NHL Rumor Mill – June 8, 2019

by | Jun 8, 2019 | Rumors | 70 comments

Updates on the Oilers, Flames, Canucks and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


ILTALEHTI: Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi said he intends on playing in the NHL. However, he admits his time with the Oilers could be short as trade rumors swirl. He’s resumed skating in Edmonton following recent hip surgery under the guidance of their skating coach. Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent on July 1 and is completing his entry-level contract. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: If the Oilers intend to trade Puljujarvi, Jim Matheson suggests packaging him to the Winnipeg Jets for winger Nikolaj Ehlers. He points out the Jets face a potential salary-cap crunch re-signing wingers Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor and defenseman Jacob Trouba. “(Offer) them Puljujarvi (Laine’s buddy), your second-round pick (38th overall) and defenceman Ethan Bear for Nik Ehlers,” suggests Matheson. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have salary cap issues of their own this summer. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $73 million invested in 18 players next season. Unless general manager Ken Holland sheds salary, Matheson’s trade suggestion won’t leave much room to fill out the remainder of their roster. Besides, there’s no indication the Jets are considering an Ehlers trade at this time. 

Could the Calgary Flames attempt to trade James Neal? (Photo via NHL Images)


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported hearing the Oilers “kicked the tires” on Calgary Flames right wing James Neal. Friedman feels the Flames have two options with Neal. Either bring him back and hope he bounces back from this season’s sub-par performance or trade him and take another contract in return. 

Bob Stauffer asked Friedman if Oilers winger Milan Lucic would go to Calgary. He doesn’t see that happening and also doesn’t see Neal to Edmonton as a fit. He was asked about a possible three-way deal involving the Vancouver Canucks and Loui Eriksson. Under that scenario, Lucic goes to Vancouver, Eriksson to Calgary, and Neal to Edmonton. Friedman responded by saying he believed Neal isn’t as bad as he was this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt the Flames are considering their options with Neal. If the right deal came along they’ll act on it. A three-way swap that sends Neal to Edmonton and Eriksson to Calgary isn’t it. 

THE ATHLETIC: Kent Wilson points out the Flames’ need to free up salary-cap space to re-sign Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett, and two goaltenders. They must also restock their prospect cupboard.

He speculates Flames GM Brad Treliving could dangle a right-side defenseman like T.J. Brodie or Travis Hamonic. Potential trade partners could include the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning, Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, and Philadelphia Flyers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have over $68.5 million committed to 19 players for 2019-20. Tkachuk’s new contract could eat up $9 million of their projected $14.4 million cap space. That won’t leave much for Bennett and two goalies.

Moving Neal’s $5.75-million annual salary-cap hit would address that issue. Failing that, Treliving could be forced to shop Brodie ($4.65 million, modified no-trade clause) or Hamonic ($3.875 million) to free up some room. 


VANCOUVER SUN: Patrick Johnston believes it’s a good idea for the Vancouver Canucks to pursue Jason Zucker. Recent rumors have the Canucks tabling several offers to the Minnesota Wild for the 27-year-old winger.

Johnston considers Zucker the type of scoring winger GM Jim Benning is looking for. If Wild GM Paul Fenton is looking to reshape his roster, Johnston suggested offering up two-way forward Jake Virtanen as part of the return. 

If the Toronto Maple Leafs let defenseman Jake Gardiner depart via free agency on July 1, Johnston thinks he could be a good addition to the Canucks’ blueline. However, he wonders if Gardiner will want to trade the fish-bowl existence of Toronto for that of Vancouver’s. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: if the Canucks can land Zucker by giving up Virtanen and a good prospect or draft pick, go for it. However, I doubt that’s the type of offer Fenton will accept, considering his original asking price was Brock Boeser. I agree Gardiner could be a good fit with the Canucks, but he could be looking at a less-stressful market for his next destination. 




  1. Isn’t Erickson more of a cap hit than Neal ? At least Neal will rub and battle. Lou can skate around with a dozen eggs in his pocket . No thanks.

    Leafs will get out dollar trouble moving Zaitsev and Marleau . They won’t get out of their own end without improving their defence.

    Skinner for $9 x8 -yikes. The bar has been set. Tkachuk-Laine-Rantanen-Marner and Point. What will they demand.

    • Very true marner had around 30 more points than skinner plays the pp,pk he should be asking for Matthews money he’s lead the team in scoring the past 2 years

      • If Skinner is worth 9 per season then Marner must be worth 11-11.5 easily. More offensive upside, no injury history and better defensively. Dumbasses job just got harder.

      • Other than a fat pay cheque…Why on earth would duchene pick the habs for free agency

      • FD,

        Why would anyone sign in Montreal other than having no other option? Most NHL players dont speak nor understand French, its an entire culture shock. The aura of the Canadiens has long gone the way of the DoDo bird.

      • Skinner scored 40 goals. Not to say he’s better than Marner, or Marner doesn’t deserve 10-11 mil, but point totals tend to go up when playing with elite players around you. Looking at a Panarin for instance, in his 4 years in the league he’s averaged 29 goals per. During that time, Skinner has averaged 32. Playing with Eichel helped his point total this year. I think locking him up at 9m was fair. He just turned 27. Panarin will be 28 in October and most expect him to get10-11 mil per.

      • I wouldnt be surprised if Marner at least looked at offer sheets. Mathews gets all the hype in Toronto but Marner has outproduced him at every turn.
        If supersoft Nylander is worth 7 million and brittle Mathews is worth 11 million then whats your teams best overall player and leading scorer worth?

        Of course Toronto fans expect Marner to sign a “discount” deal but why should he?

        Id love to see an Ottawa or an Arizona offer sheet Marner and watch the panic and chaos in Toronto, lol.

      • Skinner wasn’t even on first pp unit. He was in pace for way over 50 goals until Housley decided to remove him from Eichels line. A full season with Jack and Dahlin getting even better than his 42 points I think skinner will get 35-40 goals easy, one year he will have a monster year probably 50. His currant average is 27-28 goals a year, in Carolina he had nobody around him last 5 years

    • Much greater chance that Neal has a Striker bounceback season than Ericksson. Louie is absolutely brutal.

      • Ron, your right the aura with Montreal is long gone. They cant sign any significant FA’s.
        As a leaf fan, if Marner wants out…I’ll happily take the 4 1st rounders. Sure it would stink but, I would be ok with it.
        I also believe Philly will be an improved roster for next year. They have the picks/prospects and cash to assemble a decent team this off season.

      • The other funny thing Ron leaf fans seem to think it’s only basement teams that can afford marner they obviously don’t realize playoff teams have the space and adding marner those picks could be in the 20s which would be a steal for the offer sheeting team!

  2. BBB…the bar was set when Stone signed his contract with Vegas. Skinner had Botterill by the short hairs. His goal scoring would have been hard to replace and Botterill would have been nailed to the cross by media and fans if he let him walk, 8×8 would have been more reasonable. If I’m not mistaken this is the last year of Botterill’s contract so if he is fired that contract isn’t his problem and if he’s re-signed it will have an impact a few years down the road when Dahlin and Reinhart are due big raises.

    • Sorry meant SilverSeven when referring to when the bar was set

      • Im not big on laine. Find he is often to one dimesional. Is soft with the hands and opposition stick work knocks him off the puck to easily.

        He to me is exactly the type of player you use tk manage your cap and roster. He will be coveted many. Shop him to bring in cheaper talent and prospects and or draft picks and keeo the team contending while allowing it to churn out young talent.

  3. So the Jets should trade a budding star (if he can stay healthy) for Pulijuaarvi, Bear & a 2nd? That’s they type of deal that gets managers fired.

    Almost as dumb as Calgary including Valamaki in a deal to dump Frolik …

    • Jim Matheson has been trying to get Ehlers onto the Oilers for months with each of his offers getting worse than the previous. It won’t happen.

  4. Virtanen and a pick for Zucker? Why would Minny do that? Virtanen is a complete bust while Zucker is a proven NHL player.

    Sadly Vancouver media is much like Torontos where everyone wants to sign there for less and all other GMs are supposed to trade solid veterans for Canuck rejects and trash.

    Karlsson is not signing in Vancouver, nobody is going to give up a 1st round pick for Edler, Tanev or any other Vancouver turnstile defencemen and only the insane would offer more than a bag of pucks for Virtanen. Ive even seen article suggesting that trading Markstrom for a 1st round pickmwas a viable option for Dim Jim.

    • Is Virtanen that bad?? I never get to watch Vancouver games.

      I’d take a run at him in NY

      which would you like back for Virtanen?
      Vesey? Namestnikov? B. SMith? Nieves?

      • The talent is there for Virtanen. He shows rare glimpses of it but zero consistency.
        Vancouver media pumping him chasing a pipedream of a our reject for your NHL calibre guy.

        Ive seen almost every Canuck game for years and Virtanen (IMO) will never ge kore than a 4th line 10 minute a night slug.

      • Jake is doing pretty good, he’s never had a good center to play with and he needs a playmaking center not a plug like Sutter, the problem with Jake is he doesn’t play up to his size and not the best hockey sense, but I wouldn’t trade him until I see him play with a good playmaking center, some nights he shows up other he doesn’t but he young still

    • Beam me up, Scotty.

  5. Im not high on Laine. He is often bery one demensional. Soft hands in the playoffs, gets taken off the puck easy with opposition stick work and a little bump.

    To me he is exactly the kind of guy you use to co trol your cap issue. You trade him fkr cheaper talent and prospect to keep you prospect pool churning out good players.

    But hey thats me. Id shop Laine

    • Flip Laine to BuFF for Risto, 1st plus ??

      Then trade Trouba and Meyers rights for bundle of picks/prospects??

    • Jeff, I agree.
      Laine is so one dimensional it is scary. If he didn’t have an amazing shot and release I don’t think he would even be able to stay in the AHL.
      A total defensive liability in all 3 zones and as you mentioned he is way to easy to take the puck off his stick.
      If I was the jets I would not be signing him to a big contract. A 2 or 3 year bridge contract maybe 5 million per year tops.

  6. to NYR: Puljujarvi & 3rd
    to EDM: Vesey & 2nd (via Tampa)

    EDM gets a 2nd rd pick (mulligan for Puljujarvi) and an affordable depth player who scored 17 last yr playing mostly bottom 9 minutes due to Kreider/Zib combo. He played top line with Zib and performed pretty well when Kreider was out.

    NYR gets a project 21 yr old who fits with their growing young club and perhaps can can try LW when Kakko gets drafted. Slot Andersson between them.

    • Ihatecrosby,
      Why does Edmonton trade Puljujarvi and a 3rd, for Vesey and a 2nd? Vesey becomes a UFA after this coming season. He’s 5 years older, makes more money,(Edmonton has a cap situation to manage as well) and doesn’t come with the potential high ceiling that Puljujarvi does?
      If there was a trade to be made, Vesey isn’t getting it done.

      • As I indicated yesterday, Puljujarvi’s ceiling is rapidly shrinking to the level of Yakopov who, in his stint in Edmonton, scored 50g added 61a for 111 pts – or an average of .44 pts per game. By comparison, Puljularvi has 139 gp with 17g 20a and 37 pts for an average of .27 pts-per-game.

        All they could get for Yakupov in a trade with St. Louis was Zach Pochiro and a conditional 3rd rd pick in 2017 which was predicated on Yakupov potting 15+ goals for St. Louis. He did not. Pochiro, at last look, can’t get above the ECHL.

        Mind you, while Yakupov’s cap hit got as high as $2.5 mil, Puljujarvi will be looking for substantially lower than that from his current $900,000, so maybe someone takes a shot. But not for anything substantial in return in the way of a prospect or a pick in the 1st or 2nd rounds. If someone offers a 3rd they should jump at it.

      • Agreed George……

        that is why I said Vesey & 2nd for Puljujarvi and a 3rd.

      • As I say, I seriously doubt anyone is giving up a 2nd for Puljujarvi regardless of who accompanies that pick. And that NY 2nd is a pretty high pick in that round.

  7. Jets trading Ehlers would be exceptionally moronic, talk about a pipe dream. If they’re going to dump salary start at Little and Perreault and then go from there. But hey the Edmonton media need something to get through those long summers. So why not dream about getting a successful first rounder and future All-Star for a potentially ruined youth, a middling pick, and a guy who might, maybe, make it?

  8. The Flames know they have to dump salary to sign Tkachuk and Bennett.

    The flames have a deep blueline with the 3 young studs Valamaki, Anderson, and Kylington all ready to play, it makes Brodie expendable.
    As mentioned before I cannot see them trading Hamonic, but Brodie is as good as gone.
    Possible trade scenario would be Brodie for Kadri straight up.
    Salary is about the same.
    The problem with that, it doesn’t help either team with their cap issues but it is a talking point.

    • Why doesn’t Trev call Dorion and offer

      to OTT: Neal
      to CGY: LTIR contract of Gaborik or MacArthur

      Trev gets long term cap relief by putting both on LTIR. MacArthur is up at end of season and Gaborik has 1 more year.

      Dorian gets a winger with term and healthy. Allows him to ice a body they are spending $$ on. Neal will rebound and will help add some scoring punch to their offense.

      • That is not a bad idea, I don’t think they could take both of them because you can only exceed the cap by 10% in the off season, but would definitely be an option for the Flames

        George O may have a different view point

      • Why would Ottawa want four years of Neal at $5.75/year for LTIR contracts that expire within 2 years? Ottawa won’t have a problem hitting the cap floor this year and I can only see them taking on a bad contract with one or two years remaining ( think Callahan or Clarkson). Ottawa will need the cap room in three years when their key ELC’s expire (Chabot, Tkachuk, Brannstrom, Batherson, etc.).

      • When it comes to Neal I keep hearing he wasn’t what you might call a “great teammate” (from some Pittsburgh fans and according to local talk) – but even casting that aside as unsubstantiated rumours without basis in fact, IF he doesn’t “bounce back” Ottawa is stuck with a $5,750,000 cap hit for 4 years, a period in which a lot of their up and coming kids are going to be looking for bigger bucks, especially Chabot, Tkachuk and probably Bransstrom.

        Right now they have 15 players signed for $47,855,833 leaving them with cap space of $35,144,167 to sign 8. The floor will likely be somewhere around $62 mil which means they need to add approximately $14 to 15 mil. If Ceci is re-signed he’ll go up (marginally) from his current $4.3 mil to, say, $5.1. RFA Colin White will likely jump from $925,000 to somewhere around $2.5 and if they retain Duclair (which I think they should) he’ll go up from his $650,000 to about $1.5 mil.

        So that reduces the number to sign to 5 and now they need to spend around $5 to 6 mil to get to $62. They’ll surpass that with ease either through a UFA signing or two (nothing huge – and nothing long term) or perhaps even a trade or two. I doubt UFAs, Paajarvi, Lindberg and Gibbons are back.

        They are not going to limit their options with 5 to sign by bringing in Neal and his baggage. Calgary gave him that deal and like the Leafs with Marleau, they’re stuck with it. At least in Marleau’s case, there’s just the one year left.

      • LOL Van – looks like we were on the same wavelength at the same time – posted 1 minute apart

      • George is Logan Brown coming up tot he big club full time next season? Is he that good of a prospect?

        I don’t get AHL games on any of my networks =(

      • Logan Brown was an enigma in the Sens system for a while, never using his size (6′ 6″ 220 lbs C) to advantage, but this past season in Belleville he suddenly changed his game and became a force that almost got them from last to a playoff spot over the last 30 games. At this writing he is penciled in as their 3rd line C next season, joined by guys like Batherson and Bransstrom from Belleville and Formenton from London. Big Nick Paul (6′ 4″ 230 lb LW) also seems to have gotten the message and he was as big a force as Brown down the stretch. Chlapik (6′ 1″ 200 lb C) and Balcers (5′ 11″ 175 lb LW) will also get a good hard look at camp as will, of course, Max Veronneau, the 6′ 190 lb RW they signed out of Princeton, and who looked good in the games he player with the Sens.

        That doesn’t bode well, either, for players like Bodker and Zach Smith who might be dispatched in package deals with some of those 17 picks Dorion has over the next two drafts.

        It’s a process, and while everyone is looking for steady improvement up and down the line-up next season, with a lot of kids in the mix, no one will be greatly disappointed if they wind up in the lottery again, with at least a chance at Lafresniere.

        That’s why I say I doubt any of Lindberg, Gibbons or Paajarvi will be back.

    • I’d trade Nylander before Kadri.
      Kadri is a two time 32G scorer that plays C and is on a$4.5M deal for the next three seasons. Kadri isn’t afraid to hit or be hit which is more than I can say for Nylander.
      Trading Nylander helps because it sheds a $6.9M cap hit and allows the Leafs to sign Kapanen for $3-$3.5M and Johnsson for $3-3.5M

      • Any savings on that deal would go to Marner and a defenceman.

  9. I think Montreal will look into Elhers. They have cap space and could send back cheaper players and one or two draft picks. The only thing is Bergevin won’t trade his first pick (15th overall). So I don’t know if a trade is possible.
    Something like this could maybe work.

    To MTL: Ehlers

    To Jets: Lehkonen (or Shaw, with salary retained) + 2nd rnder 2019 + Cale Fleury + Jake Evans (or Teasdale)

    Does that seem like a good trade or I’m I crazy?

  10. To Montreal : Nylander, Zaitsev, Anderson
    To Toronto : Carey Price, Tomas Tatar, 2019 1st rounder, 2020 2nd rounder (becomes a 1st if Toronto wins Stanley Cup).

    Frees up cap space for the Leafs with upgrade in goal. Montreal gets younger and has the cap room to do it.

    Never happen though, lol.

    • Why would Montreal give a first for that? you sound like hextall with that trade and told you he’d be gone lol

  11. Geez 9 million for Skinner. Crazy, that seems like a move by buffalo to appease their fans.
    I am always amazed by GM’s who have cap space to blow their brains out with crazy contracts then have no wiggle room to make their team better when they miss the playoffs. Hello Edmonton

    • Barffalo is going the route of the Soilers. Zero cap space and a roster littered with hasbeens, wannabees and never weres.

      McDavid, Draisitl and RNH plus 19 stiffs and next to nothing in cap space.

      Eichel, Skinner plus 21 bums and rapidly declining cap space.

      9 million for Skinner? Seems like a vast overpay to me.

      • they will also need to fork out some serious coin on Reinhart in 2020 and then Dahlen in 2021

      • Ron, it’s the underlying reason why I’ve maintained all along that Ottawa is in a much better position now going forward than if Karlsson, Stone and Duchene had all accepted Dorion’s offers, meaning they’d be forking over in excess of $34 mil for 5 guys (including the contract of Ryan). Hell, they finished damned near last with them 2 years ago and were on their way to 31st with two of them this year. A re-build was in the cards anyway – may as well go whole hog rather than hamstring yourself with 3 huge 8-year deals.

        The days of a long-term dynasty are part of history now – now it’s build to win a cup, then hope you’re able to keep enough of your top players to repeat. Pittsburgh was able to do it in 2016 – 2017 thanks to guys named Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and Letang but then you have to go back 21 years to Detroit’s 1997 – 1998 wins – and that era is nothing like today’s cap world. As Babcock is discovering.

      • Even after signing skinner they have 21 million…Bogo gone after this year, Scandella done after this year. The only bad contract on the team is Okposo who they can dump in minors. Sabres have zero cap trouble at all. The owner has money so if you have talent you get paid unlike other teams

    • Most Buffalo “fans” come from Southern Ontario (Toronto, Hamilton etc) because you cant get Leaf tickets without a 2nd mortgage on your house and surrendering your first born for the priveledge of watching the Leafs.

  12. Anybody else getting annoyed at how long the Finals are? 2-3 days between games and only one on a Saturday? Hows a team supposed to get and keep momentum with so long between games?

    • @ Ron Jull: They need the extra day off to apologize to everybody about the officiating which of course, will likely follow betting lines in Vegas as now established by Gary

      • lmao

    • They need to start the season earlier in September and they need more back-to-back home playoff games. The fact they’re playing hockey into mid-June is frockin’ ridiculous.

      • Yeah, don’t agree with you or understand the argument. If you like hockey what difference does it make when they play? I love hockey in June and miss the hell out of it in July and August.

      • It’s a fall to spring sport, not a summer sport. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

  13. In my mind the Flames have a very good regular season team but a poor playoff team.
    Here is a complete makeover to make them a more competative playoff team.

    Gaudreau & Neil to NJ for Hall
    Monahan to Montreal for Gallager and a 2nd
    Brodie for Kadri
    Hamonic and Jankowski to Winnipeg for Connor
    Offer sheet Point

    New lineup would look like this;

    Hall – Point – Lindholm
    Tkachuk – Kadri – Connor
    Bennett – Backland – Gallagher
    Mangiapane – Ryan – Hathaway

    Geordano – Valamaki
    Hanifan – Anderson
    Stone – Kylington

    • FlamesFan:

      Gaudreau trade is interesting if Hall won’t resign in NJ, but Calgary likely has to take a cheaper forward on shorter term back.

      Can’t see Monahan getting traded, especially on a good contract for another four years.

      Connor is worth WAY more than one year of Hamonic and a depth forward.

      3 years of Kadri at $4.5M/year is WAY more valuable than one year of Brodie. Makes little sense for Toronto.

      I don’t see Point leaving TB.

      • Van:
        Yes, I know the Hamonic, Jankowski for Connor might be
        a stretch.
        Connor is a very good player.

  14. Skinner deal may have buggered the market.

    • Stone contract already hosed everyone

  15. One thing that seems to be slipping into comparative analysis here and other hockey places (IMO) is underestimating / forgetting the difference between an RFA and an UFA.The Skinner/Tavares money is not a direct comparison to the Eichel/Matthews money…

    The Marner ask could be legitimately compared to Eichel or Matthews money but not the Skinner money IMO

    Somewhere recently I read the Skinner contract was going to make the Nylander contract look good….considering the RFA vs UFA idea I don’t think so…

    • Rfa/ufa don’t make a difference when it comes to a player early 20s 94 points plays the pk lead his team in scoring the past 2 years he is getting paid!

  16. The $9M for Skinner has Dubas pulling his hair out and Marner digging in for no less than $10.5- 11m , so Dubas can kiss Nylander, Kap ,and maybe Johnsson/Kadri ALL good bye or at least 2 of the 4..And need a serious upgrade at D too!..oh man looks like the signing on Johnny T was the beginning of the end and NOT thought out long term at all.

    • It’s amazing how everyone in the league realizes this accept leaf fans lol

  17. Please Scotty please! No sign of intelligent life here.

    • And it’s the whole board. Lucky us…

      • Including you?

  18. Canucks really need that playmaking center for the third line, right now playing with Sutter as the #3 center is where anyone with scoring potential goes to die