NHL Rumor Mill – April 8, 2019

by | Apr 8, 2019 | Rumors | 34 comments

An update on Connor McDavid and Jeff Skinner plus the latest on the Canadiens and Rangers in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


NBC SPORTS: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid shot down trade speculation that arose from his recent comments expressing his frustration over the club’s performance and lack of overall improvement. He said he wanted to be part of the solution and if he didn’t want to be in Edmonton he wouldn’t have signed an eight-year contract. 

Oilers captain Connor McDavid shoots down speculation he might want out of Edmonton (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That won’t stop some in the media from trying to read into McDavid’s comments and body language for proof of growing unhappiness in Edmonton and perhaps a desire to be traded.

Everyone knows the Oilers are a mess right now and need probably at least two or three years of proper management and coaching to turn things around. Of course, McDavid’s going to be frustrated and upset over the club’s regression in the last two years. Yes, the Oilers risk wasting the best seasons of his career. But that doesn’t mean McDavid wants out at this point or the Oilers intend to shop him this year.

Unless McDavid demands a trade, and we’ll hear it if he does as someone will probably leak that news, the Oilers aren’t moving him. They’ll continue trying to build around McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.  


GLOBAL NEWS: Brian Wilde believes it’s time for the Montreal Canadiens to spend on talent after three seasons of leaving $10 million in salary-cap space on the board. “Compete, for god’s sake,” he implored. “Spend some money!” 

Wild points out several quality players available via free agency this summer, including Columbus left wing Artemi Panarin and center Matt Duchene, San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson and Toronto blueliner Jake Gardiner. He urges the Habs to pursue one of those players, even if it means overpaying to compensate for Quebec’s high taxes. Other suggested options include Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner, Nashville’s Wayne Simmonds, the Islanders’ Anders Lee, Dallas’ Mats Zuccarello, Carolina’s Micheal Ferland or Columbus’ Ryan Dzingel. 

He suggested the Habs get creative by attempting to sign Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point or Toronto’s Mitch Marner to an offer sheet. He also believes they should try to move underachieving winger Jonathan Drouin and move on from Antti Niemi, Jordie Benn, Nicolas Deslauriers, and Jordan Weal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens must bolster their left-side defense, their backup goaltending, and their scoring depth. However, they should be careful about how they invest that cap space.

If there’s a chance Panarin or Karlsson will come to Montreal, it’s certainly worth exploring. Duchene is a skilled center and it’s rumored the Habs looked into acquiring him at the trade deadline. Perhaps there’s a fit there. Skinner or Lee would also be worthwhile.

Just because Simmonds, Zuccarello or Ferland could be available doesn’t mean they’re worth the investment. Simmonds has slowed significantly since his pelvic surgery last year. Zuccarello turns 32 in September and his best seasons are probably behind him. Ferland could seek Tom Wilson moneyGardiner possesses terrific offensive skills but his well-publicized defensive breakdowns can be troubling.

As for offer sheets, the targeted player has to be willing to sign one. Point or Marner could prefer staying with their respective teams.

Bergevin could also look at making trades to improve the roster. He’s got a good recent record in that regard, bringing in Max Domi and Tomas Tatar last year. Maybe Drouin could be dangled as a trade chip, though it wouldn’t surprise me if the Habs GM remains patient with the 24-year-old forward. 


WGR 550: Paul Hamilton reports Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill acknowledged his club relied too much on Jeff Skinner, Jack Eichel, and Sam Reinhart for the bulk of their offense. He stressed his club will continue developing their young players and will look for additional scoring depth. Botterill said there’s still a real possibility Skinner, an unrestricted free agent in July, will re-sign with the Sabres. 

THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl suggested a fair contract for Skinner would be an eight-year, $64-million deal ($8 million annual average value). However, Mark Stone’s eight-year, $76-million contract with the Vegas Golden Knights ($9.5 million AAV) could have an effect upon Skinner’s negotiations with the Sabres. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Skinner holds all the leverage with the Sabres. Yes, his production declined over the second half of the season, but he still tallied a career-high 40 goals, has terrific chemistry with Eichel and expressed a willingness to stay in Buffalo.

He also knows the Sabres could be desperate to retain him. Don’t be surprised if he gets an offer from the Sabres similar to Stone’s contract. 


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes Rangers GM Jeff Gorton will make Columbus winger Artemi Panarin his primary target in this summer’s UFA market. He believes Panarin could command at least $11 million annually on a seven-year contract.

Brooks also thinks Gorton and his staff will have to reach a decision on winger Chris Kreider, who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. If they don’t believe he’s worth re-signing, Brooks advocates trading him this summer rather than bringing him back as a rental property to be moved at next year’s trade deadline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing really new here from Brooks but it’s still worth keeping in mind as the Rangers head into the offseason. I agree with him that the Rangers must make a decision one way or the other with Kreider. If they’re going to keep him, get him re-signed this summer to a contract extension. If not, put him on the trade block by the NHL Draft weekend in June and get the best possible return. 


  1. Why get rid of Weal?? I thought he did quite well in Montreal

    • agreed Weal fit in nicely with the Habs , Trading Drouin , sure , but his value is low now. Started off gangbusters and then evaporated.

    • The only reason to move Weal would be to make room for the other centres on the team: Kk, Domi, Danault, and now Poehling. Habs could persue Duchene, too. They could move Kk and or Domi to the wing but then they would have to move a winger. In the end, I think they will evaluate how much sense it makes to move players around just to keep Weal. I liked his game, though. It could be worth keeping him…

    • Agreed on what has been said so far. Two thoughts: 1) if a trade offer of Mete with Drouin and some or all of our 2nd rd picks this year would tempt the Ducks into giving up Fowler? (big assumption he is ok with the trade). 2)Assuming Drouin stays, he looked great playing with Domi. Domi’s work ethic seemed to rub off on Drouin. Put KK in between the two? I wonder if that would work. worth a try I think.

  2. “Does McDavid want out of Edmonton” = sure-fire attention-grabbing article. Get used to it. When the Oilers are going bad or the writer needs some material to fulfill a column contract, you can bet dollars to stale donuts that that will be a favourite from now on.

  3. If NYR is going to be a top team next yr. the must make significant moves to do so. NEED GRADE A TALENT

    Sign Panarin & Karlsson

    trade for top center ..RNH ,Karlson in Vegas come to mind ,But a Grade A talent … If Dallas crashes how bout TYLER SEGUIN .. it will take over payment but we have it in picks & prospects

    Need to move Shatty ,Smith Namestikov,may eat sum $$ but will save in cap now & later .

    Trade may include Krieder,Lias Andersen,Pionk ,Shey, to get grade A center ,trade may include most except the NEW CORE

    Zbad , Buchny,Lemeuix,Chtyl,….
    guys like Howden , Vesey, Strome , Boo, unless pkg’d to get said top center are part of core , but guys above aint goin

    Goal with Hank is to get him a shot at cup NOW …OR
    do you trade him to get a top scorer or D man if grade A talent for him….

    Prospects soon : Kravtov , Shesteryorkin, Rykov?all could be coming to N A next season, with time to acclimate to NHL they could be factors on team

    Love Georgiev … pkg him to max out his value , with pedigree like Shesteryorkin coming either trade him or keep & unprotect for Seattle draft coming…

    W e have a shot at being back in top team air next yr , I believe creative pkging with our talents & willing to give to get or slighly over pay with an extra pick or something we can be a force & give HANK his last 2 yrs back or move him , so sad to see him so dejected and lost looking , whats that expression for a paper capt . or capt with no value … Capt Dumas ? anyway i want HAnk & team to get off the rebuild & get back to prominence … L G R

    D is Karlssons to build around with a slew of kids coming
    From Shey ,DAngelo,Pionk (only 3 to keep from this yr )
    depend on which get traded
    Hajek & Lindgren are starters next season, they both remind me of how Girardi just stepped in and played like he belonged …10 + yrs later we will say the same about those 2

    • Wow.

    • I don’t see NY signing , Karlsson and Panarin. Personally, I don’t think they sign either. Hank has made it clear, he’s going nowhere. Shattenkirk, Smith are going nowhere… not without serious retention being held. They’re already on the hook for 4.5 million in dead cap space between Girardi buyout and Spooners retention. Plus Beleskeys dead space.

      They have Buchnevich, Pionk, Deangelo, and Lemieux to deal with as RFA’s.

      Georgiev isn’t going anywhere. Shestyorkin hasn’t even signed a contract yet, they’re not moving him without any backup plan.
      Andersson is WAY too early to bail on. He has 50+ games of NHL experience. Averaging 6-7 minutes a game on the 4th line with guys like McLeod…..

  4. I think NYR would be better off signing a center (Duchene) than a winger.

    It would be silly to trade Kreider for draft picks and prospects. NYR stacked themselves with that already.

    If Kreider is traded it will need to be for a solid top 4 dman. Possibly Klefbom or Larsson from Oilers as they are seeking a winger?

    • Bad idea signing old forwards to long deals. Duchene at age 33-35 won’t be worth the money.

  5. I was on a ny site yesterday and people are already unjustifiably calling for Gortons head to roll.
    I can’t imagine what they’d do if Kreider is traded.

    One year into a rebuild, and you’d think they were waiting for 10 years for things to turn around!

    • Well, being a fan of a city where “rebuild” has typically meant going out and buying the 3 or 4 best free agents on the market (especially the Yankees) will cause casual fans to have different expectations.

      With that said, I think Gorton has done a terrific job and easily won several trades. They’ll be contenders in a couple of years.

  6. Montreal’s unused cap space has been an “issue” with some from the very start. I don’t know Panarin well enough to know if he is worth it or fits the team but living in Toronto I know that Jake Gardiner is not a fit for the Habs or any team not already deep on the blue line. He’s a nice to have weapon to put you over the top, not a piece you build into your foundation. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Bergevin continues with his hockey trades and doesn’t rush based on the Weber-Price window closing.

    • Mayne sign Hayes for a net front presence on the power play

    • Don’t agree on Gardiner – he’s just the most visible player sometimes. If Toronto lets him go, which is likely, he’ll have plenty of teams interested in him and don’t be shocked if Montreal is one of them.

      • I also think Detroit will be very interested in Gardiner.

      • I won’t be shocked … just not happy. Montreal hasn’t finished laying a foundation … sticking with my opinion that Gardiner is a finishing piece. That’s not a knock against him … just an opinion of what he brings and what Mtl. needs.

  7. This Brian Wilde guy sounds like the old Brooksie. Throwing pasta at the wall to see what sticks. What a jackass.
    Gordon should give Kreider his due. He means a lot to that team. Don’t play games.
    My team would take J. Drouin anytime!

  8. Boughner fired Coach Q hired
    Housley fired new coach ???
    Desjardins not rehired as coach new coach possibly McLellan
    Nicholson having a press conference to possibly fire Howson and Mactavish and announces price jumps at the concessions for continued poor performances by the CEO!!!

  9. I dont get the fascination for Micheal Ferland. He’s a 40 points guy. 17 goals last year. There’s NOTHING impressive about him. Third liner at best. Fourth liner on a good team.

  10. OK,since we’ve all come across like experts at times, let’s see who has the real pulse of the playoffs – predict the outcome of each opening series (Lyle, please jump in if you wish)

    TB vs Columbus – TB in 6
    Pitt vs NYI – Pitt in 6
    Nash vs Dallas – Nash in 5
    Winnipeg vs St. Louis – St. Louis in 7
    SJ vs Vegas – Vegas in 5

    Calgary vs Colorado – Calgary in 5
    Washington vs Carolina – Washington in 6
    Toronto vs Boston – Boston in 5

    • TB vs Columbus – TB in 6
      Pitt vs NYI – Pitt in 7
      Nash vs Dallas – Nash in 6
      Wiinnipeg vs St Louis – Winnipeg in 6
      SJ vs Vegas – SJ in 7
      Calgary vs Colorado – Calgary in 5
      Washington vs Carolina – Washington in 5
      Toronto vs Boston – Toronto in 7

      I think Carolina has a remote possibility to win the series if Washington only averages 1 power play per game.

    • TB vs Columbus – TB in 5
      Pitt vs NYI – Pitt in 6
      Nash vs Dallas – Nash in 7
      Winnipeg vs St. Louis – Winn in 6
      SJ vs Vegas – SJ in 6

      Calgary vs Colorado – Calgary in 5
      Washington vs Carolina – Washington in 4
      Toronto vs Boston – Boston in 7

    • TB CBJ: TB in 5
      WC CH:!wc in 6
      NYI PP:!NYI in 6
      Bruin in 6

      Calgary CA: Calgary in 6
      NP vs DS:: NP in 7
      SlB be wJ: SLB in 6
      SJS vs VG: SJS in 5

    • Lots of folks going the safe route.
      Always an upset in RD 1 so gonna stick my neck out and take the Avs.
      TB vs Columbus – TB in 6
      Pitt vs NYI – Pitt in 7
      Nash vs Dallas – Nash in 6
      Winnipeg vs St. Louis – WPG in 6
      SJ vs Vegas – Vegas in 6
      Calgary vs Colorado – COL in 6
      Washington vs Carolina – Washington in 5
      Toronto vs Boston – Boston in 7

    • TB vs Columbus – TB 5
      NYI vs Pit – NYI 7
      Nash vs Dal – Nash 4
      St Louis vs Winnipeg – Peg 6
      SJ vs LV – LV 5
      Calgary vs Colorado – Calgary 5
      Wash vs Car – Wash 6
      Tor vs Bos – Tor 7

  11. Next year will be Skinner’s 10th NHL season and he will play for his 5th new NHL coach, unless he signs with Winnipeg or Calgary, which isn’t likely. Makes me wonder if Buffalo’s coaching decision will impact his decision to sign with Buffalo.

    • I think besides the coaching decision it will also matter on what moves Botterill makes to improve secondary scoring. I’d say Botterill needs to add a second line center and a scoring winger. Maybe sign one of Duchene or Hayes for starters

  12. I would like to see the NYR look into building a 2nd line of scoring thru FA.

    Shift Kreider to the 3rd line and slot Chytl to 1st line LW.
    They really need center with more NHL experience to center their 2nd line.

    new 2nd line

    extras Lemieux & Nieves or Lemieux & Vesey

    Building a solid 2nd line will alleviate some of Zib’s defensive assignments….
    Bringing Kreider down to play with Howden and Strome gives them speed and some real offense to that line. Also some physical play.

    Rolling these lines will allow the ability to roll solid 4 lines.

    Key is building that 2nd line. Chtyl, Andersson & Howden are definitely not ready for 2nd line duty.

    • Buying a whole 2nd line is obviously the easiest thing for s gm to do. No duh.

      • Always appreciate the kind remarks

        The challenge is cost and who.

        ANA needs cap relief…does Henrique fit the bill ad what would he cost? Sending a Vesey and a low pick? Think his term is a bit much though.

        Perhaps seeing what other cap strapped teams. Perhaps even EDM ….sending pick and prospect for RNH? Maybe Kreider for RNH. Gives NYR a solid #2 center. NYR have plenty of young wingers, some of whom are learning the center role.

        Would this make sense for both sides?
        to EDM : Kreider, Vesey, Letteiri, Smith & pick
        to NYR : Larsson & RNH

      • Kreider scjej for those two makes more sense.

  13. No player is signing an offer sheet or free agent deal to play in Montreal.

    • Disagree. Penner signed one to play in Edmonton. So it is possible.