NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2019

by | Jul 3, 2019 | Rumors | 74 comments

The best remaining UFAs, the latest on the Canadiens and Penguins, plus updates on Chris Kreider and Rasmus Ristolainen in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Defenseman Jake Gardiner and winger Michael Ferland top Matt Larkin’s list of the top available NHL unrestricted free agents. Forward Marcus Johansson, center Joe Thornton, and right winger Justin Williams round out the top five. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As usual, the pickings get slim following the opening day of the free-agent market. I expect Thornton will return with the San Jose Sharks for one last hurrah. Williams could retire or return for one more season with the Hurricanes. 


SPORTSNET: Eric Engels considers the Montreal Canadiens options after the Carolina Hurricanes announced they’ll match the offer sheet for Sebastian Aho. He doubts Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin will go the offer sheet route again.

Engels wondered if Bergevin might consider trading for Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris. He suggested seeing if the Predators will add another asset in the deal or convince them to pick up part of Turris’ $6 million annual salary-cap hit. Engels also proposed pursuing a free-agent defenseman like Jake Gardiner. 

THE ATHLETIC: Sean Gordon believes Bergevin must address the Canadiens’ need for a top-four, left-side defenseman. Free-agent options could include Gardiner, Ben Chiarot, and Ben Hutton. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $11 million in cap room and 12 picks in next year’s draft, the Canadiens have assets to use in the trade market. Bergevin could target clubs looking to shed salary-cap space. As per Cap Friendly, those could include the Vegas Golden Knights, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Calgary Flames. Unless the Predators are willing to pick up a significant chunk of Turris’ cap hit, I don’t think he’s worth pursuing. 

Questions persist over Chris Kreider’s future with the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers need the grit winger Chris Kreider brings to the lineup. He’s a year away from UFA eligibility.

The Rangers cap space for 2020-21 will be reduced after they re-sign Jacob Trouba, Tony DeAngelo, Pavel Buchnevich and Brendan Lemieux. If they decide to re-sign Kreider, they’ll have to free up some cap room. Brooks suggests Buchnevich or Vladislav Namestnikov could become trade options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s going to depend on Kreider. Brooks doubts they’ll want to go through a season of uncertainty over the winger’s contract status. If Kreider’s unwilling to sign a contract extension this summer, the Rangers could trade him before training camp opens in September. 


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel believes the Penguins will make another cost-cutting trade. After signing Brandon Tanev on Monday, they have around $1.6 million in salary-cap space. They also have restricted free agents Marcus Pettersson, Zach Aston-Reese, and Teddy Blueger to re-sign. Vensel speculates Nick Bjugstad or Bryan Rust could become trade candidates.


THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl notes the Buffalo Sabres could use a center to take the pressure off Casey Mittlestadt or a proven right wing. He suggests defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen would be a good trade chip to address either need. The Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks, and Tampa Bay Lightning could use a right-side defenseman. 


  1. Brooks needs to make up his mind. Prior to the draft the Rangers absolutely had to, HAD TO!, trade Kreider. Now they can’t live without him.

    Hall of fame writer for sure.

    • Brooks is obsessed with the overrated, steaky Kreider

    • Brooks is brutal. Pretty sure he just makes nonsense up just so he has a column to print.

    • And his obsession with Lundqvist is just sick!

    • You see this is the thing – Cap friendly lists Montreal as having 23 players signed and $11.8 million in Cap space.

      This is not true.

      Of those 23 players listed, three (Weiss, Alzner, and Peca) are definitely headed for the minors, as is Lindgren, the #3 G.

      The demotion of the first three adds $1,075,000 each to Cap space (League min (= $700K) plus $375 is the formula) and Lindgren adds $750 K.

      That’s an extra $4 million.

      The Habs have app $15.8 mill in Cap space.

      But 4 players to sign.

      Two of those will probably be Armia and Lekhonen.

  2. They need to trade Kreider to make the cap work for the future. He isn’t worth 7m a year. And why are we talking about trading Buchnevich? We have a ton of Russian talent. Keep them together!

    • I totally disagree here. Do you see Buchnevich playing Kreiders game? I certainly don’t.

  3. Going off the write-up on trading Ristolainen and who needs a RD…note this is just the main return and not the whole trade


    TB-Johnson (doubt he agrees to go) or Cerelli (doubt TB moves him)

    Ana-Rakell- fits what Botterill likes in age and term (doubt Botterill is looking at Henrique but I could be wrong

    • Winnipeg won’t do Ehlers for Ristoleinen, maybe Roslovic would work for them. Ehlers is on a good contract and with high end skill – He is only going to be trade bait for a stud player.

  4. Maybe the Canadiens might be willing to take Staal or Smith from the Rangers for a draft pick?

    • The Habs need left d who generate offence, neither Stall nor Smith do that.

      • Smith has drawn more penalties from opposing teams than any other defenseman. …but he was playing 4th line forward at the time ..LOL

        I’ll trade ya Smith for another McDonough lol

  5. Pitts gave Tanev 6yrs at $3.5 good for Tanev hard working player. I seen Pengy had him pencil in on the second line for the penguins. If that’s the case your team is hurting. Maybe can move up to the third but overcasting if 2nd line

    • Lines are about chemistry, not slotting a depth chart.

      Were Kunitz and Dupuis top line wingers? Hagelin? Bob Errey if you want to really go back?

      I saw Pens fans bemoaning the Tanev deal when “they could have gotten a guy like Donskoi for about the same money”.

      Stick a guy like Donskoi on Malkin’s line with Galchenyuk and we get swept out in the first round again. Maybe in 3 games this time. Soft as butter.

      Stick a guy like Tanev on a line with Malkin and Galchenyuk and you have a guy to do the forechecking and dirty work in the corners freeing up the other two to get to scoring areas and play a skill game.

      • Donskoi isn’t soft. He plays hard and takes injuries which have added up. He plays well behind the net and honestly I was sad to see him go. He a decent player. he’s a solid 3rd line guy who can jump up to the second and kill penalties.

      • Donskoi is a decent player and not soft, per se, but…he doesn’t have enough jam to elevate a line with Malkin and Galchenyuk as a collective unit beyond “soft”.

        Inserting Tanev alone IS enough to balance that line and there is still plenty of skill. That’s what he can bring.

        And every time I’ve seen Tanev with my own eyes (we rarely see the Jets in the US), I saw a speedy skilled player who I thought was just miscast due to the Jets depth. Only now learning about his hit totals, blocks, PK, etc. I think, like a Kunitz, he has a sneaky top six skill set.

        Malkin’s best year was with Kunitz and Neal on his wings. Tanev and Galchenyuk bring the same skills to the line that they did. Will be interesting to see what happens.

      • Exactly MG. In that regard I keep think of Vegas in their first year. NO ONE thought for one fleeting second that they’d make the playoffs, let alone go to the finals, with a line-up full of 3rd/4th line F and 4-6 D. All many of them needed (Karlsson a classic example) was an opportunity to play more minutes and develop chemistry with their new linemates. The rest is history.

      • MG, exactly. Tanev has Chris Kunitz written all over him. Good winger to move wherever he is needed in the lineup. Grit. Takes on his role well.

      • The issue I have with Tanev is the same I had with Jj. Term. Jj was a reclamation project… you don’t give them more than two years. Tanev isn’t a reclamation project but he might have peaked. Why these long deals? I liked the Jj signing when it happened as a gm taking a risk on a player he and the team thinks can be a reward… but not at that term. Same with Tanev.

      • MG lines are definitely about skill and chemistry. Your not putting a 10 minute 4th line player and throwing him up in the top 6, doubling his ice time and asking him to contribute as a top 6 playing against better players.

      • Vegas did. And look where they ended up their first year, Karlsson went from a 4th line F with two seasons of 9g and 6g in 81 gp each season to 43g 35a 78 pts playing \top line minutes. Only time will tell on Tanev.

      • MG..100 % agree with your chemistry analysis. Tanev is a good pick up speed, grit, great penalty killer younger good fit for Malkin’s line.

        Tanev scored 14 goals in Vancouver think he tops that in Pittsburgh.

        Galchenyuk 19 goals (career high 30 2015) 25 old

        Kahun 14 goals (wil cre more her0 23 old

        Tanev 14 goals will score more e) 27 old

        that’s 47 goas added to the line -up we get younger, faster, and more skilled and add some grit.

        we look more like the back to back cup years speed skill forecheck. plus with Grubransson Tanev Hornqvist we have a little more grit

        plus I don’t think JR is done I believe we move Rust nd Hack Johnson for cap space and make a move for a defenseman to play with Schultz

  6. Jets could offer Roslovic for Ristolainen. Not sure if he’s ready for 2nd line centre spot though. Would hate to see Roslovic go. Stupid Brian little contract. Haha. Hopefully he can play #2 C minutes this year. What happened to him last year. Was he hurt?

    • That would be ironic bc if I’m not mistaken Winnipeg drafted Roslovic with the pick they got from the Sabres in the Kane/Myers trade. The other thing is trading Roslovic doesn’t ease the cap needed to sign Laine, Connor and Copp…it would hurt more then help. Ehlers seems the most likely and they save 600k right off the top.

  7. Im not a Penguins fan (hater to be honest) but I honestly dont see how they are better now than when the season ended.

    Kessel replaced by Galchenyuk? Big free agent addition is Brandon Tanev at a huge overpay in both dollars and term.

    Penguins got trainwrecked in the playoffs by the Isle and to my eyes are worse now than then.

    Window for the Pens is closing fast. Crosby and Malkin can only pull 20 other guys for so long. I cant see Rutherfords plan at all. Seems like every year the talent level lessens up front and on defence.

    What happens if Murray gets hurt again? Or Letang? Or worse one of the two top players?

    Pens seem to have all their chips rolled up in Crsoby and Malkin which is fine, but whose going to help them?

    Gubrandsson and Johnson are AHL depth pieces on most teams. Tanev 3rd line penalty killer anywhere else.

    As a Flyers fan I look forward to Pittsburghs return to the bottom but Im confused as to what the plan is for the Pens.

    Could Pittsburgh actually miss the playoffs this year? Flyers, Rangers and Devils all made huge additions (especially NYR and NJ). All Pitt did was trade 80 point forward and add 4th line checker.


    • What did the Flyers add? I must have missed it.

      All I saw was a few old scrubs like Niskanen and Braun and bringing back one of the worst goalies in hockey in Brian Elliot. Oh, and Kevin Hayes for almost as much as Sid makes. The Flyers fortunes rest solely upon Carter Hart.

      NJ didn’t add enough. Isles and Jackets took a major step back in net. I do think the NYR will be strong this year. Canes who knows.

      The Pens didn’t lose because they lacked skill, they lacked hunger, grit and heart. Losing skill won’t be the reason they lose as it already wasn’t enough to win. Adding drive and cohesion is their only path back to the top.

      If Murray gets hurt, we’ll be in trouble. Otherwise, I see Pens and Caps fighting for the division again.

      • Niskanen is a very solid defenseman, Braun has been the shut down guy in SJ for years but over shadowed by Vlassic.
        They didn’t add a whole lot but the two I mentioned are hardly scrubs.

        I’m not in love with the Hayes signing either. I can’t see Nolan Patrick be a 3C forever and Couts has the number 1 spot locked down.

      • Taz,

        Pretty much agree with you on all of that. I didnt like the Hayes trade and like the signing even less. Too much money and term for what theyre getting (see Tanev Brandon).

        Dont mind the Elliott signing, one year at 2 million isnt bad to sit and get slivers in his arse.

        I still see the Flyers struggling for a playoff spot. Philly goes as far as Hart can carry them.

      • The Metro is wide open. All things considered the playing field is fairly even, no telling who makes the playoffs from there.

    • Ron Jull last season how many goals did Kessel score in February-April????? How many of Kessel’s points were scored on the power play? even strength? What was Kessel’s +- rating? Does Kessel play defense? What’s Kessel’s age? Penguins suddenly are much a much younger hungrier team!!

      • Doesnt mean theyre better though.

      • Yup. NO team will be younger or hungrier than the Sens – but no one is expecting anything more than visible improvement in all aspects of the game.

      • George O in the past 4 NHL seasons how many Stanley Cups have the Penguins won ?? Better question when was the last year the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup?!

      • Heh! You’re asking ME when was the last time the Leafs won a Cup? You setting me up for a barrage from members of LeafsNation?

    • Ron…..Kesel is lazy, cant play back check and obviously rout his welcome wherever he goes (see Boston /Toronto)

      The Penguins get younger, faster and add some grit. Kessel only wanted Arizona so we did what we could..plus Alex’s deal is up after next season that’s 5 million to spend on someone else..

      with Kahun Tanev and Galchenyuk we add alot of speed which is what we had when we won back to c cups hagelin and company

      Brian rust and jack Johnson and maybe nick bjugstad will all be moving on soon as well..thats $10.5 million

      • This is a great opportunity for Galchenyuk give his career a big boost.
        I have no idea if he will, but if he gets his act together he could put in 35G.
        Dude has the talent.

  8. Rutherford should call Holland back about that Rust for Puljujarvi deal.

    Then call Poile who has 9 centers and offer Bjugstad for Bonino. Both have 2 years at $4.1 million left.

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

    That’s a nice mix of speed, skill and grit. Losing Bonino was so underrated. We’ve been missing what he brought. Tanev brings a lot, but not enough. Bringing Nick back balances the skill with the will.

    • Why would Poole do that trade. Maybe he gives you Turris for Bjugsyad and Pens need to deal with the cap hit.

      • Bonino is now their 4th line center. Bjugstad would be a 2nd or 3rd line winger for them.

        I’d take Turris for him, too, but the AAV doesn’t work.

      • I wold do that deal if Nashville etins $1.5 to $2 million of the 6 million salary of Turris..

        Bjugstad to Nashville

        Turris to Pittsurgh

  9. I still propose (and no I am not a Kreider hater NYR4Life lol)

    to Buff: Kreider & ADA …perhaps even send Strome
    to NYR: Risto…if Strome is part send Thompson or picks to NY

    Rangers clear cap with ADA & Strome. Kreider for Risto is an even swap. Thompson can be flipped for assets or rotate in.

    Next summer do not resign Namestnikov. Clears cap.
    That gives them an extra roster spot for a younger player that is most cost controlled.

    Ideally it would be Kreider & Shatts for Risto & picks lol

    • Keep Kreider! There is too little grit or muscle on this team. Young players and Panarin likely to be pushed around. Reaves would be a good addition via trade. choose any two from Shattenkirk and/or Smith; plus Namestikiv or Strome. Artemi needs a “friend”!

  10. Dubas pick up the phone. Nylander for Ristolainen+a 2nd. With the money you save sign Reaves or Maroon or someone along that line.


    That’s a D that can win Lord Stanley.

    • That D is nice on paper but other than Muzzin and Reilly there aren’t any guys there I’d want on the ice in the last two minutes. I like Risto but with the acquisition of Barrie I’m not sure he is a fit. Different D-men for sure. Risto hits heavy but I would say he remins me more of a younger Dion more than anything else
      With Brown gone it becomes a lot harder to trade Nylander unless they feel that Bracco can fill in a spot on the 3rd line

    • Could be ……….. if their forwards werent Soft, Softer and Softest.

    • I agree. That’s a nice defense.

      And in the final minute, they can pair Muzzin and Ceci.

      Take the cap savings, find a grittier third line center and move Kerfoot to the wing. Find a better backup G.

      Cup contenders.

      • Lol that defense is the same as last yr it didn’t improve one bit, ceci = zaitsev Barrie = gardiner. It doesn’t matter about offence the leafs need defensive dmen they are no farther ahead

      • Snap! Just like that. Man, if those GMs only paid more attention to the advice handed out in here. For free!

        By the way, good luck if you’re putting Ceci out on the ice in the final 2 minutes if it’s to protect a lead. You think Gardiner has brain farts? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

  11. Anyone think that someone will offersheet Marner? Pointe? Avalanche and New Jersey still have tons of cap space left.
    How high before the Leafs would decline to match?

    Leafs have just over 11 million in cap left and the Lightning have just under 8 million left. The Devils more than 20 million and the Avalanche are sitting with more than 27 million to spend.

    Anything at 11.5 or higher would make it difficult for the Leafs to match on Marner and anything over 9 makes it very challenging for the Bolts to match on Pointe.

    Will it happen? I doubt it, would I like it if it did? Hell yah, lol.

    • Ron at 9M and 11.5M the compensation is 4 firsts. No one is lining up to pay that for anyone if their name isn’t McDavid.
      I’ve said it many times, if someone offers 11M for Marner – then go for it. I’d take those 4 1sts all day as a Leaf fan

      • NJ should and needs to in case Hall walks. It might even convince him to stay. Makes them an instant powerhouse in the East.

        Hall & Heischer
        Hughes & Marner
        Zajac & Palmeri

        Subban, Severson and company on the back end.

        If Schneider rebounds to a halfway decent season…they can make the playoffs by wild card easily.

        NJ can afford to…. question really is does the owner have the $$$.

    • NJ would be wise to offer sheet Marner. Plenty of cap room. Short term and long term

    • 11.5 4 Pointe? I’d pass in a heartbeat-
      u can get warriors that can help get a sc-

    • Lou should have offer sheeted Pointe and not signed Nelson to the 6 for 6. Ladd’s contract is bad enough.

      Lou should have gone 10.5 for 7 for Pointe

      Pointe and Barzal looks better than Barzal & Nelson.

    • Once the Canes match the Aho sheet, why wouldn’t Bergevin try again with Pointe?

      Nothing to lose. TB’s cap crunch could force their hand. If nothing else, if TB signals they will match the offer, maybe he could get Tyler Johnson cheap to help TB clear space.

      • I am sure BriseBois would love to sell Johnson to MTL for cheap after they offer sheet Point.

    • Ron, that $11 mil and a bit the Leafs have does not include either Ceci or Kerfoot – both still shown as RFAs at CapFriendly. Unless Dubas changes his mind, he’s said he will extend Ceci for one year at $4.5 and, as discussed yesterday, some think Kerfoot will come in at around $3 mil. So that $11 mil is suddenly down to $3.5 or thereabouts. Obviously, more moves need to be made as even the full $5.3 of Horton added in isn’t enough to sign Marner.

      Look for more news to come out of TO – either in the next few days but certainly sometime later this summer as Dubas won’t want a repeat of the Nylander hassle.

      • George
        very true, Dumbass still needs to find more $$$

    • Who says they haven’t? Could be that point and Marner have been offered and declined at this time to sign these offers

  12. Could a Krug/ Kreider trade work ?

    • Not really. NYR have K’Andre Miller who is bigger, just as fast, YOUNGER and significantly more cost controlled. Once Staal, Smith & Shatts are up…he will be a full time Ranger.

    • Not sure what Boston will do. Sweeney’s #1 priority seems to be getting McAvoy, Carlo and Heinen signed.
      He has $10M and change.
      Either some or all take a bridge or he has to make a move.
      Krug seems to be the obvious one as when/if McAvo and Carlo sign that will be 9 D on one way contracts.
      Kampfer can get sent down but would need to clear waivers I think, but that still leaves you 8 when healthy.
      If you need/want to make a move I would think it would be from the D core.

      • Rip… the bridge deal. Those days are over.

  13. McAvoy takes over the #1 PP unit…Kreider steps into the #2 line …Ritchie plays on the 4th line it would allow the Bruins to get bigger without giving up to much speed

  14. Hey Anaheim…would you like some more affordable contracts Like Strome & Namestnikov and Smith for Getzlaf?
    But Anaheim..you get 3 bodies all whom you do not need to resign next off season of the following. It’ll clear some cap room for you.

    Rangers get a #2C

    I know Jim Benning would do this trade…don’t miss out Murray.

  15. I will add to the day of drunken trade ideas

    Laine for Ristolainen+++

    • Great idea!

      Laine for



      • Probably Ristolainen and Middlefat for Laine

    • a few 1st rd picks would need to go back but they would be smart to fofer sheet bc they have Eichel locked up and cap space coming when Dahlen is ready.

  16. I hate to give false hope, but…

    I do think there is a slight chance that the Penguins could trade Jack Johnson.

    Step 1: Sign Ben Hutton or Joe Morrow.

    The current reality is that Johnson is one of the 6 best NHL D men that the Pens have. Maybe Rikola could take a big leap, but…he showed little once the regular season started. Ruhwedel is a press box guy.

    Step 2: Offer Johnson and a pick to Minnesota for Victor Rask.

    The Wild already accepted this idea once and clearly felt they could use Johnson. They might need a sweetener since Phil is better than Zucker. The Pens need a third line center. This would be a fingers crossed leap of faith on the part of the Pens since Rask turned to garbage after signing his big deal.

    Hutton has been connected to the Pens in the past. The Rask/Johnson move was already agreed upon. This is the one realistic, if unlikely, scenario I could see.

    Now…if it did happen…Pens fans would probably end up hating Rask more than Johnson, but…

    • add some players and make it fun like

      To MIN: JJ, Bjugstad & DeSmith

      to PITT: Rask, Foligno & Stalock

      little culture change for everyone.

      givs Pittsburgh a bit more cap room too to improve other areas.

      Minny gets a young big body in Bjugstad albeit for having to take JJ.

  17. Montreal sends a 1st, 2nd, & a 3rd to Winnipeg for Laine. Could it happen?

    • No. Well, maybe in a fantasy league.

  18. The way people talk about Chris Kreider you’d think he was the second coming of Mark Messier…just a soon to be over paid older forward who is lucky to score 50 points