Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 12, 2019

by | May 12, 2019 | Rumors | 36 comments

A look at some of the top unrestricted free agents plus some recent Blackhawks speculation in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


TSN: Frank Seravalli believes Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin supplanted San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson as this summer’s top unrestricted free agent. Coming off a career-high 87-point campaign, rumors tied Panarin to the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers. 

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin could be this summer’s top unrestricted free agent (Photo via NHL Images)

Health is the deciding factor, as Karlsson was hampered by groin injuries this season. Interest clubs could be reluctant to offer him an expensive long-term deal. Seravalli wonders if Karlsson will settle for a higher annual average value on a short-term deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A healthier season would make Karlsson the clear-cut No. 1. Still, we should never dismiss the potential for a bidding war driving up his value.

Karlsson’s a two-time Norris Trophy winner and the former captain of the Ottawa Senators. he is also the playoff assist leader (13, as of May 11) and sits just four points behind teammate Logan Couture for the postseason scoring lead. If Karlsson maintains this level of performance and helps the Sharks win the Stanley Cup, he could vault back into the top spot.

That’s not to say Panarin doesn’t deserve to be ranked as the top UFA in this summer’s market. He’s healthier than Karlsson, put up big numbers throughout his short NHL career, and is nearly a point-per-game player (26 points in 27 games) in the postseason. Panarin is the best forward potentially available this summer. He will get a lucrative seven-year deal in this year’s market. 

Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and center Matt Duchene, Buffalo Sabres left winger Jeff Skinner, New York Islanders forwards Anders Lee and Brock Nelson, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, Winnipeg Jets blueliner Tyler Myers, and Dallas Stars winger Mats Zuccarello round out the top 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s assumed the Panthers will make a big push to sign Bobrovsky, who put his Columbus condo up for sale last week. The Jackets could re-sign Duchene but the Islanders, Nashville Predators, and Montreal Canadiens could all come calling if he hits the market. I believe Skinner, Lee, Pavelski, and Zuccarello could all be re-signed by their respective clubs.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler, Sharks winger Gustav Nyquist, Islanders winger Jordan Eberle, Hurricanes winger Michael Ferland, and Toronto blueliner Jake Gardiner fill slots 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Canucks re-signing Edler, though the term could be the sticking point for the 33-year-old rearguard. Should the Sharks re-sign Pavelski, they won’t have room to retain Nyquist and sign RFA forwards Timo Meier and Kevin Lebanc. Eberle is expected to hit the market.

Ferland reportedly sought a deal comparable to the six-year, $31-million contract of Washington’s Tom Wilson. He won’t get that from Carolina or anyone else. The Leafs can’t afford to re-sign Gardiner. He’s expected to command around $6-million annually as a free agent. 

Columbus’ Ryan Dzingel, Winnipeg’s Kevin Hayes, Washington’s Brett Connolly, Boston’s Marcus Johansson, and Tampa Bay’s Braydon Coburn fill spots 16 through 20.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dzingel had a career-best 56 points split between Ottawa and Columbus. He reportedly sought $5 million annually from the Senators. His poor postseason play, however, could hurt his UFA value. Same goes for Hayes, who saw fourth-line duty during the playoffs.

I think the Capitals will re-sign Connolly. The Bruins must re-sign RFAs Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo so there’s no room for Johansson. If Coburn accepts a pay cut and a short-term contract I can see the 34-year-old staying with the Lightning. 

Nashville’s Wayne Simmonds, Winnipeg’s Brandon Tanev, San Jose’s Joonas Donskoi, Colorado’s Colin Wilson, and Toronto’s Ron Hainsey fill spots 21 through 25.

Curiously, Islanders goaltender (and Vezina Trophy finalist) Robin Lehner isn’t on Seravalli’s list. Not sure if the oversight was accidental or deliberate. I feel Lehner belongs among the top-10. 


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus recently speculated over which players the Chicago Blackhawks could pursue via free agency. For the first time in years, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has a significant amount of salary-cap space, perhaps between $15-$17 million. They doubt Bowman will go after a big-ticket UFA but he could target an affordable player. Options could include Blue Jackets winger Ryan Dzingel and blueliners such as Vancouver’s Alex Edler,  Tampa Bay’s Anton Stralman or Montreal’s Jordie Benn.

Powers doubts Bowman can land San Jose’s Erik Karlsson but feels the Blackhawks GM should at least make a call if the defenseman is available. Lazerus noted Buffalo winger Jeff Skinner is a long-time Bowman favorite. He also mentioned Toronto’s Jake Gardiner as a blueline option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Powers and Lazerus were merely musing over what moves Bowman might make. We don’t know for certain what moves he has in store.

They point out he must be careful not to tie up too much long-term cap space. Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome are due for new contracts next summer. Nevertheless, I believe he’ll look to the UFA market in hopes of landing a skilled top-four defenseman. 


  1. Why would Skinner sign with the Sabers, a player who doesn’t know about playoffs, signing with a one line team doesn’t make sense. The Sabers are at least 6 forwards and 3 defenseman from being a contender. Look for a chance to play for and win a Stanley Cup, or take 80 million to continue to be a loser.

    • Who are the Sabers?

      • Well, that’s right up there with “Leafs” I guess. At least Buffalo doesn’t wear a spelling mistake on their crests 🙂

  2. Call me crazy but I think that SJ should resign Pavelski and skip on EK. Don’t resign Thornton and then sign Panarin. Panarin being younger than Jumbo Joe…will solidify their top 6 for years and gives a ton of flexibility after resigning Meier and LeBanc. Then build on additional skating defensive Dmen as temps till young draft picks develop more…someone like a Stralman.

    IMO the better off-season move.

    • If SJ wins cup, it would be tough to not try and sign EK65. Maybe a one year deal. To prove any doubters about his health, which assumes he stays healthy. If the wheels fall off and Sharks fail to win, or if Karlsson’s play drastically slides, it becomes easier to walk away. Pavs not going anywhere, though I would be hesitant to sign him beyond 3 years.

      • EK will never sign a 1 yr deal…so that makes it easier , regardless of they win the cup or not, to move on from EK, Thornton & Nyqvist and sign Panarin. IMO

    • @IHC: I agree: I See A Pavelski resigning but EK, Not So Sure About That

    • @IHC Jumbo Joe: Much ToDo With Him Depends Largely On San Jose & Their Cup Quest. In Short, If They Make It To The Final And Win, Jumbo Is Done; And Why Not

    • I hate Crosby..i agree pass on EK resign Pavelski..if san jose wins jumbo joe may retire anyway…if not don’t resign him…

    • George, don’t overlook the mistake on the Ottawa crest – “Senators.” Voted for one yet? But I digress.

      • ““Senators.” Voted for one yet?”

        Do you think senators are voted in?

  3. Gardiner will get 7 million, imo, and maybe a touch more.

    Supply and Demand.

  4. Think Hayes saw 4th line duty not because of his skill set but more how Maurice had his lines developed and their team chemistry. Think that had more to do with how it panned out for Hayes. Shame bc he thrived in NY when given more ice time in an offensive role as opposed to only being a shutdown center. I do not think he was deployed to his strengths but that is hockey.

    With Spezza gone…..if he is willing to accept modest terms perhaps he reunites with Zucc in Dallas. That would give them 3 strong centers and ability to rotate centers on lines if one of them is faltering. It also lets them play “keeping up with the Jones” in what could be an arms race in the west this summer.

    • Maybe offer Hanzal to MTL for a 2nd.

      • Injury prone Hanzal plus his Cap hit to MTL, where they are now knee-deep in Centers, and for a 2nd Round pick, no less?

        With all respect, this is so, so, so not happening.

        Even Bergevin, in all his thickness, is not that dumb.

      • Why would Montreal do that? Bergervins an idiot, but he’s not at the Chiarelli level of idiocy.

      • bc depth is important….picks up an extra 2 nd rd and only has to pay Hanzal 1 yr of salary then he becomes a UFA. MB utilizes his cap space for only this upcoming season. that is why

        the 2nd adds to the prospect depth for MTL.

    • IHC
      If Hayes was willing to accept modest terms he’d probably still be in NY.

      • fair point Slick…..

        I think he may be more inclined to take modest contract with a team like Dallas with his buddy Zucc already there AND Dallas is a playoff team and cup contender.

        Contrast Dallas to NY where the Rangers are not even a playoff contender…

        That is why i suggested that.

    • Isn’t speeza like 75 years old..

  5. Does Sakic do anything with the 4th pick?

    • On the theory that you can’t have enough C of quality, Sakic will take either Dylan Cozens, a 6′ 3″ 180 lb C with Lethrbridge or Kirby Dach, a 6′ 4″ 200 lb C with Saskatoon who also has a bit of a nasty side – like Brady Tkachuk

      • i think Dach is the pick if Turcotte is gone or they trade back down a few spots….a better question is do they trade either the 4th or 16th pick for a 2nd liner with term left?….joe has plenty of options

      • Avs will get their future 2nd line center for sure but could they move the pick to make a run next season?

      • Joe`s sitting in the ideal spot right now to go after a young established forward with the picks he has and the cap space. There are several teams he could talk to that are up against the cap right now Tampa Winnipeg Toronto. I think Joe`s best option is to play let`s make a deal

  6. Pretty sure Chicago will take Turcotte 3rd which is why I said either Cozens or Dach for Colorado.

    • agreed either of those players is whom Sakic is taking. His going with youth and building the team slowly is panning out. Good for him….

      I’d be curious if he peddles off Barrie for additional assets…..

    • George, my bet is Byams, but Turcotte would also be an excellent pick.

      • “Byram”!



      • byram is a bit of a reach at 4….think he projects to a second pairing guy… Barrie would bring you a great 2nd liner for sure

    • You mean 5’11 Turcotte?!?!

    • Surprised to see Podholzkin so far down on some of these boards. Figure him to go 3rd overall

  7. “whose”

    pace, George.

  8. Is Kaako replacing Hughes as the number one?