NHL Rumor Mill – March 7, 2019

by | Mar 7, 2019 | Rumors | 68 comments

Should the Flyers target Artemi Panarin this summer? Were they close to trading Shayne Gostisbehere? What are Mats Zuccarello’s free-agent plans? Get the details, plus a look at how the NHL plans to block expansion draft circumvention, in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


NBC SPORTS: John Boruk believes Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin may be atop Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher’s free-agent wish list. Fletcher said his club will have lots of salary-cap space this summer even after re-signing some key players. Boruk feels the Flyers have been lacking a true scoring forward since Simon Gagne’s heyday, suggesting Fletcher should offer up a second- or third-round draft pick to the Blue Jackets in June for Panarin’s exclusive negotiating rights. He acknowledged it could cost around $10 million per season to sign him. 

Could the Philadelphia Flyers target Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin via free agency? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Flyers have over $46.8 million invested in 13 players for 2019-20, with Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Cam Talbot, Brian Elliott, and Michael Raffl as their noteworthy free agents. Assuming they’re all re-signed, they should still have plenty of cap space to make a big splash in this summer’s UFA market. Goaltending has long been their Achilles’ Heel, but rookie Carter Hart shows promise and they’ll likely keep Talbot or Elliott as his backup for next season.

The Flyers are sitting 12th in goals-for per game this season (3.01) and those stats might have been higher had James van Riemsdyk not been sidelined earlier in the season and now-departed Wayne Simmonds hadn’t struggled following off-season pelvic surgery. It wouldn’t hurt to have another scorer in the mix to help take some of the load off Claude Giroux, Jakob Voracek, and Sean Couturier. 


Boruk’s colleague Jordan Hall noted  Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere popped up in trade rumors leading up to the recent trade deadline. He was puzzled over why anyone would assume the Flyers would shop Gostisbehere  “He’s 25 years old, he’s elusive, he’s dexterous and he gets the puck out of the defensive zone and up the ice. Oh, and he’s under contract through 2022-23 on a cost-effective deal. Sounds pretty good.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The very traits Hall noted about “Ghost Bear” explains why he surfaced in the rumor mill. Fletcher also said he was willing to consider all his options after taking over as Flyers GM, which may have spurred a rival or two to see if he was willing to move Gostisbehere. Anything’s possible and I wonder if Fletcher might be tempted if someone offered up a scoring forward. If not, I think Gostisbehere stays put. 


NHL.COM: In a recent interview with Mike Heika, Dallas Stars winger Mats Zuccarello played coy over his plans for this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. While currently sidelined by a broken arm, Zuccarello said he’s enjoying his tenure thus far with his new club and looks forward to returning to action later in the month, He adds he hasn’t given much thought about free agency, saying he intends to let things play out before reaching a decision on re-signing or testing the market. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: How well Zuccarello performs upon his return to the Stars and if he can help them reach the playoffs could have an effect upon whether or not he stays beyond this season. 


THE SCORE:  Eric Patterson cited NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly telling The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun the league will take steps to ensure teams won’t attempt the use the Vegas Golden Knights as a means of circumventing the Seattle expansion draft. The Golden Knights won’t be participating in that draft, raising concerns some teams could make deals with them to get around the protected-player list. Daly said the league must approve all transactions and teams won’t be allowed to park players on Vegas. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, a team can’t send a player to the Golden Knights to avoid losing him in the expansion draft and then re-acquire him when the draft is over, or ship that player to Vegas for some kind of return rather than losing him to the draft for nothing. It doesn’t appear the league intends to implement a trade freeze but they will likely pay closer attention to deals involving the Golden Knights leading up to the draft. 


  1. Maybe Bryce Harper could add “Bread” man to his tweet list…


      I would not trade ANYTHING for negotiating rights ..
      Panarin all ready has at least 1 or 2 teams that he knows he wants to sign with …this snot out of left field or an off the cuff decision on his part …HE ALL READY KNOWS what he wants to do …he will get the bank thrown at him from multiple teams ..but he will go where HE WANTS TO !
      I don’t think Philly is on his radar… IMO


      What does the signing of Stone mean for William Karlsson…who took a 1 year bridge deal off a 40 plus goals season…( STUPID ) !!!!
      This guy just got the shaft …took a risk to stay in Vegas and lost …IMO ….Unless Vegas can unload a Rielly Smith or the likes there of …$$$$ ..they will be hard pressed to sign him to what he will be asking long term !

      Is he going to be a quality trade piece instead and try and recoup a piece or 2 that they forked over to get Stone ?….Vegas might be in cap hell…
      Something has to give !

      • Kal El

        I fully concur wrt giving up anything just to get the added week or two in negotiation rights for Panarin

        There is that small window (a few days) of time just before Jul 1st that all teams can have discussions with UFAs

        He won’t, IMO , sign pre 1/7…, it’s in his best interest to (1) hear out all offers and more importantly (2) have a hands on up close look at the (small list of) cities (been reported many times that he prefers a larger city with a substantial Russian community) that he apparently has prob narrowed it down to

        With the parameters of space ; need ; city dynamics/size …. the list can’t be that big:

        Guessing at his focus:

        (A) the three NYC hub based teams

        (B) the 2 LA Metro based teams

        (C) Philly

        (D) Florida

        He’ll sign where he signs …. complete waste (unless you are talking late round picks 2-3 years from now) …. so don’t throw picks away in this

        Re Vegas

        I think it (Stone signing) might crimp slightly what Karlsson gets but not a great deal.

        He (Karlsson) should have negotiated for a longer deal and instead signed a one year “show me” contract

        He’s nowhere near the pace he was on last year (43G , 78P)…. this year outside chance he gets to 25 G , 55 P

        So …. his contract was going to be less than he had hoped for no matter if Stone was signed or not

        I believe they’ll keep Karlsson … it will be tight but they will get in under the cap…, might have to move Eakin…. the top 6 F and top 4D and Flower are staying

        Clarkson contract has to be moved (but they have many picks to use as an incentive)


  2. Although not covered in today’s topics, I noticed in the Ottawa Sun this morning that our very own Larry Brooks, aka Don Brennan, is suggesting that Bob Hartley (currently a head coach in the KHL) would be a good choice to take over the reins in Ottawa. While I’m ambivalent on that suggestion, one thing I hope they avoid like the plague is elevating yet another AHL coach. They’ve been down that road at least 5 times with the likes of John Paddock, Craig Hartsburg, Cory Clouston, Paul MacLean and Dave Cameron and, not only was each one a dismal failure, not one of them ever went on to become a head coach again in the NHL.

    • It could be worse George, they could dip into the college coach pool.

      As successful as that has been in the past! I’d rather reach for an Ahl coach.

      • There have been some doozies for sure. Rah-Rah Ned Harkness in Detroit jumps to mind.

      • David Quinn has done a great job with the Rangers this year, according to many reports.

      • Bcleaf,

        I went in with an open mind with Quinn. But I said before he coached 1 nhl game he won’t be in NY by the end of that contract.

        I have to say, not really a fan.

    • Ottawa needs a rookie coach that will play his young talent and not insist of trotting out bad players because they are vets. That is what cost Boucher his job because he was playing guys like Pyatt, Zack Smith and Boedker instead of the young guns. When you are a bottom feeder and. It expected to do anything

      • *not expected to do anything you should see what you have in your kids.

      • I suppose human nature creeps in somewhere as one of the first things to enter the mind of a coach is to protect his ass by “not taking chances.” It seldom works out in the long run, but they do it anyway.

      • Deee

        Concur. Rookie and I would add, better if they were relatively young.

        A mid to late 30’s coach, with a fresh set of eyes, eagerness to grow/develop players, patience , compassion and ability to connect.

        There are definitely not that many that fit that resume; but it would be great to see.

        Fingers crossed

      • Dee & Pengy……Huge win 3-0 Penguins win at home over Columbus……the game got chirpy and chippy….

        They are at Columbus Saturday and home versus the surging Bruins Sunday..in sole possession of third place in the metropolitan for now…Canadians were losing 3-1 at san Jose and Carolina is hosting a pissed off jets team tomorrow go jets….
        Glad to see Phil break that 16 game goalless streak….he is too good for that too last

        This off season…
        Can’t help but hope the Penguins go after Jason Zucker he had a hat trick tonight up to 20 goals and move Kessel who also scored tonight up to 22..

        The Three players I would trade Kessel for this off season

        – Jason Zucker 20 goals younger cheaper
        -Victor Radulov 20 goals same age a little less money but a big game performer….and a strong tough solid player…

        – Josh Manson- big solid mobile tough Anaheim defenseman

    • George, many, many top coaches started in the AHL – Claude Julien, John Tortorella, Alain Vigneault, Jon Cooper, some guy in Toronto, Bruce Boudreau, Barry Trotz, and on and on.
      The AHL develops players and coaches; some of them become NHL fixtures, some don’t.
      The secret is to find that right guy for the group. He could be coaching in Belleville right now.

      • Oh, I’m not disputing that BCLeafFan. Just that Ottawa never seems to get it right. 11 coaching changes since 2000 says someone keeps getting it wrong.

    • @ Geroge O

      Those coaches mentioned …are all obsolete now …the game has changed and most of those systems are older and not as effective ..even Ken Hitchcock is having a hard time with 2 of the most prolific scorers in the game …if you don’t have the depth on a team it doesn’t matter who is the coach anyways !

      I think they should go a players coach ..someone who has played en excelled at the game and coaching, …someone who is relatable and can bring the kids along and grow and be a source for the young kids to interact with someone who has been there done that type of scenario and is relatable and respected !

      They really need to concentrate on key issues such as TEAM and RESPECT for one another and not to be individuals and that would be the fear of growing a young team in a loosey goosey organization….that has issues.

      My 2 cents anyways …meah.. 🙂

      • I wouldn’t be using Edmonton as an example, everyone appears to have a problem there.

      • @ Caper….

        I would say that Ott and Edmonton are very similiar in its dissfunction on growing players and coaching along with ownership issues …its very close comparison !

      • I think Hitchcock has done a very good job in Edmonton. When he first got here the Oil went on a run. Their top D-man, Klefbom went down and so did their fortunes. Now both he and Sekera are back and the Oil goals against has gone down again, and they are in every game they play save one against the Leafs, and are winning. They are no longer stuck in their own zone defending longer than they need to be.

        He doesn’t show preference to young guys or old guys. Don’t cheat offensively, play hard make the right decisions and you get ice time.
        Basically earn your ice time, not a novel theory but a proven one. The way it has to be IMO.

      • Go further …. Martin St. Louis signed on with Columbus as a consultant. Take a chance…short circuit the track of someone who is likely to be a good coach and would help box office. He has absorbed the lessons of several solid organizations and head coaches of vastly different styles.

      • Kal El, no they are not comparables. Ottawa has been much more stable in coaches and GM and has not had the luxury of all them high end draft picks.

      • Not too ago on the Bob McCown show he asked Brian Burke which of Edmonton and Ottawa does he see winning a cup first and without a pause he said Ottawa. Now I’m not saying Burke’s word should be etched in stone or anything, but regardless of his warts and sometimes bluster, he has been around the game a long time.

    • No reason not to move forward with Marc Crawford. He is being paid as an ‘associate coach’ not assistant coach, I doubt melnyk spends on a head coach and continues paying Crawford.
      College coach may not be the worst option, Ottawa has to be the youngest roster in the nhl?

      • I don’t know if they’re the youngest as we speak, but when training camp opens late next summer they probably will be by a country mile after discarding UFAs Oscar Lindberg (28), Brian Gibbons (31), Magnus Paajarvi (28) and trading Cody Ceci (25) and Craig Anderson (38). They’ll retain RFAs Duclair (23), Colin White (22) and Christian Wolanen (23), along with UFA Anders Nilsson (29) who will share the G duties with Filip Gustavsson (21).

        Each of Drake Batherson (21), Alex Formenton (20), Logan Brown (21), Erik Brannstrom (20), Rudolfs Balcers (22) and maybe even D prospect Jacob Bernard-Dokker (N. Dakota – 19 y/o) all have legitimate shots at making the roster.

        Lots of rookie mistakes so, yes, any new coach will need to have patience of Job as they all go through on-the-job learning. This is how some Major Junior teams become power-houses – e.g. the Ottawa 67s who went really young a couple of years back and now, with some veteran additions through trades, have become a force in the OHL.

        Not saying this formula will work in the NHL – but we’re about to find out.

  3. I don’t think it’s right that LV gets a pass on the expansion draft. they aren’t brand new, obviously have had success so why do they get a free ride?

    • Probably part of the original agreement when they coughed up all that money to enter the league, i.e., we will be exempt from any expansion draft within “x” years of our entry. At that time, before they even thought about who they’d be picking themselves, there was not one person on the planet – including themselves – who didn’t think they’d be bottom-feeders for several years.

      • Hey George, i’m sure you’re right but i disagree with it. The league brought in a cap to level the playing field so I don’t think it’s right for an expansion team to be able to buy their way out of the next expansion draft and therefore get preferential treatment when they’ve been in the league for a couple of years now. I do understand the rationale, just don’t agree with it.

      • I don’t necessarily like it, but in all fairness it takes more years than they’d be given to stockpile their own picks. First rounders usually take a few years to play in the NHL on a full time basis, 2nd-7th a little longer.

        Hopefully, we won’t be seeing another expansion team in our lifetime. So maybe it’s the only time we’ll see this.

      • I agree Vegas should not be getting a pass, however good on them if they negotiated that into their purchase contract.
        Not sure how the NHL can stop team from trading with Vegas, can’t just stop the league from making trades and it only makes sense for any team to try and get an asset for an asset although it maybe a lesser asset in return. This expansion draft may very well be a good day for Vegas.

      • I’m perfectly ok with vegas not being part of the exp draft. They were not projected to be so good and at that time taking another asset from them that they had developed wouldn’t have made sense. Things didn’t turn out that way but to me the agreement was fair when made.
        Much like caper I don’t see how the NHL manages trades to and from Vegas, not anybody’s fault that the NHL didn’t close the loop properly

      • Hey George, sorry wasn’t trying to be abrupt with you, someone came in my office while i was writing it and i posted without checking for tone…I think your reasons are why it’s like that, and i understand that, just think it advantages the new team because they ponied up the bucks, no worries.

    • Hi TB

      Part of me wants to agree with you… as they are clearly well ahead of the curve wrt franchise development

      That said, had they developed on a regular curve ….and be well down the standings; not in a play-off spot and looking at at least a couple of years before any possibility of deep play-offs …. then the “get out of jail free” expansion protection card that they currently have, would not have been an issue to anybody at all

      There is no way that at the time of signing on as an expansion franchise that they could have even remotely considered that they would be anywhere near as good as they are now.

      For that reason, I’ll concur with those above that believe it must have already been agreed upon at time of their expansion.

      It sucks for the other teams; but it is what it is

      I think with such an impressive UFA cadry this summer and teams being very cognizant of who they HAVE to protect (in lieu of younger players that they would like to/need to protect) in 2 years, that there is a chance for many more off-season trades than usual.

      The example I keep saying is Kessel …. Pens can’t afford to have to protect him in June of ‘21 (nearing 34 yrs old and IMO not worth anywhere near his contract at that time)at the expense of protecting a rising star of that time

      Just sayin’

      • True. And don’t forget, the other 30 owners weren’t complaining about the millions they pocketed which was head and shoulders above any previous expansion fees.

      • I would probably agree that they were ahead of the curve if they hadn’t received the biggest sweeheart deal for an expansion draft in history. Of course they are doing waaaay better than expected but the rules were set up so they could ice a competitive team right off the hop and then to exempt them years later from the next expansion draft is just an unwarranted advantage to me. I may very well be wrong, just my opinion but it feels to me like they paid an inflated expansion fee and were given a crazy good expansion draft deal and then this exemption multiple years after they came into the league. I understand the arguments for it, I just don’t like it. everyone is on the same level when it comes to the draft except for LV. Anyway, it is what it is, just my opinion.

      • Hi TB

        No argument here… as I said it sucks

        They win .., 30 teams lose …, “ ‘tis what ‘tis”

        I’m sure the Seattle will get the identical parameters for their expansion contract

        That said …, I think many teams have learned their lessons wrt protection and side deals …. I’d be crazy to think that Seattle comes in and dresses a team that not only makes the playoffs first year; but goes deep as well

        Biggest losers in this is Arz …. they have a load of young talent to protect ; so will lose s key player; and will get pushed into the tougher Central Div

      • Hey, I wasn’t disagreeing with your take TB – just stating plausible reasons why the others agreed to the exemption. When it comes to protecting players for expansion Las Vegas SHOULD be subject to the same rules as everyone else.

      • When you looked at Vegas’ roster in October 2017 there is absolutely no one who thought that this is a ‘competitive’ team. They seemed to pick diamonds in the rough and a great coach.

        Re: Kessel, he may not be worth protecting but saying he isn’t worth his contract is crazy. He has helped the pens win two cups – fans have crazy short memory.

      • Hi Taz

        Re Kessel

        Sorry if I mislead you or miscommunicated re is value to contract

        I’m talking in 2 years time

        I’ve watched him play in over 600 games …, IMO in the ‘21-‘22 season I think he’ll be hovering on 50 points at best …. that’s just my opinion

        If that assumption holds true …. $8M Cap is hugely overpaying then

        I had posted several times early last summer that I believed he’d reached his peak performance and was at the apex of his tradeable value…. that’s why I thought a trade at that time would bring back a fantastic return

        On July 1st 2021 he gets a $5M cheque then will be playing a full year as a 34 year old on steep decline for less than $500 K in remaining take home pay…. very little incentive to get in shape and play like an over-all $8 M worth of Cap hit

        Just this year he’s shown bouts of moodiness and non motivation over groupings of 2 or 3 games in a row

        When he’s on fire; he’s on fire

        You can’t tell me that you haven’t seen him blast away at high speeds for short bursts then glide for a load of the rest of the shift; then spurt for 10 seconds then almost pass out getting to the bench and then is hunched over with lungs spasming for another minute

        I truly believe he is a talented player who is now on the decline and will progress in this decline at a fairly rapid pace after this year

        For the above assumptions ; that is why I believe that Pens can ill afford to have to protect him in the expansion draft

        If they can/do trade him this off season …. the return should be fair

        Waiting until summer ‘20 (with receiving team having to protect him in the expansion draft 11 months later) might need a Pens kicker in incentive in the trade

        Again …. just my opinion…. and one that I’d love to be proven wrong about


      • What rising star will the Penguins have to protect at that time? They have been the absolute model for drafting and developing later round picks and turning them into very useful players at the NHL level. Seattle will select either Johnson or Hornqvist in the expansion draft and will be compensated for doing so. Kessel is not even close to the worst contract on the team even 3 years from now.

    • I don’t get it either. I never felt anything with the expansion for Vegas was anything but fair all around until I read this

    • Just read your post about next year’s kids with the Sens, George, made me think of the Blue Jays rebuild. Might be painful but it could be fun!

      • Good analogy. Let’s hope the pain doesn’t last TOO long – but with the way the league keeps going younger and younger I don’t think it will be a long process.

  4. Vegas doesn’t look like an expansion team to me. Stone Pacioretty Stastny Fleury plus Theodore and a host of others. Will be a tough out in the playoffs .

    At every level from Bantam on 90% of coaches only think about winning and themselves. They will shorten the bench overplay the top players. I would think the NHL coach’s would be worse and they are icing teams to win not develop . Short shelf life .

    • SilverSeven, I agree that some coaches are like that in the high/top levels of minor hockey. I also think 90% is way too high. I was one, as an assistant when a buddy I played with asked if I would run the D for his Bantam 3A team.
      The association we were part of emphasized the opposite and it was all about development. Did everyone want to win? Of course. These were competitive kids which is a big reason they excelled.
      Did we bench talented kids for breaking team rules or dogging it? Of course. Same for the less talented.
      Were the best players who earned it on the ice at crunch time in important games? Of course. Trying to and winning hockey games is part of the development. And your best players, some who did and had an opportunity to move onto major junior deserved the development time when the games were on the line. You don’t leave them on the bench with 2 minutes left down by a goal to play your 4th line center. Ain’t gonna happen in 3A Bamtam, nor should it. If you want little Jimmy to get more ice time play him at a level where he will.
      It wasn’t about us coaches, it was about everybody who was part of the team. The players wanted to win and they understood who deserved to be on the ice and when.

    • Hey Ny4Life — lets not wish short lives upon ourselves. There is nothing magic about 32; especially with the number of Canadian franchises. & I’d also reference hockey’s success in a single sport town like Columbus. This still more US coverage for TV would be a good thing (36-40) total teams, and the talent pool is growing fast enough as some of the US talent from non-traditional markets begins to come online. To me the biggest barrier is also paradoxically the biggest strength…hockey is a lot better in person than on TV – fills arenas but limit dollars. But tech is coming, like player tracking. If you want to preserve the NHL as an elite league with it’s 32 teams, Slot an 8-16 city second division group in with relegation — easy to identify six-eight markets that would move up from Junior in Canada, and a dozen US markets. Preserve the full AHL as a development league, and the ECHL for that matter. The “B” league would have a strict cap, but one could make a living playing. The financial underpinnings would be solid if, after each year’s (2 team) relegation contracts could be bought and sold between leagues. Let the players be part of the union (unlike the AHL) and there are a lot of opportunities for long term labor peace to be negotiated.
      If relegation doesn’t appeal, allow the “B” league a couple of wild-card play-in opportunities in the Cup playoffs — the last wild card in the East and West vs. the top two teams from the B league in a best of 5 — no city demotions but plenty of opportunity to draw fans.

      There’s more growth there for hockey with imaginative management

      • Love the relegation/promotion idea but don’t see it happening.
        Great post, though, Richard.

      • I think 36-40 nhl teams would be disastrous in the future.
        I can’t see the nhl outgrowing the mlb, Nfl or nba in the near future.

        There are already too many struggling franchises in the league now. I don’t see Canada being able to sustain 6 additional markets, and it would be hard to identify many markets in the us. Houston?

        The southeast is pretty much out entirely. If the trashers couldn’t make it in Atlanta…. you can definitely scratch Georgia off. Florida? I don’t see any city that could succeed, Carolinas… out. Alabama? Forget that, ditto Kentucky, Louisiana? Maybe, but I doubt it.

      • Don’t forget nhl Europe!

      • Nyr4life, I’ve always thought Houston would be a great addition – natural rivalry with Dallas. But what about Portland, Oregon (metro pop of 2 mil). Milwaukee, Wisconsin (metro pop of 1,570,000), Indianapolis, Indiana (metro pop of 838.000), Hartford, Connecticut (metro pop of 1,486,000) and Kansas City, Mo (metro pop of 2,340,000)??

      • George,

        Of all those cities you list I think only Hartford would be an instant success. I think the nhl does well in places like Tampa and Nashville because of the large amount of people from Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, NY, NJ etc.

        The nhl should target those type of places rather than trying to grow the brand and hockey itself from the ground up. (IMO)

        I still don’t know that Vegas wasn’t a mistake. I’ll make that call when they don’t have the success they’ve enjoyed so far. A few losing seasons and we’ll see if it was a fairweather fan thing, or the real deal.

        I love hockey, and I love Vegas, I’m just not sure I love them together.

  5. Brad Marchand is doing his best to drive up the Marner price. Suggesting $12m per and getting two thumbs up from Marner Mom.
    Marner is 9th in NHL scoring 82pts in in 67 games and a very impressive +25. Could he become the highest paid leaf?

    • He arguably should be, but as a winger i think he’ll get the same as Matthews. I think it’s interesting that Toronto has the best goal differential in the league, Hainsey has the best +/- in the league, Marner is +25, and it goes down the lineup. except Matthews is -1, or was before last night.

      • It thought TB had the best TB. Leafs are 2nd, which is great for them and why I think they will give the B’s all they can handle. It will be interesting to see what the odds are for that series if/when they meet in the first round.
        As a Bruins fan I am nervous about it.
        Caper, I have no idea if he will be or deserves to be, but I hope he is at it is just more cap $$ tied up for the Leafs.

      • Yes it would tie up more cap space for Toronto, but these things trickle down leaguewide so will impact every team immediately after he signs. Is he worth more than McDavid? Nope, but the way contracts are going up and up like this he would be. and it will cause more and more RFA’s to hold out because they know whatever deal they sign early will be less than they’ll get if they wait until the next summer, contracts are going up that fast. would you sign an 8 year deal now if you knew if you waited until your contract was up in a year you’d get $2M more per year? You want this to happen to hurt a team you have to play but it ends up making it harder for all teams in the short-term now as every team will have RFA’s coming up for renewal.

      • Agree TB, they do.
        You don’t here people saying the Draisaitl contract is too high anymore, and I think the players get it and would be crazy not to wait.
        The theory that player X needs to be the highest paid on a particular team no longer applies IMO.

  6. If ghost is moved it should be for a right handed defenceman who is solid in his own end.
    I would include him in an offer for Trouba or Colton parenko.

    • Hi Scott

      Ghost won’t be moved to get Parayko:

      As we all are aware; the big trade of the summer will be:

      JJ for Parayko (StL to retain 50%) ; a first ; and Jordan Kyrou

      Can I have an Amen 🙏

      • Who is jj?

      • Pengy’s pet peeve aka Jack “Oops” Johnson

      • Hi Scott,

        The esteemed and honourable Jack Johsnon (JJ)…. LOL

        It was my grandest attempt at sarcasm


  7. Hey Lyle,
    I try to check out the Rumor Mill every day and apologize if it’s already been discussed, but I have not seen any confirmation about a deadline deal being discussed between Tampa Bay and Buffalo. Apparently TB was trying to trade for Ristolainen but the Sabres were not budging on their asking price. Any info on what was being offered and/or what Buffalo was asking for? Thanks

    • Heard the odd unsubstantiated whisper speculating Ristolainen was about to be moved following the Montour acquisition. To my knowledge, none of the reliable media insiders made mention of it. Doesn’t mean the Lightning might not have looked into Ristolainen but I don’t think the Sabres are keen to part with him. Maybe that changes this summer, who knows?

      • I plucked this by Holger Stolzenberg off the web – for what it’s worth

        “Regardless, Fox Sports’ Andy Strickland contends that a rumor that the Lightning have been talking to the Buffalo Sabres about acquiring defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen won’t go away. Ristolainen, who had been considered the franchise’s No. 1 defenseman until this year when they drafted Rasmus Dahlin, could be a valuable trade chip and might be sought after, especially considering that Tampa Bay have three defensemen who will be unrestricted free agents this summer. Ristolainen has three more years at $5.4MM and could be a good fit in Tampa Bay.”

  8. George O:

    I wrote to you previously about how I feel Dorian is underrated. I just feel his working conditions make it almost impossible to look good good.

    No one knows what he is told to say or do, or what “real” financial constraints he is working under. One gets the feeling ( and it may be reasonable for Melnyk) that every time they propose an expenditure or consider sustaining an ongoing cost Melynk’s point of view is…..that is coming right out of my pocket….and many ways it is.

    I don’t wish the Blue Jackets ill will but it would be hilarious should all these potentials work out so Ottawa picks higher than the Avalanche. Considering what BS Ottawa fans put up with it would be great. This from someone that wants the Leafs to beat the Sens every time.

    A complete change of topic….

    What would you think of trading Matthews for Doughty at 8 million and another asset…..then an announcement to the fans from the Board…There is a difference between a UFA ( Tavarres who we will pay big money) and a RFA to whom we will never pay more than X% of the cap…..It seems to me thanks to the TO media they think Mattews/Marner deserve UFA pay…..I would nip this baby in the bud ( to late that is why Matthews trade suggested)…and start again with a philosophic basis for the pay grades of all ..forgive my little Leaf rant

    • Doughty will be paid 11M starting next year, so no chance of that trade happening.

      Ottawa cannot pick higher than avalanche with the pick they got from CLB, that pick is lottery protected.
      The lowest Colorado will pick is 4th or if by some miracle Ottawa doesn’t finish last then it may be 5th or 6th
      Columbus picks top 3 or in Ottawa picks in the mid teens (if CLB misses the playoffs)

    • OldBlueDog. one thing I’ve learned (the hard way) as a perceived Ottawa Senators “fanatic” (erroneous as I’ve pointed out – I live in Ottawa so simply follow the local team more closely) is that I should never weigh in on anything involving the Leafs, which leads to retorts calling me a troll, a “hater” or an idiot for daring to suggest other than what the LeafsNation faithful WANT to hear as opposed to what they SHOULD hear. The only thing I’ll say is, with the pending Marner contract, the future cap problems for Dubas will just be beginning.

      As for Dorion, unfortunately he doesn’t have the personality of Brian Murray who never shied away from telling Melnyk that it was his (Murray’s) job to run the team and Melnyk’s job to pay the costs. The future looks bright with all the kids already in the fold and numerous draft picks acquired, some of which can be used – with other assets – to move up a few notches. But lurking in the background is the unpredictability of the mercurial Melnyk who, despite saying recently that they will be “spending to the cap” in a couple of years have many taking that with a grain of salt. The franchise NEEDS a new owner like Laliberté – and the sooner the better.

      • And thanks for clarifying that Taz – saved me a few hunt and pecks. I(‘d be happy with a mid-round 1st from Columbus if they miss the playoffs.

      • George

        I’ll be doubly happy on that… Sens getting a pick in the 13-15 spot AND Clb missing the playoffs!