NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2019

by | May 25, 2019 | Rumors | 41 comments

Six potential salary-cap casualties plus updates on the Jets and Flames in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon lists Los Angeles’ Ilya Kovalchuk and Nashville’s Kyle Turris among six potential cost-cutting candidates this summer. 

Will the Los Angeles Kings try to trade Ilya Kovalchuk this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

Kovalchuk, 36, has two years left on his contract with an annual average value of $6.25 million. Dixon noted there was speculation near the trade deadline suggesting a team in “win-now” mode might take a chance on the left winger.

Turris ($6 million annually) has five years left on his contract. The 29-year-old center is coming off a difficult, injury-shortened campaign. 

Olli Maatta (three years remaining at $4.1 million per season) has fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh. Dixon believes another club could give the 24-year-old Penguins defenseman another chance. 

Dixon suggests the Edmonton Oilers could attempt to move Andrej Sekera. The 33-year-old blueliner has two years left on his deal with a $5.5-million annual salary-cap hit. His injury history, however, could make him difficult to move. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning need to free up cap space to re-sign Brayden Point. Right wing Ryan Callahan (one year, $5.8 million) seems an obvious trade candidate. He carries a modified no-trade clause. 

If the Florida Panthers pursue goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky via free agency, they could shop backup James Reimer. He’s got two years remaining at $3.4 million per season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Kovalchuk has a full no-movement clause. He and his family seem happily settled in the Los Angeles area. He might consider waiving his clause to join a Cup contender but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Predators general manager David Poile is among the shrewdest executives in the game. However, I doubt he’ll find a taker for Turris without including a sweetener in the deal or picking up part of that cap hit. Even then, Poile could find it tough drumming up interest.

Maatta’s had his struggles with the Penguins. Nevertheless, there’s a market for young, puck-moving, defensemen. Of those on Dixon’s list, Maatta seems the most likely to move. 

Ken Holland, the Oilers’ new GM, could consider peddling Sekera to free up some cap space. On the other hand, he could retain him to buy time for the younger blueliners in their system.

Callahan’s best seasons are well behind him now. The one positive is he only has a year left on his deal. If the Lightning includes a quality prospect or draft pick in the deal, a club with cap room seeking veteran leadership could consider it. 

The Panthers will pursue an upgrade between the pipes via trade or free agency this summer. If Roberto Luongo doesn’t retire, Reimer will be on the move. Teams looking for an experienced backup could show interest in him. 


WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe expects Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could attempt to recoup some draft picks leading up to next month’s NHL Draft. The Jets currently have spots in the second, fourth, and fifth rounds. Trade-deadline acquisition Kevin Hayes is expected to depart via free agency. That could put the Jets in the market for a second-line center. They need someone who can establish chemistry with left wing Patrik Laine. 

Wiebe also suggests defenseman Jacob Trouba could be traded during the draft weekend. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. What could complicate things is it’s unknown if he’s interested in signing a long-term contract when he’s a year away from UFA eligibility.  If Trouba is moved, the Jets could attempt to re-sign pending UFA blueliner Tyler Myers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff will be busy in the coming weeks. With Laine and Kyle Connor due for big raises, they probably can’t afford to re-sign Trouba. The Jets GM won’t have difficulty finding trade partners for the 25-year-old blueliner. Suitors could include the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, and New York Rangers. 

To address the Jets’ second-line center position, Wiebe suggests Cheveldayoff target Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He calls the 28-year-old center “a hard-nosed player with plenty of skill.” The Leafs could be forced to move Kadri’s $4.5-million annual salary-cap hit to free up room to re-sign Mitch Marner. Wiebe suggests offering up Jack Roslovic in a package deal for Kadri. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A sticking point is Kadri’s modified no-trade clause. The Jets could be on his 10-team no-trade list. If they’re not, a package offer containing Roslovic could tempt the Leafs. 


SPORTSNET: Eric Francis believes Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving must make addressing his goaltending a priority this summer. One option could be re-signing pending UFA Mike Smith, who’s interested in returning. Failing that, Treliving will have to find an affordable option to split the duties with David Rittich.

Francis suggests St. Louis Blues former starter Jake Allen ($4.35 million annually through 2020-21) might be available via trade. So could New York Islanders backup Thomas Greiss, who’s got a year left on his deal at $3.33 million. Free-agent possibilities include Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov or Carolina’s Curtis McElhinney. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Limited salary-cap space will hamper Treliving’s efforts. With over $68.5 million invested in 19 players, he’s got $14 million available for next season. Most of that will be taken up re-signing Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett. Maybe a dollar-for-dollar swap for Allen or Greiss is possible. Failing that, he’ll have to go cheap for goaltending help.

Varlamov’s frequent injury history could drive down his value in the UFA market. As Francis noted, that could make him an affordable gamble. McElhinney will probably re-sign with the Hurricanes. 



  1. Let’s see. Ugh. Erg. Blick. Grrr.


    Ok then. I’m totally square.

    • All the Oilers need to do is somehow trade Russell and Lucic. Keep the 8 th pick and give Jones and Benson a chance. Trade for a top six wingers then stand pat.This team with these chances can compete and make the playoffs .

  2. Lyle any truth to the possibility of the Islanders not resigning Lehner? Given his age and performance this past year it would be a mistake to let him go.

    What are the chances that the Islanders sign Dzingle and Panarin. I would like to see them sign either Dzingle or Duchene to take a little heat of Barzal.

    • Hi, LM. My apologies for not responding sooner. Today was a “travel day” for me.

      Lehner’s not a lock to re-sign but I expect Lamoriello will do all he can to keep him in the fold. The fact the Isles took a chance on him and stood by him could perhaps count for something during negotiations.

      Lamoriello could be a bidder for Panarin but I think he and Bobrovsky are Florida-bound. The Rangers are also linked to Panarin. If Duchene’s available, Lamoriello could try to sign him. There’s talk, however, he might be interested in joining the Predators. They don’t have a lot of cap space, something the Isles have plenty of this summer. I think Dzingel could be available this summer. He didn’t seem a good fit with the Jackets.

      • The Isles have to get a Duchene,Panarin or Skinner, just resigning their own free agents would be nice but won’t get them to the next level. Why can’t they get Panarin and Bob

  3. Ilya may be settled in LA but if he doesn’t get playing time he may want to leave.

    The Rangers want to rid themselves of Shattenkirk. Kovalchuk for Shattenkirk could be a possiblity.

    • How about Shattenkirk, Pionk, Vesey & 1st & 2nd for ……..Doughty ?

      I kid I kid

      • The Kings could afford to make Panarin an offer if Drew’s $ was moved …I am just saying as well…..

        More talks Drew to TO yet? Nylander ++++

        Rangers rebuild be much faster with Drew for sure

      • Lol. You never disappoint with those trade ideas.

  4. so Toronto would trade Kadri for another center. This rumor is brutal if Kadri is being traded its in a package for a Right handed stay at home dman not a less center. If needed they will move Nylander to third line center or nik Petan.

  5. Ryan Dixon didn’t do his homework by not identifying the Leafs being in cap hell.
    They need to rid of two or three contracts before training camp [Nylander? Kadri? and one of either Kapanen or Johnsson]

    • Greg, one theory is that the Leafs use a low-cost defence corps next year that would include a couple of Marlies – Rosen and possibly one of the young guys – and a couple of inexpensive free agents that would allow the team to retain Marner, Kapanen and possibly Jonsson. It seems pretty extreme – the reality is that one or two of the RFA’s will be traded. Cap hell for sure.

      • Surely this year showed the Leafs’ issue is defense. Using low cost (inexperienced and low talent) D will bring in another early playoff exit. It has to be obvious to Leafs’ management the team needs more balance if it wants to be a serious Cup contender.

    • I think Kadri and Johnnson are gone. I think Kapanen will move to LW if need be and play with Matthews and Nylander, or slot down to third line. Don’t think they want over 14 million on the third line, and Willie needs to play with Matthews. They need Kadri’s cap space for a Dman, and apparently Johnnson wants more dollars than they can afford.

  6. Trouba could be a target for Rangers. Even if it costs you giving Jets back their 1sr round pick, his age, future cap hit, and defensive abilities will probably make him more attractive than the older Karlsson. All depends on where he wants to play.

    • Trouba is still young enough to fit in with the Rangers rebuild strategy. I wouldnt overpay to get him though unless they got permission to negotiate a contract before making a trade.

    • The Rangers need LHD more than another RHD like Trouba…. You have Fox, Shattenkirk and ADA… Coach fav Pionk is already the odd man out. And Lundkvist should be a year away

      • I don’t think Fox is anywhere near poised to take over for any one of the other rhd-men. I’d be shocked if he plays more than 15-20 games in the nhl. In reality, I think he plays zero games in the nhl outside of preseason.

        He signed a contract. He hasn’t done anything else to take away Pionks spot. And most straight out of college guys struggle to keep up with an 82 game schedule

      • On the left you have Skjei, Staal and Smith under contract. Clarsson is rfa. Add to that prospects Hajek, Lindgren and Rykov all signed. Pretty sure right side is more a need. As I said in previous post, give Jets their pick. # 20 …never would give up 2nd overall. With that you can add a 2nd or 3rd along with maybe Pionk or someone equal. In our best interest to brink Fox along slowly. 3rd round pick we gave to Canes becomes a 2nd if he plays 30 games

    • I like Trouba. However there is no way in hell they’re passing on Hughes or Kakko to grab him.

      I can’t think of the last time a team intentionally (meaning knowing where the pick was landing) gave away a top 3 pick.

      Love the idea of Trouba in NY. Great fit on a rebuilding team. But no way I’m giving away that 1st. I’d sooner give up 2-1st rounders like Winnipeg’s this year and NYs next.

      Personally, I’m hoping for Kakko. But I don’t think either guy is a bad #2. Unless of course you trade that pick away….

      • Not to mention it’s their first top 3 pick in about ….. well forever.

      • I’ll take Kakko as well.

        Hughes would be great too but having young, speedy, strong wingers in the top 6 will be great,

        Buchnevich, Chytl, Kratsov, Kakko…all to build with will be fun to watch.

      • smith or staal should not be part of the team now.

        trouba yes for their pick back to them and pionk

  7. good luck to TB on finding a taker for Callahan. They are going to have to bite the bullet and buy him out.

    I’d like to see my Devils acquire Trouba, even if they have to send Vatanen back to Winnipeg. Maybe add in Zacha and a pick (not the 1st overall) and get another asset back (Ehlers?). The Devils are too many small dmen, other than Severson, on the back end

  8. It will be a very interesting time after the cup final comes to an end.
    It seems the majority of teams have to shed salary and are looking to trade over priced players.
    The stark reality most of the salary dumps will be accomplished by buy outs. There are just not enough teams with cap space to take on all the salary dumps.
    That also means some teams with cap space will be able to make great deals.

    One team that does not get talked about much is Vegas.
    After George held his fellow GM hostage to take bad contracts he now finds himself in cap trouble. I don’t think there will be too many teams coming to his rescue. It is shocking that they are over the 83 million cap with players left to sign.
    It is hard to say if George did a good job or just got lucky, but looking at their team I think they will really start going backwards. Their team chemistry is changing and their big money players will not be good enough to take them to a Stanley Cup.

  9. Maata is not that bad. Young ,good size and reasonably priced . There will be a number of teams interested. Even might be the only way of moving Phil.

    Trouba is a distraction in Wpg. I still think Detroit. Maybe something like Rasmussen and a third .

    I predict Kakko to NJD and Hughes to NYR. Only because a minor surprise and similar situation with Hischier . Neither are trading it away

    • I think Trouba preference is Detroit also. Wonder if they’d give up their first. They also have 3 second rounders this year. Maybe Theyy can move Nielsen with some salary retention along with a first or 2 seconds.

  10. Flames will be very active again this off season.
    Brodie and Frolik will most likely be traded.
    The problem is they have to be traded for draft picks because they need the cap space to sign Tkachuk and Bennet.
    There has been talk that Bennet could be an offer sheet target because of his low salary.
    He would be in the 2 round compensation level which is a steal. I am sure Treliving would match.
    Treliving has done a pretty good job but he seems to get hosed at free agent time.
    James Neal’s 5.75 million contract really screwed the flames cap.
    It is possible they may have no choice but to buy him out after one year.

    I still like my idea of trading Gaudreau and Neal to NJ for Hall.

  11. Hopefully NJ takes Hugh’s with the first pick.
    That means there would be a chance they would make the trade of Gaudreau and Neal for Hall.
    Hugh’s and Gaudreau would make quite the dynamic duo for years to come plus put a lot of fans in the NJ building

  12. Brodie and Frolik to the Rangers for Winnipeg’s 1st and the Rangers 2nd

    • No thank you.

      I may think about trading ya Smith and Rangers 2nd rd pick from Dallas for Brodie =)

      but certainly not interested in Frolik. Rather have the 2nd, keep cap space, and let the younger players have more ice time to develop.

    • I keep seeing all these crazy Ranger trade scenarios. This looks a lot like a salary dump for Calgary, to no benefit of NY. Taking on 9 million in cap space for 2 pending UFAs? No thanks on that!

      NY seems to be sticking to the plan. Would they take on a Callahan for a pick or prospect for 1 year? Maybe. But i seriously doubt they’re trading picks for guys like Frolik, and Brodie at this time. Or Shattenkirk for Kovalchuk.

      These don’t seem like rebuild moves. Nor does signing Panarin, Duchene etc.

      Nothing ny has said or done in the last year even hint to these kind of moves. If anything, quite the opposite.

  13. Ok I’m not a huge Trouba fan, but a top pairing right shooting def who scored 50 points with limited PP time is going to get a better return then what I am seeing offered up here. IF the Jets will let him talk contract with the new team prior to the trade.

  14. Detroit is very weak on the backend and that is if Cholowski is ready for a full time role. My opinion they need a Trouba and he will be available
    I would keep this year’s first . Going to get a crack at a good player. Maybe 2 seconds and Velano for Trouba .

    • Feels like a lot of people are under valuing Trouba. He’s young and a legit top pairing dman. Yeah he’s more the #2 guy than a #1 franchise dman but still he should be able to return a solid 2nd line centre to replace Hayes. Myself I’d rather see them trade Laine for a #2 C but that’s not going to happen. If Trouba actually wants to stay sign him and Laine and Connor and let Myers leave and trade Kulikov if possible for cap relief. If Trouba doesn’t want to stay

      Trouba/Appleton for Couturier Or.

      Trouba for Trocheck.

    • Wpg would likely want one of Cholowski or Hronek and a pick.

  15. I haven’t been able to watch Kovalchuk this year but my preseason assumption was he wasn’t likely to be a Jagr … the press and stats bear out so can anybody who has watched him verify if he still has game at his salary?

    I would think a lot of teams would jump at a chance to gamble on a Maatta reset.

  16. I’m intrigued about the Kadri/Roslovic. Yes Kadri is a good few years older than Roslovic, but I think Kadri would fit in with the Jets very well. I think that Roslovic hasn’t panned out the way they hoped. I think an even 1 for 1 trade would be best suited for both sides. For Winnipeg, they’d get a veteran Centerman and Kadri has shown that he can produce very well. For the Leafs, maybe Roslovic might just need a change of scenery and could pan out for the Leafs…this move would also free up some cap space for Marner.

    • on the other hand Wpg needs cap $ as well. They first need to determine return for Trouba, he won’t be resigning in Wpg , then lock up Laine, Conner, Copp. They currently have 14 players signed with about 22 million left. If Laine and Conner get 6 each ( and that be be on the low end ) that leaves 10 million to sign 6-7 players. Vesalanien and Niku should be full time next year and that helps. Stanley not quite ready yet. I can’t see the Jets adding much in the way of established salary unless they trade a current roster player such as Ehlers , Little, Perrault….the may also buy out Kulikov

    • Fergy22

      Yes, Winnipeg needs cap as well…but not quite as severe as Toronto. As of right now, they have $25.372M in available cap space (that including the $83M cap limit). So I assume they’ll give Laine the same money that Buffalo gave Eichel ($10M), if not, Kucherov’s money ($9.5M). Like Marner, Connor should get maybe Tarasenko type money ($7.5M).

  17. Leafs and Jets both want cap space, so the Kadri talk makes no sense. Leafs are deep at Forward and likely will need to replace 2 or 3 dmen in the starting Line-up. Gardiner, Hainsey, and the spot that they never were happy with last year with Ozzy and Marancin and Holl all sharing the load. Unless TOR is getting a dman, then I don’t see Leafs and Jets.
    My best bet for a Toronto trade is Nylander to one of Calgary, Vancouver, LA, or Arizona for a dman and or a high pick or top prospect. To CAR for Faulk is still out there, but teams hate to deal within the conference.