NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2019

by | May 27, 2019 | Rumors | 38 comments

The latest speculation on Joe Pavelski, Sam Bennett, and Rasmus Ristolainen in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


NBC SPORTS: Chelena Goldman reports Joe Pavelski remains confident he’ll return with the San Jose Sharks. The 34-year-old Sharks captain is eligible for unrestricted free agent status on July 1. He wasn’t concerned that contract negotiations haven’t taken place yet. Pavelski is coming off a 38-goal, 64-point performance in 2018-19. 

Joe Pavelski remains confident he’ll return with the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay the Sharks’ limited salary-cap space is one reason why contract talks haven’t begun yet. As per Cap Friendly, they have over $58 million invested in 15 players.

Pavelski isn’t their only noteworthy free agent. UFAs include long-time Sharks center Joe Thornton, defenseman Erik Karlsson, and wingers Gustav Nyquist and Joonas Donskoi. Their restricted free agents include wingers Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc.

Re-signing most of them will eat up the bulk of their $24-million in salary-cap space. Nevertheless, I anticipate Pavelski will be re-signed, perhaps for around the same annual average value ($6 million) as his current deal, but with a shorter term.


SPORTSNET: Eric Francis suggests Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett could be a tempting offer-sheet target. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights requiring a $2.14-million qualifying offer from the Flames. Calgary has over $14 million in salary cap room but most of that will be taken up re-signing power forward Matthew Tkachuk. They must also re-sign goalie David Rittich and re-sign or replace UFA netminder Mike Smith. 

Francis wondered if a club with plenty of salary-cap space, like the Vancouver Canucks, might try to take advantage of the situation. He suggests signing Bennett to an offer sheet in the range of $1.82-million to $3.65 million. If successful, the compensation to the Flames would only be a second-round draft pick. The Flames could match that offer, but it would squeeze their limited cap space. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis’ theory is intriguing but it’s also based on the premise of Bennett being receptive to an offer sheet. Remember, the player has to be open to offers from other clubs and willing to sign one.

If he’s not interested or doesn’t get any offers worth accepting, the Flames have nothing to worry about. I’m guessing it would take much more than Francis’ proposed numbers to entice Bennett into signing an offer sheet. 


WGR 550: TSN’s Darren Dreger recently weighed in on the status of Rasmus Ristolainen. The 24-year-old Buffalo Sabres defenseman has been the subject of considerable trade speculation. Dreger, however, doesn’t think general manager Jason Botterill intends to trade him. While he could be open to offers, trading Ristolainen isn’t a critical move. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Zach Bogosian sidelined five-to-six months by hip surgery, moving Ristolainen wouldn’t be a wise option right now. Perhaps he could be shopped for a scoring forward and Botterill replaces him in a separate deal. Depending on this summer’s trade market, however, that could prove too complicated to pull off. 


  1. trading Risto now with not knowing statues of other two long term injuries,would be foolish
    unless something blows the GM away

    • agreed. I see no reason to trade RISTO. He is no slouch. Is he elite…no, but he will fit fine on the young club.

  2. To be honest I would like Joe Pavelski as my #2 C in NYC but I am pretty confident he will re-signed by SJ.

    • If Pavelski were 26-28 yes. No thanks on a 34 year old guy on a rebuilding team. How many more 38 goal performances does he have up hos sleeve? My guess is none or not many.

      This looks a lot like Messier 2.0. Where they thought an aging Messier could still carry the team into his 40s.

      I wouldn’t touch Pavelski on a 1 year deal. Which I doubt he has any interest in anyway. 3-4+ years? Would be another disastrous Redden like signing.

      I use Redden because he is probably not only NYs worst signing. But right up there as one of the worst in NHLs history.

      I like Pavelski, Right where he is or anywhere else…

      • And Sens fans thank the Rangers most sincerely for the Redden signing because it removed the embarrassment of having kept him over Chara! 🙂

      • Hahahaha. You’re welcome George. It is the one Ranger signing or move generally that just can’t be justified. No matter how you slice it!

        The Sens knew he was in heavy decline, coaches , scouts , fans , …. the beer guy. But NY still managed to not only sign him for too much and too long… they managed to bid against nobody in order to land him!

      • I disagree. Pavelski on a 6 million one year deal with no trade clause. Let these skilled young wingers play with a proven offensive center…trade him at the deadline(20% chance he is NOT injured)

      • Like I said, what are the odds he’s jumping ship on a 1 year deal? Nevermind 1 year a 6 million. Add in the rebuilding team…::

        I’d say less than zero.

      • Rangers 2C situation changes if Hughes falls to us.

      • Considering Pavelski has had a very healthy career, especially the past 6 years, I think he has plenty left to give. Might not score 38 but 27 helps alot and he still knows a thing or 2 about dominating a faceoff alot with alot of other positive traits. I would sign him to a lucrative 2yr deal, but I dont think he comes to Vancouver.

      • I’d rather see Kevin Hayes come back rather than signing Pavelski to a 4 year deal

      • I see the term leadership qualities thrown around so often. Here is a guy who has those plus can put points up and is all class. Any team would be lucky to have him on a 1-2 year deal but that’s never happening. He’s signing around 8M for 3-4 years in SJ or somewhere else

      • DS. Can’t see Pavelski leaving SJ. Definitely not on a 1 year deal to NY with no trade protection. He’s spent his whole career with Sharks and they’ve shown they have no problem keeping their older guys around. I can see him doing what Thornton’s done last few years.
        Agree with Dov, I’d rather see Hayes back. Wonder what NY had offered before he was traded. Possible he doesn’t do much better on open market. If they can get him on a deal similar to Skjei’s? Stay away from EK and Panarin. Trade for Trouba, and extend Kreider. Can have 3 guys for price of 2 and probably on shorter term deals. Fills needs with guys who just entered their prime years. Will be getting elite talent in Kakko and maybe Kravtsov.

      • I agree, but any team wouldn’t include a rebuilding team. I don’t see NY and Pavelski as a match.

        Zero chance he’s taking a 1 year 6 million deal. Zero.
        We may as well discuss breathing under water.

      • The Islanders are still paying Rick DiPietro and only just recently stopped paying Alexei Yashin.

        While the Redden trade is bad….it’s not Islanders Bad.

      • @Slick62
        yes no one is signing Pavelski to a one year-just the only way I want a vet on the Rangers other than Panarin

        I do not want Hayes back. and especially not for 6×6

      • To me he simply solidifies the #2C spot for 3-4 years and allows Chytl to play wing and Andersson more time to develop. I think he is a better option than Hayes. Andersson would be 24 after giving Pavelski a 3 yr deal.

        Again..he is not leaving SJ BUT I would absolutely consider him for the #2C spot. He would look good with Kakko and Kratsov or Chytl on his wings.

      • Looking back, I think Sather took into account only his earlier stats with Ottawa and ignored the stark decline in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, later prompting the inimitable Larry Brooks to (perhaps being right for the first time in his career) call the contract “the worst in the history of the NHL, if not in the history of hard-cap pro sports.”

    • Please put down that crack pipe.

    • Agreed. Pavelski would make great #2 on almost any team.

  3. When has Bogosian not been hurt in his entire career ? You can’t count on him to be dressed. Sabres are getting a decent backend gathered. If you move Ristolainen it is a big mistake.

    Bennett will resign around that 3m or slightly less mark with the Flames. He is one of the few that plays with any grit . I also believe he still has some upside.

    Tkachuk salary is going to be interesting. Anything from a bridge to an eight year deal.

    • Silver,

      I think your right, Bennett will sign here for 2.5 – 3 million.

      I heard figures as high as 9 million for Tkachuk, I think that is high.
      I would suspect he will be around the 7.5 million for 5 or 6 years.

  4. Sharks can be loyal and sign little and big Joe but if they do they won’t win again next year. Burns is a horse an absolute monster but he needs some help and Erik isn’t it. Jones played
    well maybe a little over his head not sure he is real deal just yet. Sharks shouldn’t have gone as far as they did Vegas got shafted but hey s**t happens and they took advantage of it and made a nice run. If I’m GM I sign little Joe for one year and tell Jumbo it’s time to lace them up without winning Lord Stanley.

  5. I’ll believe an offer sheet, when I see one.

    • I dont think Sam Bennett gets an offer sheet, especially not from Vancouver

  6. The Sam Bennett Offer sheet discussion smells a lot like Sportsnet trying to take attention away from a possible Marner offer sheet.

    • I would like to use the crying laughing emoticon here, Lyle. Or maybe just crying.

    • Signing Marner was the no. 1 priority said Dubas. They’ve managed to say hi to each other once since. Don’t think Toronto’s taking the offer sheet too seriously now or maybe Toronto’s hoping that Marner signs an offer sheet

  7. Kessel to the Bruins for Torey Krug

  8. I can see Tkachuk taking a discount. He want’s to win.

    Ristolainen is -143 in 6 years, that goes beyond playing a lot of minutes on a bad team. Sometimes you’re a bad team because of your top guys. Of course his name is out there. Having him stay and put it together would be best option, I couldn’t guess if that’s possible though. Dahlin will be playing half the game soon, and he can’t be playing with him. To maximize Dahlin he’s going to have to go for it from time to time with a reliable partner staying back.

    Bennett will stay, there will be zero offer sheets this year. A trade will be negotiated before any offer sheets. Cap and picks are too precious and you have to overpay with offer sheets.

  9. With finals starting tonight, reminder that not long ago we where discussing trades for everyone on the Blues. Amazing turnaround. Who woulda thunk it!

  10. I think pundits are right that at some point offer sheets will become a tool. I do not think they will be successful in the sense of players changing teams but in the sense of pushing up a players salary and putting the cap squeeze on teams. Bennett, for example, might get an offer sheet in the 3m range. Even without signing it, no way an agent worth their salt does not approach the Flames an d leveraging for more cash. I think that is the real power of an offer sheet, no need for a signature.

    • I don’t think will ever be a thing. What happens when you overpay someone on an offer sheet, they sign, and it’s not matched?

      To quote my son… “boom roasted”

      “We showed them a thing or two “ now we have a player not worth the contract, minus the draft picks and the negative cap space we could have used elsewhere.

      This imho will never be a strategy, and certainly won’t be a successful strategy.

      The cap has been around long enough, and offer sheets even longer. I don’t think there has been a case like this yet…. why now?

      • in the cap world most certainly offer sheets are less likely but if the system was more NBA like (i.e luxury tax) then I could certainly see a handful of teams willing to try it on occasion on generational talents.

        But the system is not so I just do not see a team risking the expense because the reward is just not there.

  11. Have the Finals started yet?

    • They’re debating whether to hold them over until just before the start of 2019-20 to kick things off with a bang!

  12. Maybe Nashville tries to lure Pavelski with a handsome contract, if they can get Subban off the books.

    Speaking of Vancouver, do the Canucks take on Callahan for a nice draft pick or trade for JT Miller?

    Canucks could also be a good landing spot for Risto to pair with Hughes (an upgrade over Schenn).

  13. Sam Bennett an offer sheet? please! Calgary would trade him for bag o’ pucks.
    Moving Risto would be absolutely stupid idea.