NHL Rumor Mill – January 25, 2019

by | Jan 25, 2019 | Rumors | 59 comments

Latest on the Oilers and Stars plus updates on Sergei Bobrovsky, Brett Pesce, Chris Kunitz, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Edmonton Oilers “checked in” on Washington Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky but a couple of sources “threw cold water on that.” The Capitals are seeking “a couple of mid-to-high” draft picks for Burakovsky. Friedman also said the Oilers like speedy Detroit Red Wings winger Andreas Athanasiou but there’s no guarantee the Wings will move him, plus the asking price would be expensive.

There’s also speculation they were talking to the Chicago Blackhawks “about something bigger” and could be trying to shed winger Tobias Rieder to free up salary-cap space. A rumor suggesting a team was interested in Oilers prospect Evan Bouchard went nowhere. Friedman also suggests Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen’s new contract could be used as a comparable by Calgary Flames netminder David Rittich. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson recently said his club won’t peddle the future for quick fixes, which likely means they won’t be making significant moves before the trade deadline. Burakovsky could cost the Oilers one or two of those assets to acquire. Interesting that the Capitals apparently seek a couple of draft picks as earlier speculation suggested they wanted a player who could help their roster right away. 

Athanasiou is poised for a 30-goal, 55-point performance. He would be costly to acquire and I don’t see the Wings moving him now. The time for that was during his contract standoff during the summer of 2017. Seems like he and Wings management are on better terms now. 

Rieder carries a $2-million cap hit on a one-year deal. Maybe a playoff contender will take a chance on him regaining his form.

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky won’t comment on his future plans (Photo via NHL Images).

While there’s an understanding Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky would “consider other situations”, there’s a theory he and his agent haven’t committed them to paper yet. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Bobrovsky might be willing to waive his no-trade clause but he may not have submitted a written list to Jackets’ management. Meanwhile, Bobrovsky isn’t commenting on his future plans.GM Jarmo Kekalainen maintains they’re hoping to convince Bobrovsky and fellow UFA Artemi Panarin to re-sign, though acknowledging they could face difficult decisions if keeping them beyond this season isn’t possible. 

Friedman speculates the Toronto Maple Leafs were watching Brett Pesce, not Dougie Hamilton, during their recent scouting of the Carolina Hurricanes. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s widely assumed the Hurricanes seek a scoring forward in exchange for one of their right-shot rearguards. Friedman said, however, the Leafs aren’t willing to part with Kasperi Kapanen or blueline prospect Rasmus Sandin.

While contract negotiations are ongoing between the Ottawa Senators and pending unrestricted free agents Matt Duchene and Mark Stone, Friedman said there doesn’t seem to be much discussion with winger Ryan Dzingel. He could fetch a decent return if the Senators decide to shop him. 

Friedman believes a few playoff contenders are considering Chicago Blackhawks winger Chris Kunitz. He suggests the Calgary Flames would be a good fit. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kunitz’s performance has steadily declined since 2013-14. The Flames already have one fading veteran on the roster in James Neal. They don’t need another. 

Friedman cited BSN’s Adrian Dater reporting the New York Rangers were scouting the Colorado Avalanche. While it could be tied to Rangers like Kevin Hayes or Vladislav Namestnikov, New York’s interest could be in a top prospect like Shane Bowers or much more. The Avs, however, will “zealously protect” their best draft assets. Friedman also believes the Avs will explore defenseman Nikita Zadorov’s trade value. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been some speculation out of Colorado suggesting Hayes would be a good fit for the Avalanche, who need secondary scoring. But if the Avs won’t part with a good young asset, the Rangers could look elsewhere for a suitable trade partner. 

Friedman reports the Dallas Stars are dangling Brett Ritchie, Valeri Nichushkin and Mattias Janmark.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars are in need of secondary scoring. Perhaps one or two of those guys will be used as trade bait to address that issue. 


  1. Flames could use Zuccarello not a Kunitz unless more of a coaching role they are after. He would be a healthy scratch and often.

    Burakovsky is worth a couple of picks. First rounder at 23. Some injury history but still young. Definitely an offensive flair. Maybe a Kylington would do it for him or Zuccarello Valimaki is coming back and he will be a mainstay on the Flames for years.

    • SilverSeven

      I agree that Zucc would be a great add to the Flames. He’s sort of a player that will slide in easily, and not trigger any chemistry spasms.

      There will be bidders on Zucc– return value is up in the air right now.

    • There was talk a few weeks back about a deal in place for Zuccarello to Calgary.

      Haven’t seen a thing since? But I think wherever he goes, he’ll be just fine. Very hard to gauge value. He started out slow but has 9 points in his last 5 games.

      The guy is definitely one of the more creative players in NY. And seemed to play well with any center or line he’s played on, (offensively), Brassard, Hayes, Stepan, 1st, 2nd and even 3rd line he’s put up 50+ regularly.

      Anything less than a 2nd would be painful for NY, but a bargain for the receiving team.

    • If I remember correctly, Burakovsky was one of MacDavid’s wingers in Junior.

  2. I said a few weeks back when the avs we’re struggling that Hayes was a perfect fit.

    But I also believe he is NYs most valuable piece come the tdl. And there will be no shortage of interest.

    Winnipeg, Colorado, Boston, Columbus should all be heavily involved. So if Colorado isn’t willing to pay a heavy price, someone else will I’m sure.

    • Oh I hope not, Hayes can stay in NY or anywhere else don’t want him in a Bruins uniform.

      • Why’s that caper?

      • NYR4Life he doesn’t move the needle enough for what the cost would be.

    • No better rental center. Definitely a 1st or top 2-3 prospect in an org.

  3. Dzingel to Avs would be a nice addition

    • Fergy22


      What is the ask?

      • how about add Ceci and ask for 2nd, Meloche or Timmins + O’Connor or Greer.

      • Fergy22

        I’m not 100% convinced Ottw moving on from Ceci

      • Not much of a return for a reliable 2nd tier scorer like Dzingel and established RHD like Ceci. Maybe Avs could give Sens back their first, plus a good prospect?

      • Everyone keeps bringing up a trade that has Colorado sending that 1st back to Ottawa?

        They aren’t prying that pick out of Colorado’s hands! I can’t imagine any scenario that they would be sending it back.

        That pick is GONE!

      • as noted,by Agent, Dzingel is a very reliable scorer but a UFA next year so no guarantees he does not test the market. I watch most Senators games & Ceci has regressed the past couple of seasons, I think it is time to move on. He is due for a new contract this summer and it won’t be a pleasant negotiation. They could ask for the Avs first ( not the pick obtained from Ottawa)conditional on Dzingel resigning, if Dzingel does not resign it turns out to be a 2nd.
        Personally I would like Ottawa to re-sign Stone and Dzingel and trade Duchene for assets. It is going to be an interesting couple of weeks here in Ottawa, I hope Dorion is lining up dance partners now cause if Stone and Duchene are not signed or traded by Feb 14 it will be a mad scramble to get best value for them.

    • I still maintain that Ferland to AVs makes more sense but yes Dzingle would be a decent fit too

    • Dzingel to the Avs? Pretty sure Dorion has no interest in dealing with the Sakic anytime soon

      • retribution, not Sakic’s fault that he landed what could be first overall this year from Dorion. Senators had the option to toss the Avs this years 4th overall pick and chose not to, they seem happy about landing Tkachuk. Give Sakic credit for the haul he got for Duchene. 1st rnd pick 2019, 2nd 2018, 3rd 2018, Girard, Kamenev, Bowers, Hammond. If Dorion could get anywhere close to that this year for Duchene at the TDL he will get that gorilla off his back for giving up the potential 1st overall.

  4. Chad Ruwheedel is unbelievably still occupying a roster spot on Pens— $650K annually— He’s not played in forever and won’t play another game this year, unless there is 2 more injuries to a D

    … waive him– picked up — no loss to the team and team gains Cap space; not picked up— paid same sal adn he plays in AHL, but save Cap space

    …. have Chi take back 1/3 on Kunitz— what’s it cost …. 7th rounder? 6th rounder?

    I’m not saying that Kuntiz makes any change to Pens at all

    I’m just pointing out that Pens have a completely wasted roster spot; and if Pens could get Kunitz for same Cap (1/3 retained by Chi) for a 6th or 7th; then the Pens are certainly no worse off production wise (they are for sure NOT playing Ruhweedel and just might not play Kunitz) but gain some positive influence in the dressing room.

    Of course Kunitz would very unlikely be playing; but my point is — If I’m paying $650 K annually for a player not playing at all; I’d rather have a Kunitz on the 23 man roster than a Ruhweedel.

    Before I get dumped on— main point here — waive Ruhweedel— the rest was just to prove my point of wasted space.

    • To clarify

      I’m saying Ruhweedel is wasted space ; not Kunitz is wasted space

      • Wow Pengy you do not like Rudwhedel… I think he will get moved soon enough..plus you can never have enough defense…

        Kunitz love Kunny his time is done here in Pittsburgh….

      • I’m not as wickedly opposed to Ruhweedel as I am to JJ, but I’m certainly not a fan of Ruhweedel.

        What I’m more NOT a fan of— completely wasted cap— it appears (for good reason) that they will not be playing him any more this season. Since Petterson came over — absolutely no need for Ruhweedel.

        Set aside my dislike for Ruhweedel’s play — no team should just carry a player in the press box for the year— completely wasted Cap

        Between JJ and Ruhweedel— conservatively they have cost the Pens 3 victories— they have yet to “save” a game…. those conservative extra 6 points — Pens would be 2nd in the East with a game in hand— just sayin’

        Those currently conservative 3 games lost due to JJ could reach 6 by end of season (and could potentially put Pens out of the play-offs)

        My daily JJ rant over— 🙁

    • I don’t think anyone will “dump” on you fot suggesting to get rid of Ruhweedal.

      He’s poison, as is J.Johnson. (addition by subtraction)

      IF THE OILERS TRADE OFF BOUCHARD, any deal, esp for a rental, for playoff spot this year- THEY MAY AS WELL SHOOT ONE ANOTHER IN FRONT OFFICE & start from scratch…

      • After some of the deals Chiarelli made wouldn’t you try and see if you could swindle Bouchard from him?
        I actually don’t see the Oilers making any big moves until they hire an actual GM. The biggest move I see them making is trading Talbot at the deadline.

      • Pengy En4Sir…Rudwhedel isn’t spectacular but i would move J.J first…

        Maybe the Capitals would want Rudwhedel :)_and J.J.

        I sure hope this three team trade Carolina Columbus Pittsburgh doesn’t pick up anymore steam,.

        As I have said Jake Muzzin is the key or another top 4 defenseman…for a long Penguins cup run..
        We are weak on the back end. While the futre looks bright with young talent like Pettersson, Rikola (has a bomb shot) and Olisiak they may not be ready for playoff hockey.
        Once we get a top 4 d-man then we can add offense

      • blackNGold

        with you

        I would move JJ first, or second, or third…..at any chance possible I would move JJ.

        Yes — both weak players. The albatros is JJ and unbelievably…. for 4 more years.

        If Pens don’t play JJ in a single play-off game (I dream) — there is a chance with Shultz back that the D can carry a long playoff run (chance only).

        If JJ plays …. and for F^%&*’s sakes it looks like they will play him — imperative to have a top 4 D on that roster.

        Muzzin– good to go for me.

        Manson— also good to go — but he’s RHD … would they flip him to third pairing (Letang and Shultz RHDs)?

        Ferland also a great add to have

        Obviously tremendous odds against Pens getting both of them and addressing 3C

        Would the addition of JUST Muzzin (less of course whatever they give up…a D must go out the door) put them over the hurdle for deep run?

        Just like most teams in their position— one tweak is not going to get them all the way.

        I’m only confident with one team making a single minor tweak and going all the way — TBay

        All other teams credibly vying for cup are looking at major moves and/or more than one medium tweak/move– so loads of competition.

        Just like with the Leafs — for Pens, I believe it is a long shot to believe they can get past TBay. I do believe that Pens have a better chance than Leafs (who I really can’t see at all with Cup this June) but Tbay is a very very good team.

        For Pens to get by them — (1) as you’ve said — shore up the D (Leafs same boat); (2A) and (2B) — 3rd line Centre upgrade and gritty winger (Ferland??)

        All three of those— then your talking — but that is a load coming in— so loads going out— Pens only have one 1st rounder to give up; probably Maata and maybe Jamie O (I hope not but there was a hint on TSN) going.

        Prospects willing to give up ???– Simone (I like but that might be the first consideration). ZAR???

        To sum: outside of the fact that this would be at least 3 trades (so very very very unlikely) I’m not sure that Maata, Jamie O, Brass, ZAR, Simone, 1st sent out bring back Muzzin, 3C upgrade and Ferland.

        Unfortunately my gut is telling me that GMJR will be out-bid on Muzzin but may be succesful in getting Ferland

        Move 1 : waive Ruhweedel — this is just paper work that will result in Cap space opening up— that is a no brainer.

        Move 2: Aggressively move now to try and beat out the extra number of competitors at TDL— on D upgrade. If it appears to GMJR that Muzzin is going to be too expensive — move to next choice on the list– go for it.

        Move 3: more difficult — Brass replacement. This will be hard to maneuver. It just may come down to keeping him (own UFA rental)????

        Move 4: gritty winger — love to have , but fewer otions out there and many bidders. Ferland types (with such a low Cap hit relative to what he can bring) are very sought after. Also always a tougher trade to make (within Div). Not impossible, just tougher.

        Out again for a few hours.

  5. going to have to pay a much higher price than Kapanen for Pesce.

    • Why don’t you tell us what is fair for Pesce?

      Kapanen & draft pick(s) should get it done, as it will help both teams.

      D is worth more than winger, so pick/pros or both added for balance. I dont think the trade is as far off as you think (not saying itll happen 100%, but would help both teams)

      • Problem with Kapanen is he has played his way to getting a hefty deal. I think Kapanen is a good start for a pesce but that deal alone skews heavy in Toronto favor.

      • Go from the other side who is the 22 year old 20 -30 goal scorer this year that might be available that a guy like Pesce is landing? there are probably less guys like Kapanen available than second pair type D. Again not trying to over value anyone and I’m not sure I’d be of the thought that Kapanen is untouchable or anything like that but I think Waddle would have a problem finding a better deal than that for the Canes.

      • Second pairing cost certainty d vs top 6 winger who could demand…5 to 6 to 7 mil a year?

      • Charles, The En4Sir, Schticky, Chrisms

        If Kappy ++ … Leafs need to go bigger/higher …. Parayko

        I know I’m biased and truly believe Parayko is better than Pesce

        I like Kappy and do not want to move him— if he goes — make it worth it.

        Still say — move WW after Jul 1 for Top 4 D

        We’ll see what Dubas is made of in the next couple of weeks

      • That’s quite an assumption Chris and at that if you think that the reason the Canes are looking to trade for an offensive goal scoring type what do they cost as far as contracts go? You think there are many 22 year old guys putting up 20+ goals under contract for a couple mill and a team is just giving them plus picks or prospects away for a 4th D? I’d suggest if it was such an easy thing to find the Canes wouldn’t come up in conversations like this quite so much. Yes I get it the Leafs would like a top 4 rhd but that doesn’t mean they are overpaying the Canes for the privilege.

      • Top 4 d men have more value than top 6 wingers generally. Especially ones signed for under market value. Kapanen contract unknown. I don’t think it’s much of an assumption. You can’t argue Kapanen is a talent worth a top 4 like pesce and in the same breathe argue that he might not get paid like said talent

      • kapanen is an RFA so cost controlled.
        Nylander is an outlier, not every player will hold out – we’ve also seen how underwhelming Nylander has been since his signing. Safe to assume that other GMs will not be giving into demands of RFAs like Dubas did.

        Ideal case, get Pesce for Kapanen. Then Nylander breaks out.
        *Ideal case for the Leafs that is

      • Maybe. I’m in the court that thinks nylander is the start of a trend. I could be wrong

      • Kapenan isn’t landing pesce on his own, that offer would be beat by other teams no doubt! It just leaf fans over valuing a player per usual, kapenan is a decent forward but pesce is a good defenseman

    • He’s a 4 D, (granted a good one) if the price was much higher than Kapanen the Canes can keep looking. Can’t see the Leafs giving up kapanen let alone much more than that for Peace. If the Leafs were to use Kapanen in a package with picks or prospects I would think they would want more ceiling. Nothing against Pesce I think he would be a good pick up for the Leafs just think it’s a little high of a price

      • Why is no one talking about Faulk to the Leafs?

      • And how did Dubas give in exactly?
        I understand frustrated he didn’t come back and light it up but it’s a 5 year deal and all of a sudden a guy who put up back to back 60 point seasons is 23 has a slow couple months after missing camp is suddenly so over paid…guess he fooled everyone for 3 years or did he forget how to play? Let’s give it some time maybe before we judge q contract anybody remember saying how over paid spoiled Kadri was when he signed that deal? Looks pretty sweet now doesn’t it?

      • Again turn things around say Nylander sits out for a season…now picture the Leafs go on a losing streak like they have been or lose in a round in the playoffs the story would be how maybe Dubas shoulda signed Nylander it’s Dubas fault. Dubas gave a kid who wanted 8 mill a contract under 7 contract, the kid who wanted 8 signed it because he didn’t want to miss a season?

  6. Does Florida have anyone CBJ might peddle for a chance to sign Bob now?

    Florida’s roster looks like a playoff team to me… the center 1-2 punch is very good. They have a stud on D and forward depth….

    Maybe consistent goaltending is next

    • Canuck fans better hope that Luongo doesn’t retire before his contract is up. If so that 5.33mill cap hit that would return to them if he does retire would put a wrench in their cap plans.

      • He has 3 more years. Canucks would get hit with more than the 800k? Cannot see him playing past next season.

      • did not know that, interesting fact KevJam. I would go out on a limb and suspect he could eventually go on LTIR due to lingering knee issues vs retirement.

      • The Canucks face an $8M cap recapture penalty in luongo retires, split over the remaining years of the deal. Sounds like Luongo wants to keep playing but if he doesn’t, thenI’m sure he’d angle to be put on IR somehow and collect the last few bucks on that deal ala Marian Hossa

      • wow, that’s quite the wrinkle. What if the Canucks are close to their cap ceiling with signings and then Lou decides to retire in say, December 2019?

    • inconsistent goaltending in Fla is an understatement. They are stuck with Lou until he is 42. Reimer may be tradeable @3.4 for 2 more years but they will need to add sweetener to any trade. I think their bed is made for this year. Sign Bob, Varlamov or Lehner in the off season

      • Not if Luongo retires. Because his front loaded contract was signed before the current CBA his cap hit returns to the signing team (the Canucks) if/when he retires.
        The same is for Webber. His cap hit would return to Nashville if he retires before the end of the contract.

      • Ownership could push for a move sooner to make some playoff $ and keep the excitement in South Florida. That roster seems so close to a contender

      • Keep the excitement in south Florida? Just wait until the people of south Florida realize they have an NHL team down there! Then they’ll be really excited!

  7. Would the Blue jackets have any interested in Talbot at the trade deadline? Probably wouldn’t cost them much and it would give them some time to see if he fits in with the team and negotiate an extension if they can’t resign Bobrovsky.

  8. The local Oilers media are saying that the Oilers are trying to free up cap space to try and make an offseason deal with the Jets for either Kyle Conner or Nikolaj Ehlers. With who the Jets have to sign this offseason They most likely won’t bea able to keep both.

    • KevJam , any discussion on what would go the other way? assuming pick(s) or prospect(s)

      • Not all but any combination of Bennet, Yamamoto, Puljujärvi, 2019 1st round pick, Bear, and Jones. Basically any prospects short of Bouchard.

  9. I predict my sabres will pick up a few young prospects at deadline and of course take back dead weight in return, we might as well become Arizona and be the team that takes back all the washes up dead weight cap hits. I can’t stand taking back loser players for huge cap hits, thank the Lord Berglund retired or quit because who wants to be stuck with a 3.8 cap hit for 3-4 years. I would give a team a first round picks just take Okposo the washed up 30 year old forward.

  10. Habs are weak at 4C. I wonder if they might trade for Rieder. If they give the Oilers cap relief, I wonder what else the Oilers might throw in to make it happen. Habs have cap space to burn, so it could be a good fit for both teams.

    • Paddy how about Brian Boyle to the Habs? UFA next year so no long term $ commitment, he has lots of playoff experience can play center or wing, decent on face-offs. Offer up Peca or Hudon, neither are likely going to factor into Habs longer term plans.