Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 24, 2019

by | Mar 24, 2019 | Rumors | 30 comments

Check out the latest on the Rangers, Leafs, and Oilers in today’s Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


ESPN.COM: With the New York Rangers officially eliminated from playoff contention, Emily Kaplan and Chris Peters looked at the club’s potential offseason plans. While they have plenty of salary-cap space to pursue a big-name unrestricted free agent like Columbus’ Artemi Panarin, Kaplan and Peters believe they must be disciplined in their spending. Going the quick-fix route could cause more harm than good. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers have over $61.9 million invested in 17 players for 2019-20, with Pavel Buchnevich, Neal Pionk, Brendan Lemieux, and Anthony Deangelo as their notable free agents. All will be affordable re-signings, leaving enough room to pursue a quality player via free agency. However, that player must be a good fit within their rebuilding roster. The last thing they need is an aging star coming there solely for the money and the experience of living in New York.

They’ve been linked to Panarin, Erik Karlsson, Jeff Skinner, and Matt Duchene. It’s believed Panarin could be their primary focus, but he could cost over $10 million annually. While he puts up good numbers, I don’t think he’s got the leadership qualities the rebuilding Rangers need. Karlsson might be a better fit in that regard, but his recent injury history could be cause for concern plus he might not be keen to join a team in transition. 

Can the Toronto Maple Leafs find a way to move Patrick Marleau this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)


TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox believes Patrick Marleau’s contract will be a problem for the Maple Leafs this summer. While the 39-year-old winger is beloved by his teammates and his declining play hasn’t hurt the Leafs’ overall performance this season, his $6.25-million salary-cap hit will make it difficult for management to find enough cap room to re-sign younger, better players.

Marleau’s on a “35-plus” contract, meaning he was over 35-year-old when he signed the deal, thus his cap hit still counts against the Leafs cap payroll if he retires or is bought out. He also holds a full no-movement clause. If he’s unwilling to waive it, the Leafs could be forced to move another player to free up cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have over $74.2 million tied up in 17 players. They’ll get $5.3 million in cap relief by placing all-but-retired Nathan Horton on long-term injury reserve, but that will quickly evaporate when Mitch Marner signs his new contract. Even if it’s under $10 million per season (and I doubt it will be), it’ll push the Leafs’ payroll to around $78 million, with RFAs like Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson to be re-signed and UFAs like Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey to re-sign or replace. Assuming the cap reaches the projected $83 million, that won’t leave enough for the Leafs to address those needs.

Someone under contract for next season will be moved. That could mean a good player like Nazem Kadri, or GM Kyle Dubas going back on his word and trading Wiliam Nylander or finding a sucker, er, I mean, a taker for Nikita Zaitsev’s contract.

Some have suggested Marleau might accept a trade back to the San Jose Sharks, who have over $57.5 million committed to 14 players. Assuming they don’t re-sign Erik Karlsson, they’ll have plenty of room to re-sign UFAs like Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, as well as perhaps Gustav Nyquist and Joonas Donskoi, plus pay the hefty raises for RFAs Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier. Beyond that, they probably won’t have enough room for Marleau even if they wanted to bring him back.  And if they do re-sign Karlsson, they certainly won’t have enough room for Marleau. 


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Allan Mitchell recently examined some ways the Edmonton Oilers could trim their salary-cap fat and put the savings toward adding speed, skill, and goaltending depth. Noting how noxious a buyout of Milan Lucic’s contract would be, he suggests packaging a prospect plus picking up part of Lucic’s salary in exchange for a depth draft pick.

Mitchell suggests buying out the final two years of Andrej Sekera’s contract, saving $3 million in each of the next two seasons. He also advocates trading defenseman Kris Russell ($4 million annually through 2020-21). 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those three, the contracts of Sekera and Russell will be easier to shed than Lucic’s. Even by picking up half of his $6-million annual cap hit, his performance has deteriorated so much that I don’t see any takers for the remaining four years of his deal.

While trading Sekera would be a better option, buying him out makes sense. Trading Russell might require retaining some of his salary, but there could be some interest in him as a third-pairing shot-blocking rearguard. 


  1. Pretty hard to see ANY team wanting to take on a $10 mil per cap hit – which is what Karlsson and his agent turned down in Ottawa over an 8 year span.

    • That’s not gonna happen. he will never get what OTT offered for sure

    • Agreed. The times, they are a changin’.
      I believe the teams are starting to come around to the fact that there IS a cap.

      Oilers – screwed
      Leafs – screwed
      Tampa – screwed
      LA – screwed
      Chicago – screwed…maybe
      My Wings – screwed, but possibly seeing a light at the end of the funk tunnel
      San Jose – Borderline problems

      Players are gonna have to learn that if they want to win it all, they’ve gotta accept a smaller piece of the Cap Pie.

      Jimmy Howard did. Z Chara just did. Any other player wanna jump on board the “Let’s Build My Team Into A Contender” wagon? I’d love to hear a superstar say “You wanna pay me $11 mill? Could you bring in another damn good player if I took 8-9 mill?”

      I’m really interested to see what happens come July 1. All the RFA’s and UFA’s looking for the big $$ that they’re “due”. Screw the team….Buddy makes this much $$, so I want the same. Owners need to learn how to say “Nope”.

      Rant over.

      • In all fairness to the players, you don’t pay a ceo slightly more than you pay a secretary or janitor. It’s a business.

        Tampa has had a bunch of players sign for less than market value. But that cap is going to start tightening around that team this offseason. The price you pay for being a contender with a lot of talent.

      • While it definitely is a business Nyr3life, I can’t think of too many legitimate profit-making businesses in the free democratic world that says “as far as our employees are concerned their salaries have to be based and capped upon x number of dollars” which is why you see MLB – also a business – tossing around salaries in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

        I agree with Artsy in that, at some point, the cap and how it’s managed (miss-managed??) becomes an unsolvable puzzle. This article appeared in Forbes about 3 1/2 years ago and it’s being borne out today more than ever

      • Regarding the above, I’m beginning to see more and more where Ottawa dodged a large bullet with their trades over the past year. Just for argument’s sake (it wouldn’t have happened this way, of course, but for now consider it) – what if Karlsson, Stone, Duchene and Dzingel all acepted Dorion’s offers – they’d find themselves forking over roughly $33 mil to 4 players and if you factor in Ryan’s $7,250,000, Anderson’s $4,750,000 and Ceci’s $4,300,000 that brings it close to 50 mil for 7 players, leaving $33 mil (IF the cap goes to $83 mil) to sign 16. And guys like White, Wolanin and Nilsson to deal with this summer and, the summer after, another 8 or 9 including Chabot. It quickly becomes an exercise in futility.

    • In response to the whole thread. When the owners start using discretion we could see the salaries come “under control.” Till then someone gonna pay Karlsson big big. The rfas are gonna increasingly take the nylander route. And win like nylander did.

      • He will not get the money he would’ve, had he stayed. No one will sign that contract, it’s got too many question marks…

        GM’s are starting to look at the risks associated with a signing like that. A bad contract now can not only get you fired, but it becomes your Legacy.

        If I knew you personally I would bet 5 digits on that one and take your money.

      • I’ll bet you a smartest poster alive post that Karlsson gets his money. So he turned down 10 x 8. So if he gets ten or above on a 7 year does that count? Or does it have to be 80 or above on a 7? Hell I’ll take either. Loser has to tell the specters world the winner is the smartest poster ever. And handsome to boot

      • That is actually a good bet and I’m not sure which side I would take.
        BadCowboyDan trashes Edmonton all the time, so I would prefer not to agree with his assessment….
        But I’m not so sure Karlsson leaving OTT didn’t have more to do with the ownership and how miserable his last year was with that organization, than about the $$.
        At first glance I go under the $80M, but I think it will be close.

      • Chrisms – You’re on!

  2. good luck to the Oilers new GM. The only way another time might even consider Lucic is if the Oilers bundle in their 2019 1st rounder with him, and they would be foolish to give that up when they barely have any prospects

  3. There is a cap and it’s not the responsibility of the players to manage it.
    The average career of an NHL player is short, only 4% of NHL players ever reach 1000 games.
    The new NHL basically say your done at 30 years old and if your good you can play at 18 yrs old. With that said it’s about the elite, they’re going to get there money, the rest are fillers
    One can say he is worth the money and be true but that doesn’t make you a Stanley Cup contender.
    You can have two of the top 4 scores (McDavid and Draisaitl) and counting for $21M of cap space and claim they’re worth their money and more but that doesn’t put your team in the playoffs.
    The elite will get their money but the onus is on the GM to put the fillers in place to provide a championship roster and the timing of the contract is prudent.
    This contradicts what I said the yesterday of paying for potential and they way the salary are going up. One need to look no further then Nashville defense, other then PK and say they got Josi, Ekholm and Ellis for a combine $10.250m this season, that is only $1.25 more then PK salary.
    There is different ways to build a contender but the superstar player cannot do it on his own but he will always get his money.

  4. Leafs HAVE to move Marleau and/or WW. PERIOD.

    I’m telling you this as a Leaf fan for more than 50 years …..they just can’t compete for the Stanley Cup in the next couple of years unless they address the Roster shortfalls and to address that they have to acquire new assets (too 4 D) and they don’t have the Cap space so they must get rid of contracts that are crimping their Cap space:

    If they can rid BOTH WW & Marleau contracts ….. $13.25 M in Cap….. Leafs IMO are good to go for competing for cup (5 year span starting in Spring if ‘20)

    Putting aside the tremendous character and like ability of Marleau…… no matter what transpires next year (retirement, under performance, etc etc) the owner of his contract IS DEFINITELY on the hook for $6.25 M in Cap

    After he gets paid his SB on July 1st ; his take home pay (to play a gruelling 82 games and pre-season and playoffs …. at 40 I might add; and 1/2 the time away from his young family ) is only $585K….. very very very little incentive and NONE IMO if you take into account that w/o a move to shore up the D…. Leafs have no chance at a cup next year ( Marleau’s last year in the NHL I believe)…. so if I were him; I’d take my SB; play home opener; retire.

    ….. so GMKD , sweet talk the hell out of him to waive his NTC/NMC

    Easiest move …. WW. He has no control on this.

    Dubas, your job as HM is to better the team and move the roster as a whole into a level that can compete for a cup…. suck up your promise and move WW for a top 4 D….

    Value of WW: after he is paid his SB on 1/7 … he is only owed $700 K for 19/20….. and effective AAV for last 5 years of his contract is < $5M (Cap remains at basically $7M)

    ….. this is a perfect contract for a cash poor team with cap space that has scoring/young forward needs… return easily top 4D (NOTE: to be a top 4 D on Leafs ; player needs only to be better than Zaitsev ….not saying much)…

    Result …. Leafs get too 4 D; save Cap (too 4 D at less than WW’s $7M Cap ); able to re-sign Johnsson and Kappy; and competitive …. perhaps incentive enough to get Marleau NOT to retire

    Move both …. net a top ; D (see WW move above) ; re-sign Leafs RFA’s AND have room to sign another top 4D UFA ….. now you have a strong offensive team; with a sound back end …. can go deep in playoffs ‘20

    Now if they can move Zaitz as well…. hello!!!!!

    Final word…. TBay …. is at capcrunch but doable …. move Callahan … which is a must (offer up Raddysh and pick) and maybe Johnson ….. or use whatever you get in Johnson trade to give to team taking Callahan ( as an incentive instead of Raddysh and a pick).

    If option 2 works … Raddysh fills Callahan’s roster spot and team actually gains in speed, size ; production and saves in cap.

    Note Call contract $5.8 M in Cap and only $4.7 M in actual cash…. cash poor/Cap rich team could buy him out for $1.6M per year for 2 years!!!!

    Heading out on Ruhweedel ad in 5 mins so won’t be able to read/respond until later today


    • Holy smoke … typing on iphone got screwed up

      “top 4 D” not “too D”

      And I’m heading out on the road not “Ruhweedel ad”


  5. I would be op to NY trading Vesey for Marleau and a low pick.

    Marleau can help Howden, Chytil, Andersson and their young guys. He has shown he can compete at a high level and is not a locker room issue. He also is more productive and more consistent than Vesey.

    2 more years till the bad contracts are off the books and then they can go after a player or two than can help then get over the hump and be legitimate contenders.

    • And tell me !… why would Marleau who has never won a Stanley cup waive his no trade clause at 40 years of age to go to a rebuilding team like the Rangers or any rebuilding club for that matter when his best chance for winning a cup is right there in Toronto ?.
      I can’t see him waiving his n/t and it would be totally classless of the Leafs to ask him to do so.

      • Agree totally. And by also trading Nylander it would send a clear message that his “word” isn’t worth a pinch of coon-s^*t. How will that factor in to future negotiations with RFAs? Dubas has made his bed – now he has to hope that his star coach can work with what he’s given.

      • Hi George

        You are bang on wrt to his (GMKD’s) promise and words not trusted for future negotiations

        That said …. his job , first, foremost , and always should be to build a team that can vy competitively and with the key target of acquiring a Cup

        I’m hoping that he’s personal promise to WW included a codicil ….”I’ll not trade you as long as you are performing at the level you are capable of”…. of course not word for word ..,. But the meaning anyway

        He’s not playing anything like a $7M Cap hit and certainly no where worth the $20.3 M he is going to have earned by July 2nd for 54 games and as I’m sad to say; highly likely 1 play-off series

        The trade is not only needed but justified

        Extend *Marner , Kappy , Johnson; then eat crow and move WW after SB is paid ; for a top 4 D

        It HAS to be done …. GMKD…. forget about your image…. do what’s best for the team

        *Yes I realize the “extend Marner BEFORE moving WW” is pushing the probability envelope

        To me ….. team first ; wear egg on your face; make that move; bring in a top 4D man in exchange …. the offence will not suffer and the root issue (behind the reason they are not yet contenders) is seriously mitigated (not solved; but mitigated)

        GO LEAFS GO

  6. I do not want the same Leaf defense next year. But I think some of what is written here is a bit of a reach. The Leafs when I looked last night were +40 in goals. Their D is weak and needs to improve but that is a pretty good positive. They might get over a 100 points for the second year in a row.

    They need to trade forward strength for better D. I think they will. I have written here before that the contracts they have given seem designed to be traded more easily than other contracts.

    Remember when reading the articles here that Lyle is not neutral. He is a Habs fan and that comes out every now and then. Like it did today re: Zaitsev. I think Zaitsev is crucified here more than is merited. Is he weak? Yes. Is he overpaid ? Probably , although it may not look that way 3 years from now. Is he the weakest link in their defense. This Leaf fan doesn’t think so, though he sure as hell is not their best.

    Willie Sutton said he robbed banks as that is where the $ was. The Leafs won’t make deals that count as robbery but they need to the teams with a good supply of D . Carolina comes to mind — there are others.

    • Lyle is way more neutral than you’re ! Zaitsev is an ahl dmen making way too much money but the leafs have no d depth to bury him in the minors

      • The difference is….. I am a fan……no one expects a fan to be neutral..that is why I often identify myself as a Leaf fan….precisely as I am not neutral…. .the word fan is a derivative of fanatic….I also did not come close to saying Zaitsev is very good…..only that he overly ( in this Leaf fans opinion) attacked by non-Leaf fans….

        As an editor/publisher ( Lyle’s function) has a completely different expectation as to neutrality….in his response Lyle explains that he is neutral and that he would say the same thing regardless of what team Zaitsev would be playing for….I accept that…..

        However,I would note in the time I have been reading Lyle….(about 18 months) I can not remember the snide type of sentence structure he used this morning…or maybe he is pulling the chain of Leaf fans….also perfectly acceptable….unless that is the only chain he pulls…..then he is not neutral as he would claim.

    • My being a Habs fan has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with my assessment of Zaitsev. Indeed, if he played for the Canadiens, I’d be saying the same thing. He’s not a top-four defenseman and certainly isn’t worth $4.5 million per season. And I’m not the only one who believes the Leafs made a mistake signing him to that contract. Jeebus, even Don Cherry, Leafs fan #1, considers Zaitsev a forward masquerading as a defenseman. When I say the Leafs need to find a sucker to take that contract off their hands, it has everything to do with his abilities and nothing to do with the team he plays for.

      • Nice try Lyle.
        That’s exactly what a Habs fan would want us to think.
        Leaf fans are the Rodney Dangerfield of the pro sports world.😏

      • Most respect those who admit and tell the truth no matter how hard it is – as our illustrious PM is discovering as well

      • Well done shoreorrpark.

      • God damn. Idda thunk id never support a bbb post but I’ve seen Lyle post things I thought were wrong, thought were dumb, thought were impetuous…. but never biased.

        Gai cocknif en yom

      • Didn’t view it as biased and haven’t felt a skewed lean in Lyle’s posts before

        I can agree to disagree with his thoughts ; but don’t read them as frosted with bias

        It is what it is … Zaitsev contract is a tough one to move …. not as tough as moving JJ’s but tough

        I’ve watched every single Leaf game but two over the last three seasons… and I am a proud Leaf fan…. Zaitsev is not playing anywhere near the level he is being paid at

        I still say that moving Zaitsev must play second fiddle in importance to freeing up a much more substantial bit of Cap space …. WW move best at $7M; Marleau (with permission ) next best at $6.25 M…. move both ….. game on …. move both and Zaitsev (w/o giving up a roster plate)…, now that’s a Leaf team that has a strong chance at one or more SCs between ‘20 – ‘25

  7. Old Blue Dog, Carolina probably comes to mind to a good number of GMs who feel their D needs a tick upwards in quality, so there could be a real bidding war at either the draft – or early summer. Those teams with a bunch of picks. In rthe 1st round each of Colorado, LA, Buffalo and Anaheim have 2 picks while the NYR have 3. Toronto doesn’t have one, so right there, depending upon which D Carolina will relinquish and what else one of those multiple-pick teams is offering, it could see the Hurricanes adding a 2nd pick.

  8. TAMPA has an advantage, with no state tax they get to pay their players 8-10 % percent less than most other teams. Kucherov at $9.5M earns him more after tax dollars than John Tavares 11M