NHL Rumor Mill – December 22, 2018

by | Dec 22, 2018 | Rumors | 24 comments

Updates on Jeff Carter, Jake Muzzin, Tyler Toffoli, and Jimmy Howard in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell recently suggested trading Jeff Carter would be a good place to start for the Los Angeles Kings to commence their rebuild. He’s got three years remaining on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $5.3 million but will be paid $7 million in combined actual salary. Campbell suggests Carter could be a good fit with a budget team like the Arizona Coyotes. He’s also been linked to playoff contenders like the Boston Bruins.

Campbell acknowledged the Kings will have to work with Carter, who lacks no-trade protection but doesn’t want to leave Los Angeles. However, his agent Rick Curran said he’s had discussions with general manager Rob Blake about the possibility of a trade. Campbell doubts the Kings would get much of a return other than freeing up salary-cap space. While the Kings aren’t necessarily shopping Carter, they could move him if they find the right fit and if Carter is comfortable with the move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The concern for the Kings is Carter decides to retire rather than be traded, resulting in them getting hit with a $2.75-million annual salary-cap recapture penalty over the remaining term of his contract. While it would give them some cap relief it would also leave them with $2.75 million of dead cap space being paid out to a player no longer on their roster. That’s money that could be better invested in an active player, preferably a young, affordable one with upside.

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Cooper considers Jake Muzzin the Kings’ best defenseman this season but speculates he might not fit into the club’s long-term plans. His performance and affordable $4-million cap hit through 2019-20 enhances his trade value. He also lacks a no-trade clause. Citing Muzzin’s age (29), his requirement for a raise on his next contract, and the need for top-four defensemen in the trade market, Cooper thinks he could become one of Blake’s few bargaining chips that could fetch a good return.

Defenseman Jake Muzzin could become a valuable trade chip for the Los Angeles Kings (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Carter, Muzzin hopes to remain with the Kings. Still, if Blake decides to rebuild he can shop Muzzin to the highest bidder without fear that he’ll bail on the deal by retiring. It’s best for the Kings to move him this season while his trade value is at its highest. 

Cooper and Lisa Dillman also examined the pros and cons of trading Tyler Toffoli. The pros are he’s under-30 (26) carrying a moveable contract ($4.6-million cap hit through 2019-20) with a 30-goal season on his resume who might benefit from a change of scenery. The cons are moving one of their few good young players who could be a useful part of a rebuild. His production is down this season, which could affect his trade value.

They suggest the Edmonton Oilers as a possible trade destination for Toffoli, reuniting him with former Kings teammate Milan Lucic. It’s possible the Oilers could cut their losses with young winger Jesse Puljujarvi, who could also perhaps benefit playing elsewhere.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli is another of the Kings’ few marketable trade assets. While his struggles this season could hurt his value, Blake could find a club desperate for talent up front willing to overpay heading toward this season’s trade deadline. The question is, how far is Blake willing to go with a rebuild? We’ll probably get a clearer sense of that by the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline. 


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Burnside recently suggested the resurgence of goaltender Jimmy Howard could make him a valuable trade option for the Detroit Red Wings. He pointed out Howard’s stats (2.69 goals-against average and .922 save percentage as of Dec. 19) were astounding considering the deficiencies of the rebuilding Red Wings roster. With a lot of teams seeking goaltending help, Burnside wonders if GM Ken Holland will extend Howard’s contract or shop him for the best return at the trade deadline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumor has it Holland would seek a first-round pick for Howard. As previously noted, some readers scoffed at that notion but it’s worth remembering Holland got a first-round pick in 2018, a second rounder in 2019 and a third in 2021 from the Vegas Golden Knights at last year’s trade deadline for Tomas Tatar. 



  1. Perhaps Fletcher in PHILLY calls up LA and sees about acquiring Muzzin for their D. PHILLY has some prospects they can send back. It’ll free up space for LA and gives PH some veteran leadership they really need on the backend.

    As for Carter, AZ is a nice place to go off into the sunset, so to speak. AZ has some nice young prospects to send back too. Carter and Keller would look good together. All up to Carter though. AZ to LA is not too far if he wishes to maintain his home there. In 3 years he can retire and head back to LA to live.

    Perhaps Philly send Simmonds back to LA for Carter…lol I kid I kid.

  2. Rob Blake has to decide if he wants to be the GM of the Kings or friends with his ex-teammates?

    If there is a deal to be had for Carter he should jump on it. If Boston (hope not) is willing to give up prospect to obtain Carter he should be all over it. Carter can still go back to LA in the offseason.
    Carter shouldn’t be left in LA just because he wants to stay. If Blake view him as an important part of his team, that one thing, but if he see him as someone on the decline but still moveable then get it done.

    Jake Muzzin why would LA trade him? Good Dman good value, if anything they should be extending him.
    However if moving him to acquire younger talent. Then they should be in discussion with Toronto or vice versa. With Morgan Rielly as their number 1 LD followed by Gardiner. Toronto should be all over this, but making sure Gardiner is included in the trade, that would also include Kapanen, but if I was LA I would target Kadri would would move behind Kopitar in fill in for the moved out Carter.

    • Caper I don’t think it’s about being friends with Carter.
      If Carter isn’t going to move, then he isn’t going to move and there is nothing Blake can do about it.
      Carter’s choice, not Blake’s.
      I don’t know Carter or his family or what his reasons are.
      If Blake chooses to have that discussion with him he will and I would expect it to be professional and respectful. As it should be.
      Nobody is right or wrong here it is simply about personal choice.

      • Where is the loyalty to the team?carter should retire since he’s washed up but nope he will hang on and collect that check until the last game like every player.

      • @luc langis you are correct they did not play together. That’s my bad, I usually fact check before I post. Not this time.
        Take the ex teammate out of my statement and I’ll stay with that.

      • Matt, I have a scenario for you. You have a buddy with a young family who worked for an organization that told him his job was moving to a different city. He decided not to move and left that organization and did something different or retired.
        Should that organization invite him surfing? I am guessing you wouldn’t think that.
        Why is it that sports fans think players are different than other people?
        IF, and a big IF, he decides to hang them up so what? He is now some disloyal jerk? I bet his team mates would say otherwise. It costs the Kings cap space, big flippin’ deal.

    • What are you even trying to say ?The only 2 players that we’re with the kings when Blake retired were Brown and Quick. Quick only played 3 games that year. Carter never played with him . Your just randomly shooting out teams like toronto and what you would do . The plan is to obviously evaluate and wait at the deadline for desperate teams.

    • Caper your first sentence is well put…I have wondered when owners and board members look for new upper management how much time they put into the philosophic attributes of an inside or outside appointment. This before thinking about any specific candidate.

      As to your trade suggestions you are either undervaluing the Leafs while I am overvaluing them. I would trade Kadri ++ for a good defensive D man and a lesser but bigger meaner 3 rd line centre.

    • Kapennan and Gardiner for Muzzin? … no way … Gardiner for Muzzin straight up and possibly 3rd rounder to LA …. in my opinion ….

      • Yeah, trade a guy that has term for an UFA that’s seeking 6-7 per … makes perfect sense …. from a dream world Toronto fan.

        Now in reality world…. why is LA making this deal?


  3. A few comments….

    1 Howard doesn’t have term like Tatar had and Detroit might not be trading to an idiot GZm.

    2. With Muzzin…if traded he isn’t getting an outright 1st. He’s a mid pairing Dman and these get 2nd+2nd-5th pick+ possibly a prospect

    This looks to be a tight playoff race with many teams fighting fit the final spots. When that happens teams don’t trade 1sts. It’s more like 2nd becomes a 1st based on pkayoffs or resigning.

    • Last year’s playoff race was also tight but the Blues got a first-round pick, a conditional fourth and a player from the Jets for Paul Stastny (pending UFA), the Blackhawks got a first, a fourth and a player from the Predators for Ryan Hartman, and the Rangers got a first, a seventh and three players for Rick Nash (pending UFA), and the Senators got a first, a third, and two players for shipping Derick Brassard as part of a package to the Penguins.

      • Yep..and how did that work out!..great for the teams getting the picks

    • Dan, actually Muzzin is a legit top Pairing dman, maybe not a #1 but definitely a #2. He has played with Doughty extensively over the past 4 years.

      To say he is a middling dman worthy of a 2nd rounder is just plain wrong.

    • Dan, team Canada thought he was good enough to make their stacked world Cup roster in 2016, and he is currently having a career year.

      Sorry your wrong here buddy!

  4. Caper, well said about Carter. Blake needs to trade him ASAP to set the precedence moving forward. He can’t let the players dictate what’s going to happen. If he retires then oh well, see ya later.

    Disagree on Muzzin. He is one of their best trade chips and LA needs a few good prospects in the system to help with rebuild. I like Muzzin but it’s time to go.

    • Canadian King what would you like to see LA get in return for Muzzin? Prospect, NHL ready, picks? Would you rather Dman or forward?

      • Caper, I’d prefer a solid d prospect in return. It seems to be LAs weakest position when looking at their prospects. Outside of Clague, it’s pretty thing.

  5. Jeff Carter no points in last 5 games 2 points in last 10 games or so. Worst nightmare for a team is having an old forward signed long term who has no movement clause and doesn’t want to leave. They should invite him surfing and hope a shark…

    Christmas came early for my Sabres ditching old man Burglund and his 3.8 cap hit for 3.5 years.

    • Matt, fyi Carter doesn’t have a NMC or a NTC and only has a cap hit of $5.25 per for 3 more years. It’s not that bad for a guy that scored 35 goals in his last full season.

      That’s not exactly a nightmare in my opinion.

  6. Canadian King….what would you give for Kadri & Zaitzev or Kadri and a 2 nd….I don’t think Kadri Muzzin would cut it do to the length of contracts…Muzzin and what or who….

    • Hmmmm, good question old Blue.

      The way I see it, I’m not sure Kadri is a fit for LA. I get his talent and value but LA needs to use their assets to bring in prospects, picks and young roster players.

      • what about Hayes and Smith from NYR to LA for Carter & Muzzin?

      • Agree with that Canadian King, Blake needs to decide what he wants to do. Wholesale tear down and a long painful rebuild, or try for the quick “retool”.
        He obviously has some very good players on that team, but also some contracts that will be difficult to move without having to sweeten the pot.
        Ain’t gonna be easy.