NHL Rumor Mill – March 28, 2019

by | Mar 28, 2019 | Rumors | 18 comments

Latest on the Kings plus updates on Anders Lee and Cam Talbot in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


SPORTSNET: Mark Spector believes the Los Angeles Kings should replace interim head coach Willie Desjardins with former San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers bench boss Todd McLellan. He said the word is McLellan is at the top of the Kings’ list of potential coaching candidates. 

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun said it’s his understanding McLellan is the clear front-runner to replace Desjardins. However, he could have other options on the table as there are half-a-dozen coaching positions presently up for discussion. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McLellan had a good tenure with the Sharks and did the best he could with what he had in Edmonton, guiding the Oilers to their first postseason in 11 years in 2017.  The Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators could also be interested in McLellan, as well as perhaps the Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild. 

Can the LA Kings find any takers for Dion Phaneuf this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

Spector also suggested the Kings try moving defenseman Dion Phaneuf but acknowledged that won’t be easy. Phaneuf is 33, struggling to adjust to the league’s faster pace and has two more years at $5.25-million per season remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see much of a market for Phaneuf. In addition to his remaining salary-cap hit and term, Cap Friendly indicates he still has a 12-team trade list. 

He also noted the Kings are stuck with aging winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who has an annual average value of $6.25 million for two more seasons. “Would they take Milan Lucic and a defensive prospect like Ethan Bear for Kovalchuk from Edmonton?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No, they won’t. I realize Mark (no relation) is just spit-balling but Kovalchuk has two years left on his contract while Lucic has four more ($6-million AAV) on his. Besides, Kovalchuk has a full no-movement clause and already indicated he’s not going anywhere. 


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports contract discussions between the New York Islanders and captain Anders Lee may be stalled over the term of a new deal. Lee wants to re-sign and Isles GM Lou Lamoriello wants to keep him. The Lee camp prefers a seven- or eight-year extension while Lamoriello prefers below that. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After losing one captain to free agency last summer in John Tavares, it wouldn’t look good for the Islanders to lose another this year. Lamoriello is likely reluctant to give a seven- or eight-year contract to a player who turns 29 on July 3. Perhaps a compromise can be reached on a five- or six-year deal? 


NBC SPORTS: John Boruk reports goaltender Cam Talbot has seen just 93 minutes of action with the Philadelphia Flyers after waiving his no-movement clause to accept a trade from the Edmonton Oilers. There’s been no movement toward a new contract for Talbot, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot got lost in the shuffle with Brian Elliott returning from injury in late-February. The Flyers have stuck with Elliott and rookie Carter Hart as they try to keep their fading playoff hopes alive. Still, Talbot probably fits into their long-term plans. Elliott and Michal Neuvirth are also slated to become UFAs this summer and aren’t expected to be re-signed. 


  1. I know it’s not part of the above subject matter, but I’m repeating a response to a few of yesterday’s comments which, after posting it early this morning in yesterday’s thread, I realized would be like reading yesterday’s newspaper 🙂

    Ray Bark – Myers is the kind of guy I was thinking about as a mid-range veteran D. And ihatecrosby, McLellan might well be a good fit for that young team – but clearly there’s competition. I guess it will boil down to which organization he sees as having the best prospects and most potential depth. 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. And a head coaching job pays more than an assistant. So, too, is Stevie Y from the area, although I believe the Seattle job is his if he wants it.

    • I definitely don’t see Yzerman wanting anything to do with Melnyk’s madness and isn’t Yzerman from Kelowna? You could be right about Martin but I just don’t see him wanting anything to do with Ottawa at his age when he’s been a valued member of one of the most successful and stable franchises of the last decade or so. Mrlnyk is going to be a huge deterrent to most of the really good candidates. That’s why I think it’s best to go with a guy that’s just coming up in the coaching ranks and is looking to prove himself, those are the guys that think outside the box and aren’t set in their ways. I guess we shall see how it all plays out.

      • Yzerman was born in Cranbrook, B.C. but grew up in Ottawa (I believe in Kanata), playing his pre-junior hockey there before playing his first year of junior in the CJHL with the Nepean Raiders before moving up to the OHL with Peterborough. And yeah, that Melnyk factor will act like a deterrent to a lot of people so maybe Jacques says thanks, but no thanks.

    • Ya, it does make sense George, unless they have to overpay too much to get him. RD are in big demand, especially a proven one like him. He will have suitors.

      • Ray, with the situation they’re in – and the Melnyk factor – they are going to not only have to over-pay a free agent, but they’re also going to need to bring in a hefty salary to make certain they get to the cap floor. They should be ok there even then, but it will help to not only ensure that, but also provide a stabilizing mentor to the kids. Especially if they deal Ceci (currently $4.3 mil and an RFA – again – with a history of dragging things out).

    • I believe Stevie Y is heading to Detroit. At least that’s the chatter I’ve seen since he stepped down as Tampa’s GM.

      Side note, why on earth would you choose ANY team over Tampa at this point? I don’t see this team slipping anytime soon.

      • Yeah, I agree with you. If Stevie Y is going anywhere other than staying with Tampa is Detroit. He maybe from Ottawa and/or Cranbrook, but his home is now in Detroit.

      • Ken Holland will step aside for Stevie Y and, as an Okanagan resident (hometown Vernon BC), will be keenly interested in the Seattle job, possibly Vancouver if it comes open.
        Or he may decide it’s time to retire.

      • I remember hearing that Stevie Y’s family stayed in Detroit through his entire time with Tampa, and that played a role in his stepping aside when he did. Seems Lume Detroit may be the only place he would jump back in. Or at least in the near future

    • Stevie Y makes the most sense and Melnyk should spend the $$ there to provide LONG TERM guidance. See TB for example before and after Stevie Y. Steveie Y can also hire is replacement and get him on the same page like he did in TB with Breisbois.

      Melnyk should give him full AUTONOMY like TB ‘s owner did. Or virtually full autonomy.

      @George…I suggest Housley as an assistant because of the good work he did in nashville. I think there personalities in BUFF are not committed to the program like the players are on NSH.

      I hope they don’t recycle older coaches who also have not updated with the times and style of play.

  2. Talbot will stay in Philly as a mentor and on the cheap. No where near his current deal.

    What about Luke Richardson in Ottawa or L.A.

    Posted it at couple of weeks back. Kovalchuk will enjoy the surf and turf and ride out the deal with the Kings . They would have to buy him out to get rid of him.

  3. Milan Lucic has a NWC, I believe there is a limited number of teams that he would waive that for. I know people say well he couldn’t get point playing with McDavid. True but McDavid isn’t the type of player Lucic should be playing with.
    Lucic best success came while playing with Krecji, one of Krecji best asset is slowing down the pace and controlling the play, this allow a player like Lucic to be in the play and not 200ft behind it.
    No one is going to take Lucic at $6M per with 4yrs left, Edmonton would first have to find a team that Lucic is willing to go to and that team willing to take on part of his contract plus what else Edmonton is willing to give up to rid themselves of Lucic contract.
    Would Lucic, (50 cents on the $), Puljujarvi for a second round pick from said team, get the deal done?

    • After the signing bonus is paid for next year Lucic is owed 16m over the next 4 years. 4m a year and a 6m cap hit. maybe this could work for a few teams trying to reach the floor. Problem being the NTC and if he would be willing to go.

  4. the only way he agrees to waive is if he’s told he’s going to be watching more hockey in Edmonton than he’ll be playing

    • As of right now Lucic is a 4th liner. Not just the speed, but the play dies with him. Taking a pass, making a pass, just handling the puck in general. It is difficult to play him in your top 9, as it hurts the team.
      If it gets worse they may be better off sending him to Bakersfield.

  5. What is his waiver rule ? Maybe someone will take him on the way up for nothing at 50% but that is going be next fall . If a team was going to do that anyway to add toughness because that is all Lucic brings. Why not demand a sweetener direct. Edm would take the sure thing . Puljularvi might make them flinch

    • EDM should do what they can to convince him to waive his NMC. IF he does…call OTT and trade for MacArthur’s LTIR contract and Gaborik’s LTIR contract.

      EDM pays their salary but gets cap space

      OTT gets a high cap hit keep above the floor and a 4th line body to stick up for their young guys.

      I personally think he would waive his NMC to go to OTT if EDM mgt tells him he will be a permanent fixture in the press box.

  6. Todd Maclellan shouldn’t coach any NHL team. Neither should Hitch.
    Dale Tallon should be fired. He’s clueless how to assemble a team.
    Dion Phaneuf will be a King, they’re stuck with him.
    Lucic will be an oiler. Anders Lee will be an Islander.
    Whoever the GM of Kings is, see Dale Tallon. I’d love to see Cats get into post season.