NHL Rumor Mill – July 15, 2019

by | Jul 15, 2019 | Rumors | 48 comments

Updates on Tyson Barrie, Kyle Turris, David Backes and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently reported Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie seeks $8-million annually on his next contract. Earlier this month, the Leafs acquired the 27-year-old Barrie from the Colorado Avalanche. He’s a year away from unrestricted free agent status and ranks sixth in scoring among NHL defensemen over the past two seasons.

Can the Leafs afford to re-sign Tyson Barrie after this season? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Avalanche weren’t going to pay Barrie $8 million per season. Fox speculates the Leafs might, depending upon how well their overhauled blueline corps performs in 2019-20. Morgan Rielly is the only Leafs defenseman under contract beyond this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will depend upon Barrie’s performance. So will their cap space for 2020-21. According to Cap Friendly, the Leafs have over $55.3 million invested in just 12 players. They still have to re-sign Mitch Marner this summer.

Assuming Marner’s next contract is worth between $8.5 million – $10.5 million, the Leafs could have between $63 million to $65 million wrapped up in 13 players. Depending upon how much the cap rises for 2020-21, they won’t have much left to re-sign Barrie and flesh out the rest of the lineup.

Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas did a fine job this summer shedding burdensome contracts while addressing his roster’s weaknesses. Time will tell if he can successfully walk that salary-cap tightrope again next summer. 


THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan recently reported the Nashville Predators appear willing to retain Kyle Turris this season. The 29-year-old center struggled in 2018-19 but Predators GM David Poile hopes he’ll bounce back. The Preds addition of Matt Duchene via free agency sparked speculation over Turris’ future in Nashville. If he struggles again his trade value will decline, especially with his $6-million per season contract.

Vingan noted Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman floated the notion of the Montreal Canadiens pursuing Turris before free agency. The Habs had interest in Duchene and made a failed attempt to sign Carolina’s Sebastian Aho. Vingan’s colleague Marc Dumont believed the Predators would either have to pick up half of Turris’ salary-cap hit or take back defenseman Karl Alzner. 

In a recent mailbag segment, Vingan was asked about the likelihood of Turris or Nick Bonino getting moved before the start of the season. He won’t be surprised if they’re still with the club on opening night. Given the Preds’ limited salary-cap space, however, he can see one of them being part of a cost-cutting trade. He felt Bonino was a more likely trade candidate. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have over $5 million in cap space with Colton Sissons and Rocco Grimaldi still to re-sign. They should have enough to get both under contract but, as Granger points out, they won’t have much wiggle room for other moves.

The Canadiens have over $4.8 million in cap space. The Predators will have to absorb half of Turris’ cap hit to make him enticing. Even then, I doubt he’s on GM Marc Bergevin’s radar. At $4.1 million annually through 2020-21, Bonino is more affordable than Turris but his cap hit could still be a stumbling block. 


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites “a league source with knowledge of the situation” claiming the New Jersey Devils could have interest in Boston Bruins forward David Backes. The 35-year-old has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6 million.

The Bruins have around $8 million in salary-cap space and must re-sign restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. Shedding Backes’ contract via trade would free up more cap room. The Bruins might have to include a sweetener, such as their first-round pick in 2020, which GM Don Sweeney is reluctant to move. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Murphy notes the Devils have the cap space ($19.8 million) to comfortably absorb Backes’ cap hit. However, they’ll want something worthwhile included in the deal. Otherwise, the Devils could ask the Bruins to pick up part of Backes’ cap hit. 


  1. the avs will most definitely miss Tyson especially quarterbacking the power play…..BUT looking to the “future” they would not be able to fit him in even if the cap rises slightly… I know most of the so called pundits think the leafs got the better of this deal….maybe for one year they did….after that time will tell

    • Not sure how many people think the Leafs got the better of the deal. Was an actual hockey trade with both teams dealing from a position of strength to complete the upgrades they both needed.

    • Wonder if Av’s have any interest in Shattenkirk? Was rumored Rangers were willing to trade him with some salary retention. Could Av’s visit this now that Barry is gone? Shattenkirk for 2 years at 3-4 million per?

    • Nice signing today by Sakic – Burakovsky for 2 years (bridge deal) at $3 mil per

      • 1 year deal 3.2 mil

      • Thanks Yoshie – a few hours ago they were reporting a 2-year bridge deal at $3 mil per. Weird. Somebody got their wires crossed.

        Yet another 1 year contract. But whereas he gets $3.2 after a 12g 13a 25 pt season with Washington, Labanc settles for 1 year but at 1/3 the cap hit. I think the NHLPA will be having a little chat with Labanc.

      • Uh-Oh – double-checked – the one I saw was his previous deal with Washington – THAT was the bridge deal – LOL

      • still a decent contract for avs…he gets a chance on avs 2nd line playing probably with kadri and jost…

  2. To the Bruins fans on this board,

    Many of you have opined about ridding Backes…. is this now coming to fruition?

    I don’t know how concrete a certainty this is with “MIGHT have interest in”….. I’ve been waiting on pins and needles since last week when it was stated that the Ducks “ARE interested” in JJ.

    What are you willing to part with as an incentive to get this done?

    I don’t understand NJ’s interest here though? Is there qualities to the 35 year old Backes that I’m not seeing?

    • He does still provide leadership and toughness. He can still score a goal here and there, but I wouldn’t count on more than 10-15.

      For the Bruins, I think the time to dump him was earlier in the offseason. If they had dumped Backes earlier maybe they could have signed Charlie, Carlo and Ferland….
      They don’t need an additional $6M to sign their RFAs so throwing in a quality asset (first rounder?) at this point doesn’t make sense unless they plan to use the extra cap space. There are other ways to trim some fat from the cap (John Moore) that won’t cost extra assets to dump.

      • DM

        makes sense.

        Just to clarify; you are saying it will cost Bruins a 1st for another team to take Backes in full (no retained Cap)?

        If that’s the case then too steep a price IMO

    • Pengy, I was disappointed that Backes didn’t play game 7, as I thought it would be an emotional lift and he would add some team toughness they needed. However Cassidy wanted the speed and once Kulman scored in game 6 sealed Backes faith for game 7
      As far as taking back salary Backes is only owed $1m this season and 4m next season. Your looking at $4m in actual salary over the two years. I be willing to trade him for a 7th round pick and Boston retain $4m in salary and throw in a 5th round pick.

      • Thanks Caper

        What would the comp be if there is 0$ (hence 0 in Cap) retained?

      • Oops sorry Caper

        Should have asked re take back…. max retained my is 50%… so Bruins would pay $500 K this year (in top of SB already retained) and $1.5 M next

        Receiving team pays $500 K this year but $2.5 M next year ($1.5 M in Sal plus SB if $1.0 M)

        EACH team in that scenario has a cap hit of $3M this year and next

        1) So with that scenario ; what is the kicker that Bruins must pony up in the trade; and

        2) what would be the “extra” if Bruins trade in full (no retention)?

  3. I’ll say it again, Bjugstad for Bonino.

    We STILL need a third line center and have since the moment Bonino left and their contracts are identical, two years at $4.1 million left for both.


    McCann Crosby Guentzel
    Tanev Malkin Galchenyuk
    Kahun Bonino Rust
    Simon/ZAR Blueger Hornqvist

    Put Bjugstad in that spot and that line doesn’t click, he’s just not a center. His best spot is RW.

    Although, the more I think about it and look at it…why does it have to be Rust or Bjugstad who gets traded?

    I ask because the plan for Galchenyuk seems foggy to me. Is the idea to hope he clicks…and then walks as a UFA? If so, next year, you don’t have him or whichever of Rust or Bjugstad you traded. If he doesn’t click, it’s a wasted year.

    If there isn’t a way to extend him at a team friendly price, why not move him instead?

    • Hi MG

      I’d love to have Bonino back with Pens

      As Bjug is younger and bigger ; Nsh would have to give up more for sure; it wouldn’t be 1 for 1

      Key as always for any chance at a cup is moving JJ…. an absolute must

      So Bjug for Bonino +?

      or best

      Bjug + JJ (as a negative ; offsets the + above from Nsh on the straight up deal) + 4th (extra plus because Nsh would be taking JJ)



      Now …. if GMJR can move on the Ducks reported insane interest in JJ (call it for future considerations [read : $20 Tim’s card])

      Then Nsh would have to give up something else (on top of Bonino) for Bjug

      Both of those cases free up $3.25 M in Cap and massively increase cup chances


    • MG & PENGY..
      We had Bonino yes good trade for sure….but Mccann is faster and better suited for center. Move bjugstad to the wing with that shot where he belongs.. Penguins need defense heres my proposal……………. To Pittsburgh 27 year old, smooth skating, left handed shot, strong puck moving defenseman Jonas Brodin to pair with justin Schultz. TO Minnesota 27 year old wing 20 goal scorer if HEALTHY Brian Rust…..
      BRODIN $ 4.1
      RUST $ 3.5

      With the addition of younger players Kahun Galchenyuk Tanev we have depth..

      Make the trade better to unload a bad contracts….



  4. Barrie will no doubt get more $$$/term than Gardiner. Who Tor. couldn’t afford to resign. He’ll be tough to resign at Leblanc prices. I think devils would consider Backes if it were only for a year & the “sweetener”. But 2 years at 6 mil……………nah

  5. Backes gets a 3 million signing bonus and only one million in salary. I’m not sure on the bonus date but NJ would only owe him one million for the season. The following season he would be owed 4 million.
    NJ would absorb the 6 million cap but only owe 5 million over two years. Not as bad as it sounds. If Boston retained one million a season that would even sound better to an acquiring club.

    • If the Bruins want to trade Backes they have to add a sweetener. Just look what the Leafs had to add to get rid of Marleau. And Marleau nearly had twice as much points as Backes.
      And the number of teams with cap space and willing to take on a bad contract is lower than before July 1st.

  6. Hello, Lyle,

    Once again, I would like to point out that Cap Friendly lists Cap space but ALSO lists how many contracts it covers.

    Montreal’s $4.88 million Cap remaining is based on a 24 players roster as currently listed on the site.

    Since pretty much everyone in town knows that 3 of those contracts (Weiss, Peca and Alzner) are going to be swimming in the AHL/be traded, what Montreal actually has is an extra $3.15 million there.

    For a total of app $8 million in Cap space left with 21 of 23 contracts signed.

    To write otherwise is somewhat misleading when discussing what the team might do.
    Lots of space available in Montreal.

    For those with interest in such things, the formula for totalling the Cap relief for placing a player in the minors is to add $300,000 to the current League min salary ($705,000).

    So – $1,050,000 is the current relief #.

    • Since most of the “relief” can’t happen until opening day….it’s not inaccurate to report the way he does becaise moves that are reliant upon such relief can’t be done until then

      • That’s true but don’t forget that a team can exceed the salary cap by 10% till opening night.

      • @AZHN.

        Your point is actually NOT true.

        Players can be consigned to the minors at any point.

        And, since there is an “over” allowance of 10% on Cap space until the season actually starts for every team (take a look at Vegas right now), in that sense there is actually $16 million in Cap availability in Montreal.

    • Rattus: I’m well aware of how Cap Friendly breaks down cap space and the number of contracts it covers. While I agree they’re likely to bury three of those contracts in the minors, until they’ve actually done so, I’m listing the figure as is. There’s nothing misleading about it. Cheers!

      • All good, Lyle, on that.

        My concern is that when possible trade outcomes (Bonino vs Turris in this situation) are assessed on what, in fact, is a totally misleading Cap figure, then yours, or any, assessment really makes a lot less sense.

        A caveat on these situations seems appropriate – as you always seem to do, for eg, when pointing out that the TML’s Cap space has to be looked at with the Marner situation in mind.

        I’m from Mtl, not a particular Leafs fan but certainly not a hater either.

        I do think that, when looking at rumours, all teams’ situations should be viewed in the same dispassionate sense.

        Thanks for your time, as always.


      • What’s important is that Marc Bergevin and all other league GMs know exactly what their true cap situation is. And they consider moves based on that. Those of us who rely on Cap Friendly will not be making any player moves anytime soon.

  7. Devils have cap space, but only show a roster of 17. They gave Simmond’s 5 mil, so I don’t know why they’d even consider another older bottom 6 guy for 6? As we’ve seen over and over, that cap space disappears quickly when you start making dumb moves like that. Don’t forget, Hall and Hischier will both need new deals next year.

    • thinking Simmonds was brought in to mentor Woods for one season. Going to be interesting to see how the Devils line up down the middle next season. Hischier, Hughes, Zajac, Zacha. Someone from that group of 4 needs to move to the wing. But they are pretty nicely set for the next 10 years with Hughes and Hischier. Zacha could be odd man out. Mike McLeod who was once a very high ranked prospect is also now buried in Binghamton.

      • So why would they be interested in Backes?

      • no idea unless it is tied to a nice sweetener , the bottom 6 is already suspect enough as it is. Like you said keep the cap to resign Hall , Hischier and perhaps Vantanen next year. Butcher’s new contract may also bite into future budget.

  8. Barrie produced 59 points in Colorado . Playing 4 minutes a game on top pp and a whopping 64 percent o zone start .
    Reilly produced 72 points in Toronto . Playing 2 and a half minutes a game on top pp and a 55 o zone start .
    Is Barrie bumping Reilly out of his role ? Or is going to be playing a vastly different one on pp 2 and closer to Reilly’s zone starts ?
    He can be very effective in the right role as he has shown and Colorado has given him . Can Toronto or will Toronto give him anything close to that ?
    What expectations do posters have for both role and production ?

    • Yeah? And that was Rielly’s first time ever scoring more than 52 points. Don’t make Rielly out to be a godsend because he had a single good offensive year.

    • My expactations production wise are that Barrie replaces Gardiner. Gardiner had 52 points in 2017-18 when he was healthy. I think it is not unrealistic to expect similar numbers from Barrie.
      I also expect Reilly to be on the first pairing and Barrie on the second. I don’t think both play on the first pairing even considering that Barrie is a RD and Reilly a LD.
      May be they play together on the first pp unit.

    • leafs fans better be ready for some d zone lapses from Tyson…but there is way more good to his game than bad

      • That’s what I don’t understand what dubas did this summer, everyone knows the leafs are bad in their own zone and he really didn’t improve that? Ceci = zaitsev Barrie = gardiner, I guess he’s hoping to win a lot 7-5

  9. My guess is that later in the year during the Trade Deadline, Barrie will be traded to a team that has the cap space and is looking to upgrade their RHD position. Obviously to get any decent return on someone needing to be re-signed after this 2019/20 season, the return will likely have to be a 1 for 1.

    To TOR: Martinez
    To LAK: Barrie


    To TOR: Green + 2020 7th
    To DET: Barrie

    • I don’t think the Leafs will trade Barrie at the trade deadline. That makes absolutely no sense.
      They are all in again this season. We will see if it works or not, but why would you trade for a player who replaces Gardiner and then you trade him at the deadline.
      And why would the rebuilding Kings trade Martinez who is signed until 2020-21 for a soon to be UFA who wants $8mil?

      • Unless the Leafs are out of contention I don’t see them moving Barrie

    • I’m not seeing why the Leafs would trade a really good defensemen for over the hill junk in the middle of what they hope will be a season of contending for the Cup.

      • I like how he adds a 2020 7th to make up ‘the difference’
        Not to mention Green has no interest in playing for Toronto

  10. I dunno maybe fix this years problems in Leaf land before addressing next year. We got to stop the sky falling this year first. I think Ceci will be traded before the start of the season. I think he will end up with the Oilers

  11. I think Barrie will have to show that he’s better than Reilly to get his $8M in Toronto. More likely he’s dealt near the deadline if the Leafs fall off from last year significantly. If he walks next summer, the Leafs get a year of service, an extra development year for their young dmen, and the possibility of trading him at the draft for less than he’d normally get.

  12. It might also come down to Barrie being faced with getting the big contract with a struggling team, or a smaller deal with a contender. TOR is reaching a point where a GM like Lou would be playing hardball with contracts. We’ll see with Marner if Dubas really learned anything from his mentor.

    • I think they should concentrate on moving on from Marner ,can’t afford him Make a trade for another stay at home like Muzzin and concentrate on signing Muzzin Barrie and whoever’s else they need to get resolved for next year. I would keep Marner if his Dad can play defense, other wise see you later.

  13. Once Marner comes in around 10m give or take it still presents problems next year. JT although a great player it hamstrung their cap. Idc what anyone says or thinks about him its a fact. Dubas is no dummy but it’s not genius luring JT to Toronto.

  14. Is Marner is worth more than Aho ? Don’t think so Tim . ( Tool Time reference)

    I would try to plan to keep Barrie. You need two studs up front and two in the back.

    • I would resign him then trade him! His dad & his agent have pumped enough air into the kids brain, he thinks he is the best. If he did not play on first line with John T. do you think he would have had that many assists? Not a chance! I agree Marner is not worth more than 8.5 per season when he is requesting a small contract. Mitch is handcuffing his team from bettering themselves. Shanhan said to players that there needed to be some sacrifices. Marner is just being greedy for someone that says he loves to play in Toronto. It puzzles me why kids want so much money & they know if they get it, the team will have to suffer because of greed!