NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2019

by | May 15, 2019 | Rumors | 77 comments

Latest on the Oilers and Avalanche plus an update on Rasmus Ristolainen in today’s NHL rumor mill.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson examined the roster options facing Ken Holland in his first summer as general manager of the Edmonton Oilers. He anticipates Holland will attempt to trade winger Milan Lucic, though he understands he’s dealing from a position of weakness.

Matheson doesn’t believe Lucic will be bought out. He notes that a buyout “would be $3.625 million next season, then $5.625 mil, then $4.125 mil, then $5.625 mil, with only the final four years ($625,000) making it worthwhile.”  Holland could be forced to absorb part of Lucic’s $6-million annual average value, as well as include a young defenseman like Ethan Bear.

Can the Edmonton Oilers find a taker for Milan Lucic this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

Matheson also mused over the future of struggling winger Jesse Puljujarvi. He wondered if Holland might look at moving him to Winnipeg or Carolina because he played with Patrik Laine and Sebastian Aho in junior. Matheson also suggested looking into acquiring winger Nikolaj Ehlers from the Jets. Ehlers will earn $6 million annually for six more years.

Matheson pondered what the future might hold for defenseman Adam Larsson. If the Toronto Maple Leafs were to come calling by offering up Andreas Johnsson, he wondered if Holland would listen. He suggested the Oilers GM should look at acquiring a “1A goaltender” and re-signing free-agent winger Alex Chiasson. He should also figure out where Andrej Sekera fits on their blueline and shop for depth via trade or free agency.

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently suggested Holland target the Tampa Bay Lightning for a scoring forward. The Lightning has too many forwards and can’t afford to retain them all. Tyler Johnson could be available. The Florida Panthers might make winger Mike Hoffman available if they sign Columbus Blue Jackets Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky via free agency. Affordable UFA options could include San Jose’s Joonas Donskoi or Vegas’ Brandon Pirri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples suggested Lucic’s physical style could still prove tempting to a rival GM. Maybe a change of scenery will help him regain his scoring touch. Lucic has a no-movement clause but could waive it for the right club. Staples suggests it’s possible to make that move without having to absorb half of Lucic’s cap hit. He proposed the Vancouver Canucks as an option. They could take back a contract of an underperforming player like Loui Eriksson or Brandon Sutter.

Those scenarios would likely involve including a good young player, a top prospect, or a quality draft pick. Still, there’s no certainty the Canucks or any other club will bite. Holland will have to get creative and the return likely won’t provide immediate help for the Oilers.

Holland could be patient with Puljujarvi, hoping he recovers well from recent hip surgery and thrives under a new head coach. It wouldn’t be surprising, however, if he quietly gauges the young winger’s value in the trade market leading up to next month’s draft. 

The Jets could be forced to shed salary to re-sign Laine, Kyle Connor, and either Jacob Trouba or Tyler Myers. They might be willing to move Ehlers as a cost-cutting measure. However, the Oilers would have to dump salary themselves before taking on Ehler’s contract. Larsson’s status could depend upon what Holland intends to do with Sekera.

As for potential trade targets, I don’t expect Johnson will be available because of his full no-trade clause. J.T. Miller seems a more likely option as he lacks no-trade protection until July 1. If the Panthers sign Panarin and Bobrovsky they could look at moving Hoffman, but he’s got a 10-team no-trade list and might veto a move to Edmonton. 


THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers reported on the Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic’s season-ending press conference. Sakic prefers re-signing restricted free agent Mikko Rantanen to a long-term contract. However, he has no issue doing a short-term deal if that’s what the winger and his agent want. Sakic also plans to use his two first-round picks (fourth and 16th overall) in next month’s NHL Draft but would entertain offers to move up or down in the draft order.

Sakic expects veteran goaltender Semyon Varlamov will test this summer’s UFA market. He also intends to be “more aggressive” in this summer’s free-agent market. “We already have targeted players in mind if they become available that we’re going to want to talk to about joining our club, ” said Sakic.

Chambers believes the Avalanche could acquire a top-six forward by shopping defenseman Tyson Barrie, who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. He notes the Avs have three promising young right-handed rearguards in Samuel Girard, Cale Makar, and Conor Timmons, though the latter missed this season with a concussion. Sakic spoke highly of Barrie, adding he’d be comfortable with Barrie, Girard, and Makar starting next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Avalanche have over $47.7 million invested in 14 players. Sakic has plenty of room to re-sign key free agents like Rantanen and make some additions via trades or free agency. I anticipate the Avs will be a better team next season. 

Regardless of the length of Rantanen’s next contract, he’ll have the highest annual cap hit. He could get as much as $9 million per season.

If Varlamov departs, I expect Sakic will try to bring in an experienced backup for Philipp Grubauer. I don’t see Barrie getting traded. Makar and Timmons are promising but expecting them to immediately replace an experienced blueliner like Barrie would be folly. 

With the promising young Avs on the rise, Sakic could entice a good second-line scorer via free agency to join them. He could also use one of his first-round picks to acquire a secondary scorer via trade, though I expect he’ll keep those. 



  1. Is Larsson any better than Zaitsev? Zaitsev had a solid first round against the Bruins. Perhaps Edmonton can get a forward+Zaitsev for Larsson from the Leafs

    • What forward would entice Holland to relinquish Larsson? It would have to be a good one because if, as you intimate, Larsson is no better than Zaitsev, what would be the point of the trade unless that F was something Holland thinks would improve his team?

      • Always hard to gauge when the team is a tire fire. Larsson wouldn’t be top D on other teams so chances of flourishing are far higher.. That being said, from a Leafs perspective salaries are almost the same, why do the deal?

      • @ George- I was thinking pre-coffee and felt if the Leafs are interested in Larsson…why when Zaitsev is same level but if they save 2 million plus with a swap of these D and add a sweetener it make sense for the Leafs and the Oilers.
        Toronto needs to watch every dollar now and the Oilers need something

    • Solid first round ?
      0 points , -3 , not playing bruins top line exclusively and big part of the P.K. , which was horrible . Which part was strong ? He survived , which for zaitsev is a pass . Larsson had a terrible year but is a better d man with no stick than zaitsev . Larsson needs a healthy klefbom or partner alike to take on top role , when he doesn’t have that he struggles .

      • @ Craig. Were any of the PPG from Zaitsev coverage issues? Don’t get the hate for him besides being overpaid as a 2nd pair D which seems to be the way of the NHL

      • He was a part of the P.K. , I’m sure he was a factor in his share , minimum . What exactly was strong about his play DS ?

      • Not just coverage , did he blow a clearing attempt ? Turnover leading to extended shift ? Many factors lead to goals , he was just as guilty as the rest of the unit on the P.K. , not sure what else was strong about his play , offence or defence

      • Have to respectfully disagree. Zaitsev was solid in the first round. The only issue is his salary. He was overpaid by a million or more and that is where the hate comes from. The Bruins are a very good hockey club and he and his partner held their own. In fact he laid out some nice hits.
        Forget his salary and look at his play. He is a useful Dman. Once silly season comes, his pay might not look as bad either

      • First of all I do wish this generation would cease and desist with the “hate” tag when people are offering opinions that don’t match those who like to toss that around.

        Secondly, IF Holland decides to offer Larsson on the trade market you can bet there will be far better offers than an overpaid Zaitsev and some nebulous forward .

      • Zaitsev is not even close to larsson that’s just leaf lovers way overrating him, zaitsev shouldn’t be in the nhl and he is locked into a bad contract for the leafs.

    • Larsson is a plus 16 career in almost 500 games between NJ and Edmonton . Two teams that were heavy heavy negative over that span . Zaitsev is -12 playing for the leafs the last 3 years who were a heavy positive combined . They score at almost the same rate . Playoffs both played 18 games, larsson 7 points -1 , zaitsev 2 points -10 . Defensive ratings not even in the same ballpark .

      • Craig, you obviously didn’t watch any of the games and I would appreciate you not talking about stuff you don’t know anything about with respect to Zaitsev. He was solid and most of the goals he was on for were blown coverages elsewhere. Please don’t use stats to talk about players you don’t watch.

      • Then keep him.

      • If you were to stick to your advise Trekkie you would have to stop posting lol . Zaitsev and muzzin were -9 combined with 2 points , and zaitsev was part of the P.K. break down the goals further and you will find more than a blown coverage is responsible for a goal . Turnover before , failed clear , bad read , leading to extended zone time , he was as responsible as the group for the P.K. , didn’t contribute anything offensively and he and partner -9 . Again I ask what was strong Trekkie ?

      • The leaf nation eye test ? Which reads gold on any and all player / prospect not in a contract dispute/ negotiation?

    • It would be a steal if the Leafs could get Adam Larsson for Johnson/Kapanen + Zaitsev. Larsson had one bad year, but he’s able to log 20+ minutes per game in a shut down role. And he has a very good cap hit of $4,166,666 for two more years.

      • George, what hate tag are you referring to and your comment ‘then just keep him” alluded to much the same thing.? I have no issue keeping Zaitsev. I like his game alot and have made comments many times on this board around that. Babcock loves him and says so very often – his opinion is all that matter to me on the player.

        If Edmonton is looking for a forward, they may be willing to offer up Larsson. I would love to have Larsson. Someone commented about that he isn’t a 1-2 guy. He absolutely would be on a majority of teams in the NHL. I’m also not suggesting the Leafs would get him, but the reality of the Leafs cap situation is we can’t fit Larsson unless Zaitsev goes and I would absolutely agree that Larsson is a much better player then Zaitsev.

      • Craig, if you want my comments, you won’t get any more as I have stated, you didn’t watch the games. I know you’re an Edmonton supported as I’ve seen you post before and I’m certain you and I have not seen eye-to-eye very often.

        I don’t post on players or situations I didn’t watch. I have no idea why you feel compelled to post on Zaitsev’s playoff performance when you didn’t watch any of the games. That’s my feedback to you – have a nice day.

      • Trekkie I did watch lol . I ask for a third time . What was strong ?
        He and muzzin -9 in 7 games combined , played a big role on the P.K. , which was the biggest weakness , contributed 0 points , 2 assists combined with muzzin . Weak in the corners and first pass , 3 takeaways , 11 giveaways . Where was he strong trek ? Leaf nation eye test ? When you can answer than question I’ll believe you watched the series .

      • Quoting Mats above “He was overpaid by a million or more and that is where the hate comes from. ”

        “Then keep him” refers to anyone suggesting the Leafs deal what they consider a solid D – again referring to Mats who wrote “Have to respectfully disagree. Zaitsev was solid in the first round. The only issue is his salary. He is a useful Dman. Once silly season comes, his pay might not look as bad either …”


      • Oh, and before I forget there was also this from ds “@ Craig. Were any of the PPG from Zaitsev coverage issues? Don’t get the hate for him besides being overpaid as a 2nd pair D which seems to be the way of the NHL”

        Just wondering how a difference of opinion has to translate into “hate” – not being up on the jargon used by today’s generation I can’t help but think they have lost the true meaning of “hate”

      • And I think the other issue that some are at odds with is the stated reality that the Leafs need cap space. Well, don’t look now but with $71,036,999 committed to 15 players and just $8,463,061 to sign 8 so do the Oilers, so adding $340,000 by exchanging Larsson for Zaitsev doesn’t exactly do them any good.

        The other issue is, under the guise of “the Oilers need something” (again, ds comment), Zaitsez would be accompanied by a forward. The only one to name a forward in such a deal is Juss76 who thinks it would be nice if the Leafs could get Larsson for Johnsson or Kapanen + Zaitzev, But while that might do it under normal circumstances, again the fact is both those F are RFAs looking for raises and Edmonton simply can’t add Zaitsev’s cap hit (which runs to 2023-24) never mind the added headache of yet another F looking for a big increase.

        As I say elsewhere, IF Holland decides to offer Larsson in a trade, it will be in a package with a toxic contract he needs to shed in exchange for a solid prospect and a draft pick, But I doubt he goes down that road right now.

      • I hate bananas.


      • @ George O
        I used the word ‘hate’ as he is a bit of a scapegoat compared to other players

      • @Juss76: Agree with your post but I have a tweak. Johnsson is an RFA With Arb Rights;Where As Kappy Isn’t. Both are 20 goal scorers.

        My Trade proposal. Zaitsev+ Johnsson to Edmton for Larsson and Benning. Doubtful Holland wants to lose 2
        RD Dmen But certain Dubas Does Not Need An Arbitration Hearing From Johnsson Either as Benning is an RFA in 20-21 and Dubas his plate full with the Marner contract. Just a thought

    • I haven’t really payed to much attention to Zaitsev, but from what I have heard is that he is more of an offensive d-man. Larsson is more of a defensive d-man who makes things tough for the other teams forward in front of his own net. So it’s a little hard to compare the 2.
      IMO Larsson is a guy who the Oilers can’t afford to trade away. Also the Oilers already have Klefbom who is, from what I have heard about Zaitsev, is the the same style and better than Zaitsev.
      IMO the Oilers should build their defence from within. They do have some really nice pieces coming up. The only move I think the Oilers should do is trade Russell for some bottom 6 forward help which will open up a spot for competition for Bear, Jones, Persson, and Lagesson. If by chance two of those guys out perform Benning in training camp then trade Benning as well.
      Then there is also Bouchard and Samorukov who should be starting in Bakersfield next season.

      • Agreed . Kevjam .
        Except zaitsev is an offensive d man who since his rookie year in a sheltered role and top pp he put up 36 points , since then he has put up 29 points in 159 reg and playoff games . Including 0 in the series being debated .

      • I am confused
        Is Craig a Leaf fan?

        I feel like Zait is like Girardi was in NYC. Girardi in hindsight more consistent than B Smith….

      • George, very sorry if I sounded harsh to you. And thank you for your “hate” explanation. My apologies and have a great day.

    • Sounds like a our garbage for your trash trade.

  2. plenty of flexibility and options for joe s. this off season….going to be very interesting

    • Craig, I don’t believe watched one second of the Leaf playoff series, so don’t go there. Have a nice day.

      • So can’t come up with anything lol . It’s a pretty simple question if you thought we played well . What did he do well ? The fact that you won’t touch that question pretty much sums it up

  3. It’s amazing the change in Joe Sakic once the Patrick Roy influence (and noise) disappeared. Suddenly Gentleman Joe is an elite GM. Couldn’t happen to a better guy.

    • he has turned into a good one….doesn’t panic and is very patient…. stood by bedner when the wheels were coming off

  4. Avs need one experienced top 6 forward for injury and balance . A 6/7 defence-man and a back up goalie and they are set. I would keep #4 and trade #16 for those needs.

    Larson would be a fit in Toronto but they would not want Zaitsev back. Holland will need to be somewhat patient. Can’t fix it all over this summer.
    Puljularvi will be a risk acquisition and probably garner less than he should in a trade. You will have to wait. He is still very young

    • Craig Anderson would be a nice back up in Colorado. The two teams love trading with each other and he’s played there before. He makes a little too much money, but the Avs have room. I’m not suggesting the 16th pick for him. Maybe a 2nd rounder or something.

      ….and yes George….yes….that would mean Condon or some other mysterious unknown person would be playing for a Senators team destined to tank again. Which fits the narrative for ownership who can’t find anyone who wants to coach or run the front office of this team. Heck the Sabres just hired a soccer coach. Maybe the Sens should hire Dave Smart? He wins, who cares what sport….potatoes tomatoes…

      • Dark G – LOL – whatever happens in goal – and I have NO problem with dealing Anderson to some team able to pay his cap hit for one season of having a solid reliable back-up – there is NO way Condon ever gets back in goal with the Sens. They’ll gladly pay his salary to keep him in the AHL (or wherever). They’d re-sign Nilsson first and go with a Nilsson-Hogberg (or Gustavsson) tandem.

        And they don’t need to pull a Pittsburgh and deliberately “tank” (which is what that word signifies) in order to finish last. As for “ownership who can’t find anyone who wants to coach or run the front office of this team” last I looked the one “running the front office” insofar as the on-ice team is concerned is Dorion – and he’s in no hurry to decide on a coach. As to who sits in a chair to direct marketing or whatever, that’s hardly a priority.

  5. Larsson is better than Zaitsev. One series does not make a player.
    Puljularvi for Ehlers – could be enticing for both. Ehlers is more of a known commodity, but higher cap hit. Puljularvi cheaper with high potential. Then it would make sense to get Lucic out. Moving him without having a plan to bring someone in does not make sense.

    • Next trade Logan Stanley for Nugent-Hopkins by that logic

      • So ToeJoe, you believe Ehlers is as valueable as Nuge? and Stanley is as value able as Puljularvi? You must be drunk.

  6. I just don’t see how the Oilers can afford to trade/buyout Larsson or Sekera. They don’t have anyone in the system that can replace them. The young guys in Bakersfield are not at their level yet. The only d-men that I think that the Oilers can afford to trade out for bottom 6 forward help are Russell and Benning.

  7. spitballing ….how about Lucic ( waives his NMC , EDM retains 2 million ) + Puljujarvi to Carolina for Foegele and Gauthier ? Edm gets 2 good size scoring wingers still on ELC’s and free up some cap. Carolina gets JP to play with Aho, hoping he finds his groove, and Lucic at a reduced cap hit. Foegle is having a very good playoff and his value is at it’s peak.

  8. I don’t know if Carolina would do that. Taking on an unproven Puljujarvi who hasn’t lived up to expectations yet and Lucic’s cap hit for Foegele, who is looking to become a good solid bottom 6 forward, and a first round pick from 2 drafts ago. That seems like too much to give up.
    I think the Oilers are stuck with Lucic until his contract is up.

    • I agree. Why would the Canes give the Oilers two cost controlled forwards on ELC’s for Lucic and Puljujarvi?

      Imo the price to get rid of Lucic would be enormous.
      I don’t think there is a team that takes him. Even the teams which “need to get to the cap floor” have many other options to take on another, better, less salaried player than Lucic to get any sort of “sweetener” for their rebuild.

      • Again , just spit balling.
        They have had a great run and Foegele has impressed but would the Canes have been better off in the playoffs this year with Lucic and a healthy JP in the lineup?
        If the Oilers had to add sweetener they could go max salary retained on Lucic and a pick or B prospect on top of what was proposed. There is risk on both sides of this proposed deal. Canes have several good forwards in their system on the way up which is why I nominated Gauthier.

      • @Fergy22 We know one thing for sure you`re a huge Oiler fan because there`s absolutely no way Carolina bites on that deal. You`re definitely spitting into the wind on any deal that doesn`t include at least 0ne 1st round pick with the name Lucic going anywhere and that`s eating half his contract

  9. Craig, like I said I don’t comment on things I don’t watch nor do I debate with people that comment on things they didn’t watch – do you get it now or do I have speak more slowly?

    • Why not just answer his question on what you see Zaitzev “doing well?” At least, $4.5 mil well that is. That should put matters to rest.

      • Fair enough George. Zaitsev and Muzzin were on for every Bergeron line shift. That line was pretty much nullified 5 on 5 in that series, so much so, the Cassidy moved Pasternak off that line.

        That line has stayed together against Columbus and Carolina. Two teams that supposedly (according to some) have much better defenses then the Leafs.

        Game 2, 5 on 5. Two horrendous gaffs by Muzzin pretty much ended that game. Zaitsev takes a -3 I believe (I’ve not checked it – going by memory) in that game. Every PP was covered by Muzzin, Zaitsev and Hainsey (obviously not all three together). Every powerplay goal against was a defense breakdown on coverage – it was never Zaitsev’s man.

        Bottom line, Babcock kept sending Zaitsev out against Boston’s big line and Cassidy did everything he could to move them off that coverage. That alone speaks volumes.

      • Your singling out the goal alone and nothing leading up to the goal . Who took the penalty ? Needed ? Was zaitsev out of position leading to muzzin turnovers ? Were there failed leading attempts prior ? Weak play in the corners leading to scramble and chances ? Saying zaitsev wasn’t to blame for a single goal is as ridiculous as it would be say he was at fault for all . He was a big part of the group , which wAs big problem as I said . Not great knowledge .
        Babcock had what options ? Gardiner was hurt , dermott hurt and mike said himself gardiner in his state was better than any option they had after who they played . He had no option but to play zaitsev and muzzin together and let Reilly try to contribute the other way . They were a combined -9 , in 7 games you say exclusively against Bergeron line , how is that nullifying ?

    • You have been debating trek , just avoiding the question likevthe plague , lol . It’s basic and simple , you said he was strong , I said he was weak , I provided the stats to back up what I saw by eye , you are struggling with that part .

      • Like i said Craig, I don’t respond to the likes of you. You post here occasionally and I have no respect for you and your hockey knowledge. I will not respond to something from you again.

      • George, I know you know this, regarding the 4.5 mil. Is it too much, maybe. Does Zaitsev play a strong game, absolutely. But no defender plays a strong game without a team committment to defense. Which the Leafs had during that playoff series. This series is a good representation of what Zaitsev brings as the team brought a total package (well, as good as they could anyway).

        One only need look at Larsson, a great defender IMO and how bad his stats were during this season to attest to what my statement above means.

      • HAHAHAHAHA I’m hurt trek . You have shown me no knowledge . Just the eye test , and you continue to respond , saying you won’t , with hot garbage. Why are so many in the nation trying to find a way to trade this guy , any way ? They must not see what you and James tanner see

      • And I still think swapping these two D can work for both sides if the Leafs add something… though then Hall turns into Z+a 2nd line forward? Oilers need more players to contribute. Their bottom 9 forwards besides RNH can all be replaced

      • I will say this Trekie, I’d take Zaitzev right now at his $4.5 mil to 2023-24 over Ceci and his $4.3 mil and headed to yet another long, drawn-out RFA negotiation

    • Wait. Wouldn’t it be “or do you need to read more slowly?”

      • it is not ‘just’ an eye test, and hockey knowledge runs far beyond the simplicity of the so called ‘advanced analytics’. Hockey analytics are maybe passed the infancy stage but are still very much in the toddler stage where they are trying to take in everything and make sense of the world. Don’t confuse reading currently available analytics with hockey knowledge.
        Valid reasons were given that supported the idea that Zaitsev played well – don’t just dismiss with a wave of the analytics wand, it is still paint by numbers. Picasso ran the eye test.

      • I agree 2.0 , a lot of factors as I mentioned above . He doesn’t even pass the “eye test “ amongst most of the nation , let alone outside the bubble . Any trade with cap space will do for most leafs fans , why is that ? He provided next to nothing to support him playing well other than singling out who’s man was lost on a goal , as if that’s the only play that led to the goal against . Babs didn’t have options a plenty . He also said they played Bergeron exclusively and were combined -9 in 7 games . how is that nullifying ? Fred played well to boot by all accounts .

      • No offence guys but our idea of “so called advanced analytics” is nothing compared to what NHL teams actually use.
        Example – do you know how often Russell makes a clean first pass to exit the zone with control when the puck is put into his corner? When there is pressure? The Oilers do, and they are behind most teams.
        The Leafs know exactly what Zaitsev’s is, and they played him against the B’s top line. Agree that there were not many other options but he did pretty good at even strength against one of the best lines in hockey.
        Zaitsev is an NHL D-man who is overpaid and forced into situations he probably shouldn’t be in. Not great, not a tire fire either.

  10. To sum up what I’ve seen here today

    Craig = Boston. Trekie = Toronto

    Better luck next time Trekkie.

  11. Reading the posts today made me think of “Oh Yeah? Yeah! Oh Yeah? Yeah!” Wanna go? Hold me back, guys, hold me back…. Guys? Guys?”
    According to the advanced stats, Zaitsev and Muzzin were a sold pair; also, Zaitsev paired with Hainsey on the penalty kill – not good.
    So maybe Zaitsev is overpaid (welcome to the club) but not half bad. Larsson would be a solid addition imo but I don’t see Edmonton moving him.
    Oh Yeah? Yeah!

    • I’ve been asking for these stats , if they exist, all day to show any stat saying they were solid . I can’t find any . Nor could Trekkie . Just the blue view , which is even heavily split with many wanting zaitsev traded for anything . I definitely turned up the volume after Trekkie questioned hockey knowledge with out being able to support his stance until Georgie asked him to lol

      • What I saw, Craig, was Corsi for with Muzzin was 51 and change, every other pairing was much lower, especially with Hainsey.
        The penalty kill speaks for itself and, in my mind, can be put primarily on the coaching staff.

      • Did you mean advanced stat ? 1 ? I mentioned the lack of options for Babcock . I see on hockey reference he was a 45 corsi for and 44 fenwick for for the playoffs . So that leaves only corsi for with muzzin

      • Craig, what people are saying is EVEN STRENGTH. Go on hockey reference and click that button.
        Zaitsev – 49.1 Fenwick. D zone starts 64.2% of the time.
        Goalie sv% when he was on the ice was 87.9 (sucks).
        Pretty good numbers night in night out against one of the best lines in hockey for the majority of the time.
        He didn’t suck. Period.

  12. Edmonton to get Lucic to waive; retain $2.75M in Cap) move him to Pitts for JJ (so Cap finances balance)

    Lucic at $3.25 M even if he plays on 4th line is way better for the Pens than paying JJ to destroy wins and team confidence

    Can I have an Amen 🙏


    • how about Lucic ($2m retained) and Sekera to pitts for JJ & Gudbranson? LOL

    • Craig, Leafs Nation.com for Zaitsev stats.

    • No. Jj as a bottom pair is sooooo much better than lucic as a bottom 6.

      Really. Since it’s obvious that pens are behind this guy. For better or worse. What’s with the effort? Jj ain’t going nowhere. At least to start next season. How about some effort to suggest real solutions?

      • Hi Chrisms

        I like making the effort… keeps me sane

        I disagree that Pens are behind JJ… the aren’t

        It’s only two guys …. coach and GM…. if Mario was an interfering owner I’m sure he would have already written the buyout cheque .,,. There can’t be a single teammate that’s behind him because every single one of them had their stats fall when they were on the ice with JJ.

        Fans aren’t behind him as he cost them wins

        Finally , I’m hoping if I post this enough; it will become a reality

  13. Would WPG take Larsson & Puljujarvi for Ehlers & 2nd?

    then trade Trouba for futures??

    Let Meyers walk…..

    Larsson is very affordable…..

    EDM clears up the cap on the back end a tad and gets some secondary scoring upfront with Ehlers.

    That work?

    • That is actually a reasonable trade proposal ihatecrosby.
      I think Edm still hangs on to PJ, he may still turn into a good player.
      Larsson for Ehlers straight up?

  14. Re the Zaitsev banter

    To be transparent; I’ve not been a fan of his from the beginning.

    I have missed only a handful of Leaf games over the last few years; and I watched every minute of Leafs playoffs this year

    I’d be lying if I said that Zaitsev has not improved recently (since about March IMHO)…. he has improved….but I certainly don’t think he’s the solution in Toronto and still think his pay is high relative to his performance

    Not near as bad as he was but IMO not the answer going forward

    I’ve repeatedly advocated for GMKD to move WW for a top 4 D stating that a top 4D coming back needs only to be better than Zaitsev …. to me there are plenty of D that would fit that bill

    For me ; I would like to see the Leafs get Marleau to waive and spend assets to move him; spend assets to move Horton ; trade WW for top4 D….. net saved in Cap more than enough to retain/extend MM, Kappy, Johnsson , AND add another D; plus fill the rest of roster space; which would make Zaitsev 5th in D depth and therefore too expensive at his Sal…. expendable under the above scenario IMO

    I’m not by any stretch saying that the Leafs can’t win with Zaitsev ; the Cap is the issue ; the team they have now (and most especially the D) is not good enough for a cup…. so improvements have to be made and there is no Cap room now to improve ….w/o moving 2 or 3 big Cap hits it just doesn’t seem at all feasible.

    I’ve offered my opinion in a solution…. always like reading here as there are many enlightening viewpoints

    Something has to be done and must be done soon

  15. I have watched a lot of Leaf games too. I have never understood the extent of the criticism for Zaitsev. I think he is one of those players who is very reliant on having a good player on his side. You don’t get that in Toronto.

    He is not that bad.