NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2019

by | Mar 30, 2019 | Rumors | 23 comments

Check out some possible offseason moves by the Ducks and why other clubs might not emulate the Blue Jackets recent trade-deadline moves in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters recently weighed in on what the future might hold for the Anaheim Ducks. Bringing in a new full-time head coach will likely be atop GM Bob Murray’s agenda, with farm-team bench boss and former Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins the likely candidate.

What will the Anaheim Ducks do with Ryan Kesler? (Photo via NHL Images)

Making room for youngsters such as Sam Steel, Max Jones, Daniel Sprong, and Max Comtois could also be an important factor. Determining the future of banged-up veteran center Ryan Kesler and his $6.875 million salary-cap hit through 2022 could also be on the agenda. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eakins has done a very good job with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego and is considered the favorite to take over as their new head coach next season. Granted, he had his difficulties during his tenure in Edmonton but appears to have learned from the experience. He’ll also have more to work with in Anaheim than he did with the Oilers.

Murray is giving his youngsters more playing time down the stretch to evaluate their potential for next season. I expect we’ll see a lot more of them next season. There was some trade speculation swirling around forward Adam Henrique leading up to the deadline but he signed a five-year contract extension last summer so I’m not sure Murray is keen to move him. If Murray is willing to listen to offers he’ll have a limited window to do so, as that contract also comes with a 10-team no-trade list that begins on July 1.

As for Kesler, his nagging hip injuries could spell the end of his playing career. He could end up on long-term injury reserve to start the season, providing the Ducks with some cap relief if necessary. 


THE HOCKEY NEWS: A month following the 2019 NHL trade deadline, Jared Clinton observed the Columbus Blue Jackets are still struggling to secure a playoff berth despite their bold moves leading up to the deadline. With left winger Artemi Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky expected to depart this summer via free agency, Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen decided to go all-in on a playoff run by acquiring forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel from the Ottawa Senators and defenseman Adam McQuaid from the New York Rangers.

If successful, Kekalainen’s strategy could be used as a blueprint for other teams in the future whereby teams keep their pending UFAs and attempt to build up around them at the deadline. But if the Jackets miss the playoffs or get bounced from the opening round, Clinton believes we can kiss that template goodbye. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a trade rumor but Kekalainen’s moves could have potential ramifications upon future NHL trade deadlines. As Clinton suggests, it could turn the trade deadline into a bigger free-for-all than ever before, as GMs on playoff contenders with notable UFAs decide to gamble rather than play it safe. But if Kekalainen’s gambit fails, his peers will likely remain cautious near the deadline.

So far, it’s not looking good. The Jackets barely cling to the final Eastern Conference playoff berth. Should they squeak in, their first-round opponent would be the powerful Tampa Bay Lightning, who swept their season series with three lopsided victories of 8-2, 4-0 and 5-1. While upsets can happen I don’t believe the Jackets can defeat the Bolts in a playoff series.

Kekalainen gave up a lot to make those trades. If the Jackets fail to reach the playoffs or make another first-round exit and Duchene, Dzingel and McQuaid join Panarin and Bobrovsky in departing via free agency it will serve as an example of why it’s a mistake to gamble too much of your future on short-term deals. 



  1. I was against Jarmo’s moves when he made them. I contend that, regardless of whether the Jackets make the playoffs or what happens if they do, unless at least one of Duchene and Dzingel sign a contract, those trades are a failure.

  2. I believe the Clb gamble all in move this year will fail…. best case scenario… out in 6 …. 3 home dates for the all in move

    Worst case…. they finish 1 point out of the playoffs…

    (1)so no playoff gates….and

    (2) Ottw gets 15th pick and gets a player that pushes for a roster spot next year and becomes a star 2 years from now (George , I’m pulling for you 😊); and

    (3) Clb’s 3rd round pick signs in the KHL and stays; and

    (4) all Jackets’ UFA’s sign elsewhere

    That would end up being a cataclysmic “ All-in ALL-in” move and would certainly deter repetition from other GMs down the road

    Off to do my Sat shopping so will be out of the loop for a few hours


    • It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Duchene sign back in Ottawa. He said he liked it here (after the trade) and that the money offered was fine – but that he felt he’d like one shot at a cup and that he clearly wasn’t going to get it this year in Ottawa.

      Having said that – do I WANT him back? Not really, It seems everywhere he goes the team falters (including Colorado) so you have to start wondering, is that just coincidence or is there something else we don’t see.

    • Now all they need to do is throw the bank at Stevie Y to become their President of Hockey Operations and build a proper culture there, as he did in TB. =)

      Then hire McLellan as their head coach.

  3. Columbus is likely to make the playoffs based simply on Montreal’s final four games, starting in Winnipeg tonight, with TB, @ Washington, and Toronto to wrap up the week.
    Most likely scenario, a first round series with Tampa Bay and an early exit.
    When seen in this light, the gamble made by Blue Jackets management at the deadline seems like a firing offence.
    I feel badly for Columbus fans who had every right to expect a gangbuster finish and a long playoff run.
    Instead, they may face a house cleaning of the management and coaching staff and a complete overhaul of the roster. Good times.

  4. Can’t decide whether I want Kesler to retire. On the one hand he is an obnoxious cheap skate artist hated by most of the league who will only drop the gloves with smaller opponents (hello Max Domi).

    On the other hand he has never been on a winning team in his professional career: No Cup, No Olympic Gold, No World Championship. If he keeps playing he cements his reputation as “Can’t Win With Kesler.”

  5. You maybe able to trade for talent but chemistry is what solidifies a team. You need to add the right people. The successful teams are the teams that add players that work well in their system. Not always the most talented player.

    • Agree Larry M – see my comment on Duchene above!

  6. If Columbus ends up playing Tampa first round I could see an upset. All the expectations of winning would be on Tampa and Columbus would be free wheeling. Columbus has the pieces just need the chemistry and a few bounces it won’t be a walk in the park for Tampa.

    • Agree Obe, Clb will be a tough out. IMO Bob is the key. He has 2 shutouts in last 3, if he heats up they have a chance.
      That might be just me hoping for my Bruins, but with a hot tender you always have a chance.

  7. What else could have Kekalainen have done.? I liked it as a strategy. Dzingel will sign for sure. He went to Ohio State . Hayes or someone else would have been better than Duchene . McQuaid ok . Panarin and What about Bob (a funny movie) are not all in and their chemistry is buggered.

    • SilverSeven, fair point about the bind that Columbus faced and I’m sure Kekalainen explored trading Panarin and Bobrovsky at the deadline. As others mentioned above, the Blue Jackets’ season depends on Goalie Bob. That is problematic but stranger things have happened in the playoffs.

  8. A roster with Folingo, Jenner, Panarin, Atkinson, Dubois, Dzingle, Duchene and Anderson up front and with Jones, Werenski, Murray and Savard on the backend shouldn’t be fighting for a playoff spot but they are.
    If Columbus gets in and finishes last they’ll be in tough against TB but it won’t be a cake walk for Tamp. If Columbus gets the first wildcard spot, then I can see them playing in the conference finals again against Tampa just a couple rounds later.

    • It raises the question of whether the players are starting to tune out Tortorella, who tends to grate on his players nerves after a while.

      • If these pro players need a coach to get up for a game and give an effort they are losers. You have guys who never scored a playoff goal asking for 8-10 million, they better be giving an effort no matter who the coach is or if the coach hurt their little feelings.

  9. I been reading lots of comments about who Ottawa should go after for a GM and coach. Personally I hope it isn’t Todd Mclellan or an established NHL recycle guy for a coach.
    But here is my question if Melnyk isn’t willing to pay the big money to his players will he be willing to pay bug money to an established coach and or GM?
    I’m going to say he’ll hire a relatively new coach and GM

    • Actually, they are not going after a new GM – Dorion keeps his job – what they want is a president of hockey operations – in other words, something like Shanahan in TO

      And as much I dislike Melnyk for a variety of reasons, where do you get the idea that he isn’t willing to pay big money to his players? He didn’t blink when Dorion offered $11 mil to Karlsson, upwards of $12 mil to Stone, $8 mil + to Duchene, over $7 mil to Ryan. And if you go back over the past 8 or 9 seasons – at least those where they were in contention – you’ll see that they were always middle road when it came to the cap. Starting with Murray, they were one of those teams who avoided spending right up TO the cap limit, preferring to leave “wiggle room” of anywhere up to $6/7 mil to provide for acquisitions at the trade deadline.

      THAT isn’t his big fault. It’s not knowing when to shut the &%$# up.

      • George O, you are correct. Please ignore my comment it wasn’t well thought out. I think someone else used my handle and made that statement.

  10. George….

    Sometimes I have the feeling that Melynk makes offers he believes won’t be accepted….or he floats rumors of offers never made…

    I have written before I think Dorian is underappreciated/undervalued and has himself firmly located between a rock and a hard place….

    Considering all that has been happening in Ottawa , I think they will be in a good place 2 years from now

    • In spite of Melnyk! As for the salaries offered, Both Stine and Duchene acknowledged those offers – but both had similar reasons to turn them down – a shot in the near future at a cup. And while Karlsson did not acknowledge what the offer was, I think he was gone irregardless as Melnyk made no bones about his dissatisfaction with the way Karlsson opened his yap to the media two Decembers ago when, with the team still in contention at that time and he as captain, allowed that HE was not going to sign any “hometown discount” and would want top dollar commensurate with his status – while he was still over a year and a half away from free agency! Instead of saying – as he’s doing now in SJ – that he doesn’t discuss contracts before they are due to to be signed. That sent the wrong message, not only to his teammates, but to Melnyk as well, who didn’t get to be a billionaire by being stupid.

      Do I like what’s he’s been saying? No. But whether I – or any other hockey fan – like it or not is immaterial. He’s the owner. But I will say this – I liked Karlsson’s approach even less. We’ll soon find out who’s willing to fork over upwards of $12 mil long term.

  11. as a true blue oil fan if Anaheim hires eakins and its the same eakins of old their fans are in for a rough ride granted he didn’t have much to work with those that followed did much better with essentially the same team

  12. Pengy….if I’m GM Rutherford I’m going hard after Ducks d.an Cam Fowler….i start with Phil kessel dominik Simon and a 2nd round pick.. You add Fowler to Letang Schultz snd Dumolin….then you can mix and match pettersson grudbrason (who has been good in Pittsburgh) Johnson..move Matta preferably Johnson they won’t do that..they should!

  13. Kesler won’t retire he will be like lol the other washed forwards that are mid 30s with no tree clauses. The guy still has game left, I mean he has 3 assists in 60 games that’s pretty good. I find it just completely crazy that all these GMs will take the risk and sign old forwards to long term deals with NTCs but they won’t sign a 22 year old superstar to an offer sheet. The Oilers signed Vanek to a huge offer sheet and my Sabres talked big but nothing happened no revenge…GMs get fired all the time no GMs will care after a few years who signed a guy to huge offer…Lowe was out as GM of Oilers and Sabres got rid of Darcy so nothing ever happened…if I’m Buffalo I’d sign Marner or Point to 13 million, who cares if they match offer you just blew their cap, this is about winning not making friends. That dork in Toronto won’t be GM for long. The new GM won’t care what Botterill who is fired soon did.