NHL Rumor Mill – February 14, 2019

by | Feb 14, 2019 | Rumors | 40 comments

The latest on Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, Artemi Panarin, Eric Staal, and Cam Talbot, plus updates on the Kings and Islanders in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Ottawa Senators will test the trade market on forwards Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel and defenseman Cody Ceci while reserving the right to keep any of their pending free agents (Duchene, Stone, Dzingel) they could re-sign. 

THE ATHLETIC: (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun speculates Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen could be keeping a close eye on what the Senators do with Duchene and Stone. Not only does LeBrun believe Kekalainen could be interested in Duchene as a possible replacement for Artemi Panarin but also because the pair will impact the market for Panarin. He also noted the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames could pursue Stone if he hits the trade block and thinks Duchene would be a good fit with the Nashville Predators if they can’t get Panarin. 

Decision day is coming soon for Ottawa Senators’ UFAs like winger Matt Stone (Photo via NHL Images)

BSN DENVER’s AJ Haefele reports hearing the Colorado Avalanche have had talks with the Senators regarding Stone. Given Avs GM Joe Sakic’s reluctance to part with some of his young core assets, Haefele would be surprised if the Avalanche seriously pursue Stone over the next couple of weeks. However, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of the Avs attempting to sign Stone via this summer’s free-agent market. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the expectation has the Senators reaching a decision on re-signing or trading Duchene and Stone by Feb. 15 in order to give them sufficient time to gauge the trade market for either guy leading up to the Feb. 25 trade deadline. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Senators GM Pierre Dorion is talking to clubs with interest in both guys while continuing to engage in contract discussions with those two. Hopefully, we’ll have more clarity on their respective situations by the weekend. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wonders if the Los Angeles Kings might make a play for Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin. They’re not interested in a long rebuild and southern California is supposedly high on his list of potential destinations. While they could wait until this summer, landing him now would give them the opportunity to re-sign him to an eight-year contract. The Kings have two first-round picks and they’ve set a high price for Tyler Toffoli, which might make an interesting package for Panarin. Speaking of the Kings, Friedman also claims to hear Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas inquired about Kyle Clifford during their trade discussions regarding Jake Muzzin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with the recent speculation linking Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau to a Panarin trade, giving up quality assets for a player who could bolt via free agency in July would be a costly gamble that could go badly wrong. The Kings and Panthers aren’t playoff contenders seeking the missing piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle, they’re also-rans who risk worsening their situations.

 If either club is keen on pursuing Panarin and he’s still insisting on testing the free-agent market, they should wait until this summer and try to sign him. In that scenario, they’re giving up dollars without sacrificing future roster depth. 


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Recently appearing on Montreal’s TSN 690, Darren Dreger wondered what the New York Islanders might have in store leading up to the trade deadline. While he doesn’t expect GM Lou Lamoriello to part with top prospects to go big-game hunting, he expects he’ll probably do something prior to the deadline to perhaps bolster his scoring punch. He wondered if Lamoriello might have interest in LA Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who Lamoriello signed in 2010 when he was GM of the New Jersey Devils. 

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Arthur Staple also weighed in on possible trade targets for the Islanders. The asking prices for Ottawa’s Matt Duchene and Matt Stone and Columbus’ Artemi Panarin would be expensive. More realistic and affordable options could be New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello, Detroit Red Wings winger Gustav Nyquist (if he’ll waive his no-trade clause) and perhaps Florida’s Derick Brassard. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello is the most secretive GM in the league. He could surprise us by swinging a blockbuster deal before the deadline, opt instead for an affordable rental player or perhaps he’ll stand pat. I think the latter is unlikely and I don’t see him going after the big fish in the trade pool. I’m guessing he’ll go the bargain rental route, finish evaluating his roster over the remainder of the season, and perhaps consider bigger moves this summer. 


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun wonders what might happen with center Eric Staal if the Minnesota Wild fall out of the playoff chase leading up to deadline day. The 34-year-old has a 10-team no-trade list and didn’t have a good experience the last time he was traded as a playoff rental in 2016. If the Winnipeg Jets strike out with Matt Duchene or Matt Stone, LeBrun thinks they could have interest in Staal but he believes they’re also on his no-trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are considered a Stanley Cup contender this season so maybe Staal would consider them if they came calling. As long as the Wild cling to a playoff spot, they could retain Staal for the remainder of the season. 


SPORTSNET: Noting the Edmonton Oilers recently gave goaltender Cam Talbot three straight starts, Elliotte Friedman said it made it appear he was being showcased to clear salary-cap space to make room for returning defenseman Andrej Sekera. He also mentions Talbot perhaps going to the Philadelphia Flyers, who have a cheaper goalie like Brian Elliott. He adds Talbot and Flyers rookie netminder Carter Hart have a history together.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, swap Talbot for Elliott and maybe he can mentor his young friend Hart. Given how wild and wacky the Flyers’ goalie situation was before the arrival of Hart, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing they’ve done. It might even work out. Of course, this is all just speculation. We don’t know what Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher has in store for his resurgent club leading up to the deadline. 


  1. Would the Oilers consider a Talbot for Jake Allen swap with the Blues? Talbot could finish the season supporting Binnington.

    • The purpose of the Talbot trade to Philly for Elliot is for Edm to lower their cap hit so they can activate Sekera.
      Taking on Allen would add a tiny bit more cap space over Talbot and other trades would need to be made. Chia really messed the Oilers up bad cap wise.

  2. I don’t see any reason why the Kings would go after Panarin. If they do it would be a mistake. Panarin makes $6M per season. He’s not becoming a free agent to take less. So he’s likely looking at $8M+ per season. The Kings already have $10M and $11M tied up in Doughty and Kopitar respectively.

    Also, history has shown that Russian players can be problematic. If they don’t like their role, coach, playing time, etc. they just bolt for the KHL. Pass on Panarin.

    As for the Kings trading Kovalchuk, that’s more the direction they need to go. I don’t see any quick fixes for the Kings. We need to shed salary, draft well, and give the young guys a chance. And under no circumstances should we be trading any first round picks.

    • I think that’s an extremely skewed view of Russians being problematic. There aren’t many players that really fit the bolting to the KHL narrative.

      Maybe 3? Most of them that make that jump are usually well past their best by date and can no longer even find a role in the nhl to like or dislike.

      • Every Russian player Buffalo has ever had has been a problem. Our former GM even came out and said he stays away from drafting them. Mogilny was a fruit loop, Zadorov was a recent example, he would miss practice and fly 5000 miles away to go on vacation when he had to be back the next day etc. Grigerenko was lacking in effort a bust first round pick. My team has bad luck with them. Usually they are one dimensional floaters.

      • Mogilny had a 76 goal season and was great with LaFontaine

      • Yeah then Mogilny demanded to be traded and called his teammates losers that was after his fear of flying and other issues.

    • Russians are a problem, all right. Who’d want Ovechkin, Malkin, Kucherov, Kuznetsov, etc., etc., on your team? You just can’t count on them.
      Besides, it’s grit we’re looking for – grit, sandpaper, heavy hockey. Stay away from those Russians. Skill is way over-rated.

      • Exactly! This conversation of Russian lazy, floaters, etc is just a shortcut to thinking!

        Beyond a dumb conversation!
        I’m sure there has never in the history of the nhl been a Canadian, American, Swedish, etc player we could point at that was “problematic “. Smh!


      • BCLeafFan, you forgot the Red Wings of the 90’s who had 5 Russians on the team that often played as a complete unit. Couple championships with floaters like Federov.
        There are bad attitude Canadians, Americans etc. Most come around eventually when their act wears out and they need to change or keep getting traded or be out of the game.

      • Buffalo never deserved Mogilny. I take Mogilny in his prime over 90% of RW’s in today’s NHL. He will be perfect with Marner.

    • I think the signing of Kovolchuk was a sign of a terrible internal trend in LA …they had a poor road map and a poor plan…the past few signings signaled that the Kings were unwilling to make more significant moves to get younger around the core of Doughty Kopi and Quick ..they have there hands tied with 2 players they wish they could move on from in Dustin Brown and Jeff carter which they cant and have been told a blatant.. NO! .. and the Kings only added major cap and older players …( AGAIN ) …in the last 2 big deals in Phaneuf and Kovolchuk …a combined $13 million in those players and bad contracts …only to add to more aging players and bad contracts …

      I agree with JDBIGC …comments at the end
      ” We need to shed salary, draft well, and give the young guys a chance. And under no circumstances should we be trading any first round picks”

      Those are hard decisions and may require some buyouts ..that will strap them for a few more years on the TOTAL long term cap hit especially with Dustin Brown… Carter is almost unmovable not saying he is the only issue but they need to move on from that player…the Kings need to identify that they are keeping Doughty Kopitar and ( A ) Goalie …and shed the rest of the older contracts and trade players like Tofoli Martinez for a good return and look to make deals like the Hawks did for Strome and Perlini …there are a TONE of 1st round draft picks buried in the minors on teams that just can not fit them in or have given up on …they need to research those players and make bolder moves …the Coyotes Jets Flyers Blues & Lightening have quality players in the system that can be had in deals of the right make up and return….the Kings should be looking in that direction ..IMO
      CHEERS 🙂

      • These teams, the Coyotes Jets Flyers Blues & Lightening are not trading away their former 1st round picks. This is how they run their teams, properly I must say. These first rounders will eventually replace the guys in their current lineups when they reach free agency. Some are showing the results now and some will show in the future.

      • The coyotes just traded two former 1st round picks this year? Strome, Domi.

        Tampa Deangelo, Drouin , Howden, Koukkoek, Namestikov….

      • Any GM who would sign a forward over age 34 to a three year deal with a no trade clause is really an idiot.

    • Hockey players, like all professional athletes can be problematic. To say one country is more problematic than another is absurd – and hurtful not just to the athletes but to the fans who cheer for them. I’m sure your words were simply meant in jest. regretfully in today’s political climate, those words can easily be misconstrued.

    • “Also, history has shown that Russian players can be problematic. If they don’t like their role, coach, playing time, etc. they just bolt for the KHL.”

      That must be why, unhappy with his role in Columbus, Panarin bolted to the KHL.


  3. Any team that signs Panarin will regret it in 3 years when he’s 31-32. Remember this

    • Ill send myself an email for 3 years from the signing Matt Thanks

  4. Cam Talbot has more holes in him than a block of Swiss Cheese. Anyone trading for him needs to be fired ASAP.

    • That’s funny, people were saying the same thing about Dubnik when he was with the Oilers. Maybe…just maybe the Oilers problems are their depth on defence and their bottom 6 forward group.

    • Sounds like he’s on his way to philly?

  5. We keep hearing about players with 5/10/15 team no-trade clauses. Are the blocked teams ever made public? Has anyone ever polled the agents to find out what teams show up in these clauses more often – high tax state teams, teams in “crappy” cities, typically bottom of the standing teams, teams in full rebuild? Curious to know how the deck is stacked against some of these teams that probably are named more often in these limited no-trade clauses. I poked around a bit online, but didn’t find anything.

  6. Dear lord don’t let the Isles go after Kovulchuk. Last thing they need is to have him as their highest paid forward. Limited offence, high cap hit for another two years? No thanks. Unless, of course, the Kings would like a little Andrew Ladd action…

    The Isles definitely could use more scoring up front. If they don’t go after a big name rental, which I prefer they don’t, I’m not sure any of the bargain guys are gonna score a whole lot more than what they already have. In part they play a strong defensive style which means there just aren’t as many chances to score. Plug some plug in there and they aren’t gonna score a whole lot either.

  7. kinda off topic but …..I would love to see an owner set a precedent and tell his GM

    you will not offer contracts longer than 5 years in duration.
    you will not sign any player aged 31-33 yrs old to a contract of more than 3 years.
    all players 34 years and older will be offered 1-2 year contracts.
    we do not offer NMC and NTC (the team reserves the right to move the players rights wherever they want to).

    I realize that term brings down AAV but there are so many NHL teams carrying dead weight now. Teams need to find a happy medium, win now but protect the teams future.

    • I think the name you’re looking for is Eugene Melnyk.
      Before him was Harold Ballard.
      Poll they’re respective fan bases and see how much joy that kind of business is bringing or brought them.

      • Eugene has a plan! just no sure what it is..lol

        my point here SOP is long term contracts are killing teams. Players are signing deals for past the best before date and teams are knowingly going along with this.
        If more players signed shorter term deals they could be off rosters and the books sooner if they did not perform. It is a young league now. I could name a bunch of contracts but deals like Luongo’s are anchors.

  8. They will always find a way to overspend on players based on past results, glory, and now fancy stats.
    They can’t help themselves.

    • We are seeing it in baseball right now where the big contracts have stopped being dolled out by everyone.
      Many FA’s sit and wait and even had a separate spring training camp last year to handle all of them.
      No salary cap in baseball.
      What has pushed it down is in fact the fancy stats, as they have it down to a science in baseball. WAR is everything, and so is being able to chart progression of their prospects and what changes work and what doesn’t at the plate as far as line drive %’s etc. And massive volumes of data on older players and how they decline at certain ages in multiple catagories. The factual evidence is staring them in the face.
      Bottom line is that they now can project with much better accuracy which triple A standout will perform at the major league level and which veterans will likely decline and to what extent.
      Way harder to do in hockey due to the nature of the game, but there has to be a correction soon. Young guys getting massive contracts out of ELC’s has to have an impact as well.

      • There is a cap in baseball. It’s a soft cap. And teams are getting tired of shoveling out 60 million in luxury tax year after year. Which is probably the entire cost of the Marlins, Rays etc roster.

      • Lol. Says the suspected Yankees fan.

      • No question a Yankee fan! But the last few years they’re actually tucking themselves under the cap. LA, Boston are now the top spenders.

      • That’s true Nyr, but the evil empire can afford it!
        More teams tanking now than ever as well. But they also have the data that shows the big ticket guys just aren’t worth it.
        Go Jays.

  9. I wonder if Montreal would flex there cap space muscle for a prospect or pic? Could help a strong playoff for a rebuilding team. Who knows, maybe he goes to a playoff team and starts to improve then you do a sign and trade… either way it would be a low risk move considering this is his last year on his current contract.

  10. Why aren’t we hearing CO becoming sellers at the deadline yet?

    • Because Joe is not veering away from his vision.
      He might move minor pieces, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for a big deal outta Col.

  11. New owners Scott Malkin and Jon ledecky brought in Great leadership and now New York Islanders are in great position nearing trade deadline. Scoring is top priority but not risking a “rental” for the future of talent they have.

  12. There are not a lot of Russians in the league . Guessing mind you but 35-40 ? Some teams do not have a single one and the top 6 teams not much . Bolts 2 good ones. The ones that are playing are high end as noted above.

    I heard somewhere that Lamarello in NJD had the phones tapped. No leaks. Not sure he wants Kovalchuk back because of the New Jersey experiance with him. Probably a 100 million reasons

    • They painted Lou’s phone red, ran a heavy coating on the cord and told him what he wanted to hear.
      No taps. Lol
      Don’t you just love hockey lore?