NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2019

by | Aug 13, 2019 | Rumors | 36 comments

The latest on Mikko Rantanen plus an update on the Flames in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: cited Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic recently telling NHL.com he’d prefer re-signing Mikko Rantanen to a long-term contract. Sakic is also willing to accept a short-term deal. He wants to get the restricted free agent winger re-signed before training camp opens next month.

Contract talks between the Colorado Avalanche and Mikko Rantanen reportedly haven’t started yet (Photo via NHL Images).

“There’s a lot of players (in the NHL) in that same situation, a lot of great hockey players that are coming up,” said Sakic. “We’ll just see how all the players and agents handle that. There are comparable numbers that are starting to come in. We’re open to different possibilities.”

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: (Stick tap to Shawn Lamba) Adrian Dater cites sources “close to the situations” claiming there’s been no contact between Sakic and Rantanen’s agent, Mike Liut, since the NHL Draft in June. He also said the Avalanche haven’t made an offer yet.

Dater dismissed the notion of a rival club signing the 21-year-old winger to an offer sheet, citing the Avs’ $16.5 million in salary-cap space. He believes Rantanen will “almost certainly” command at least $8.5 million per season on his next contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No contract talks between Sakic and the Rantanen camp in nearly two months is unusual. Then again, if Liut wants to see what other comparable RFAs like Toronto’s Mitch Marner and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk receive, it makes little sense for Sakic to attempt discussions throughout the summer.

Talks between the two sides will pick up once September rolls around. Sakic wants to get him re-signed before training camp opens and I daresay Rantanen doesn’t want to miss camp. Be it a long- or short-term contract, the winger will get a hefty raise.

And no, I don’t see Sakic trading Rantanen if he’s not signed when training camp opens. Unless Rantanen demands a trade (and that’s not happening), there’s no reason to go to that extreme.


THE SCORE: Josh Wegman cites Sportsnet’s Pat Steinberg reporting Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving will consider all options to find a replacement for sidelined defenseman Juuso Valimaki. Oliver Kylington is a natural internal option but Treliving also intends to explore trade possibilities.

Wegman also notes there are some notable veterans (including former Flame Dion Phaneuf) available in the unrestricted free-agent market. He points out the Flames have under $8 million in salary-cap space and must re-sign restricted free agent winger Matthew Tkachuk. They’ll have to shed some salary if they add a player with a significant cap hit.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Cruickshank reports the Flames’ top-six defense from last season remains intact. He also considers Kylington as a likely candidate to replace Valimaki. He suggests winger Michael Frolik ($4.3 million) as a cost-cutting trade option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Valimaki’s injury should put to rest the trade speculation dogging Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie this summer. Treliving will conduct due diligence to see what affordable options are available in the trade and perhaps the free-agent markets. Nevertheless, it sounds like Kylington (over $730K cap hit) will be Valimaki’s replacement.


  1. Send Jack Johnson to the Flames. Lower annual salary and Pens free up cash to sign Pettersson That gets them under the salary cap.

  2. No contact at all since late June on a key RFA????… wow!!

    I could see “no progress” or “stalled talks” or “at a cross-road”; but no contact act at all to me is strange

    • I am guessing that a number of RFA situations have gone that way. Neither side has any pressure now, so why even bother. I am sure that in June they exchanged ideas, but the negotiations won’t start until Sept.

      • Hi Aetherial

        I agree there has been little pressure (media and fans aside) to actually formally negotiate ; but no contact whatsoever ; to me; is very surprising .

        I would have thought a “just checking in” call or two should have happened at least

    • Pengy…

      The Flames just lost a defenseman to an ACL tear. Could this be the break we have been looking for to move Jack Johnson…we will see.

      Rust and Johnson to Calgary

      Frolik to Pittsburgh

      we save $2.45 million enough to resign Peterson….

  3. As I posted the other day, there are still 36 RFAs unsigned, quite a few of whom can be considered “key” to their teams. You have to wonder how many, like Rantanen, have had no ongoing negotiations.

    • There’s likely several reasons for this ranging from amount sought being wildly different from amount offered to a number of teams trying to figure out the best way to free up cap space to some players simply wishing to be somewhere else (e.g. Puljujarvi). But I think one main reason is the approach now being taken by more and more agents to get as much as possible over a shorter term in order to get their clients to UFA status sooner rather than later. And as some, like Leafmedic, have already pointed out, this could lead to lines being drawn at the next bargaining session with the NHLPA.

      • I read something interesting on another site that also will exacerbate some of the CBA tension.

        Basically, someone pointed out that front-loading all of these deals with huge signing bonuses, as has been the trend lately, also increases the percentage of HRR that the players receive for this season, which will ultimately increase the amount of salary placed into escrow and potentially not recovered by the players.

        I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is another work-stoppage on the horizon.

      • Good point DoubleMinor. At the risk of upsetting bob, that heavy contributor to this site with his keen insight, here’s how I see a breakdown of those unsigned RFAs – which is wide open to disagreement and differing opinions

        RFAs seen as key signings essential to the team’s success – in order of importance
        Rantanen – Colorado
        Marner – Toronto
        Connor – Winnipeg
        Tkachuk – Calgary
        Point – Tampa Bay
        Boeser – Vancouver
        Provorov – Philadelphia
        McAvoy – Boston
        Laine – Winnipeg
        Werenski – Columbus
        Konecny – Philadelphia
        White – Ottawa
        Petterson – Pittsburgh
        Carlo – Boston
        Honka – Dallas
        Lemieux – NYR
        Barbashev – St. Louis
        DeAngelo – NYR

        RFAs with no urgency attached
        Comrie – Winnipeg;
        Eriksson Ek, Fiala & Belpedio – Minnesota;
        Dal Colle, Beauvillier & Ho-Sang – NYI;
        Mangiapane – Calgary;
        Erne – Tampa Bay;
        Goldobin – Vancouver;
        Maenalanen & McKeown – Carolina;
        Schuldt – Vegas;
        Malgin – Florida;
        Puljujarvi – Edmonton;
        Perlini – Chicago;
        Kempe – L.A.;
        Zacha – NJ;

      • George O

        I completely agree with 99% of your post, except Beauvillier. I think he should be in the list of priority RFA signings. Yes he hasn’t put up the number to suggest that he be a priority signing, but his ceiling is still very high at becoming a very good player. Especially being only 22 and a former 1st round, 28th overall pick. At the same time, I get why you put him down as a “no urgency attached”.

      • I confess I don’t know much about Beauvilier, Leafadvocate, as I don’t get to see NYI all that much – same with a guy like Kempe or the 3 Minnesota players. As I said, my list is wide open to differing opinions. It seems some on that second listing might be left dangling awaiting settlement of those in the first grouping (e.g. Mangiapane in Calgary).

  4. Funny how it goes. From Trade T.J. Brodie to add another defence man in the blink of an eye. Tough break for Valimaki . This is another set back in his career but still young. This on the heals of buying out Stone and goes to show you you need to be able to afford depth and being up against the cap is not a good position.

    Rantanen should be the salary benchmark. Marner Tkachuk Laine and Connor fall in line .

    • George, what about Aho? For his career he has comparable stats to Marner ( more goals, not as many assists). At 8.45 mil per, I would think that is a pretty good barometer to compare to. I think all those guys you mentioned are fairly even in talent as you can argue position plus situations could help or hurt each players performance. Maybe figuring in tax laws.

      • Yeah, Slick62, but in his case that came about, not through negotiations, but as the result of an offer sheet, which Carolina had to match in order to retain him. Early word was that the GM was aiming for something a bit lower and you can’t help get the feeling that, had there not been an offer sheet, Aho would be another key RFA still unsigned.

      • Yeah, Aho and Marner’s situation as it is right now, doesn’t not fall in the same breath. Like what George O stated, it differs because Carolina had to match Montreal’s offer sheet, which defeats negotiations. Carolina was offering Aho $6M per. Aho could have gotten paid $13M+, but it still wouldn’t have made a difference in their situations right now, as Marner is in contract negotiations, while Aho was offer sheeted.

      • George, long day at work so just looking at this. Aho signed the offer sheet. Considering he’d make less after taxes in Montreal, it seems like him and his agent wouldn’t have been looking for any more than he got.

    • agree! marner/rants are 1A and 1B rfa’s right now in no particular order…

  5. Guess we know now why Cody Ceci had a tough year
    Unfortunate for the young lady, hopefully they can help her out.

  6. cap clearing for CGY is tricky bc you don’t want to use it up and not get the # right for Tkachuk.

    how about

    to MTL: Frolik & Brodie

    to CGY: Alzner

    CGY clears Froilk’s $4m and bc of that hey have to take Alzner who has the same cap # as Brodie

    MTL has $4m in cap space and by using it wisely they get out from Alzner.

    Gives CGY more time to trade another player this season or next off season to clear more cap.
    Win for both teams to be honest

    • Finally someone seeing the value of Karl Alzner. Love this proposal.

      • How does trading 2 quality NHL players, with a year left on their contracts, for Alzner make any sense at all?
        Alzner can’t crack Montreal’s weak blue line core and Calgary will take 3 years of $4.6M for a guy who is worse than they have now on the left side?
        Not gonna happen.
        They could trade Frolic and throw in a 2nd and be better off. IMO they could get something back for Frolic, not sure what that is as he only slightly over paid as a 2nd/3rd line player.If need be eat $1M in salary and move him before you take a contract back that will be playing in the AHL 1/2 the time as he will only be on the roster when you incur injuries.

    • Brodie won’t be going anywhere now that Valimaki is out long term – and Calgary just dumped a defensive liability through a buy-out

    • @RAY

      who else has $4m in cap space to take that and make it work?

      • IHC, quick and dirty list:
        If CGY eats $1M add in SJS & MTL.

      • Ray

        thought ANA wants to maintain cap space and not spend to the cap?

        OTT not looking to spend more$$

        COL leaving room for Rats

        SJ may not sign Thornton or Marleau to leave the $4m

        Blake says he is not going to spend yet and give his young guys a chance

        But I do get your point LOL

        I understand the anti-Alzner perspective. Brodie is better than Alzner especially with the recent injury

        I was making Brodie the Sweetner for taking Frolik since I do not think CGY will make a long term extension to him since Val has played great (and younger) this move would have clear $4m instantly

        again I get your point 🙂

      • IHC, I get you point too, that it may not be that easy to move Frolic, and perhaps I overvalue him.
        I do think he is a good player. 200′ guy who can score.
        The reason I think he is movable is it is only one year and you can likely get something of value at the deadline for a guy like him.
        Teams like ANA & LA can afford him and need young assets. Agree Melnyk isn’t spending. I think COL, NJ and CLB could use a guy like him and they have the space. The risk is short term for a proven guy.
        Sooner or later some of these teams will scoop guys like him up on the cheap.
        Just waiting for summer vacation to end.

      • Ray

        perhaps Frolik NYI for HoSang??

        NYI has over 7m clear and can use depth upfront to continue making progress.

        HoSang can sit in CGY minors and be available for the expansion draft.

      • IHC, I can see the Isles having interest in Frolik.
        To me Ho Sang = Linus Omark, so if they want to get rid of him, sure.
        All the skill in the world, highlight reel goals and a total bust.
        Flames keep $1M, and get a 2nd or 3rd Rd pick back.
        Frolik is good value at $3.3M IMO. Can play either side and can play in Trotz’s system. Seems like the prototypical Islander.
        That should leave more than enough for Tkachuk etc.

  7. I doubt it will happen but what about Nick Leddy to Calgary. The Isles are apparently shopping him. His cap hit is 5.5M but under contract for 3 seasons. The Isles need a top 6 forward but also need a 3rd line center. Maybe a swap for Backlund. He has a NTC but would be a solid fit for the Isles. From a salary cap perspective Leddy is at 5.5M, Backlund at 5.35M so it is basically a wash. Backlund is 2 years older. Backlund is under contract for a longer period. It would still allow the Isles to make an impact move in the next few weeks and would probably still give Calgary room to sign Tkachuk. Leddy would benefit from a wider open style in the West and good ice. He is from Minnesota and probably wouldn’t mind being closer to home. Plus he is friends with Travis Hamonic. And the Isles have defensive depth to make this move.

    • More like:

      Mete for Valimaki and Frolik +\- a pick.

      • I guess that would be worth waiting a year for in the case of Valimaki. Doubt Calgary would be interested however.

      • Sigh, Mete…now that is overrated! In 120 games played, only has 20 assists and no goals.

      • Mete just turned 21 years old. Give it a couple of years before deciding he’s overrated.

  8. Don’t think Flames are moving D unless they are getting one back. Very good top 6 extremely thin after that. The AHL team is brutal. Frolik for a plumber Defence-man . Depth . Hannifin needs to step up big time. I bet he does.

    • And that one isn’t named Alzner! Hell, they’d be better off signing Phaneuf for a year.