Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 26, 2019

by | May 26, 2019 | Rumors | 63 comments

Updates on Phil Kessel, Brett Pesce, Erik Karlsson, Anders Lee and more in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman suggests it won’t be easy for the Pittsburgh Penguins to trade Phil Kessel. He believes the 32-year-old winger vetoed a trade to the Minnesota Wild last week and both teams are unhappy. Kessel knows he’s going to be moved this summer but it will be on his terms. Friedman guesses the Arizona Coyotes would be among the winger’s trade preferences. It won’t be an easy fit because the Penguins want some scoring in return. The Coyotes were 28th in that category this season.

It won’t be easy for the Pittsburgh Penguins to trade Phil Kessel (Photo via NHL Images).

Friedman also thinks Wild winger Jason Zucker can’t be pleased. He was nearly sent to the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline and a deal that would’ve sent him to Pittsburgh for Kessel fell through. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel has an eight-team trade list. The Athletic’s Rob Rossi believes Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford might not be pleased with any offers from those clubs. He also suggests perhaps those clubs aren’t interested in Kessel at Rutherford’s asking price.

Rutherford needs to free up salary-cap room and bring in younger, cheaper scorers, which is why Kessel’s on the block. The winger might be receptive to a move but his modified no-trade will complicate thing.

If the Penguins can’t find a deal from one of the clubs on his list, Rutherford could be forced to take a lesser offer. He could use the savings and the return to address his scoring in a separate deal with another club. 

Following the Eastern Conference Final, sources told Friedman some in-season frustration from defenseman Brett Pesce could force the Carolina Hurricanes to trade him. GM Don Waddell said the issue was resolved. Pesce was unhappy with his playing time earlier in the season but it climbed significantly since New Year’s Day. If the Hurricanes shop a blueliner, Friedman thinks Haydn Fleury could be a candidate as he’s no longer waiver-exempt. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pesce’s name surfaced in the rumor mill a few times this season. I believe the Hurricanes will retain him. The 24-year-old is a good young rearguard coming off a career-best 29-point season.

It’s believed San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson wants to see if the Tampa Bay Lightning try to sign him this summer. Karlsson is an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Last summer, then-Lightning GM Steve Yzerman attempted to acquire him. ” Is there any reason Julien BriseBois would think differently?”, asks Friedman. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Limited salary-cap space was among the reasons the Bolts failed to land Karlsson last summer. It will be the biggest factor preventing them from signing him this summer. Cap Friendly indicates they’ve got over $74.4 million invested in 17 players. Center Brayden Point is coming off his entry-level contract and a 92-point season. He’s going to get a significant raise.

Tampa Bay GM Julien BriseBois could re-sign him to an affordable bridge deal with the promise of a bigger, better deal down the road. He could also find a taker for aging winger Ryan Callahan and his $5.8 million annual average value. Even then, that’s not going to leave much room to sign Karlsson to the lucrative deal he’s bound to pursue via free agency. Another player, perhaps one lacking no-trade protection like J.T. Miller, will have to be moved to make room.

I’m not suggesting the Lightning won’t try to sign Karlsson. It just won’t be easy to do. 

Friedman believes the Ottawa Senators will consider bringing back Jason Spezza. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spezza spent all but five of his 16 NHL seasons with the Senators. The 35-year-old center’s best years are well behind him. Still, he could provide leadership and experienced depth at center for the rebuilding Sens. He could have other plans, like trying to sign with a potential contender. 

Friedman also reports the Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers, and Chicago Blackhawks could be among the clubs interested in Kevin Hayes. The 27-year-old Winnipeg Jets center is slated to become a UFA on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hayes had some good seasons with the New York Rangers but struggled after being shipped to the Jets at the trade deadline. Finding the right team could be better for him than finding the most expensive contract.

The Vegas Golden Knights will try to move the contract of permanently sidelined winger David Clarkson. The deal has one year remaining at an annual average value of $5.25 million. However, the actual salary is $3.25 million. Friedman also anticipates they’ll make a move on defense. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights already have over $83 million invested in 19 players for 2019-20. They must also free up cap room to re-sign William Karlsson. They’re reportedly looking at trading defenseman Colin Miller. He carries a $3.875-million AAV through 2021-22. Center Cody Eakin ($3.85 million AAV) is another rumored trade option. 


NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports contract term could be a sticking point in Anders Lee’s contract negotiations with the New York Islanders. Lee could seek a seven-year deal but Cyrgalis said GM Lou Lamoriello doesn’t want to be more than four. He also feels the two sides could compromise at $7 million per season. If a deal can’t be reached, Cyrgalis suggests the Minnesota Wild could pursue Lee, a Minnesota native. 

Cyrgalis suggests Robin Lehner’s comfort level with the Islanders, and the opportunity they gave him to resurrect his career, could factor into his contract negotiations. ” Anything less than five years around $5 million per probably makes sense for both parties.” Cyrgalis also feels Lamoriello could let winger Jordan Eberle test the free-agent market and see what happens. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see Lamoriello offering between $7 million to $7.5 million on a four-year deal for Lee. Time will tell if the latter will accept it. Lehner’s Vezina-worthy campaign will affect his contract talks with the Isles. Still, I expect the two sides will worth something out. 


SPORTSDAY: In a recent live chat with Dallas Stars fans, Matthew DeFranks wondered if the club might buy out winger Valeri Nichushkin. He’s got one season remaining on his contract worth $2.95 million. That would make him their sixth-highest paid forward next season. Nichushkin failed to score any goals this season (10 assists) and skated in just one playoff game. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season marked the once-promising Nichuskin’s return from a two-year stint in the KHL. The 24-year-old hasn’t been the same since undergoing hip surgery in 2014. A buyout would count as only $700K against next season’s cap payroll and $450K for 2020-21. Seems a likely course of action for the Stars. 


  1. NY Rangers can help Vegas out and taken Clarkson’s cap hit for the season. What solid prospect or pick will VEGAS give up? NY Rangers have the roster room. Clarkson can be the press box roster slot lol. Better him than Callahan, though for a solid Prospect….i’d consider than too.

    • Yeah, I wouldn’t want them to take 4th line ice time away from Smith or Brickley and possibly stunt their development for Callahan. Lmao… I kid I kid!

      • I think we need to bring back Tanner Glass……lol

      • In all seriousness, if a pick or prospect were attached I wouldn’t mind taking Callahan back for one year. Especially if they continue to use Andersson on that 4th line. Callahan would probably be the most talented player he’s played with on the NHL level. And that’s almost sad. McLeod, Smith , Brickley….not going to help him turn the page.

        All this from the same guy that couldn’t wait to push Callahan out the door when he was seeking 6per on a long term deal in NY.

      • Cally back for a season makes sense. He was not worth what he got in TB and he proved us right. Cally on the 4th line makes a ton of sense, especially for the PK and teaching the young roster. Also frees up Zib a bit.

        Lias being deployed not he 4th line center slot makes no sense to me and reeks of Lindberg 2.0. Lias’s style is atop 9 not 4th line checking center. Better off keeping him in the AHL as #1C there to develop with 16 plus minutes a game than the 6-8 on the 4th line NHL level playing with guys who cannot skate, shoot, stickhandle and stay out of the penalty box. Lindberg suffered playing 4th line and flourished playing top 9. Sad to see it happen to Lias.

    • Last week it was Kovulchuk. Then Callahan. Today it’s Clarkson. Not sure if I’m Dolan and I’ve missed out on playoff revenue last couple years, I’m looking to pay out 5-6 million to players that don’t do anything to improve team. Just because you have cap space, someone is actually paying out of their pocket. Besides, I’m not sure any team is giving up a high pick or legit prospect just to gain some cap room for 1 year

      • Cable vision, Msg, MSG network, the Knicks , the Rangers . The knicks, despite decades of garbage play, decisions…. #1 most valuable franchise in the nba. Rangers #1 most valuable franchise in the NHL.

        Do you really believe Dolan is sobbing over lost playoff revenues? I’m sure he didn’t have a problem filling msg in the Rangers absence.

        And Dolan himself was the reason for the rebuild. I seriously doubt he’s feeling the hurt here.

      • @slick

        modern nhl…have to use your cap space efficiently…and if a solid prospect adds tot he long term value of building a performing roster…then so be it by taking on a Kovy, Callahan or Clarkson. Better than playing Brickley and Smith on the 4th line and wasting Lias Anderson as the center of the 4th line.

        Asset management comes in all forms and using mere $$ to do so is cheaper than paying longer term on contracts that add no value.

      • Trade for both Clarkson and Cally for 2nd round picks. Clarkson is injured so the insurance pays his salary and Cally is injury prone and will only play 50 games anyway. These are one year deals and expire next year. Perfect way of adding draft picks to the cupboard. Next years draft is suppose to be very good. Continue on the path and the rebuild.

      • Yes Dolan is upset over lost playoff revenues. Why would you think any owner would not be upset over lost revenues. And the players in question are a complete waste of money. You guys want to pay 5 or 6 million dollars and take playing time away from a young player all for a second round pick? Not sure I get the logic.

      • Bretsky

        Dolan himself was behind the rebuild, and the hiring of Quinn. You honestly think they did all that with immediate expectations of playoffs? Highly doubtful.byou don’t think that the Garden remains vacant during a playoff drought do you? Guess who’s getting paid when they use msg for anything else….. James Dolan!

        Quinn wasn’t brought in to take them to scf’s. He was brought in to develop youth. As I said when he was hired, I doubt he sees his 5 year deal to the end.

        Take away ice timenfrom a younger player? Like who, Brendan Smith? Connor Brickley? Clarkson wouldn’t be taking ice time away from anyone. He’s IR. And Kravtov, Andersson, etc. would better benefit from bigger roles in the Ahl. Not 6 minutes a night with Brendan Smith.

      • Not to mention Dolan instructed the plug to be pulled last year 2-3 points out of a playoff position.

        Sounds like a guy not crying over spilled milk… or revenue.

      • @nyr4life you’re missing the point. You are speaking as a fan and not as an owner. Spending almost 10 million dollars for Clarkson and Callahan to acquire a couple of second round picks and not caring about ANY additional revenues whether playoffs or not is absurd. Why should you care because it’s not your money. Why would you think MSG is run differently than any other business in the world. It’s all based on revenues and just because MSG is a money making machine does not mean it makes sense to waste millions or not care about additional millions. And your argument about Smith and Brickley is even sillier. Teams need to develop 4 th line players the same way they need to develop 1st line players, defenseman and goaltenders so giving those players a chance over a more than done Ryan Callahan is clearly the way to go.

      • So you’re saying the best way, and usual way to develop new draft picks is the nhl route? Lol. Yeah, if they’re Mcdavid, Crosby or Ovechkin….

        And look at the comments from Dolan, Davidson, Gorton and Quinn…. do they REMOTELY sound like a team desperate to make the playoffs tomorrow? Or a team that is preaching patience and building the right way? Hmmmmmm

        Dolan isn’t losing a dime, or a minute of sleep on lost playoff revenue. Or perhaps he tore it down 2-3 points out last year to make it unlikely they make it, but still had the expectation of making it?

        I’m a fan. I’m actually reading on a daily basis what management is saying. Not what some fans here think they should be doing.

      • And again… they’re not Florida, Arizona, Carolina etc. fans aren’t going to disappear when they don’t make the playoffs…

        Ny rangers #1 in value in the nhl

        Ny knicks, #1 in value in the nba.

        NY Yankees, #1 by a mile.

        Giants #3

        Jets #8… when’s the last time they won anything?

        See where I’m going here?

  2. Perhaps Yzerman – IF he was the driving force to deal for Karlsson while in TB – might try to bring him to Detroit. He’s got close to $14 mil in cap space – although if he wants to re-sign Vanek as well he would have to shed salary somewhere else. It would also likely mean Kronwall has played his last game in Detroit.

    • He could shed salary shopping Green and Daley…..

      Perhaps a team needs Neilsen also for depth at center.

      Maybe Pittsburgh wants Neilsen as a solid #3 center in part of a deal for Vanek. He runs cheaper than Kessel and fills a need with only 2 yrs left on his contract

      to Pitts: Nielsen & Green
      to Det: Kessel & JJ


      • Mmmm yeah … but – the combined cap hits of Nielsen and Green is $10,625,000 while those of Kessel and Johnson account for $10,050,000.

        The difference is barely enough to cover an ELC! How is that shedding salary to bring in Karlsson?

      • If you look at how cheap the buy out of JJ would be, I don’t think the Pens would trade Phil to the Wings for Nielsen and Green.
        And I don’t think the Wings are one of the 8 teams which are not on Kessel’s no trade list.

      • @George…

        I was presuming Kessel would be kept.

        Neilsen gone
        Green gone
        Daley gone
        Vanek gone
        JJ gone (buyout or trade)
        Kronwall maybe low cap 1 yr deal like Orpik resigning in WSH
        and other cap moves if possible

        then pitch to EK

        Larkin & Kessel would look good
        Mantra and Anthanasiou look good
        few vets fill gaps
        bring up youth from Grand Rapids.

      • Ahhh. Gotcha.

  3. The Wild have the cap space to sign Anders Lee with or without Kessel

    • What I wonder about is that Lou was happy to sign Nelson for 6 yrs but we are all eld to believe he only wants to give his captain a 4 yr deal? He and Trotz pushed to make Lee captain and now expect him to only sign for 4? Seems a bit off IF true at all. Sign him for 6 yrs like Nelson.

  4. Other managers need to stop caving in on no movement clauses like David Poile in Nashville. Penguins give one to just about everyone they sign to a contract. It’s utterly ridiculous. For all of the savvy moves Rutherford has made, he paints himself into a corner with these no trade agreements. NMC’s and instant replay reversals on ticky tack on sides and off sides calls are not good for hockey. Rutherford’s act is starting to wear thin here in Pittsburgh. And notice the “h” at the end of Pittsburgh, for all of you illiterate Canadians.

    • Woah! Settle down a bit. If the H in Pittsburgh is the only thing you’re catching here, you’re not really paying attention. I don’t think I’ve seen one Pittsburgh fan spell Hagelins name correctly in his entire time with the Pens! Hagelen, haglin …. anything but HAGELIN.

      Let’s start insulting your home state before picking on an entire country!

      • Nice one.

      • Easy , easy boys let’s talk hockey. Let’s give Ed vanimpe a break on correcting spelling and grammar. Google George does it all the time. If he couldn’t Google it he wouldn’t know it .

    • And all you damn Canadians need to speak “Merican” here!

      It’s center, NOT “Centre”, rumor not “rumour” , check not “cheque” !

      Speak merican here! Or take your filthy Spanish talk back to Canada!

      • Now now, Nyr4life, at least here in Canada we pronounce it “CONtroversy” like you Muricans while those advocating the Queen’s English (which we’re all supposed to speak having come out of the bosom of Mother England) insist it be pronounced “conTROVersy.” We all both go up in elevators and drive trucks and yet they prefer lifts and lorries.

      • Don’t think we gave a F**K what the Queen wanted or how she spoke since 1776. LOL

      • Tell that to your media fawning all over Meghan & Harry.

      • @George O

        my media isn’t “fake news ” lol

        i don’t watch the garbage and propaganda spewed in any of these countries.

        I spend my time coming here to Lyle’s site for real important issues and facts =)

        Let’s Go Rangers!!

      • This American spells it controvERSY!

      • Yeah … but how do you PROnounce it?

    • NMCs should be very far and few between until after the next expansion draft. A few teams have put themselves in a bind by having to protect players they likely would not have in 2021
      Keep you stick on the ice…….

    • This is not the place to insult anybody about where they are from or how they spell things. You have issues with Canadians kept that to yourself and stop being so racist (you will have to Google the definition of racism since you’ve clearly displayed that your IQ is lesser than 7).

      Ave a nice day.

      • Obviously humor and sarcasm isn’t your thing?

        Side note, Canada isn’t a race, therefore it’s impossible to be racist against Canadians.

        You may want to google the meaning of racism before you instruct someone to google racism…….😀

    • Hey Eddie, speaking of literacy, Canada is actually a more literate country that the USA s a whole. We also score higher on almost all educational measurements.
      Who woulda tunk it?

  5. has dis site ofishilly runded outta tings to talk about dat were cuttin each otters speakin up

    • Mine was pure jest. I was just expanding on Ed vanimps 💩.

  6. hope everyone has a nice weekend!….that’s all from me today….we have a game to watch Monday!!!

  7. My Grandfather is from France, he met a Lady from Newfoundland, therefore didn’t teach his children French. So I don’t speak French or English.

    Kessel has the right to his limited ntc doesn’t matter is both GM are upset. Seem though both Kessel and Zucker days are numbered with their present teams.

    • Think Zucker will hold out from coming to camp until he is traded? that is 2 publicly failed trades of him since the deadline. Want him in Boston?? What would ya give that can get him?

      • No thanks, I’ll pass on Zucker.

    • Pretty funny sh** Caper.
      Kessel will try to do what’s best for him, as he should. You can say what you want about Phil, be he doesn’t get pushed around when it comes to this stuff.

  8. if Vegas wants to dump Clarkson and Miller then….

    to Vegas; Ceci & Tierney
    to Ottawa; Clarkson, Miller , Eakins, 2019 5th and 2020 2nd

    if Ceci signs for ~ 5mil ( which he is not worth IMO ) , it frees up ~ 5 million next year towards signing William Karlsson

    • Hmmm – I can just see Dorion scribbling a note sayind Dear Eugene – just thought you might like to know I just made a trade that includes paying David Clarkson $5,250,000 next year to sit beside you in the booth …

      slip it under his door and then run like hell.

      • Clarkson salary 3.25 next year. Miller at 3.6 for 3years avoids the hassle of dealing with a Ceci negotiation , he”ll be asking 5 and Miller IMO is better value….plus a couple of picks to add to a stocked draft cupboard.

  9. The Penguins will never replace Kessel’s scoring. 82 points in 82 games..and the only penguin that showed up for the playoffs. I love when a team panics and ships off Rutherford!!

    • hey……..would ya consider

      to LA: Kessel, Maata & 1st rd pick or Jarry

      to Pitts: Doughty

      • I hate crosby yes on your la proposal…. jarry though not the number one pick..

      • Helllllllll no!

        Hmmmm let’s see, best all round dman on the planet for a bunch of throw-ins. That’s a hard no from LA.

        LA is in rebuild mode, therefore Pit literally has nothing to offer.

      • @CanadianKing

        Kessel is no slouch. Look at his goals and point totals last 4 season. Look at his goals and points last few years in the playoffs. LA needs scoring.

        This moves gives them a stop gap so in 2-3 yrs they really start freeing up a ton of cap space.

        Maata is no slouch ….no Doughty but no slouch. Cost controlled 2nd paring D.

        Jarry also can help keep their goalie pool filled and they can look to trade Quick too for assets for their rebuild. Perhaps to Calgary, CMB, Florida or NYI.

        May there need to be more from PITTS…perhaps…. but a good starting point at least.

      • Crosby lover, you really think LA trades Doughty for a couple of guys who are “no slouches”?

    • Pens Fan…I agree with you for the most part I like Kessel. But he is 32, and now maybe the time, He seems like a handful. He was gambling until 3 am the night before the Penguins elimination game…that pissed off the organization and the guys in the locker room.

      Preferably I would rather trade the enigmatic, lazy, dumb ass -25 malkin and get a decent value.. He has no drive, is inconsistent and now is the time if its ever going to happen.

      He is still a point a game player and elite. HE IS just not dominant anymore and he makes a ton, can’t play defense, and a turnover machine,,,…I would rather keep kessel he produces.

      • Your post must of come after you were up gambling till dawn because again it’s complete nonsense.

    • I think if LA actually made Doughty available (which I don’t see anytime soon) they could do much better than Kessel 31, Maata and Pittsburgh’s cast away 3rd string goaltender.

      Not one of these guys are guys any GM sees as core, build around type players.
      They aren’t getting a Franchise type D-man for this combo.

      It seems like a deal put together for cap purpose only. Sure the money works, but that’s where this deal dies a horrible death.

      • Thank you!

  10. Do you guys actually watch Phil play??? I know what he does offensively but he is a lazy player.The Canadian way is all out, all game, all season.
    If we can get a high pick, Arizona at 14, that would be best with no contracts coming back.



  11. Wonder if Vegas will look at moving Alex Tuch. He is making $4.75 million and is now the third line RW on the team after Stone and Marchessault. Plus, he did struggle offensively in the 2nd half of the season and playoffs

  12. Phil provides certain skills that other can not provide. He is no defensive stalwart but he is better then he gets credit for.

    In regard to NTCs how many were actually given by Rutherford? Seems to me he inherited Sid’s, Malkin’s, and Letang’s then got Kessell’s in a trade. I don’t like the JJ signing and a couple of trades haven’t worked but he did win two Stanley Cups. Pitts haven’t fallen to the Hawks level but continue to try to remain competitive. I do not think they have a chance to do that but Rutherfoed has fooled me before.

    • Tugboat..agree with you! With all the injuries and inconsistency this year 100 points only 4 points off the metropolitan title capitals haven’t fallen like the hawks and kings did..need some smart moves and tweaking… kessel looks like hes gone need to make a good deal there… kessel nixed the Minnesota deal..kessel and jack johnson for jason zucker 33 goals 2 years ago and victor rask a serviceable 4th line winger…