NHL Rumor Mill – December 19, 2018

by | Dec 19, 2018 | Rumors | 66 comments

With the NHL holiday trade freeze commencing at 11:59 pm ET tonight, here’s the latest on Jeff Carter, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Patrik Berglund plus some Oilers speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETICWith the Los Angeles Kings floundering in the standings, center Jeff Carter has surfaced in recent trade speculation. However, Lisa Dillman reports Carter wants to stay put. 

Jeff Carter hopes to remain with the Los Angeles Kings (Photo via NHL Images).

Carter lacks no-trade protection and has three years remaining on his contract with an annual $5.272-million cap hit, though in actual dollars he’ll earn a total of $7 million over those final three seasons. He missed most of last season with a cut ankle tendon and has just one goal in his last nine games and one even-strength goal since Oct. 11.

Dillman notes Carter and his family are “solidly entrenched in Southern California.” Still, if the Kings want to rebuild and if there’s interest in the veteran center, they would have to find a way to make it attractive for Carter to accept a move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings can send Carter anywhere they want without his permission. But if they do that, there’s speculation suggesting he could decide to retire. That would leave the Kings facing a $2.75-million annual salary-cap recapture penalty over the remaining term of his contract. He never hinted at that during his interview with Dillman but it’s clear he’s not warm to the idea of a trade.


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an interview Monday with Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, Elliotte Friedman talked about the recent trade speculation surrounding St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko. Citing Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual salary-cap hit over the next four years, Friedman suggests that’s now a good contract for a player who can score as he can.

Friedman also cited a former Blue saying Tarasenko is a great player on the ice but he’s not a leader, which some people on the team use to deflect away from their own issues. Friedman said he could see a club in need of scoring, such as the Carolina Hurricanes, pursuing the winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko would help a team struggling to score, though it appears he’s not suited for a leadership role. However, moving players with hefty contracts like him usually doesn’t happen during the season.

The Blues will want a substantial return, probably comparable to what the Toronto Maple Leafs got from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Phil Kessel trade three years ago. They won’t just give him away.

Tarasenko’s no-trade clause kicks in next July. If the Blues trade him, they’ll likely do it in late-June, when teams have more cap space and a willingness to swing deals for expensive talent. 


THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently examined some possible options for the Edmonton Oilers to replace sidelined defenseman Oscar Klefbom. He notes there’s plenty of internet proposals suggesting a deal involving St. Louis Blues rearguard Colton Parayko. Most involve swapping Darnell Nurse for Parayko but that won’t address the Oilers’ blueline needs. “A deal for Parayko could be made with a young forward (Jesse Puljujarvi?) and a pick (first rounder in 2019?) that might satisfy the Edmonton side, but there’s no evidence the Blues are entering a rebuild phase,” said Mitchell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mitchell advocates exploring all options, including a trade, but didn’t propose any trade targets. I agree with his take on a Parayko swap.

The Carolina Hurricanes are loaded with defensemen but they need a proven scoring forward. The Oilers don’t have much depth to offer up in that regard. Feel free to weigh in with your suggestions in the comments section, Oilers fans.


THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington took note of forward Patrik Berglund’s ongoing suspension by the Buffalo Sabres over his refusal to report. Berglund saw reduced playing time as the season progressed and was a healthy scratch at times for his poor play. Neither the Sabres or Berglund’s agent have shed any light on his situation.

If it’s a case of Berglund being unhappy with the Sabres, Harrington suggests Sabres GM Jason Botterill should attempt to trade him. However, he acknowledged Berglund’s contract ($3.85-million annual cap hit through 2021-22) and poor play probably has his trade value close to nil. “Skipping out on a winning team might force the Sabres to keep some of his money to get rid of him,” writes Harrington.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could become a difficult situation to sort out. Harrington also suggests the Sabre could attempt to void Berglund’s contract but notes the NHLPA is watching this closely and could step in on his behalf if needed. If they can’t trade him or void his contract, they could attempt to buy him out in June. 



  1. Would Berglund failing to report to the team be enough to terminate his contract due to a breach? I can’t see why the Sabres should have to buy out his contract if he refuses to honor it.

    • It seems to me that refusing to do your job would be the most obvious case of breach of contract possible…but professional sports players live in a different world than I do for sure.

    • Hi Tyler,

      I think I read somewhere that technically this is breach of contract but there have been precedents set before…. I believe there has to be a progressive discipline before termination of contract due to “not” reporting. Suspension of X days w/o pay…. then they can move towards termination.

      Very tenuous situation there!!

      • If it was a simple as terminating his contract, Berglund would’ve been unemployed days ago. Just cause has to be proven before going that route. Yes, you can say Berglund refusing to report is just cause, but the PA can argue that the team hasn’t treated him fairly.

      • Lyle

        Concur fully and wholeheartedly

        He will have the PA backing him to the hilt on this.

        I do believe that if he continues to be a “no-show” after a few more “unpaid” disciplinary weeks…. then Buff is closer to potentially nixing him using breach of contract rationale.

        This (if it does happen) will not happen in the next couple of weeks IMO.

        Again — a very brutal situation

      • The funky thing is. In my life experience at work. If you feel your treated unfairly you still show up to work. You place your complaint and once you get a response from the employer you then act. If your satisfied. It’s all done if not you go to your union or labour relations officer at starts Canada or whatever is available to you.

        Unless it is a question of safety to yourself or others you still show up. I suppose you could request a leave of absence. Perhaps use stress to initiate it.

        There are different rules for millionaire employees it seems.

      • How did the Dotchin terminated contract play out? Was it an ongoing issue?

      • Jeff and Pengy, all your comments are logical.
        In the corporate world in Canada, if you just don’t show up for work after 3 days you have abandoned your job. That is with no reason like medical, family emergency etc.
        I do not work in a union environment, and those would depend on the agreement in place I suppose.
        So unless there are some extenuating circumstances, Dude needs to show up and get to work or this won’t end well for him either. What team wants to deal with that?

      • @ Lyle,

        I am still trying to figure out how TB was able to void Jake Dotchin’s contract? Cause he was fat at camp? As a Ducks fan, I am glad they did. He has slide in nice on the bottom pair for the Ducks.

      • Dotchin was required under his contract to meet the minimum fitness level when reporting to training camp. He didn’t, which apparently became grounds to terminate his contract.

      • Ray

        With you in logic. Every circumstance is different. I’ve never ever fired anybody for not showing up for work just for a few days.

        Don’t show up one day and it’s never happened before for that employee; and then they continue showing up after that— I never had a concern; nor asked any questions. It’s just a day and life moves on.

        Everybody will have a day that they just don’t want to explain an absence — I’m OK with that.

        There was almost always a mitigating situation that caused the multiple days of no show and I’ve done progressive discipline for the occasional “repeaters” and this has worked to remedy the situation.

        Never technically had to fire anybody for “abandoning” their job.

        Theft; disclosing confidential material etc. — that’s another story.

        I feel for him but the process of progressive discipline by Botteril (with the eventual movement towards nullifying the contract) should proceed.

        Lots of time to remedy the situation, but it is very tenuous now.

      • They have just put him on waivers with the intention of terminating his contract

      • Yeah mutual agreed termination that’s interesting. Guess he didn’t even wantto fight for any money that may be owed. Just wanted out.

      • There’s a “no fatties!” Clause? Yikes

      • Looks like it’s not that complicated because according to the news articles, the cry baby and career underperforming berglund is GONE. If Blues GM Doug Armstrong signs him AGAIN, I’m moving to BUFFALO! Steve in STL

    • Botterill will not tolerate this behaviour and is an expert on the CBA. He will find a legal way to remove Bergland with extreme prejudice.

  2. I really thought there would have been at least some tweak trades by now. Maybe a small tweak or two today but can’t see anything major happening now.

    I had posted late the other day after the big banter w.r.t. Kappy being traded instead of WW and value w.r.t. Kappy and WW. I went in to great detail.

    As I stated, I would not want to lose Kappy but do covet (unbelievably covet) Parayko.
    If the bar has been set at Kappy, Liljegren j + first…

    … And because I’m absolutely fed up with JJ costing Pens games (being out of position and pure brutal play cost two the other night and if not for a toe save by a team-mate and two more spectacular saves by De Smith— JJ could have been responsible for 5 goals that game)— he absolutely needs to go….

    So; my wild and crazy multi-player two step (READ: NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN) — dream trades:

    Because this is just a fantastical dream that in no way happens— I’m disregarding 23 man totals, waiver rights/rules, NTCs etc— but for ships ‘n giggles:

    Rust + JJ + Maata + ZAR + Ruhwedel + 1st (’19) + 1st (’20) to St L

    Parayko, Peron, Jaybo (at 40% take back) to Pitt

    GMJR then flips Parayko to Toronto for Kappy, (1st ’19) and Liljegren

    Leafs unfortunately give up Kappy (but Pens get him — so not a big pain for me— LOL)
    Leafs get Parayko — yeah

    St. L gets younger, adds Maata; saves in Cap in out years , gets futures—at the expense of taking on JJ—ouch; and losing Parayko.

    Pens— get Kappy (play him top 6); Peron to replace Rust (older but over-all performing better this year than Rust— acknowledge that Rust is on tear last 3 games).

    The 2019 picks cancel each other out (Pens would actually benefit from a lower pick [however likely lottery protected– so might turn out to be a ’20 first rounder]; replace JJ and Maata with Jaybo (acknowledge he’s gone off-season and Pens possibly need to sign another D then) plus Liljegren.

    Pens D prior to Shultz return:



    Jaybo/Petterson/experiment with Liljegren


    Crosby, Guentz, Kappy/Simone/Horny
    Malkin, Kessel/Pearson, Kappy/Simone/Horny
    Brass, Kessel/Pearson, Simone/Perron/Horny
    Grant, Sheahan, Perron/Wilson/*Angello
    *Bring up Anthony Angello for a few games

    The net for Pens— if we can consider (at least I do) production of Perron and Rust a saw off (as at now Perron producing more this year but Rust has been hot last three games)—AND the Maata/Jaybo defensive capabilities a saw-off …. Then Pens gained massive production increase (Kappy over ZAR) and at the same time rid the Pens of the painful negative impact of JJ; and have Liljegren as future D instead of out-years with Maata; all for the cost of a 1st rounder in ’20… I like it

    Leafs get the coveted Parayko; all for what had already been posted as the ask…. Kappy, Liljegren, 1st.

    As I’ve said — this would NEVER ever happen — but it is in my dreams, I’m ecstatic.

    • The trend lately has been, to do nothing. I’m waiting to be surprised by any move.

      • Jeff

        last week I had set the under/over for tweak trades by tonight at 3— it will be under. There may be a lonely “tweak” trade out there today; but I’m very very skeptical now.

        JJ for a bag of pucks anyone?

      • It seems teams have settle on firing coaches rather than trading players.

    • I don’t think that is a smart Leaf trade, not lest because I am not sold on a relatively slow moving Parayko.

      • Hi Jon

        I don’t want Leafs to lose Kappy; but if he has to go… to Pens… I’m good to go

        Re your rationale that you wouldn’t move him for Parayko as he (Parayko) is relatively slow.

        I’m sorry here I must disagree with you. I do not see Parayko as relatively slow at all. He moves up the ice very very quickly. His legs may appear to move slower than others but his stride is longer and much more powerful IMO. I have no issue whatsoever with is speed.

        I’m jaded though— I’ve loved this guy for the last couple of years and IMO he will be top 2 for Canada in next Olympics

  3. ” they would have to find a way to make it attractive for Carter to accept a move ”

    The ONLY thing the Kings can do is essentially give Carter full NTC privileges.

    • And this right here is the problem in LA. The players are too comfortable. There is no competition for top roster spots and the players in those spots are locked up long term.

  4. Never have older forwards signed long term. My Sabres for example are stuck with Okposo, he’s washed up at age 30, can’t keep up with play. If they buy him out he will be getting paid for 10 years and Sabres stuck with a cap hit that long, not worth the risk signing any forward age 30 to more than 2 years.

    • The sad part is when these older washed up forwards can’t play anymore they hang out collecting their checks, very sad, NHL owners need to change rules regarding buyouts. Matt Moulson is still in AHL making 5 million,

      • Matt is your going to do that, then I suggest players like Nathan MacKinnon and Mark Scheifele should be able to tear up their contract because they both are under paid for the contributions they provide to their respective teams.
        Can’t have it one way and not the other.

      • Yup

      • Matt, it all goes to show you what a poor GM Tim Murray was as he gave both those players those contracts. In my mind they were products of having JT as their center.
        Okposo never even got an offer from the Islanders

      • My point is if I’m a GM unless a player is Crosby or Pat Kane I’m not signing him until age 35. It’s terrible that these players signed are washed up and a joke but they refuse to retire…I said nothing about young guys ripping up contracts, I’m talking about guys like Matt Moulson who is riding buses in AHL making 5 million, your think he’d have some pride and retire when washed up…I’m against any deal like JVR for example, you sign a slow forward age 29-30 for 7 million a year long term, that was dumb. It should be less of a cap hit for buyouts for old geezers…why should buying out Okposo stay on cap for 10 darn years? You should be able to buy his last 4 years out and it stays in cap half of deal for 4 years. Kings are paying for Mike Richards the druggie for another 11 years.

      • Okposo I would dump him in AHL next year make him mop floors and drive bus, hire kids to laugh at him until he quits. Make him play goalie in practice. If he wants to hang on another 4 years he can do it in AHL but it won’t be fun for him. Teams are supposed to be loyal to players but players have no loyalty they will hang on for each dollar until the end.

    • Why have the Sabres not waived Okposo if he’s such dead weight?

      • I’m sure next year they will dump him in minors. They still have Moulson this year, Pominville so next year he can be dumped…I would make it terrible for him so he retires, make him wash floors and drive the team bus. Buffalo has zero 2-3 line scoring Okposo has done zero in 15 games

  5. According to Wikipedia, Jeff Carter has retained a home in Sea Isle, New Jersey and spends time there with his family in the off-season. I know nothing of the area (could’ve a resort community that becomes a ghost town in the Winter) but maybe a trade to teams in the area could be worked out. Unfortunately the Rangers and Flyers are in rebuild mode and probably have no interest in a 33 year old with fading skills.

    • as noted by Kyle, Carter has a 5+ mil contract, no NTC or NMC therefore the Kings can choose where they want to trade him. If he wants to stay in LA then he and his agent should have left money on the table and requested a NTC on the last contract. To think that he may take the position, ‘If I am traded I won’t report and I will retire’ blows my mind. The Kings should not be penalized on cap hit IMO.
      Jeff Carter you have had a pretty nice career, you have made a great living playing the sport you love and this is how you act ? Shameful.

      • Well said fergy!

      • Question: If a trade was filed with league and he decides to retire, isn’t he technically under contract with team he’s traded to?

      • Slick, I think it is the team that signs him to that contract that is on the hook.

  6. As a Canes fan I’m hoping Waddell wont make another player for player trade this season unless it involves Victor Rask, Hamilton or Darling. Unfortunately his assistant GM/Owner, Tom Dundon, will probably force a deal as he did with Skinner and Lindholm.

    • GP

      one for one …. Hamilton for JJ…. can we shake on it?

      Will throw in Crosby signed Jersey

      • Pengy

        I’m afraid you are going to be peddling Jack Johnson for a few more seasons. Thanks for the offer but we have 3 defensemen on the Checkers that are better than Johnson. Also he didn’t want to play here the year we won the stanley cup so I’m sure he would not want to be here now. We think he looks good in black and gold and would like to see him finish his career in the steel city.

        I have a signed Lemieux jersey, I will have to settle for that.

      • GP

        your killing me…. at least counter offer

        Wouldn’t JJ be a mature “guidance” for the Checker’s D … player/coach on Checkers?

        No counter offer too small…. honest…..Christmas is 6 days away …. help a fellow out here ☹️

      • I’m going with ‘no’, since JJ never wanted to be here in the first place, but adding in the signed jersey was a nice touch.

      • And echoing GP, I think JJ looks great in black and gold, though I would prefer it if was on your first D pair and getting 25 min/night.

  7. Oilers have McD in prime.. call me crazy but send Evan Bouchard off for a proven D…and send your 1st rounder for some 2nd line depth

    Time is now

    • Actually, as good as McDavid is he is still only 21 (almost 22).

      He may not yet be in his prime and could actually get better as scary as that is.

  8. Any trade the oilers make for a Klefbom replacement or any trades period almost have to be dollar for dollar at the end of the day.

    With Sekera/Klefbom band Russel on the mend it almost has to be a wait and see as when Sekera comes back it would put them over the cap.

    As soon as uncle Pete gets on the horn about a top 4 d the conversation would beguin and end with Hopkins.

    Losing him plus would open another big hole.

    Weirder things happen, and maybe there’s a third team but unless anyone wants Lucic or Talbot they are pretty much hand cuffed to what they can do.

    That’s just my thoughts tho

    • Which is exactly why they shouldn’t do anything rash with just this year in mind DoubleMinor.
      Their issue was and still is that they haven’t drafted and developed well, hence they are just starting to have young assets like Bouchard coming in the pipeline.
      They have no depth up front like Twin says, they are thin on the blue line due to injury, but the depth is coming with guys like Bouchard and Jones but more seasoning is required.
      The last think the Oil need is PC playing whack a mole as they aren’t winning anything this year. Wait 2 years, let the young guys develop and this team could look very different and McDavid is sill just 23.
      More patience is not what Oiler fan wants to hear, they have waited a long time already, but I think that is what they should do.

    • RNH would leave a massive void

      In this young NHL you need to not waste any McD years. Oilers will mess up with their picks and prospects….and FA signings
      How he has a job still running that team….

      • Oilers mess up thier picks/prospects? That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. Get real people!

      • PC hasn’t drafted that bad actually. Jury still out on Puljujarvi, but big guys take time. I would have had him in the AHL the entire time and he might be ahead of where he is today. I would send him there tomorrow if it was up to me.
        You are correct on the trades and the big UFA signing of Lucic, but you have to give him credit on Chaison and Koskonin. Where would they be without him?

      • He still has a job b/c he still has a guaranteed contract and the small market Oilers dont want to fire him and hire someone else b/c then they have to pay 2 GM’s. They dont have the money to do what’s best for the franchise. This is exactly why big market teams can rebuild relatively quickly while small market teams languish in dysfunctionality for extended periods of time. Sad.

  9. Ah yes, Mike Harrington. Master of the obvious. Another Buffalo Snooze sports hack. Word going around is that Berglund didn’t submit his no trade list in time that included Buffalo prior to the trade. He’s been p*ssed since which effected his play.

  10. Berglund placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.

  11. The Sens would like to offer the Oilers Codi Ceci for “future considerations”. We don’t require anything in return at the moment.

    Thank you.

    • Dark G

      The Pens would like to offer the Oilers JJ … for “no considerations”…. deal??

      I feel like John Candy in Trains, Plains and Aiuto-mobiles after the car burns out and he has no $’s for a room … and he sees Steve Martin offer coin and a couple of bills PLUS “a really nice watch”…Candy offers a “Casio” 😂😂😂

      • “Where’s your other hand?”
        “Between two pillows”
        “Those aren’t pillows!”

        Classic Show.

  12. Talking of older players how much will Erik Karlsson get for how long and where?

    • EK’s value has taken a hit. I doubt he can demand the same coin and term (10 mil 7-8 years) that was being kicked around pre-season. Then again if the Sharks go deep and he shines that cold all change. I would also not be shocked if the Senators revisited signing him if SJ does not lock him up and Stone, Duchene or neither re-sign. As of today I would say Wilson does not have an appetite to break the bank on him.

      • EK had a slow start. Not surprising for a player on a new team. Has been picking up pace and if he hits free agency will still command some pretty big offers.

  13. Berglund is nuts forfeiting or potentially forfeiting $12M+ simply because he isn’t happy with the situation in Buffalo. Another example of professional athletes not living in the real world. He is massively overpaid on his current deal and may not be able to recoup half that money on his next deal assuming he wants to stay in the NHL.

    • Ya, this doesn’t make any sense Van. There has to be more to the story that we don’t know. And may never know.

  14. Down to the final hours before “freeze”–ATTENTION Doug Armstrong:

    1. Tarasenko+Allen for Quick+Muzzin+pick
    2. Pietrangelo for Kapanen+Zaitzev+1st
    3. Schmaltz for Arizona 4th
    4. Resign Berglund
    5. Bozak+Boumeister for Andrew Shaw

    • If Armstrong signs the loser berglund AGAIN, I’m moving from STL to Buffalo!

  15. Busy at work all day. Seeing 2 names that I can’t believe St Louis would consider trading… 2 players that are in their primes and would accelerate Rangers rebuild. Recently read an article on a Blues site that argued they should look to bring back Shattenkirk. Tarasenko and Parayko would fill Rangers 2 biggest needs. If they could move Shattenkirk and with assets they’ve accumulated last couple years, plus what they might get at deadline for Zuc and possibly Hayes. Hey Gorton, you listening?

  16. It’s hilarious to see all these Edmonton fans coming up with their NHL 19 trade proposals to get Colton Parayko.

    The Blues are not going to take on Jesse Puljujarvi as the main piece of a Parayko deal. He hasn’t lived up to expectations in Edmonton so why would the Blues move one of their top D-men for a prospect that has been more trouble than he’s worth at this point.

    Hilarious to see all these Edmonton fans play GM though