NHL Rumor Mill (Part One) – June 21, 2019

by | Jun 21, 2019 | Rumors | 79 comments

Latest on the Leafs plus updates on Kris Letang, Max Pacioretty, Tyson Barrie, and more in Part One of today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said there’s no guarantee his club would match an offer sheet for Mitch Marner. The 22-year-old winger will become a restricted free agent on July 1. Dubas said it would depend upon the amount of the offer and the compensation for the Leafs. The same applies to RFA wingers Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson.

TORONTO SUN:  Terry Koshan reports Marner’s agent Darren Ferris doesn’t anticipate difficult contract negotiations with Dubas. It’s believed Ferris seeks a deal comparable to Auston Matthew’s five-year contract, which has an annual average value of $11.634 million. The Leafs have limited salary-cap space to re-sign Marner, Kapanen, and Johnsson.

The Toronto Maple Leafs efforts to re-sign Mitch Marner could affect the remainder of their roster next season (Photo via NHL Images).

Koshan reports it’s possible defenseman Nikita Zaitsev could be traded. However, an NHL source said nobody’s going to do them a favor. Zaitsev has five years left on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $4.5 million.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Leafs would have moved wingers Connor Brown and Kasperi Kapanen to the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Brett Pesce. The Hurricanes, however, intend to retain Pesce. They’re also trying to sign defenseman Justin Faulk to a contract extension. Faulk’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. If that doesn’t happen they could try to trade him. The Hurricanes are in the market for a top-six forward.

Darren Dreger reports team sources said the Leafs are willing to listen to offers for Kapanen and center Nazem Kadri. They’d want a defenseman for Kapanen or a center for Kadri. Dreger believes there’s no question Brown is in play. The Leafs are still shopping defenseman Nikita Zaitsev but it feels “less likely” he’s a top priority for other clubs.

Bob McKenzie reports it will be complicated for the Leafs to move aging winger Patrick Marleau. If he wants to return to the San Jose Sharks, it would take a third team acquiring Marleau. They would have to buy out the remaining year ($6.25 million annual average value) of his contract, and sign him to an affordable deal the Sharks could agree to take on. McKenzie notes the Arizona Coyotes have been rumored in the middle of this. However, it’s uncertain what they would want in return and how it would affect the Leafs payroll.

TORONTO STAR: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas suggested there’s a strong chance Marleau could return with the Leafs next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of interest in what the Leafs will do heading into the draft weekend. Cap Friendly indicates the Leafs have over $74 million invested in 17 players for next season. They must shed salary if they intend to re-sign Marner, Kapanen, and Johnsson. Their limited cap space makes Marner, Kapanen, or Johnsson prime offer-sheet targets.

Moving Marleau and/or Zaitsev in cost-cutting deals could be easier said than done. It could involve including draft picks, prospects, or a young roster player in the deals. It also appears Dubas is trying to bolster his blueline with Kapanen and Brown as potential bargaining chips. Their names popped up frequently in recent Leafs trade chatter. 


THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cites The Athletic’s Rob Rossi reporting the Pittsburgh Penguins are listening to offers for Kris Letang. The 32-year-old defenseman is signed through 2021-22 with an AAV of $7.25 million. The Penguins’ asking price is a package containing “impact player on a controllable contract and/or a projected future salary-cap hit that was reasonable.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is willing to entertain offers doesn’t mean he’s moving Letang for sure. He’s not about to give the veteran blueliner away. If no one meets that price, Rutherford will retain Letang and consider other options. 


LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: cites Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston speculating the Vegas Golden Knights could shop Max Pacioretty or Paul Stastny. The Golden Knights are already maxed out against next season’s salary cap, which could come in lower than the projected $83 million. Johnston said his “gut feeling” is Pacioretty or Stastny could be moved in a cost-cutting deal. The Golden Knights acquired Pacioretty last September in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens and signed Stastny via free agency last summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember, Johnston isn’t saying this is going to happen. He’s merely speculating that they could consider moving Pacioretty or Stastny.

I think the cap-strapped Golden Knights are considering all their cost-cutting options. Writing for The Athletic, Pierre LeBrun said the Golden Knights are still talking to teams about Colin Miller. The 26-year-old defenseman has three years left on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $3.875 million. 


TSN’s Darren Dreger took to Twitter early this morning regarding possible moves by the Colorado Avalanche. “The Tyson Barrie trade consideration seems to have amplified since earlier in the day. Also some rumblings about Avs forward Carl Soderberg.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The notion of moving Barrie has raised mixed reactions among Avalanche fans. With Barrie a year away from UFA status and promising youngster Cale Makar in the fold, some feel he should be swapped for a scoring forward. Others, however, believe it would hurt their depth on defense and their offense from the blueline. No harm in listening to offers but remains to be seen if the right offer can be made to pry Barrie away from the Avs.



  1. I’ll start this post by saying I think Marner is a great player and worth a lot of money. It isn’t about that. It is about building the best team with a chance to win.

    Mitch signing an offer sheet is the second best option after agreeing to a discounted contract. The compensation isn’t 4 first round picks. It is 4 first round picks plus the ability to spend that cap space on one great defacement or two decent defencemen. That doesn’t sound like a bad trade.

    The risk for the Leafs is an offer sheet for Kapanen or Johnson that comes in at $4M, which is a big salary and only offers up a second round pick as compensation if they don’t match.

    I think they need to give Marner their best offer with a drop dead date that will trigger the signing of Kapanen and Johnson. Once those signings are done then they need to look to trade him to get defence.

    If this drags out, the Leafs won’t have the ability to reshape the team for next season.

    It is a harsh business, but when a team is committed to spending to the cap to deliver a winner sometimes you have to walk away from a great player to try and improve – just look at what Ujiri did to get Kawhi.

    • Good morning

      About 6 months ago there was a very heated debate here about Damien Cox
      ( suggesting an Auston Matthews trade )
      I was livid with even the notion of that idea , especially and at last the leafs have an abundant of talent and they finally seem poised to be a threat for years to come while having an elite top player in the world.

      But over the past 2 weeks with the Marner saga trying to re sign Kapanen Johnson and while trying to build in other areas …iam starting to lean in this direction
      IF NEED BE !
      I can not beleive that these words are coming out of my mouth …
      Id rather Keep Mitch long term than Matthews at 5 years…I dont see Tavares going anywhere with all the fan fare that went with it …but something has to give here …I see Marner as a more complete player than Matthews who plays EVERY aspect of the game and makes players around him better more so than Mattehws does as Matthews is a finisher instead.

      PLEASE DONT roast me …I know what I am saying is over the top and controversial …but I really do see Marner as the best player on the Leafs ..I see him as the Captain I see him as being able to play with any line and making other depth players better and driving the play.

      But if I had to save one of my kids in a horrible situation it would be Marner …LOL …if you know what I mean.

      I hope this does not start a fire here ..I do have lots of good things to say later on other topics …that will not be so controversial …sorry ..

      • No argument from this non-partisan observer of the Leafs Boogey. Many will disagree … but if I’m watching a Leafs game and pulling for the opposition, my anticipation of a Leafs scoring chance increases substantially when I see Marner on the ice mainly because he does things a great C does – but from the wing position. Just my opinion, but I see Marner as a far greater investment in the future for that franchise as I do Matthews.

      • ” … THAN I do Matthews.”

      • I remember that post and also agreed trading AM is better. He is talented but does not seem to have the intensity when it counts.

        Imagine what Arizona could offer to bring him home under new ownership. Could Hjalmarsson be in play? Just spitballing but I’d go with the Hometown boy for TO rather than investing in AM who will leave in 5 years.

      • Cant say I disagree Boogey: Matthews would likely go the UFA route in 5 years anyways and no doubt, would surely consider Arizona as a landing spot at that point in time.

        Dubas now states that they will NOT necessarily match an offer sheet on Marner; it just depends on whats involved. Its going to be interesting to say the least how this all unfolds.

      • 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

    • “one great defacement …” gotta love that bloody spell-check

      Hope that wasn’t a Freudian slip Chris ,,, they’ve invested in the odd “great defacement” several times in their history 🙂

      • Definitely unintentional, but made for a better post.

      • The longer Marner drags this out the more I am leaning towards letting him sign an offer sheet/trading him if it comes to that also. The kid doesn’t play a premium position like center and doesn’t want to take an 8 year deal. If he wants a 5 year deal than he needs to take much less than the reported mill that was offered to him. We could always flip the first rounders we get from the offer sheet for d help with the extra cap space.

        I don’t see Marleau getting traded until at least July 1 since most of his money will be paid out to him and it will cost a team like Arizona a lot less to buy him out if that is an actual viable option. I don’t foresee much movement on our roster until July 1 to be honest with the cap not being solidified until Saturday.

        Also, hate to say I was right about Gardiner getting paid but wow that’s too much money for what he’s going to do for a team. Having Edler at 6 and Gardiner at 7 on your back end seems stupid.

    • exactly

  2. I have been thinking about the AM issues for a while-I don’t see him as a ten-year Leaf, not sure about the leadership issues, not sure his game is going to drive the Leafs to Cup contention. For me, the big question right now is: what could the Leafs get for Matthews? Some American clubs would love to have him-Hawks, Coyotes, Rangers..and those teams have assets to give back. Marner? I love Mitch, not so much the agent and the father. But does he drive to a Cup? He has the intensity that I think AM lacks, and great skills but do teams win with a smallish winger as their best player? If CBJ offer me Seth Jones, Josh Anderson and a third piece, I might just take that, for AM. Jackets are losing Bob and Panarin, need to rebuild and AM might be their chance. At the end of the day, much of this is speculation born out of frustration after three first round exits and current signs that the roster might not get better for October.

    • If clb offereded jones I thin that’s all you get you use the winger factor in your post well dmen are a higher value than wingers

      • Offered *

  3. We will see soon enough what Dubas has up his sleeve, he has said he had a plan and that he was going to resign Marner, Kapanen and Johnsson. Sometimes the problem with the plan is other see it differently.

    • Ya Caper, this is one of the more interesting situations I have seen, perhaps #1.
      I wonder what the cost will be to move the pieces to sign Marner let alone the other 2. And then Ice an NHL blue line.
      Ain’t gonna be cheap.

  4. Salary should be based on percentages . I know teams calculated that way but I am saying paid that way. Cap goes up or down you get your 12% or 17% or whatever your number is.
    If this year ends up less than $83m some teams are in deeper trouble than they planed
    Marner is not worth 4 firsts in my opinion . In addition to the money a big hit for any organization.

  5. Moving Colin Miller and his $3.875m for 3 more years shouldn’t be an issue. I wonder if the expansion draft comes into play. Meaning he not a guy you’re going to protect but you very well could lose him in the expansion draft, so you’re hesitant to move asset(s) for a player you could lose in the expansion draft.

    • Has a player ever been taken in 2 different expansion drafts? That would be interesting.

  6. No ones been able to reach Dubas since yesterday. He’s desperately trying to reach Ryan Callahan’s doctor to see if he’ll examine Marleau.

    • Oh snap!

    • I think Chris has the right idea . Marner is a great hockey player but you only have so much money. If he gets offer sheets, I would take the picks and cap space and turn it into defensemen. I don’t think it’s the player that’s the problem it’s the father

      • I see how it is a problem for the Leafs and they boxed themselves in and are in a position of very little leverage in trying to deal Zaitsev and Marleau without paying too much to do it. The vultures are circling, as they should be, it is a GM’s job to try and win trades.
        Marner is doing what all star players do, and what all business people do (they are contractors not employees after all) and that is trying to maximize their revenue.
        Dubas went for it when he signed Tavares and he knew the risks, now he is trying to minimize the impact.
        I’m not a Leaf fan so for me it is just really interesting as I have no skin in the game. He could pull it off but he must be starting to sweat just a little bit as rival GM’s try to wait him out.

  7. For the leafs back end the time to bring up Llilegren is now, he’s a RD, will cost ELC $ and can play on the bottom pairing against 3rd and 4th lines. If they can move Zaitsev and somehow manage a Marleau move/buyout while putting Horton’s cap hit on LTIR then we’d have ample space to sign everyone….a lot of ifs but Dubas needs to really step up. This is a pivotal off season for the leafs.

    • Agree with bringing up Llilegren.

      • Other Marlies have just as good a shot – Rosen, Sandin, for example. Liljegren will need to earn his spot.

      • So if Zaitsev gets traded the Leafs have 1 right shot d-man with NHL experience. Holl, With a total of 13 NHL games.
        So are they really going to roll with Holl and 2 current Marlies to start the the year on the right side?
        Dermont is also hurt for a couple 3 months to start the year.
        So in reality they have 2 NHL caliber D-men ready to go.

  8. Nylander for Barrie.


    Don’t see Letang going anywhere, but on the off chance it does happen, it had better be accompanied by an extension for Justin Schultz.

  9. Kris LeTurnover for a bag of used pucks and five broken sticks …

    • Letang: multiple concussions, stroke….couldnt check a hat. Nice offensive upside but everyone knows his noggin is Lindros soft.

      Who wants him?!?!

      • Ron…apparently several clubs want him….. I agree with you his fragile as a potato chip…but when he is right like the 206 playoffs and most of last season (BEFORE HE GOT HURT LOL) he was a beast..

        personally the Penguins should keep him…they don’t have much else beside he and Dumolin…

      • 6th in voting for Norris… I’m sure plenty of teams would take him

    • Sign Marner and his Daddy to league max contract and play him 30 minutes a night, clearly him and papa think he’s better than McDavid…without Tavares who took less money and one less year to go to Leafs Marner wouldn’t have been close to 90 points

      • Why is it when a Leaf decides he wants to be paid commensurate with his obvious talents that some among their fan-base turn on him as if he should be grateful simply for the honour of playing for the Leafs and take less “for the good of the team?” Why would anyone low-ball themselves?

      • he had 69 points the previous year playing almost 30 games on the 4th line. He deserves to be treated similarly, the real issue is all these ridiculous contracts to RFAs, that’s not how the CBA was supposed to work

      • George – the fan base has not ‘turned’ on Marner, that’s a stretch. Some fans are expressing the frustration of poor cap management which includes the Marleau and Nylander deals but simply not articulating it well.
        The reason home town discounts exists as a term is because it happens, can’t blame someone for having hope.

        If he signs an offer sheet then no biggie, we’ll take the 4 first round picks.
        Place Horton on IR and add to the D core by using those picks and resign Kapanen and Johnsson.

        In one year Marleau’s hit will be gone along with Horton’s, all RFAs will be under contract and the Leafs will have the cap space and picks.

        I’m all good with letting this season be one where they are competitive and then focus in on the year after

      • Well, I did say “some among the fan base …” Same thing happened last year with Nylander holding-out (err, sorry, better change that to “not accepting the team’s offer” before someone goes apoplectic) when he suddenly went from a team darling to someone who was one step away from becoming Typhoid Mary.

        I get that the majority of the fan-base want what’s best for their team – same thing applies everywhere – but you have to admit, there are some who go overboard with their reversal of affections. As everyone connected with the game keeps reminding us – players included – “it’s a business” and the fans simply have to be pragmatic when it comes to contract demands.

      • There is no way Marner had 69 points playing just fourth line lol

        23 point jump playing with Tavares , that’s a lot of points.

      • When I was a kid a player had to earn leagues highest salary not just play two seasons then get 10 million. No way Marner who never got a team out of first round is better than Kucherov or Pat Kane. Kucherov has amazing playoff stats look them up

      • Matt when you give 2 other players 11+ who can’t get out of the first round does it really matter? Marner is their best forward imo

      • This has been discussed/debated at length. This is not about Marner. This is about Shanny and Dumbass – sign Tavares? Sure, why not. But everybody knew that some of the young core had to go, and if you want to contend, they need to be moved for a stud dman. If there was not a plan to move Mathews or Marner (to a lesser extent Nylander/Kapanen/etc), then DON’T sign Tavares. They created their own hell. As a non-Leaf fan, it is fun to watch the Leaf fans twist themselves in knots.

      • @Matt – as I said he played about 30 games on the 4th line when Babcock was trying to teach him to be more defensively responsible

        @DT – Sign Tavares. Marner gets offer sheet, the Leafs get 4 fists. So Marner nets us JT and 4 firsts? Where do I sign??

  10. To TML. Brendan Smith
    To NYR. Zaitsev with $1mil retained

    To Van or Det. Zaitsev
    To NYR. 2 Nd rd pick this year

    • Why would we take another forward when we have too many as it is and not enough d help? Also, that makes our cap situation much worse in your deal.

    • Detroit says NO Thanks, after this year we getout from some horrible defensemen contracts and do not want to get into another

    • Thats an odd duo of proposals.
      The Leafs want nothing to do with the first one and that second one would give Dubas his biggest stiffy ever

  11. Vegas GM has really messed up with all the older forwards he signed and giving out no trade clause to everyone. How wonderful you have two over 30 forwards coming off 40 point seasons who make too much money and have no trade deals, now you will lose good young players because of this. Enjoy those two guys because they will play until the last day of contracts to get every penny. Paxorety and Statsny lol

    • I’d take stats back to the avs in a heartbeat….Paul still has a great hockey iq and is a great setup guy…

  12. The Leafs were nice enough to sign an old forward for 3 years letting him have a chance at a cup and now he’s washed up and can’t play so he returns the favor by sticking it to Leafs. Where is his loyalty? How about you wave so they can clear cap space to sign players who can actually play still?

    • I’m with you on that, Matt.

    • Why? That’s stupid both sides signed the contract! Why do leaf fans think everyone should do them a favour?

      • Any and all players WANT to play in Toronto and they all should sign for less than market value for the priviledge of doing so.

        Much like any player currently on the Leafs is automatically worth a top six forward, a top prospect and a 1st round pick in any trade.

        Toronto Maple Leafs…believe the hype!!!

    • Little harsh BBB, but ya they didn’t sign Marleau to do him a favor.

      • Not harsh at all why don’t the leafs buy him out to do him a favour so he can go sign is sj for cheap? Do leaf fans think that’s stupid?

      • Can’t believe I agree with B but he doesn’t owe crap to the team or city. It’s a business which happens to be for our amusement. It’s also a contract which both parties are responsible for. Everyone knew three years was too long but you can thank Lou for that if you have a problem with old school respect when doing business with someone that’s earned it.

      • They signed Marleau to the extra year to do him a favor, extra 6.3 million so he can feed his family. The guy should wave his no trade deal and go play back on West Coast. I can’t stabd these players who will milk every penny out of a deal even if the last season they had 1 goal in 82 games. Too bad they can’t dump him in AHL and get rid of that cap.

  13. Pretty clear that GM’s are going to wait and see what happens with Marner. If he hits July 1st then every single team in the NHL is going to try and figure out how to land him, if they are doing it already.
    From a Blues fan, I have no idea what Toronto is doing, guy is the most dynamic player on that roster. Clearly worth every single penny of 11-12 million per year. No one wants Marleau, you are going to have to eat half that salary to trade him. Zaitzev is another player you are going to have to eat salary on and the return is not going to be that good. Guy is a bottom pair defense men way over payed. I dont think MM is going to get a 5 year deal at 11-12, IMO he is going to get a deal at 12-13 for 5 years.

    • Not with the Leafs, he’s not.

    • Solid post except no way marner gets more than mcdavid, Matthews yes

      • So BBB, since Marner is almost McDavid money and definitely more than Matthews, what should the Leafs look for in return in a trade?

  14. This is silly season BBB so all bets are off with how much someone will throw at Marner. GM’s are sometimes very foolish like when Lou signed a defenceman who had one year under his belt for huge $$$$ and then turned around and signed an aging forward to a mega $$$ three year contract.

  15. Marner is going to sign and for anyone who wonders about why a hometown discount may be possible, have you noticed he is in every ad onTV this past hockey season. Do you think it would be the same in say Arizona?That Leaf on his chest pays him in other ways.Leaf for life

    • Lol those adds don’t mean crap if he gets 2 million more a season in a place where the taxes are lower than Toronto

  16. Some thoughts on the Leafs:

    If Marleau doesn’t waive his NMC and the Leafs are forced to get rid of younger players to facilitate that farce of a contract he’ll end up being loathed in Toronto. Everywhere he goes he’ll be roasted. I’m pretty sure he knows that.

    Marner should sign for 8 yrs and don’t let this run to July 1.

    If Marner prolongs this I see offer sheets for Johnsson and Kapanen. What a waste.

    I get that everyone wants

    • Maybe TML shouldn’t have signed Marleau or Tavares. If Marleau doesn’t waive NTC, he will be a hero to fellow players (for not caving) and fans around the NHL, who loath the TML.

  17. Some here think Marner should get Matthews money and some even think he should get $12-13millions. The same guys say all year long that center and d-man are worth most respectively more than a winger. And then they would pay or think Marner should get McDavid money.

    And I also would trade Matthews (and Nylander).

    • Why would you trade a centerman in matthews over losing a winger in marner than?

      • Because the Leafs have Tavares, Kadri and Nylander. Tavares as first line center, Kadri for the 2nd line and Nylander can play wing or if necessary center too.
        If Marner is the best player on the team you keep him instead of Matthews. Matthews would bring a good return. And he is also signed for 5 years.
        What would you get for an unsigned Marner?

        Besides all the speculation and opinions here, I am really curious if (and how) Dubas is able to solve the Leafs cap problems and if the Leafs will be able to ice a competetive team.

  18. Does Dubas need to move and accept the best offer for an RFA? If Kapanen sign for 4 AAV and the compensation is a second rd pick, would he have look at something like:

    To Van: Kapanen
    To Tor: 2020 2nd pick, Nikoli Goldobin

    • I don’t think Kapanen gets dealt unless a D man of quality returns. (top 4).
      Carolina and Philly really like him, as his dad played with both organizations and he’s a flashy offensive player.

      My money has him going to either Carolina, or maybe Anaheim.

      • that would be the smart play, if he has the time and if some of his RFAs do not get offer sheets (lol – not with the boys club it won’t).

        the flip side of this is by not doing offer sheets, those same GMs will sign free agents for much too much and for far too long

  19. Marner didn’t do anything in the playoffs! If you give a guy huge money he better be a playoff guy like Kucherov. Kucherov will finish with more playoff goals than Matthew’s and Marner combined.

    • Tavares got one goal with a goalie in the net and he gets 11 million?

      • Don’t confuse them with logic and facts bigbear

      • Do you play paper,rock, scissors with yourself and determine who your going to be that day?

      • Are you talking to George shticky?

  20. I think a lot of pressure is going to be on trading players for picks. A lot of non-playoff teams are feeling like they are just 1 or 2 players away from earning a spot and would seriously consider dealing a later pick for immediate help.
    Watch picks 9 to 50.

  21. I think that after this summer Toronto will realize that you don’t hire a boy to do a man’s job. I feel that Toronto has no plan or direction. Not sure how a team gets to this point, with signing Marleau and Tavares, knowing that AM and MM would need to be dealt with. You can’t win 2 lines as the oilers have shown us. Why would you stretch out the contract negotiations with Nylander last year to trade him this year? Who is going to play on the bottom 2 lines when you get rid of Kapenen and Johhansen? Seems odd you would keep all the 10 million+ players and let the others go.

    And then to talk about going after Subban? Good lord! Do you never learn? You will have 2 forward lines and one defensive pairing and a bag of pucks left over…


  1. NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – June 21, 2019 - […] All the Leafs speculation in that segment has been covered in Part One of today’s NHL rumor […]