NHL Rumor Mill – May 4, 2019

by | May 4, 2019 | Rumors | 41 comments

A look at the Islanders’ potential offseason plans, the latest Oilers GM speculation, and an update on Ryan Miller in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis believes Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello faces “a massive amount of questions” this summer. They have “a gaggle of free agents” plus “a handful of attractive trade pieces”. He feels they must add some “high-end skills” to supplement their defensive style.

Robin Lehner is among four notable New York Islanders’ unrestricted free agents this summer. (Photo via NHL Images)

Cygalis’ colleague Larry Brooks expects changes are coming. Goaltender Robin Lehner, captain Anders Lee, center Brock Nelson, and winger Jordan Eberle are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Brooks believes Eberle is “essentially out the door”.

The Islanders could have up to $34 million in salary cap room this summer but Lamoriello might not spend all of it. Brooks wonders if the Isles GM will get into a bidding war with the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers for Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin. He also pondered the possibility of Lamoriello attempting to sign Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitch Marner to an offer sheet.

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan and Chris Peters expect Lee to be re-signed and recommend retaining Nelson. The contract term for Eberle could become a sticking point for Lamoriello. Lehner will command a big raise but Kaplan and Peters wonder if the Isles GM will instead attempt to sign Columbus netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.

They also wonder if Lamoriello will pursue a high-end forward like Panarin or Matt Duchene.

Backup goaltender Thomas Greiss has a year remaining on his contract. He could be traded if promising Ilya Sorokin cracks the roster next season. Center Valtteri Filppula could return on another one-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Islanders have over $47 million invested in 16 players. They’ll have plenty of cap room to re-sign their key free agents and bring in a high-end player or two. Lamoriello has a reputation for frugalness but he’s also willing to pay big raises to deserving players.

As long as the Lehner camp doesn’t seek Carey Price money, I expect he’ll return with the Islanders. I can see Lamoriello offering big bucks to Lehner on a two-year deal with the promise of more money to come on his next deal if he maintains his Vezina-worthy form. The netminder could feel a sense of loyalty to the Isles for taking a chance on him and perhaps agree to such a deal. We’ll see.

Lee seems keen to stay with the Islanders and Lamoriello probably doesn’t want to lose another captain two years in a row. Dollars shouldn’t be an issue but I recall reading somewhere that Lamoriello won’t want to go beyond five years for Lee.

Eberle has probably played his final game with the Islanders while Nelson’s status appears hazy. He’s coming off a career regular season and played well in the opening round sweep of the Penguins. However, he didn’t have a good series against the Hurricanes. Time will tell if that affects his contract negotiations with Lamoriello.

I expect Lamoriello will attempt to land a skilled player or two via free agency or trades. He’s got the cap space to make a competitive bid via free agency. He’ll also have to sell his prospective UFA targets on why the Isles are worth joining. The club’s improvement this season and the presence of well-respected head coach Barry Trotz should help.

Speaking of trades, I expect winger Joshua Ho-Sang will be shopped this summer. He’s struggled to crack the Isles roster under two different GMs and head coaches. He won’t fetch much on his own but could be bundled into a package offer.

As for an offer sheet, you can’t rule anything out with Lamoriello. However, he’s never gone that route before and could remain unwilling to go down that path.


SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reported sources claim the Edmonton Oilers are going all-in trying to woo Detroit Red Wings senior VP Ken Holland into becoming their new general manager. The two sides have reportedly conducted extensive negotiations, with Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson offering Holland complete autonomy to hire and fire at will.

The two sides could reach an agreement over the weekend with an official announcement of the hiring to be made next week. If Holland doesn’t accept the job, Mark Hunter, Sean Burke, and Oilers interim GM Keith Gretzky would remain in the running. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: By the sound of things, Holland would take over full control of the Oilers’ hockey operations department. That would rule out the possibility of any meddling from the so-called “Old Boys Network” of former Oilers among the front-office staff. Indeed, it could mean some of those people would be replaced by Holland. It’s a tempting offer for the former Wings GM, who’s been shunted aside in Detroit since Steve Yzerman took over that job.

If Holland accepts he’ll bring a stellar resume with him. The Red Wings were among the league’s dominant teams for most of his 22-year tenure as general manager. During that period, they appeared in four Stanley Cup Finals and won three championships. He also has a solid reputation at the draft table, selecting such notables as Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Dylan Larkin. Critics, however, point to his tendency to overpay in the free-agent market and the Wings decline during his final years as GM.

It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds. 



  1. Interesting if Holland does go to EDM. He definitely will help them draft players that can round out the team. He certainly has a vision of how to properly develop a player from their minor affiliates to the big club.

    My only concern was watching him overpay for many of his roster players because of LOYALTY. Guys like Abdelkader, Helm, Ericsson, and especially things like Kronwall $5m at age 38 and Nielsen $5.25M till age 38-39. I get the “fair market” value but many of these were just too long of a contract and not giving younger guys more opportunity at times.

    Time will tell, but it would be nice to see what he does and I hope EDM gets a classy and well respected guy like Holland to lead them. Perhaps If he goes, Hitch stays as Head Coach. That would be a fun team to see develop over the course of 5 yrs.

    • funny how you use the word “classy” in your post when you use a such classless name on this site …

      • Mature of you. Now I see what the other poster’s comments are seeing.

        To educate you a bit, since you never asked, my username reflects not a negative denotative hate of the individual but a connotative usage of the word hate because of just how good Crosby is. I hate how good he is out of admiration.

        You are welcome. I sincerely hope your weekend is a blessed one and one that is much better than your reply to my post.

      • Eddie’s a s&^t-disturber who NEVER has anything positive to add to these threads. Ignore him – he’ll fade away.

  2. So the Edmonton Oilers who fired their GM for building a non playoff team with little talent outside of 2 or 3 players and zero cap room are planning to hire a GM that built a non playoff roster in Detroit with little talent and next to zero cap room.

    I dont see how this could possibly go wrong.

    • Holland only built a team that won 4 cups and made the playoffs 22 straight seasons on his watch , 25 total . That’s 25 years in a row drafting mid to late first round , Datsyuk leaving , then Zetterberg , bound to be a few down years to re acquire the top end skill through the draft after such a run . How is mark hunter more qualified ? Or any of the candidates for that matter ? Holland with Keith staying on the amateur side woukd be a good move

      • Holland obviously had a excellent scouting department in Detroit. Or do you think he did that all by himself? And we all know how good the Oilers did drafting in the later rounds the last years….
        Besides most of their first round picks, they didn’t draft well.

      • Holland has never built a team. He inherited a world-class team and was able to outspend all but one or two teams. He has proved that he is incapable of maintaining a competitive team under the salary cap.

        Tellingly, the very best moves that Holland has made since signing Marian Hosea to that one-year deal in the summer of 2008 have been selling at the deadline the last couple years.

      • 22 years straight ! You don’t think he built in those years ? Transitioning from the great team he inherited , to his draft picks Datsyuk and Zetterberg among others and trading other picks along the way . 22 years , 4 cups , no he didn’t do it alone . Gretzky and the amateur side have things looking strong and Holland has the high end talent and a prospect pool at its strongest in decades , his experience , track record and stability he would provide all make him a great choice , Keith stays on ideally .
        Really , they can’t hire a guy who won’t be criticized, whether that be Holland or hunter, if it’s holland he’s old and past his prime , if it’s hunter , rookie gm no experience .

    • Perfect analogy Ron.

      Holland would be a huge mistake, he is past his prime.
      Just hire Hunter and get on with it

  3. Keep Lehner go hard after Duchene and Panarin trade for another scorer let Nelson, Lee and Softie Nelson walk. Hope they either trade Ho Sang or let him play he has skill but never gets a shot .

    • Ho Sang can’t score in the AHL

      • Ho Sang – 156 gp in the AHL – 26 goals – did he not get a shot there either? “Can’t miss” stars often do. And for various reasons. He isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last.

      • “He’s a stud, you have to remember you need 400 games blah blah blah”

      • 😀
        @Nyr4Life: It takes 400 games for a d-man or a big bodied power forward… 😀

      • 😀

      • Nyr4life:

        Or he could have a “bounce back” season, lol

        Whatever happened to the know-it-all Striker anyway?

      • Except in Ho Sang’s case there’s nothing – as a pro – to bounce-back FROM! 🙂

  4. Holland would do nothing to improve the Oilers. Why not hire Hunter, a clean slate, younger and more foresight into the younger and talented end of. the spectrum.

  5. Because Holland is another old boy who Edmonton sees his past glory and not his current reality . The owner loves living in the past rather than looking forward to the future. If he was forward thinking I would expect Hunter to be the choice with same authority they are offering Holland so he can clean out the dust.

    • Very good point.

    • Ken Holland to Seattle would be my bet.

  6. Hmmm. Interesting: Ken Holland has a very impressive resume but I don’t see a fit there.
    No he would want this, that and the other while the old boys club would be bickering to keep their interference status alive and well
    Sorry Ken..its not you…it’s them

  7. Edm , go with Hunter

    NYI – re-sign Lee, re-sign Filipula to a 1 year deal, sign Lehner if the $ and term is reasonable , say 3*6mil. Let the rest walk. Trade Hosang , he needs a new start and perhaps trade one of Boychuck ( limited NTC) or Hickey , Isles have 5 good D on the roster. They would have to eat some cap to trade Boychuck but he would be a decent add for a team looking for veteran presence on a young team at the right price.
    Would like to see Koivula get a chance to play in the NHL next year on the wing.

    • FERGY…would you really sign Filipula? Would he really take only a 1 yr deal again? Or better not re-sign him, try shedding Ladd with HoSang to clear cap space and then use the cash to go after other faces?

      Duchene would have to be over paid to come to LI I think. …. would they give Duchene the 8plus for 7yr? ..same may be said for Panarin 10m for 7?

      If they resign Nelson for 5.5 for 3….that would give them some flexibility.

      Would NSH take Ladd & HoSang for Turris? Gives NYI another center. NSH gets a shorter contract and prospect.

      I think Lou probably will be more patient but I hope they address their need for scoring.

      • IHC Filipula is a good role player, I would offer 1 year @ 2.5 , at 35 he is not going to get many term offers. The Isles may be stuck with Ladd but your trade with Ho-Sang for Turris is conceivable. Turris played hurt, hip injury , most of the year and I think Poile will wait to see if his stock goes back up. I see Turris having a rebound year next year if he heals up.

  8. Lee was just appointed captain this year. You should not let that go. Nelson is a pick of theirs and a nice versatile player . Lehner was very good and should be a reasonable price. All will stay.
    Panarin makes sense .Lou paid Kovaluchuk big dough and Its New York .

    • SS…..i am on the Island and where they play in BK is a not as nice as you’d hope for. Not sure Brooklyn is the hometown that Panarin envisions like he does Manhattan. Big cultural differences in the neighborhoods.

      They may have to toss him 11 plus to come to the Island.

      I honestly foresee Lou holding some cap space to round out the roster too. Gut feeling is Leddy and Eberle may be gone. Boychuck has a NMC so he stays…… Lee is resigned IF he takes 5 or less. I cannot see Lou giving him a 7 or 8 yr Of course Lou will spin it, if Lee does not resign.

      Scoring options will have to be brought in…I just do not see Duchene or Panarin signing there.

      • @IHC: This might sound crazy to say brother but I see Panarin and Bobs signing in Florida as a Package deal with no state tax as a huge incentive. Just speculating but its quite possible

      • IHC , Boychuk has an NTC clause kicking in next season , 8 teams he can be traded to.

      • @Joey…It is VERY possible, but my gut is saying Bob to FLA and Panarin goes to a major city for big bucks…

        LA & NYR come to mind. Perhaps he does end up in FLA…. LA having a lot of work to do to make the space of course.

        If I were SJ i’d let Thorton and Pavelski walk …then sign Panarin and Bob and trade Jones for some draft picks

        @ FERGY….Not sure any team has that much dead space to the Boychuck off NYI’s hands and help them out. His game over the last 3 years does not scream “missing piece” to me at all. If he only had 1 season left perhaps a team takes a gamble but even then his game does not warrant it.

        I foresee teams going youth or short term Vet Dmen that are currently UFA’s to fill the gaps.

      • But surely Brooklyn/the Island is more than a notch above trying to lure someone to Joisey?

  9. Babcock to oilers? As GM, not coach? hmmm.

    • @Vincois: Now that is quite the stretch

    • They should offer Larsson, Lucic, Puljujarvi, & their 1st this year to TML for Kadri and Nylander.

      Seems like a like to toss that way but the depth Kadri and Nylander bring would be crucial for EDM.

      Perhaps even add Russell going to TML for Zaitsev along with the other players in the mega deal.

      • Your trade ideas are almost always absolutely mind boggling.
        Please carry on, as I really enjoy reading them.
        Thanks for the explanation on your name as well.
        I’ve asked you about it in the past and you’ve never responded.
        That’s as good of reason as any.
        Ihategallagher for the same reason.

      • @IHC: Your trade proposal:The Leafs Get One Player( Larsson) and two stiffs for 2 useful players and the Leafs take on dead salary too? I don’t think so and I don’t see Dubas jumping at that idea either

      • I am not saying the trade will happen but rather what they should offer. That is all.

        Never did I say the deal was a winner for TML but only it gets them cap space, a top prospect & a 1st rd pick.

        Tough it does garner them a RD to play with Reilly for the same cap hit that Nylander has.

      • @Ihc:
        The cap hit of Lucic and Larsson together is $10.166.000. Puljujarvi is a RFA (last cap hit was $925.000) who needs to be qualified respectively re-signed. And he is not a top-prospect. He was considered as one when they drafted him. But he didn’t develop as expected.
        Kadri and Nylander have a combined cap hit of §11.462.00. Even if you ad Russell and Zaitsev to the trade, it doesn’t save the Leafs money or “gets them cap space”.

    • @IHC Ya big bucks will always tempt players but NO STATE TAX ? I don’t know man. If I was either of them, a free agent, and I could sign with a colleague with a franchise who, among other things, salary wise, offers no state tax and I’m a free agent? talk to me is my first thought..Just saying

  10. Signing Lehner or any of the Islander free agents is a major trap. Most forwards are close to 30 and their play will tail off after 2-3 years, any team who gives them 6-7 year deals will regret it! Lehner is not worth the risk, sure he’s had one very good year, worst time to sign a free agent, offer him 2 years at most, he could easily go back to being depressed and play could tail off, you’re talking about a guy who wanted to end his own life. Let’s say he signs a long term deal with new team and first year goes bad, the pressure could push him off deep end…