NHL Rumor Mill – January 5, 2019

by | Jan 5, 2019 | Rumors | 73 comments

Updates on Jeff Skinner and Jake Muzzin plus the latest on the Flyers’ goaltending needs in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


THE ATHLETIC: Ryan Stimson examined some possible trade options for Jeff Skinner if he and the Buffalo Sabres failed to agree to terms on a new contract before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. He acknowledged there’s some confusion around the league over whether the 26-year-old winger’s no-movement clause remains valid after he voided it to accept a trade to Buffalo last summer.

Could the Buffalo Sabres trade Jeff Skinner if he isn’t re-signed before the trade deadline? (Photo via NHL Images)

If the Sabres opt to move him, Stimson believes it should be for “younger players who have shown positive results in a wide variety of situations. No one is going to give up an established forward or back for a Skinner rental, so you’re looking in that 20-to-23 age range and then a pick to continue stockpiling.”

Stimson suggests peddling Skinner to the Nashville Predators for winger Kevin Fiala, to the Columbus Blue Jackets for right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand, to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a return including one of their young blueline talents such as Travis Dermott, Timothy Liljegren, and Rasmus Sandin, or to the Edmonton Oilers for forward Leon Draisaitl or defenseman Oscar Klefbom. 

Once the Sabres trade away Skinner, Stimson suggests using the salary-cap money that would’ve been invested in the winger into pursuing a big-impact player via free agency.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Stimson is merely spitballing here. He’s not saying the Sabres will trade Skinner before the trade deadline, or that his suggested trade targets are definitely the players the Sabres will pursue if they go that route. There’s a very good chance the two sides hammer out an agreement before Feb. 25, or before July 1 when Skinner becomes eligible for unrestricted free agent status.

Still, one has to wonder if the Sabres are willing to risk losing Skinner for nothing if they can’t re-sign him before the deadline, especially as his trade value is now at its peak. Most of Stimson’s trade proposals aren’t “one-for-one” deals. For example, if they were to swap Skinner to Toronto for Dermott, the Sabres will obviously want other pieces, such as a top draft pick and a quality prospect, as part of the return. It’ll be worth keeping an eye on Skinner’s contract status as we get closer to Feb. 25. 


THE ATHLETIC: Lisa Dillman and Josh Cooper examined the case for and against the Los Angeles Kings trading defenseman Jake Muzzin. They note the 29-year-old is arguably the Kings’ best blueliner this season, he carries an affordable $4-million salary-cap hit through 2019-20 and would be the missing piece for contending teams seeking defensive help. Muzzin might attract a solid return, perhaps even a first-round pick or a high-end prospect. 

On the other hand, if the Kings see themselves not that far away from getting back into playoff contention, they’ll need Muzzin to be part of the solution. He shouldn’t be too expensive to re-sign, remains in his playing prime and has emerged as a team leader. 

If the Kings decide to move him, the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and perhaps the Minnesota Wild could be worthwhile trade partners.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Muzzin hits the trade block before the Feb. 25 deadline he will attract plenty of suitors. In addition to the Oilers, Leafs, and Wild, the Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, and Montreal Canadiens could also come calling. He also lacks a no-trade clause, giving the Kings’ plenty of options for possible destinations. 


THE HOCKEY NEWS: With the Philadelphia Flyers season slipping away, Jared Clinton believes it’s time for new general manager Chuck Fletcher to take immediate action to address their goaltending beyond claiming Mike McKenna off waivers from Vancouver. Waiting for sidelined Brian Elliott, who hasn’t played in nearly two months, to return in mid-January won’t come in time to save the season. 

Short of swinging a blockbuster deal to bring back Sergei Bobrovsky from the Columbus Blue Jackets, Clinton feels Fletcher could address the situation without having to touch the stockpile of draft picks and prospects left by his predecessor. He suggests pending UFAs such as Detroit’s Jimmy Howard and Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov might be had for the right price. He points out the Avalanche could use secondary scoring and proposed offering up Wayne Simmonds in the deal. The rebuilding Wings could have some interest in a pick or prospect for Howard. 

Other options could include San Jose’s Aaron Dell, Ottawa’s Craig Anderson, Dallas’s Anton Khudobin and Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of Clinton’s proposed options, only Howard might be available, and the rumored asking price is said to be a first-round draft pick. Bobrovsky isn’t going anywhere. I think the Avs will stick with Varlamov, who is often injured and inconsistent.

The Sharks aren’t moving Dell, who’s a solid backup for Martin Jones. Same goes for the Stars with Khudobin as Ben Bishop’s understudy. Anderson is currently sidelined by a concussion and there’s no timetable for his return. With Antti Raanta likely gone for the season, I don’t see the Coyotes peddling Kuemper. 


  1. If I’m Jarmo, I accept Skinner for Bjorkstrand and a pick and make the deal quick before Buffalo realizes that it would be a mistake.

  2. Sure Stimson was spitballing but throwing out Skinner for Draisaitl suggests he couldve been drinking whilst penning the article.
    Why Buffalo would cough up the chemistry between he and Eichel as they are sitting in a wild card spot is also nuts. Who knows if the guy coming in makes an impact and does Boterill keep him in the east?

    • Lol I don’t think edm is ever doing that trade!

      • Skinner for Draisaitl? what else is Buffalo adding?

      • They are dealing with Chia the question might be what are the Oilers adding lol

      • while chia is in charge nothing is off the table or impossible can add to his many wonderful trades

    • They were adding Ristolainen in his article. He mentioned that he was one of the d men that was called in when they shipped out hall.

    • Maybe Pete will trade mcdavid for a 5th while he is at it . What a joke , no package with skinner as the main touches Leon .

      • Risto added makes more sense . Still don’t think Pete is moving Leon but that package if skinner extended is fair . I don’t like it , but fair

  3. It will be interesting to see who Philly moves out this yr, hextall has left this club in a bit of a mess and bringing into this isn’t a good idea! I can see them going for some young dmen already playing in the league

  4. Besides a goalie what mess? Im no Flyers fan but.. the Flyers have one of the best prospect pools in Hockey according to most scouting reports loads of cap room and all thire own picks in the next couple drafts. Hextalls only issue is he had more patince than the guy who made a mess of the club with bad signing, brutal trades and also couldn’t find a goalie who also happened to be his boss. What’s the mess? This team is actually going to n pretty good shape going forward compared to alot of others loads of Cap space loads of young players that will develop and loads of picks Fletcher won’t have a hard time trying to make deals thru trades or signing UFAs with what he was left with compared to many other teams in the league. Not that I care or have a dog in this fight.

    • Agreed!! Hextall did a good job and i think the goalie options he may have wanted to obtain were most likely to high a price for his long term plans.

      Next few years some of their prospects should be coming up….I think it’s time to move Giroux.

      Giroux & Simmons to MTL for PRICE?

      • Didnt Hextall get fired after a Picard metldown in Toronto ..

        an aging goalie …and then the next GM just goes out and gets another 30 plus plus goalie in McKenna …whom is suppose to now be better than a Picard …LOL ..wow.. Ok !
        Great pick up Fletcher.
        Way to plug that HOLE!

    • Shticky are you just arguing for the sake of arguing? Those so called great defensive prospects aren’t looking good at all, and the players they have now well look at the results! It’s funny hearing guys talk about prospects when they don’t follow them at all, keep taping about what you have no idea about shticky

      • Talking*

      • Didn’t answer the question biggie no surprise there I suppose but, what’s the mess? Good cap space, find a scouting report that doesn’t have the flyers in the top half of the league as far as prospects go and produce it and they have 7 mill in cap space this year even more next year to add a goalie or a D…so besides the goalie what’s the mess? Young D playing in front of a pylon isn’t going to be pretty but it doesn’t take away from the fact they have loads of good prospects (According to lots of scouting reports and forecasters and people who get paid to keep track of that kinda thing not your or my opinion) cap space and draft picks. Flyers are not a mess they are having a rough year, no goalie and a coach that’s over his head a bit maybe but Hextall has this team in far better shape than the team he took over he cleaned up the mess and set the table just took longer than expected by a fan base and his boss that can be a bit fickle to say the least.

      • You obviously haven’t watched much of the flyers this year! You can blame the goalie all you want but that defense is bad, the forwards aren’t back checking and are very inconsistent on offense but ya let’s blame the goalie and the coach can only work with what the gm has giving him and oh wait who was that? Hextall left this, yes it is a mess. Instead of just reading the stats try watching

      • Arguing, who’s arguing. He gave his opinion as did you. Btw, you replaced “guys” with “leaf” this post. Your making improvement bbb. There is hope for you yet!

      • Good hockey comment FD! Lol Do you even follow hockey or just troll no improvement for you yet

      • What do the Habs prospects look like BBB? Cupboards nearly bare?
        Gonna be a long haul for you guys going forward.

      • How about ours shore? We have a one line team and nothing coming up! Gonna be a long haul for us too!

      • Look again BBB. You must have been looking at the Rockets roster.
        My Bruins are in fine shape.
        Your team however is playing over their heads almost every game.
        You must be very thankful for Claude, cause without him the Habbies are toast.

      • Lol well that shows how much you know! My bruins are in deep trouble the cupboards are pretty bare! Did you even watch the world juniors the Habs have some good prospects now that doesn’t mean they will be nhlers you can see that from our and phillys prospects

  5. You are correct Shticky – the only ‘mess’ is in goal. Carter Hart isn’t quite ready yet, so the Flyers need a goalie who can mind the net for the next 1-2 years. In regards to defenseman and forwards, the Flyers are set up pretty well going forward. I think they will move Simmonds for sure, and possibly Voracek, MacDonald and Gudas to a playoff team. The question is will any combination of these players yield a decent goalie?

  6. Philly will be fine. Just an off year.
    Loads of young talent in the system as well.
    I’m impressed with the Islanders season thus far. They’re getting great goaltending and seem to be getting by without 91 quite well.
    Should be a great day for hockey.

    • I’d say 91 is doing quite well without the Islanders too not to be that guy but rather to point out that it’s working out for both really and agree that yeah it’s good for the game when moves are made and both teams benefit from the change

      • I beg to differ Shticky in that the Islanders let JT leave and got diddly squat for him. Imagine if they traded him at the dead line and got a king’s ransom for him. My point is, why a GM lets a player of JT’s ilk in his prime not have a new extension in place and if not then you trade him at the dead line and then back track come free agency.

      • Meh yeah they could have peddled him off as a rental I suppose but I doubt at that point it’s a random they are still likely getting pennies on the dollar compared to what they are giving up, they decided to offer him a contract he said no and both moved on and made the most of it, 2 teams which up to recently have had issues both got better with how it worked out the rest is splitting hairs imo woulda coulda shoulda didn’t prevent them both from making the most of it and I think the game and league benefit

      • 91 would do well in Arizona or anywhere for that matter.
        The point I was making was that the Isles look like they’re turning the corner.
        Amazing what a good leadership group can do for a team.
        Great coaching and goaltending can do a lot for a team.

      • Shticky, if i’m understanding you correctly you’re saying JT signing in Toronto worked out well for the Islanders? If so, how so? Islanders got nothing for him, he walked and he was walking from the beginning. Islanders would’ve received a 1st round pick and a prospect or two if they traded him at the deadline and if they thought they had a chance to resign him they could’ve still went after him in the summer.

      • Yes I am Caper, maybe with Snow leaving and Taveres aswell as a few others it’s allowed the Islanders to have a fresh start on Long Island turn the page if you will on the last decade at anyrate new leader new voices in a room and a realization that now that he’s gone there is opportunity. Seems like very much more of a team thing then it has been previous that it’s the Islanders as a team instead of Tavares team is the Islanders if that makes any sense as I’m sure Lou has pointed out to every guy in that organization just like he did in Jersey and Toronto. It’s the crest on the front of the Jersey more than the names on the back It’s more a team concept than it was when JT was there and I think if you look at the full picture that has paid benefits so far. Easy for younger players to Play hard and as team and understand if there is to be any success it won’t be because of a 12 million dollar player to put them on his back or coming to save them.

      • Don’t get me wrong yes they could have got something for him but really it still wouldn’t have been the value of that type player and it’s just hind sight and splitting hairs to say they would be so much better off with another couple picks or prospects from trading him as a rental, perhaps eventually it would have but there’s no saying for sure. What can be said for sure are the Islanders are playing just aswell or better without Tavares as they have the past few years.. good for them

  7. Buffalo is presently holding down a playoff spot and I don’t see them moving Skinner, except for that Draisaitl offer, hey maybe PC will throw in Klefbom as well.

    • I’m waiting for PC to trade McDavid.

    • Caper, I just can’t see Skinner leaving Buffalo when things are so good for him and the team. The Sabres will sign him before the trade deadline. I just hope he stays healthy.

  8. The Montreal Canadians presently hold the last wild card spot with 41gp 22-14-5 49pts on pace for 98pts; Philly present record is 40gp 15-20-5 35pts to get to 98pts they would need to finish with 29-7-5 63pts to get to 98pts. Highly unlikely I don’t believe there is a saving this season no need to give up anything to get a second rate goaltender.
    But I have a deal for you: Boston will send you Halek for Simmonds and Elliott (who is injured and due back late January).

    • Giroux for Rask?

      • As much as I don’t think Rask can win the big game. Halek isn’t his replacement so I would have to pass on that trade.

      • Allen + Schenn for Rask and Donato?

      • Goalies can rarely fetch more than a 2nd rounder. I can’t see Rask fetching Giroux.

      • Not even close

      • Most lopsided offer yet.
        I’d do it all day, every day.
        Claude is way more valuable than Rask.

      • That’s as bad as a leaf fans offer and the majority of your dumb offers shore!

      • @BBB
        Lol, please remind me of a trade I’ve bandied about on here.
        You know fella, it almost seems as if you’re ashamed of being a Habs fan,the way you hide/deflect by using your handles the way you do.
        A true fan for certain.

  9. I can see Voracek going to Colorado to try to help their 2nd line scoring. Simmonds for Halak sounds ok to me Caper, but I believe Simmonds will wind up in Toronto, possibly with Gudas if they want a little more truculence on their D. Giroux is still too valuable for the Flyers, so I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

  10. Buffalo should sign Skinner and lock him up for 8 years. Skinner apparently has chemistry with Eichel and they feed off each other. It’s in both players interest and the teams development to get Skinner locked up. Skinner’s style of play makes it difficult to find linemates that have chemistry with him. Skinner’s agent hit a home run with the trade but if he’s too greedy Skinner will regret it.

    • I’d be VERY VERY cautious about signing Skinner for more than 5 years, especially at rumors of $8m and more. He has concussion history. He is having a career year. History has shown performance tapers off, for all but the few true superstars, after large contracts are handed out. I would offer Skinner 5 for $7 and if he declines the offer, move him at the deadline. His game does not warrant Crosby type $$.

      Do not misunderstand me. Skinner is good but not a game changer…..

      • Since 14-15 he’s missed 7 games. His concussion history is no different than a lot of other players. Crosby?

        His history seems to be history.

      • All valid points except the Skinner injury concerns are getting old.

      • Nyr4life,

        In addition to the stats you mentioned since 2010 only 42 players in the entire NHL have played in more games than Skinner. He has played in 89 more games than Crosby.

        Skinner was a young 18 year old when he entered the league. With his early success, and some would say his big mouth, he quickly became the most targeted player on his team. Over time his body matured and he learned how to keep his head up and avoid the big hits.

        I agree, his risk of injury is similar to other players.

      • Skinner has been lights out in buffalo but i wouldnt sign him for more than $7 $7,5 million…he has been good to inconsistent in Carolina prior to going to buffalo..theres a reason Carolina dealt him and 1/2 a great season doent warrant $9 million thTs Ovechkin Crosby McDavid kane territory.

  11. Lmao a skinner rental for draisaitl or klefbomb…that’s the funniest rumour I’ve heard all year…

    • It’s not, if your GM is Peter Chiarelli

      • Do you even know what team peter Chiarelli is the gm of FD?

  12. Carolina should try and lock up McElhinney for the next three years. Mrazek is playing very well but McElhinney is playing even better. Locking up McElhinney would give Carolina a solid goaltender for the next 3 years. I wouldn’t sign Mrazek to a contract for more than 3 years unless McElhinney is already signed. It appears Mrazek could finally be over the hump and be a good starting goalie but I think Carolina should be very cautious about giving him too much term and money based on this season alone.

  13. Why would Skinner return more than Buffalo gave for a pending ufa ? I think he stays with the Sabres as long as they offer a fair contract

    I would bet Morgan Frost is going to be a beauty. Phillipe Myers another. Flyers have lots in the cupboard and only need to give Carter Hart some time.

    • Look good in junior but so did the defense prospect that look really bad in the ahl, Nolan Patrick also looked great in juniors but hasn’t looked great in the nhl

  14. It will be a very interesting off season this year with all the UFA’s. What makes it so interesting is how the salary bar has been raised from the 6-7 million range to 8-12 million for the top UFA’s. I am pretty sure they all won’t be getting in that 8-12 million range and there could very well be some very disappointed players and agents that will hold out.
    Being a GM in the league just got a lot more complex and hard.
    There are 3 or 4 teams that have some very tough choices to make.
    And lord knows what Vancouver will pay Peterson 2 years from now. He could be the first 15 million a year player

    • That should read Pettersson

      • Leafs are in the toughest spot, marner has to make the same as Matthews does he not? He is as or more important than Matthews

    • What “tough” choices do the avs have other than getting rants to agree to deal?

  15. Karl Alzner. Anybody?

    • Habs retain 4 million throughout the contract and we’ll throw in Stevie Wonder to balance it out.

      • Maybe a 3 way swap of alzner,backes and Marleau all 3 anchor contracts

      • If Stevie can play centre, you got yourself a deal.

  16. You forgot Zaitev bbb!

    • Has Zaitsev passed his 400 game mark yet?

    • Defence! Yada yada yada snort snort

      • Isn’t that the way dubas thinks as well shticky?

    • He also forgot Price

      • Oh I know he did Shticky, just wanted to see if he was man enough say it. I was wrong!

  17. Voracek, Simmonds and maybe a prospect or mid round pick

    To Avs for:

    Varlamlvo, and Sen’s 1st pick

    Maybe this is just a start to a deal but it could help both teams. It will add scoring depth for the Avs, goalie depth for the Flyers and a top pick for the Flyers. Jak could use a change of scenery. This also free the Flyers up to make a run a Panarin in the offseason.

  18. If Buffalo makes a trade I will be so upset if we take anymore junk dead cap hits back. If Skinner is moved then you better offer up some good picks and prospects not junk plus some picks. The only bad contract we have is Okposo for 4 seasons 6 mill cap hit, let’s keep it that way. If Skinner likes Buffalo he will be back the Sabres owner will front load the contract, money is not a problem.

    With Risto he’s a right shooting D man who can play 30 minutes and get 40 points, most teams need that.