NHL Rumor Mill – December 21, 2018

by | Dec 21, 2018 | Rumors | 61 comments

Latest on Patrick Marleau, Jake Gardiner, Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs try moving Patrick Marleau next summer in a cost-cutting deal? (Photo via NHL Images)


TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons considers Patrick Marleau’s contract “a boondoggle” for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Marleau’s $6.25-million annual average value could contribute to a salary-cap crunch for the Leafs as they attempt to re-sign young superstars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

Simmons recommends management ask Marleau to waive his no-movement after this season. He points out $17.5 million of the winger’s bonus-laden $18.75-million contract will be paid out by July 1. “With only $1.25 million left on the deal, he’d be a bargain for teams that don’t spend to the cap,” writes Simmons. 

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel recently noted the Leafs path to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Jake Gardiner is increasingly narrow. In addition to re-signing Matthews and Marner, they’ll also have to re-sign restricted free agents Kaspari Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson and re-sign or replace others, such as pending UFA Ron Hainsey. Even if Gardiner were to agree to less than market value, they might have to trade another player, “probably Nikita Zaitsev and/or Connor Brown.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs management faces a delicate balancing act trying to re-sign their key players. Matthews and Marner could cost at least $20 million, pushing the Leafs’ cap payroll for 2019-20 to over $76 million. Yes, they’ll get some cap relief with Nathan Horton on permanent long-term injured reserve, but they’ll still be hard-pressed to come up with sufficient space for Gardiner, Kapanen, Johnsson, and other moves. A cost-cutting trade or two could be necessary.

Simmons suggests trading Marleau would free up sufficient cap space to re-sign Gardiner. A team looking to reach the cap floor next season could be interested in taking on the final year of his contract, but would Marleau be willing to accept that deal? Maybe if the Leafs win the Cup this season, but that’s only speculation on my part. He could be insistent on playing out that final year in Toronto. 

Simmons also suggests another way could be trading someone like Kapanen but insisting that Zaitsev is part of the deal. While that’s possible, clubs with interest in Kapanen might balk at Zaitsev’s $4.5-million annual cap hit through 2023-24, which also includes a modified no-trade clause that kicks in next July. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports it sounds like the Carolina Hurricanes have been debating St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko. He wonders if the Blues would want promising Hurricanes center Martin Necas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Blues are entertaining offers for Tarasenko, a top prospect such as Necas would have to be part of the package. It’s also worth wondering if the Hurricanes would be willing to part with him. They need a scoring forward and have depth in good young defencemen to draw upon as trade bait to address that need, but they could be squeezed to include a promising youngster or a first-round pick in the deal. 

Speaking of the Blues, Friedman notes Brayden Schenn played three seasons for Vegas Golden Knights assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon in the WHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman notes some of the Golden Knights rivals are wondering if they might have some interest in Schenn. With the Blues apparently willing to field offers for some of their veterans, it wouldn’t be surprising if Schenn might become a trade chip. 

If the Washington Capitals decide to trade winger Andre Burakovsky, Friedman said they’re not interested in futures unless they can be used to add a player who can help them right away. Trading him for a return that doesn’t help them win the Stanley Cup this season doesn’t appeal to them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Vancouver Canucks were reportedly among the teams “kicking tires” on Burakovsky. I don’t doubt there’s interest in the 23-year-old, who still has plenty of time to reach his full potential, but it appears the Capitals aren’t in a rush to move him. 

Friedman also wonders what the Canucks will do with veteran defensemen Alex Edler and Chris Tanev. Edler is an unrestricted free agent this summer and Tanev has a year remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Have to wonder if they’ll attempt to move either guy near the trade deadline. They’re not a playoff contender and I don’t think these two fit into the club’s long-term plans. Edler will have to agree to waive his no-trade clause. 



  1. July 2, the day after Marleau gets his last signing bonus payout.

    Dubas: Hey Marleau, do you want to play for us the rest of the season for 1.25 mil or would you rather us mutually terminate your contract so you can play for any other team for 3 times as much?

    Marleau: I’ll take door number two.

    Problem solved!

    • If it was just that easy. More like Marleau plays, worse case, Marleau retires and Toronto trades his contract or he decides he wants to retire a Shark and Toronto and Sharks play let`s make a deal.

      • Maybe he wants to play on the Arizona cap Floors?

      • Yogi , 35+ , if he retires , the leafs take the 6.25 hit regardless , can’t trade the hit . I’ve tried to explain this before , Marleau either grows allergic to his gear , or some strange ltir dance similar or cap hit remains . No other way around it . None .

      • A team who wants him , playing , that he accepts a trade to , and can fit 6.25 , which cup contender is doing that ? He’s not going to end his career with a bottom feeder , if he’s playing . If you want to consider this an option , there is 1

      • Nyr4life….. You spouted off oh Brian Rust isn’t that good yada, yada, yada..

        i said A game like the hat trick will get him started well I was right…he is on fire up to 9 goals will likely end up with more than 15 easily.

        And you said he isn’t that good he is better than half the Kings roster.. and he is only 26 unlike the Kings roster…. The way he is playing right now, his contract is affordable, and he is young Kings would be stupid not to take him… oh yeah we will keep him now you can have Jake Muzzin…

      • Until his next slump when you’ll propose him for Parayko….

      • Black N Gold, I’d rather keep Muzzin,thanks!

      • Canadian king, you have to love the fair weather fans! A week ago he agrees that Rust isn’t enough… now Rust is playing on the top line with Crosby and has 8 goals ( 1 hat trick, 1 – 2 goal game over the last 7-10 days and that guy has earned his right to stay now! Lmfao! Forget about the 1st 30 games he was trash with ONE goal! Rocket Richard here comes Rust!

        And all of the sudden now Muzzin isn’t worth that piece of 💩? Smh!

      • Yea NYR4life, it’s rather comical!

      • @Craig 3 Saturdays ago the insider panel discussed Marleau’s contract. If Marleau retires the contract can be traded. Kipper brought it up and Freidman and the rest agreed that was an option for Toronto. They even discussed what the sweetener would be to get a deal done.

    • Not quite. The Leafs would still have his entire $6.25M cap hit count. He signed that contract after age 35.

      • Not if they trade him or if he retires they trade his contract

      • I am responding to MST’s contract termination scheme. I realize a trade is a totally different scenario.

      • Contract terminations don’t leave cap hits. Just look at Plekanacs

      • Marleau is likely going to finish with around 20 goals and 45 points again same as he has for the past 4 or 5 years still can skate and has speed for a guy of his age unlike some of the other older guys you see playing in their late 30s or early 40s he isn’t slow or really breaking down with injury ala Hossa ….Im sure if it came down to it there would be a team that could use and swing a deal for a guy like this who is only owed a million bucks in real money if that was the route they took.

      • Contract terminations on multi year 35+ remain . Plekanec was 1 year Mst

      • Which team schticky would realistically take on 6.25 next year that Marleau agrees to go to , to end career ? He’s not just going to do what’s best for the leafs as it sounds like fans expect .

      • Exactly Craig. Plekanec was on a 1 year deal which has a different set of rules.

      • Realistically? Ok Craig doesn’t his wife and family still live in the Bay area? So let’s start with the obvious Sharks have 12 guys signed next year and 24 mill in space and could likely make more room. I am not of the opinion that Marleau is an issue or that it’s necessarily a great idea to get rid of a leader on the team who is fantastic in the room and continues to play at the same pace as he did prior to being a Leaf. The guys respect him love to play with him and refer to him as “the Goat”. He has put up the same production for years is amongst the top 30 guys in scoring to ever play the game and is one of the NHLs most durable players who can still skate amongst the top half of the league unlike the Jagers, Thortons and Hossas.
        Also Im not sure but seems to me it’s a little premature until we know what other moves or contracts are going to look like not just for the Leafs but some other teams around the league as well as to guess what’s happening with next year’s rosters its media driven speculation about a popular team to get people talking. Who knows maybe the Leafs find away package Zaitsev to dump money maybe Marner dosent come in at 10 but 8 because he doesn’t really mind staying close to family…there are a lot of bridges to be crossed seeing as tho we are only a 3rd thru the season but this contract isn’t exactly an anchor so what’s the point of speculating how do we get rid of it? Teams have found ways to get rid of contracts of guys who cant play are we really going to be shocked if this one gets traded or something else happens that he plays it out?

      • The obvious is his career team who refused to give him the 3rd year which Toronto would ?

      • Schticky weren’t you of the opinion just a couple weeks ago that there was a gentleman’s deal in place where Marleau retires after bonus paid out?

      • @Shticky – The Sharks need to sign Eric Karlsson and Pavelski for next season plus 8 other UFA’s or RFA’s. I don’t think they will want to add a 40 year old with a 6.25 mill cap hit.

      • What I am saying is to call a contract that is only 1 year owed a million in real money and th player can actually still play and put up 20 or so goals isn’t going to be exactly shocking how many contracts did Jagar get? Clarkson Hossa and anrd bolqnds contracts got moved
        and some other deals that were “realistically” considered imoveable by the experts around here, I’m don’t think it’s a good idea I think there are likely better options and even if the plan is to move him it’s not likely going to be near as difficult as many other of the contracts that have moved. Yes the Sharks have guys to resign the will have close to 30 mill to work with if the ceiling is as expected other teams will have space as well and roster decisions to make but it’s a little ridiculous and try and speculate where or what is going to happen to a guy who doesn’t really have any term aside from 1 year and 1.5 mill in real money left. Yes it’s a 6.5 mill hit but in general if you look at others Thorton Jagar Hossa Kovalchuck Radulov Chara there are guys all over the league over 32 who seem to be being paid close to the same that really havent had any problem finding a place to pay them. This is not a Horton Hossa Clarkson Bolland type contract that’s long term on an injured player they all were moved. So why sit here and speculate that suddenly this one is going to be so different? How many more times are people going to eat crow over the Leafs and guys screaming about all these bad contracts the Leafs have? It’s becoming a 2 time a week fishing trip. Nylander Gardiner Hainsey will be coming at some point this season I’m sure we will hear how badly Riley is and how he will be over paid and the cap crunch will be 2 years from now. As we all peer in to our crystal balls. No need to worry about Marleau cause Matthews is going to sign an offer sheet to play in the Hockey Mecca of Glendale according to some but at least when he goes we will trade Kapanen for Parayko…it’s absolutely crazy how unbalanced Leafs posts become from both sides

      • It’s also obvious Craig that Marleau dosrnt have a 3 year deal at that point it’s 1 and only costs a million in real money SJ has had no issues giving Thronton similar money on 1 year terms

      • Nyr4lide..your an idiot..my main message was he is a young talented forward that the kings could use and hes getting hot..and yes pens needed to add i also said that…muzzin is terrific but now pens are playing better ww can get a depth defender now…you twist things douche bag you must be a millennial

      • Cabadian queen you werent e en involved in the debate..put ur dress and tijara awzy girl.

      • Canadian King/Queen…yes you can keep Muzzin Pens are playing much better…..maybe we need just a depth defender now…

        Muzzin is terrific a top 4 no doubt…the Kings need scoring and they are about to blow it all up.. Quick, Muzzin, Martinez (Carter if he waives his NTC)

        Nyr4life was just being a douche all I said was Rust, 26 could help the kings he disagreed. well he is up to 10 goals now. so we will keep him and I guess muzzin is off somewhere. he would look god in black n gold.

        I told Nyr4life we would have to add something TO A MUZZIN rUST SWAP he obviously didn’t listen. Oh well..my favorite team will be in the playoffs my second favorite wont even though we are up on San jose 2-0..LOL

    • This is why you never sign forwards over age 32 to 3-8 year deals. You can’t get rid of them, Patrick will hang around until last day of deal.

      • As he should, if he is capable, I believe for his career he has avged just over 50 points he is nearly 40 and on pace for about 8 less points than he had through his career and about the same total as he had in 2008 literally half his carrer has been around 50 points seasons and he is on pace for about 45 this year not sure how slowed down that is.

  2. Let’s hear it for the old guys – Patrick Marleau retires as a Leaf and hopefully fulfills his dream.

    • i concur and will suggest that Marleau isn’t going anywhere.

  3. if gm is not happy, they should be able to do rewind trade after one year.

    • Yeah how many contracts would be 9verpaid to begin and taken back after 1 year. All of then.

  4. Why would he leave he has a couple of years to win a cup on a very good team. He’s been playing for like forever so he has $. He knows he doesn’t have many chances left

  5. If Marleau has all his dough might not be a big issue for him to retire. Of course most players will have to have the seater ripped off their back. Zaitev’s deal is the problem

    Tarasenko most goals scored since 2014 behind Ovechkin . It will take a significant offer. Necas plus a first plus a decent roster player maybe more

    • Not a big issue for Marleau to retire with all his $ but he probably wants a cup. Play hockey n get paid while your chances at a cup are high. Would you retire

      • If Marleau retires, that is horrible for the Leafs. His full cap hit would count towards next year’s cap since it is a 35+ contract.

    • Buffalo has three first round picks including the Blues first round pick so they could trade for Tarasenko if he was available. If the blues suck next year as well they will want their lotto pick

  6. Sabres should be looking at Brayden Schenn – the 2nd line center the club needs.

    • That’s a good idea, not too old and not signed past age 32. He would be good for Buffalo second line.

      • Matt are you saying the Sharks should just walk away from guys like Burns and Pavelski? both are over 32 same as Ladd Ovechkin Malkin Weber Bergeron Carter Getzlaf Suter Giordano Flurey Wheeler Luongo….what is the randomness of no contract over 3 years for guys past 32? should it be in the CBA guys need to retire by 35? some guys play pretty well in their 30s….there is no magic number for the most part its case by case and throwing a blanket like no one should sign a contract that takes a guy past 32 seems a little silly and short sighted considering some of these guys

    • Schenn be nice but I’d give them the Sabres 1st n not St. Louis 1st with it being a possible lotto pick

      • I’d give the Blues their #1 back, especially since it probably will be used in 2020

  7. do we really have to listen to friedman and simmons neither one knows what a puck is

  8. I seriously doubt the leafs will trade Marleau but more likely take the route most teams have done in the past when they have experienced a cap crunch….you figure out how much space you need and trade the assets to make it happen. So if you have an over paid player, you package him with an over performing one that is being paid less to tempt or make a deal possible.
    The Leafs are in luck there as they have multiple good young cheap assets that can tempt many teams that can help them loosen the cap crunch. Sports writers are lazy on solutions but big on being straw men.

    • Except Marleau has to approve this deal , if it could be found

    • Re reading your post I think you mean not Marleau then . Apologies

    • So who do you think the Leafs will package Zaitsev with to make taking his 4.5 mill cap hit for 5 more years appealing?

      • Well that’s the trick right? If your an opposing GM you’d want more than I would want to give but one thing for certain is any GM trading and getting a player that is over paid will want to be relieved of his cap anchor as well.

        A trade that would include Zaitsev might include a young winger (roster or non roster) and/or draft picks. I doubt they’ll trade him since we are all assuming they are going to lose Gardner to FA, Hainsey will be a goner too…that would leave the Leafs with just three dmen and only one played more than one full season.

        Regardless I believe that it’s pretty much endless as what can be done…the trickiest part is finding the right trading partner – one that can mutually benefit from a transaction. Bottom line is this current crop of Leafs management is interesting and the kind that will keep us guessing and I do believe they will do things no one has thought of trying and succeeding.

      • I proposed Pietrangelo for Kapanen, Zaitsev, a 1st (and maybe Lilegren)as a possibility.

      • If you didn’t get Liljegren as well you would be f’ed in the a

  9. Leafs are built for the regulat season come playoff time it’s a whole new ball game. Leafs need to hope Buffalo stays third to avoid Boston in first round or they will be out early. Toronto need to move a couple of young guns for some playoff performers.

    • You could be right but I think the Leafs can beat Boston this year – TB, maybe not.

    • I’d rather see the leafs beat the crap out of boston than win the cup.

  10. Without injury Bolts are my favourite to win the cup. A very tough division though and the hockey gods must aline.

    • At this point I have to agree…..

  11. Not sure Leafs can beat Boston ,Bruins handled them with out Bergeron Chara Jake and more they are in their kitchen. Tavares will help this year and if refs continually put Toronto on the power play they will have a chance. Boston will make a move for another top 6 winger and if healthy they will be tuff to beat. Leafs will try to find a D man also I know they won’t sit still.

  12. Nyr4life..rust is on fire your in a slump mr. Know it all…i said a big game can jump start a young ralented forward which it did…he now has more goals than half the kings…

  13. Someone should break the unwritten rule and offer Matthews a contract on Jul 2nd. Then let’s see what happens. Lol. Worth the 4 numbers ones. Then we should see how good Kyle is and how overrated Lou is.

  14. Nyr4life rust twp more assists in a 3-0 win.like i said a good game cab get a young struggling player going ….happy holidays