NHL Rumor Mill – April 30, 2019

by | Apr 30, 2019 | Rumors | 74 comments

Growing trade speculation about Evgeni Malkin, the latest on Jeff Skinner and an update on the Edmonton Oilers’ GM search in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Mark Madden believes the Pittsburgh Penguins are willing to trade center Evgeni Malkin. He points out general manager Jim Rutherford declined to commit to keeping Malkin in Pittsburgh last week. 

Speculation is growing suggesting the Pittsburgh Penguins could consider trading center Evgeni Malkin (Photo via NHL Images).

Madden said the Penguins were “very unhappy” with Malkin’s performance and attitude this season. While he averaged over a point-per-games (72 points in 68 contests) he had a team-worst plus-minus of minus-25, a team-high 84 turnovers, and a team-most 89 PIMs, plus his 23 goals were his fewest in a non-lockout year since 2010-11 when a knee injury limited him to 43 games and 15 goals.

The long-time Penguins center was also insubordinate to head coach Mike Sullivan on one documented occasion and shows little willingness to change his game. According to Madden, the Penguins believe a return gained from trading Malkin could be used for a mini-rebuild around team captain Sidney Crosby.

However, Malkin has a full no-movement clause and given no indication he wants to leave Pittsburgh. Madden also doubts the Penguins can get the type of return that would convince them to move the 33-year-old center. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the second time Malkin’s name surfaced in the Pittsburgh media as a possible trade candidate. It’s believed Rutherford and his management team are willing to consider all options this offseason other than trading Crosby and goaltender Matt Murray.

Just because they’re willing to entertain the prospect of trading Malkin doesn’t mean they’re going to do it. As Madden points out, Malkin must agree to waive his no-movement clause. While Rutherford could attempt to pressure or sweet-talk the veteran center into accepting a trade, he could simply refuse and that will be the end of it. Threatening to bench him or reduce his minutes won’t work because his offensive skills remain invaluable to their roster. Besides, they’re not about to leave a healthy player with a $9.5-million annual salary-cap hit riding the pine or sitting in the press box.

Even if Malkin agreed to waive his clause the potential destinations could be limited to a handful of clubs, perhaps less than a half-dozen. If those clubs aren’t offering the type of return to keep the Penguins among the Stanley Cup contenders, trading him simply for the sake of doing so would be pointless. 


THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski believes the Sabres will have competition if Jeff Skinner decides to test the unrestricted free agent market on July 1. The Sabres could still be the favorite as they carry over $23 million in salary-cap space, putting them in a strong position to sign the 26-year-old left winger to a long-term deal worth between $7 million and $9 million annually. Skinner also developed instant chemistry with Sabres center Jack Eichel upon his arrival from Carolina last summer and he openly praised the club’s young core of talent. He’s also from nearby Markham, Ontario, where he trains in the offseason. 

Lysowski, however, points out the Florida Panthers could target Skinner if they fail to signed Columbus left winger Artemi Panarin. The Blue Jackets also have over $28 million in cap room and could look at Skinner as a potential replacement for Panarin if he departs via free agency on July 1. The New York Islanders also carry considerable salary-cap room ($31 million) and could offer Skinner a quicker route to the playoffs.

The New York Rangers could also be an option if they lose out in the Panarin sweepstakes. The Philadelphia Flyers also have plenty of salary-cap room, while Lysowski considers the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins as dark-horse candidates for Skinner’s services. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres GM Jason Botterill expressed full confidence in getting Skinner re-signed. If they’re willing to pay around $9 million annually, and I think they don’t have much choice but to do so, I can see him re-signing with the Sabres. Losing him to free agency without bringing in a suitable replacement sends the wrong message to Eichel, his teammates, and the Sabres’ long-suffering fans that ownership isn’t serious about building and maintaining a winner.

If Skinner goes to market he won’t lack for suitors. As Lysowski points out, teams that lose out in the bidding war for Panarin will turn to the Sabres winger as their Plan B. Those clubs could include the Panthers, Islanders, Rangers, Blue Jackets and Flyers. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites TSN’s Ryan Rishaug and Sportsnet’s John Shannon denying a report claiming former Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland would become the next GM of the Oilers. Rishaug noted Holland recently withdrew his name from the Oilers list of candidates and the club hasn’t sought permission from the Wings to speak with him. 

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector believes the Oilers would be making a grave mistake if they don’t have a new GM in place by the NHL Draft in late-June. He feels they need one in place before then to clear out some cap space in order to pursue a couple of mid-range free agents in July. 

Spector advocates packaging defenseman Kris Russell with a draft pick or prospect or swapping him for someone’s $4 million per season winger. He considers buying out winger Milan Lucic out of the question but suggests trading him for “someone else’s problem of equal value”, consider the declining Lucic’s presence with the Oilers as an ongoing negative. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A recent report speculated the Oilers had narrowed the candidates to Mark Hunter, Kelly McCrimmon, and Sean Burke. Whoever becomes the next Oilers GM will have their hands full untangling the mess left behind by former GM Peter Chiarelli. Moving Russell will be easier than Lucic, who carries a $6-million annual cap hit through 2022-23 with a full no-movement clause. 


  1. Malkin rumours have happened every off season since 2010 when they don’t win the Cup.

    Unless they get a crazy return, it’s a foolish idea.

  2. I have no idea if what I read about Malkin in various sources is or is not accurate, but for argument’s sake let’s say his “attitude” and insubordination and an unwillingness to change his game has indeed become a bone of contention in Pittsburgh. Add that to his age (he’ll turn 33 in July), the fact he hasn’t played a full schedule since 2008-09 (he’s missed a full 20% of games over the past 6 seasons), and that his $9,500,0000 cap hit runs to 2022-23 when he turns 37, and a full NMC and it sure seems Pittsburgh is as stuck with him as the Oilers are with Lucic. Now I’m not trying to compare Lucic’s lack of production with Malkin’s performance, but just saying the situation doesn’t bode well for the Pens going forward if things don’t change because, like it or not, there are precious few – if any – teams prepared to take that on IF it’s all accurate and has seeped through the league’s various management steructures.

    • Mark madden is a wwe guy who pretends to know hockey. Put his show on for 5 minutes… if you can last that long… and you would just grin and shake your head.

      • Well, that’s enlightening at least. Thanks Chrisms and MG. As I say, I only know what I read. By the way, as you’re much closer to the scene, what are your observations on – at least as far as the stats are concerned – Malkin’s sagging production coupled with an eye-opening -25 and steadily-increasing (since 2014-15) trips to the penalty box? Frustration?

      • That is awesome Chrisms. I hadn’t seen that pic before.
        Putin is shorter than I thought.

      • LOL. Amazing to think that, around the same time as the Leafs were last winning a Stanley Cup NO Russian would have dared take a picture like that posing with Leonid Brezhnev!

      • Mark Madden likes to stir the pot for good radio.

      • Good radio? Man it’s suckers like you that keep that man baby on the radio

      • Except he must have a following Chrisms – especially in a country where ratings rule. Chaque un à son goût.

      • Don’t hit me with those la-de-da facts George. I turned on the radio shortly too early for a pens game an was subjected to that turd for 5 minutes. And to quote him (cause he said it to three callers). Gfy!

        Not really though George. Your cool.

    • I agree George, everything else aside, Malkins injury history, age and contract make him a hard sell. I’m not saying no team would come looking, but I can’t imagine giving up a boatload of young prospects for this guy.

      He certainly won’t be getting healthier with age. I know , I know, ppg player. But what good does that do when he’s constantly injured.

      Pittsburgh has a boatload of key players that just can’t stay healthy.

      • Ya I agree the return wouldn’t be as high as the homer pens fans think, but would be decent

      • Malkin will get a massive return if he is ever made available and I’m not even a Pens fan.
        Leaving him out of the 100 greatest NHL players was an absolute joke.

      • I can’t see a massive return for Malkin. I can barely think of any team he fits under the cap, or is realistically willing to waive his nmc to go to.

        With the Nylander contract negotiations, teams aren’t going to be so willing to give up massive returns for a guy who’s 33 years old, often injured, and will definitely start heavy decline in the next couple of years. Both in production and injuries.

      • Taz, any GM who relinquishes top talent/picks based on history and reputation when current events dictate caution is the next GM to be fired.

      • Hey, George, if you only know what you read, I hope you don’t follow Twitter…..

      • Isn’t that the domain for twits?

      • Awe come on George wasn’t that picture worth an extra 1st

      • Sorry taz. Massive? Not a chance. A good return? Maybe. But he would have to wAive for multiple teams to create competition. The pens would likely have to take at least a decent salary back.

        Honestly why would Malkin wAive for multiple teams? He could pick and keep his cost down which means the team he goes to would remain more competitive.

      • Taz is a leaf fan he is just praying nylander gets a good return, but this last season and the playoffs before they will be paying part of his salary to move him

      • At this point i will take a good to solid return for Malkin doesn’t have to be ridiculous ..

  3. Or Mark Madden is a blowhard trying to prop up his sagging ratings*.

    Even if you took the “if Gretzky can be traded…” route, there is no deal out there that would make sense for both teams.

    Ex. Shero might want Geno on his roster again…would he give up Hischier? Doesn’t fit his window.

    *(Inside PGH talk, but…) Bragging about being #1…when all that means is that you beat Chris Mueller and that same Deep Purple song for the 3,000th time…yeah.


    Other than the Rutherford connection, the Pens signing Skinner makes no sense. You’d have to move out the salaries of players they need more than Skinner to sign Skinner.


    I’ve looked at bad contract for bad contract swaps for Hornqvist. Lucic is a bridge too far. That’s a bad, bad contract.

    • MG, yes Lucic is in the bad bad contract category. I have looked, I can’t find a worse one.
      Only ones that are close are Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan.
      They both earn more annually, but are finished sooner. Maybe if the Oil throw in a 2nd round pick to OTT they make that deal but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      • Ray Bark: Perry and Ryan are bad contracts, but not even close to as bad as Lucic. Perry only has 2 years left and Ryan 3 years vs. 4 years for Lucic. On top of that, Lucic’s contract is buyout proof with the signing bonuses, so you basically have to let it expire unless you simply want to free up the roster spot. Ottawa actually benefits from Ryan’s contract over the next 3 years while they rebuild and there is significant cap savings if they choose to buy it out in one or two years.

        It rarely gets mentioned, but Zach Parise may have the worst contract in the league with 6 years left at just over $7.5M/year. Despite a nice bounce back season this year, he has a bad back and that generally leads to a steep decline. Buying out his contract isn’t an option either as the back diving nature of his pre-lockout deal gives no savings, plus if he retires early, there are cap recapture penalties. Minnesota better hope the next bargaining agreement has a couple free buyouts ala Scott Gomez and Wade Redden.

    • Who number 1? Madden or Dunlap… both windbags.

      Starkey is easily the most entertaining of the bunch. Anything but football with al villanauava (sp?) was beyond hilarious

  4. Just a little more context about Winnipeg from yesterday. As there has been talking about dressing room issues and the 200ft game. I’m wondering if the person is none other then Dustin Byfuglien as late in the season, Winnipeg had a pp and big Buff didn’t get out on the PP and slam and broke his stick on the bench. Could be nothing or could be a much bigger issue. Maybe Maurice trying to send him a message. Buff has a 14 team no trade list; however with Trouba (reportedly wanting out) Myers and Chairot both UFA’s I don’t think the Jets would want to replace Byfuglien at this time.

    • I can see that Caper. If, and it is a big IF, Trouba would stay, i would prefer him over Buff. Consistency and just enetring his prime. Buff is at the end of it.
      Buff can be dominant, but also seems to have large swings in his play specifically defending and discipline on when to attack and when not too.
      There would definitely be a market for him.

  5. I think for Pitts if they could move Malkin depending on the return this would be an excellent move for them. Yes Malkin is a star but he’ll be 33yrs old July 31st, also carries a nwc so he can dictate where he goes if he goes.
    If he can bring back young talent that can be with the franchise for the next 10yrs why not? At what point do you look at this asset and realize that maybe in the best interest in moving him for a long term solution.
    I’m not in the opinion that a player must retire with his team, hockey is a business and keeping it sustain long term is knowing when to trade an asset for future growth. Again depends on the return. Malkin for Shea Theodore? (other then Vegas cap trouble)

    • That return isn’t good enough for the pens but it’s doubtful that pens would get a return comparable to the value a healthy dominant Malkin would provide. Pens have little choice but to see how he does next year.

      • I wouldn’t say Vegas top 6 is set, putting Malkin in at #1 center helps strengthen their C position as neither Stastny nor Karlsson are not in Malkin category but certainly would make them stronger or allow them to move one or the other for another piece.

    • Vegas top 6 is solid. Their D is not consistent enough.

      SanJose could be an interesting situation depending on Thornton, EK etc

      Malkin is in control of his destiny. If he likes Pittsburg he plays out the contract there.

      But … add him to the Jets or Preds or Flames. Secondary scoring issues dissappear.

      • I will add to those 3 teams drooling over Malkin or Kessel to help get over the hump.

    • Caper….agreed i would take a good return if that’s all we can get. Malin was -25 team high he had 84 turnovers team high he had 89 penalty minutes team high..its simply time while we can get at least a decent return. I think Geno might be open to a change as well..he has a nmc and Nashville and the New york Rangers he has interest.. Rutherford has failed comment when asked about Geno…we will see..move that contract..now

  6. Malkin would be interesting for contenders with a GM who thinks their window is closing the next seasons and he could be the missing piece. May be the Sharks, Islanders, Canes, Avs, Stars, Blues (if they don’t win it this spring), the Preds, Flames….?
    The return would depend on how much cap the team has.

    May be Malkin + $1.500.000 salary retained for Ryan Johansson or Mikeal Granlund as a starting point….

    • I believe Pittsburgh’s window with Malkin is shutting faster than Nashville’s without Malkin.
      This trade doesn’t help Nashville, it hurts them imo.

      And Malkin certainly doesn’t seem like a Poile type of move either.

      I’m not kicking Malkin here. Father Time catches us all. Malkins best days are in the rear view mirror. He may have a couple of good seasons left, but he’s definitely on the other side of the hill.

      • I agree that father time is cathing Geno. But the Preds came first to my mind. I think they would have a better chance next season with Malkin instead of Johansen.
        And imo Johansen isn’t a bargain at a cap of $8.000.000 per season (64 points). I don’t think that trade will happen. It was just a brain fart of mine 🙂
        By the way, I wasn’t expecting the Subban for Weber trade or that this trade seems like a Poile type move.

        The Pens have to hope that Malkin will have a bounce back season.

  7. Malkin is still an elite player, just not a superstar.

    He can’t carry dead weight wingers anymore. He needs help now.

    He needs wingers with speed who can also dig pucks out of the corner. Geno needs to play in the middle more rather than roaming the entire zone.

    McCann is potentially a good fit. Bjugstad could theoretically fit, but (as is usually the knock on him) he can play soft too often. Rust might fit, but he and McCann are more 20 goal types, not 30+ types and put a lot of the scoring (and thus, checking) focus on Geno.

    Hornqvist is too slow, Phil is too soft. Forcing Geno to carry them without a perfect fit (that they don’t have) on the LW just drags him down.

    They can keep the 87/71/58 core, but they need youth and speed to balance them.

    • Malkin with those younger faster Preds forwards..

      If I am a GM I know Vegas now has their core in their prime and MAF limited years left… Peg has $$$ invested in a Core ready to go.. etc etc
      Take advantage of the teams going for it. Malkin, Kessel, Kreider… potential top 6 forwards can get premiums this summer

  8. I’d think most GM’s are aware of the impact bad contracts have. Most franchises have outgrown their ‘old time hockey’ guys who made bad judgements, and have effective capologists . I think a number of teams will end up eating their problems, and refrain from creating more of them. It’s hard not to conclude that the cap, as implemented has produced parity beyond the league’s wildest dreams. There may indeed be one more cleansing at the ex CBA through get out of jail buyouts, and it’s possible Seattle will bail out a couple of folks.
    Even with Pittsburgh’s contracts, they can probably contnue to get into the playoffs while they add youngsters.
    I am more interested in the competition for coaches and the evaluation of coaching methods. Trotz and Islanders are a powerful argument for ‘system’ or ‘structure’. We may indeed see a Malkin level player sit, if play cannot be maintained within structure….and we may indeed see a sit and take the money under a NMC. And its a shame, but might well make contract negotiations for many idfficult going forward.

    • I agree totally. In all aspects of life it’s a bugger when reality smothers your expectations and smacks you squarely in the middle of your forehead with a resounding thud.

      Then again, when you see full houses in venues where such mistakes are repeated ad nausum I guess it’s safe to assume that, as long as people accept crap it will be financially responsible to dispense it.

      The best message that it WON’T be accepted are the empty seats you see in places like Ottawa, Miami, Phoenix

    • I’ll believe it when I see it… every year bad deals are thrown around and there are no signs of it stopping! Did it stop last year? Hello James!

  9. He still averaged 14k at the Ol’ rink in Kanata during this dreadful season with 2500 seats covered.

    those are “his” numbers.

  10. That average is helped immensely when the Leafs and Habs are the visitors – at least 5,000 from each fan base in the building.

    • When Arizona or Florida or Anaheim are in the building you can fire off a canon and probably not hit anyone

      • lol @ the canon analogy. I can tell you for certain that the last Leafs game there was a sea of blue. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was an 80-20 split that day with a random guy sitting 2 rows down from me in a McDavid jersey

  11. TSN reported Carolina traded Adam Fox to the Rangers for the Rangers 2019 round pick and 2020 third round pick which becomes a second round pick if Fox plays 30 games next year.

    • 2019 second round pick

      • Fox, A D at Harvard, said earlier in the past season that he had no interest in signing an entry-level deal with the Hurricanes. Probably after taking one look at that blueline depth. Be interesting to see if he now signs with the Rangers rather than go back for his senior year at Harvard. He must be a smart dude since you don’t get into Harvard simply by being able to lift weights or dunk a basketball or shoot a puck.

      • Hurricanes have another prospect, Jack Drury that is also at Harvard. Canes are pretty high on him.

        Canes now have picks 36 & 37 this year in addition to their own.

      • Good deal for both. I’m actually surprised canes got this much for him but also am disappointed the rangers ended up with a guy who would be disappointing not to be a top 4 d man in the league for so little.

      • George, not saying Fox isn’t a smart dude, just saying you don’t need to be an exceptional student to go to Harvard on a sports scholarship. Still takes some work and assistance to complete your degree so not a total free pass like some other schools/sports.
        You can also be a totally mediocre student and get in if Daddy drops a couple mil to donate to a new building.

    • Yup. Maybe they won’t be looking to trade for Trouba now.

    • Confusing deal (Ranger fan here)

      He committed to returning to school?

      I mean he has top pair potential so I am 10000% interested in this player

      • He was never going back to school that was posturing with Carolina. About to sign a contract with Rangers.

      • I think its a good trade for both teams.

      • @ GP if not returning good deal yes

      • A great depth add, not sure he’s a top pairing guy…. but….

        Prospects are prospects until they’re not. He was a 3rd round pick that was ranked 50th among North America players when he was drafted.
        I won’t be holding my breath waiting on him to be a 1-2.

        Still, a nice add. It seems Gorton is sticking to the plan.

      • Sneaky good deal for the Rags.
        I’ll take the return for the Canes as well.
        Pretty close to what is guessed weeks back.
        I think he’s gonna be a good one.

  12. Malkin for Subban??????

    • This is seriously consider though I’d go for a bit more and aim to get a forward back from Nash in exchange for one of Pitts extra d men. Maatta for…

      • From what I hear/read Nash wants forwards and is offering D. They are supposedly looking to dump Turris, hence the question of if Malkin/Subban works. No further rationale offered from me, not staking anything on this idea at all…..

      • Chrisms……i like your idea Matta for Turris?

    • Shoreorrpark, based on what?

      • Just what I’ve seen.
        He’s a new style defender.
        Flames were super high on him.
        I could be wrong, but I don’t think so on this one.


  13. Kris Letang and Phil Kessel are trade candidates too.

    • Speed Kills…yes Letang and Kessel are trade candidates too…But:

      I would trade Malkin first because he makes the most, is lazy, un-coachable and would get us a decent return.

      Letang had a good year until near the end when he resorted to old bad habits! Phil Kessel still had a lot of points not as many as last year but $6.8 vs Malkin’s $9.5 Ill take Kessel

  14. Better chance either Kris Letang or Phil Kessel gets traded before Evgeni Malkin.

  15. Funny how the descriptions of Malkin mirror those of Kessel in Toronto. I see Kessel being traded before Malkin.

    • Bc LEAF…malkin and Kessel are both moody little bitches…for sure..

      Kessel had more goals ,more points, less injured, and makes $6.8 to Malkins whopping $9.5… this is a no brainer here…at least Phil gets upset on the bench when things aren’t going great so he at least cares..malkin not so much

  16. Would MTL give up Drouin, McCarron and this years 1st for Malkin & say a bad contract like JJ?

    Would Pitts say yes just to be rid of JJ? lol

    • I would do that in a heartbeat.
      I don’t know much about McCarron but Drouin and a first for Malkin sounds fair.
      And if the Pens could throw in JJ too…. that would be magic again by GMJR😉

  17. Wouldn’t give the farm for a 33 year old making almost 10 million who scored 20 goals this year and was minus a million.