NHL Rumor Mill – March 20, 2019

by | Mar 20, 2019 | Rumors | 44 comments

Check out the latest Oilers, Kings, and Coyotes speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples disagrees with Sportnet’s Brian Burke over how the Oilers should rebuild their roster. Burke recently suggested the Oilers should bundle young winger Jesse Puljujarvi with either Andrej Sekera or Kris Russell to free up some salary-cap space to pursue a No.2 defenseman. He also advocated finding a scoring winger and a character bottom-six forward.

Should the Edmonton Oilers package Jesse Puljujarvi with another player to free up salary-cap space? (Photo via NHL Images)

Staples, however, doesn’t believe the Oilers should try to build via free agency, pointing out they have a rather spotty history of free-agent signings. He also doesn’t see Edmonton as a prime destination for this summer’s top free-agent talent.

Staples doesn’t reject the notion of moving players (except for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl) if the return improves the Oilers. Still, he recommends the club should build “by properly identifying young talent, drafting it and grooming it”, pointing out they’ve already made improvement in that area. He also encourages being patient with Puljujarvi, citing his age (20), upside and current limited trade value. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with Staples’ take. There’s no easy way for the next Oilers general manager to dig his club out of the hole dug by previous management. Building with youth and exploring a savvy trade or two seems the best route at this point.

With over $71 million invested in 16 players, they should still try to shed some salary, preferably those of underachievers. Easier said than done, of course, but they should at least look into it. 

If they can find a way to shed Lucic’s $6-million cap hit, even if it means absorbing part of it or packaging him with a draft pick or a prospect, it should be done. They could go the buyout route but, as Cap Friendly indicates, they won’t get much in the way of cap savings in the first four years, though it’ll drop significantly to $625K per season over the final four years. 


ESPN.COM: Finding a new head coach, trading goaltender Jonathan Quick, and determining Ilya Kovalchuk’s future are among Greg Wyshynski’s offseason keys for the Los Angeles Kings.

He doesn’t expect interim bench boss Willie Desjardins will return as their full-time coach. Trading Quick won’t be easy because of his age, injury history and $5.8-million cap hit, but he lacks no-trade protection and the Kings could use the younger assets he might fetch in a trade. He wonders if Kovalchuk is willing to stay or if the Kings believe he might improve under a new head coach. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quick could be the best trade chip the Kings have this summer, or at least, the best one they’re willing to part with. I think a younger player like Tyler Toffoli would attract more interest but the Kings want to keep him as part of their rebuild. The Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, and Colorado Avalanche could be among the clubs with interest in Quick this summer.

As for Kovalchuk, he turns 36 next month and his best seasons are well behind him. If a team show interest and he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause they should trade him, even if it means picking up part of his $6.25-million cap hit.


TSN: A report out of Russia yesterday claimed the Arizona Coyotes were one of three Western Conference clubs with interest in former NHL winger Nail Yakupov, who’s playing for KHL club St. Petersburg. However, The Athletic’s Craig Morgan cited a league source calling that rumor “completely inaccurate.” 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So, who are the other two Western clubs supposedly interested in Yakupov? Who do you think they might be? Feel free to make your best guess in the comments section below. 


  1. If there are at least 2 teams interested in Yakupov, such interest had to be generated by the fact he’s been seen to have played well in the KHL. Any stats to show? If I had to venture a guess as to which 2 teams that might be, and if he is scoring goals over there, I’d have to say Anaheim (173) and L.A. (170) – the two lowest-scoring teams in the league and probably the only two that won’t hit the 200 mark (Dallas has 185 and might not make it either).

    • Answered my own question with some simple searching: in 47 gp with St. Petersburg he has 23g 10a 33 pts and is a +22. He only turns 26 next Oct so I suppose if some team got him at a bargain-basement cost it might be worth the gamble.

  2. I know I’ve said it before, but EDM is at a disadvantage when trying to sign top talent. (location, location, location) Better to hope for yet another #1 pick…

    • Although many would be extremely annoyed at seeing the Oilers get yet another # 1 (normally me included), this is one time I wouldn’t mind seeing them win the lottery yet again. Anybody but Ottawa whose pick goes to Colorado. Right now the Sens have a chance to catch LA as both have 10 games to go and the Kings are just 2 points ahead, so seeing them drop to the bottom and get Ottawa’s pick as well as their own, increasing their chances at # 1, I’d much prefer as well. That would do a lot to get them back on track. Any team but Colorado. Ottawa also has an outside chance of catching Detroit (6 points up with Ottawa having a game in hand) and NJ (7 points up with Ottawa having 2 games in hand). Finishing 4 from the bottom would severely decrease Colorado’s chances at the # 1 (although that’s still a pretty damned good pick).

      • I would literally throw up if Edmonton wins yet again another 1st-4-5 overall.

        What the answer is in Edmonton is anybody’s guess. They haven’t drafted well, traded well and certainly have struck out in UFA.

        It seems like just 6-7 years ago, they were preaching patience…. Fast forward to today…. more patience?

        I’m glad to see NY dropping like a rock in the standings. A couple of weeks ago, they were projected to pick in the 12-14 spot. Now they look to draft in the top 6.

        Sorry, I’m going to be selfish here and hope for a 1-2 spot! 55 years and counting without a top 3 pick, which is beyond my entire lifetime ….. is there ANY other team in the NHL with that kind of drought in the draft?

        With as many bad years as they had prior to the cap, it almost seems impossible! But here the fans sit, watching teams like Edmonton and Buffalo get rewarded year after year.

      • Nyr4life – one of the reasons is that, since 2000, the Rangers have traded away their first rounder 7 times – in each of 2000, 2002 and 2103 to 2017. Be interesting to try and figure out who went in their slots and where.

      • George, even with all the picks traded away by ny, none of them were top 3. If I’m not mistaken, I don’t believe any of them were top 5.

      • Yandle 1st rounder= 20th overall, Dennis CholowskI to Detroit via Arizona

        St.Louis trade Ho sang to islanders via Tampa , 28th (2014 )overall.

        2015 Anthony Beauvillier to islanders via Tampa… oddly 28th overall.

      • Nyr4life – you’re right, of course. I figured none were top 3 but just thought that, trading away your 1st rounder 7 times in 19 years doesn’t do much for the farm system. In 2000 and 2017 it would have been the 6th pick both times – the next highest was # 10 in each of 2002 and 2103.

      • Their last top 3 pick, Brad Park 1966 at #2. Zero top 3 picks traded since then.

        I was a couple of years off. This will be their 53rd consecutive year without a top 3 pick. Last #1 overall… 1965.

      • Course trading your firsts does factor in though as teams doing it are contenders.

    • You sure don’t like Edmonton BadCowboyDan. Why?
      Yes it’s cold here in the winter, but put on a touque and gloves and you’re good. On the radio this AM they were saying 17C, so a beauty day! Taxes are very good, real estate is reasonable again. People who are friendly, and generally nice. Even some Cowboys as there is plenty of ranch land, cattle and horses.
      Places like St Albert (a few minutes north, 20 minutes to the rink, and where I live) have consistently been rated as one of the best places to live in Canada, which as a country is consistently rated as one of the top countries to live in.
      I live here so will of course defend it.
      Where do you live? Perhaps Calgary? If so I get the rivalry, and plenty of Cowboys there, well at least during Stampede, which I will admit is awesome.
      So, where?

      • Ray, I have a granddaughter living in Edmonton – she’s a mechanical engineer with a natural gas company – just bought a house there – has a horse at a stable not far away, loves snowboarding – not far from the Rockies and not that far from Jasper. And here in Ottawa we’ll be lucky to see 17 (that’s 64F) before mid-April – if then! Been to Edmonton many times when working – both winter and summer. Always enjoyed it – a lot better than Winnipeg where summers are festooned with mosquitoes due to all the frikken water around.

      • Good for her George, it is a good place to be if that is her education. Some world class gas companies in these parts. I actually like Jasper better than Banf, less commercial/crowded and the skiing/boarding is outstanding. 2nd to none. Had a close encounter with a grizzley there once, but hey all part of the lure.
        I’m used to the mosquitoes by the lakes as I am from Sask originally, but ya they can drive you a little whacky at times. I put up with them and the noseeums as I love fishing the north in June. I get close to the MB border on the Churchill river. Walleye heaven and some monster pike. You should get yourself out there George if you like to fish. You got time!

  3. Tough to make up ground anywhere in the standings. One point is the new two

    Maybe the Lacombe Generals are interested in Nail . They are in the west.

    There is a saying > A one is never done < so Yakupov could end up back in the NHL

  4. I follow David Staples’ columns on the Oilers and he has a good handle on the roster and the needs going forward. Edmonton’s AHL team in Bakersfield has played really well this year and could send two or three players to the big club next year. The Oil also have some solid prospects in junior hockey and Europe, especially Evan Bouchard in London.
    The biggest roadblock is, of course, Milan Lucic’s contract and that will be a tough one to solve but there are good players in the pipeline and, if they get a chance to play, Edmonton will be better.

  5. Pavelski sidelined, SJ needs a RW. Maybe the (now defunct) San Francisco Bulls offered Yakupov a tryout at Sharks Ice during a public skate?

  6. Way too slow in here!

    Off topic, The Leafs, Flyers, Penguins, Canadiens, Islanders, Suck.

    George is old.

    This rumor page sucks.

    Lyle is biased

    Crosby sucks.

    Mcdavid is overrated.

    Tampa kinda sucks.

    There are too many American players in Canada.

    Too many Canadian players in The US.

    Our dollar is better than your dollar.

    If Gretzky can be traded, so can your momma!

    Chocolate ice cream is far better than Vanilla.

    It’s all Trumps fault.

    Spider man would kick the crap out of Superman.

    There hasn’t been any good trades since 1986.

    All mascots suck.

    Every good player is coming to NY, even if it means being 700 million over the cap. And even if it doesn’t make sense.

    Weber and Subban will never be traded, Ditto , Hall, Mcdonagh and Seth Jones.

    All draft picks are studs, especially those selected by NY… all the other teams ….not so much.

    Players are paid too much, so are owners, coaches , Gms, stick guys , trainers, mascots, and hot dog vendors…. all that extra money teams make should go in a more deserving pocket…… like mine….

    I “deserve” a cup, because I’m a fan, I watch games, and haven’t won in a while… therefore I’m “deserving “… while we’re at it A NY Jet Suber bowl would be nice! It’s only “fair”

    I sometimes feel bullied here, which usually results in my night ending in a corner crying my eyes out. Please make sure you walk on eggshells when dealing with me, even if I come across rude, obnoxious, insensitive. Know it all, condescending or make fun of you….Remember, my feelings are much more important than anyone else’s here. Please treat me with white glove care.

    You can reply if you disagree with anything I’ve stated. But I’m telling you right now, you’re wrong, even if you’re not!

    • LMAO. That’s golden.

    • Didn’t read your striker length post

      • It had no mention of Dave Bolland.

      • Was dave bolland a stud?

    • Nyr4life – Nyr4life – to give you some idea how old I am, I grew up as a “closet” fan of the Rangers because I used to be able to pick up their games on radio in the early 1950s over (I think) WNBC with Bert Lee, Ward Wilson and Monty Hall. Where I lived, of course (Eastview – now Vanier), you had to be a Habs fan first and foremost since 90% in the area were francophone (if you wore a Leafs jersey it was suicidal). Some of the names from that era on the Rangers I remember as favorites included Doug & Max Bentley, Andy Bathgate, Vic Howe (Gordie’s brother), Camille Henry, Paul Ronti (a slick C of whom Rocket Richard once said “I wish we had him here”) , Chuck Rayner, Johnny Bower, Leo Reise, Danny Lewicki, Edgar Lapade. Bill Gadsby (over 20 years in the league – not one cup – sad), Hy Buller, Ivan Irwin (one tough dude), Jim Conacher, Zelio Toppazzini (one of the great “names” of all time), Reggie Sinclair, Nick Mikoski, Aldo Guidolin. I was listening the night of March 23, 1952 (I was 14) when on the final night of the season, Bill (the original Wee Willie) Mosienko scored 3 goals in 21 seconds for Chicago against the Rangers – a record that will likely never be broken.

      • Edgar Laprade – not Lapade – another slick puck handler

      • Did you ever come out of the closet George?

    • Really good, NY4Life, although I disagree with most of it.

    • NY4Life

      Good read… many bang on ….

      One I have to amend

      “It’s all Trump’s fault” to “ Almost everything is Trump’s fault; the rest of the fault lies with the infamous Jack Johnson (JJ)”


      1)Pralines and Cream rules the Ice Cream world…. and

      2) George has to be old because he is old enough to be my dad and I’m in my late 50’s (LOL)…. and finally…..

      3) Not all Mascots suck….. Gritty is adorable and cuddly ; something you’d like to surprise a newborn with don’t you think?


      • Pengy &Dee….. Despite the two overtime losses I like the way the Penguins are playing….The ideal would be a 2/3 match up in the metropolitan with the Islanders…preferably us finishing second.

        The defense has really tightened up and i like how we played against Boston and Washington at home recently…Letang did play last night so he is back…..Brain Rust isn’t far behind! We can only hope Malkin isn’t too bad.

        Grubrason has worked out well and went straight after Tom Wilson and if he can play his 12 to 14 minutes, on the 3rd pairing, be physical and a deterrent that’s good.

        If we get Rust back, Malkin back and Zack Ashton Resse back and Murray continues to play well we are in good shape. Even Kessel &Hornqvist seem to be awakening from his slump..

        in the off season we move Kessel preferably Minnesota or Anaheim hearing top 4 DMAN Cam Fowler will be available at the deadline.

        imagine next year Letang/ Dumolin Schultz /Fowler that’s a terrific puck moving defense…

    • There is no way in hell Spider man could kick Superman’s ass.
      And Gainer the Gopher rules.

      • Ray

        I had no idea you were a Riders fan as well…. Riders are my second fav CFL team behind Argos !

      • Green is the color Pengy!

      • Amen brother! Rider Pride all the way.

    • LMFAO 😀

      I know I’m wrong, but Vanilla ice cream is better than chocolate and our funny Euro is worse than your dollar

  7. I have it on good standing that Edmonton and start Louis are aggressively seeking Yakupov

  8. Yakupov possibly in LA or Vancouver. People are saying how much better the oilers are drafting but show me the results then! Puljujarvi isn’t looking like a stellar choice at 3rd overall. Huge missed pick with Tkachuk,Keller,Nylander,Sergachev,McAvoy being passed over. Or 2016 trading 16 & 28th picks where we could have chosen any of Barzal,Connor,Chabot,Boeser,Beauvillier, Aho or Carlo. Bouchard the book is still out on so I’ll give a chance yet on him.

    • No argument there, Edmonton’s draft record is not good but the current prospects in the pipeline are pretty good and should help as early as next year.

  9. Edmonton has picked McDavid, Draisaitl, Hall, Nurse, Nugent Hopkins, among others so not that bad in retrospect.

    • McDavid doesn’t count! Everybody would have picked McDavid, even my grandmothers cat!
      Hall was the no. 1 pick in 2010. The only question was Hall or Seguin.
      Nugent-Hopkins was the no. 1 pick in 2011, Landeskog at no. 2, Scheifele at 7… today I’d prefer Scheifele over Nugent-Hopkins.
      2012 first overall Nail Yakupov…..Morgan Rielly, Hampus Lindholm, Matt Dumba, Jacob Trouba, Filip Forsberg, Vasilevsky, Shayne Gostisbehere, Matt Murray, Colton Parayko, Frederik Andersen, Josh Anderson, Andreas Athanasiou, Jaccob Slavin, Connor Hellebuyck, Alexander Kerfoot, Colin Miller, Connor Brown, Linus Ullmark, Vince “Vinnie” Hinostroza… today certainly easier not to pick Yakupov 🙂
      2013 Darnell Nurse at 7
      2014 Leon at 3
      2015 my grandmothers cat’s choice
      2016 Jesse Puljujärvi

      I don’t their first round draft picks are the problem (except Yakupov), it’s the picks in the later rounds. You don’t have to pick a Datsyuk or Zetterberg in the 6th or 7th round, but the much needed depth players

      • So you’re saying that Yakupov might not have been the best pick? LOL
        The depth players could be with Bakersfield this year: Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Benson, Cooper Marody.
        Time will tell.

      • May be there was a better player than Yakupov available… only may be 😉
        You’re just listing their first round picks (the lowest was Nurse at 7) and you think “so not that bad in retrospect”. If you watch TSN or Sportsnet you would probably made the same picks. Picking the obvious good prospects high in the first round doesn’t mean the Oilers scouting/drafting is good. Where are the depth players since they started their rebuild?

  10. Ok I’ll bite re Oilers move re Cap space

    As listed above …. buying him out by Oilers is not Cap prudent for the next 4 years and they need Cap space

    Option …. pay his SB on 1/7 ….. then he’s only owed $16M for 4 more years:

    1A) beg him to waive his NMC; trade him then at full cap to a team who won’t be at Cap ceiling for 4 years; but must sweeten pot with serious “top up” ….. very good prospect and maybe a pick….receiving team can then buy him out at $625K for 8 …… receiving team basically buying a good prospect and a pick for $625K * 8

    1B) after SB paid ; beg him to waive his NMC; trade retaining 50%…. the “top up” in the trade will be much less than that listed in 1A. Receiving team gets him for 4 years effectively at $2M per year and $3M in Cap; Oilers save $3M in Cap

    Tenuous at best

    Before that happens I seriously hope GMKD pays both WW & Marleau their SBs and moves them ; gaining a top 4 D (for WW) and not having to give up too much for a team to take Marleau’s Cap hit


    • Ooooops … didn’t list who I was talking about …. Lucic


      • LUCIC did well in LA so offer Lucic & Puljujarvi for Kovy. Kovalchuk can slot LW with RNH =) lol

  11. Mosienko’ s record will never be broken . By the way a north end Winnipeg boy.

    I prefer the GAG line era for the Rangers

    George was not around for the “ Silver Seven “ Stanley cup win