NHL Rumor Mill – April 19, 2019

by | Apr 19, 2019 | Rumors | 25 comments

Are major moves coming for the Lightning? Should the Oilers pursue Nikolaj Ehlers? Will the Canadiens attempt to sign Matt Duchene this summer? Check out the latest speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


NHL.COM: Two days after the Tampa Bay Lightning was swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets from the opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Dan Rosen reports Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois is standing by head coach Jon Cooper and his core players. “I have great faith that eventually we’re going to get the job done and we’re going to bring the Cup back to Tampa with this group of players, with these coaches,” BriseBois said.

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBois hopes to re-sign Brayden Point to a long-term contract (Photo via NHL Images).

The Lightning GM also said he wasn’t going to overreact simply because his club suffered an inopportune four-game slump following their record-tying 62-win regular season. BriseBois admitted salary-cap constraints will result in some roster changes. Defensemen Anton Stralman, Dan Girardi, Braydon Coburn, and Jan Rutta are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. He also anticipates restricted free agent center Brayden Point will sign a long-term contract with the Lightning. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell believes the Lightning’s limited salary-cap space for next season and the need to re-sign Point this summer and starting goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy next summer leaves BriseBois facing some tough choices. He notes the no-trade clauses in the contracts of Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde make them difficult to move. Campbell wonders if they’ll have to part with some assets to have a team take aging winger Ryan Callahan’s $5.8-million salary-cap hit off their hands, or if they’ll trade Point’s rights or allow another club to offer sheet the center and take the bounty of draft picks they’ll get as compensation. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Lightning have over $73 million invested in 16 players for 2019-20. Assuming the cap reaches the projected $83 million, they’ll have roughly $10 million to work with. Point is coming off a 92-point campaign and is in line for a big raise. He could, however, follow the lead of teammates like Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Nikita Kucherov and accept less than market value to stay in sunny, tax-free Tampa Bay. Still, his raise could eat up around $7 million of their cap room for next season.

BriseBois indicated his intention to re-sign Point, meaning a player or two under contract for next season must be moved. Callahan has one year remaining on his contract and would be an obvious trade candidate but a significant sweetener must be included in the deal to get a rival club to take on his full cap hit for next season.

Johnson has a full no-trade clause and probably won’t waive it. Gourde’s clause, however, doesn’t kick in until July 1, giving BriseBois the leeway he needs to move him before that date. Having re-signed Gourde last November, however, BriseBois could be reluctant to move him.

I believe J.T. Miller could be shopped this summer. He’s a versatile 26-year-old forward carrying a reasonable $5.25-million cap hit whose modified no-trade clause doesn’t go into effect until July 1. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers would be a good fit with the Edmonton Oilers. While they have limited cap space and Ehlers makes $6 million annually for the next six season, he’s the type of young, swift-skating offensive forward they need on their scoring lines.

Matheson points out the Jets face a potential salary-cap crunch this summer with Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, and Jacob Trouba becoming restricted free agents and Tyler Myers eligible for UFA status. He suggests the Oilers bundle their 2019 first-round pick with struggling winger Jesse Puljujarvi for Ehlers. The Jets traded away their 2019 first-rounder acquiring Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers and Puljujarvi would be reunited with Laine, his former teammate from their World Junior days.  

THE ATHLETIC: Jonathan Willis recently examined which Edmonton Oilers players could be on the move this summer once a new general manager is hired. He expects free agents such as Tobia Rieder, Ty Rattie, Alex Petrovic and Anthony Stolarz won’t be back. Those facing uncertain futures in Edmonton include wingers Jesse Puljujarvi and Alex Chiasson, and defensemen Andrej Sekera, Kris Russell, and Matt Benning.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Jets would entertain an offer of the eighth overall pick plus Puljujarvi for the chance to dump Ehlers $6-million cap hit and using the savings to re-sign Laine and Connor. That’s assuming, of course, they’re willing to take the chance on Puljujarvi regaining his scoring touch with Laine and that they want to move Ehlers in the first place.

It’s an interesting suggestion by Matheson, but taking on Ehler’s $6 million pushes the Oilers’ cap hit to over $77 million invested in 16 players for 2019-20.  Assuming an $83 million cap for next season, that leaves less than $6 million to fill out the rest of the roster. They’ll have to shed some other salary to give themselves sufficient wiggle room. 


TVA SPORTS: cited NHL insider Elliotte Friedman recently telling Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 he can see the Montreal Canadiens pursuing Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene in this summer’s UFA market. “I still think Montreal will take a run at him, they were around at the trade deadline, I think they take a look at this in the offseason,” said Friedman. He noted the lack of quality centers available in this summer’s UFA market and Duchene’s value is already quite high. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman has previously indicated in the past that the Canadiens had interest in Duchene prior to his trade to the Blue Jackets before February’s trade deadline. Should the cap reach $83 million next season as projected, they’ll have around $18 million in cap space to take on a significant asset like Duchene. That’s if he’s even available and willing to sign with the Habs.

Duchene is playing well for the Jackets, who are likely to lose left winger Artemi Panarin to free agency on July 1. They gave up a lot (conditional first round picks in the 2019 and 2020 NHL Drafts, right winger Vitaly Abramov and right wing Jonathan Davidsson) to get Duchene. With over $51.4 million invested in 15 players next season, they have plenty of room to re-sign him if he wants to stay.


  1. Tampa gets to figure out why their scoring depth was not a factor. JT Miller looked lazy again in this series- someone needs to find a way to keep him playing with intensity.

    How good is Cal Foote?

  2. That’s an interesting trade proposal “Ehlers to Edmonton” the only issue is you’re given up a proven player for two ? marks. Then there is the question of Ehlers playoff performance which is 0 points in 5 games this season and 0 goals in 20 career playoff games. I guess for Edmonton they would just like to get to the playoffs.
    I believe Winnipeg will need to deal with their defense first with Chairot and Myers ufa and Trouba as an interesting rfa. They have prospect and players with a little experience waiting in Tucker Poolman, Sami Niku, and Stanley Morgan.
    Trouba will be the interesting one to watch.

    • It would help short term Caper and I sound like a broken record, but the Oil can’t afford short term moves as they don’t the leverage of cap space.
      They need inexpensive/young players because they can’t continue to trade away the future for now. They simply have too many holes.
      After next season Gagner (3.25) and Manning (2.25) come off the books.
      The year after Russell ($4) and Sekera ($5.5) come off.
      That is $15M plus whatever the cap goes up to to resign RNH etc and have more room.
      It allows them the time to slowly break in and back fill the blue line with guys like Jones, Bouchard and up front with guys like Benson and Yamamoto. Some will work out some might not. JP may even come around, so don’t sell low.
      They will get a good player in this years draft, a top forward may slip or they have their pick of good young D prospects at #8.
      This needs to be a 2-3 year plan, not for next season IMO.

      • Ray piggy backing from my yesterday comment.

        Tor Larsson Edm Kadri
        Win 1st plus Edm Ehlers

        Edmonton trade/dump/bury Lucic, Russel and Gagner

      • Larsson is worth more than Kadri alone, Kadri didn’t have a great year and he is a brain dead player on the ice

      • Larsson hasn’t been great the last 2 years as he has been asked to do too much with no Klefbohm or Sekera for long stretches.
        Would be a good fit with Rielly.

  3. If Panarin doesn’t re-sign with Columbus Kekäläinen will go hard after Duchene with sweetened contract offers. After their surprising surge against TB – and now a good shot to advance deeper into the playoffs – he can’t be seen to be losing all his top stars in the off-season.
    If Panarin re-signs there (and Bobrovsky) their cap hits will make it a lot tougher to keep Duchene. In that scenario it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see him return to Ottawa.

    • Hi George

      I’d be totally shocked; even if Jackets go deep; if BOTH Bobo and Panarin return

      To me, the 3 (Bobo, Panarin , Duchene) are going to listen to all offers in that short “talking” window just before 1/7… and IMO it would be more likely that ALL 3 move to another team than BOTH Bobo AND Panarin returning

      That said …. I’ve already grossly miss-called one major thing re:Jackets (Bolts loss) ….. so I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise if both of them return

  4. Is Jim Matheson Pengy? Like the reason the Jets reasoning for trading Ellers for a chance they can reunite pass linemates? Gold I tell ya.

    • galchenyuk and yakopov would have been a good reunite too but didnt happen —they racked up big numbers on the sarnia sting

    • Hi Ron

      LOL….So cruel …. that would age me probably a decade and a half ; and boy oh boy Matheson is not very camera friendly … I am certainly not with the looks I had 30 years ago; but looking at pics of Matheson …. ouch!!!! LOL


      • On the bright side Pengy he is a good reporter. Don’t always agree with his ideas on what the Oil should do, but when you are a sports columnist in Edmonton you have to come up with something when you can’t discuss the Oil in the playoffs.

      • 👍

        So glad you didn’t think I was Brooksie

        I still have, I guess, a decade and a half to look like him (Matheson) I guess 😁

  5. Foote projects very well.
    Good size and skill.
    Lots of compete and a little snarl.
    2nd pairing at least, once he matures.
    Oh yes, bloodlines are solid.

  6. Re: TBay

    Callahan MUST move… at whatever sweetener cost they need to add. Receiving team can either play him … $4.7 M cash and $5.8 M cap OR buy him out … $1.6 M each year *2 years…. with Cap of $2.7M (19/20) and $1.6 M (20/21)…. what is the “sweetener” price?

    I’ve confidence that Foote will be on roster next year

    I’m sure Bolts will also have a good gander at Verharghe , Barre-Boulet , and Raddysh for a roster spot

    It’s too bad that Johnson has a NMC… the return would be pretty good

    Regardless … I think Bolts back up there again next year

    • Callahan back to the Rangers , instead of TB second that Rangers own just make it a first and TB get their second back .

  7. In my humble opinion “tweaking” is not the answer.
    There is no way in H. the bolts should have been swept by Columbus. Torts ate Cooper 4 lunch. If this wasn’t a major wake up call then I have never seen one.
    also there is at least one of their top players not up 2 snuff 2 lead the Bolts 2 the Holy Grail from what I’ve seen.

  8. Now that #19 Steve Yzerman becomes Detroit’s next GM on 4/19/2019 Maybe he does wheeling and dealing with his former club.

    • Great point, Gary, Yzerman would know for instance if Tyler Johnson would waive his NTC to go to Detroit, lots of examples like that.

      • kudos 2 BCLeafFan-u must b a carpenter cuz
        u nail things

      • BCLeafFan-u must b a carpenter cuz u nail things-

  9. Edmonton – McDavid, Nurse and Larson
    Philadelphia – Giroux, Vorachek, Sanheim, Morin, 2019 1st, 2020 1st and 2nd picks. Flyers retain 2 million on Giroux and Vorachek contracts (4 million).

    Oilers get proven scorers, excellent young defenceman in Sanheim, decent prospect in Morin and picks for obtaining younger cheaper players. Oilers free up some cap space (moving out 18 million in return for 13 or 14 million – please note Im strictly guessing on cap numbers).

    My no way this would ever happen trade proposal.

    • As a philly fan I’d love it, but what would EDM do with the cash? Free agents don’t go there…

  10. I’m not seeing any comments about coaching/management. watch Detroit now-watch the panthers now. the caps let loose of the guy that led them 2 the s. c. he goes 2 a total wreck called the islanders-leads them into the playoffs & destroys pitt-torts ate cooper for lunch-their players had zero idea what was going on(& still don’t) many many more examples.

  11. NYR have cap space for Callahan
    TB can sweeten it but with FOOTE?

    to NYR: Callahan & Foote
    to TB: Vesey & 4th