NHL Rumor Mill – March 15, 2019

by | Mar 15, 2019 | Rumors | 26 comments

Latest on Connor McDavid and Joe Pavelski plus an update on the Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


TSN: Asked if Connor McDavid might request a trade if the Edmonton Oilers miss the playoffs, Pierre LeBrun said he doesn’t expect that to happen. McDavid is fully invested in reversing the fortunes of the club, which will be hiring a new general manager and head coach this summer. “But I will say this and this is just my own opinion. If this is still the way things are in Edmonton in three years, who knows,” said LeBrun. He pointed out McDavid is on a long-term contract and it would be silly at this point to believe he wants out. 

Don’t expect Connor McDavid to request a trade from the Edmonton Oilers (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the Oilers struggled through this season, a few pundits were wondering how much longer McDavid will put up with playing for a franchise mired in mediocrity. I’m guessing that’s what was behind that question. If anyone gets traded by the Oilers this summer, it could be someone like defenseman Matt Benning, who was the subject of rumors leading up to last month’s NHL trade deadline. 

I believe McDavid is determined to help the Oilers turn things around, but I’m with LeBrun in wondering if he might change his mind in three or four years time if this club hasn’t significantly improved by then.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski is enjoying a resurgent performance this season, on pace to reach 40 goals this season. However, Kevin Kurz suggests the 34-year-old center’s future with the Sharks is hazy.

Pavelski is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Kurz feels the Sharks will likely wait and see if they can re-sign defenseman Erik Karlsson before deciding what, if anything, they’ll offer Pavelski, whose preference is to stay in San Jose. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Sharks have over $57.5 million invested in 14 players for 2019-20. Assuming the salary cap reaches the projected $83 million, they’ll have over $25 million in cap room. Karlsson, however, will likely cost over $11 million annually to re-sign, which will take a big bite out of that cap room. Like Pavelski and Karlsson, Joe Thornton, Gustav Nyquist, and Joonas Donskoi are unrestricted free agents. Restricted free agents like Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc will be seeking substantial raises.

Karlsson’s been sidelined by injury since late-February and missed a month from mid-January to mid-February. The Sharks, meanwhile, played well in his absence. If management decides to part ways with Karlsson, there will be more than enough money to re-sign Pavelski and their other noteworthy free agents. 


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked if the Arizona Coyotes might consider shopping goaltender Darcy Kuemper this summer while his value is high. Morgan believes they’ll listen to offers but the health of starting goalie Antti Raanta could give them pause. He doesn’t think they’re at the point where Adin Hill is ready to be a reliable NHL backup or that Raanta will be healthy enough to trade Kuemper.

Morgan doesn’t expect the Coyotes to re-sign pending UFAs Calvin Pickard and Richard Panik. He thinks they’ll re-sign all their restricted free agents but doesn’t know if they’ll be active in this summer’s UFA market. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuemper’s performance this season is among the biggest factors behind the Coyotes’ second-half surge into a Western Conference wild-card spot. The 28-year-old has been stellar, sporting a record of 25-16-5 with a 2.48 goals-against average. a .921 save percentage and three shutouts. He’d undoubtedly attract some interest this summer but I concur with Morgan that Raanta’s injury history could make them reluctant to move their backup. 


  1. Imo – any team that signs EK for 11 million, will regret it before the ink is dry!

    • Yep. And that includes Ottawa who dodged a bullet. He isn’t “coming home” even if he finds no takers at his inflated view of himself and suddenly decides a “home town discount” is better than nothing.

    • I would do 11 million for him, for 4mor 5 years. Anything longer is pretty risky

      • i think $11 for 1 year is risky, he’s hardly played this year. Talented player but one of the most injury prone players I’ve ever seen, makes Lupul look like an iron man.

      • Right now you have Price ($10.5 mil) and Weber ($7,857,143) – both long term – along with Petry and Drouin for the next few seasons at $5.5 mil each, accounting for $29,157, 142 off the cap, and you would add another $11 mil for Karlsson? That resulting $40,157,142 for 5 players would account for almost half the cap, meaning you’d have to find 18 players for the other half. That’s Edmonton territory.

      • George, that math is correct but you need to account that likely half of EK’s salary would be off the books due to LTIR if history repeats….

      • Actually Karlsson has been pretty durable for his career.
        Other than his rookie and strike shortened seasons he played over 70 games and he logs big minutes.
        A bit of a problem this year, but overall pretty normal. Players get hurt playing this game, very few guys play 80 plus games every year for their career for 8-10 years.
        I am far from an expert on this but he seems pretty average to me.
        I also wouldn’t sign him for an 8 year $11M contract.

      • TB – my post above was in response to Habfan81 – looks like we were posting at roughly the same time and it appears I was responding to you – I agree – anything long-term for in excess of $8 mil per is risky – where Montreal is concerned, it’s asking for cap trouble combined with those other deals I mentioned

      • “Talented player but one of the most injury prone players I’ve ever seen”

        You haven’t seen many players then, have you?

      • I agree. It’s funny, a player has a banged up one year and they get the “always injured label”.

        The guy has averaged 26 minutes a game in his career. He missed 11 games last year and a bunch this year. But other than that he hasn’t missed that many to get that label.

        He’s far from Lupal, Letang etc.

      • It’s very selective label. Crosby has missed 2 seasons of games since 07-08, yet you see some fans swear he’ll play well into his 40s. A lot of those games missed were due to concussions…..

        Yet Skinner is a risk? And any moment he steps on the ice could be his last? He’s missed 37 games in his career…..

      • My bad , he’s missed 43 games. I missed 6 he missed in 12-13

      • EK is not so much injury prone but given he is having the dreaded groin issues now, coupled with a reconstructed ankle post 2017 playoff run, would as some have noted, suggest a long term contract comes with lots of risk.
        Then again if he comes back strong and has a great playoff run that could settle down the doubters.

      • My concern regarding Karlsson has much less to do with any perceived “chronically-hurt” label – which is unwarranted as Nyr4life points out correctly – and more to do with adding an $11 mil long-term deal to a team already paying one player in that range, with several more costing in excess of $6.5 to $8 mil, to the point where you wind up like Edmonton – top-heavy for 4 or 5 players with the resulting inability to slot 18 supporting players within less than 50% of your cap space. And even if you do get lucky and are able to do that, you’d better win the cup right away because, as soon as the best of those 18 reach RFA (or UFA) status, the juggling starts.

      • Ya Fergy22, groin issues can nag for a while. My experience has been that is more of an in season problem as you can’t heal it an play hockey at the same time. But you can sometimes still play, just not as effective.
        If he had a major tear or rupture, different story, and it could impact his career, but a strain or minor teat should heal just fine in the summer with proper rest. Just won’t be skating for a couple months.
        Sharks are likely pretty concerned about this years playoffs though. Methinks they rest him as long as they can.

      • Geez, I was joking. I wouldn’t sign him to a contract like that but was obviously exagerrating about his injuries…or thought i was i guess. He has had some serious injuries that would concern me though, the achilles tendon issue and the groin issues especially, though players have bounced back from groin issues. Hasek ripped his groin basically in half and played until he was like 83 back home.

  2. I believe EK will get his money, but term is another question. Someone will sign him but probably at 5yrs.

    • Caper, five years at $11 million, wouldn’t the Sharks be at the head of the line?

  3. I was just reading about a suspension in the NFL which lead me to wonder in the NHL there is a lot of signing bonuses, if a player get suspend is he only penalized on his salary or is it on both salary plus signing bonus? If just salary that would be a discounted suspension.

    • That’s a good question. I would think that it was just salary but wasn’t there someone a few years ago who had to pay back some bonus money with a long suspension? I thought there was but can’t remember exactly. PS, I said bonus money but to put it in Striker-speak I should have said bonus monies, when you have that many monies you pluralize it.

    • I found it, a suspension they do lose their bonus money except for performance bonuses:

      (c) Player Salary and Bonuses forfeited due to a suspension will be calculated based on a Player’s Averaged Amount, as defined in Article 50 of this Agreement;

      • Thanks TB and that makes cents.

  4. I think Edmonton should trade the whole team to Houston. I’ll be first in line for Season Tickets…

    • You’re in Houston?

  5. Burp

  6. Karlsson stays in SJ for 8yrs @ 9AAV to keep it realistic.