NHL Rumor Mill – March 16, 2019

by | Mar 16, 2019 | Rumors | 32 comments

Check out the latest Islanders and Panthers speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During a Thursday appearance on Montreal’s TSN 690, insider Pierre LeBrun said he believes New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello will be busy this summer. He notes they currently have the fourth-most salary-cap room for 2019-20 and thinks they want to re-sign some of their unrestricted free agents like center Brock Nelson and captain Anders Lee but not everyone. LeBrun feels they’ll have room to pursue a big-ticket player like Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin via free agency. They could also be active in this summer’s trade market or maybe even go the offer-sheet route.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): With the Islanders building a young “core four” of promising defensemen in Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Scott Mayfield, and Devon Toews, Arthur Staple suggests veteran blueliner Nick Leddy could become expendable. He notes Leddy no longer leads Islanders rearguards in ice time and offense and feels he could become a trade candidate to bring in a forward.

Has Nick Leddy become expendable on the New York Islanders’ blueline (Photo via NHL Images).

While acknowledging Lamoriello could pursue Panarin or Columbus’ Matt Duchene, the Isles remain a tough sell for free agents, meaning he could be forced to go the trade route. Staple cites a team executive not affiliated with the Islanders or Edmonton Oilers suggesting perhaps a new Oilers GM might be interested in swapping Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Leddy. Staple also wondered if the Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs, or Winnipeg Jets would have interest in Leddy. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree the Islanders might not be a destination of choice for many top UFAs, but the presence of Lamoriello in the front office, Barry Trotz behind the bench, and the opportunity to skate alongside young center Mathew Barzal could be enticing selling points.

Of course, the biggest is money, and if Lamoriello is willing to spend to land a free-agent star, someone like Panarin might be tempted. Cap Friendly indicates the Isles have over $47.7 million invested in 16 players. If ownership is willing to spend up to the projected $83 million cap ceiling for 2019-20, Lamoriello will have over $35 million to work with, more than enough to re-sign his key free agents and to pursue additional depth. 

I also concur with Staples’ assessment that Leddy is a solid No. 3 defenseman and should attract interest if Lamoriello shops him for a forward. He’s signed through 2021-22 with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million and lacks no-trade protection. However, if the new Edmonton GM swapped Nugent-Hopkins for Leddy, Oilers fans will mutiny.

The Leafs and Jets both face a cap crunch this summer and will want to shed salary. Lamoriello would have to pick up part of Leddy’s salary to make him attractive to those two clubs. 


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): George Richards reports the Florida Panthers could make moves to add to their roster and/or to free up salary-cap space. GM Dale Tallon intends to be aggressive in the free-agent market, generating speculation he’ll pursue Columbus Blue Jackets UFAs Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky.

Despite this season’s setback, the Panthers are stocked with good young talent and are considered a team on the rise. Sunny weather, quality of living, and lack of a state tax could prove attractive to those UFAs, plus the club has a reputation for its first-class treatment of its players. 

Richards notes Panthers don’t intend to spend all their available cap space in the free-agent market. They’ll also consider re-signing their own, such as Troy Brouwer and Riley Sheahan. The latter was acquired in a trade last month with Pittsburgh. Earlier this month, Richards reported Tallon was happy with Sheahan, who’s interested in re-signing with the Panthers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For this summer’s UFA talent, the Panthers could be a preferable destination over Long Island for all the reasons Richards cited. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $61 million invested in 14 players for 2019-20. As Richards noted, they’ll have around $22 million in cap space assuming an $83-million ceiling.

Ownership has given Tallon the green light to spend this summer and it’s clear the Panthers GM intends to do so. It wouldn’t surprise me if Panarin and/or Bobrovsky end up with the Panthers.

As for players who could be shopped before July 1, I expect current backup James Riemer could be on the move. He’s signed through 2020-21 with an annual average value of $3.5 million and lacks a no-trade clause. Winger Mike Hoffman also surfaced in the rumor mill leading up to last month’s trade deadline. He’s got a 10-team no-trade list and has one season left on his contract with a cap hit of $5.187 million.

Winger Jonathan Huberdeau was the subject of trade chatter but I don’t see the Panthers parting with one of their top scorers, especially one carrying an affordable $5.9-million AAV through 2022-23. With 74 points in 70 games, the 25-year-old Huberdeau is entering his playing prime. 


  1. Nylander for Leddy + pick(s)?
    Leddy could replace Gardiner for less than what Jake would command.

    • It sure seems that many Leafs fans have soured on Nylander and are anxious to use him as the means to clearing cap space. Whether his poor season so far (5g 16a 21 pts in 43gp and – 3) is due to missing all of training camp and the first big chunk of the season (he wouldn’t be the first to demonstrate an inability to “get in the groove” after missing camp/early season games), the fact remains, if Leafs fans believe he’s not worth the $6,962,366 cap hit to 2023-24, and will never become more than a soft C, why do they think other Gms will be anxious to take that on by giving up a quality D? It doesn’t add up.

      • I think he is worth his cap hit, but the Leafs cannot afford him if they want to upgrade on D.
        And if I have to trade one of Nylander, Marner, Matthews or Kapanen I would trade Nylander. Marner and Matthews are better imo and Kapanen will be cheaper to re-sign.

      • Sounds reasonable when you put it like that. But I still think other GMs will adopt a “show-me” attitude to make sure he’s not another in a fairly long line of players who, when finally getting a big long-term contract, “retire” early by not putting out the same effort. Certainly before relinquishing a top end D.

  2. Shouldn’t Edmonton fans be in full on mutiny mode regardless?
    I don’t think Leddy is the answer, then again, I don’t know that any one player is….

    That roster is a hot mess! And the cap situation isn’t pretty either. I don’t see any other way for them other than trading a guy like RNH. They have to clear space somehow…. And I don’t see any team lining up to take on Lucic. Even with 50% retained. If that guy can’t produce with Mcdavid, Draisatl, RNH…. he certainly isn’t due for a “bounce back year” anywhere else.

    6 million per for 4 more years for a guy with 5 goals and 12 assists? Good luck finding someone willing to take in that. I don’t even see it with 50% retained and sweeteners added.

    • Yes Nyr, Oiler fan is already is in full mutiny mode, they want a house cleaning in all of MGT and not just the GM, and yes it is because the roster is a hot mess. Also agree that good luck moving Lucic if you eat half, as the term is too long. He ain’t getting any better as he ages.
      Disagree on trading a guy like RNH as the solution though unless you find a sucker out their and the Oil just fired him.
      Not because RNH is a bad player but because he is good. Even if they equal value back it is simply creating another hole up front. They need more good players without spending in the UFA market or move a hole in the lineup from one spot to the next.
      Some of you have seen my rant before on the Oil, but it is basically stop with the quick fixes. They need quality young players who are less expensive. They need to rid themselves of bad contracts at the same time. Good luck with that as you have to give up picks or prospects to move the contracts.
      So, the only answer is patience. Hire better scouts, invest in developing your young guys and please start letting them develop in the AHL.
      They have some decent prospects now. Keep picks and get more. In 2 years their cap space problem improves even when stuck with Lucic. Let the following contracts expire – Manning, Gagner, Russell, Petrovic and Reider. That is $11.5M after the next 2 seasons. Some next season.
      Back fill with Jones, Benson, Yamamoto, Puljujarvi, Bear etc when they are ready. Jones, Bear and Benson are close. If not fill with AHL vets or 1 year contracts you can move a the TDL if you struggle.
      Might be a different looking team in 2-3 years.
      No quick fix out there from what I can see.

  3. Perhaps Vancouver is a fit for Leddy if Elder proves to be too costly?

    Or even Dallas who will have cap space with Methot, Lovejoy, Polak, Fedun, and Spezza all being UFAs.

    Perhaps a Faska plus 3rd for Leddy?

  4. I’ve been looking at these 2 teams as trade partners for the Oil. And I think they both have the players needed to pull something off. However, I’m thinking a little more drastic than most are. What the Oilers desperately need is cap space. And to do so, they’ll have to sacrifice HUGE. For example….

    To Edm – Puloch, Martin, Bellows, 1st
    To NYI – Lucic, Draisaitl, Puli, 1st


    To Edm – Huberdeau, Matheson, Reimer, 2nd
    To FLA – Lucic, Draisaitl, Puli, protected 1st

    Draisaitl would be a HUGE loss for Edmonton, but Cap space is what they desperately need to move forward. And moving a player like him, a prospect like Puli, as well as a 1st, is the only way to get Lucic off the books.

    Depending on who the Oilers hire as GM (PLEASE MARK HUNTER!!!!!!), I continuously worry about the Oilers having a high draft pick anymore. Why not trade it for a great prospect that comes from a team that knows how to draft and groom the kids!

    Hammer away!

    BTW…if they can talk Mark into being GM, I’ll bet Dale would come along! Ohhhh to dream!! Lol!

    • Lou is not that aggressive with his trades…..

      IF that trade were to be offered, by a GM not named LOU, I would assume LADD would go back to EDM and not Martin who is extremely well liked by Lou. One of the main reasons he traded for him.

      • I would’ve suggested Ladd, even with his contract. I just don’t know if he’d waive his NTC. He’d bring alot more to the table in terms of versatility and leadership…not to mention a few rings!

      • It’s highly doubtful that Lucic would waive his either. So the trade idea is a non-starter to begin with.

      • That’s a good point George, though I’m basing that on the premise he would welcome a change – especially to Florida (no taxes). I’ve also read a few blurbs (somewhere…I’lltry to find it) that he would welcome a change.

  5. Would GM Tallon accept Vesey & Namestnikov for Hoffman?
    Hoffman would look good with Kreider & Zib.
    of slot LW with Howden and Buch

  6. Please don’t resign Nelson. As I have stated before he is soft and Leddy is hard to watch he belongs in the ice capades fast skater who avoids contact and is way over rated. Does not clear anyone out in front of the net dump him to Toronto they take all our trash there like JT.

    • Pete, time to get over it, buddy; life’s too short. Move on and enjoy the playoffs.

  7. Boston trades Backes to Edmonton for Lucic and Edmonton retains $2m per of Lucic contract. Backes would be off Edmonton books in two years instead of the Lucic 4yrs and would be left holding $2m per season in yr 3 and 4 of Lucic contract, unfortunately Edmonton would have to suffer thru 2 years of Backes at $6m plus the $2m owing Lucic. Not the best solution. Boston would have Lucic for 4yrs at $4m per hoping to revitalize with Krecji also not the best scenario for Boston. Nope I don’t like this deal. Forget I wrote this.

    • Krejci & Grezelcyk for RNH & Sekera? =)

      • Caper, funny sh**!
        ihatecrosby, as a Bruins fan yes, as a guy who lives in Edmonton no. Sekera is a really good player and appears to be healthy again and has recovered and rehabbed well, so I take him over Grezlyk. RNH and Krecji are similar value, but RNH is younger.

      • Ray i suggested that because the cap space created by such a move, and Sekera is older than Grez. Gives EDM a bit more wiggle room.

        Additionally, brining in Krejci may assist in the locker room have a proven winner (that produces) come in. He may also ignite 10 goals more per season from Lucic by playing on the same line again to balance out the top 6. Just a thought.

      • Ya, I get where you’re going with it ihatecrosby, perhaps me being in EDM makes me too close to it.
        I hear all kinds of theories on how to fix the Oil and I have forged my opinion.

      • I assume better cap space would aide in a 2 year transition to better EDM. Too many 4-5 million dollar defenseman. I am a huge proponent of building from the net out but when the rest of the $ is on 2 studs and 1 over priced guy…how can ya balance out the the forwards.

        From an outsiders perspective…I guess leveraging what ya already spent for 2 yrs will help.

        Krejci is a UFA in 2 yrs and if it doesn’t work out..trade him for assets at that deadline. Removing all the cap space from Sekera will allow them to spend better to gain scoring depth….

        Just a thought.

        if not that then this

        silly trade proposal

        to TB: Larsson/Nurse/Puljujarvi & 1st

        to EDM: Killorn/Johnson/Palat (assuming all waive their NTC)

        gives TB their depth Dmen since all the old guys are UFAs and frees cap to sign Point & etc…

      • ihatecrosby, then you have a massive on the blue line in Edmonton. Which is kind of the point I was trying to make. Whack a mole.
        They don’t have the depth up front or on the blue line to affect real change.
        Wait till they do, and then enter the trade or UFA market.

  8. This Leaf fan has not soured on Nylander (sitting out is stupid when the other league players are the 400 best in the world. With that kind of collective talent you cannot give up an edge to anyone without it showing.

    I have soured on Andreas Johnson, think Kapanen may be topping out in term of future growth and have not been happy with money or term on Matthews deal.If Marner tries for 11 million + I would not give him that and I would not sign him during the season. Someone in Leaf management needs to stand up to the RFA’s and stop Kypreous from his contant pro NHLPA rants.

    Clearly trading forward talent for equal defense talent is what the team needs. Who for who is fair value I don’t see enough non Leaf games to say. I fell asleep during a Leaf game a week or so ago when I awoke I was watching a game. I thought WOW the Leafs are organized at the back end. It was Calgary playing the second Sat. night game…..shows one what the Leafs are lacking….and it is a lot.

    Lots of talent, lots of cookie monsters not much heart. Big decisions need to be made

    • I’m not sure if anyone on the Leafs is tough enough to tell Kypreos anything.

      • Shanahan probably could best day to best day …Dubas not…..Babcock probably not too….

        But remember Kypreos’ last game….he got totally concussed on one punch when he thought he was tougher than he is….

        But I certainly grant you and unfortunately agree that the Leaf players and their GM don’t know the meaning of tough….and that they will pay the price in the playoffs….

        The Board & S of play that see you 7-6 after being down 5-2…almost tying Chicago after being down 5-0 is not gonna come close to cutting it against the Bruins….and Tampa didn’t raise a sweat in winning.

  9. Leddy is the type of veteran mobile D who can keep the pressure off the Isles young D. Could be a regrettable trade in the end even if the player coming back is younger wing

  10. Lucic will not be moved until after July 1st when his signing bonus is paid. I have wondered if an Alzner + (Hudon?Lehkonen?) for Lucic + would work. Edmonton saves cap space and a year. Lucic and Gallagher are summer training partners. Julien has coached him before but that is a question, is the coach okay with it? Maybe not. Also, I see Lucic being a fourth line guy for Mtl, so is Lucic ok with that? And of course what is the plus from Edmonton? A 2nd rd pick? Puliarvi would be great as Mtl has had success with Finns.

    I see Bergevin having interest in Gardiner and Leddy. I think either guy would help Mtl for next season.

    • That’s one hulluva lot of cap space for a 4th line guy!

    • I certainly hope GM MB does not grab Lucic. I would suggest he call TB and see what assists he can get for grabbing some of the contracts TB needs to dump. Might get a roster player & prospect for taking Callahan or something. That would be the best use of his cap space.

      Then trade off Alzner & a pick to Dallas for the rights to Methot or something.

      • Methot’s UFA is he not? They can pluck him off that list in the summer. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him back in Ottawa as a veteran “mentor” on that young D.

      • George….trade offered was only to free up cap….and get first dibs to see if he is a fit. We would slot nice next to Weber (albeit two slow guys). MTL certainly needs to find away to be free of Alzner… especially to free up additional cap space

  11. Methot is apparently considering retiring?..he’ll have to see how is surgery and recovery goes..hopefully good!..🤔and wouldn’t he maybe sign with the sharks?..with Karlsson?😳