NHL Rumor Mill – September 4, 2018

by | Sep 4, 2018 | Rumors | 58 comments

Latest on Erik Karlsson, William Nylander and Tyler Seguin in your NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro wondered if the recent 20-game suspension of defenseman Nate Schmidt might push the Vegas Golden Knights toward acquiring Ottawa Senators blueliner Erik Karlsson. They believe the Golden Knights must do something to replace Schmidt, who led the club in time on ice per game last season. Micallef took note of the previous trade rumors linking the Golden Knights to Karlsson. Seixeiro feels if this doesn’t bring Karlsson to Vegas it never will, adding now’s the time to make that move with Ottawa.

Could Nate Schmidt’s suspension push the Vegas Golden Knights to revisit their interest in Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible but I don’t see Golden Knights GM George McPhee using Schmidt’s suspension as justification to pull off a blockbuster move. Yes, the absence of a minute-munching defenseman like Schmidt for 20 games is a problem, but he’s no Karlsson. Unless the Senators reduce what’s believed to be their expensive asking price, making that deal would look like a panic move by the Golden Knights.

I expect McPhee will evaluate his roster during training camp and preseason play, focusing on the young defensemen within his system. I daresay he’ll also keep an eye on the waiver wire and the trade market for affordable help.


TORONTO STAR:  Damien Cox notes the clock’s ticking on the Toronto Maple Leafs getting restricted free agent forward William Nylander under contract before training camp opens next week.

While this situation suggests a bridge contract for Nylander, Cox notes Nylander has some bargaining power, pointing out Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad and Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (taken ahead of Nylander in the 2014 NHL Draft) and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers (selected after Nylander) have big-salary contracts.

He feels Ehler’s $6 million annual salary could be a tad low for Nylander. Still, a bridge deal could also work to Nylander’s favor as it could set him up to negotiate for substantially more in two years time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: New contracts next summer for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner likely factor into the Leafs’ approach to Nylander’s negotiations. He could end up with a short-term contract with the promise of a more lucrative deal down the road after they’ve sorted out new deals for Matthews and Marner.

Nylander does have some negotiating power but the Leafs ultimately hold the hammer. He’s coming off an entry-level contract and didn’t have arbitration rights this summer. 





  1. All the speculation about Nylander is moot, he’s a RFA has no rights. The GM’s around the league should use the CBA to their advantage, you have time use it.

    • So $8.5m/yr should do the job.
      You dont play hardball with your top players. Not unless you want Tavares have to pass the puck to Connor Brown.

      Next year Toronto to will have $40m invested in 4 players

      • I would have zero issues with Connor Brown playing on Tavares’s RW, he looked good playing RW with Matthews for a good portion of his rookie year. Connor Brown is a solid developing 2-way player that plays hard defensive minutes & kills penalties. He has also shown if deployed in an offensive role he can produce at a respectable rate. He doesn’t have anywhere near Nylander’s offensive game, no where near the same class but Nylander doesn’t have Brown’s defensive game either.

        Brown will kill penalties on the #1 unit this season with the loss of Komorov. He has been in the top 3 in PK TOI/GP in Tor since entering the league 2 years ago nominally behind Hyman & Komorov.

        He still has far more to give offensively but again he will never post Nylander offensive #’s but his contribution may serve Tor’s needs far better than Nylander’s & be more impactful in if they win or lose especially come playoff time. A ton of heart doesn’t punish people but plays hockey tieing up players, taking away lanes, etc. defensively.

        Would be happy to have him on my team as a 20 goal scorer playing a 3rd line defensive role. When looking at the business side of things his salary expectations being significantly lower than Nylanders he may provide better value down the road.

      • don’t be silly learn from hawks who gave many players away because of their big 4

      • that sounds right 6 maybe 7 mil if he’s playing for any other team but he’s a leaf so according to all leafs fans he’s worth that much more

    • What do you mean? How would you use it ?

      • If RFA’s don’t sign by a certain date, I believe it’s Dec. 1st, they have to sit the whole season.

      • They can play just not in the playoffs I believe.

        I just rely on the facts for such things. Very few players are unsigned come opening day since the cap was implemented in 2004-05. Trouba was the last holding out for 22 games it solved nothing. Subban held out for 4 games in 2012-13 the lockout season before accepting his 2-year bridge deal. I can’t further back.

        Players coming out of their ELC’s have ZERO leverage all they can do is withhold services & this doesn’t help or make it better. That said following such they hold the hammer & can force retribution if so desired. That certainly appears to be playing out in Win with Trouba but that story hasn’t been fully written yet.

      • & it might be Dec 31st.

    • Like I’ve said all along, it doesn’t matter how much leverage or what rights he doesn’t have there is no way the Leafs are going to low ball him. He’s going to get 8 years for 7.5-8.5.

      • I see no way where the Leafs give Nylander 8 years…this is just my personal opinion but I believe they want him on a bridge of 2-3 years and as Shannahan said we are going to have to trade good players in the future…this is what they want to do with Nylander.

        The only other scenario that I see holding things up is either Nylander demanding/wanting the 8 years or the Leafs are trying to do Mathews, Nylander and Marner at once and I simply can’t see that happening either.

    • Of course he has rights. He doesn’t have to sign anything. He will get a deal in line with his peers relative to his production.

      • Well, those deals are all over the map. He will sign what is acceptable to Tor or he will be sitting for a very long time.

        What player on his ELC or coming out of it last withheld his services for more than Trouba’s recent 22 game hold out in 2016-17.

        Tor wouldn’t really miss a beat without Nylander no slight to Nylander. I like this player a ton offensively & he will get better defensively. Kapanen & Brown would just see better quality ice time another player would get to play on the 3rd or 4th line replacing them.

        Kucherov signed a bridge for 3 years, I’d say that worked out fine for him. Subban signed 1 for 2 years withholding his services for 4 games in 2012-13 & is still the highest paid D-man in the NHL by cap hit until Doughty’s kicks in next season.

        Others have signed longer term deals, 5 years to 8. Tor paying Nylander 8 years at up to 8.5 today may not be the best course of action until they lock up Matthews & Marner, bridging him helps buy time.

        I bridge every time if able then sign long term with players 2 years from UFA status. I don’t want to be in a position to have to sign any player long-term in there late 20’s to early 30’s. Like everything in life, there are exceptions to every rule or preference.

        Win did this forcing a bridge on Trouba coming out of his ELC & so far hasn’t been able to get him locked up long term & he’s 2 seasons from UFA status, this season’s salary & cap hit locked in by an arbitration settlement & he can’t be extended until January 1st at the earliest now.

        This is a great example of the player now using his leverage. He took his 2-year low ball bridge but he appears to have a plan to get exactly what he wants now long term. This is the downside risk but very few players have forced the issue they have just been extended long-term following the bridge.

        Some have been moved following the long-term signing but again most have stayed happily. You tell me what you feel is the better scenario? For me, it’s whatever keeps the stud player with my team the longest at a salary acceptable to me.

      • He has those rights and he would be very naive to use them. How about we compare him to Kucherov instead of Draisaitl?
        Draisaitl is a center, was PPG during the season and a monster in the playoffs.
        Ekblad won the calder (how’s that signing looking for Florida?)

        Nylander can’t be put ahead of team requirements right now, the management has leverage and they should use it. Leafs aren’t winning a cup with 4 guys earning 8M – 12M, which btw is the ultimate goal

      • Draisaitl is a C now but he has played more games as McDavid’s RW so far in his brief NHL career than as a C. Nylander was drafted as a C but has never played the position nor will any time soon.

        C’s are generally paid more than C’s unless we are talking about the best of the best.

  2. Has Karlssons agent been seen anywhere? Would think he’d have to hammer out a new deal wherever his client is going. Maybe Karlsson has no interest in going to Vegas, or he’d probably had been dealt already.

  3. Hi Lyle 20 games

    • A 20-Goal suspension would certainly be interesting. The player can play, but his next 20 goals get waived off…

  4. Blake Wheeler just signed for 8.25 and hes a much better player than Nylander. 6.5 to 7 is probably a better number for him.

    • Apples and oranges can’t compare the contracts of these 2 players.

      Wheeler is 32 with 1 year remaining before that 5 year deal kicks in with 10 years of NHL experience 1 year from UFA status. Win is buying UFA years & that’s always expensive.

      Nylander has 2 years of NHL experience coming out of his ELC. That limits the monies as he is 4 years from UFA status. Doesn’t even have arbitration rights today. He shouldn’t get anywhere near Wheeler type monies yet, he could coming out of his bridge as he has far more developing to do at 22 years of age with only 185 NHL regular season games played.

      If he signs long term now, a good comparison may be Pastrnak 6 years at 6.6 or Ehler’s at 7 years at 6. Both these contracts were signed a year ago & inflation is running in the double digits so the monies may reflect such. If near 5 years cap hit will be lower 6.5ish if maxed at 8 substantially higher in or around 8 mil per. A swing of about 1.5 mil in cap hit, possibly 2.

      • If Nylander signs a 2-year bridge deal the monies could be at or near 5.

      • Striker I like Kapenen more than most Leaf fans and more than the coach I would guess….

        What would be Nylander’s value in terms of defense men who might be credibly available

        How do feel about the relative value of Kapenen and Nylander….

      • Striker: Nylander is 5 years from UFA status since he played under 40 NHL games his rookie year. He won’t be 27 until 23/24.

      • Van.

        Thank you even better for Tor.

      • I agree that the contracts are apples and oranges Striker but for a slightly different reason. I suspect in the mind of Win it’s more like, he’s worth 10 – 11 in the first year or two then less as it goes on for an avg value of 8 ish. Nylander’s calculus would likely be he’s worth 5 – 6 in year one and likely more in each year after until he levels out. So the averages may not be as dramatically different once calculated.

      • Old Blue Dog.

        I like Kapanen as well, just following a far more conventional development curve & the business side of the game has held him back. On many teams in the NHL he would be far more advanced already.

        Solid Dman are expensive see Hall for Larsson. Nylander isn’t yet Hall but far less NHL experience than when Hall was traded. We see so few solid Dman traded how do you value. Hamilton just moved, Vatanen moved, Hamonic moved but D movement is rare at the top end of the depth chart. Lesser 1’s move around but the trade market for solid D doesn’t provide many comparables.

        Few teams are giving up the quality of Dman most feel Tor needs & the asset coming back has very little to do with it. No harder position to fill & with another round of expansion forming better to wait until following.

        Tor is addressing their need internally as most teams have & that takes a ton of time but its evolving & getting better with each passing game.

      • Wow. Homer much? Guess what… not everyone desires to play in Toronto. Let alone guys from somewhere other than toronto. You know the Matthew’s, Nylanders, and Anderssen’s of the sports world… but dont worry, McDavid will pull out of his contract and demand a trade to Toronto for less money.

        You are the reason Canadian sports fans hate toronto teams.

  5. Happy for Blake Wheeler to get his due…underrated player for many years. As a Bruins fan it’s hard not to think of him on the wing in Boston. Got me thinking of what a team of active, former Bruins might look like. Could actually assemble a decent squad, though defensive depth would be lacking.

    Wheeler Seguin Kessel
    L. Eriksson Thornton Rick Nash
    Lucic Riley Nash R. Smith
    Spooner Soderberg B. Connelly
    Spare: Votrano, Sabotka, Schaller

    Hamilton C. Miller
    Boychuk J. Morrow
    Seidenberg Hunwick
    Spare: Lindgren, O’Gara

    M. Jones
    C. Johnson
    Spare: Khudobin Subban

    Am I missing anyone?

  6. There’s a reason Nylander isn”t signed to Ekblad and Draisaitl money… cause he’s not worth that and Toronto knows it.

    He isn’t a bad player by any means but he has inflated numbers with Matthews. He’s no Marner either.

    I think anything over 6 is a reach for this guy! And Toronto will regret that down the road. Package him with a draft pick, prospect and McDermott for a real defenceman

    • Yes I agree!! Nurse from Edmonton would be great

      • The Leafs aren’t trading Nylander at this time.
        Tavares was brought in by proposing Marner on his wing. They aren’t taking away Matthews’ winger in this situation by trading Nylander.

        My prediction is that Nylander won’t be traded and will be bridged.

      • & here I thought Tor gave Tavares 70.89 in signing bonus monies out of his 77 mil contract as a significant reason for choosing Tor. Well, that & wanting to go home. Those guaranteed monies being paid out in lump sums on July 1 were a significant motivator I assume, they would have been for me.

    • Using the Dobber model I’m going list 2 comparables. Here is each players #’s on their ELC’s. You tell me which 1 is worth more money.

      Player A.

      Played 191 regular season games on his ELC posting 50 goals & 137 points. His TOI/GP played in those 3 years were 3318:17, PP TOI/GP was 490:27.

      This player saw 1st line ice time & PP time.

      Player B.

      Played 185 regular season games on his ELC scoring 48 goals & 135 points. His TOI/GP over those 3 years were 3024:53, PP TOI/GP 415:57.

      This player played 1/2 his time on the 1st line but significant portions with others & saw 2nd line PP time.

      Which player is more valuable & what 2 players am I referring to?

      • I know player A is Draisaitl. Not sure who player B is yet.

      • Nylander is player B.

      • Draisaitl is more valuable to his team seeing that he is second on the depth chart and second line centre. Nylander is third, at the highest, on the Leafs depth chart. He is also more of a support player on his line than the one who will carry the play.
        Beside, if you look at their playoff points you can see who steps up when needed. BTW Draisaitl didn’t play with McDavid in the playoffs.

      • Draisaitl also played 40+ games his rookie season before CMD was drafted and before he got sent back to jr where he was in well over his head. But those games should be part of his time on CMDs wing….

  7. I agree with Twin on the analysis his numbers are inflated playing with Matthews. Everyone in Toronto management can see that, and so can Nylander’s agent. Im sure his agent will swing for the fences as Draisaitl’s did, but noone in Toronto is that naive. Most likely a bridge deal at 4.5 for 2 years happens.

    • Lol 4.5 mill for a winger in the top 12 or so in every offensive category for the position and in the top 20 of guys playing in th nhl up to the point in time he is at…and Mathews numbers are much better with Nylander than without not sure who is inflating whos numbers but I don’t think I agree

  8. Wheeler term is fine, money is too much.

    • Wheeler did end up giving the jets a home town discount. Congrats!

      • LOL Chrism, his 3rd year in people be saying can’t get rid of that contract.

      • He would have gotten 7 years on the open market. His money is about right but he gave up two years. That says something about how he feels about playing in peg.

    • Hi Caper

      Sort of on board with you here.

      I’m OK with amount per if shorter contract . I see a potential issue with that large a cap hit in years 3 & 4.

      His Cap hit for 19/20 & 20/21…. no issues here

      So for me … same term at lower AAV …. good to go; same AAV but for 3 years max…. also good to go

      “Tom ay toe” / “Tom ahh toe”

      • Sorry meant years 4&5

      • Musky toe or Mosquito

      • I was fully expecting 8M x 5 years or 6M x 8 years. Think I mentioned that in a comment last month too.
        That’s fair price for Wheeler – and yes, like all other such contracts the last two years will be a burden. However, the Jets are in win now mode and the next 5 years is their window – they had to keep Wheeler.

        On a side note, Wheeler should have been a candidate for the Hart this year.

      • Caper

        Of course it’s Musky Toe!! 🙂

    • It’s palatable as it’s only for 5 years taking him through his age 37 season. Would have preferred 5 at less but a reasonable settlement for both parties.

      Like Chrisms states had he chosen to sell his services to the highest bidder he would have gotten more money & more term as a UFA this summer.

      Not ideal but good accommodation for both parties. The question is what this means for Trouba & Myers as the kids will be retained.

      • Striker

        Hard to see both Meyers & Trouba extended. Expecting more in trade return for Trouba …. better candidate to flip IMO… they just can’t flip him for futures tho … great team now and for next few years …. prospects that will be NHL regs in 4 years not the answer… need roster spot coming back.

  9. Sorry late to the game again today.

    I know I’ve posted many times before … but I have to say it again …. Bridge please for Nylander (Wee Willy –WW)

    The penultimate power right now is with Dubas. If Dubas signs WW to long term contract …. Dubas then loses substantial negotiating power wrt AM & MM contracts.

    As posted above …. holdouts rare and many end up with bridge show me contracts (promise of lucrative long term after)

    Bridge gets at least 2 more years in prime rather than 8 now and then risky decision on 8 year further extension (at 29/30) carrying into late 30’s.

    Leafs loaded in Fwd talent … hold out if it happens…is not going to be costly.

    Agree Striker … Browny with Tavares …. not too shabby

    Re: EK in Vegas now ramped up due to loss of Schmidt…. don’t see them moving on a deal just for that reason … if they offer again …, they were going to do so anyway

    They have options and most surround increasing TOI of their “now” top 4 and then bringing up a taxi/7th-8thD… Whitecloud? Reinhart? Hague? Brannerstrom? Whoever shines in pre-season

    Re : Wheeler … I’ve no issues/concerns with $8.25M for first three years … years 4&5 could prove dicy tho IMO

    Great player

    If Laine hits another 40+ goals …. pressure is on re AAV

  10. Interesting listening to Wheeler on the radio today about what contribute to his success at his age; one of the things he pointed to was he started to work with Adam Oates 3yrs ago. Mark Scheifele also works with Oates. I think more players will be looking to see what Oates is selling; maybe quick Oates?

    • Ha-ha! Are those Oates Gluten free?

      • As long as they’re not instant Oates …. that would just be unfathomable .

        Must be made from scratch!!!

    • Oates knows skill development like few others.

  11. Blake Wheeler age 32 -5 years 8.5 a year wow, what a bad move

  12. I was working so I apologize for the late comments, but I may be a select minority that think Wheeler contract is awesome. It sets the bar for top end talent in Winnipeg to be measured against, regardless of if its an apples and oranges type thing. In any company pay is determined for others in contrast of their top guys. I think Wheeler is one of those guys who like Joe Thornton can play solid hockey in their late 30s, and is an exception to the rule not the standard. It also speaks to the Jets organization the fact their two biggest superstars did not go to UFA, that its obviously a good place to play. Winnipeg as a city compared to the rest of the league is crap, so why do people continually resign for less value than they could potentially get as a UFA? They’re doing something right, and signing their Captain long term for an honestly fair deal is just one of those things.

  13. Unfortunately Damien Cox doesn’t watch enough hockey to have an educated comment on Ehlers. When on the ice, Ehlers often owns the play offensively and defensively with his speed and vision. Nylander has the talent and may possibly get to that level, but it isn’t yet.