NHL Rumor Mill – January 1, 2019

by | Jan 1, 2019 | Rumors | 47 comments

A look at teams with salary-cap space that could be busy this summer, plus the latest on the Oilers and Sabres, in the first NHL rumor mill of 2019.


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cites NHL insider Pierre LeBrun’s appearance on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 yesterday discussing clubs with salary-cap space that could be busy in this summer’s free-agent market. He believes the New York Rangers could be on Columbus Blue Jackets’ winger Artemi Panarin’s list of preferred destinations. The Rangers could also be an option for defenseman Erik Karlsson if he doesn’t re-sign with the San Jose Sharks. 

Speculation persists linking the New York Rangers to Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin. (Photo via NHL Images)

LeBrun also noted the Montreal Canadiens will have plenty of salary-cap room for 2019-20. While Montreal hasn’t been a preferred destination for top free agents in the past, their bounce-back performance this season and their cap dollars might make them more attractive.

The San Jose Sharks play in a market that many players prefer to play. If Karlsson doesn’t re-sign with them, they’ll have plenty of cap space to pursue a big-ticket player. 

LeBrun also points out the Vegas Golden Knights still have plenty of cap room, suggesting they could pursue Ottawa Senators winger Mark Stone if he decides to test the market in July. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers, Sharks, and Golden Knights will be among the preferred spots for free-agent players this summer. The Canadiens may have cap space but they’ll be a fall-back measure for those who fail to land in one of the other markets. Frankly, I don’t expect any of this summer’s top UFAs will land in Montreal. 


TSN: In the wake of the Edmonton Oilers acquiring depth defensemen Alex Petrovic and Brandon Manning on Sunday, Pierre LeBrun reports they’d love to get a top-four defenseman before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. Unfortunately, that type of deal isn’t available to them at the present time, though maybe that might change when teams start falling out of playoff contention. LeBrun believes they’d like to land that top-four blueliner for futures, rather than giving up a top-six forward. 

THE SCORE: Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli met with the Edmonton media yesterday to justify the acquisitions of Petrovic and Manning, claiming it was imperative to shore up his blueline. He also noted better rearguards currently aren’t available. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiarelli’s been raked over the coals by Oilers followers over those two moves, though he didn’t give up a lot to bring in two third-pairing defensemen. If he could’ve landed a top-four blueliner without giving up much in return, he would’ve done it by now. Rather than shrugging his shoulders and doing nothing, Chiarelli is at least trying to find solutions to keep his club in playoff contention while waiting for better deals to materialize. Whether they help the Oilers defense remains to be seen. 

The problem with giving futures for that top-four defenseman is it could hurt their long-term development by bringing in a quick fix. Of course, it depends on which blueliner becomes available. If it’s a draft pick or two outside the first round, maybe that deal can be made for a playoff rental. 


THE BUFFALO NEWS:  Mike Harrington recently observed the Sabres are running on fumes offensively of late and wondered if GM Jason Botterill will attempt to address that need soon. He believes Botterill is trying to find help but rival GMs are reluctant to make significant deals right now. The Sabres could use an experienced second-line center. Options could include Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings, Brayden Schenn of the St. Louis Blues and Charlie Coyle of the Minnesota Wild but they won’t come cheap. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carter could be unwilling to accept a trade to Buffalo and retire, leaving the Kings with an annual salary-cap recapture penalty for the next three seasons. The asking price for Schenn or Coyle could be a promising young Sabre such as Casey Mittelstadt. 



  1. IF EDM needs a top 4 right hand Man…NYR is selling Shattenkirk for a draft pick. =)

    That guy has regressed more than Smith. Crazy.

    • Like you said looking for a top 4 dman

    • If Rangers move Shattenkirk, it’ll probably be at deadline. He played on bad knee last year before shutting it down and having surgery. Slow start as he worked his way back to game shape, then shoulder injury. Let’s see where he goes from here. If he stays healthy, maybe he builds some value.

  2. I still believe that something between EDM and the Blues could develop!? Pietrangelo?

  3. Good Morning and Happy New Year to you all!!

    Just some early morning (I was in bed by 10PM) musings about these Oilers trades…..

    Both boys are tough rearguards to play against. I hate that Manning is here (obvious reasons), but they both bring a tougher dimension to the team. Could this make Nurse expendable?

    IMO, the Oil only have 3 players I wouldn’t trade : RNH, Bouchard or that #97 Dude. I’d hate to see Draisaitl go, but he could get a monster return, especially if Nurse and/or 1st round pick are involved.

    • Lets see what my fellow Ranger fans think…
      Leon to the Rangers for Kreider+Hayes(with extension).

      2019-20 top 9
      Chytil Draisatl Panarin
      Buchnevich Zib Kratsov
      Vesey Andersson/Howden Fast

      • ds… not happening. Over pay for Rangers. I like Draisatl, but Rangers could probably do better with both players in separate deals. And based on what’s written here, they’re looking for top 4 D?

      • that is one of those rare fair trades posted but not sure money works out for oilers. if hayes gets 6 a year then his and kreider salary would be a decent amount more than loens salary… oiler are tight against cap

      • Oilers need depth as much as D. Beyond 97, RNH and Leon none of their other forwards are not worth a 2nd round pick. Cant blame them on trading Hall as he had off ice issues and needed a change

      • Interested to hear about hall’s off ice issues. You must be an Oiler fan who drank the “was a problem player” kool-aid as the reason for the horribly lopsided trade.

      • All due respect, I’m not too sure about that deal, ds.

        If they’re gonna trade Leon, it’d HAVE to have a top D coming back. Even if they have to spice it up with Puli/Nurse &/or picks. They could probably clear some cap space too by making a club take on a garbage contract (Lucic anyone? Beuller…Beuller…Buller…).

  4. The Sabres are in a tough spot because they need a proven 2/3 centre but won’t part with a 1st or high end prospect. I think the most they would be willing to give up would be a 2nd and/ or a mid pair DMan like Beaulieu or Scandella.

  5. Dubas should take advantage of the Edmonton’s situation , being desperate for a top 4 defenseman .
    Get futures , whatever and trade Jake Gardiner .
    Leafs will not be able , or even should they try and sign him . He will be able to get a ton of money , via free agency and he is not worth it , away too much of a risky player , in my opinion, with a low hockey IQ.
    A great opportunity for Toronto , but Toronto had a great opportunity to “rid” thfmselves of the Nylander situation , now at the outcome .
    I am beginning to think , Mark Hunter was the ideal candidate for the GM position .
    Leafs need to win now , and do not SEE it ..

    • Problem is….Gardiner is a 4/5 on good teams, otherwise Leafs would re-up him long term. Also on an expiring deal. Most Leafs get for him is a 2nd and 3rd.

    • Well said! Duffas stuck in Marlies mode

    • So to win now you trade Gardiner for nothing that can help right now? How do you fill over 20 minutes a night that he plays? I know people have a hate on for him but he plays a lot of minutes pretty well, though he does make glaring mistakes pretty regularly. If you are trying to win now you can’t trade core pieces away with nothing to fill those spots with, it does not make sense.

  6. This isn’t the start of the New Year I was expecting. Looked at the standing this morning only to see the Bruins on the outside of the playoff.

    • Check again. The boys just gave us a New Year’s gift.

      • Ya, luv the new jersey too.
        I think the B’s will be OK, they have had a whack of injuries and to their best players. I think they have hung in there pretty good considering.
        They lack the secondary scoring to contend right now but I think they will add at the deadline and give it a go.
        They just need to stay healthy and they will go on a decent run in the second half. They are due right?

  7. As to all those teams with plenty of cap space to spend, let’s not forget that a good number of next summer’s top prospective free agents have already re-signed with their current teams. And several others will do so before July 1. There will likely not be more than a couple of free agents who can be described as “top”. And a few other solid, second-level players. So the cap-flush team may wind up like Thurston Howell III on Gilligan’s Island. All that money and nothing to spend it on.

  8. I wouldn’t count out the Panthers and Panarin of they fire Boughner, hire Quenneville, and sign Panarin after trading a player or two.

  9. The oilers just lost all 5 on home ice. Forget about this year and don’t mortgage the future. Keep the young prospects and draft picks! If you want us to take a poor defenceman like Shattenkirk take Lucic for him!😂 But seriously Rangers and Oilers are stuck with these horrible contracts!

    • Rangers are actually in a great place in 2 years when Staal, Smith, Shattenkirk and Henrik are off the books.
      If they can get rid of one of those contracts @ the TDL even better. Shattenkirk on the team would be fine if not for Pionk+ADA having the same role.

      • ds. Agree. This was point I’ve been trying to make last few days. Shattenkirk would have more value on another team whose window is now. Hopefully he stays healthy. I’d rather they trade him and try to keep Hayes.

    • Pretty sure Edmonton would be on Shattenkirk no trade list. If Rangers do trade him, it won’t be for a crap player with a bad contract….unless it’s one expiring this year.

      • Hayes and Shatty to Dallas for Spezza+picks (if Rangers can flip Spezza to another contender)
        Hayes would get lower taxes in Texas on his new contract. Not sure $ works for Dallas.

        I’d be happy to pay Spezza til contract expires except does not help Andersson get ice time

      • ds. Watching classic. Would love Carlo on Rangers. Would be exactly type of D man we lack on right side. Only 22. If we can’t extend Hayes, Boston might be a good trading partner. They’re currently on playoff bubble, and 24th in league in goals for. Hayes and Shatty for Carlo and Backes? Would be swapping Shatty contract for Backes’. Helps make $ work. He’d give us center depth to fill void Hayes would leave, while younger players develop. Boston gets offensive help, while Rangers add an nhl ready youngster that could be a pillar on right side for years. Would help if McAvoy could stay healthy.

      • @ Slick. Carlo is a dream-Bruins will not part ways with him. McAvoy+Carlo for the next decade in Boston. Backes will not be moved-They need him for the playoffs injury prone or not

      • Agree ds Carlo should be close to untouchable behind Mcavoy. Although Carlo has been healthier this year.
        Boston needs a top six RW more than a third line center. Which should be second on the list.
        I would do Krug for Puljujarvi and a pick if Chia would do it.

      • I would take Spooner back as a third line center.
        Or put him back with Krejci they were good last year before the stupid Nash trade.

      • Understand Carlo might be untouchable, but like I said, they need offense. Wishful thinking

    • True that RCR. I was at the Sharks Oil game on Saturday and they got absolutely dominated in their own end down low. They couldn’t break up the cycle and the Sharks multiple long stretches with possession in the offensive zone. Brutal.
      Which is why PC made those moves.
      Mark Spector nailed it when he said that PC is making moves to save this season which also likely means his job.
      If they give up quality prospects and picks for this year that is a huge mistake IMO.
      That should scare Oiler fans.

  10. Oilers are also limited in cap. Not sure how they add a 7m defencemen
    I like their additions. Some size grit and proven NHL bottom pair for a reasonable price both in salary and trade costs. Nothing to complain about and better than doing nothing.

    • I don’t know how this 18 month article is relevant today.

      I don’t know that Shattenkirk is washed up. But 40 point seasons are probably in the rear view mirror. He’s almost 30 years old, he can’t stay healthy at the moment, and he’s signed to 2 1/2 more years at nearly 7 per. And to say he’s not exactly a good defensive d-man would be putting it mildly.

      For arguments sake… what would he fetch on the free market today? The guy is rarely healthy his entire career. To say his numbers and valuing aren’t sagging is flat out denial.

      You keep talking about his pp value. The man has 14 pp points in the last 1 1/2 years! I don’t see teams lining up for that kind of production for nearly 7 per.

      If you’re going to try and sell this guy, use something more recent than 18 months old. It seems you’re only trying to convince yourself of his value at this point.

      Nobody else here seems to be buying it. And this article isn’t going to change that.

      • NY4. Once again, glad I can be of service to you. Do you scroll through all the comments and look for mine?do you miss Striker? I wasn’t hiding fact article was old. I actually said that. Relevance is it’s not that long ago. Point made is he was coveted free agent a year and half ago. As I said in my first comment. “Hopefully he stays healthy and builds value” in no comments today, did I mention power play. I don’t think anyone here denies he’s a talented offensive player. He started last year pretty well, then the knee issue. Bringing up his pp point total with Rangers doesn’t tell whole story. He can still bounce back.

      • You didn’t mention power play today. But have mentioned it all week about how he can help in that area .

        So now today that I point out that he really hasn’t been very good, you’re going to forget you’ve used that as a selling point all week?

        He started out good last year before he got hurt? Really? That’s interesting for a couple of reasons. He basically played on every pairing, starting out with Mcdonagh and ultimately that didn’t work. And he was injured before the season even started. But I’m sure you were aware of that…..

        And you’re right, he “could bounce back” but no contender is paying full price for 2 1/2 years in hopes of “could”. And certainly aren’t paying a price of anything of value for “could”.

        Sure he could bounce back… or he could be injured again tomorrow making breakfast. With his history, he should probably just go out for breakfast.

        It’s funny you bring up Striker. I do see some similarities there.
        Last year I spent months arguing that NY was headed for a rebuild. I was told I was wrong. Ny was re-signing Mcdonagh to 7-8 year deal, and NY would keep chugging right along…. we all know how that worked out.

        This year I spent the entire offseason arguing with you and your idea NY was pursuing Tavares, Karlsson, Panarin and anything else that looked shiny. I said they would not…. Today it’s Carlo, tomorrow will be Mcdavid, the next day it will be Ekblad…

      • NY4…. dude, I never argued that Rangers where pursuing those players. How would you or I have that info? This is a rumors site. We comment on players and rumors that Lyle presents to us. We all come to play armchair GM. I live here. You don’t. I read local news. I watch interviews with coaches, GM and players. Nobody discusses plans of getting In “top 3” of draft every year. They seem to think they can make playoffs. I said in offseason they’d be a bubble team. For someone who has such a low opinion of Shatty, you sure seem keen on keeping him. Oh wait, you don’t want him traded because I discussed it. Ok. Again, you seem fixated on my comments. I don’t need to sell Shatty. His past offensive production speaks for itself. Even your article, ( from “hockey writers” lmao) states that he is what he is. And again, as I said “ hopefully he stays healthy and builds value.” Based on your own opinions, he definitely is a guy that would be moved in a rebuild. But now you’ll argue that he won’t only because I took position of proposing deals involving him. No problem. Happy new year everyone.

      • Lmao. Yeah he is what he is… “a regrettable contract” “ not even a top 4 guy” did you skip those parts? Struggling to regain form… can’t stay healthy , his time in Washington should have been a warning sign, etc… miss that too? Or we just fixated on what he was 3 years ago in St. Louis?

        Not only do I believe he shouldn’t be part of the rebuild, I believe (as I did prior) they should have NEVER signed the guy..

        They did, and if they trade him, they’re going to get stuck with retention. And thinking they’ll get ANYTHING of value in the process is not likely at this point.

        My argument is he doesn’t have any value . Why pull another Girardi (trade not buyout ) a player to get stuck with money for 2 1/2 more years when the position will still need to be filled? Now you’re basically paying another guy his salary plus the retention. Basically another Smith.

        As I brought up 2 days ago, Ds reiterated and you agreed to yesterday. Staal, Smith, Lundqvist and Shattenkirk are bad contracts. But they don’t interfere with anything …. unless they plan on signing every FA out as you are constantly drooling over….

        Nothing NY has done in the last year points them in that direction.

        “I live here you don’t “ I can read daily online like anyone else? You have inside info with Gorton ? What did he buy you for Christmas? Lmao

  11. Interested on what Hitchcock thinks of Shattenkirk and whether he would have input.
    Much like Peters and the 3 x Canes on the Flames.

    • What about EDM & STL swapping players

      TO EDM: Tarasenko & Pietrangelo
      TO STL: Draisaitl, Nurse & Klefbom

      fair value to both teams?

      • Petro for draisaitl as primaries in the deal. Would consider that pretty even. Tank worth far more than nurse or klefbom. For blues fans. For Blues fans clutching their hearts right now. As good as Petro is, he cannot lead, he has to go. This deal would be in conjunction with a deal to bring a second pairing right d.

  12. I would trade montreal’s 1st 2019 (top 15 protected) and 2nd 2019 To LA for Muzzin and toffoli.
    Happy new year!

    • Good thing for the Habs is they don’t have nmc/ntc. Montreal would not be thier preferred destination. Good trade for both teams not so much for the players involved.

  13. The whole point of Buffalo trading for a 2nd line center is to give Mittelstadt time to develop…there is absolutely no way that Botterill trades the kid who has been the #1 prospect in the NHL the past year, for someone who has half the ceiling as him.

    Eichel, Dahlin, Mittelstadt, Reinhart, Skinner, Nylander, Samuelsson, Thompson, Pilut, Ullmark, Luukkonen…those are the Sabres’ untouchables.

    And I don’t see Botterill trading guys like Ristolainen, McCabe, Asplund, Olofsson, Davidsson, Laaksonen, Guhle and Borgen unless it’s a huge move for someone who fits the age-group and long-term outlook.

    These players mean way too much to the Sabres’ future, which is what they’re building for…a rental for a 1st round pick isn’t helping them, they’re not winning the cup this year.

    • Tyler, I agree. I do however believe that Guhle is not as highly regarded anymore. I think Guhle and/or Bailey could be used as bait to bring in 2nd line help.