years 9 million per? 8 years at 8?

  8. Young stud defencemen are so hard to come by. Pietrangelo is approaching 30 years of age and the Blues have been too intelligent in team building lately to let go their future on defence for an upgrade on offence. The Blues are stacked on offence now already, and have Jordan Kyrou, Klim Kostin and Robert Thomas waiting in the wings. Not to mention a hopefully healthy Robby Fabbri. It would be one of the worst trades to date, unless you had a Tavares coming back in return. Then, still, I think they are well built enough.

    Shea Theodore is another prime example. He has the potential to be a top pairing stud and is younger than Karlsson, less injury prone so far than Karlsson, has no baggage attached to him whatsoever (being in Ottawa seems to be enough), and it would be dumb for McPhee to give that up for a player who is a stud now but won’t be in three to five years. Vegas can still ice a competitive team without Karlsson, they made the finals without him after all.

    Let your top D-men grow and never give them up… just look at Montreal with Sergachev.

    • In 5 years Theodore still won’t be half the player Karlsson is!! I wouldn’t call him injury prone either. He got cut by a skate, a freak accident that could’ve happened to anyone. He had off season surgery to fix a fractured ankle, an injury he played through and still carried his team to 1 goal from going to finals. Would love to see him on Rangers… I’m betting on him going to Calgary

      • As a Calgarian and Flames fan I would love to see Karlsson here, but I would imagine the cost to acquire him, and retain him, would be so great as to destroy the depth of the team that was just strengthened this off-season.