NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2019

by | Mar 3, 2019 | Rumors | 19 comments

The Florida Panthers could be major players in this summer’s trade and free-agent market. Here’s a look at who they could target, plus some possible off-season options for the Vancouver Canucks, in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien praised the Florida Panthers for not dealing away notable wingers such as Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Hoffman at the trade deadline. He noted Panthers general manager Dale Tallon intends to “go big” in this summer’s free-agent market, pointing out he has plenty of draft picks now and lots of salary-cap room.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky could be a prime free-agent target for the Florida Panthers (Photo via NHL Images)

With over $61 million invested in 14 players, O’Brien observes the Panthers have sufficient room to target Columbus Blue Jackets’ pending free agents Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. Both were linked to the Panthers in trade speculation before the deadline.

Still, it will require some tweaking, leading O’Brien to wonder if Tallon could tempt the Ottawa Senators to take goaltender James Reimer off their hands by packaging him with a couple of those draft picks. If the Panthers fail to sign Bobrovsky, O’Brien wonders if Tallon could use those picks in an effort to pry Corey Crawford away from the Chicago Blackhawks. 

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In his post-trade deadline mailbag, George Richards was asked who the Panthers might target this summer if they fail to land Panarin or Bobrovsky. Given their depth of scoring forwards, he feels they could stand pat at that position but considers goaltending a pressing issue. If Bobrovsky’s unavailable, Richards speculates they could shift their focus toward Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov, claiming some in the Panthers’ front office are pushing for him. He still considers Panarin and Bobrovsky as their main targets.

As for the Mike Hoffman rumors leading up to the trade deadline, Richards said there was interest but no serious buyers. His future with the Panthers could depend upon what he wants to do moving forward, as he has one year remaining on his contract. It could also depend upon how much room they have next season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Tallon will be among this summer’s busiest general managers in the free-agent and trade markets. There’s considerable disappointment over the Panthers’ inability to stage a breakthrough performance this season. With young stars like Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau emerging as elite players, Tallon and company don’t want to risk wasting their prime playing years. Landing Panarin and/or Bobrovsky could be just what they need to get over the hump and become a serious playoff contender.

Of their needs, goaltending is the biggest. They’re having no trouble scoring (currently sitting 10th among NHL clubs in that category) but they have the third-highest goals-against per game (3.36). If they can’t land Bobrovsky they’ll likely turn toward Varlamov, though his injury history and inconsistency makes him a big gamble. They could also look at Jimmy Howard if he doesn’t re-sign with the Detroit Red Wings or Robin Lehner if he fails to re-sign with the New York Islanders, but I doubt either guy will be available come July 1.

If free agency proves a bust, Tallon could go shopping for a trade. I doubt he’ll be able to land Crawford. The St. Louis Blues might be willing to part with Jake Allen, who might benefit from a change of scenery. If the Los Angeles Kings are looking to shed salary and feel confident in younger goalies Jack Campbell and Cal Petersen, maybe veteran starter Jonathan Quick could be a trade option. 


VANCOUVER SUN: With the playoffs now a long shot for the Canucks, Patrick Johnston believes GM Jim Benning should use the remainder of the season to focus on addressing the club’s shortcomings this summer. He expects Benning will chase after San Jose’s Erik Karlsson or Winnipeg’s Tyler Myers via free agency, or perhaps swing a trade or two, to bolster the defense. Johnston also noted Toronto’s Jake Gardiner will be without a contract this summer and speculates he could be available in a trade, though they don’t have many prospects to spare as trade chips. He also feels they have to bring in a top-line winger. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning is another GM I expect will be busy shopping around for experienced help this summer. With over $49 million tied up in 13 players, the Canucks have plenty of cap space to re-sign key free agents like Brock Boeser, Alexander Edler, and Ben Hutton and still bring in a quality player or two.

Benning, of course, must avoid a repeat of the disastrous Loui Eriksson signing. I doubt he’ll land Karlsson, though that would be quite a coup if he could pull that off. Myers is a possibility and so is Gardiner. If Benning were to deal for their rights before July 1, it would probably only cost him a conditional third- or fourth-round pick. Possible trade options on defense could include Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin, Ottawa’s Cody Ceci or Dallas’ Julius Honka.

As for forwards, Winnipeg’s Kevin Hayes, Boston’s Marcus Johansson, San Jose’s Gustav Nyquist, New York Islanders Anders Lee, and Nashville’s Wayne Simmonds are possible UFA options. The Canucks were also linked to Washington’s Andre Burakovsky in trade rumors earlier this season. 


  1. Simmonds is in Nashville.

    • Fixed.

  2. Good morning

    Congratulations to #12 on the Jersey to the rafters

    Amazing hockey player …broke the mould when they made him …gives me chills to watch what Hockey used to be when they showed his highlights !

    Class act by the Flames …and amazing voice over by Lanny McDonald in the highlight real timeless

    …WELL DONE !!!

    That was not only an end to Iggys tenure but an end to the toughest era in hockey when it was a mans game !

    Outside of the stupidness of head shots and staged fights …I really miss that brand of professional Hockey…sacrifice… for a team and a will to win !

    Will never be the same gone for ever !
    Wish the Leafs had ONE player like that to turn a game or series in your favour when you needed it!

    Congrats Iggy and to all Flames fans you were lucky to watch a player like that play in your barn !

    P.S >
    To all those Crosby haters …hes still the BEST PLAYER IN THE GAME…. SORRY! LOL 🙂

    No one from the past 15 years took the abuse he did when he was 18 – 19 ..ETC …NO ONE!


    • Kal El I see Don Cherry was listening to you. he said last night that Toronto should’ve went after Adam McQuaid.

      JT after Toronto gave him a warm ovation last night he states “this is why it’s so special to play here.” Seem like it’s not only the Islander fans who need to move on.

      Someone forgot to tell Minny they’re not suppose to be winning hockey games. They were suppose to lose the Coyle trade this season, but Donato with 2g 5a in 5 games not to shabby.

    • Karl E…agree 100% Crosby is still the overall player in the game..even McDavid says 87 is the best..no slight to kucherov and company all amazing players a d one day…will sid just comes up big so clutch faceoffs, goals, points. Solid defense..he has evolved. Class act #12 iginla so good so strong so consistent so tough..wow big win again in Montreal 5-1 no letang no dumolin ha ging tough..dumo skating letang getting better.

  3. Canucks should just say “Oh HELL!” no to all of those options.

    Just stay the course, keep drafting/developing well.

    In 2 weeks, they get to add a good young kid on D. Along with another very good talented pick in June.

    Canucks started the season off strong until injuries killed it off, which was very unfortunate.

    Patrick Johnson writes about avoiding another Eriksson type signing then proceeds to name drop Myers and Simmonds.
    Another “no thanks”.

    Just stay the course

    • perhaps they can trade the rights to Edler for a conditional pick too.

      I cannot see a team that will want Eriksson but does Tanev, Spooner or Sutter have value that can garner some form of picks for VAN?

      I think clearing Sutter and his 2 yrs remaining would help but would he waive his NTC?

    • Easier said than done in Vancouver, Tyler.

      • What is easier said than done? Staying the course and drafting/developing well?

  4. Panthers biggest problem is their defense is porous, which exposes the mediocre goalkeeping. Eckblad hasn’t taken the next step, no real defensive defensemen. Gave away Gudbranson for nothing, hard to advance when striking out on #3 overall pick. Bobrovsky will be a big help.

    • IF they do not land Bobrovsky, would a strongg pitch fro Quick make sense?

      Hoffman & plus to LA for Quick??

      • I hate crosby…i think Hoffman would do it for quick.one for one…wonder where bobrosky will go????

      • Well if Talbot flubs the rest of the season, I would assume there in PHILLY because they desperately need something back there. They have some aging veterans on extensive and expensive contracts and they would be ill afford to lay the heavy load on Hart.

        The other options I can see is potentially Arizona because of the amount of injuries they get on the back end and a cup contender in San Jose, if Jones has a really poor playoffs (if they do not escape the 1st rd).

        Tallon will definitely make the effort to get both Panarin and BOB.

        to Tallon,
        If you would like to clear cap space, here in Manhattan, we will gladly trade you Vesey and a pick for Hoffman.
        sincerely, all of Manhattan

      • Bobrovsky is really taking a Bryzgalov-esque nose dive this year. I bet he re-signs in Columbus at half of what he would have got if he was a free agent last summer.

    • You are exactly right, Bartman. The Cats defense is terrible and is really the issue here.

      Matheson is a turnover machine getting #1 minutes and Yandle is only a PP specialist. Eckblad played like a 22 year old in his rookie season and still plays like a 22 year old six years later; solid #3-4. The rest of the guys are 5-6 type d-men. It is painful watching these guys try to get the puck out of their zone when they have a one goal lead in the third. If they had won half the games where they went into the third with a lead, they probably would be in a playoff spot.

      I would like to see them look into a guy like Trouba if Winnepeg decides to move him. Might not be a #1 but he is better by far than anything this team has.

      ihatecrosby, no, Quick is not the answer here. I think they should look at Lehner even before Bobrovsky, if available. The Bob looks to have moved into the Bryzgalov level of flakiness/ineffectiveness. Although not over yet, Columbus looks to be collapsing despite all the moves they made at the deadline and the Bob is not stopping anything.

  5. Matt Murray to Fla. in a heartbeat … the guys is like yo yo game to game, even if he won 2 cups,, don’t forget MAF also was a part of the wins…

    I’d go after J Quick – Kings

    • MAF played one game in the playoffs in 2016 and lost badly. He was more of a factor in 2017 but would have done his patented choke job way before they made it to the finals. Murray’s biggest issue right now is he is a big game performer and hasn’t learned how to dial in mentally for below average teams. He’s still young enough that he will figure it out. I wouldn’t trade him for just about any other goalie.

  6. Let’s see if Bob can win single playoff series….I would take Quick over even though it cost me assets

  7. I hate Crosby..i think your spot on maybe Arizona an up and coming team…philly has that 20 year old hart..who i think will b the man..i like arizona maybe Minnesota..