NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2018

by | Nov 23, 2018 | Rumors | 29 comments

Latest on the Canucks, Canadiens, Penguins, and Bruins in your NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Citing the Vancouver Canucks efforts under general manager Jim Benning to pursue big-name talent, JD Burke believes they could target Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky if he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. He doesn’t consider Jacob Markstrom as the Canucks starting goalie when they turn the corner and there’s some concern over the development of promising Thatcher Demko.

Could the Vancouver Canucks target Sergei Bobrovsky via free agency next July? (Photo via NHL Images)

Burke acknowledged Bobrovsky will be expensive to sign, as rumors suggest he could seek over $10 million per season. Nevertheless, the Canucks could afford to sign him. “The Canucks will also be a more attractive option for Bobrovsky than many of their competitors, given that they currently employ the same goalie coach, Ian Clarke, that guided Bobrovsky to his two Vezinas. It’s also likely that Clarke will push for Bobrovsky, too.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks need stability between the pipes so it’ll be understandable if Benning and company decide to chase the NHL’s only active multiple Vezina Trophy winner via free agency. However, we’re still a long way from knowing for sure if Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets will part ways, let alone if he’ll consider the Canucks an attractive option should he hit the open market on July 1.  


SPORTSNET: Eric Engels looks at how the Montreal Canadiens could make room on their crowded blueline for captain Shea Weber, who’s expected to return to action next week. One could be placing Karl Alzner on waivers and sending him to their AHL affiliate. His hefty contract means he’ll pass unclaimed, though ownership might balk at having a player on a $23.1-million contract riding the buses in the minors.

Trading Jordie Benn is another, though he might thrive playing lesser minutes with the Habs once Weber returns. Oft-injured David Schlemko is another trade possibility but the Canadiens won’t get much in return. They also likely won’t get much for Xavier Ouellet and he might not pass unclaimed through waivers. They could send down Victor Mete for a few games as he’s waiver-exempt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Noah Juulsen currently sidelined the Canadiens can afford to carry eight defensemen once Weber returns to the lineup. Once Juulsen is ready to return, Engels speculates Alzner could be placed on waivers and demoted. Trading Benn doesn’t appear a palatable option and they’ll likely want to keep Mete on the roster. 


POST-GAZETTE.COM: Jason Mackey recently reported Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford isn’t ruling out any trade that could help his club but for now it’s up to the players on the current roster to find a way out of their recent slump. Rutherford said finding a good deal is difficult at this time of year. Mackey noted young forward Daniel Sprong has surfaced in trade speculation but feels if there was a decent deal to be had involving Sprong it would’ve happened by now.

Mackey lists Olli Maatta, Bryan Rust, Phil Kessel, Derick Brassard, and Jamie Oleksiak as those who could potentially go via trade. Of those, Maatta and Rust would be the most likely to go. Moving Kessel would send the wrong message, the Penguins still believe Brassard can help them, and Oleksiak is among their few sources of physicality.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford will keep a close eye on the trade market but he won’t make a deal just for the sake of doing so. I don’t see Kessel, Brassard or Oleksiak going anywhere. Maatta or Rust seems the more likely trade options but there probably isn’t much of a market for either guy right now. 


THE ATHLETIC: Joe McDonald recently compiled a list of possible Boston Bruins’ trade candidates. The possibilities include Anders Bjork, Ryan Donato, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Sean Kuraly, Jeremy Lauzon, and Jakub Zboril. Those under his “conceivable trades, but be careful” category include Danton Heinen, Noel Acciari, Joakim Nordstrom, and Matt Grzelcyk. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of those names will likely fetch at best a playoff rental player. Promising youngsters Jake DeBrusk and Brandon Carlo have at times surfaced in recent Bruins trade speculation but McDonald feels they’re almost untouchable, pointing out the Bruins won’t part with those guys unless they’re getting a significant return.

Torey Krug is also in that category. McDonald notes the Bruins are a better club with Krug in the lineup but acknowledged he’s a young, valuable asset who would attract interest.

For now, Bruins GM Don Sweeney is staying patient with his roster, which has been banged up by injuries in the early going but remains in the thick of the playoff chase. He likely wants to see how they do once they get healthier before deciding if a trade or two is necessary.



  1. Doug MacClean is convinced that the Penguins will get things straightened out once Crosby is back in full swing and climb back into the playoff picture. So far this year they are producing points at a .500 pace. Last year their 100 points was achieved by playing at a .610 clip. If they return to that pace over their next 62 games they’ll wind up with 96 points – and last season that wasn’t enough, so a slight increase in the .610 pace might be needed. If it drops slightly, they won’t.

    • Murray can’t be trusted to stay healthy.
      And the worst change that contributed to the demise of the Pens was the signing of Jack Johnson, especially at that aweful contract.

      Completely overrated dman who was scratched by Columbus at the end of last season, and the playoffs

      but because he is Crosby’s BFF he got that contract

      • Johnson’s relationship with Crosby is very overstated in the media and with fans in general and it had no bearing what so ever on him being signed. If they signed Sids friends then MAF, Kunitz, And Max Talbot would still be on the team. That blunder falls squarely on Rutherford.

      • don’t forget Colby Armstrong! The Hossa deal woulda never happened. then again Colby did get hired by the pens media team… mmnnn…..

    • I have been talking about Bobs to the Canucks for the past month or so and in my post again yesterday..
      I think this is a huge missing piece for the Canucks and allows them to play a more free looser game in the O Zone when they know they have a high quality goalie to back them up.

      I think they would have won more games this year if they had Bobs and would be a serious contender in there division moving forward.
      I know Canuck fans have not liked my posts on the subject due to what it will cost ..but if you really want to see your team flourish you will need a legit #1 Goalie and you have none …Demko was terrible in the pre season IMO …and he doesn’t look like he will be a star Goalie…serviceable yes …id say very similar to a James Reimer style goalie.

      Adding Bobs along with Horvat Petterson Hughes Goldobin Boeser would be an amazing solid addition….not only that ..but if another team out West was to land Bobs instead ..it would be even more difficult for the Canucks as well…sometimes landing that player so other don’t is just as much important
      If the Flames or Oilers land Bobs it will spell trouble for the Canucks long term!
      Its really the missing piece to a lot of high quality teams, both Flames and Oilers have decent high powered offense but the goaltending has really set them both back.
      People do not give enough credit to the goalies…Bobs made the jackets a lot of money in post season attendance …he was the golden goose…if it wasn’t for Bobs they may not be a franchise today as they looked like they were on the way put post Rick Nash !

      • I am a Jackets fan. Go ahead, sign Bobrovsky until he is 37 at 10 million per year, that’s a pretty solid plan.
        Not sure how much playoff money Bob made us over the years since we usually only get 2 home games before getting knocked out in the first round. I would be way more concerned about what he will do for me tomorrow than those two trophies his agent trots out every time he talks contract.

      • Whoever signs Bobrovsky it will cost them dearly, if the Canucks over commit they could find themselves in major cap trouble once Pettersen, Boeser et al get theirs.

        That being said I’m always shocked at the level of goaltending that Vancouver has given away over the years, Luongo and Schneider are the biggies and although he hasn’t panned out in FLA Markstrom was a A1 prospect when he was in their system….crazy.

      • K all I’m gonna say is we will see at the end of the year, I’m no great Pens fan but I’ve learned a few things over my life one of em is at any given moment right now the Pens have the potential to put the best Canadian the best or one of the top 3 American scoring wingers in Kessel and possibly one of if not the best Russian to play in the league….I’m gonna say I’ll never bet against Sid doing amazing things that’s a great supporting cast and you’re crazy to think otherwise given the track record. Let’s wait till the lady gets a little fatter before the swan song still too good to be counted out even if they “slip” in

      • Kal El
        I agree with you about goaltending. It is a very underrated position but you only have to watch your team play with a bad goaltender and realize how important it is.
        Jut look at Philadelphia and Pittsburg this year and I can speak first hand watching Hiller and Rama a few years ago then Elliot a couple of years ago. A good goaltender is the difference between a wining season and a loosing season

    • I hate to say this as the Pens are my defacto team outside the leafs I love Crosby he is still an amazing player ..his backhand goal roof the other night was nothing short of fricken amazing….world class!! SENSATIONAL!!

      If you have not seen it your missing out here it is !


      But this stars on this team are getting older and Kessel only plays a one way game and the league is really starting to pass this team by.

      As Ive said before whenthe Pens won the cup they had no business winning with the D core they had it worked for them through a playoff stretch when they had Fleury but its is starting to show what they really are when not being able to score.
      Rutherford made a lot of trades and have up a lot of futures and draft picks to win those 2 cups a la Pat Quinn style tryng to win in Toronto …it is finally catching up with them and they need to start to try and restock the minor league team out and give the ORGANIZATION depth again ..Malkin Crosby will not be able to carry the mail much longer especially with a so so D core and a #1 goalie who is always out and when in plays not so good.

      There are a lot of players names being thrown around right now that may not have been in trade rumors before or even available due to a lot of struggling teams …they should trade Kessel right now and move on from his contract and look to get younger in that position right now as opposed to in the off season.
      Id say they should also look to trade Matta before he gets hurt again as he always has a long term injury spout in a year !

      • This entire comment is too ridiculous to even comment on. The cup they had no business winning? You mean the one that they played 2 of the top 3 teams in the league in the regular season that year in the playoffs? Kessel is the exact same player he has always been. Malkin and Crosby are only averaging 1.4 and 1.3 PPG. I hope everyone does count them out already. If any team can win 10 games in a row they are one of them.

  2. not sure why the Pens would consider trading Oleksiak, the few games I have watched the Pens this year he is noticeable for the right reasons. Very affordable contract, he has come a long way since his days in Dallas.

    • %100 agree, for the cost of Josh Archibald, who’s ceiling is 4th line, JO has been great for the Pens, Sully needs to stop benching him for no reason.

      • not quite understanding the Archibald reference ? he is now playing for the Coyotes, plays wing and has a cap hit of .675

        I was not aware of JO being benched, he is tied for the team lead in +/- @ +9 but he is 5th of 6 re ATOI for dmen. Sounds like a case of Sullivan having confidence in him.

      • The Pens traded Archie to the Coyotes for a 6th round pick that they immediately flipped to Dallas for JO, hence the asset the Pens gave up was Archibald. JO has been a healthy scratch at least twice this season so far.

  3. Historically US Thanksgiving is a milestone . The bottom 10 teams will have a hard time moving up in the standings . Florida last year lost like 2-3 of their last 20 + games and still missed

    • Interesting statistic on that had come up yesterday …and normally teams at this point that are out will most likely not make the playoffs…but last year 5 teams ended up having a comeback new yer and blew the stats out of the whack in that area.
      I think it really does depend on the quality of a trade and player injection at this time of year that can be more effective that post New Year or trade deadline where its too late per say !

      I think its becoming better to make deals earlier than rather than later as a tradition these days…or at least so it seems.

  4. Last year the East and West cut-offs for the playoffs were 96 and 95 points. Looking at the following tables which show each team’s pts % last year in column 1, their pace so far this year, and what % rate they’d need to reach the same cut-offs (that’s assuming they stay at roughly that level), and barring complete collapses for various reasons or stunning turn-arounds, it looks like TB, Boston, Toronto, Washington and Columbus should be able to repeat. The other 3 spots are up for grabs with Buffalo looking like they should be one. For the other 2 it will be a real dog-fight with last year’s playoff teams Pittsburg, Philly and NJ needing to play the rest of the way at a substantially higher % pace than contenders like Carolina, the Rangers and even Montreal.

    In the West, Nashville, Winnipeg, Minnesota, SJ, and Colorado should repeat. Of the rest, Vegas has their work cut out for them as does Anaheim. LA is toast. Of the teams pushing them for their playoff spots, only Calgary can drop slightly from their current pace and still make it. On a pure % pace requirement, Dallas and Arizona could get in, with the rest needing varying degrees higher performance.

    TB .689 .704 .542
    Bos .683 .619 .574
    Tor .640 .682 .550
    Was .640 .595 .582
    Pit .609 .500 .613
    Pha .598 .496 .623
    Clb .591 .619 .574
    NJ .591 .500 .613
    Fla .585 .500 .611
    Car .506 .548 .598
    NYI .488 .550 .597
    NYR .470 .591 .584
    Det .445 .524 .607
    Mtl .433 .591 .583
    Ott .409 .477 .625
    Buf .378 .682 .550

    West cut-off last year – 95 points

    Nas .713 .750 .516
    Wpg .695 .650 .557
    Veg .666 .457 .602
    Min .616 .636 .558
    Ana .616 .500 .610
    SJ .609 .591 .575
    LA .598 .357 .656
    Col .579 .619 .566
    StL .573 .425 .629
    Dal .561 .546 .592
    Cgy .512 .614 .567
    Edm .476 .500 .617
    Chi .463 .478 .617
    Van .445 .458 .629
    Ari .427 .500 .605

    • Well, that surely sets the bar for the rest of the season, George. Thanks.
      I would say that most teams needing to play at a .600+ pace for the next four months will find it very difficult and, based on goal tending alone, none of the Eastern Conference teams in that situation will make the cutoff.
      In the West, if Anaheim can find some offence to match their goal tending, they could do it. Same for Vegas.
      The league wants parity, they have parity. It’s easy to see now why some teams have been so quick to fire coaches.

  5. Nylander 6.9

  6. Not so sure about Vegas. Their current pace is just .100 better than LA and they need to play at a .602 rate the rest of the way just to get to last year’s cut-off point. Yeah, they hit .666 last year (was that a deal with the Devil?) but much of their early success came from teams tending to take them lightly early on. I see the 8 qualifying teams out west being Nashville, Winnipeg, Minnesota, San Jose, Colorado, Dallas, Calgary, Anaheim

  7. When it comes to the Habs D issues, no oneseems to form any opinions on Mike Reilly. He is young and fast. True, he has his limits, but given some teams in need of getting quicker on the back end, he must have some value.

    • About what Ottawa got for Wideman – a 6th round pick. Reilly has 123 gp 6g 25a 31 pts nd is a career -6

      Wideman has 175 gp 16g 27a 43 pts and a career +7.

      The advantage for Reilly is, he’s 6′ 2″ 195 lbs whereas Wideman is 5′ 10″ 183 lbs

      • George a couple of thoughts on Wideman, he was odd man out with Hapur soon coming back. Wideman needs to play more than 10-12 minutes a game to be effective, he is a decent puck mover. The Sens did him a solid by re-signing him to a 1yr 1 million deal after he missed most of last year when he tore his hamstring. Sitting in the front seat of the UBER also likely did not win him any popularity votes with the brass. If anyone was going to fall on the sword it would be him.

      • He’s also 28 and heading down the pecking order in terms of D depth behind Chabot, Lajoie, DeMelo, Borowiecki, Jaros, Harpur, Ceci, Wolanin and maybe even Seilof, not to mention players in their system like 1st round picks Josh Norris and Jacob Bernard-Docker, both still in University.

        What Dorion NEEDS to do is find a better back-up for Anderson tout-de-suit and deal a bit of their offensive strength for a solid stay-at-home 3/4 D-man type. They currently sit 2nd in the LEAGUE with 79 goals behind only Tampa’s 83, but are dead last in GA. So that young D needs a solid veteran (not TOO old) to eat up some minutes – maybe even capable of moving into the 1/2 slot beside Chabot. Dzingel (9g 7a) might bring that, perhaps paired with Ceci whose development has stalled in Ottawa. They also need to chuck Paajarvi and Pyatt over the side as they absolutely nothing from them offensively (1 goal 1 assist combined). Nor are they exactly seeting the world on fire when it comes to the PK so what the hell good are they? Bring up Balcers and Chlapik and let them play and learn.

  8. George ,I am with you on those needs problem is not too many good 2nd string keepers out there up for grabs. I am curious to know if any other team in history has finished top 3 in GF and bottom 3 in GA. Anderson has had a could of stinker games but also has had a few where he stood on his head. If you enjoy watching pond hockey this is the team to watch.

    • Fergy, I agree 100% that finding a back-up goalie worth his weight is going to de damned difficult – but they have to do something or disaster awaits. Surely there’s a goalie playing somewhere in Europe who has decent stats and would jump at a chance to be in the NHL. They also need, in addition to that 3/4 D-man I mention, something better than Pyatt, Paajarvi and Smith who, together, account for $52,250,000 off the cap and have contributed 4g 6a 10 points combined, with Smith being the leader at 3 5 8. Some were having apoplexy when Smith was placed on waivers at the start of the season, but what, exactly, has he done over the past year and a bit to earn that money ($3,25 mil cap)? Get rid of Pyatt and Paajarvi at least and put Balcers and Paul back in the line-up and leave them there. Maybe Smith could then up his game a bit with linemate that don’t need a GPS to find the net.

      • $5,2 – not $52 – damned faded script

      • George …Pyatt has been one of Boucher’s favorites for quite a few years going back to TBay days, he knows and plays his system. He can likely be had cheap at the TDL. I was a big on Paajarvi going into the 09 draft, great speed but no hands, as a hockey fan I have always hoped he can pull it together, I would bet he is playing in Europe next year. Smith will be tough to move due to his contract, he proved he can produce playing top 9 a couple of years ago but @ 3.25 for 2 more years Sens would have to eat a chunk of that. I am intrigued by Rodewald,good numbers in Belleville. I think Paul has peaked and he is destined to be a minor pro playe. Good size, decent hands but slow and not physical for a big dude. Looking back the haul for Spezza did not pan out at all.