NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2019

by | May 21, 2019 | Rumors | 56 comments

Latest on the Predators and Hurricanes plus seven teams in need of a goaltender in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes Nashville Predators general manager David Poile could make changes to his roster this summer. Poile was disappointed by his club’s early departure from the 2019 playoffs. He doesn’t intend to blow things up but won’t be inactive this summer.

Speculation continues to link Matt Duchene to the Nashville Predators (Photo via NHL Images)

LeBrun notes there’s renewed speculation suggesting Poile might pursue Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene via free agency. Poile had a previous interest in the 28-year-old center and people around Duchene feel he’d be interested in playing for the Predators. 

If Poile pursues Duchene, LeBrun believes he’ll have to shed salary first. That’s led to rumor suggesting defenseman P.K. Subban ($9 million annual average value) could be traded, but that’s not a certainty. LeBrun also suggests other players could also become cost-cutting candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Predators have over $75.8 million invested in 21 players for 2019-20. All their core players are under contract for next season.

Duchene could command up to $9 million annually on a long-term deal. Assuming an $83 million cap hit, the Predators can’t afford him unless they shed salary. Only Pekka Rinne has no-trade/no-movement protection. As LeBrun observes, that gives Poile plenty of candidates for a cost-cutting deal.

The Predators GM also has a history of making bold trades. Instead of going the UFA route, perhaps he’ll try a hockey trade targeting a club with depth at center. 


NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Luke DeCock reports on possible offseason moves by the Carolina Hurricanes. With goaltenders Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney slated to become UFAs this summer, he believes they should explore going in a different direction from Mrazek. He doubts they’ll re-sign pending UFA winger Micheal Ferland, who managed just one goal after the trade deadline.

DeCock feels the Hurricanes still have “a desperate need for another center.” He’s not sure if promising Martin Necas is ready for that role yet. Defenseman Justin Faulk has a year left on his contract. DeCock thinks this is the year the Hurricanes must decide if they’ll re-sign or trade him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The pickings are slim for goaltending upgrades via free agency. Unless GM Don Waddell can sign Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky or the Islanders’ Robin Lehner, he might have to stick with his current tandem. It was reported in January that Ferland sought a deal comparable to the six-year, $31-million contract of Washington’s Tom Wilson. He’s not getting that from the Canes or anyone else.

Necas, 20, struggled to crack the Hurricanes lineup. However, he tallied 52 points in 64 games this season with the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate in Charlotte. Still, it remains to be seen if he’s ready for prime time. The Canes have over $54.2 million committed to 14 players. If owner Tom Dundon is willing to spend toward the cap, they’ll have plenty of cap space to pursue a center.

Since the summer of 2017, Faulk was frequently the subject of trade speculation. If Waddell is unable to reach agreement on a contract extension, perhaps he’ll put Faulk on the trade block this summer for a center.  


SPORTSNET: Luke Fox listed the Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames, Philadelphia Flyers, and New York Islanders as clubs that could use a goaltender for next season. 

Fox suggests Petr Mrazek could be lured elsewhere via free agency, putting the Hurricanes in need of a new starter. With Sergei Bobrovsky expected to depart via free agency, the Blue Jackets will need a replacement. The Oilers need to bring in someone to support Mikko Koskinen, while the Blackhawks need a backup for Corey Crawford.

If the Flames don’t bring back Mike Smith, they’ll need someone to help share the workload with David Rittich. The Flyers need someone to support promising Carter Hart. The Islanders could need a replacement for Robin Lehner if he departs via free agency. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes could retain Mrazek if there’s no suitable replacement via trade or free agency. The Jackets have little choice but to find a replacement for Bobrovsky. The Oilers and Blackhawks will be shopping for experienced backups.

I can see the Flames bringing back Smith for one more year. The Flyers acquired Cam Talbot to supposedly mentor Hart but maybe they’ll consider other options. I expect the Isles will re-sign Lehner. 


  1. Columbus – It has to be disheartening to have everyone leave like that. What is the cause? How is the overall feel of Hockey in Columbus? Do they get a lot of support? Could they be a team that moves in the future? I always joke that it’ll be EDM that goes to Houston, but I know how invested in Hockey that EDM really is, never considered Columbus as a potential struggling franchise in the future.

    Anyone know the place? Am I reading this wrong?

    • I lived there for years… but that was years ago. The town had a lot of diehard fans but was struggling to lure the casual fans due to a. Lack of a true superstar and b. No winning. I think this years playoffs should help boost them but they need to remain competitive

      • Are they first and foremost Ohio State fans? In terms of “hockey tradition” Cleveland certainly has that in spades with annual Barons powerhouses in the AHL. I recall them, at one time, being considered as the 7th NHL franchise a few years before the 6-team expansion in 1967.

      • With a few exceptions yes. At least 10 + years ago.

      • George,

        Surely you remember the Cleveland Barons. Played in the NHL in the 70s then merged with the Minnesota North Stars in early 80s.
        I think Gilles Meloche and Al Mcadam played for them.

      • Oh yeah Ron. I recall that brief franchise move – was sorry to see it fail.

        I was thinking back a few years before that when the Barons were usually at or near the top of the AHL during the 50s/early 60s – especially their stint as a Montreal farm team (John Ferguson was promoted there in 1960 from another Habs farms tea, The Fort Wayne Komets before he was called up to Montreal in 1963).

        Their attendance in those days dwarfed most minor-pro franchises except, maybe, Seattle of the WHL, and it was in that era that serious consideration was given to adding them as the 7th NHL franchise. In the end I think they decided against it because they didn’t want an unbalanced schedule – and there was no other team in the mid-west to the east that showed the same attendance (Seattle was just too far for mostly train-travel).

      • The thing that likely caused that 1974-1978 franchise to fail and merge with the North Stars was probably the sad roster they inherited from the perennial doormat, The California Golden Seals. As a consequence they always finished dead.

    • There is a good sized core of hockey fans in Central Ohio. The Jackets, however, face two problems, however. First, the near OCD attitude Ohioans have about OSU football. Second, casual sports fans only support winners. After 25 years in Columbus, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way the Jackets will see consistent sell outs would be to make the playoffs every single year while winning the Stanley Cup every so often.

      • Hey, Paul, that would work for any franchise. Good plan.

      • Hello Ottawa! 🙂

    • See, this is the problem with the league. Columbus has been an upcoming decent power in the league for the last 3-4 years, yet they get no coverage. An example would be the 1 game a year on nsnbc. If you watched any CBJ playoff games it was pretty clear that was the most electric building for home games. I don’t see this team in trouble or going anywhere anytime soon. The biggest downside is they have to compete with OSU football every year until December. Fun fact: Columbus is the 14th largest city in the United States. Guarantee that surprises a bunch of people.

      • i agree with nbcsn coverage….we see the same 5 teams over and over again during reg season….all from the east plus the hawks

      • Well, in pure technical terms (city inc.) yes they are 14th. But when looking at potential fan bases, all pro sports teams look at area (or metro) population and in that regard Columbus sits 32nd with 1,836.536 (2010 census)- behind these non-NHL (yet) locations (highest to lowest): Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown (5,946,800); Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta (5,268,860); San Fran-Oakland-Fremont (4,331,391); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario (4,224,851); Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue (3,439,809); San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos (3,095,313); Baltimore-Dawson (2,710,429); Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro (2,226,009); Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville (2,149,127); Cincinnati (2,130,151); Cleveland (2,077,240); Kansas City (MO-KS) (2,035,334).

      • Houston and the suburbs are closer to 8-9 million. the areas you mentioned are only the southside of I-10
        You can add 3 million to that with the North side.
        Also more millionaires here per capita than most cities, and little to do outside, so Hockey would be a great activity with so little competition.

        Question now is, would the league be ok with the “Grey Jackets”?

      • God. My wife is from Houston. It’s a humid nightmare. That being said. With modern technology. An indoor sport that’s cool… yes please.

  2. With Winnipeg going through a similar Cap Crunch like the Leafs, I can see the Jets trading Brossoit to one of these teams in the rumour mill up above. Brossoit showed last season that he can hold his own between the pipes and is a big goaltender, one that is an asset these days.

    • Winnipeg needsto keep Brossoit or they will also be looking for a tender. Pretty sure he is UFA.

      • Winnipeg are more worried about; Connor, Laine, Trouba and Myers. They have $26.5M to work with, but Conner and Laine will take up 90% of that. Brossoit is a RFA by the way.

      • Thanks for correcting me on FA status. Regardless Wpg need a backup goalie and Brossoit fits, should get a raise from last year based on the success he had. If not Brossoit they will need to pick up someone else for around 1m

        I don’t see him as a number one yet. He played more than his share of struggling opponents in the first half of the year and was less spectacular in the second half. With his Edmonton history I suspect confidence is not yet running deep and would be a very risky starter. Maybe another good year this year, Seattle expansion and then a starters roll.

  3. Rangers do a good job of developing goalies. Georgiev kind of came out of nowhere and had a decent season, but with Shestyorkin signing and a few others in system he will probably be traded. Just had back to back shutouts for Russia at worlds.

  4. Varlamov with Colorado will want to be a starter again with someone.
    LA has some depth in net but it is Slim Pickens throughout the league.

    Kadri will be on the move. Only for salary reasons and not his antics . Move him for Faulk and solves two problems

    • Kadri is not going anywhere, end of story. Makes no sense lose strength in the center position. That’s why they signed Taveras, to make them stronger in the middle. Defense will be fixed other ways.

      • Can’t keep everyone AND fix the D.
        Someone has to move and it has to be someone of value.
        Agree that it shouldn’t be Kadri though.
        So…… bye bye Austin or MM.

      • Matthews may go but it will be when he decides to leave when he becomes a ufa. He will go home I imagine like Taveras. What they need in defense is a defensive player with grit somebody like a bertuzo from St.Louis.The have lots of puck moving prospects.

    • How does that help the cap? Faulk’s contract is higher than Kadri’s.
      If anything, Nylander goes since he can play center but Carolina would need to sweeten the deal a bit

      • 300 k but 3 years vs one , so Falk is about $10 m cheaper over term .

  5. The Jackets have Bob’s replacement, Elvis Merzlikens. He’s already signed for next season.

  6. If Lehner asks for ridiculous term/money they will let him walk but I don’t see anyone else giving him that either. He will stay especially if they cannot lure Ilya Sorokin from Russia over this season. He has 1 more year on his KHL contract and there have been numerous reports that he plans to stay.

    • Is Sorokin is under contract in the KHL, they can’t touch him until he expires. Similar to how Shestyorkin had to wait until this year to sign with the Rangers.

      • If he expires ain’t nobody gonna want him! 🙂

      • The undertaker will! 😵

      • 😂

  7. Gorgiev, plus a 2nd pick to CAR for Pesce?

    Turris ($1m held) to CAR for a 2nd (via NYR)

    CAR gets a center they need with a relative decent cap hit compared to going after Duchene etc.

    They get a young solid young goalie for the future. Cost controlled.

    • Georgiev has 1 year remaining on his elc. The way things are shaping up, not sure that = cost controlled anymore.

      Ny should at least for the time being hold of to Georgiev and Shestyorkin. Goaltenders development is WAY too erratic to count either as a sure thing. Especially considering Shestyorkin hasn’t played a game on NA ice.

      • I was only suggesting to ride the positive side of his development to get a solid RD partner for Skjei. Throwing in the 2nd also bc , as you say, goalie development is erratic. Get going while the going is good so to speak.

      • With Fox, Rykov signings. Shattenkirk, Staal, Skjei, Smith, Hajek and Lindren all under contract it’s doubtful NY is making that move. And equally doubtful a back up nets a d-man like Pesce, even with a 2nd involved.

    • Pesce is not going anywhere. The canes will look to move Faulk or even Hamilton first.

  8. NSH could send Turris to CAR per my suggestion above


    to PITTS: Turris & Subban
    to NSH: Malkin & JJ

    • You just don’t see these kind of contracts moved in one deal involving 2 teams anymore. Never happens.

    • If I was Nasville Id almost consider doing that but I’d ask for a 2nd or 3rd round pick instead of JJ.

      I dont think Pittsburgh has the cap space to do that though. Trading 12 million (approx) away with at Malkin at 9 million (give or take) and JJ at 3 million (give or take) adds another 3 million or so to their already limited cap space (Subban at 9 million and Turris at 6 million approximately).


      • Reason I suggest JJ is to free up cap space for Pitts to take in PK and Turris.

        NSH gets their#1 center to play with Forsberg

        Pitts gets a #2 center still and a better defenseman than JJ and most of the rest of their team

        Pitts can still move Maata and free up more space and get value back for him.

        Agreed you never see these type of trades but I think it is a reasonable one that works for both teams needs.

    • No one wants JJ!

      • Apparently Rutherford does!

    • If Pojke are as smart as everyone says he’ll go for Malkin and Marcus Pettersson.
      Lot more upside on defense!

      • Sorry, I meant Poile!

  9. Carolina could use a right handed forward that can take critical face offs, and play special teams. Someone just like Lindholm.

    Necas isnt ready for the defensive responsibilities of a NHL center but he will probably make the team as a winger. They thought he would play wing on Victor Rask’s line going into last season so maybe he plays on Wallmark’s line.

    Ferland’s agent thought he could get a Wilson type contract but he is too inconsistent and injury prone to warrant the term or salary of a Wilson.

    Carolina has several good forward prospects that will compete for roster spots next year. They do not have to make any trades.

    I could see Carolina’s goaltender tandem next year as either Mrazek/McElhinney or McElhinney/Nedeljkovik but would be concerned about a Mrazek/NedelJkovik tandem.

    Carolina was in on Grubauer last year and it was reported that Washington did not want to trade him in the division. It would be interesting to know if that is the real reason. I have trouble believing Washington was concerned about competition from Carolina at last years draft. What a great draft day trade by Sakic. Did the potential of an offer sheet for Grubauer influence the trade? The compensation, a 2nd round pick, was similar and Washington was able to sign Orpik at a lower cap hit as a bonus.

    After Carolina lost out on Grubauer, Dundon said Carolina will not be in that situation next year so it will be interesting to see how he accomplishes that.

    • Could that mean he spends the money on Bobrovsky?

      • I would hope not. I hope they learned their lesson not to tie up too much $ in a goalie in the (soon to be bought out) Darling fiasco. Nedeljkovic seems ready as a back up, if not a starter. So just sign Mrazek, who was good enough in 40 games, to a reasonable deal and be done with it. 3 years/$4M per? Something in that range should do it. The rest of the UFA G class is questionable to varying degrees. Keep the guy you know and seem to like.

        And in reply to Taz, above, I’m not sure why CAR would have to sweeten the pot to get what seems like an onerous contract of Nylander’s in a Faulk deal. I think CAR would be better served going for Kapanen, who TOR probably can’t sign, just giving up picks (and/or one of several of the Charlotte D prospects not named Bean), since TOR can’t take really take a contract back.

  10. Whalercane, Kapanen is definitely a more likely trade target and Nylander’s ability to play center is another reason for the Leafs to keep him. I think we’ll see a different Nylander next year.

    • I don’t like to say it but I think they need to explore what they can get for Marner. Maybe 2 good defenceman. Marner is a great player but I don’t think they can afford him. Tavares also helped his numbers as he did Tavares. Toronto is deep in wingers. Can’t afford to get rid of a center.

      • Need to keep either Tavares or Matthews, it’s not wise to have two $11M Centermen on your team. Yes Arm Chair GM’s in here…especially me…are reasons why the actual GM’s are where they are. Anyway, I would trade Matthews for a legit 2C + 1RHD and a high end prospect/draft pick.

        Extra: Marchment

      • Huh? That’s dumb.

      • It’s silly to even think about moving Mathews and Marner as they begin to enter their primes. You guys are all looking to move Marner and Mathews but the albatross of a contract is Tavares. Not sure what the fascination is other than he’s the hometown boy. He’s the guy who needs to move. Tavares will be 29 when the season starts and is slow and has not played defense in a few years now. He was clearly not effective against Bostons top players as his contribution consisted of an empty netter until he needed to play on the 4th line to finally get one more. If you look at the regular season he scored exactly 4 goals against playoff teams after January 1st. He stands in front of the net and let’s Marner and Hyman do all the work. He has great skill but clearly not worth 11 million for 6 more years. Move him now and let him become somebody else’s problem as he gets older and even slower. Maybe the Islanders want him back. 🙂 On second thought maybe not.

  11. Marner to the Kings for Drew Doughty L.A needs to start rebuilding and Leafs need a D man. Problem with trade is Doughty makes a ton of cash so Leafs would also need to move one more piece. Maybe somehow the Leafs could send Marleau along with Marner. Rumors going around Doughty is available I also think they should move Kopitar if return is right and he is willing to go.

    • Well you maybe right leafs advocate, but personally I would like to keep the depth at center. Centers can play wing if necessary, but rarely can wingers play center. With the 3 centers they have I wouldn’t have a 4th line center. Just rotate those 3. While I like Doughty he costs to much money.