NHL Rumor Mill – January 29, 2019

by | Jan 29, 2019 | Rumors | 63 comments

Updates on the Flyers and Kings plus the latest on Artemi Panarin and Chris Kunitz in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: John Boruk reports a new contract for Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds doesn’t appear likely. General manager Chuck Fletcher won’t get into details other than saying he’s spoken with Simmonds and his representatives. Boruk believes Simmonds seeks a long-term deal while the Flyers appear reluctant to make that investment. Factor in reports Simmonds could be highly-prized on the trade market and Boruk believes Simmonds will be traded. 

Fletcher also suggested no one other than team captain Claude Giroux is untouchable. “We have a lot of good players here, but I would never say never to almost anybody besides Giroux,” Fletcher said, adding he could be a buyer and a seller leading up to the Feb. 25 NHL trade deadline. The Flyers GM also added he’ll attempt to move veteran forward Dale Weise in a package deal. Boruk speculates the Flyers could absorb part of Weise’s salary. 

PHILLY.COM: Sam Donnellon reports Flyers chairman Dave Scott indicated Fletcher also intends to be active in this summer’s NHL free-agent market. Scott said the Flyers will be “cap spenders” this summer to build the best team possible.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cited insider Bob McKenzie discussing the Flyers on Montreal’s TSN 690 yesterday. Asked if the Flyers might move a defenseman like Shayne Gostisbehere, McKenzie said he doesn’t feel there’s an agenda to move the blueliner out of Philadelphia. He believes they’re willing to listen to offers on almost everyone.

As for possible Flyers trade targets, McKenzie said they’d like to add a veteran goalie to mentor promising Carter Hart, a veteran top-four defenseman to insulate some of their younger rearguards, and a veteran forward. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher might be willing to listen to offers on everyone but Giroux but I think it’s safe to say Hart is close to untouchable. Sure sounds like Simmonds will be a goner unless he’s willing to accept a short-term extension. 

I doubt Jakub Voracek ($8.25 million annually through 2023-24) will be going anywhere, in part because of his hefty contract. Ditto James van Riemsdyk ($7 million annually through 2022-23). Sean Couturier ($4.33 million annually through 2021-22) could also be safe, as well as youngsters Travis Konecny, Nolan Patrick, and Ivan Provorov.

Of course, Fletcher will listen to offers for those guys and could pull the trigger if he gets one too good to pass up. Nevertheless, I’ll be very surprised if any of the aforementioned (other than Simmonds) are skating elsewhere by the start of next season. 

Weise is signed through 2019-20 with an annual average value of $2.35 million. They might have to pick up part of that to move him even in a package deal.

The Flyers have over $47.9 million invested in 12 players for 2019-20 and could have more if they shed another salary or two before the summer. Even by re-signing restricted free agents like Provorov and Konecny, they’ll still have plenty of cap room to make a big splash in next summer’s UFA market. 

Could Artemi Panarin’s unwillingness to talk contract during the season force the Columbus Blue Jackets to trade him? (Photo via NHL Images)


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger reports the agent for Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin released a statement yesterday indicating they’ve informed the club of their unwillingness to discuss a contract during the season. Panarin is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen is expected to comment on the situation today.

Hedger believes the Jackets now have two options: trading Panarin by the Feb. 25 trade deadline or trying to re-sign him before July 1. The latter is risky as they could lose him to free agency for nothing. Last week, team president John Davidson said his club will have some things to take care of “one way or another” before the trade deadline. 

THE ATHLETIC: (subscription required): Aaron Portzline believes the Blue Jackets will likely move Panarin before the trade deadline. He noted the Jackets fielded offers last summer but didn’t receive anything that could replace the winger’s offensive production. Panarin lacks no-trade protection and can be moved anywhere without his permission. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still have my doubt that they’ll trade Panarin before the deadline. They could make that move if they can land a suitable replacement but that return could be difficult to find. Moving him without getting some immediate offensive help could hurt their hopes for a lengthy playoff run this spring. 


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): With the Los Angeles Kings trading defenseman Jake Muzzin last night to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Lisa Dillman wondered who they could trade next. She noted forwards Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli frequently surfaced in the trade market. Carter could be reluctant to leave but the younger Toffoli has a more attractive $4.6 million annual salary. Winger Carl Hagelin is on an expiring contract and could be a rental player. Defenseman Alec Martinez could also draw some interest. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams with interest in Carter will have to ensure he’d be willing to join them. Toffoli is probably their most attractive trade chip. With Muzzin gone, the Kings might prefer hanging onto Martinez. Hagelin could become a cheap rental, perhaps for a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick. 



  1. I agree with your assessment Lyle, if Fletch were to trade Hart for anything, he would be strung up on Broad Street. Philly has gone too long (25-30 years?) without an elite Goalie, which Hart has the potential to become…

    • Jake Gardiner has been a good, serviceable offensive D-man.

      As you said, the way he plays the game, injuries can bite quickly & hard.

      He has a few more years of prime but wants he loses that speed or gets injured then he is done.

      I wouldn’t go over 4 years on him.

      Toronto is DYING for Dmen & most of their fans dont even want to keep him. (Other Leaf Dmen won’t be signed & they NEED more quality Dmen but they wont sign him??

  2. I haven’t been paying attention, since when is it a penalty to knock the stick out of someones hands? Seems like an easy one to fake. If someone taps my stick and I let go, we draw a penalty… When I played it was my fault if someone knocked the stick out of my hand… You can’t even touch a guy in the paint anymore to clear him without a “He touched me” penalty (Interference) What is the NHL’s goal? To become MLS?

  3. UFU defensemen that may be of interest to the Flyers are Tyler Myers or Jake Gardner.
    While off-season trade options are Trouba, Pieterangelo and Parayko.

    • Gardiner isnt going anywhere to till July 1 I doubt you don’t give up guys (50 point dmen) like that going in to the playoffs for a bag of magic beans, I get some here love to hate him but not sure they watch more than the odd leaf game on a Saturday night Krug Buff Karlsson Subban … guys who have the puck alot and try and make alot of plays sometimes miss a pass or bobble a puck they should try and watch others play Gardiner is not a guy that’s easy to replace lol.

      • Jake Gardiner has 24 points in 47 games and is a +17. There are very few teams that wouldn’t want that. Most analysis believe he will easily get 6MM or more with some term as a UFA. I tend to agree.

      • Agree Shticky and Treckie, the dump Gardiner talk is ridiculous. Babcock came out and said the exact same thing.
        Is he the shutdown guy the Leafs needed, no but that is stating the obvious. Is he an excellent offensive and puck moving D-man that drives offense? Yep, and that is stating the obvious too.
        The Leafs got their guy for a reasonable price, you’re up Mr Sweeney. Panarin would have the biggest impact, if in fact he is available.

      • I said the Flyers would be interested in signing Gardner as a UFA.

      • Fair enough Scott, I made the same assumption as Shticky due the barrage of get rid of Gardiner talk on this site at times.
        My apologies.
        I agree, I think many teams will pursue Gardiner and Myers.

      • Shticky, Trekie, Ray,

        concur… Gardner here through playoffs.

        I don’t see him on team next year though. He will get paid as earned— will, IMO, be Cap casualty for Leafs.

        Great move on Muzzin— I’d advocated before for Muzzin on Leafs or Pens…. so I’m happy 🙂

        I’d also advocated that Dubas should not give up 1st rounder or futures unless it was for a player with term; and preferably for a D upgrade — good to go 🙂

        Dubas still needs to worry about getting the two big contracts signed — seems like sooner than later for AM— good 🙂

        Leafs much stronger now (and next year) than they were yesterday morning. 🙂

        I still think it is a long shot for this June for SC but they are definitely on the right track; things looking much brighter 🙂

        However, serious Cap issues also to be dealt with

        I posted on the Morning Coffee side my take on preferential direction w.r.t. Marleau and WW (if possible , pay signing bonus, then move them on/after July 2nd). Moving Marleau (needs his permission) will cost (mid rounder?).

        However, the nuances of WW’s contract (cash remaining on July 2nd only $24.7M– $4.94M AAV for 5 years; and actually only owed $700K for 19/20)makes him a far easier trade and with IMO a very good return potential.

        I realize that many here are saying to keep him. I’m not a WW hater.

        I just think, that looking at the team as a whole and moving forward to what I feel is prime time for at least one cup (1/2 decade starting June of ’20)that the best move in July is to move him as a piece in acquiring a top 4 RHD (I honestly do not think Zaitz is anywhere near the answer; and, to a lesser extent, neither is Ozhiganov).

        Leafs will not have an issue scoring. They did fine on that front before WW came back and at times when Mathews was also out.

        IMO….D needed for Leafs future, more than keeping WW.

        I see your points; I just agree to disagree w.r.t. keeping him next year.

    • Gardner and Myers might fetch a late round draft pick the way they are playing……mine as well throw in Nylander in that mix as well.

      • They aren’t trading Nylander and if they did it would be for much more than a late round pick come on now lol jeez I can’t tell Leaf fans from Leaf trolls anymore lol their either worth 12 mill a year max contracts and their weight in gold in a trade or tossed to the curb for nothing. No wonder this fan base takes so much flack

      • Pengy, keeping WW is a decision not fully in the hands of Dubas. To me, it’s in AM and MM’s hands. What are the two of them willing to do on the bonus and AAS extension aspects to allow Dubas to keep/sign others. Also note Marleau’s contract will have one more year and the cap is likely to keep going up.

      • Trekie

        Absolutement. You are correct. I was not trying to put the cart before the horse — just hoping on the assumption of both AM and MM signed.

        Yes Marleau has 1 more year (19/20) at $1.25M cash but $6.25M Cap. That Cap hit is very hard to swallow. Firstly, I’m hoping they can convince him to waive his NTC, and secondly, I’m hoping that someone will take his contract.

        He’s a 35+ contract that ensures full Cap hit for some team for 19/20 season. From other’s posting here and from what I believe they have inferred on TSN and SN; in the last year of 35+ contracts; if player retires; entire Cap hit goes to team owning contract at time of retirement (unlike if Luongo retires now, pre-last year of contract; where Vancouver would be hit with Cap recapture).

        So, if that assumption is correct; and Marleau retires after being traded (in July); Leafs would not be on the hook for any Cap of his in 19/20.

        If the assumption is incorrect (Leafs hit on re-capture no matter if he is traded or not; if he retires) then I’m not sure why both TSN and SN were hinting at the possibility of a Marleau trade to free up Cap space:

        If he is traded… would more than likely be to a non-contender (have to have the Cap space) and would Marleau realistically want to play at 40 on a weak team and either move his family or again be away from them; just to get an extra $1.25M?

    • Gardiner?

      No thanks.

      • Pengy the assumption you made on over 35 year old contacts is correct, if he retires early, the team that signed him is on the hook.

      • Hi Trekie

        Just to clarify

        My assumption was the opposite. The signing team hit for Cap on 35+ contract— I agree

        My assumption based on those posting here and from TSN and SN talking about Marleau trade is that due to the fact that the contract would then be in it’s final year (after Julyl 1st)– then once traded— Leafs completely off the hook on any Cap for Marleau.

        If he was traded PRIOR to July first — all Cap next year is on Leafs.

        If the Cap IS on Leafs no matter what— there is absolutely no gain whatsoever for Leafs to trade him— he’d almost certainly retire (weak team and for pittance of $’s)— Yet both TSN and SN have talked about Dubas possibly looking to trade Marleau contract to free up space????

        I found a whole bunch of articles that relate to re-cpature— and that is only for contracts signed before 2013— so recapture does not apply here at all.

        I wish I knew the CBA better— Ahhhh

        Point is completely mute if Marleau insists on keeping his NMC

    • Pieterangelo or Parayko, the cost will be high.
      Your first and one of Patrick Provorov and Konecny.

    • Pieterangelo or Parayko, the cost will be high.
      Your first and one of Patrick Provorov and Konecny.

  4. Didn’t see the news of the Muzzin trade until late last night.
    WOW!!! This was an excellent deal by Toronto, really thought LA would get more. With that mindset makes me question what was the rush on LA part to deal so quickly?
    One could only surmise that LA didn’t think there was a better deal to be had and scare Toronto would focus elsewhere. Or more simply put I had Muzzin at more value then LA.

    • The race is on Caper

      • One additional comment. Dubas and the Matthews camp have been negotiating. It is my belief that Dubas now has a pretty good idea of what Matthews number will be hence he is able to make deals for players with term. It wouldn’t surprise me if Matthews extension is announced very soon. JMO

      • Not gonna be 12 mill for 8 year id bet more like 6 years 60 mill paid up front mostly in a couple years in bonus money…the new way to flex financial might pay up front in cash not sure that teams that struggle are going to be able to offersheet those kinds of contracts

      • Speaking of the Matthews future deal, when we hear from both Matthews and Dubas, they both state “long term” as what they prefer but recently a respected “hockey insider” floated a hunch that the deal will be a bridge. How does one get to that? Click bait?

      • All about the escrow…The less years that the escalator has been used during the duration of that deal, the less money the player will have lost in escrow.

      • Why would Mathews sign that deal sticky?

      • It will be lock out proof for 1 he’s going to see most his money before he’s 25 he only loses 5 or 6 years of escrow payment instead of 8 untill they figure that part of a chance out and still allow him to sign a deal very similar to Taveres as a UFA at 27-28 years old

      • I’d rather make 45 mill in 3 years by the time I was 25 losing less money in escrow and have the
        opportunity to sign another 80 mill + at 28 then sign a deal that caps earning potential till I’m 30 and on the wrong side as far as age goes of negotiating another big contract. Is the difference what would you rather 96 mill by 30 and then start taking less for shorter deals or 60 mill of which you get 45 or 50 in 3 years plus 7 or 8 years of another higher annual salary.

      • Nylander’s contract was laden with signing bonus and skewed to more dollars early on— basically about 45% of his total is paid up by July 2nd this year.

        AM’s contract will not be different in nuance — just more dollars.

        Escrow as Shticky has pointed out is key now on contract design — SB laden contracts, much more in demand. Lockout potential years— heavy on SB; low on Sal

        I would not be surprised with 5 years for $55M or 6 years for $70M with $10M – $15M SB paid BOTH this July and July of ’20.

        Bridge, IMO, highly unlikely; but if so — would again be huge in SB this July and next.

        Just get this thing signed and done sooner than later!!!

      • Or he demands all that but with 12 mil and 8 years.

      • Cause it worked out so well for the guy who demanded 8-8.5 and decided to sit for at least a mill or so less and get it if to a career worst start? 1 way he makes 96 mill takes him up to thirty or 60 up to 28 and likely makes another 80-90 th majority of that second contract by the same age.

      • Mathews is worthy of a offer though. Nylander never was . Bad comparison

    • @shticky, that’s what makes me nervous; Sweeney feeling the need to react.
      He shouldn’t stay the course if the price is to high walk away.
      I think this was a solid move by KD and he didn’t touch any roster players. Very Solid

      • I don’t know how he doesn’t feel the need to react.
        But agree, don’t overpay.
        Dubas moved early and got his guy.
        I think if you are going to go for it then go for it.
        Panarin, if available is who I go after.
        After that the pickings (UFA’s on obvious sellers) aren’t that big of an upgrade over what they have now.
        I appreciate Simmonds for what he has accomplished, but does he really move the needle that much at this point in his career?

      • Further to the Matthews situation – from what I’m hearing, it’s all about how much bonus money it will take to bring the Average Annual dollars down. For instance, the Leafs can give him 45Million over the course of two years starting July 1. Investing that money will bring a substantial yearly income. As well, provide lockout protection. What is Matthews willing to do for that in terms of average salary.

      • Trekie

        Ooops, sorry reading and posting in order top to bottom (see above)— was not trying to steal your thoughts— I’m with them; just posted w/o reading what you had here.

    • It’s in Blake’s best interest since his team isn’t going to make the playoffs and being still pretty new to the job it wouldn’t hurt making trades picking up futures and being able to move things around to see what you have in your system so you can jump start your rebuild.

  5. Panarin is a top producer and an elite offensive leader over his career so far. Also has played excellent in the post season . Going to be tough to trade that by the TDL . Maybe a Tarasenko . It will take something like that or a package of good players.

    • Nashville or Vegas would be another level with Panarin…
      neither of which could probably sign him long term…

  6. I’d love to see the sharks Go for gostisbehere. If vlassic won’t be healthy soon maybe ship him. I’d also still advocate for trading Lebanc and Braun. I wonder what it would take to land Panarin?

    • Panarin on the Sharks would be insane

    • Vlasic/Braun not going anywhere. If anything, it will be a package of Heed, Labanc, maybe Ryan for a second six scorer. Wouldn’t mind Hagelin either, still got wheels, great on PK.

      • Braun isn’t a solid enough passer. He’s been dropped to the third pair. If they can swap him and Lebanc and some picks for ghostbear or Panarin it would escalate the overall team play.

    • What do you want for Pickles? I’d take him in a heartbeat to pair with Charlie.

      • Ghostbear and probably something to add to a trade with the jackets, Braun, Lebanc and flyers piece for Panarin. It’s worth giving up pickles now while his value is high, frees cap for signing karlsson, and lets go after Panarin for a true first line LW. And the defense of karlsson, burns and ghostisbehere would be crazy add Panarin to that and I’d say you have a cup contender.

  7. As it seems inevitable that the Flyers trade Simmonds, would still love to see him come to the Leafs. Maybe they trade one of some combination of Johnnson /pick / prospect, (as leafs they may not have the $$ to sign him next year), and also agree to take Dale Weise (entire salary)and assign him to the Marlies. That solves issues for both teams. IMO if there was a team floating a first rounder for Simmonds he would have been traded already.

    • Murphy why would they want to do that? The Leafs will be tight against the cap next year and getting rid of a good and cheap player (johnnson currently RFA currently @$790k and will likely get $1.5-$2M/3-4yrs) will be a step back trading him for Simmons.
      Look at how Dubas thinks by the moves he has made. None suggest stop gap or temp fixes. Simmons is exactly that but then again who knows what he will do. Did anyone have that trade he made for Muzzin as a viable option? Talk about your shrewd GMs.

      • Ron, I love the Muzzin move, and agree Dubas would prefer to take on a player with term.. I just cannot see how they have room for both of Johnnson and Kapanen unless they unload someone like Kadri. I don’t want them to lose anyone, but I think they will have to. If they are going for it this year Simmonds is a great add, especially with Johnnson out with a concussion. They may have lost him for the season anyway.

      • I had no idea Muzzin was a target, given Babcock loves right handed shots playing the right side. Babcock does have some familiarity with Muzzin at the World Cup in 2015.

        I’m liking the trade more and more as I think about it. We gave up no roster players as such will not affect any chemistry. Oziganov will be the odd man out, he’s older but still a first year player in the NHL. I haven’t hated his game, I’m hoping it evolves.

      • Murph both Kapanen and Johnsson are RFA so they only have 3 options, play, sit and lose money time and a season, or be traded which never bolds well. They are not superstars let alone stars…they might become like one but for now they’ll be paid as they are, good replaceable wingers.
        Coming off an ELC I think all the Leafs have to give them is a 5% raise of what they currently make.
        Kapanen’s salary is $863,333 and Johnsson’s is $787,500, does anyone really think that they will get close to Kardi’s $4.5M? I think you should look at Brown’s $2,1M or Hyman’s $2,25M as numbers close to what they will get signed for.
        The Leafs will need good cheap players for the next two-four years during their cup run years.

    • I want no part of Simmons. Thank you but no thank you. I wouldn’t trade a bag of pucks for him. I’m hoping he goes to Boston or Tampa.

      • Will be a decent rental but I wouldn’t give a first. Definitely wouldn’t give him a long term contract either.

  8. Gardiner doesn’t hit.

    Gardiner can’t catch guys that blow past him because he’s often times a step or two out of position.

    Gardiner misses stretch passes as often as he connects.

    Gardiner coughs up the puck. Often. Usually resulting in a shot on net or scoring chance while he scurried back in heightened anxiety.

    He gives his teammates anxiety every time he coughs the puck up.

    He gives me anxiety every time he touches the puck.

    He’s a good skater but Babcock doesn’t trust him to rush because we all know what happens next if he does.

    On th power play he’s a liability because it takes him 2-2.5 seconds to accept a pass, control, reconfigure and pass to someone else resulting in the four opposing players and goalie to get in position negating any advantage and allowing the time on the power play to expire.

    No doubt some of the 30 other teams would see him as a top four defenseman and overpay him but his time in Toronto is done.

    Toronto can peddle him to a contender who woukd be crazy enough to offer a first rounder and then use that, Zaitsev and Brown plus maybe Bracco to get another good defenseman.

    • “jake is a good player, he’s one of those guys who to me is an elite brain, makes tons of good plays all the time, is real smart, is way better than people think defensively and he’s an important player for us.” those were Babcock’s exact words just a couple weeks ago.. you really think he he doesn’t trust Gardiner? He plays a guy with Zaitsev for over 20 mins a game he’s a plus player not that I care for the stat but generally the old skool guys that seem to say he gives the puck away so much (really he doesn’t) generally think that’s important lol. Knuckle head comment.

      • I watch every Leaf game. It’s not a knuckle head comment. That’s just Babcock doing the honorable thing by not publicly dissing on Gardiner.

        Gardiner is a train wreck on a nightly basis. Not sure which Toronto Maple Leafs game you’ve watched over the last number of years. Is every critic out there wrong and just singling him out just we are all imagining things?

        Last year the Leafs kept JVR, Bozak, Komarov and company as rentals, they did nothing just like the critics warned, Toronto went golfing early, they had no intention of signing any of them and let them walk for nothing. I don’t see Toronto keeping Gardiner and Zaitsev if they can flip them for upgrades.

  9. seems like both Torono and LA were pleased with the return in the Muzzin trade. Perhaps Dubas should inquire about Martinez while he has Blake’s attention? not many RD out there up for grabs, he would be a good add and has 2 more years at an affordable 4 million per.

  10. Frankie gets it … as far as Gardiner…
    Other comments on here, commending Gardiner is horrifying….
    Gardiner is a “huge ” liability, something we do not need come playoff time.
    If Dubas can trade him before the playoffs, I can only WISH !!!
    Dubas has struck early, good for him….
    See where he goes from here…
    The Leafs are all in for a Cup run !!
    Kapanen will definitely remain a Leaf !!!

  11. Normally I’m not one for posting trades so I’ll flame it up here…what about kadri for Hamilton or Larsson? Little pieces back and forth but…

    • Hamilton for Kadri makes sense for both teams this summer.

  12. Larsson is a perfect fit in Toronto. I think there would be appetite in Edmonton to move him as well. It would cost multiple assets and definitely more than Muzzin. Two rosters and a pick would be my guess. Who that is is anyone’s guess but I am thinking it would have to include Kapanen and a defenceman maybe Gardiner.

  13. Leafs already made their main move on defense .
    A deal of less impact is possible
    Dubas is reluctant to move a top 6 forward , as he should be .

    Trading Gardiner for smithed D , or “grit” up front , I am totally in agreement with, as Gardiner will not be around at the beginning of next season .
    Some foolish , desperate team will offer him a boat load of money , but Gardiners days are numbered in Toronto .

  14. Leafs will not be parting with rosters players …
    if so, they would of made a deal with Carolina .
    Besides, they have made their main splash on defense .
    Dubas will make other trades, but not to this magnitude .
    Another D perhsos, especially if they can move Gardiner .
    “Grit” up front , I am not Sold on Sparks …,
    We will see…
    Lots of trade line time left ..
    Great , we started early !!

  15. Pengy…. We lost our boy Jake Muzzin to the leafs uugghhh!
    After Tuesdays horrific 6 goals against performance against the last place Devils if we don’t get some help and fast on defense and forward by the time Schultz gets back in two weeks it may be too late…

    Brandon Montour or josh manson Anaheim??

    Seems like Winnipeg is back after Brassard and Vegas blocked that last year so who should we get?

    Vegas isnt giving up Nate Schmidt maybe McNabb???