NHL Rumor Mill – August 14, 2019

by | Aug 14, 2019 | Rumors | 39 comments

The latest on Braden Holtby, Torey Krug, and David Krejci in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: J.J. Regan recently listed six reasons why Capitals fans shouldn’t expect Braden Holtby to accept a hometown discount. The 29-year-old goaltender is eligible for UFA status next summer and in line for a big raise over his current $6.1-million AAV.

This season could be Braden Holtby’s last with the Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images).

Regan cites Sergei Bobrovsky as a comparable. The former Columbus Blue Jackets goalie signed a seven-year, $70-million deal in July with the Florida Panthers. He also reminds us Holtby filed for arbitration in 2015 before he and the Capitals agreed to his current deal. Accepting a lesser deal probably wouldn’t sit well with the NHLPA.

Holtby will likely want a no-movement clause to ensure he’s not left unprotected in the 2021 expansion draft. His next contract will also be his last big deal plus it is also human nature to seek the best deal he can get.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have over $62 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21. Long-time Caps center Nicklas Backstrom is also slated to become a UFA next summer.

Unless the Caps shed salary, they cannot afford to re-sign both to hefty raises and still have enough to suitably fill out the rest of the roster. They must also keep an eye on 2021, when team captain and franchise player Alex Ovechkin will be eligible for UFA status.

Talking to Capitals fans (especially my friends on the Face Off Hockey Show), they seem resigned to this season being Holtby’s last in Washington. They could trade him this season but I don’t see that happening unless the Capitals fall out of playoff contention by the trade deadline.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: With the Boston Bruins pressed for salary-cap space, Joe Haggerty recently observed Torey Krug’s been the subject of trade speculation. The 28-year-old is coming off a tremendous post-season where he was the Bruins best defenseman. He’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent status and is due for a significant raise over his current $5.25-million salary-cap hit.

Haggerty wondered if Krug might be traded should a deal emerge that would fetch the Bruins a top-six winger. Moving him now, however, would leave a big hole on their blueline that would be difficult to fill for a club with Stanley Cup aspirations.

Haggerty also noted David Krejci popped up in trade speculation. The 33-year-old center carries a team-high $7.25-million annual average value and his no-movement clause recently became a modified no-trade.

While Krejci’s trade value will never be higher after a 73-point performance last season, moving him now would leave a big gap in the second-line center position. Haggerty cited Bruins president Cam Neely recently sang Krejci’s praises.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An early exit from the 2019 playoffs might have prompted Bruins management to shake things up a bit by shopping Krug or Krejci. But having come within one game of winning the Stanley Cup, they’ll keep their core intact for another shot at the Cup this season. 

They could face shedding some salary if re-signing Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo exceeds their current cap space ($7.2 million). Don’t expect Krug or Krejci to be cost-cutting casualties.



  1. I suppose it was inevitable that the names Krejci and Krug would pop up in Boston trade talk since the Bruins don’t seem to have many other options to free up the cap space necessary to re-sign both McAvoy and Carlo. Right now their $7,294,167 in cap space is short by at least $5 mil if projections for those two are accurate. You know none among Bergeron, Pastrnak, Marchand, Chara or Rask are going anywhere. Backes and his $6 mil hit would do it, but good luck trying to find anyone who a) has the space to take that on and b) would want him given their re-build situation. After Krug’s $5,250,000, the highest paid D are Moore ($2,750,000) and Miller ($2.5 mil). Those two combined might provide enough, but that would just be Robbing Peter To Pay Paul. And would need to be replaced with insufficient cap space to do so! Maybe dealing Coyle ($3.2 mil) and Heinen ($2.8) would also do it, but again you’d then need to replace them with nothing much left after paying McAvoy and Carlo. A real conundrum there. It’s going to be interesting to see how it’s handled.

    • You’re right George, they have to move somebody. But if/when they sign those 2 they will have 25 on their roster so likely Kampfer and Shen will get sent down. There is another $1.6. SO if they move Miller or Moore they are over $11 in space.
      They want to lock up both McAvoy and Carlo, or at least I would want to, so is that doable? Maybe? But likely a bridge required, and I would bet on Carlo getting that. The year following they drop over $3M on Seidenberg and Belesky so maybe they can handshake it and get it done.
      If they go big and move Krug or Krecji, I go with Krug. Which will make Caper happy and he does make a good argument on that front. The B’s do have depth on D.

      • Ray I 100% agree with everything you said. The issue with Krug is who are the team(s) that have the cap space and wants a player with one year remaining on his contract? The move itself cannot be $$$ for $$$ it has to be $$$ for $ otherwise it doesn’t accomplish the needed cap space. I’ve mentioned Detroit in the pass but they only have $4.5 in cap space; New Jersey they have Will Butcher. I would think it would need to be a deal like to Vancouver for Tanner Pearson who cap hit is $3.75 and a draft pick or a prospect.
        It’s not that I don’t like Krug, I just find his defensive liabilities out weigh anything he does offensively.
        For Boston once this year clears they’ll be fine only Jake Debrusk next season and the following year both Krecji and Backes deals are complete; one will be gone and the other will have to sign for less or also be gone.

      • Not sure I’m reading you correctly Ray. Right now they have $7,294,167 in cap space. McAvoy, by all accounts, will come in at something north of $6 mil, leaving them with just over $1 mil. Sending Kampfer and Shen down frees up $1.6 mil, but the resulting $2.6 mil isn’t going to sign Carlo. Moving Miller ($2.5) OR Moore ($2.75) would then give them around $5.2 or $5.4 – and that MIGHT get Carlo if he agrees to a bridge deal at around that amount. But that leaves them smack up against the cap with absolutely NO wiggle room to bring up replacements in the event of short-term injuries. That’s a helluva gamble.

      • George, if they bridge Carlo, I think $4M gets it done.
        If they go long term $5 to $5.5/yr.
        Carlo brings no offence to the table, but is on the really high end as a defender.
        Offence bring the $$, rightly or wrongly.
        Best comparable I have seen is Brady Skjei at $5.25 and he has brought a little more offence to the table, or at least for longer.

      • What is the Bruins window with Bergeron/Marchant/Rask etc? Once they max out the cap with resigning not much they can do @ the deadline. Locking up the young D is huge but in 3 years they could be so thin upfront…

        And I agree Backes in game 7

      • ds, the wiondor is RFN. In 3 years it is start the rebuild/retool or find a 1C & a 2C via trade or UFA.
        Big ask, so I would think they maybe on the outside looking in for a bit.

    • Backes has a Modified No Trade. Any chance there is a team on his list that would take him even if Bruins held Salary? That 6 million or most of it anyway would come in handy.

    • George, you make it sound like the Bruins’ GM hasn’t handled the cap crunch very well. I thought it was only Kyle Dubas who screwed up – never in Boston! Horrors!

      • LOL. Actually BCLeafFan, it has only appeared that way because the Leafs seem to be the topic of discussion more often than not. You go with the flow. And hey, they DO generate thew most hits for Lyle.

        In reality, several teams will have left themselves perilously close to entering the season with very little or no wiggle room” once they sign their key RFAs or, in some cases, no RFAs but need to make moves to get under the cap:Toronto, Washington, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Boston, Calgary, Arizona, Dallas. St Louis, Nashville, Florida. NYR. Vancouver, Tampa Bay. Philadelphia. Winnipeg

        With apologies to Ron Jull, none of the GMs are idiots, no even Benning, and I’m sure all have contingency plans to comply. Just that it’s gonna be fascinating to watch it all unfold.

  2. Almost every team has cap issues and if not will soon be in that position. There is not enough money in the league for what the 30 some odd RFA’s are reporting to be asking for. As a result some of these players will not be getting paid . The math doesn’t work even if several of them were traded to teams with more room.
    Tough times until Seattle enters the league creating additional 80m in cap.

    • I agree 100% with your comment. I think the league really screwed the pooch with this year’s cap limit. I was saying to a friend that I don’t think there is enough combined cap-space in the league for everyone that needs a contract. I don’t understand why they went with 81.5 instead of 83 million. On one hand they talk about how healthy the league is and are expanding/adding another team, then they low-ball the cap. Are they trying to control player salary increase? Is this a precursor fight over escrow? Will they or change they meet again prior to the season start and change their mind on the cap limit? I don’t ever recall an offseason like this

      • The NHLPA opted for the lowest escrow payment possible, hence the lower cap

    • Yeah, Marner is riding a perfect storm scenario. Having a career year playing with the winger whisperer, while also being extremely good, and playing on a good team as a home town boy, is the dream scenario for an agent and an RFA.

      I feel like the only way Dubas can really do well on this deal is a 3 year deal. People will still complain, but if you get Marner for just under $9M on 3 years, he will likely outperform that deal for 3 years, and if he gets full market value 3 years from now, it won’t be substantially more than you have to give him now, since it seems he is asking for near full market value for a UFA as it is.

      Either way, I don’t think there is any way Dubas gets out of this summer with Marner’s deal looking good compared to the other RFA forwards. On the flip side though, I do think it will be better value than the Trouba or Vasilevsky deals, as I think both of those deals are far riskier.

    • listened to the Berkshire piece yesterday…..I happen to agree with it….that Marner is the most over rated player in the league .

      Dubas is one of these hockey quants/stats guys as is Berkshire. Berkshire is from Winnipeg he is not a Toronto plant.

      In the Berkshire piece he says that statistically Timo Mier who accepted 6 million is better than Marner.He also said, that Anders Lees goals fell off 40% after Tavarres left. It should be noted that Moulson signed a big contract after playing with Tavarres then got bought out. He also said Marner was way behind Matthews in these fancy new stats.

      Leafs should trade Marner or sit him out before giving him any oversize contract That would be harmful which is why people who don’t want Leaf success from Brad Marchand to fans of other teams want to see the big going to Marner. This is just one Leaf fan’s opinion.

      I know there is the defense vs forward discount ( which I don’t agree with) ….but in what hockey universe does it sense that McAvoy would get 6 million while Marner would get 10 million.

      Dog days of August, I guess

      Good add to the conversation Ray

  3. Hi George

    I’m ready for a kick in the butt from you but I have to throw it out there.

    You had mentioned Backes… and I agree that this is a move that Boston should consider.

    Now here I’m bent over for the butt kicking….

    What about Backes to Ottw…. Boston would have to sweeten the deal for sure and Backes is only owed $5M still. He could mentor the young Sens team.

    The bonus to Sens is what Boston must also give up in the deal to clear that cap space and move Backes.

    Sens would also have the option of buying him out next year; so the actual cash hit could be as low as $4M

    I know you hate it; I always think in terms of “big” picture and long term.

    In essence, for $5M (or $4M if buying out next year); the team gets a mentor; a roster player; and extra in the trade. If the extra is worth it… then they should go for it, IMHO

    Look at what Carolina paid for a 1st rounder (Marleau trade)… they paid (will pay by the end) $3.83M for a 1st rounder and NO mentoring, no actual player on the roster.

    With that in mind; what does $5M buy you on top of at least 1 year of playing and at least 1 year of mentoring.

    Again, I know you hate it; and I’ve already put aside the Melnyk cheapness that will likely preclude this deal; I just think this is a short term move (if the return is good enough) that would benefit the Sens in the long run.

    George, B4 you lambaste me; would you consider the deal if there was retained $’s; and if so, how much retained and what would you expect in return?

    For the Bruins fans out there… thoughts on Backes to Sens with sweetner and if so, what is the sweetner?

    Be gentle 🙂

    • Backes would need to agree to go there and Melnyk would need to agree to spend. Not sure either of those happen.
      If OTT made more $$, than ya great idea.
      CLB maybe?
      Backes is still an NHL player, just way over paid. B’s could eat $3M and also move Miller or Moore, and they are then good. Still likely need a sweetener for Backes.

      • Yes and imo he should’ve played in game 7, sitting him was a mistake. The Blues were not built on speed, but structure, defense and physicality.

    • LOL. Pengy, I know you put a lot of thought into that, BUT, we’re talking the Sens and Melnyk here.

      First of all, I’m sure Backes has at least a modified “no go” list and, given the stage of his career, Ottawa is the last place he’d want to go to as a career-ender.

      Secondly, as I pointed out the other day, next season Dorion has to re-sign RFAs Chabot, Jaros, Tierney, Connor Brown, Duclair, Veronneau, and UFAs DeMelo, Borowiecki and probably Ennis and won’t want to be saddled with the $6 mil hit of Backes.

      Besides, if they wanted to bring in an additional player this year – after they get White re-signed – there are probably any number of other better options to consider than a guy who has shown a steady decline in production over the past 5 years – $6 mil for 7g 13a 20 pts? No thank you.

      • Hi George and Ray

        Yes I know that Backes has an 8 team list (and Sens not likely on it) and Melnyk is Melnyk; and there are other factors as you have pointed out George, that have to be considered, future space, players to be signed next year.

        My thoughts were of course aside from the Melnyk issue and somehow coaxing Backes to allow the trade….

        A deal that had Backes with 50% retained , 2 firsts , and De Brusk for a 7th rounder in 2028 would be jumped upon by Sens and of course would not even be considered by Bruins

        A deal for Backes (no retention) to Sens for Chabot of course would be jumped upon by Bruins and not even considered by Sens

        The above are two maniacal outlandish ends of the spectrum … the two proverbial goal posts…. which means there is a deal (again setting aside the Melnyk thing and getting Backes to waive) that would be amenable to both teams…. what is it?

        Just stirring the pot today! 🙂

      • Hey, anything that leads to discussion will, I’m sure, be welcomed by Lyle. 🙂

        As long as there are other better options perhaps floating around from teams, like Boston, that must clear cap space to either re-sign an RFA or get under the cap ceiling, it would take something outlandish offered by Boston to get Dorion to bite.

        Off the top of my head, I’d prefer another deal with Toronto for either Johnsson or Kapanen, Washington for someone like Eller or Hagelin, Pittsburgh for Galchenyuk (NOT JJ 🙂 ) or Calgary for Frolik.

        Any of those would be vastly preferable to Backes for a variety of reasons (motivation – or lack thereof – being one of them), and the longer GMs like Dorion wait it out, the greater the pressure on those teams to do something – anything – to clear their cap space.

  4. Im not sure why so many people equate “best deal” with biggest dollars. Maroon took a lesser deal to be near home and win a cup….pretty sure he will consider that the “best deal” he ever got.
    This is an odd season where there are so many top end RFA and they are taking jobs away from other players because the folks in their ear think “best deal” means most money. Ask McDavid I’d he would give back some term or money for playoffs nevermind a cup…..greed kills teams

    • I highly doubt mcdavid is losing too much sleep at night resting on his matress stuffed with cash.

    • Greed kills teams? Those same teams that implemented the cap so their take was bigger? Those same teams that pay one player and nickel time another? Concession stand prices? The cost of an authentic NHL jersey in youth small? The whole mess stinks, good luck pointing fingers.

    • Greedy lol . What would you label Mathews ? What would that cap hit look like on 8 year term . Mcdavid stepped in to lower cap hit , 750 k , not a tonne but the biggest discount he gave was signing for full 8 year max term , not 5 leading to ufa to maximize earnings .

      • “… not 5 leading to ufa to maximize earnings …”

        So true Craig, and which more and more players and their agents are angling for lately. In fact, I think that’s one of the main reasons why there are still 36 unsigned RFAs

      • Greedy? Yes. Just look at Tavares. Before going to Toronto he made approximately $45m in New York. Then he got a chance to fulfill his childhood dream and go home to play for the Leafs. All for the low, low price of $11m a year. Quite the hometown discount. He already is set for life and if he really cared about the team’s future (present) he would have signed a more team friendly deal. Even an AAV around $9m would have helped the team and still be a significant raise from his previous contract.

  5. Heard a report yesterday stating it’s not the dollars in Marner contract it’s the term. He wants a Matthews like deal were he just walks into UFA territory and he is probably saying if you did it for Matthews then you can do it for me.

    • Bingo!

      • Bingo is tonight George.

      • Snicker

      • I take back everything I said about you Vinnie.
        Well played.

    • So he wants the Leafs to bend over now, and bend over later. Don’t think they want to do that. Interesting stat I heard this morning. 4 more points for Tavares with Marner. 20 more points for Marner with Tavares.

      • Not too many people interested in the Cap’s Cap (ha ha) it seems.

        With a potential All World Goalie (Samsonov) on the horizon, I think Backstrom is staying and Holtby can make his case somewhere else.

        Bob hit the perfect situation – great season, a rising team, a ream that also badly needed a goalie, and he could take slightly less in a low-tax state.

        It will be tough for Holtby to get Bob money, imo.

  6. I read above what Silver Seven had stated : “There is not enough money in the league for what the 30 some odd RFA’s are reporting to be asking for. ” and it started me wondering how far off reality this statement was.

    I just did a quick calc from Cap Friendly… $2.35 B in Cap earmarked for currently listed 677 players. Full league is 713 BTW (36 spots).

    I did a quick list of the 30 RFAs listed in Cap friendly (as being on the NHL team not AHL) and gave them what it seemed many prognosticators had pegged them at; for the ones I was unfamiliar with I gave them either $1M or $2M. I gave the final 6 spots league minimum to get to 713 players at $2.47 B leaving only $54M in overall space (31 teams avg $1.75 M in cap space to START the year). Wow!!

    Yes I know there are LTIRs out there; but this just goes to show you that Silver Seven was pretty dang close to the truth.

    This just adds to the speculation that there might be some panicky GMs trying to unload on the 1st or 2nd of October…. and Pierre, Jarmo, and maybe even Joe might be fielding a few “jittery” calls…. that or there will be an epidemic of the “Hossa” flu in early October. 🙂

    • Exactly Pengy & SilverSeven. Players can sit on the sideline and refuse to sign all they want as even if the teams wanted to pay them they can’t.
      Leverage shift.
      Amazing how smart and firm a GM can be when he and no other GM’s have any money.
      Are all of them going to sit? And wait for what?
      Bridge makes a comeback.

      • TB cleared a bit of signing problems up by dealing the rights to Adam Erne to Detroit for a 4th round pick. That leaves just – just? – Point to re-sign

  7. Yeah, George, just Point. Nice one.