NHL Rumor Mill – May 13, 2019

by | May 13, 2019 | Rumors | 40 comments

Updates on Evgeni Malkin, Milan Lucic, Patrick Marleau, Matt Duchene, Jason Zucker, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports a couple of NHL executives who felt there was something to the Evgeni Malkin trade rumors now think the speculation will die down. They suggest the goal of Penguins management was to rattle Malkin’s cage. The long-time Penguins center had a disappointing season, and some believe he could’ve played better. 

Will the Evgeni Malkin trade rumors die down? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I didn’t put much stock in the Malkin trade speculation. It arose because general manager Jim Rutherford declined to say he wouldn’t shop the veteran center.

If Rutherford was serious about trading Malkin, finding a deal wouldn’t be easy. He has a full no-movement clause and can kill any trade. He also carries a hefty salary-cap hit ($9.5 million annually for three more seasons). The Penguins would set a high asking price, one most clubs would be reluctant to pay for a 32-year-old center.

I’m not suggesting Malkin can’t be traded. Such a move, however, would be difficult to achieve. 

Before the Edmonton Oilers hired Ken Holland as general manager, they considered buying out Milan Lucic’s contract if a workable trade couldn’t be found. The first four years will be expensive, but the cap hit drops to only $625K per season through the final four years. Friedman also said the Oilers’ asking price for Lucic was “unreasonable” a year ago. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates a Lucic buyout would result in a $3.625-million cap hit in 2019-20, jumping to $5.625 million in 2020-21, dropping to $4.125 million in 2021-22 and rising to $5.625 million in 2022-23.

Trading Lucic would be preferable to a buyout but he’ll have to be packaged with a significant sweetener. The other option is taking back a toxic contract that could be less painful to buy out, but that could prove easier said than done. 

Friedman points out an “odd quirk” in the contract of Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Patrick Marleau. His signing bonus is paid in two installments (July and December), which “adds a wrinkle” to any possible trade. He points out Marleau still controls his future. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Malkin, Marleau has a full no-movement clause. Maybe a club would be willing to take him off the Leafs’ hands after July 1, when the first installment of his signing bonus is paid, but only with his blessing.

The Columbus Blue Jackets will have about $30 million in salary-cap room for next season. Friedman wonders if they’ll use that to target cap-strapped clubs or take a more patient approach. Center Matt Duchene is a UFA this summer and is expected to keep his options open. The Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens could be interested in him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets are going to lose Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky to free agency on July 1. GM Jarmo Kekalainen mortgaged part of his club’s future to land Duchene. He’ll have nothing to show for his investment if Duchene follows Panarin and Bobrovsky out the door. Kekalainen could be forced to overpay to keep the center in Columbus. 

Friedman wonders what the future holds for Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon and winger Jason Zucker. Spurgeon, 30, is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Friedman claims there’s plenty of interest in the veteran blueliner, who is among the Wild’s few tradeable assets. He reminds us Zucker was nearly shipped to the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline and there’s always interest in scorers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Friedman that it would be surprising if Zucker returns with the Wild next season. GM Paul Fenton purged his roster of veterans he considered under-achievers in favor of younger, affordable talent. Zucker could be next.

As for Spurgeon, he reportedly wants to say in Minnesota and Fenton is keen to keep him. Much will depend, of course, on how expensive he’ll be to re-sign and for how long. 

Friedman wonders what Cale Makar’s arrival on the Colorado Avalanche means for Tyson Barrie. The latter is a year away from UFA eligibility and has come up in previous trade chatter. Friedman said they’ve indicated to interested teams that it’ll take a “hockey trade” to get him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie’s fate could also depend upon how costly he’ll be to re-sign. GM Joe Sakic could attempt to re-sign him to an extension this summer. If Barrie proves too expensive to retain, Sakic could entertain trade offers. 

It’s assumed the Winnipeg Jets will lose defenseman Tyler Myers to the UFA market. However, Friedman suggests that’ll depend upon whether they trade Jacob Trouba and what they get in return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With restricted free agents Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine in line for significant raises, the Jets can’t afford to re-sign Trouba and Myers. If they get a return of affordable young talent in return for Trouba, they could keep Myers in the fold. His asking price will also be a determining factor. Anything north of $6 million annually could be too expensive.

Friedman wondered how the Vegas Golden Knights will get under the salary cap for 2019-20. Defenseman Colin Miller fell out of favor and could be available but Vegas won’t be giving him away. Friedman feels there could be interest in Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights have no choice but to “give away” a salaried player or two to free up sufficient cap room. Cap Friendly indicates their projected salary-cap hit is over $82.3 million for 2019-20. Karlsson is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. If they intend on re-signing him, they must shed salary.

They’ll get some cap relief by placing permanently sidelined David Clarkson ($5.25 million) on long-term injury reserve. However, they can’t do that until the start of the season. They could try to trade his dead cap space by bundling his rights with a draft pick or prospect to a budget-minded club that must reach the cap minimum. Miller’s been mentioned as a trade candidate, as well as center Cody Eakin. 

The Vancouver Canucks will explore all possibilities regarding their blueline. It’s possible only one of Alex Edler, Ben Hutton and/or Chris Tanev return next season. 

Friedman said the New York Islanders are working away at getting pending UFA center Brock Nelson under contract.


  1. Absurd when people say Makar supplants Barrie. You keep both! Avs have an awesome blue line group. They’re spending to the minimum. Not room enough for both? Some scribes create scenarios that don’t exist.

    • It is the classic Barrie is gone before his final year because we don’t thick the Ads can afford his exorbitant

    • Avs have am impressive group of young D , Makar, Girard, Timmins (if & when healthy ) supported by a very good group of vets Barrie , Cole, Johnson. If anyone gets moved this off season I could see it being Zadorov if the return is right. With the talent coming in his ice time will be cut back.

    • Yeah, I agree. Why not keep both. I don’t know why hockey people think that a rookie can replace a top pairing d-man all the time. The potential is there in the rookie, but it will take at least a couple of seasons for him to get close to a top pairing d-man.

  2. Rattle his cage? Kinda a hollow threat dontcha think?

  3. Maybe after years of playing second fiddle to Crosby Malkin would jump at a chance to be the star.

    • We can only hope malkin will jump at the chance to be the star…he wont

      He is happy being the second banana behind Sid…he has no pressure.

      Doesn’t have to do interviews…can barely speak English after 12 /13 seasons.. he would be held more accountable if he was the number one guy.

      i love geno but its time to move on from him while we can..he has no heart or drive….talent yes

      • I think he’s awesome.
        Just a poor year.
        The Pens core have played more hockey than anyone else this decade.
        I’d bet they’re just fatigued from playing an extra season+ of hockey since they’ve been together.
        I really don’t think GMJR will move on from a superstar of Malkin’s ilk unless he gets an absurd return.
        He’s still an elite, game changing center.

  4. lost in all of the Media shaming of Lucic is his full no trade. I wonder if local media hopes he’ll keep hearing it/reading it and then decide he doesn’t want to play with the best player on the planet. Sure Edmonton is in that weird “middle part” of Canada nobody wants to talk about, (Chris Pronger’s wife) but maybe he likes it there. I’ll be shocked if he’s moved.

    What he should be doing is re-inventing himself with Gary Roberts over the summer so he’s not embarrassing himself during his 4 minutes per night.

    speaking of embarrassing……the short list of names for the Senators head coaching job. Why not just interview Kory Clouston, Paul McLean while you’re at it…………lol..Rick Bowness…..omg you know you’re at the bottom of the barrel.

    • They may be handicapped by how many actually want the job. Would you take a job in an organization that is as dysfunctional as the sens have been over the last year?

      • First off, there are only 31 head coaching jobs in the NHL so don’t kid yourself, there are a lot of people out there who would jump at the chance in Ottawa – especially right now when nothing much is expected of them over the next 2 seasons except perceived improvement and with the good kids they have in now – and the ones in the pipe – the only way is up.

        Secondly, why slough off Bowness as if he was some schmuck who hasn’t built a wealth of experience through associate duties with Vancouver (6 trips to the playoffs), 5 years as an assistant in TB and this past season as an assistant in Dallas. The last time he was in Ottawa was in their expansion years when they handed him a pile of crap with lipstick.

      • George, yes, people wants head coaching jobs but who’s to say they wouldn’t just want to stay in their current roles where they are seeing stable ownership and a better work environment?
        “there are a lot of people out there who would jump at the chance in Ottawa – especially right now when nothing much is expected of them over the next 2 seasons ” what you are saying there is that the coach has an inbuilt excuse for not doing well – is that what you would want for someone who shapes the future for your team?
        There are tons of candidates but Ottawa isn’t landing an elite coach – which is what my first post indicated

      • Now you’re putting words in my mouth. Clearly what I mean by that is, who thinks Ottawa will be back into contention inside 2 years? Not many. What Dorion WILL expect to see, however, is continuing improvement game to game, week to week, month to month in all aspects of the game. Realistically he can’t ask for more than that, so basically they are back to where they were when Jacques Martin first took over in Ottawa. A learning curve.

        And nobody ever expected them to land an “elite” coach – whatever the hell that means (unless you mean one who demands top dollar based on the ultimate success upwards of a decade ago. If so, who wants them if you have a team that needs teaching?

    • Dark G, re Lucic, he is in great physical condition. Always been strong enough, and last off season he spent time getting lighter and faster. Did he? Hard to say as he will never be a speed demon.
      What he said himself is that he normally doesn’t spend much time on the ice during the summer. That blew my mind when you consider he fumbles the puck around constantly and can’t give or take a pass consistently. Perhaps more time on the ice with a skills coach might be a better idea this summer Milan?
      Not sure what you mean by weird “middle part” of Canada and Chris Pronger’s wife?
      If you are gonna get into why his wife wanted out of Edmonton rumors, you may want to start with with what Mr Pronger was up to cause that. Not sure if it was true, but folks in these parts sure seem to think so.

  5. Seem to be lots of possibilities this summer for player movement. As a Leaf fan, I hope they take note of some of the options, including dealing Nylander, maybe in a package for some genuine D help and some grit…signing Marner is only one piece of what they will need to do and the questions about Dubas ability to turn this team into a genuine contender, not just first round mush, will continue until things take shape.

  6. I don’t think the leafs are first round mush , I don’t see anybody else knocking out the Bruins yet.Might as well forget about Marleau going anywhere he is not. In 2016 they were last. The last 3 years they have been in the playoffs. That’s an improvement. The marlies have 4 defensemen under 22 playing big minutes in the playoffs. 2 are still junior aged. The Shanahan plan is working be patient. Will have to develop within.

  7. Shorepark….you are correct Malkin is awesome. Geno is super talented, an amazing talent, but he just doesn’t have that drive that Ovechkin, Crosby, Kane and all those guys have..

    He is moody and inconsistent

    he was -25 84 turnovers 89 penalty minutes…

    You may be right the core has played a lot of hockey this decade…

    • Not sure what was up with Malkin this year, but he sure used to have drive.
      It’s not like he was just along for the ride when they won 3 cups, Conn Smythe award and all.
      Methinks he won’t like this talk about moving him, there has to be some professional pride with a guy who has been that good for this long.
      Whatever the issue is with the coach or whatever/whoever, there is a solution to the problem. Just need to communicate and figure it out.
      Unless this is something crazy like what happened in OTT with Karlsson and his wife, they should be a be to work it out.

      • I don’t understand why you don’t hear Ron Francis name out there when teams are looking for a G.M or somebody to stock pile talent. Unfortunately he isn’t getting the credit he deserves for building the Hurricanes. Right now that franchise is the only one playing in the 3rd round of the playoffs in 3 leagues. NHL, AHL and ECHL

      • Vinnie,

        Maybe Rutherford will retire and Ron Francis will replace him.

    • blackngold: I don’t buy the “too tired” hypothesis. I’ve seen people finish marathons exhausted, and then return to run again the next year. If the effects of fatigue were cumulative even after rest periods, gyms and workouts to build strength and stamina would cease to exist.

      Hockey players play, maybe, 20-25 minutes a game for 82 games. That adds up to a work year so short that they have enough energy to play golf the day after the NHL season ends, or to play for their national teams a few weeks after the NHL season ends. If Pens players are still tired from work they did 3 years ago, they should all have contracts with no-movement clauses.

  8. I thought there were complications with Francis in that he has part ownership of the team and that has not been settled with the new owner….Also thought I read there plans to resolve this complication over the summer.

    I am old & sometimes my memory and imagination interchange information without my knowledge or approval.

    • Thanks OBD for the info , I didn’t know that. You’re not the only one that is old. lol. Me too. That has to be it , otherwise surely someone would grab him

  9. Is there a chance that Malkin might follow the path of Ryan Miller, and allow himself to be traded to a team where his wife could advance her career and they could live together happily ever after? I’ve read that Malkin’s wife is a Russian TV celebrity. Perhaps, she would be better off in New York than in Russia. Would Malkin make a nice Islander or Ranger, or even a Devil?

    • IF Pittsburgh would only take Lias Andersson, Vesey & a low 1st….sure =)

      • Ihc,

        Absolutely no chance ny is making that deal. Gorton doesn’t seem to be steering the ship off a cliff. If Malkin isn’t getting it done behind Crosby, he certainly isn’t getting it done behind or in front of Zibanejad..

        And no way NY should even consider trading Andersson and any 1st.

        Hard to judge his talent when he’s playing 7 minutes a night with Cody McLeod….

    • Malkin has been a terrific player over the years. But he’s also one of the most injured players in that same timeframe .

      I certainly don’t see either NY team or NJ having interest in a 33 year old player that looks to be in the start of what will more than likely be a heavy decline/ fall off a cliff with 3 years left at a 9.5 cap hit.

      I also don’t see any team handing over young talented assets for the same reasons listed above. I think the bridge deals are going the way of the dodo bird. And teams will have to start considering this when trading for older , declining talent.

      • Think they should just make him the 2 C behind Zib and followed by Howden? Give him Kakko and Kratsov as his wingers? Move Kreider with Howden and Chytil with Zib & Buch?

      • I think Strome played pretty well down the stretch. He deserves a shot at 2c. Play howden 3c and let Andersson develop in the Ahl playing significant 1st line minutes , pp, pk. And revisit it for injuries, if Strome fails, or next year.

        Way too early to pull the plug on a guy that hasn’t really been given a chance.

        This team was eliminated from playoff contention game 75? Not 35-50. Stay on the path. Fox, Kravtov, Kakko (or hughes) Shestyorkin coming….

        A 33 yo center with that term, that $$$, and that injury history is not the answer to their prayers.

        Duchene, or Panarin cost money, not assets. Not sure I want them to take that path either . But certainly don’t want to give up assets for Malkin.

    • Frank….He would make a nice ranger…. Chris Kreider +

      no to the islanders no to the devils..

  10. @George would you consider trading Ceci and pick or prospect to TML for Nylander to give you depth upfront since the backend seems fairly deep?

    • YES!

  11. blackngold & pengy

    how about your beloved JJ & Hornqvist to EDM for Lucic? do ya go for it? lol

    • No thanks…
      Hornqvist is still a usefull (overpaid) player with 37 points in 69 games.
      And just look at capfriendly’s buyout calculator how low JJs caphit would.

      • Juss 76…agreed hornqvist had an off tear still had 18 goals and was injured a lot..off to a strong start for team Sweden..yes overpaid but still slid…

    • I hate Crosby..
      Hell to the no….:) 🙂 Hornqvist inst going anywhere!

      2 goals for Sweden at the IHF’s he had an off year Lucic sucks…how did he get so bad so fast he used to be decent Lucic????

  12. What exactly is a “hockey trade”?

    • Usually when you see that phrase it refers to a deal that’s seen to benefit both team equally but from different needs.

      • Thank you.

    • James a hockey trade..is player for player. no picks players to be named later etc