NHL Rumor Mill – May 30, 2019

by | May 30, 2019 | Rumors | 44 comments

Updates on Phil Kessel, four possible offer-sheet targets, and the latest on Andrei Markov in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz is puzzled by Minnesota Wild general manager Paul Fenton’s attempt to acquire Phil Kessel. Fenton reportedly offered up forwards Jason Zucker and Victor Rask to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Kessel and defenseman Jack Johnson. Kessel, however, declined to waive his no-trade clause, in part because he doesn’t consider the Wild a Stanley Cup contender.

Are the Arizona Coyotes the only preferred trade destination for Phil Kessel? (Photo via NHL Images)

Gretz believed Fenton’s proposed deal runs counter to the moves the Wild GM made during the season. He shipped out veterans Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, and Mikael Granlund for younger, affordable players. His effort to acquire Kessel would be shipping out younger players for aging veterans.

TRIBLIVE.COM: NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick claims Kessel will waive his no-trade clause for only one team. “I know where he wants to go and we’ll see if he gets that option,” Roenick told 550 AM in Buffalo. “He does want to go west. There is one team that he does want to go play for, and I don’t think he’ll stand for anything less.”

Roenick didn’t name that team, only hinting it’s in the American southwest. That appears to be the Arizona Coyotes, who’ve been linked to Kessel in the rumor mill.

SPORTSDAY: Josh Lile wonders if Kessel would make sense for the Dallas Stars. He believes they should at least look into that possibility. They can afford his $6.8-million salary-cap hit and he could provide them with some much-needed scoring depth. The return, however, could be a problem. Lile points out the Stars lack a player like Minnesota’s Jason Zucker to offer up to the Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If social media is anything to go by, most Wild fans are relieved that Kessel put the kibosh on that proposed deal. Gretz wasn’t the only person perplexed by Fenton’s supposed pitch for Kessel. If the Wild was one veteran scorer away from winning the Stanley Cup, it would’ve made sense. But they’re nowhere near that status.

Core forwards Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Eric Staal are in their mid-thirties and their best years are behind them. Taking on the 31-year-old Kessel and the three years remaining on his contract would’ve made them older and wouldn’t have led to any significant cap savings.

As Roenick suggests, the Coyotes could be Kessel’s preferred destination. However, I think the Penguins would want a good young forward (hello there, Clayton Keller) in return. Kessel’s cap hit could also be a concern for the Coyotes.

The Stars could use Kessel’s scoring punch. However, there’s no indication they’re on his eight-team trade list. 


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton lists Toronto Maple Leafs forwards Mitch Marner and Kasperi Kapanen, Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Points, and Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson as prime offer-sheet targets. They play for teams with limited salary-cap space for 2019-20.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clubs with plenty of cap room next season, like the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers could make a pitch for one of those four this summer. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if somebody will go that route. Every summer, we hear conjecture about offer sheets but such deals never materialize.

As Leafs super-fan Steve Dangle observes, if an offer sheet signing is going to happen, this is the best time to do it. If it doesn’t happen, however, he believes we should all agree to never, ever, talk about them again. I can get behind that. 



  1. Sounds like the Pens have 2 choices, keep him, or take less back than they want. Their call…

    Kessel may not be driving the car, but he is in the front seat with one hand on the wheel.

    I’d take Dallas, he have to suffer through the cowgirls being more important than anything, but no income tax saves him quite a bit…

    • BadCowboy Dan….Your right he is in the front seat with his hand on the wheel……..even worse none had their seat belts on…and the GPS for destinations is broken…

      • Interested if NJ is interested for a few prospects.
        NJ definitely needs depth and something to show Hall they are serious.

  2. Arizona doesn’t have the right assets for Kessel. No way Keller is up for grabs. So that leaves what ? Stepan who has definitely lost a step an. Maybe Dvorak Fischer. I doubt Galchenyuk but the options are limited. This year’s first could be in play.

    Not sure why “offer sheets” are always up for discussion. Not many any over the last decade so what has changed to make them now relevant ?

    • What has happened to make the offersheets so relevant is the quality of the RFA’s and the lack of cap space teams have to sign them.

      • Bingo

      • I still don’t believe it will happen but I have been wrong before and will be again.
        Every year I think this will be the summer that GM’s get wise and stop offering long term big $$ contracts to aging UFA’s. Every year I am proven wrong and every year we have teams in cap trouble for that very reason. Ripe for the picking for offer sheets….. and squat.
        Yes there are more this year but there have always been teams in that position with players that would help opposing teams with the cap space and picks to do it.
        The vultures will circle to try and acquire players from those cap crunched teams, and win a one sided deal. And they do. They appear to simply not want to use the offer sheet option for reasons we have discussed to death. If that changes this year I will come on here and say I am wrong, but until I see it I ain’t believing it.

    • Silver screen….. I dont know that could make a good deal with Arizona..

      To Arizona- Kessel & Matta & Bjugstad & Dominic Simom

      Tp Pittsburgh– Stephan & Hjalmarsson & Grabner

      Arizona gets a sniper who loves the coach a young controllable top 4 d-man a depth center/wing and a young star who just flourished at the IHFs

      pens get a top 4 dman who has stanley cup experience from Chicago who will settle down the second pairing with Schultz…… a speedy winger to play with malkin…. and a third line center who can score and play a 200 ft game..

      • Wow! I hate it. Bring in 3 old has beens and dont get rid of Jack. This trade immediately makes the Penguins older and a non playoff team. And you are giving up way too much to bring in not much at all.

      • Are Pen fans watching Bergeron/Krejci 1-2 center punch and feel Sid+Malkin can do a run again?
        Turn Kessel into some harder edged speedy forwards?

        If a Kessel deal can not be finished does that mean Malkin talk again? Can Sid and a new cast do it upfront?

      • I’ll take Bjugstad over Stepan at this point in their careers. Matta and Jhalmerson are the same player except Maatta is a decade younger. Have you seen the numbers Simon put up at the worlds? Grabner is fast as they come but he has worse hands than Carl Haglin. Considering how the yotes got fleeced in the Strome trade I would be looking for a lot more than that. If you want to give up those players for Keller and Chychrun then I would be a little more on board. If they take Jackass then sign me up.

    • Silver screen…we dont have much choice seems like Arizona is the only place Phil will go..

      they have Derek Stephan Hjalrmarsson (great defender top 4) and Michail Grabner

      our window is 2 3 years..so check my trader proposal on here..

  3. That Dangle kid sure gets offended easily.
    Anything that could negatively impact the TML is bad and should never be mentioned I guess.
    Just mention an offer sheet and a Leaf player and some of them go bonkers while mentioning every other possible FA in history.
    For those that this applies to,
    Grow a thicker skin!
    Just because people disagree with you, doesn’t mean there’s any hate involved.
    Kids today, sheesh!

    • huh?

  4. Maybe Fenton thinks if he reunites USA hockey teammates (Sutter/Parise) w/ Phil the thrill they’ll reignite old magic?……nah.

    • Or the owner told him he wants to make the playoffs and get the extra gate $$ while he is paying aging veterans big $.
      If so then he needs to improve the club right now and you can acquire the extra scoring Kessel brings for a relatively low price as he has some warts.
      The guy can still skate and can still score, but a different dude who is not keen on the 200′ game.
      Gretz is right, there does not seem to be a coherent strategy in Minny.

  5. Lyle, totally agree. If not this year, then when? To avoid ill will, gm’s Should discuss with teams they’re targeting with rfa’s Maybe trades get worked out, but value should be in line with offer sheet compensation. If ask is too high, then go offer sheet route. Also, back to yesterday’s discussion, it was mentioned how some teams lack the picks to compensate another team. I’m assuming since draft comes 1st, not having picks this year is irrevelant?

    • Yeah, this year’s draft pick compensation picks will start with the 2020 picks. Cap friendly has a great offer sheet calculator which also shows which team have the right amount of draft picks to make an offer and which teams don’t.

      • @ Kev: Great link: Thanks

      • Yeah, thanks for that link Kevjam – wish I’d had it yesterday before saying Ottawa couldn’t use the offer sheet this summer if it involved a 1st round pick. Even so, I really doubt Dorion gets involved in any such offers to Marner – if there are any which I doubt – but he might target someone like Kapanen or Johnsson as that would only involve a 2nd – of which they now have several including their own, over the next few years.

  6. Spitballing craziness… Kessel to San Jose for Labanc. And for added fun… Marleau back to SJ to play with Thornton on third line.

  7. Kessel does not warrant a Keller in return….Grabner with Malkin? Grabs has hands of stone and won’t score with Malkin or Crosby unless it is on the five hundred breakaways he gets.

  8. Ya I’m on board for no offer sheet yip n yap until it actually comes to fruition

  9. I going to go against the grain this yr and say there will be a couple RFA offer sheets this yr…everyone needs to stop playing nice!

    • I agree, and I think Tom Dundon in Carolina might be that crazy (sane?).

  10. Dee. I disagree Stephan is 28 ( 4 years younger than (Kessel) and a solid two way 3rd center we have been looking for since Bonino and Stahl..

    Hjalmarsson only 31 cup rings with Chicago super stable defender and shot blocker
    He is already better DEFENSIVELY than anyone we have except maybe Dumolin..WHO WAS +31

    Grabner gives us speed that we are lacking since HAGELIN .left….

    ***Look the window is the next two/ three years…you want to already rebuild.******

    penguins aren’t that old…

    Mccann is young,

    Murray is young,

    Guentzal is young,

    Dumolin is in his prime we just signed

    Bjorkstad he is young Who we just signed

    from Providence

    ZAReese is young.

    Pettersson is young

    Rust is only 27

    Blieger is young

    DeSmith/JARRY are young

    what are you talking about… Simon hasnS’t done great here IN pittsburgh.

    Bjugstad is a good trade piece as is Matta who has fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh..

    Kessel we are trying to trade
    They have been wanting to trade Matta for years
    so who are we giving up really?

    Bjugstad maybe.. ill take Grabner any day he gets more breakaways than anyone in the league

    You add Derek Stephen to center the 3rd line.

    Hjalmarsson goes to the numver 2 pairing with justin Schultz

    Grabner plays with Malkin and Rust

    Don’t say we aren’t better….

  11. Lot’s of talk about offer sheets.
    If i was Lou and the Isles would decide to make an offer sheet I think they should target Brayden Point.
    That would be a great one two punch with Barzal for many years.

    • I rather Lou offer sheet Marner so Toronto fans can watch Marner and Barzal for the next 7 years.
      Be even better watching all Toronto media windbags lose their minds over it too.

  12. Why trade for Kessel Because every move Fenton has made is bush league no ryme or reason or purpose. He is not rebuilding a team he is destroying a team

  13. Dee…also what choice do we have Kessel seems to only want to go to Arizona..

    we could have had a young slid two way player in Zucker Kessel vetoed the deal

    whats your suggestion?

    • I thought Kessel had an 8 team trade list? Minny obviously wasn’t on it.
      He needs to give them the list and PIT is free to deal him to any of those 8 and there is nothing Phil can do about it. I suppose he could retire but I wouldn’t bet on it.
      My guess is that has happened and the GM’s who get the call will be offering anvils instead of life lines as they know the list will include mostly the better teams with limited cap space and Arizona who has cap space and no money.
      Not a recipe for a high return or a happy reunion.

  14. Leafs are trying to move that terrible zaitsev contract to give him a fresh start! Lol what picks/prospects will they have to give up with him or how much money will they have to hold back do you think?

  15. If I’m Boston I offer Kapanen 4 million over 4-6 years he’s 22 and I like his game I think he is better than Nylander. Bruins second line of Krech Debrusk and Kapanen would work out just fine. 2nd round pick I make that move all day everyday.

    • 4 mil is matched. 5.5 though….

  16. Even though we haven’t seen a lot of offer sheets, the GM’s have made enough public comments over the years to lead us to believe that they consider it a greater concern than history indicates. Some of that is posturing but it also causes me to wonder how many transactions were directly or indirectly related to the concern of an offer sheet. We often here that the reason for so few offer sheets is that GM’s don’t want to rock the boat with the other GM’s. But do they trust each other enough to not have to plan for one? As long as the GM’s believe in the possibility of an offer sheet the system can still benefit the players, whether they sign an offer sheet or not.

  17. Dee…..
    Matta is 24 and decent
    Hjalmarsson is 31 a way better defender, skater (Matta has trouble keeping up ) better shoot blocker and he is 31 that’s 7 years not 10??

    Stephan is 28 and Kssel is 32 Stepan a terrific two WAY PLAYER AND 3RD LINE CENTER WHO CAN SCORE AND HAS GRIT

    Simon has done really little in Pittsburgh! IHF’s the ice surface is huge you dont get checked and you can be creative and fearless//NHL different ball game. you sghould know that.

    Hornqvist had like 9/ 10 goals at the IHFs THIS YEAR

    our window is now and for the next three years.

    we lose 7 years for Matta hjalmarsson
    we gain 4 years Stephan and kessel
    \we lose 6 years with Simom and Grabner

    Simon is alot like Sprong very little here maybe a change of scenery



  18. Might have already been posted on here…I didn’t check, just scrolled on by…but apparently Zaitsev is on the trade block.

    • The question is what they will give up with zaitsev or how much salary they willl retain to move him, it’s a bad contract for a bad dman

  19. Chrisims I can’t see how Leafs can sign both Johnsson and Kapanen if Marner is signed. Last I read as Toronto wants to bridge both and hope they bite.

  20. Kessel for Arizona’s #14th pick in this years draft

  21. Offer sheet? Beware those who reside north of the border. There is a train coming. A red and white train rolling your direction from Carolina.

    • Not Likely.

  22. The Leafs have gotten themselves into a cap issue. Carolina has a new owner who doesn’t play by the rules that all the “good ol boys” do. He could care less about how business has been done in he past, or the unwritten rules. If, he believes that he can slide in a grab an established player, at a fair price, he’ll do it.

    • Its not about being a maverick its about continuing to build a team the right way. He hasn’t signed Aho or any of the three goalies he needs to sign yet. He needs to take care of his own business first. Not to mention getting all of the young defencemen in Charlotte signed. And when is the the last time a RFA was willing to sign an offer sheet at a fair price. Toronto can go 8.3 million over the cap in the off season so they would match any “fair” offer and trade a player later to get under the cap. Also Toronto will have even more Cap space by July 1 when teams can make an offer.