NHL Rumor Mill – October 22, 2018

by | Oct 22, 2018 | Rumors | 71 comments

Updates on the Lightning, Predators and Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith recently examined the coming salary-cap crunch facing Julien BriseBois, the new general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. They have over $67 million invested in 13 players for 2019-20 with forwards Brayden Point (restricted free agent) and Yanni Gourde (unrestricted free agent)  due for new contracts next summer, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in 2020.

One agent speculates Point could get $6-$7 million annually on a long-term deal and around $5 million annually on a bridge contract. Another, however, believes Florida’s low taxes means the Lightning could get him on a light deal. Smith suggests Gourde could get between $4-$6 million on the open market. One agent isn’t sure if the Lightning can afford to re-sign him, suggesting he could get $6 million annually if he hits 25 goals again.

The Lightning cannot open contract talks with Vasilevskiy until next July at the earliest, but Smith feels it would be wise to lock him up as soon as possible.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ryan Callahan could become a salary-cap casualty next summer. (Photo via NHL Images)

Smith speculates veteran forward Ryan Callahan ($5.8 million salary-cap hit through 2019-20) could become a cost-cutting candidate via trade or contract buyout next June. He carries a modified no-trade clause. Callahan frequently surfaced in this summer’s rumor mill with speculation linking him to his former club (New York Rangers) and his hometown team (Buffalo Sabres) but he was never approached about waiving his clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBois doesn’t have to make any significant roster cuts this season unless his club falls out of playoff contention by the February trade deadline. He could perhaps make a move or two that improves his club while shedding salary but that type of deal could be difficult to pull off during the season.

The Lightning must also re-sign or replace pending UFA defensemen Dan Girardi, Braydon Coburn, and Anton Stralman, which could also complicate efforts to re-sign Point and Gourde. That increases the likelihood of Callahan being traded or bought out. Even then, they could let Gourde walk if he proves too expensive to keep. They don’t want to risk complicating efforts to re-sign Vasilevskiy.


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Elliotte Friedman appeared on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 on Friday and was asked if the Nashville Predators might shop one of their top-four defensemen this season for depth on the wing. He pointed out the Predators remain focused on winning the Stanley Cup and don’t have to trade a blueliner now. He noted they can open contract extension talks next summer with Roman Josi, who’s slated to become a UFA on July 1, 2020. If they decide to move a defenseman, they could do it in a year or two.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Toronto pundits speculated the Predators could be a good destination for Maple Leafs restricted free agent William Nylander, suggesting he could fetch Ryan Ellis or Mattias Ekholm. I believe that’s wishful thinking on their part.  Predators GM David Poile isn’t afraid to make bold moves but I don’t see him jumping on this one.

As Friedman pointed out, the Preds are focused on the Stanley Cup this season and believe they can win with their current top-four blueliners. Unless their season goes wildly off the rails, they won’t peddle Josi, Ekholm, Ellis or P.K.Subban. 


THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently noted the Detroit Red Wings slow start and acknowledged some changes may be needed. However, he doesn’t believe firing head coach Jeff Blashill will reverse their fortunes.

As for trades, Kulfan doesn’t expect any significant moves until the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline. Pending UFAs Jimmy Howard, Gustav Nyquist, and Tomas Vanek could be shopped as playoff rental players. Defenseman Trevor Daley has a year left on his contract but he could also draw some interest. The emergence of Christoffer Ehn could make Luke Glendening available.



  1. You keep hearing about the tax situation in Florida and how that might help TB in signing/re-signing players at a lower cap rate because of the increased take-home pay. But it seems to me that anyone (like Gourde for example) going down that road might also want some sort of protection in the form of NM/NT clauses. Otherwise, they run the risk of signing, say, a 5 or 6 year deal at a hometown discount, only to be shipped in a trade to a city where taxes take a bigger chunk. Just out of curiosity, does anyone know how many current members of the Lightning (or Panthers I assume) have such clauses?

      • Great minds think alike!

      • Interesting – thanks guys. So, overall, there are a few who have no such protection therefore, taking a hometown discount to re-sign would seem to be a risk if they’ve signed long-term.

    • Could there come a point where a team has more players with NM/NT clauses than it’s protected-player allowance for the next expansion draft?

      • I’ve never considered that.

        Is there a limit to the number of NMC clauses a team can hand out?

      • It’s only nmc that are mandatory protected.

  2. The Lightning have two no move clauses, Stamkos and Hedman. They have 8 NTC or Modified NTC including Ryan Callahan. I dont think Callahan will be easy to peddle should they need to without including a Point or Goulde.

  3. To me, no matter what; to move forward past next July, Tbay must get rid of Calahan. The cap hit for what he gives is just too crimping and is a concern. An asset (or two) will have to go with him.

    Buyout next June is $2.7M Cap in 19/20 and $1.6M in 20/21. MNTC is 16 teams he can be traded to.

    I think TBay would rather have the $2.7M extra in Cap hit for 19/20; so trade with incentive (extra assets) would be best, IMO.

    If they do a take-back of say 50%— Cap hit would be $2.6M and actual pay would be $2.35M, so perhaps a budget conscious team with Cap space might take less in incentive in trade if the 50% take-back were offered.


  4. Curious to see if Karlsson signs long term in SJ… everyone assumes he wants to go to Tampa, but how will that work on top of all these other guys needing contracts? Side note: Dubas at Ranger game in NY last night.

    • Hi Slick62,

      All speculation right now, but IMO Tbay more likely than SJ. However, only happening if Calahan is nixed for 19/20. They can’t afford to move anybody else out with similar cap space.

      EK can’t “technically” discuss contract extension with SJ until New Year’s day. This potential extension will all depend on how SJ sits in standings by end of Dec. If clearly in 1st by a few points, then IMO the odds shift to a successful SJ extension of EK. However, if they falter and are Pac 3rd or WildCard bubble then IMO, TBay back at top of likelihood list.

      As at now, I don’t see many other teams near in likelihood (to that of SJ or TBay) to have EK on their 19/20 roster. The next closest I see is VGKs. If come turn of New Year, Vegas is in 1st well ahead of SJ (slim chance I think now, but a possibility) then an extension in SJ early in the New Year, much less likely to happen.

      • Hey Pengy…. thought I read somewhere that he can’t sign an 8 year deal until after trade deadline? Some obscure rule. Pretty sure he can sign for shorter term anytime he wants? What did you guys do to Striker? He’s good at this stuff!

      • Slick62,

        I believe you are right w.r.t. 8 year AFTER TDL but negotiations “technically” can start on Jan 1st.

        I’m sure “informal” chats are happening

      • Pengy: Karlsson can be extended any time now because he isn’t on a one year deal (he was eligible on July 1). You may be thinking of Stone, who can’t sign an extension until January 1 because he signed a one year deal this summer.

      • Actually, wasn’t that an arbiter’s award to Stone?

      • Thanks Van

    • ‘ Dubas at Ranger game’
      Not a single D on the Rags could improve the Leafs right now. There is not a single Ranger player I would not trade for Nylander

      • I’d pass on Nylander. He’s not the cure that helps this team. And I’m certainly not giving up any cost controlled assets to go out and get him at his 8 million ask.

        Why not wait until Panarin hits the market if they have 8 million burning a hole in their pockets? It won’t cost anything but $$$’s

      • Nyr4life-I do agree with you but my point still stands there is not a better forward in the Rangers system that has proven to be better than Nylander.
        I prefer Panarin and the kids. 15 million coming off the books with the UFAs.
        BTW- I feel like Zib should be moved the wing.

      • hmmm not a single Ranger player that you wouldn’t trade for Nylander? So, could we have Skjei please?

      • You guys are so myopic, when you say Dubas was at the Ranger game intimating he was there to watch just the Rangers, maybe he was there to watch the Flames defensemen.

        We will see if he goes to Montreal on Tuesday to watch the “Canadiens” play the Flames

      • FlamesFan, I have brought up Calgary before with regards to Nylander. Outside of Monahan and Gaudreau there isn’t much scoring in Calgary.
        Tkachuk is a great piece for any team but he can’t carry a line, and in todays NHL you require some balance to scoring. Nylander would be an excellent fit in Calgary.

        Safe to say he is a very nice upgrade on the ‘(not so) real deal’ James Neal – bitter because I have him on two fantasy teams.

      • Hey, I just put it out there that he was in NY. I saw McKenzies comments. Could be there for a number of reasons. But, this is a rumor site isn’t it?

    • Slick62, BoB Mackenzie pointed out that Nylander agent lives in NYC and Dubas likes Hockey. Darren Dreger pointed out Johnny Gaudreau agent was also at the game.
      Start the Gaudrea for Nylander trade talks.

      • @Caper. it’s monday

        Tkachuk for Nylander. Lets make the battle of Ontario more interesting

      • Keep dreaming, it will be Nylander and a 1st for Brodie

      • haha for TJ Brodie? ok then flames fan….

      • @Flamefan: Tkachuk post complete joke.

    • No one seems to talk about his endorsement deals in Canada. I doubt he will keep his RW&CO deal if he goes to a US team. US market is a lot more difficult for a hockey player to get endorsements. If he stays in the US, I see more value in the form of non-hockey related revenue coming in a location like SJ.

  5. Just a pet peeve I guess- but the salary cap was put in place to “level” out the spending and create a more even playing field for all teams (among several other reasons)- yet this doesn’t seem fair does it? Assuming TBay and another team spend to the cap Tbay seems to have somewhere between 10 and 15 percent more to spend? My numbers aren’t scientific just an approximation – either way hardly a level playing field…perhaps it’s time to move a to “real cap hit” ? Granted the Habs or Leafs may or not want to spend 15 percent more on a player than the Lightning do-regardless of cap hit- but they should have the option

    • That is an interesting question and you’re quite right. What with state/federal/provincial tax structures differing so greatly between the two extremes (Quebec has to be the least attractive from that perspective), it certainly isn’t a level playing field as presently utilized. I’m sure that has to have come up now and then at annual GM meetings, but it never seems to get any play in the media.

      • Hi George,

        I grabbed an article months ago that showed all the different NHL team tax rates and then take home amounts. I did a cut and paste into a spreadsheet at the time just to see comparisons. Ottw/Tor lowest take home at 46.81% (Mont at 46.92%) while VGK, Nsh, Dal and both Florida teams are taking home 60.84%

        Van take-home: 52.57%; Alta teams: 52.29%; and Winn: 49.83%

        Above was 2017 tax rates

      • @Pengy & @George I have also discussed this topic here and among my friends. My friends are mostly fans of Canadian teams and Bruins so unsurprisingly we tend to agree that the cap needs to be reworked.
        With the schedule being different every year it may be extremely hard to get an exact number but at the same time very easy to come up with numbers based on historical data and come up with average numbers. I just don’t see how this massive gap in parity is not discussed in mainstream media.

      • Bringing taxes into it is an interesting idea, but it does open a can of worms the NHL may not want opened.
        How about the exchange rate? It is very beneficial for Canadian Companies right now who sell there products in US$ and have their expenses in CDN $. Is the same not true for players living in Canada? You could argue that low tax provinces, like here in AB, have an advantage because of that.
        Are you going to drill down to home prices and other cost of living factors?

    • Sam

      a Pet Peeve of mine as well. I absolutely realize that money is not everything to players but it has to mean something.

      Just from a pure financial comparison— the Cap ceiling of $79.5M for VGK, Dal, Tbay, FLA and Nsh (at just shy of 61% take-home) is equivalent after tax ceiling spending in Tor, Mon, Ottw (after tax take-home of around 47%) of about $103M.

      I’m not blind to the fact that there are many more intrinsic considerations for players and take home pay is only a portion of decision making process when considering UFA negotiations. Toronto of course would also offer a substantial amount more in income outside of sal (ad royalties etc).

      The sum net of all considerations though, seems to have an unfair advantage to some clubs w.r.t. tax base.

      • I live in Ottawa and the only reason I don’t move to Gatineau (QC) is because of the income tax. My take home would be lower.

        It makes a difference. Hockey players are humans too.

    • Sam there is always going to be reason to play elsewhere. Here in Winnipeg it’s reported the least wanted place to play. We can’t change the weather, the population, the social aspect, arts and entertainment etc. Always going to be reason to play or not play somewhere.
      I love Florida vacation there every year, cheap seats to watch an NHL game. Beach in the morning, hockey in the evening, one layer of clothes.

      • Caper- fair enough lol. However, those things are beyond control- if you truly want an even financial field- tax implications should be factored in…just my two cents…that being said- I do believe a luxury tax is coming CBA- just a gut feeling.

  6. Point -can take a bridge until Callahan is off the books one way or another.
    Gourde -I am not sure he will command the dollars with his pedigree and age. Playing well though.

  7. Leaf fans think they have problems?
    Try being the Bruins and having Charlie McAvoy looking for 7.5 x 8 for a new contract.
    Reports are that he’s looking for Ekblad money and term.
    Good thing Chara is taking 1 year contracts for the next decade.

    • That may be trued, but Boston also has their top line locked up long term, each under $7 million per year. Boston doesn’t have nearly the cap constraints TOR will when Matthews and Marner’s next contracts start.

      Cap-wise, I would much rather be in Boston’s shoes.

      • So, in more ways than one, Boston’s top line is money….

    • I’m excited about Charlie future but at this point in his career he isn’t worth that money.

      • It would be a calculated risk by Boston, but I would take it. If his development continues, and he reaches that Drew Doughty-type potential, that contract would be a tremendous bargain (relatively) in a couple of years.

      • It is hard to tell with D as they take a while to mature on the decision making side. McAvoy has the physical tools but it remains to be seen if he matures into a true #1 D.
        Unless he accepts a lower AAV for security I can see a bridge in his future.

  8. I had someone tell me the other day, he has a friend who works in a firm that does Ehlers, Laine and a couple other Jets taxes and said they are a lot of work to do; because they have to pay taxes to the state / Province they’ve earn their income. For a Jets player that would mean paying different taxes 41 times. Not your average tax return.

    • Yep, and you can bet that, wherever there’s a lib-left provincial government at the helm, somewhere in their mandate taxes will increase to pay for their habitual spending sprees.

  9. Just curious does anyone know if Striker is OK? Doesn’t strike me as someone with thin skin to be bother by others comments directed at him.

    • Do we ask Lyle to do an email safety check like we did with George? Striker is a bit up there… but with George I was legit concerned he kicked the bucket

      • See?
        We’re all great friends really.

      • To paraphrase Mark Twain … the rumours of my croaking were greatly exaggerated ….!

    • Don’t think he is thin skinned either Caper, sometimes you just have enough of people taking personal shots at you because you are willing to state an opinion that differs from others. Which he did. It just gets old, so you do something else instead.
      Say what you want about his opinions or style, but he did drive conversations that were interesting.

      • The one thing that made me see red the most with Striker was his repeated assertions that the Sens were moribund, that Dorion was an idiot (the last time for DARING to put Zach Smith ion waivers even though it had been done countless times by other GMs to light a fire under someone’s ass), and his positiveness that none among Duchene, Stone or Dzingel will want to re-up with the Sens. OH, it was just his opinion – but saying twice a week all summer got a little tiring.

      • His last time here, I asked why Ottawa would care about saving cap space ( which he stated may be the reason for Zach Smiths demotion). Others were involved as well and he took exemption to a simple question. Now I didn’t follow the others that may or may have not replied …. but he felt he was being picked on, me included?

        It was a simple , legitimate question. That HE turned ugly.
        Everyone here is entitled to opinions and are open to criticism of those opinions.

        I’ve other differences of opinion with him. ( the Rangers were not rebuilding, they’d never trade Mcdonagh etc.) I don’t quite remember losing control even after his opinions were proven wrong.

        A simple question. If you’re going to put out opinions, you should be able to answer a simple question without losing your cool. This was far from me being a cyber bully.

      • Ray, there is some truth to that. I have people on my facebook, who like to constantly bash, a certain politician. Which becomes tiring after awhile.
        I would say why would you go seek negativity all the time.
        In regards to Striker, or anyone else, my opinion varies at times from everyone.
        I remember my first post on here and was shot down so badly; I followed it up with I thought I knew everything until I came on here.

      • George, Striker is definitely opinionated and I agree that he had a tendency to state things in a way that it came across as if he was stating things as fact, that was just an opinion. None of us know if Stone and others will sign an extension or not. I don’t even think Stone knows for sure yet.
        I have no idea if you attacked him personally, in fact I doubt you did from what I can see on here. I can also say that while I believe he called Dorian and idiot, I don’t think he ever called you an idiot and I don’t think he trolled people. That is the difference, as some people took shots at him personally. That I did see.
        I don’t get on here all the time, but saw it enough to get annoyed at it myself.
        I wouldn’t mind arguing with him about the Bruins again, or how easy it is to get a playoff quality starting goaltender today in the NHL. I think he was wrong about that too.

      • Agreed. The point I kept trying to get across to him was, that while we can all have opinions on what we THINK is going on behind the scenes, the bottom line is we – just – don’t – know. Ottawa was a classic example of assuming the worst in the Hoffman-Karlsson saga. Hoffman was a 30 goal scorer …. you just don’t get rid of 30-goal scorers … yadda yadda. Well, yes you do if he’s a cancer in the room. Same with Karlsson (who sealed his fate as far as I’m concerned when he yapped about not taking a home-town discount and wanted only top dollar long-term when asked, in the middle of the season, what his thoughts were about his eventual free agency – then still over a year and half away, instead of simply saying “I don’t discuss contracts until they come up for negotiation – like he’s doing now in SJ. The guy was the captain of the team – what kind of message did that send to the rest of the room?). It’s interesting to note that Anderson indicated not long after all that broke that he would like to be traded. Now, with the drama gone, he;s quite happy to remain. Will we ever know the whole story? I doubt it. The principals involved are both gone – onwards and upwards.

      • This thread here is interesting I’m so many ways!

      • It was a messed up situation George, no doubt. But I don’t blame Karlsson too much.
        A – his wife was getting harassed in a disgusting manner.
        B – no offence to OTT fans but the owner seems a little off lately. Dude is weird and seems to let emotion into his decision making.
        C – Karlsson didn’t start the conversation about his contract, Doughty did by saying the same thing to the media and that he would be talking to Karlsson to compare notes. He simply answered the question when he was then asked. I suppose he could have given the standard no quote, but he didn’t. Then he got roasted.

        Add that all up and it’s not hard to imagine wanting a fresh start.

      • It wasn’t his opinions that made me crazy it was the condescending tone he took when he lectured each person on their comments. And the way he acted like he knew more about a team that he watched play 3 times a season than the people who are actual real fans of that team. And dudes just shouldn’t call other dudes studs, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  10. Not sure of the salary cap situation, but a UFA in Nyquist could be a nice, cheap fit for the Preds without giving up one of their d-men.

    • “everyone here is entitled to opinions”, NYR4life, does that include presidential elections?

      • Sure it does, on yahoo news or a forum covering politics. Politics in general have no place here whatsoever. And every time they’ve come up, it’s proven that point here every time.

      • Ya, didn’t go well Nyr4life.
        People have way more passionate opinions on that than hockey. Rightly so.
        Prefer to have those conversations in person as folks have a tendency to listen to each other better when face to face.

      • You can also hit someone’s face if they deserve it in that scenario

      • Ha ha! Funny sh** Chrisms.

  11. I believe a Nashville/Toronto trade of D-man for Nylander is absolutely possible, but I see it as being two years away. Nashville doesn’t have to do anything until Josi demands the big bucks when he’s UFA 2020. A trade could happen then. Nylander is probably a Maple Leaf for another two years.

  12. no team with a sold core signed to affordable deals should even think of adding Nylander @ 8 mil. Obe mentioned it yesterday about the B’s, Bergreon, Pastranak, Marchand would be sour and the same could be said about the Flames. Gaudreau, Monahan and others would be pissed if Nylander was signed @ 8 million per. There are likely other teams that could be included. Not worth messing with team chemistry.

  13. Hey now that was quite the thread! ..funny media mentions that Nylander wants 8.5..so now everyone else thinks he wants 8.5.. he’s crazy trade him..wait can’t trade him!..he wants 8 mil a year! No one is paying that..lol..it’s about security folks he wasn’t giving a so called home town discount/leafs deal..cause he was afraid of if he gave them the deal . he’d be traded..so he’s been given the assurance that he’s in their future I believe 3 years in the 5mil.range Cheers!