NHL Rumor Mill – May 22, 2019

by | May 22, 2019 | Rumors | 48 comments

The Sharks have several decisions to make this summer, plus the latest on Jacob Trouba, Kevin Hayes, and Ryan Callahan in today’s NHL rumor mill.


ESPN.COM: Figuring out the futures of Erik Karlsson, Joe Thornton, and Joe Pavelski are among Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters’ keys to the San Jose Sharks offseason. Karlsson, Thornton, and Pavelski are due to become unrestricted free agents this summer. It’s expected Pavelski, 34, and the 39-year-old Thornton will be re-signed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Thornton will get another one-year, bonus-laden deal from the Sharks. Pavelski will be re-signed, perhaps to a two- or three-year deal with an annual cap hit similar to his current $6 million. 

Will the San Jose Sharks re-sign Erik Karlsson? (Photo via NHL Images)

Karlsson’s status is less certain. He managed 45 points in 53 regular-season games and 16 points in 19 postseason contests. However, he was hampered by nagging groin injuries. It’s believed he enjoys living and playing in San Jose but there’s speculation he could return east via free agency. Earlier this season, there was talk the Sharks wanted to re-sign him to an eight-year deal. That chatter cooled off by February.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Had Karlsson had a healthy season the Sharks probably would’ve re-signed him by now. They could still do so but his recent injury history is cause for concern.

The Sharks won’t be the only team leery of investing big money in Karlsson over a lengthy period. A year ago, it was believed he sought a deal similar to Drew Doughty’s eight-year, $88-million deal with the Los Angeles Kings. I doubt he’ll get that now. 

The Sharks could also invest in a reliable backup for starting goaltender Martin Jones.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After struggling at times throughout the regular season, Jones redeemed himself with a solid postseason performance. As Wyshynski and Peters point out, Jones is signed through 2024 so he’ll be back next season. Coach Pete DeBoer lost confidence in backup Aaron Dell this season. 


WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe ponder Jacob Trouba’s future with the Winnipeg Jets. The 25-year-old defenseman is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s a year away from UFA status.

Wiebe points out players of Trouba’s caliber tend to get traded in June. He also notes the Jets lack a first-round pick in next month’s draft, suggesting that could create some excitement leading up to the opening round.

If the Jets decide to move Trouba, perhaps they’ll consider a sign-and-trade agreement with another club, as that would improve the return. They could attempt to move him on his own or package him in a larger deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will consider all his options. He’d probably love to re-sign Trouba but that depends upon the blueliner’s asking price and if he sees his future in Winnipeg.

As Wiebe observes, Cheveldayoff won’t trade Trouba for just anything. He’ll want a good return, one that could include a first-round pick in this year’s draft.

A sign-and-trade scenario would be best. Cheveldayoff has plenty of time to work that out between now and the draft weekend. The Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, and New York Rangers are among the clubs linked to Trouba in the rumor mill. 


TSN: cites a report by The Athletic’s Joe Smith noting Ryan Callahan believes his days are numbered with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 34-year-old winger has a year left on his contract with a salary-cap hit of $5.8 million. With the Lightning facing a cap crunch, Callahan could become a cost-cutting trade candidate.

Smith believes they’ll have to sweeten the pot by including a draft pick or prospect. Callahan’s agent hasn’t discussed his client’s future with Lightning management but he said the winger will submit his 15-team trade list. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smith also listed the New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, and New York Rangers as possible trade candidates. Those clubs have plenty of salary-cap space and could use some veteran leadership. If any of them are on Callahan’s list, maybe one of them will go for it if they get a suitable sweetener in the deal. 


  1. Chrisms – Where would you put EKs Over/Under now? For sporting sake, let’s assume the 10/year mark is off the table.

    • From a purely statistical viewpoint Karlsson put up pretty good numbers both during the regular season and playoffs vis-a-vis games played and normally, someone with that record – despite the games missed – but with his Norris history and big statistical years would be clamored after as a UFA for $$ in the 10 mil range and 7/8 years.

      But … with him you just get the feeling that the nagging type injuries he’s faced – especially groin issues – will give otherwise clamoring GMs pause for thought. That, combined with the simple fact that any team considered a contender for the next couple of seasons at least would have to clear some serious cap space in order to make room, leads me to believe that he won’t be getting his 7/8 year and Doughty money deal.

      As this begins to sink in as UFA day draws near I think he’ll settle with what he considers a contender (and it might be SJ) for a deal in the 5-year range at a cap hit of around $8.5 mil.

      Chrisms will likely stick to his theory that, when push comes to shove, there will be ONE GM who will take the plunge and gamble. And he could be right on the mark.

      • Erik Karlsson…had 3 Goals this year playing with arguably the best all around D man in the league right now.
        If a team takes him on and gives him major money and looks for him to be the Karlsson of 3 – 4 years ago they will be sadly mistaken and saddled with a terrible contract after the 3rd year.

        The team that takes him on should not be a rebuilding team and SHOULD have an equally talented D man to compliment him as Karlsson can not be the main attraction or counted on to be the total support group on the back end …especially on the D side of the puck, he needs a complimentary wing man that can carry the load like a ( Burns ) or he will crash …his career injuries were very serious injuries….and he has shown the wear and tare.

        I think a team like the Bolts & Red Wings would be an interesting fit ..both have a team that would support a 5 year plan and his window of quality and a payroll that could support a $10 million player with a bit of easy tweaking.

        If the Bolts were to let Strallman Coburn and Girardi walk …that is Karlsson money with Sergachev and Cernak in the wings as well as Cal Foote to round out a lower payroll with a solid D core upfront with Headman McDonaugh and Karlsson as the top 3.
        They would also have to move out Callahan which is possible to do …

        If David Poille can do it and build the team he did around a Subban contract it can be done elsewhere very easily….as the cap expands

        in closing …I would not take a chance on an Erik Karlsson myself for the money ..but as we all know a team will and over pay …as per George and the league GM History.

        I would not do more than $9.5 million for term and I would structure it like a Nylander contract as an easier out clause after the first few years and I would not give him a NO MOVE either.

        Tampa bay has a no tax …so if he goes to Tampa he can sign for less as he keeps it all ..where as elsewhere he pays a hefty tax so he will ask for more…so the fit is there to join Headman and the team payroll seems workable and the timing is right as well….this is where I see it happening.

      • @ George: Your posting the other day of how EK turning down the 8 year/10 Mil per season from Ottawa was the best he would ever be offered: I agree;

        Now? Injuries Factored In? 5 years Tops x 9 Million Tops. Less $ and Less Term Would Be Better: Also Not Sure EK is suited To The Western
        Conference Style Of Play Either

      • “If the Bolts were to let Strallman Coburn and Girardi walk …that is Karlsson money “

        The problem with that is that money is already spent on Kucherov, Mcdonagh etc….. gone.

        Now they find themselves having to deal with Point this year. With 8.5 million in cap space…. how are they signing Karlsson, Point , 2 defensemen, and having to deal with Sergachev and Vasilesky next year?

        Answer? They’re not signing Karlsson. Even if they managed to rid themselves of Callahan, that money is spent.

        There is no easy “tweak” here.

      • The Sharks are my team, and I was a big advocate for them getting Karlsson. That being said, after such a crazy year, watching the inconsistencies in Karlsson’s defensive game in spite of his often incredible passes and offensive skills, I think Wilson will pass in favor of spending his money on a larger, more defensive-type dman, as well as getting a good back-up for Jones.

        I have to take issue Lyle with your playoff eval of Jones. While he was good for a stretch, overall he was way below acceptable. Part of the blame lies on team D, but he was just not big many times when he needed to be.

    • With Seattle expansion looming and team’s leary of NMCs, I could see a team offer a cap max 2 year deal to Karlsson. So a Gillis/Sundin like contract of 2 x 15.5M. Benning is not quite that savvy but the Canucks could easily make that work. From Karlsson’s perspective – why sign a 5 x 8 when you can get 75 % of that in a 2 year deal?

    • 10 a year. 7 years. Until I see restraint from nhl gms I’ll go with the precident

    • Not back tracking on my bet but I did fail to consider tbs tax situation so I could actually see him get a little less than 10 from them. Oops. But I stand by my bet regardless

      • I agree with you. When is the last time a defenseman like him was available on the FA? Chara comes to mind, worked out pretty well for Boston

  2. I could see Callahan and and a 2nd or 3rd go to one of those teams for a 4th or 5th round pick

    • Callahan might be the wedge to open up cap space. Add Miller and Martel and a pick or two & get back a young proven D with control — a solid 4 stay at home would be fine given what the Bolts already have. There is forward depth in the system, and a cap squeeze for Point this year and several next year. Allows resigning one of the three free agents (probably Coburn) only if a cap friendly short term deal is available. An EK signing would cause both current and follow on cap problems and doesn’t fill the need which is for stay-at-home talent and cap relief. Callahan still has value on and off the ice. He understands his situation. This deal should be more than a salary dump

      • It will be a cap dump every gm knows the bolts are in cap trouble! Or a buyout

  3. I like Hayes in Colorado . Excellent fit.

    Thornton needs to retire . Ask Jagr what it is like at 40. He is still a smart passer but stands around a lot and has zero speed left. Taking up valuable dollars and a roster spot. Bring him into the coaching ranks or a managerial role with the Sharks.

    Seems like Trouba is always in the news. Make a deal for a lesser D and a high draft pick. Yzerman will be motivated to place his stamp

    • regarding trouba for lesser d and high pick:

      Wpg’s window to win is open now, downgrading from Trouba is a significant hit. I prefer a solid aging right D vet like Goligoski and a high pick, or an injury risk vet like Letang and a pick.

      Jets then benefit from current short term return gain a prospect.

  4. I don’t see how Rangers are rumored to be interested in Panarin and/or Karlsson 1 day, and the next day they should use their cap space on Callahan to get more picks or prospects?
    On Karlsson, he has 4 months to recover from groin injury. We tend to over think these players ages. Elite players tend to last longer as even at the end of their careers they are generally still better than half the league. 28/29 is not really old. I’ve mentioned before, Nic Lindstrom had better numbers after age 28 than before. Karlsson will still get a decent payday.

    • Lidstrom never had the injury issues that Karlsson has had. Other than the ’94 lockout and his final season (when he played 70), the guy never played less than 76 games! (https://www.hockey-reference.com/players/l/lidstni01.html)

      I agree that someone is going to pay Karlsson a stupid amount of money, but they will regret it over the course of the contract.

    • I don’t believe NY has solid interest in Panarin or Karlsson. I think this is writers having to come up with something other than a blank page to print.

      Gorton has pretty much stayed right on the path of rebuilding, and hasn’t really looked like a guy ready to dive in the UFA market at this time. Next year or the year after…. maybe.

      Out of the 3 players, I’d say Callahan is the most likely one to be on their roster next year.

  5. I sure hope if dater is correct that the avs don’t break the bank on Hayes….they have a ton of trade options…picks galore …and cap space to really improve the team….I know the bread man wants to go to the beach…but I hope joe shows him the mountains first!

  6. Rumors are just that. SJ has a long losing streak in the playoffs and signing Thornton at 40 will not refresh a line up that can’t win.

    Callahan at 34 for 6 million? He has scored 14 goals in the last three injury plagued seasons. Only his agent figures he is worth that. He certainly doesn’t fit into Montreal’s needs – at any price.

    • This may have been the best deal NY ever made. Not signing Callahan to that deal was worth the 2-1st round draft picks alone!

      • Maybe not. The Habs did NY a huge favour by taking Gomez and his 5 yr, 33.5 million contract.

    • Sharks playoff losing streak is at 3 games. Id hardly call that “long”

  7. Why would my Sabres want Callahan? If we trade them Ristolainen why do we need to take back cap dump garbage? No more taking on cap dumps…in other news Trouba is a bum, soon to be a guy making 7-8 million who can’t do anything in the playoffs, enjoy paying a guy who averages 30 points top dollar.

    Joe Thornton is a playoff bust, he averages 1 playoff goal every 7 games, his assist totals no where near his regular season average, to win a cup you need your leading scorers to have big years in playoffs averaging over a point per game or at same level during regular season

    • @Matt
      With Pominville becoming a UFA the Sabres could take advantage of a trade to get a draft pick and a veteran like Callahan in the room. He is at least a fan favorite for the 20 healthy games he skates now….

      • Sabre’s ‘washed up’ Andrychuk was a good fit for a young Bolts team, earned most of his salary off the ice. Callahan to Buffalo has additional cachet of being a home town guy sort of. Sabre probably need someone in the role Callahan can fill. I’m pretty sure Buffalo will be on his list. And Tampa is deep enough to make Buffalo better if they want a bigger deal.

    • Buffalo in its entirety, is a bust!

  8. I still think karlsson can play and am not afraid of a hroin injury which often take time tk heel.

    Can Pittsburgh fit him?

    Philly, NJ, Fld, Clb, edm?

    Cap is rising each year someone will take a chance on karlsson. Even if injured plays better than most.

    • I agree you take a chance, but you can’t bet the big money on him or it will saddle your franchise for years to come.
      I think GMs are getting wise.

      Would love to see him next to Provorov, and I think he would really shine with a partner like him. Provy is a workhorse and can carry the physical load putting EK in a position to do what he does best…

      I know I’m low, but I would be around 6.5 x 5 years (which won’t happen) or philly goes for Trouba…

      That or another bridge to see what he really has left.

      • Just curious. Asking you what I’ve asked many on this forum… what have you seen to suggest gms are “getting wise”. And I’m talking about gms as a demographic…. all 31 taken as a whole.

      • Even though I would prefer to go with Chrisms as you seem like a decent guy and Cowboy Dan’s anti Edmonton trolling is somewhat annoying. But I think Dan is right on the over under of $10M, but not by much. I said the same thing the day you boys made the “bet”. I would think Vegas would set it at the same # or close.
        To me it all about his health and you can’t judge him by this season and in reality shouldn’t have even been on the ice the last 2 games of that series. He couldn’t skate or defend and played in a rocking chair.
        Groins can be tricky and take time. It wouldn’t surprise to see him have surgery in the near future as he couldn’t even push off. But you can recover fully, and I would guess their would be a physical and testing done before anyone invests big $$ on him. The timing is brutal as he may not be healthy in time before teams spend the wad.
        I can see a 1 year deal signed later in the summer if it is a serious as it looks, and he takes another shot at the big payday next off season.

    • Jeff….oh hell no we don’t need another turhstyle defender..this guy makes letang look like larry Robinson/scott stevens plus he has a bad groin …he is a terrific offensive player.. i wouldn’t pay $5 million for him… he isn’t worth it..

  9. Last and best chance to win since Heatley and Marleau were on Thornton’s wings a decade ago. San Jose Sharks have some major decisions to make over the summer. Coaching decisions. D combos for elimination game? Larkin over Soumela at 3C? Blues outplayed and definitely outcoached Sharks to win. And they deserve it. This one hurts.

  10. The Isles have been a team that I heard is interested in upgrading defense. A rumor was floating out there that they have interest in Doughty. I can’t see them taking on 7/77. Karlsson is an injury concern as well. However if he came in at a more reasonable figure I think he would have a ton of interest. There is no way he is getting 8 years at any $$ amount. 6/54M I think is where he will settle. The question will be where. With someone such as Subban being floated as well it may be tough for Karlsson to get exactly what he wants.

    • why would the isles be looking to upgrade their D? they are fine on D. they need to upgrade their top 6. hockeybuzz is not a source.

    • why would the isles be looking to upgrade their D? they are fine on D. they need to upgrade their top 6. hockey/buzz is not a source.

  11. Pavelski just scored 38 goals, I don’t see how his salary could be anything close to 6 million. 8+ million for 5 years is what he’ll be looking for; someone will pay it if the Sharks won’t.

    • Had the same thought when I was reading it. 3 year term you are looking at 8+. on a 6 years term you may get him around 6.5M. 2-3 years at 6 million is just silly

    • I agree. I said last week that he’ll be looking for something similar to what Blake Wheeler signed last off-season, which was 5 x 8.25M.

  12. Erik Karlsson – buyer beware.

    Players who are injury prone in their 20s seldom if ever get healthier in their 30s.

    3yrs x 8.5 is as high and as long as Id go. Vrry good offensively but a complete liability in his own end. Felt like every time the Knights, Avs or Blues scored EK was on the ice for the Sharks.

    • I believe you are right.

    • Ron well said..on Karlsson spot on no more than three years.. im a pens fan no interest in Karlsson..we have enough defenseman that can’t play defense..

  13. Lyle,

    Weber, Price, Petry, Gallagher, Shaw, Danault, Tatar, Thompson…..

    Would you be able to be a bit more specific on exactly why Montreal could benefit from additional “veteran leadership”?

    What the Habs do need, in fact, is an upgrade on the Left side of D, a sniper, and an adequate backup Goalie.

    That being said, helping out Fla on their Cap situation is definitely a possibility.

    For eg, Reimer (Fla won’t need him with Bob) and Borgstrom (Fla is deep at C) to Montreal saves Fa over $4 million in Cap space. Expect a minimal give back in return.


    • Florida’s depth at C and Trouba’s apparent preference to live in Florida raise the possibility of a trade involving Trouba and Trochek. Jets are not satisfied with the 2C position as they have tried to upgrade at the deadline for each of the last 2 years.

      • I could actually see this happening. But the Jets would be looking for that 1st round draft pick.

    • I was noting the teams Smith listed as possible destinations for Callahan. What most had in common was plenty of cap space and a need for veteran leadership. I’m assuming that’s why the Habs were on that list.

    • All those excellent “leaders” you listed disappeared faster than Striker when crunchtime came.

  14. Everyone seems in accord about Karlsson and the risk but someone will jump on him, forgetting his defensive weaknesses and his injury issues…I wold not sign him for more than three and 8 mill and that’s on reputation not his last two years! Callahan? He is spent. Rangers seem to have good young players coming through, maybe EK fits there but he is not looking to join a rebuild.