NHL Rumor Mill – July 31, 2019

by | Jul 31, 2019 | Rumors | 40 comments

The latest on Jake Gardiner and Chris Kreider plus an update on the Lightning in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TALKNORTH.COM: The Athletic’s Michael Russo speculates Jake Gardiner might already have a “handshake deal” in place with an NHL club. He thinks that unnamed team might be waiting to clear out some salary-cap space to officially sign the 28-year-old defenseman.

Does Jake Gardiner have an unwritten agreement on a contract with an NHL club? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We could be waiting until September before we find out where Gardiner lands. It’s rumored he’s hoping to return to the Toronto Maple Leafs once they get Mitch Marner under contract. That could prove difficult given the Leafs’ limited cap space and the anticipated high cost of re-signing Marner.

Other teams with limited cap space that could perhaps use Gardiner include the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers, and Edmonton Oilers.


NEW YORK POST’s Larry Brooks yesterday took to Twitter to provide an update on the Rangers. “Cannot say that there is necessarily anything brewing but a couple of industry sources report that “Kreider’s name is out there everywhere.” Rangers’ buyout window closes at 5 PM tomorrow.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers sit over $4.1 million above the $81.5-million salary cap, with restricted free agents Brendan Lemieux and Anthony DeAngelo to re-sign. Brooks has stumped for the Rangers to buy out defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk but there’s no indication they’re going that route.

If they don’t buy out Shattenkirk or anyone else, they could be forced to go the trade route to free up cap space. Kreider has frequently come up in trade chatter this offseason. He’s an unrestricted free agent next summer and carries a $4.625-million cap hit for 2019-20.


THE ATHLETIC: In the wake of yesterday’s swap of Ryan Callahan to Ottawa for Mike Condon, Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois isn’t done dealing. There’s a logjam between the pipes, with Andrei Vasilevskiy and Curtis McElhinney as their starter and backup. Condon could be backing up Scott Wedgewood on the Bolts’ AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

That leaves Louis Domingue, last season’s backup, as the odd man out. He’s on the trade block as BriseBois has already spoken with several teams. Smith suggests the Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks, and Colorado Avalanche as possible destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domingue is on the second season of his two-year contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $1.15 million. He should be enticing to teams seeking an affordable backup. Some of them could be on Smith’s list of possible destinations. It could take until training camp for Domingue to find a new home as clubs will likely take the time to evaluate their goalie depth before deciding on upgrades.


  1. “NEW YORK POST’s Larry Brooks yesterday took to Twitter to provide an update on the Rangers.” So THAT’S why those that use Twitter are referred to as Twits! Apparently, Brooks hasn’t cottoned to the fact that, unless you’re a real celebrity, Twitter is nothing more than talking to yourself in a crowded elevator.

    • Brooks is a windbag, waste of perfectly good oxygen. His “rumors” and “insider information” are almost as credible as another drone Eklund at HockeyBuzz.


  2. George, guessing you’re not on Twitter. Actually best place to get news in real time. I actually got on this website today by clicking link Lyle posted on twitter

    • And likely flooded with the 21st Century widespread phenomenon known as “fake news” 🙂

    • Cough cough propaganda. Twitter is compromised on all sides.

      Twitter is the medium. Sources are still garbage and caters to the mass appeal of outrage and foolishness.

  3. Until GMs finalize their opening day 23-man rosters, and using what appears in CapFriendly as the source, the following appears to be how the 31 teams are breaking down in terms of being buyers or sellers. I’m sure there are some, who follow a particular team more closely than others, who will be pointing out those players on their teams of choice who, although regarded as regulars, will be starting the season on the IR for various expected periods:

    Sellers who absolutely must make roster changes (whether buyouts, trades or delegations) in order to either sign key RFAs and/or, in cases preceded by *, get below the upper cap limit.
    * NYR – RFAs DeAngelo, Lemieux – currently $4,156,466 over the cap;
    * Toronto – RFA Marner – Horton’s $5,300,000 & Clarkson’s $5,250,000 LTIRs available – currently $2,897,199 over the cap);
    * Washington – no RFAs – currently $1, 364,294 over the cap;
    * Pittsburgh – RFA Marcus Pettersson – currently $157,500 over the cap;
    Calgary – $4,673,292 in cap space – RFAsTkachuk & Mangiapane;
    St Louis – $5,070,406 in cap space – RFAs Edmundson & Barbashev;
    Boston -$7,294,167 in cap space – RFAs Carlo & McAvoy (who is OS exempt);

    These teams will (might?) have the cap space needed to sign their key RFAs through roster maoeuvres but likely aren’t buyers at this stage
    Dallas – $970,001 in cap space – Stephen’s $2,350,000 LTIR available – RFA Honka;
    Nashville -$2,334,524 in cap space – RFA Grimaldi;
    Florida – $2,405,456 in cap space – RFA Malgin;
    Edmonton – $2,433,001 in cap space – RFA Puljujarvi;
    Buffalo – $3,115,476 in cap space – RFAs Ullmark & McCabe;
    Chicago – $3,336,539 on cap space – RFA Perlini;
    Vancouver $5,058,461 in cap space – RFAs Goldobin & Boeser (who is OS exempt);
    Winnipeg – $17,592,503 in cap space – RFAs Comrie, Connor, Laine;

    These teams could be buyers, either with available cap space or through roster manoeuvres, but likely to a limited degree – if at all
    Arizona – $178,099 in cap space – Hossa’s $5,275.000 LTIR available – no RFAs;
    Vegas – $1,025,001 in cap space – no RFAs;
    Carolina – $2,495,209 in cap space – no RFAs;
    Montreal – $4,044,524 in cap space – no RFAs;
    San Jose – $4,682,583 in cap space no RFAs;
    NYI – $8,653,334 in cap space – RFAs DalColle & Beauvillier;
    Tampa Bay – $11,126,669 in cap space – RFAs Point, Erne;
    Philadelphia – $13,417,421 in cap space – RFAs Provorov & Konecny;
    Colorado – $15,715,239 in cap space – RFA Rantanen;

    These teams COULD be major buyers
    Detroit – $5,284,623 in cap space – no RFAs – Zetterberg $6,083,000 & Franzen $3,954,545 LTIRs available;
    L.A. -$8,740,606 in cap space -RFA Kempe;
    Anaheim – $8,500,242 in cap space – no RFAs;
    Minnesota – $9,446,411 in cap space – RFAs Eriksson Ek & Fiala;
    New Jersey – $12,445,000 in cap space – RFAs Butcher & Zacha;
    Columbus – $15,765,918 in cap space – RFA Werenski;
    Ottawa – $20,640,000 in cap space – RFA White (OS exempt) – Gaborik $4,875,000, MacArthur $4,650,000, Callahan $5,800,000 LTIRs available;

    • Excellent break down of Cap and identifying possible players in the trade Market.

      • Thanks Brian. Just saw this on the TSN Net

        “The New Jersey Devils re-signed defenceman Will Butcher to a three-year, $11.2 million contract on Wednesday, avoiding arbitration. Butcher, whose arbitration hearing was scheduled for August 2, will carry a $3.73 million cap hit on his new deal.”

        That reduced NJ’s cap space to $8,715,000 with only RFA Zacha to sign.

    • As stated here before, Montreal actually has well over $6 million in Cap space.

      Cap Friendly space posted is secondary to being projected for a 25 man roster, necessary cuts will add app 2.3$ million.

      Thus they would fall into your category of possible “major” buyer, ahead of Detroit, except for the “brain” running the organization.

      They will probably do nothing.
      Should be a “fire-able” offence, over time.

      • Yzerman, in addition to almost $5.3 mil in cap space, can also draw upon the combined $10 mil provided by Zetterberg’s and Franzen’s LTIR money. Montreal doesn’t have that option. And, like Montreal, Detroit could drop to the minors a couple of players now shown on their major league roster thus freeing up another million or two.

        But as I’ve said, that’s speculation and until we know for certain who will constitute the various 23-man rosters, I go with what CapFriendly provides.

      • Rattus x2 Do you think the are just waiting to get a lower price on Jake Gardiner. It would make sense.

  4. I still think it is too much of a cap risk to buy out Shatt ….$6.1M in dead cap space in ‘20/‘21 is huge

    Yes they would free up $5.5 this year but that $6.1 is way too big; and he’d be on the dead cap for 4 years

    Trading him and restaining 50% ….. frees up $3.33M this year and next ; no dead Cap after that

    So trade and retain 50% frees up $2.2M less THIS year ; but the out-year gain by doing this is much more desirable

    …. and they would get an asset back in a trade

    Receiving team would be paying about $3.1 M AAV cash and carrying $3.33 M Cap… you’d think there is a team out there that might have interest in Shatt at that price

    • @Pengy. I find it more surprising no team has made a deal for Namestnikov which at most would be for a 3rd with the Rangers situation. And yes splitting Shatty’s salary in a deal so a team would get a 2nd pairing RHD for 3 million who can also help the powerplay?

      Namestnikov must have some hidden baggage even with a year left?

      • Or teams know the situation the rangers (and many other teams) are in and are waiting for the rangers to send them a third to take him.

      • A 1st round pick – 27th overall – and a big 26 y/o C with a recent 22g – 48 pt season (with TB and NYR) and a $4 mil cap hit that expires next season certainly would have more potential up;side than a Puljujarvi who has yet to prove squat.

        Maybe Dorion could step in and, in so doing, expand his cache of Russians 🙂 – Zaitsev, Anisimov, Abramov and Namestnikov. Then he could try and move Pageau with the C position taken by Anisimov, Tierney, Namestnikov and Batherson, moving White to the wing where he’s better suited.

      • Avs could bring back Shattenkirk for a steal or perhaps they prefer to sign him AFTER a buyout

  5. George O here is a tweet in part for you from capfriendly

    This is in reference to your beloved Senators “while we project the club to have a cap hit of $65.9M, their estimated NHL roster salary expense is $47.5m

    The cap floor is $60.2 M”

    That is a $12.7m in dollar savings below the minimum. Well done I say, controlling the expenses.

    • That should put people in the seats. Oh ya, their gonna draft people like they just traded duh.
      Ottawa Rising, got no choice.
      First 20 to 30 games they will be awesome.
      Dorion took them from 1 goal from the finals to 30th and then 31st.
      In Dorion we trust
      Should bring Chiarelli back.
      On the 8th day God created Eric Karlsson.
      Better sign Chabot this summer. He will be 12 million next summer. Tkachuk will be 10 million.

      • Vinnie, for me it will be interesting to see what Matthew Tkachuk ends up signing for in Calgary from Ottawa perspective.

        Matthew 1st yr 13g 48pts in 76gp
        2nd yr 24g 49pts in 68gp
        3rd yr 34g 77pts in 80gp

        Brady 1st season 22g 45pts in 71gp

        Obviously I only draw the comparison because they are brothers and I would think Dad has a role in what the boys will do. Ottawa might be able to see the future this summer/fall with Matthews negotiations, as long as Brady continue to progress.

      • Heh, Caper, I may FOLLOW the Senators more closely than others – hell, I live in Ottawa – hence a tendency to concentrate more on them than most other teams – but I would never use the word “beloved” as it relates to the team.

        I said about a year ago that the team would be elsewhere within 5 years. That hasn’t changed. In the meantime, I try to stick to reality and facts when commenting on ANY team.

        As for your comparisons of the Tkachuks, that certainly will be something to watch over the next couple of seasons as Brady develops. Who knows, maybe both will be skating for the Houston Whatevers in about 4 years.

      • Hi George, the term “Beloved” isn’t a shot, it’s a reference to being your favorite team and it doesn’t apply that you cannot be objective about them.
        The Bruins are my “Beloved Team” but I consider myself to be very open minded and objective about them, their skill and where I project them to be.

      • Nah, I didn’t look at it as a “shot” Caper … just didn’t want any newbies coming on board to think that I’m a paint-my-face, my-team-do-or-die fanatic. LOL 🙂

      • Caper , if I was Dubas I would offer Marner for Matt Tkachuk. He is exactly what the Leafs need. Plus I think he will sign for less.

  6. I don’t buy that Gardiner “handshake deal” speculation. It’s nothing but guesswork. At this point, no team will be moving out a large salaried player in order to sign a player still unsigned after a month of free agency. Remember this – all the pundits who are speculating about Gardiner now are the ones who were certain a month ago that he would score a 7-year, $7m. AAV deal.

    • “At this point, no team will be moving out a large salaried player in order to sign a player still unsigned after a month of free agency.”

      Nobody said they would be moving out a large salaried player in order to sign Gardiner.

      Way to win an argument against nothing though. Super impressive.

      And hey, if you’d like to provide some proof that Michael Russo said Gardiner would score a 7x$7M contract, feel free.

      • Another site which reported on this yesterday stated that Russo had said that the team “handshaking” with Gardiner is looking to first move out a higher-salaried defenseman.

        I don’t know if Russo had said that Gardiner was likely to get 7×7, but several pundits did.

        My point is, don’t believe the speculation.

  7. I have said all along that Brooks loves to lead the conversation especially if it’s with himself. His prescription of Shattenkirk buyout has significant flaws from a cap management perspective…90% of the cap savings this year comes back next year, the savings next year doesn’t cover a league minimum salary….that’s why Brendan Smith is the buyout target. Smith is redundant with Hajek, Rykov, Miller coming up the ranks on the left side. Shattenkirk is a good contract for a cap floor team seeking a path in that regard…but ridiculous buyout scenario. Not a bad option as a seventh D if Fox or Hajek makes the team out of camp.

    Kreider is at the ticket counter regardless of today’s buyout window…he just doesn’t know where he’s headed…it’s a mistake to extend him 7yrs x $7M which is what he reportedly is seeking…I will take Martin Kaut or Shane Bowers and a conditional second round pick for Kreider. Vesalainen if the Jets are interested, Tolvanen if Nashville knocks on the door. Rangers would be wise to move him now vs. dragging him through the season. If Kreider wants to stay…the offer from me is 4 yrs giving him a crack at UFA then…in that instance one of Namestnikov or Strome or Shattenkirk and a sweetener such as Ryan Lindgren helps the Rangers get through this year.

    Beleskey contract buried in AHL and DeAngelo and Lemieux are RFAs without leverage may have to take a one year qualifying offer…heck Lebanc took one for the team in San Jose…certainly players beneath Lebanc’s skill level can do the same…the Rangers prospective 23 man roster would be $1.8M over the cap using round numbers…there are a number of ways to cover that

    • To me it sucks for Ottawa. There is no reason for the team to be moved. There is lots of support in this area for the team. Bettman needs to hold Melnyk accountable, not allow the team to be moved.
      Maybe suggest he sells the team forcefully.
      Supposed to ice the best team possible. To me he is hurting the integrity of the league.

      • Not sure why Bettman needs to hold Melnyk accountable. For what?
        He said he would spend to the cap in 2 or 3 years, can’t remember the #.
        Ott made a profit of $3-4 million last year, spending close to $70M in player salaries.
        To me it seems obvious that they aren’t competing for a cup this year, but have plenty of young talent that could help them do that in 3 – 4 years. When he will spend to the cap.
        It is a business and he is banking the $$ until it makes sense to spend it, or he will bleed cash and won’t be able to spend when it counts.
        All seems reasonable to me.
        Plus OTT didn’t even sell out during their playoff run, for reasons George has gotten into including the location of the arena. If Ott isn’t supporting the team, rightly or wrongly, can’t get a new rink downtown, then of course he moves it. This seems like Ott’s decision as well, not only Melnyk’s.

        And I am not a Melnyk fan, seems a little whacky to me, somewhat slimy in his past business dealings, and says dumb sh** to the media.
        But what he is doing with relation to the cap seems like a pretty simple business decision.

        I could be wrong but would like to hear what you think Melnyk should do differently Vinnie?
        Other than shutting his trap to the media.

  8. I find it perplexing as to why Shattenkirk’s contract hasn’t been traded. Or Namestikov for that matter.
    If Callahan can be traded to a team looking to reach the cap floor, if Toronto is taking on dead weight in order to free up space for Marner, etc etc etc…
    Why hasn’t this happened yet?
    The buyout option is worst case scenario, imo.
    There’s something missing from these theories. IDK what it is, but it’s fishy and suspect.

    • “Why hasn’t this happened yet?”

      Because you can’t trade for Shattenkirk and simply put him on LTIR like Montreal can with Callahan.

      Because if you trade for Shattenkirk you have to pay him 100% of his salary, unlike Callahan.

      Because they are completely different situations.

      • You mean Ottawa with Callahan…

  9. girard signs 7yr X $5mil per extension with avs…..great value for a young probably top pairing dman with great puck handling skills

    • Sakic continues to amaze me and forcefully remind me that I was dead-wrong about his questionable capability as a GM in a series of exchanges with Striker a couple of years back.

      Excellent signing.

      • Yes , he has went from zero to hero pretty quick

    • Wow and more wow

      That cap hit for him is going to be considerably below his true value in 2 years IMO

      At the progression that I foresee…In 5 years when Cap will be in the $100 M range; when he is in his absolute prime playing top 2 and likely at high 20’s minutes …. that contract will be one of the best in the league

      Kudos Joe

      • Seems to me that Joe Sakic has been better and better as a GM, the farther away he has moved from Patrick Roy’s influence.
        He’s got a good thing going and he deserves a lot of credit.

      • Girard to NY for Kreider & Shattenkirk & ADA

        I kid I kid lol

  10. Now TSN reporting that Shatts WILL be bought out

    I don’t get it… but it looks like it’s happening

    So Shatts loses just shy of $2.9 M by being bought out….if some team signs him for 2 @ $1.5M… he’s ahead financially … LOL