NHL Rumor Mill – May 9, 2019

by | May 9, 2019 | Rumors | 44 comments

Check out the latest on the Blue Jackets, Stars, and Rangers in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline notes the possibility of Columbus Blue Jackets president John Davidson heading to New York to take over the same role with the Rangers. He wonders how that might affect the club’s management. He expects goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and left winger Artemi Panarin will depart via free agency on July 1.

Will Matt Duchene re-sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets? (Photo via NHL Images)

While the Jackets will attempt to re-sign center Matt Duchene, Portzline said there’s talk he could have his eye on the Nashville Predators or perhaps a return to the Ottawa Senators. They could also re-sign winger Ryan Dzingel but Portzline cautioned against overpaying. He doesn’t expect center Alexander Wennberg will be moved but suggested Brandon Dubinsky could be a buyout candidate. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Jackets have over $51 million invested in 15 players. If ownership is willing to spend to next season’s projected $83 million salary cap, they’ll have over $31 million in cap room.

That’s more than enough to re-sign everyone but it appears Panarin and Bobrovsky will hit the open market on July 1. They’ll have to be replaced and the Jackets could go the free agent route to do so. Goaltender Robin Lehner would be a prime target if he doesn’t re-sign with the New York Islanders. If Buffalo Sabres left wing hits the open market the Jackets could be among the suitors. 

It’s imperative they re-sign Duchene, who hasn’t ruled out returning with the Jackets. Otherwise, they risk having nothing to show for mortgaging their future to acquire him. Dzingel didn’t pan out as hoped and they could pass if his asking price is too expensive.

Given their cap space, there’s no urgency to buy out Dubinsky. He carries a $5.85-million annual cap hit through 2020-21. A buyout would lead to a $1.95-million annual cap hit over the next four years. His full no-trade reverts to a modified no-trade on July 1 with a 10-team no-trade list. The no-movement remains in place to prevent demotion to the minors.

Wenneberg might benefit from a change of scenery. However, the decline in his production over the past two seasons hurts his trade value. The Jackets would probably have to pick up part of his $4.9-million annual average value (through 2022-23) to move him. A buyout would free up considerable cap space but would stretch through 2026-27. 


SPORTSDAY: Kevin Sherrington expects Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery will be back after a solid rookie season as bench boss. General manager Jim Nill’s status, however, could be tenuous. Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell, Roope Hintz, and Jason Dickinson were drafted by Nill, who also acquired goalie Ben Bishop and winger Mats Zuccarello.

However, the Stars had the third-worst goals per game (2.55). Captain Jamie Benn appears to be wearing down. Nill must re-sign Zuccarello and doesn’t have much cap space to do much else.

Josh Lile doubts the Stars will re-sign restricted free agent forwards Brett Ritchie and Mattias Janmark. He advocates bringing in more speed and skill to their forward lines. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think Nill’s in any danger of losing his job this summer. However, his offseason moves will determine if he has a future in Dallas beyond next season. They’ve got a superb goaltending tandem in Bishop and Anton Khudobin (another Nill signing), a defense corps anchored by Lindell, Heiskanen, and John Klingberg, and some promising youth up front.

Nevertheless, they must bolster their secondary scoring to take the burden off the Benn line. Zuccarello was a fine addition. I can see him agreeing to a three- or four-year deal with a no-movement clause (for expansion draft protection) for around the same annual cap hit as his current $4.5 million. 

With over $60.7 million committed to 15 players, they can afford to re-sign Zuccarello and restricted free agents Lindell and Dickinson. There should also be room to add another scorer via trade or free agency. 


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks considers John Davidson a lock to join the Rangers as their new president. He also expects the Blueshirts will attempt to sign Panarin, but they’ll face competition from the Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, and Chicago Blackhawks. 

In other Rangers speculation, winger Chris Kreider has a year remaining on his contract. If the Rangers decide to trade him, Brooks believes the acquiring team must re-sign him to an extension to maximize the return for the Blueshirts. He won’t have as much value to teams like the Edmonton Oilers or Winnipeg Jets if he’s looked upon as a one-year rental player.

Rangers defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Brendan Smith could be buyout candidates. Brooks also doesn’t rule out Vladislav Namestnikov or Jimmy Vesey becoming cost-cutting trade options. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With $63.8 million tied up in 19 players, the Rangers have room to make a significant addition via free agency this summer. Buyouts of Shattenkirk and Smith will prove costly in 2020-21 so they’ll have to be prepared for the cap hit in that season.

As for Kreider, it’ll be interesting to see how the Rangers play this. If they can’t reach a suitable agreement by mid-June they could attempt to move him during the 2019 NHL Draft weekend (June 21 and 22).


  1. Seems like I’m not alone in thinking there’s a possibility Duchene could re-sign in Ottawa.

    • Ive seen a few interviews where Duchene spoke highly of the atmosphere, locker room and fans in Ottawa. I doubt he will sign with the Sens but I wouldnt be shocked if he did either.

      • It would go a long way to making sure they reach the cap floor – for a year or two anyway before the Chabots and Tkachuks and that other bunch of kids start looking for their next contracts.

      • Most top end players want to go to a team that can compete for the Cup. That isn’t Ottawa. Except by overpaying, hard to see how any top UFA would sign with Ottawa.

      • Most, I agree – but not all – Duchene made no bones about wanting one good kick at cup – and he felt he got that when dealt to Columbus – but at the same time he also made it clear (in every interview I saw with him on trade deadline day – and there were several) that he loved playing in Ottawa and that the future looked bright for the team with all the established players/prospects/draft picks obtained in the various deals to that point (Tierney, DeMilo, Norris, Branstrom, Batherson, Brown, Formenton, etc.).

        Shopping around for a “sure thing” has mostly been a Fool’s Errand for many UFAs, and this year has likely indelibly etched in the minds of many players that, once the playoffs start, you just never know.

        Before the season began did you (or anyone else for that matter) see a possible final involving Carolina & St. Louis?

        Duchene had no say in where he was dealt but likely figured it would be to a team in the playoff hunt at the time, nor did he make any commitments or promises to fans/media in Columbus about his future there beyond this season.

      • the whispers I heard was that the deal that was made to him before they traded him would still be there for him when he reached free agency if he wanted to return

        Armed with that, he got us a pick, he had a good run in the playoffs and he has at the very least a soft “offer” to work with….

      • Except now it would have to be for 7 years max at $8 mil per whereas the most even Ottawa could offer is 7 years. So, essentially, he’s left $8 mil on table. And as I pointed out yesterday (or the day before) if anyone thinks some other team will match the total $64 mil tabled by Ottawa that means said team would need to go just over $9 mil per for 7 years. Can’t see any team going that high on Duchene. Certainly not Ottawa.

      • The deal could still be the same from Ottawa just minus the year.
        8 million in signing bonus gets him his 64 in less years.
        Unlikely Scrooge pays that up front, and the way I heard it was simply the offer would “still be on the table”

      • George, I agree Duchene maybe liked playing in Ottawa and considering he’s probably signing his last contract and choosing where he wants to spend rest of his career, it’s possible. But, as far as the money, I think as a legit 1c, he will have no problem getting $. He’s easily top center available, and I’d be surprised if he gets less than 9 mil per.

      • I like Duchene. But NOT at $9 mil per for that length of time. Let some other team gamble.

  2. There’s no way Rangers should buy out Shattenkirk. They still have a cap hit next year of 3.6miil on Girardi’s buyout. The cap hit for Shattenkirk in 2020/21 would be over 6! Brooks mentioned in that article that they tried to trade him at the deadline. I would think they’d go that route even if it meant retaining half his salary. There’s really no need to move him. Same with Smith. Adding 2 years of cap hits just doesn’t make sense when you’re not up against the cap. I’d be very disappointed if they don’t get an extension done with Kreider. He was on pace for 35-40 goals before having hamstring issues. He’s only 5 months older than Panarin and as Rangers current 1st line left winger he’s not going to cost anything close to what Panarin will get. He’s also one of the leaders on this team and is in his prime. I don’t see his game changing over the next 5-6 years as he’s a physically gifted athlete.

    • Kreider is a special mix of skill, speed and size…and still not consistent. It would be different if say Vesey could take his place but he is never going to.

      Hindsight…. Girardi is better than Smith… argh.

      • DS
        Smith had a better year this year than last, but still awful. Not hurting them as long as he doesn’t take time from younger guys. 7th D or 4th line winger. Can always save a little by sending him down to AHL. Don’t want to do another buyout unless absolutely necessary. Still stuck with Staal for 2 more years. Give it another year. I think good chance they trade Vesey. Kreider hopefully gets a team friendly deal.

    • We should never lose sight of the fact that Brooks is an idiot.

    • Why would the Oilers give up anything for a one year rental player? It would be different if Edmonton were only a piece or two from legitimate contention.

      Next thing you know Brooks will be plugging a Shattenkirk and Kreider to Edmonton for Hopkins, Nurse and a 1st.

      According to Brooks any player in a Rangers jersey is a first ballot hall of famer.
      Just more Rangers we’ll trade you our scraps for your stars tripe.

      How does this guy stay employed?

      • Ron, I’m not a big fan of Brooks, but in his defense, he did say that he doesn’t see Edmonton as a trade partner for the exact reason that he would probably be a rental. In his article he says Rangers would get a better return from a team that would be able to sign him long term. I think Brooks is way off on his opinions on buyouts, but he was the one reporting Davidson having a clause in his contract , allowing him to jump ship for Rangers job that nobody else knew about.

  3. I don’t get all the press about the Rangers needing to trade Kreider. Slick62 has it right, he’s part of the team core that’s going to provide structure and support for all the young players, and he’s a rare combination of speed and power that can’t be replaced easily. He’s also an intelligent, well educated guy who probably sees a future for himself beyond his playing days, and may be willing to sign a contract that works for both sides.

    • Joe, he also speaks Russian and has had a huge impact on Buchnevich

      • I am all for extending Kreider and signing Panarin. But who is the 2nd line center? Chytil has not shown a 200 foot game… If you keep Zib+Kreider and who with Panarin… Not sure Strome, Lias or Howden the fit

      • DS, I agree on Chytil. I like him more on wing. He looks lost in his own end as center. I wonder if Rangers might take a look at Kravtsov at center. He was moved to wing when he joined KHL, but had played mostly center before that. When drafted he was compared to Kuznetsov. Gorton said in interview they’ll wait till training camp to figure out where he fits.

      • I would prefer Chytil becomes the LW to Zib with Buch and slide Kreider with Howden and Strome

        Perhaps offer a trade of Namestnikov and/or Vesey & 2nd rd pick to CMB for Wennberg and see if he can handle 2nd line duty. Kratsov can play wing and draft KK and he can slot there on the other wing.
        CMB gets cap space if they accept Vesey and a 2nd which CMB needs since they gave everything up to make a playoff run.

        Sign Panarin IF you trade Kreider and a pick for a top 4 defense partner for Skjei.

      • @Slick62
        I guess if somehow Jack Hughes falls to us problem solved? ;-0
        I trust Lias and Howden for 200 feet but neither has shown much elite offensive flair.
        I bet Strome gets the assignment again…

      • Trading Shatty or Smith to TO for a deal involving Kadri? I’ve always stated Lias might be a good fit up there

      • Who speaking English fairly regularly now.

        Please tell us this huge impact in more detail.

        Just note bs like guys from this country instantly become friends and should play on a line with another guy on team from same country.

      • @ds:
        Why would the Leafs trade Kadri (great cap hit at $4.500.000) for the Rangers crap?
        Yes they need defensive help, but Shattenkirk is way beyond his prime and was always a defensive liability. And Smith is not respectively never was a top-4-d-man.

      • Michael T – what?? Were you typing with your elbows?

  4. I know I will get roasted for this but NYR should see if NSH is willing to accept Shattenkirk & Namestnikov, and a prospect for Subban.

    NSH needs cap space I am assuming. Shattenkirk’s deal ends sooner and Vlad’s ends next summer. Rangers can pick up $1 mi for him.

    For NYR….Subban can pair with Skjei on the top D-pair. They spend more upfront and only 1 extra year at 9m.

    Worth considering….

    Does NSH want that cap space enough to take less back to facilitate?

    • IhateCrosby.
      Subban has an extra year left over Shattenkirk. If Rangers weren’t retaining salary this would actually be better for Rangers capwiae as Names and Shatty make a combined 10.6 mil compared to Subbans 9. I would think Nashville could probably get better return for Subban elsewhere, without taking back so much salary.

      • @Slick62
        My thought was if NYR only holds $1mill for Namestnikov and NSH takes both him and Shatts then cap wise it is close to even. As a Ranger fan I would take Subban with an extra year @9m then another year with Shatts.


        I know they appear with cap room but I am assuming they want to lock up Josi soon and have wiggle room to bring in other players perhaps a Duchene or Panarin. It would give GM Poile more flexibility is where I was going with it.

        Agreed Subban could fetch more but I don’t think anyone really has space to take on a $9m cap hit for 3 years. Nor is any contender giving cost controlled bluechips for Subban and still have cap space. Sending Shatts back is only 6.75 for 2 yrs and Namestnikov is off the books next summer. That gives them over 6 million in free cap by a simple swap. All I was saying.

        To me…if it is the right prospect or pick…it makes sense for both teams Long Term. All IMO.

    • I also think a 3rd rounder takes Namestnikov.

    • IHC , Nashville is actually in decent shape cap wise , 25 active roster players for 19-20, cap space of 3.7 , RFAs to re-sign only Sissons and Grimaldi. I can’t see any of the UFA’s being offered contracts.
      The following season Josi will be the big ticket and if Grandlund rebounds in 19-20 he could command a raise from current 5.75 but he is going to have to earn it, otherwise the majority of the UFAs likely will be cut loose.
      So in short your trade proposal does little to help Nashville unless the prospect is blue chip. Subban should fetch far more than what you proposed imo.

      • Fergy
        I think if Rangers where to trade for a d man, Trouba would be their main target. There’s also the prospect if they’re looking to upgrade they might pursue Karlsson as a FA instead of giving up assets. I don’t see either happening without moving Nashville had worst PP in league. If Rangers retained 50% of Shatty contract, can you see a trade? What would Nashville give up for Shatty for 2 years at 3.3 mil?im not up on all those fancy stats, but I did read that Shattenkirk was their best d man last year.5v5. His power play numbers weren’t as good as in past, but he was also starting season coming off knee surgery and then separated his shoulder.

      • Slick like I said Nashville could accept Shattenkirk with $ retained for Subban but only if there are some A prospects in the package as well. That is where the deal dies …..NYR should not IMO trade the likes of Buchnevich , Andersson, Chytil, Howden or Kravstov for a 30 yr old D-man , even if it means dumping Shattenkirk.
        Trouba is sought after and won’t come cheap , I can see the Wings going in on him.

    • Another Brookslike our garbage for your star deal.

  5. Don’t watch the Rangers but was Smith that bad last year that he needs a buyout? Is he overvalued or not worth trading for?

    • Murph, I think it’s more his contract and that Rangers are rebuilding, have a bunch of young D coming in plus they still have Staal and his full nmc plus Skjei on left side. Honestly, they’re not in a position cap wise where they need to buy him out.

    • Rangers cannot afford a Smith buy out. They already took the hit for Girardi and now that makes Smith’s cap look like over 6.5 mil a yr LOL. If they cannot give Smith away and Shatts away then let them earn their ice time. Enough with Smith upfront…nice experiment but there are other younger guys with offensive skill that need that time.

  6. Thanks Slick!

  7. Toronto : Nylander Zaitsev and Kapenen
    Edmonton: Nugent Hopkins, Lucic and a 1st.

    Young offensive players and a defenceman for the Oilers. Very good #2 center for the Leafs. Oilers surrender a 1st to dump Lucic who may or may not add much needed grit to the Leafs come playoff time.

    Cap space edge slightly to the Leafs depending on Kapenen rfa contract.

    • I read an article about the World Hockey Championships today and Zaitsev was listed as top two defence man for Russia with plenty of time on the power play. Somebody over there likes the guy.

    • No thanks.
      The Oilers will have to give a lot more to get rid of Lucic.
      The Leafs would get a little bit more cap space but that is way to much for Nuge, Lucic and the Oilers first round pick.
      Zaitsev is overpaid but not as much as Lucic and he looked a lot better playing with Muzzin… so there is at least a little bit of hope that he’ll have a better season 19-20.
      Even with 50% retained salary i would not want Lucic on my team.

  8. Larry Brooks is a moron, I wouldn’t take anything he writes seriously…he’s a dope

    • I like that Brooks states the Rangers could trade Vessey or Vlad, As cost cutting measures. Really? Cost Cutting?? Last I looked the Rangers have over 25 Million in Cap space. Then he states Buy out Shatty or Smith. Why?? Staal is useless. Why waste future cap space on these buyouts? These three arent taking ice time from anyone and as with Staal, helps the team lose. We have just 2 years to ride them out. Ride them out and save the cap space. We are still in a rebuild, who cares

  9. Toronto and Edmonton can’t take on dollars.