NHL Rumor Mill – March 27, 2019

by | Mar 27, 2019 | Rumors | 23 comments

Officially eliminated from the playoff race, the Florida Panthers could make some big offseason changes this summer. Get the details in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

THE SCORE: cited The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun’s recent interview with Panthers general manager Dale Tallon, who indicated his club will be aggressively attempting to build up their roster this summer. “It’s just a matter of adding the right pieces this summer. The great thing is our owner Vinnie Viola is committed to being a cap team. He wants to win. He wants us to do what we have to do. It’s a really good situation,” said Tallon. 

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance on Montreal’s TSN 690 yesterday, LeBrun said he expects the Florida Panthers will try to make a big splash in the offseason. LeBrun believes they’ll pursue Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and left-wing Artemi Panarin via free agency this summer. Failing that, they’ll attempt to make some trades. 

Does goaltender Roberto Luongo still have a future with the Florida Panthers? (Photo via NHL Images)

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters believe the Panthers must sort out their goaltending. Roberto Luongo has three years remaining on his contract and no intention of leaving the Panthers. They speculate the oft-sidelined Luongo could end up on long-term injury reserve next season. Backup James Reimer has two years left on his contract but he’s been a big disappointment this season. The Panthers might also consider making room for promising Sam Montembeault. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell believes the Panthers must focus on repairing a leaky blueline. He suggests they target Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. Campbell feels every indication suggests Trouba could depart the Jets perhaps as early as this summer and could be a prime trade candidate.

Campbell also doubts the Panthers have much chance of landing San Jose Sharks blueliner Erik Karlsson via free agency, especially with Mike Hoffman in the lineup. He doesn’t see much depth for blueliners in the free-agent market beyond Karlsson to address the Panthers’ defensive needs, listing Toronto’s Jake Gardiner, Vancouver’s Alexander Edler, and Winnipeg’s Tyler Myers as other possible options. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have a solid nucleus of young talent, led by forwards Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Vincent Trocheck, and blueliners Aaron Ekblad and Mike Matheson. They have no trouble scoring goals, sitting ninth this season in goals per game (3.19). It’s keeping the puck out of their net that’s the problem. Their 3.40 goals-against per game is the league’s third worst.

Cap Friendly indicates they have nearly $62 million invested in 16 players, giving them nearly $21 million to work with if the cap reaches the projected $83 million. They could get more if they place Luongo ($4.53 million) on LTIR or move Riemer and his $3.4 million salary-cap hit. 

Luongo said he hasn’t made a decision either way regarding his future but admits it’s a bit of a tough situation. He still loves to play but the 39-year-old admits he cannot handle a heavy workload anymore but he hopes to contribute in some way going forward.  

Bobrovsky is the only active multiple Vezina Trophy winner in the league. His struggles this season could be tied to his obvious unhappiness playing with the Blue Jackets and he could regain his form with a change of scenery. His poor playoff record, however, could be cause for concern. Given the lack of quality depth in this summer’s free-agent and goalie market, however, the Panthers might not have much choice but to pursue Bobrovsky.

I agree with Campbell’s take on the Panthers defense corps. If the Jets are willing to move Trouba this summer, Tallon should definitely pursue him. The Jets won’t give Trouba away but the Panthers’ salary-cap room and the depth in draft picks and prospects could give them an edge.


  1. For all the negativity surrounding the Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers over the past couple of seasons (and rightly so I should add), the Florida Panthers have largely escaped similar criticism, and yet, among other gaffes, they’ve tumbled from a 103 point season in 2015-16 while firing a very good coach in Gallant and letting proven point-producers get away for little or nothing.

    • I have wondered where Vegas would be without Florida’s generosity. Two top line players for a fourth round pick so as to protect Mark Pysk and a proven coaching staff to boot.

      • Hi Pleasant,

        VGKs benefited from many teams (side deals for picks/prospects paid to protect an up and coming “star” ; as well as “cast-offs” who turned out to be more than just “diamonds in the rough”). They did benefit big time from FLA; but others such as CLB also paid up heavy prices.

        Mistakes were made; lessons learned…. I don’t see Seattle getting anywhere near as many successful “diamonds in the rough” acquisitions and/or lucrative extra picks/prospects on side-deals.

        FLA also (as at now) IMO, truly benefited the Pens:

        Bjugstad and McCann for Sheahan (UFA) and Brassard (UFA, later traded for a ’20 3rd rounder), a 2nd and Two 4ths (all ’19)

        Bjugstad under contract for another two years at reasonable $4.1M; and McCann one more year (then still RFA btw!!!) and an unbelievable steal of $1.25M per…. for in effect a 2nd, 3rd and Two 4ths — great deal for Pens. Siince 4th rounders very rarely pan out to be anything w.r.t. actual NHL players…. the deal basically had Bjugstad and McCann for a 2nd and a 3rd…. deal! 🙂

      • Pengy… Seattle will get pretty much the same. Gms can’t help themselves. So many bad contracts out there. Will teams make deals as bad as Florida? Tough to do. But Seattle will put a competitive team on the ice and garner some decent futures.

      • Yeah that trade didn’t look like a winner at first but JMac and the boogie woogie Bjugstad boy from company B have been exactly what the doctor ordered along with Blueger they have absolutely injected some real life into the Pens dressing room the same way the WBS kids did in 2016. Heading into these playoffs there is not a team in the league(even Tampa) that this team can’t beat in a 7 game series. Obviously a whole lot of things have to go right for the eventual winner but other than Jackhole the black hole the Pens have no glaring holes in the lineup. As long as Murray plays like playoff Murray I’m really looking forward to this years playoffs.

      • Hi Chrisms

        I agree they will get the same parameters and will dress a competitive team… they automatically start with the opportunity to have 31 NHL players ….. but that said; I think the learning curve and existing GMs will prevent a great deal of those lucrative side deals that McPhee snagged.

        Good team… yep… a team going to SCF….. won’t happen again.

        I actually don’t think they will field a playoff team first year but will be close to the bubble right down to the wire in April of ‘22 and I think they could have a well balanced and quite competitive team by year 3…. all too far down the road and very speculative now…. that’s just my gut call on it

      • Hi Deee

        Yep yep yep

        Hope I don’t jinx it as they have not secured a playoff spot yet, but I also am looking forward to a Pens playoff push

        It will all come down to (1) how much true guts does Sully has (shun Rutherford’s scorn by sitting JJ) and (2) healthy roster

        I am extremely confident that Pens can get to ECF with a healthy roster and sitting JJ

        I will repeat again here… every D partner has a stats surge when NOT playing with JJ. He is ruining Shultz’s Performance. Team GF% when he is in the ice is sub 40% and almost 60% when he is OFF the ice. He, all by his lonesome JJ self, has cost 3 shutouts and 11 individual game points…. Pens would right now have 106 points; 2nd in East; playoff position secure and 8 full points ahead of Washington…. basically a lock on 2nd in the East….. Sully and Rutherford are aware of this…. they just seem afraid to eat crow and do what is best for the team….. can’t JJ borrow Hossa’s gloves for a game then go on LTIR?

        It’s truly painful to watch him

        Dumo and Shultz have great chemistry and results and Maata does play well with Letang with what seems to be no drop off in Letang,s play


        Letang Maata

        Shultz Dumo

        Gudbranson Petterson (aside from a couple of recent mental slips, they are playing quite well together

        7th (batter up) Riikola

        JJ and Ruhweedel can play Snap or “ Go Fish” in the press box

        Go Pens Go

    • George

      with you. The firing of Gallant, and more so , the way in which he was fired, was ludicrous and tragic all at the same time. Laughable, insane, tragic.

      I do believe FLA can right this ship easily this summer if they are successful in the UFA market. If they do acquire, lets say, both Russians from Clb and a UFA D…. that is a big difference.

      Re: Trouba or Meyers. I would go after Meyers (no assets given up) and use assets retained if trades need to be made.

      A retired Luongo (see my questions/statements below); trade out of Reimer for cheaper back up; and summer UFA acquisitions of teh two Russians and Myers… would leave them needing to sign (or re-sign [Hawryluk, Maglin, McCoshen, Weegar] ) 6 players with $6-$7M to do it with…. doable. Longshot for all of those to fall into place, but doable.

      Re: Luongo… he’ll be 40 next week… the Cap at $4.53M for next 3 years is tough… his pay will be $1.6M, then $1.0M in each of the last two years. Me thinks no way he plays at 41 and 42 and possibly he retires this year.

      Yes he’s often injurred but now with super reviews of these “terminal” LTIR players (e.g. Hossa) ; how will he (Luongo) pass the test (LTIR) at the beginning of the season ….. old and weary (which describes me as well —-LOL) is not a criteria for LTIR!

      Since he signed the contract before he was 35 I think FLA would be off the hook for any Cap if he retires (Lyle [or anybody?], is that the case????) that may be the best world for FLA.

      Also re: potential Luongo retirement; something in the back of this limited mind remembers some sort of re-capture clause for Van if he retires early….. Lyle/anybody—– is that the case? And if so— what is Van’s hit?

      Thanks in advance for that knowledge.


      • Because Luongo’s contract was signed before the CBA, his cap hit will revert back to the Canucks for its duration if he retires. The same thing applies to Shea Webber and the Preds.

      • Thanks Kevjam

        Greatly appreciated

        Then maybe Tallon needs to have a heart to heart with Luongo; convince him to retire; and then have Vinny buy Bobby Lou a $3.6M retirement gift…. LOL

  2. …and yet George…If I was Ottawa I’d look to see if Florida would send us Reimer and a sweetener. I think Luongo has a no-move.

    You think Methot and or Spezza would come back to Ottawa on smaller veteran leadership type deals? I loved them both when they were here. The second we shipped Jason away we lamented the lack of a strong center and power play person. If it wasn’t for Sean Simpson lighting torches and handing out pitchforks he probably would have stayed.

  3. With where they’re at now, including bringing along a very young D learning the job at the NHL level (people forget they’ve played 4 rookies on a regular basis at that position for much of the season), and with scoring coming from unexpected sources as their ice-time increased following the house-cleaning, I don’t think this is the time to bring in a just-tuned 35 y/o C whose production has fallen drastically over the past two seasons, and a soon-to-be 34 y/o D who, over the past two seasons, has missed 113 games due to injuries.

    As for goaltending, I believe they will they trade Anderson – ironically, maybe to Florida as it seems Luongo will go on the LT injury list, to play out his final contract year (Miami is also his home) – re-sign Nilsson, who has played reasonable well for them, and bring up Hogberg to pick up some of the slack next season. He’s having a very good year with Belleville with a 0.916 save % and gaa of 2.37 and looks ready at last to take that next step.

    They will also have Brannstrom up next season on the D along with F Batherson, Brown and perhaps even Nick Paul who seems to have finally found consistency in his game, with Formenton (London Knights), Norris (Michigan) and D Jacob Bernard-Docker (N. Dakota) also competing for jobs at training.

    All of which is to say, with all those picks accumulated, and a growing log-jam on D (Chabot, DeMelo, Ceci, Borowiecki, Wolanin, Harpur, Jaros, Brannstrom, Bernard-Docker) Dorion is in a good position to make draft-time deals or early summer trades to find a trade partner or two to bring in a mid-range D and a 3rd/4th line C capable of moving up when necessary, and with a few seasons each under their belts. He might even find someone of that ilk off the UFA heap from teams that simply don’t have the cap room to retain them.

    In other words, be patient and don’t make unnecessary moves involving aging players. Whoever they get as a coach will, by necessity, need to be a teacher with a high boiling/panic point, willing to live with the inevitable learning mistakes for one more season (as will the fans).

    • agree on re-signing Nilsson, he has been a pleasant surprise, and finding a new home for Anderson. Anderson moving on may mean eating some salary or taking back a bad short term contract.

      Sens should consider extending Chabot and Demelo this summer. The longer they wait on Chabot extension the more it will cost and DeMelo has been by far the best defensive d man on the team this year, offer him a 2 yr extension.
      I would look to move Ceci and bring in a vet dman to play with Branstrom ( not Methot ) .

      Chabot – DeMelo
      Brannstrom – vet dman
      Wolanin – Harpur or Jaros ?

      Boro will be on the outside looking in , very good leader and tough as nails but he is becoming a liability on the ice with giveaways and lack of foot speed.

      one of Boro, Harpur, Jaros could be moved. I also can’t see Lajoie back in Ottawa since he brings offence and they will be set Chabot, Brannstrom and Wolanin.

      Thinking Bernard Docker will get a year of seasoning in Belleville.

      • One coach they should consider is Jacques Martin – the Habs brought Julien back – no reason for Ottawa not to re-consider Martin who has proven he can bring structure to a young team.

      • I don’t see Martin leaving the Penguins. He has a great no pressure job with one of the premier franchises in the NHL with a boss that is a true hockey guy and legend. I will stick by my belief that the Sens need a new blood type of coach that is not obsessed with giving too many minutes to bad players just because they are veterans. The Sens need a guy that can evaluate guys with little to no experience and then put them in situations where not only do they thrive but they actually play. I don’t even think I could guess who that guy is but it’s someone that is on the right side of 45 and paid his dues as an actual player. The Oilers made a coaching change and he is absolutely the wrong guy for the job.

    • @George
      Would you like to see Todd McLellan become coach there? Think he is a fit for their young team to build? Once Housley is fired in Buff…make him an assistant?

      Stevie Y for President of Hockey operations?

      too big of a dream?

      • Stevie Y is too big a dream, but can’t hurt to ask. Pretty sure the Oil did.
        Why wouldn’t the Sens take a run at Myers as a UFA. Seems like just what they need to mentor a you D corp. Big boy who can step in and have their back once an d while when required.
        The guy is a good player who won’t break the bank. Not flashy or great offensively, but seems to be a good fit IMO.

      • Myers is the kind of guy I was thinking about Ray. And ihatecrosby, McLellan might be a good fit for that young team – not sure about Housely – there was an underlying reason why the Sabres went swiftly from contender (for the playoffs) to virtual doormats. And Deee, let’s not forget Jacques is from the area and still makes a home here. So, too, is Stevie Y, although I believe the Seattle job is his if he wants it.

  4. No question Florida treated Gerard Gallant shabbily but they unwittingly gave him the keys to the castle. Think Gerard’s happy in Vegas?
    And, after a Cinderella season last year, VGK are once again a team that others definitely do not want to meet in the playoffs.
    It will be hard for Florida to make worse decisions than they did prior to the expansion drafts but don’t underestimate their willingness to try.

  5. If Lu retires the Nucks pick up most of the cap hit.

    Panthers can make all the changes they want but it won’t matter unless they fire Boughner. He created a culture of mediocrity by applauding and excusing poor performances. He continuously awarded ice time to players playing poorly, like Matheson.

    While Matheson is one of the best skating dmen in this league, he’s been atrocious defensively. You cannot have a D corps of weaker defensive minded dmen. Yandle, Ekblad, and Matheson.

    Either Ekblad or Matheson must be traded this off season.

    Toughest task is goaltending. It is unlikely that Lu retires. Reimer will most likely be bought out unless he is sent in a package deal. While Bobrovsky is ideal he holds a buyer beware sign. You cannot undo a bad longterm contract goalie.

    If the Panthers want to give Montembeault a chance then expect them to trade for a goalie who has no more than 3 years left on his contract, or they’ll roll the dice on a lesser UFA goalie.

    Yet, as exciting as these changes may be I will reiterate that it wouldn’t matter unless the coaching staff is fired.

    Trouba will not be easily traded by the Jets, but they will most likely lose Myers and Chiarot while Buff continues to age. They lack an actual offensively capable dman. Matheson is locked long term at a reasonable cap hit and could interest them.

    I will also not rule out Tallon’s interest in either Keith or Seabrook. While both carry and used their NTC, being moved in the offseason is much easier for transition, especially if they have family. Hawks would need to retain a good portion of the contract. But this is what the Panthers could use, leadership and stability on the blueline.

    Yet again…none of this would matter if the coaching staff remains.

    Boughner makes a low $1M salary, but that’s what you get. Tallon has direct ties with Quenneville, who would cost four times that amount, but he would transform the team into a contender.

    If ownership is willing to pay up, it has to start from the bench.

    • several good points Mike. I have not seen Matheson play much this year, but in the previous 2 seasons he looked good and heard nothing but good things about his play. Then he gets rewarded with an 8 year extension in the off season and per your comments has taken the low road. Perhaps a coaching change is what he and others need. Quenneville , while expensive, would be an excellent add behind the bench and in the room.

  6. Trouba will want 8 million a season, he thinks he’s the next ray Bourque, pass in him. He’s. It a scoring defensemen, he’s just scoring 40 points playing on a loaded team. All his other seasons he was lucky to get 25 points. 8 million, wait, no I bet his agent asks for 10-11.

  7. Also no Byfuglien and Morrissey for extended periods . More ice time more opportunity