NHL Rumor Mill – May 2, 2019

by | May 2, 2019 | Rumors | 39 comments

Can the Oilers ship Milan Lucic to the Canucks? Will Pavel Datsyuk return to the Red Wings? What’s the latest on the Golden Knights and the Leafs efforts to re-sign Andreas Johnsson? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Oilers left wing Milan Lucic telling Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 he doesn’t rule out finishing his NHL career with the Canucks. Lucic, a Vancouver native, admitted things haven’t gone well for him with the Oilers. The club is set to hire a new general manager and head coach this summer.

Lucic believes the Canucks are a growing, exciting team and praises Vancouver GM Jim Benning and coach Travis Green. Staples suggests the Oilers would have to take back a bad contract, such as that of Canucks winger Loui Eriksson, to facilitate a Lucic swap with Vancouver. 

Could the Edmonton Oilers ship Milan Lucic to the Vancouver Canucks? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While anything’s possible, I don’t think Lucic-for-Eriksson is a winner for the Oilers. While Eriksson has less time left on his contract (three years) than Lucic (four), he’s also three years older. Taking him on simply to shed Lucic is just swapping one problem for another and won’t improve the Oilers. The same applied to the Canucks. 

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector suggests the Oilers package defenseman Adam Larsson with a draft pick or prospect for Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen, or swapping blueliner Kris Russell for a solid, penalty-killing third-line winger. He then proposes signing a veteran shutdown defenseman like Montreal’s Jordie Benn, Toronto’s Ron Hainsey, or Winnipeg’s Ben Chiarot to a short-term deal via free agency. That blueliner would fill the gap until the younger rearguards within their system are ready to go. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larsson would certainly fetch a quality scoring winger for the Oilers but his departure would leave a big hole on their blueline in the short term. It’ll be interesting to see what the next Oilers GM has in store for their roster this summer. Trading Larsson might not be in his plans. 


DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James reports former Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk is visiting Detroit with his family. That’s sparking speculation about a possible NHL comeback with the Wings. His agent, Dan Milstein, said he’s had no discussions with Wings GM Steve Yzerman regarding his client. He spent the past three seasons playing for St. Petersburg in the KHL.

In 2016, the Wings traded Datsyuk’s contract to the Arizona Coyotes, who own his rights until his contract expires on June 30. He’ll become an NHL UFA on July 1. If Datsyuk desires an NHL return, Milstein said the Wings are the only club he’ll want to play for. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In his prime, Datsyuk was a great player who helped the Wings reach three Stanley Cup finals (2002, 2008, 2009) and win two championships. But he’s 41 now, and his play was obviously in decline during his final two NHL campaigns. The Wings are rebuilding with youth and I doubt he’d fit into their plans. 


TSN: During an appearance earlier this week on Toronto’s TSN 1050, Darren Dreger indicated Maple Leafs winger Andreas Johnsson rejected two contract extension proposals at the trade deadline. The Leafs reportedly offered a two-year. $4.2-million contract and a four-year, $10.4-million deal. Johnsson, 24, is eligible for salary arbitration this summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coming off a one-year, $787K contract, Johnsson is due for a significant raise following a 20-goal, 43-point performance. The Leafs, meanwhile, have over $74 million tied up in 17 players with Johnsson, Mitch Marner, and Kasperi Kapanen due for new contracts as restricted free agents while pending UFAs Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey must be re-signed or replaced.

Marner, of course, will be getting an expensive new deal from the Leafs, pushing them over next season’s projected salary cap of $83 million. They’ll get some cap relief by placing Nathan Horton ($5.3 million) on long-term injury reserve, but not enough to re-sign the others without cutting more costs via trades. Even then, there might not be enough for everybody they want to keep.

Johnsson could price himself out of the Leafs market, though we don’t know yet how much he’s seeking. Suffice to stay it’s not within $2.4 – $2.6 million, which is what he would’ve received had he accepted one of the Leafs offers back in February. 


LAS VEGAS SUN: Justin Emerson lists Cody Eakin, Colin Miller, Ryan Reaves, and Nick Holden as possible cost-cutting trade candidates for the Vegas Golden Knights. The club is bumping against next season’s projected $83-million salary cap and they must shed salary to free up room to re-sign restricted free agent William Karlsson.

Of the four, Emerson believes Eakin and Miller are the likely trade candidates. Eakin has a year remaining on his contract with a $3.85-million cap hit. Miller has two years left and is Vegas’s third-highest paid defenseman at $3.875-million annually. He doesn’t expect unrestricted free agents Brandon Pirri or Ryan Carpenter to be re-signed but doesn’t rule out Deryk Engelland or Pierre-Marc Bellemare returning next season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights have no choice but to shed salary this summer. Can’t disagree with Emerson’s take on the likely trade candidates. They could try to bring back Engelland or Bellemare but that’ll depend on how much cap space they can free up and how much it costs to re-sign Karlsson. 


  1. Looch had a chance to play in Van after he left LA. Management, owners, even the mayor wined n dined him at one of the best eateries in Van.
    In the end Looch decided the lure of playing with McDavid was better.

    • Who the hell is Looch?

      • Nickname for Milan Lucic.
        He’s right on target with his comment though.
        We all wish we could have some do overs in life.
        Milan shoulda signed to play at home.
        Hindsight is great, no?

      • Sheesh. Why not just say Lucic. If that’s his nickname I suspect it’s used only by his close friends and teammates – which I doubt none of us is!

      • Goerge O, everyone know Loooooccchhhhh! I’m definitely a fan, but don’t want him back in Boston.

      • Apologies Georgie

        Looch has been his nickname atleast since junior, probably longer. Vancouver thing….

      • Lucic

    • Dig deeper. You have to look at the length of the contract that was offered by each team.

      • Tyler, why are you apologizing? If he can’t figure out Looch stands for Lucic then he isn’t very bright to begin with.

      • Oooh. Another zinger from Eddie The Wit. Well, at any rate, while I once thought you were something of a wit, I now realize I was only half-right.

  2. Lucic is an anchor in both terms of contract and playing ability. Maybe he could be rejuvenated playing for the Canucks but not for another 4 years. Over the last two seasons a fourth liner without any glimmer of his former self. He will be bought out prior to the end of his current deal . Then maybe he signs a 1 for 1 with Vancouver to finish his career.

    • I think the only way you are going to see a buyout of Lucic is if there are compliance buyouts in the Seattle expansion.

      Looking at the details of the Lucic contract, it is virtually buyout proof as half his annual salary is in signing bonuses.

  3. EDM/VAN trade would likely be a fail for EDM.
    Lucic is the one most likely to improve his play going home.

  4. It’s weird to have an expansion team in it’s second year already with Cap issues

    They have loads of picks (including either the 16th or 17th overall in June) to help in any package deals

    After Clarkson on LTIR and at $83M ceiling … they’d have $5.8 M to sign 2F, 2D and back up; including Karllsson


    Eakin and Reaves gets $6.6M…. is there a possibility that Glass is ready for replacing Eakin?

    Do the Knights have to go super bold and have egg on their face by moving Patches ? That would be a tenuous move

    Vegas is not in the dire situation Leafs are in ; but getting there

  5. Respectfully disagree that an Eriksson-Lucic swap isn’t worth it for the Oilers.

    Lucic’s trade value must be literally amongst the lowest in the league.

    He has proven he can’t hang with any of the Oilers’ top 3 lines. I see no way he gets his game back to work well with a team built for speed.

    Eriksson likely doesn’t work either – but he has one year less contract and there’s a small chance (10%?) he could fit with the Oilers. We *know* Lucic doesn’t work for Edmonton… and that you probably can’t get anything else back for him.

    If I’m Edmonton, I’d go for that deal if Canucks offer it.

    • Look out Loui hasn’t been the same player since Orpik anihalated him in 2013. Both of those players are barely replacement level talents and are super overpaid at this point. It’s like trading a 2006 Accord for a 2007 Camry, it’s literally not worth even talking about.

    • I’d do Eriksson for lucic in a heartbeat. One less year is a big deal. Helps with eventual buy out etc.

  6. As a canucks fan, Eriksson has been disappointing, but not as much as Lucic. After July 1, LE has 9m in cash due with three years left. That *might* be movable to a floor team, especially if some salary is further retained. LE can at least skate still, kill penalties and check, whereas Lucic is becoming a marginal NHL player.

    • There are no floor teams any more except maybe Ottawa. I don’t see them taking either of those guys. This extreme parity we are experiencing means that gms can’t take bad chances on players like this any more. Every franchise will be competitive next year and they will all be going for it.

      • Deee: I agree. I could see Ottawa taking Callahan with a significant sweetener from TB since there is only one year left on the deal, but anything that is more than 2 years should be a no go. Look at Colorado now. They were even worse than Ottawa two years ago and are now in the second round of the playoffs. Ottawa could be in a similar position in two years and wouldn’t want two more years of Lucic.

  7. Is Mark Spector Drunk? why would Edmonto have to package anyone with Larsson to get Johnsson. Or did he mean for Johnsson plus a prospect. If Toronto could trade Johnsson for Larsson one for one, it would be done. However he isn’t the player Edmonton should target, that player is Kadri; then Edmonton could trade Kadri to Boston for Krug. Please and Thankyou.

    • Caper, I think he meant Jonsson and a prospect – still don’t see the Oilers making that trade.
      There are two Leafs that should be motivated to work harder than ever this summer – Patrick Marleau is one; Kadri is the other. We can expect bounce-back years from both of these guys.
      Marleau wants to finish on a high note – he’s even going to a composite stick. Look out!

  8. No idea why all the talk about Van moving Ericsson. Yes he is over paid, but he is a veteran leader and they dont need the cap space. Still too early to go after big UFA’s and his contract end will coincide with Hughes ELC coming to an end.

  9. @Spector – the reason why the Oilers may jump at a Lucic-for-Eriksson deal is that the buyout on Eriksson would be significantly less than to buyout Lucic. Also, if they decide to test drive Eriksson for one year before deciding on a buyout, he can play either wing and then be bought out on even better terms.

    • Yes, but then the deal makes no sense on the Canucks end. They would be saddled with Lucic’s contract which is almost buyout-proof, plus they’re taking on a player whose contract is longer than Eriksson’s.

      • Yeah. No brainer for edm bad deal for nucks

      • Depends what Edm sweetens the pot with. That year difference will likely cost them. What that cost would be is up for debate

        One thing worth pointing out is Eriksson also has a NTC and would also have to agree to go to Edm. I could be wrong tho

  10. Lucic only performed in one city and that’s Boston ,Oilers trade him back to Boston for Backes. Now They would also need to swap 1st round picks this year as Oil would only have Backes half as long as Boston would have Milan. Lucic could play wing with Krech and Debrusk and bang and crash and fight.

    • It would take more than swapping picks for the Bruins to do that. They have McAvoy, Carlo, Debrusk among others to sign in the next couple of years. They don’t need a $6M fourth liner at that point.

  11. They are paying 6 million for Backes also I realize it’s only for two more years. Carlo, McAvoy and Debrusk will need to be signed before Backes is gone. Getting 8th pick in this years draft is a pretty big deal compared to 20 something. Not ideal for either team but both are stuck with 6 million dollar players they are not playing.

    • Backes is more movable though or a better buy out if needed to make cap room.

  12. 3rd rounder+Lucic to Ottawa for their 7th rounder

    6 goals playing with RNH.

    • I read that … and immediately looked out the window … nope, no pigs flying.

      What would Ottawa need with yet another 3rd rounder to go along with the passel of picks they already have from deals, and what possible use would Lucic be in Ottawa for the next 4 years.

      If whoever takes over in Edmonton is successful in unloading that albatross he should immediately be given GM of the year.

    • That’s one of the most lopsided trade proposals I’ve ever seen. Agree with George. It would take more than Edmonton’s 1st pick this year to unload that contract plus Edmonton would have to take Ryan back in the trade. Ryan’s contract is shorter and can be bought out for significant savings if needed. Lucic’s contract is buyout proof.

  13. Some GMs are probably really happy this year to have cap space. Bergevin has no option to actually come close to the cap this year and has space.
    I don’t know what Toronto thinks of Nylander, I’m not sure he’s worth his contract. And Bergevin could have options. He could also go for Jonhson or even JT Miller in Tampa.
    A guy like Jordie Benn, a second round pick, a prospect like Cale Fleury could be deal sweeteners. But I’m not sure who the Habs would give. Toronto would probably like Armia, but even with Benn, Fleury and 2nd rnd pick he’s not enough. So maybe Lehkonen.
    Bergevin will make a trade with a team that needs cap space, an important one, I guarantee it.

    • Imo the Leafs will want a d-man in return in a trade that includes Nylander or other forward(s) (Kadri, Kapanen, Johnson???).

    • I think Miller is a goner from TB largely because he doesn’t have a NTC until July 1. Can be traded to the highest bidder.

      TB will likely trade Callahan as well with a significant sweetener (their 1st round pick for a later pick and lesser contract?).

      • Need the first. Probably need Miller. Callahan for one year can probably be sweetened with cash and a lower choice….but you quickly get to a buyout being the better option. You’d hope your first could bring you a player ready to play…the Bolts have good scouting in Europe & might pull someone from Swedish elite league. The big problem solver for the Bolts is Foote being ready to play next year, the bonus would be a Masin becoming useful as a 5-6-7. Hope one of the three vets Coburn/Girardi/Stralman willing to sign a minimum one or two year deal. Lightning have made some bigger deals in the past, might again.
        Martel might be able to play the Gourde role at a better price, & Mitchell Stephens is knocking so maybe someone would take Kilhorn.

  14. to EDM: JT MILLER & Callahan
    to TB: Sekera & Russell

    TB holds a few dollars on Callahan to balance out the cap for this 1 yr.

    TB needs Dmen to round out their 6 and basically swap out cap space with EDM, but get a need from their over abundance of forwards.

    Sekera & Russell are also only on 2 yr deals.

    EDM gets a versatile forward in JT Miller who can play top 9. Callahan can play 4th line with Lucic and Brodziak