NHL Rumor Mill – May 17, 2019

by | May 17, 2019 | Rumors | 64 comments

Should the Rangers try to acquire Evgeni Malkin? Could Jason Spezza return to the Senators? What’s next for the Hurricanes? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders if the Rangers will attempt to accelerate their rebuild by pursuing Columbus’ Artemi Panarin via free agency or Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin via trade. He notes the Penguins require clearing salary-cap space and an organizational rebuild. However, he doesn’t see Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford parting with Malkin without getting a prime young asset or two in return. Brooks proposed perhaps offering “a Ryan Strome, a Jimmy Vesey, a Ryan Lindgren; a Yegor Rykov; a Pavel Buchnevich?” 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks is just spitballing here. He’s not saying the Rangers will pursue Malkin. Quite frankly, I don’t think the Penguins center will be traded. If he was, I believe Rutherford will want more than what Brooks is proposing. 

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi recently looked at possible Penguins trade candidates. He doesn’t think much will be gained by trading Malkin, noting the center hasn’t been asked to provide a list of trade destinations. Rossi said he’s heard Penguins captain Sidney Crosby wasn’t pleased with the Malkin trade chatter. 

Rossi also said Rutherford hasn’t solicited offers for defenseman Kris Letang and right winger Phil Kessel. He acknowledged Letang’s injury history and $7.25-million annual average value hurt his trade value. There’s an expectation Rutherford will try moving Kessel, perhaps during the draft weekend or in early-July. Blueliner Justin Schultz could also become a trade candidate as he’s due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Again, it’ll take one hell of an offer to pry Malkin away from the Penguins. I also don’t see Letang going anywhere, in part because of the issues noted by Rossi. Kessel appears the most likely trade candidate, though Rutherford will want a quality return for the 32-year-old winger. As Rossi pointed out, Rutherford will seek a hockey trade, meaning a return that keeps the Penguins in Cup contention. Same goes for Schultz. 

Could Jason Spezza return to the Ottawa Senators? (Photo via NHL Images)


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza will be departing the Dallas Stars as a UFA this summer. The 36-year-old wants to continue his NHL playing career. He isn’t ruling out a possible return to the Ottawa Senators, where he spent the bulk of his career and enjoyed his best seasons.

Spezza parted the organization on good terms and still has good relationships with several people within the club. LeBrun notes Spezza won’t get another $7.5-million per season contract, but he’d accept a modest payday to continue his career in a third-line role. 

SPORTSDAY: Matthew DeFranks wonders if young defenseman Julius Honka has a future with the Stars. The 23-year-old is a restricted free agent whose career appears stalled in Dallas. DeFranks believes Honka is “young and talented enough to draw at least marginal interest from other teams.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With only $45.1 million invested in 14 players, the Senators will have to spend to reach what could be a $60 million salary-cap minimum for 2019-20. Maybe they’ll entertain bringing back Spezza on a one-year deal worth $3 million?

As for Honka, the former first-round pick (14th overall in 2014) needs to move on. He’s struggling to crack the Stars roster. Maybe a change of scenery will do him good. 


ESPN.COM: With the Carolina Hurricanes swept from the Eastern Conference Final, Emily Kaplan and Chris Peters examined what could be in store this offseason.

Goaltenders Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek are UFAs this summer but both are affordable and could return. Center Sebastian Aho is a restricted free agent. They recommend re-signing him to a deal comparable to that of Toronto’s William Nylander. 

The pair also suggest shopping a defenseman for a forward, noting Justin Faulk and Dougie Hamilton were subjects of trade speculation this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s not much of a market for quality goaltenders this summer. The Hurricanes could have no choice but to keep their present tandem intact.

If they can get Aho signed to a long-term deal worth around $7 million annually it could prove a worthwhile move. The 21-year-old center is a rising star who led the Hurricanes in scoring in each of the last two seasons and their points lead in the 2019 playoffs.

Shopping a defenseman for a forward would be a good idea. However, the addition of Nino Niederreiter and the potential of rookie Andrei Svechnikov means there’s less urgency to make that move compared to a year ago. 


  1. As long as he’s healthy and be happy with a 1 year deal (with a team option) at no more than $2.6 mil, I’d see no problem with Spezza coming back to Ottawa to play 3rd line C. They need a few veterans in that line-up to help settle the kids down and since Spezza has always been a good face-off C he could maybe teach kids like White, Tierney, Brown and Chlapik how to improve that aspect of their game.

    • George , agreed , 1 yr 3 mil or less, let him mentor White, Batherson, Brown. He did alot for the city of Ottawa in his prime and it would be good to have him retire as a Senator.

    • A veteran like Spezza might be a very good add for the Sens. Provided the dollars and term make sense.

      • For sure on both scores. But I think he’d be quite happy with a 1 + option (team) deal at around $2.6 to 3 mil. Other than his hockey abilities I don’t know anything about his ability to turn to coaching at some point, but perhaps there’s that possibility as well down the line within the organization.

    • He’s played wing well in Dallas. So he could be a versatile player for the Sens. Never a bad option tk have two guys who can win faceoffs on a line.

  2. I don’t think the Canes need much. Svechnikov is going to be a star. Aho is already a stud. Hamilton even looked much better in the playoffs. Falk would be the only one I would move and only to make room.
    Goaltending is their position of weakness . Should be a contender in the east next year

    • Im inclined to agree. Counting on Mrazek and McElhenny (sp) to repeat their performance would be a greivous error.

  3. I agree with Lyle, Carolina doesn’t need to trade D for a forward. They have several good young forwards in the organization and if the forwards on the roster continue to improve there is no need for drastic moves. If they do trade a D and its Justin Faulk it would make the D much weaker.

  4. gotta stop this spitballing by Brooks the #1 shill for NYR mgmt .I just its as per usual ALL spit & no balls from our favorite story teller … talk of 3 moves AFTER the pkg’d trades of Shatty,Smith ,Vesey,Pionk Georgiev,& Krieds along with a prospect like Lindgren (Him & Hajek are same games)
    this is to allow the NYR the freedom to sign
    Trade from above pkg’s of talent for a top center
    RNH,Karlsson(VGK ) type player
    this would be team ready for now & the future

    • The Rangers young D is not ready to contend. There is no reason to overpay for anyone over the age of 24 yet. With the prospect of Kakko I am not sure paying Panarin is the right move now( i was all for it). If we get Hughes than Panarin is a good signing.

      The Rangers have a 1st line center and a bunch of 3rd line centers

      If Malkin gets moved I would assume it is to a team that is ready to win NOW. Colorado or Dallas or SJ(depending who is not resigned).

      • I don’t think the avs are looking at adding a Malkin like paycheck…..

    • Brooks and everyone who thinks like him are idiots. We are rebuilding. We dont trade young assets for 32 year old players nor do we sign any free agents. Especially injury prone. The Rangers wont be competing for a cup in the near future so there is no need to sign anyone. We need to build the system with more prospects and let them develop. Next years draft is suppose to be very good. They add the big free agents when we start to compete for the Cup. Not now.

      • Frank, the concept of signing a guy like Panarin goes beyond being in contention now vs 3 years from now. What I mean by that is a guy like that is generally not available as a UFA. For example, the Leafs signing Taveras, was really the first time in a decade or so that a guy of that magnitude made it to UFA.

        A team like the Rangers may recognize this as a strategic opportunity and jump on it. I’m not suggesting they should, but I would suggest every team that has the cap space should be considering this guy, he’s that good.

      • @ Trekie

        As a Ranger fan Panarin is the only big $ UFA that is worth it now. MSG still likes to put on a show even during rebuilding.

    • Also with regards to the Rangers D prospects…look what happened in Carolina. You hold on and let them develop. Unless there is a deal for a much needed top 6 center(young) you hold the farm.

      Chytill has not shown a 200ft game to be an NHL center but he is still what 19?

      • DS, I agree. It’s the reason I only pointed to Panarin.

        My uninformed opinion as I’m not intimate with the Rangers like you Rangers fans are. NYR should be signing this guy.

    • Thank God you have no input into trades and free agent signings

      • Frank, neither do you

      • I’m going to offer a bold NYR prediction. If Panarin wants 7x 9ish and he wants to be a Ranger. He will be signed by NYR. 9ish over 7 years is a fair number and rumors are he wants to be a Ranger. Get back to me July 1.

  5. Brooks and everyone who thinks like him are idiots. We are rebuilding. We dont trade young assets for 32 year old players nor do we sign any free agents. Especially injury prone. The Rangers wont be competing for a cup in the near future so there is no need to sign anyone. We need to build the system with more prospects and let them develop. Next years draft is suppose to be very good. They add the big free agents when we start to compete for the Cup. Not now.

    • The Rangers will go after Karlsson and/or Panarin, they can’t help themselves

    • and some forwards, and some defencemen, and a coach, etc etc etc….

  6. Well if the Senators want to reach the cap floor, i’m sure the Rangers will gladly send Smith, Staal, and Shatty for an aluminum Wayne Gretzky shaft with a Jarmoir Jagr blade. That could be overpaying though

    • Matt there are plenty of teams that would gladly pay Ottawa to take cap off their hands. Ottawa would be receiving benefit and not having to give up a monument like a Gretzky shaft.

  7. There may be some value to a Gretzky shaft. We’ll have to ask his wife.

    Hey George……what do you think about Ted Nolan in Ottawa? He’s good with the kids has usually preached a run-n-gun style of play.

    I liked him in Buff and Long Island…though his successes weren’t crazy good.

    • Nolan apparently is also very good with players wives. See Buffalo and Long Island.

      Nolan will likely never get another NHL.

      • Have to agree with Ron – where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and obviously a very good reason why Nolan never got another shot in the NHL, despite his ability to get a lot of mileage out of a bunch of ordinary players.

        For example, Nolan was part of a bizarre sequence of events in Buffalo in 1996 – 1998 where John Muckler, after being named the 1996–97 Executive Of The Year was abruptly canned before the start of the 1997–98 season. His replacement as GM, Darcy Regier, although allowed the option to pick his own coach since Nolan’s 2-year deal had expired, offered him a 1-year extension for $500,000. This after himself winning Coach Of The Year by guiding a team of pluggers back-stopped by Hasek to a very successful year – so he essentially said “stuff it.” So Regier hired Lindy Ruff. In one foul swoop Buffalo bid goodbye to the GM and Coach Of The Year! As I say, bizarre.

        In 2013 Nolan then coached Latvia to the 2014 Winter Olympics qualifying group and at Sochi, after winding up last in their group during the round robin, they dumped Switzerland 3-1 in the playoffs before losing 2-1 to Canada. They were, in fact, the only team to score a goal against Canada in those rounds as Canada went on to the Gold with 2 shut-out wins.

        So the man has some coaching talent and such a record, you might think, would earn him a job at the NHL level somewhere. There has to be an underlying reason – and I don’t believe for one second it has anything to do with his First Nations heritage as some have intimated.

  8. The “old” Rangers would have made a deal centred on Malkin for the #2 pick (likely other pieces on both sides) and then signed Panarin hopefully for Rangers fans they really have changed their ways.

    • in True NYR style it would be the 2nd pick for Malkin,sign Joe Thornton and give Gardner EK $$$$ ala Redden

      • Why would Thornton sign with the Rangers?

      • @dpf it was a joke about the way the Rangers used to sign all the UFAs for too much $$$

    • George, regarding Nolan. Alot of speculation over the years that he was blackballed out of the NHL.

      • Absolutely no doubt at all that he has, in fact, been black-balled. It’s the factual underlying reason that’s been elusive to pin down. But it has to be something not related to his coaching talents.

  9. Brooks = out of the loop misinformed windbag.

  10. Is Spezza at 3 mill or less for 1 year a possible Maple Leaf candidate for the 3rd line centre role if Kadri gets traded?

    • He could opt to go there Sam – and would be a nice addition to that line-up IF Kadri were dealt. But I still think the Leafs would be nuts to trade him away unless the return was overwhelmingly in their favour.

      Spezza never did like the intense spotlight that’s a feature of playing in a city like TO – but he might be willing to overlook that if he thought they were a legitimate threat to win next season, especially if the Leafs could get a top-notch D for Kadri.

      The wheels will be turning.

  11. If Spezza can be gotten for $2.75-$3.0 ….. as a Leafs and Pens fan …. I’d rather see him as a Pen:

    Move Kessel and Rust for a younger top 6 winger; buyout JJ

    Put Big Bjugstad on Gino’s wing and McC with Sid/Guentzel:


    Gino/Bjuugstaad/ Winger in Phil/Rust trade

    Spezza/ Horny/ Simon


    Letang /*Maata

    Shultz/ *Dummo

    Gundbranson / *Petterson


    *Left D’s can flip around

    Fits in Cap…. Pens substantially better than last year

    • To clarify … that’s Phil and Rust for a top 6 winger younger than Phil ; not Rust

      • I think the reason Ottawa was brought up by Spezza is that he has roots there, where he married Jennifer Snell of Ottawa at the Notre Dame Basilica in 2009 and where one of his 4 daughters was born. He also has close friends still in the area like Chris Neil and Chris Phillips, who both were at their wedding, as was Melnyk.

      • Thanks George

        Didn’t know that…, with that in mind he’d be way more likely to sign in Ottw … I’d love for the scenario I proposed to come to fruition ; but cede the low probability of it happening with the info you provided

        I know you hate it ; but I still think a great move for Ottw would be to take on (if he agrees to it) Callahan …. one year $4.7M with $5.8 Cap …. because the deal will have to come with some excellent assets as sweeteners …. let’s say it’s Raddysh and a pick …. to me that’s worth it…. he can Mentor for a year; moves them towardsCap floor; with great futures coming in the deal

        I know you hate the move; but it’s one I think benefits the club in the long run


      • I don’t “hate” the Callahan suggestion … and I indicated that a couple of days ago … but as I said then, in his case the point is moot because, with a full NM/NT clause I just don’t see him OKing a move to tax-happy Ottawa (federal, provincial, municipal) from tax-haven Tampa. Not only would that put him with a team in total re-build and likely destined for another year at or very near the bottom, but he’d be working for one helluva deduction in take-home pay. Why would he do that? As a favour to Tampa? He doesn’t owe them anything.

    • Pengy… i message you may 14th…

      two trades if we move Kessel)

      To Pittsburgh:
      27 LW Jason Zucker $5.5
      25 D Jonas Brodin $4.1

      To Minnesota:\
      31 LW Phil Kessel $6.8
      24 D Olli Matta $4.083
      and either Tristan Jarry or Dominick Simon

      Other deal

      To Pittsburgh:

      28 C Derek Stephan
      31 D Nicolas Hjalmarsson

      expanded Kessel Matta Bjugstad
      Stephan Grabner Hjalmarsson


      • Hi Black N Gold

        Sorry been so busy at work that I’ve missed out some days reading and posting ….so I missed ur post from the other day…… and unfortunately it’s going to get busier with my clients in the next week and go on like that for close to a month….

        Re all potential trades for Pens; and trying to be as objective and realistic as possible ; if GMJR keeps JJ and he plays as a regular; I truly don’t foresee ANY feasible trade that can compensate for the damage JJ does to the team

        Buying him out is the way to go .., just $270 K next year or f he’s bought out… basically nothing

        So with that buyout and then looking at ur proposed trades….

        Re Zuck/Borodin for Maata/Kessel +… It is over pay IMO

        I’m not down on Maata as others seem to be…. he plays very well when appropriately used ; he’s currently Pens 2nd best LEFT shooting D( Petterson soon to overtake him ) and I believe he is on par if not slightly better than Brodin

        If I take them as a saw off then the trade is Zucker for Phil + …. I see Phil dropping off next year but I’m fairly sure that he’ll not get down to anywhere near Zuck’s production of 18/19(1/2 of Phil’s) and his (Zuck’s) best year was two years ago when he got 64 points

        Would I want Zuck on the team …. yep…. but more fore sure would have to come back from Minn

        I was hoping that Phil + Rust might garner a top 6 RW that is mid 20’s on the rise and likely to be 75+ points next year … that’s not saying one team will take both and give back that winger but maybe a separate trade of Rust brings an asset that added to Phil will get the job done

        Re the other trade … again I’d keep Maata but unfortunately I am not huge on Stepan… I realize he missed 10 games this year but his production waned significantly

        Arizona is a possible destination for Phil …. it’s too bad we can’t turn back the clock …. Ariz gave up Strome and Perlini for Smaltz …. can you imagine if Pens had traded Phil for those two?

        Bjugstad could then move to wing

        Phil has only 8 teams he can be moved to …. Chi is one… not sure who the others are

        STL? Phil + ZAR for Teresenko (to play on Gino’s wing)

        Buff? Phil, Rust, Maata for Reinhardt and Montour ?

        Detroit ? Phil, Rust , Maata for Mantha and Bowey

        Dall … Phil straight up for Radulov ? Same age … similar Cap …. Radulov won’t shy away at all from contact …. Phil?? Avoids contact at all costs

        If the deal was with Minn ; in all fairness I would seek a Phil trade for Staal + Foligno but that just isn’t happening

        The key here is that the Pens absolutely need to get rid of JJ ; and after that moving Phil + to get a younger RW with potential; to play with Gino; will do well for the team

        Not sure if you’re North or South of the border … if North … have a great long weekend this weekend (Victoria Day) and if you are South of the border ….. next weekend (Memorial Day)



  12. Not a Pens fan,but I don’t think Malkin is going anywhere…He’s good for 90 points…As long as he and Sid are going strong, the Pens still have to be in a “win now” mode…Anything else is a waste of the rest of their careers…

    • Emikeyj…Malkin had 72 points this year, he was -25, he had 89 penalty minutes and a team high 84 turnovers. While he is still a point a game player and elite he isn’t dominate anymore….

      Now’s the time to move him…a contender will jump on him

      • Hey blackngold..I trust your judgment..You see him every day…If they move him, ONLY a contender should jump…And ONLY at at he right price…He’ll get a good return for a 33 year old…

      • Shouldn’t. Malkin had a down year yes but most of his stats posted above are misleading. As blackgold said a contender will jump… but the last time I looked pens are still trying to contend. So they don’t need to jump.

  13. If anyone here actually read the Brooks article, they’d see he discussed a bunch of things. On Mallon, he just threw it out there… if they didn’t sign Panarin, and they didn’t have to give up picks or prospects. Trading for Mallon will never happen, but I’d fully expect Rangers could make a top FA signing. People need to stop the “they’re not ready to win” bs
    Also, why would Aho only be worth 7mil per year, but when discussing Marner, it’s always north of 10 mil?

    • What’s the tax structure in Carolina vis-a-vis Toronto?

    • Marner blocked a shot at the end of a game. ;-0

      Marner has 5 goals in 20 playoff games and Aho 5 in 15 games.

      I thought centers worth more than wings??

      • Don’t know that their actually “worth” more than wingers of equal offensive stats – but they are harder to find and develop at the NHL level and so higher $$$ are thrown their way, that’s for sure.

      • Careers

        GP G A P +/-
        242 83 114 197


        GP G A P +/-
        241 67 157 224

        I think most would agree Marner has more talent around him that helps with his assist total.

    • Damn spellcheck. Malkin not Mallon

  14. pengy..sorry
    stepan and Hjalmarsson to Pittsburgh

    Kessel and Matta to Arizona

    bigger trade add Bjugstad to Kessel and matta to Arizona

    add Grabner to Stephan and Hjalmarsson to Pittsburgh

    • I think AZ would do that in a heartbeat to be honest.

    • Hi Black N Gold

      Reading these in order…, did a big response post above

  15. Dallas want their 2nd rd pick back along with Brendan Smith from NYR for Honka ??

  16. call me crazy (no not really) but what about taking Kovalchuk from LA for Vesey. Kovy can help with Kratsov, Buch, Namestnikov, etc… and possible with signing Panarin.

    to LA: Vesey
    to NYR: Kovalchuk

    Ranger have cap space to trade for his cap hit for this 1 season and there is no need to resign after it expires. He would also help with the 2nd PP unit having a right hand shot. or evening the 1st if Zib keeps playing point.

    Options my friends…options…

    • Ok. I’ll bite. You’re crazy!! Vesey outscored Kovy last year. Kovy is 36 with 2 more years left on 6.2 mil contract. That’s a lot of rubles for an interpreter/babysitter.

    • Hi IHC

      on the surface …. it works and makes sense …. the big gamble is the Kovy contract … as a 35+ contract they are on the hook regardless …. Leafs are finding out the hard way regarding this ( Marleau)

      What I make my living at is rationalizing all angles and outcomes and weighing probabilities for the clients when we acquire companies or merge companies for them …. the Kovy contract is one I’d not recommend the gamble on

      If he was not a 35+ contract …. good to go

      • fair point…..
        I thought since LA signed his 35 + contract they are not hook and not the team that acquires him?

  17. I don’t care what anyone says.
    Penguins need to move, in order.
    1. Kris Letang
    2. Phil Kessel
    3. Oli Matta
    That’s around 18 million, depending what comes back.

    • Hi Pensforever

      I respect all fans views

      …. but I must respectively disagree with your ordered list of moves…. here is my list in order:

      1. JJ….. save $3M in Cap (bought out…not traded….no one else stupid enough to take him)

      2. After move number 1 , team is already a tremendously improved team

      3. Any move after that (outside of moving my future son-in-law [Sid]) I’m ok with as I’m already at peace