NHL Rumor Mill – August 17, 2019

by | Aug 17, 2019 | Rumors | 53 comments

An update on Patrik Laine plus the latest on the Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports Patrik Laine said contract talks with the Winnipeg Jets have been non-existent this summer and he isn’t sure what that means for his future with the club. The 21-year-old left-winger is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

No progress yet in contract talks between the Winnipeg Jets and Patrik Laine (Photo via NHL Images).

Laine said he’s unconcerned about the situation, noting he’ll be playing somewhere this season. “Well, you never know. It’s still business, you’ve got to be prepared for anything,” Laine said. “But yeah, you never know where you’re going to play next year so I’m just prepared for anything.” He also said he’s got nothing bad to say about Winnipeg.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck also reported on Laine’s comments. He pointed out the young Finn is among several big-ticket RFAs this summer, including teammate Kyle Connor. Billeck notes the Jets have over $17 million in salary-cap space with 17 players signed for next season. The impasse with Laine and Connor hasn’t helped them bolster their depth.

Billeck feels the Jets must avoid a lengthy standoff like the one the Toronto Maple Leafs had last season with William Nylander. The decline in Laine’s production last season and a lingering back issue could factor into the negotiations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine’s not the only RFA this summer who’s had little or no contract discussions with their respective teams. A report emerged earlier this week indicating Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic last spoke with Mikko Rantanen’s agent two months ago.

I don’t think a lack of talks between Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Laine camp is anything to be concerned about right now. The time to worry is if there’s no progress as training camp approaches.

For now, fans should avoid reading too much into this. It’s an unusual summer, with several noteworthy young RFA stars still unsigned. It seems like everyone is waiting to see who gets signed first. It’s also mid-August, a time of little significant player movement or signings.

Once the calendar turns to September, I anticipate we’ll see negotiations heat up for Laine, Connor and the other RFAs. And no, I don’t believe this means the Jets could shop Laine. There’s always a possibility he could be traded for the right offer, but I don’t believe any team can come up with one suitable enough to tempt Cheveldayoff.

I expect the Jets will re-sign Laine and Connor. For how much and for how long is anyone’s guess, but they will get signed. And if they need to free up cap space afterward to fill out the remainder of the roster, they could move someone like Nikolaj Ehlers ($6 million annual average value) or Mathieu Perreault ($4.125 million).


TRIBLIVE.COM: Jonathan Bombulie recently wondered if Justin Schultz has a future with the Pittsburgh Penguins beyond this season. The 29-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The Penguins will face another salary-cap crunch next summer as they’ll also have to re-sign Matt Murray, Alex Galchenyuk, and Jared McCann, among others. If the club struggles this season, Bombulie predicts Schultz could be shopped before the trade deadline.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Wingers Valeri Nichushkin and Drew Stafford top Dan Kingerski’s list of potential professional tryout candidates for the Penguins. Others include defenseman Michael Stone, winger Tobias Rieder, and blueliner Ben Lovejoy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins must shed salary once Marcus Pettersson is re-signed. They probably won’t look at PTO candidates until after that’s sorted.

GM Jim Rutherford could peddle Schultz but I expect he’ll retain the rearguard for one more shot at a Stanley Cup run this season. I concur with Bombulie that he would be a late-season move if the Pens struggle to stay in playoff contention.


  1. Every team has all the power with RFAs….the RFAs none

    It is the team’s money….not the fan’s nor the players….the player is under contract and has only the option of not playing….big deal…a year without Laine, Point , Marner etc. does not end the hockey world but it will straighten this BS out once and for all.if some of them are made to sit a full year even if the put up the white flag on Dec 1…. . and to this fan it would be worth it

    No team should do what the Leafs did last year with Nylander ( Leaf fan here)….the teams individually should make the call to let them sit out….In this regard read what some of former NHL ers have said or written regarding never making up what they lost in NHL shutdowns…existing RFAs and their agents already know this…they will cave if they know there are no negotiations after a specific date

    NHL GMs can you not see the bluff before you…..a strike requires mass participation….one guy not signing is small potatoes….only 31 hockey Gms and fans are still waiting to find one with cohones

    • They have a lot more power than none. Gms playing chicken here are doing so with a lot at stake. These rfas being talked about are not just complimentary pieces. They all have the talent to push teams to the playoffs and potentially to a cup run. They sit and you risk the ire of the fans, the money that comes from ticket sales (leafs being an exception to this one) and lost revenue from either missing or falling out early in the playoffs. You risk alienating your other players.

      Saying the players in this case have no power is so far from the truth

      • Chisms…I may have overstated to make a point and get some flow going….but any business can not have the tail wag the dog…and the NHL is on the verge of this….One human characteristic (especially when $ is involved) is that if you let people bat you around…you will get batted around….

        The RFAs do not have as much power as the media allots them….the media does this a drama is good for their business….it gathers eyes on TV or clics on the net

        I wished at the time and still do in retrospect that Dubas had stood Nylander down….and I am a fan that believes Nylander is underestimated….also believe that Marner is overestimated….but these are just one fan’s opinon

      • It’s a fascinating situation right now. I don’t believe there has been this many absolute game breakers coming off elcs ever. There is really no precedent barring nylander and he is not in the same class as many of these players.

      • With you on this one OBD. Do the high end RFA’s have some leverage, yes, the team wants to win. But contract mistakes can cripple a franchise. To OBD’s point, only the team can pay them, so if they don’t agree to, then they simply don’t.
        If a guy like Laine walks from a $5M Bridge (I just picked a #), he will never earn it back if he sits. Never.
        If he wants to take a stand on principal, I guess he will, but that is a bet I take every day.
        Dubas didn’t blink first, Nylander did. He called Dubas at the 11th hour. Then Dubas blinked by front loading the deal. Mistake. The term and the $ are fine IMO and I think Nylander will be a good contract long term.
        Chevvy won’t with Laine, because he can’t. Not enough $$ there if they want to contend, which they do.
        Easy call and Chevvy will make it and the Jets will be fine without Laine if he sits. My bet is he signs a reasonable deal.

      • My twin cents says why do you need to hold out for an extra million or and extra year …..they are instant millionaires after their first contract . It out of control as are all professional sports .

    • You don’t think a work stoppage is coming?

      It definitely isn’t about one individual player, it’s about the nhlpa and nhl not seeing eye to eye .

      A strike at this point is inevitable. It’s coming whether fans , players etc like it or not.

      • Another work stoppage could be the catalyst for the formation of a rival league and, if they can do so quickly and get TV coverage, this one could be around a long time.

        I could see teams popping up in places like Quebec City, Hamilton, Halifax, Toronto, Montreal, Saskatoon in Canada and, in the U.S., Hartford, NY, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Kansas City, Houston, Portland, Ore., among others.

      • Not sure why you/Nyr4life think this RFA crisis is going to result in a work stoppage. There are a lot more players getting screwed & shut out of even signing league minimum deals because these RFA’s on expiring ELC’s are commanding UFA $$$.
        The NHLPA will get a larger vote than many think if they were asked if there should be a cap of RFA’s. Escrow issues are about league revenue but RFA sky-rocketting salary demands are about how the players divvy up their share of the revenue. Both sides will be motivated to get this sorted out because Im sure these potential contract impasses are painful on both sides.

      • Keven, well said.

    • @ Old Blue Dog

      I agree with you on this, moving forward …and I think MOST GMs do now as well…and I think we should chalk it up to the NYLANDER effect.

      After Dubas caved and overpaid ..Dubas lost in every way …

      He lost his strength for any future negotiations.

      The player had NO quality of a positive EFFECT joining into a half of a season…so why cave ?? Especially when at the time the team was breaking internal organizational records.

      With the player not performing well over a very lengthly span and after been given a hefty contract ..the player is like a car …depreciates as you drive it off the lot …the player is exposed to have been OVERPAID …and teams will not pay the premium via trade they would have paid prior to the signing and the team looses on a potential quality deal of multiple players to help the ORGANIZATION as a whole and wasted a lot of money as well in a front loaded contract.

      In this specific situation with Nylander and Dubas …It was a real BIG mistake ( one of many by Dubas ) to announce that Nylander would never be traded while Dubas was the GM …this in my opinion is like tying Peter Chiarelli to the Hall – Larson deal …and that one deal will be your legacy ….TERRIBLE statement and very green to say !

      Iam a Leaf fan …but when you look at a lot of what Dubas has done …up front money and ( WASTED ) money has made him out be a lot better in the public forum than what he he has actually done !
      He has used a deep pocket book and loopholes that other teams do not have to keep his head above water …where as some other teams may not have put up with it!

      Sorry about this being Leaf centric as opposed to the NHLPA as a whole!

      I have lots more to say about the league as a whole…but dont want to over take and over step my bounds in one post .

      Have a good day guys….Cheers

      • The Shanascam!!!

    • @OBD: I too think that Nylander should have just sat for the year as he did nothing that amounted to anything upon his return moving forward.

      The RFA’s have a right to ask for whatever they want; doesn’t mean they are going to get it.

      Fans pay to see star players. Unhappy fans; especially in the TML market have been known to boo, where bags on their heads and throw jerseys on the ice in disgust of what they see or don’t see.

      I think once September comes around, negotiations will pick up and this impasse with many or all of the RFA’s will be resolved.

      • Hopefully, GMs now have a new game plan for RFAs that do not sign before the start of the season. Agents should be given a deadline, say one week into the season. If the player isn’t signed by then, the only team offers will be for short term deals, 2 to 3 years max. Naturally, the salary per season will be lower than on longer term contracts.

        Team Reasoning – Because player missed camp (and maybe part of the regular season), management believes player’s performance will be subpar, could even suck.

    • It’s not the players money but the player puts butts in seats and sells merch, if the team sucks they are going to be hard pressed to keep the fan base happy and they can forget about new fans. The players mean everything. Look what Kahwi Leonard did in one year in Toronto, he just inspired a whole new generation of kids to play basketball in Canada. Just like Vince Carter back in the day. Canada was a joke at basketball and now they are the second most represented country in the NBA. That wasn’t a logo or a team owner that did that. Every other sport is the same, they NEED their franchise players. A lot of these unsigned RFAs are franchise players, the GMs shouldn’t capitulate completely but they need to recognize how valuable these assets are.

  2. One of the top RFA’s needs to sign and then it should all fall in place. Two more weeks and then things start to move.
    Relax, OBD, things will be all right. Enjoy the Jays, have a beer.

    • Day drinking pretty early today?

      • Not till first pitch, 3:07.

    • I like the idea of a rival league, especially if they play through the summer.
      It would work in Canada for sure.
      If anybody here is thinking about starting a team, I got a buck 37 50 I would invest.
      With the thinking on this site it would be hilarious to watch

  3. You make solid points old blue dog and I, for one, would love to see that stance. Unfortunately, instinct among GMs is to survive and to ensure their future they’ll do what it takes (or they think what it takes) to get a leg up on the opposition – especially if it’s one or more in their division facing the same dilemma.

    If one stands firm and the others cave, guess which one is more likely to get canned if his team falters as a result of his stance? Shouldn’t be that way, but that’s human nature and I doubt it will ever change.

    Last year I got roasted on a regular basis by some among the Leafs faithful for suggesting that it would be Dubas who would blink first.

    • Or, George, you could try Don Waddell’s tactic – interview for the job in Minnesota so you can get an extension in Carolina.
      Question is, who wins there?

      • LOL – maybe he should have applied for the Vancouver job!

  4. My day is ruined

    Talk of moving Shultz AND still keeping JJ …. absolutely and stupendously Nuckin’ Futz

    Lovejoy ????? WTF

    Why are they talking PTO’s? They are over the cap AND still need to sign Pettersson!!!!

    Unless Jimbo’s game plan is a trade that moves JJ and another player to clear space ; then PTOs are a waste …. none of those mentioned, I believe , will sign a 2-way; and if signing an NHL contract then he’d be waiving somebody down

    Only exception are: the PTI…… if somehow he gets Stone to sign for $700 K and waives Ruhweedel …. that flip improves the team …. otherwise PTOs…. Nyet

    …. off to shop

    • How many of us has a filter setup to ignore any post with ‘JJ’ included??? ;-0

      Who will be shocked if the Pens miss the playoffs. Especially if an injury to Sid or Malkin
      But do not be sad… perhaps they tank and win the lottery for Lafrenière and off they go again

      • Or Byfield

        Now your talking ds


        As at now (playing JJ as a regular all 82 games) to me the Pens have just as much probability of (1) just getting into playoffs and losing first round ; as (2) just missing the playoffs (which does in fact get them at least a fleeting lottery chance !!)

        I don’t know why GMJR can’t put the team before his ego

        His options to save any hopes of a cup are quickly diminishing

        It’s basically down to a couple of teams and there is going to have to be incentive (sweetener —— Rust???)

        The only play he has w/o an added sweetener (as Ana is only team to have expressed interest in JJ) is a JJ for Kessler swap:

        As at now the cash poor Ducks have to pay Kessler $4.13 M (20 % of Sal not covered by ins.) for him to be at home for the next 3 years

        The flip at least gets them a player and the next effect is getting JJ for an AAV cash of $2.03 M per

        Kessler on LTIR frees up valuable Cap room …. if my beloved Leafs can take on the LTIRs why not the Pens


    • Pengy…easy Schultz isn’t going anywhere until at least the trade deadline..if the Penguins aren’t playoff bound..j j will go as will Rust or Bujgstad…pto nichkushkin may get signed pettersson will also get signed.. have faith… we may ad a dman

      • Hi BlackNGold

        I guess we were typing about the same time …. see the post I just made

        JJ has to go if Pens want ANY shot at a cup

  5. The market is the market.
    There will be a work stoppage for how long is tough to say. There will be arguments on both sides and blah blah blah .

    • Hockey Players are the most overworked underpaid athletes in the world …the NHL owners have become a MAFIA of sorts …or a dictatorship …to where as they have surpressed 70% of NHL players …

      If you take the majority of NHL players only 2 superstars on each team make a crap load of money and in reality still not enough for there talents for a global market….considering only 700 plus players play in the league at any one given year !

      The bottom half of players on every team are MAKING SHITE MONEY !
      The supertars are underpaid in comparison to any other sports league in the world ….only a select few players actually get any type of decent style of a endorsement deal ….like peanuts in comparison to elite players.

      The owners are running the league like society …paying the top dog big 1% ers all the dough ….the middle class is under paid & expendable …and the bottom half does all the grunt work to try and prove themselves for less than a million a year…. for some 40% of that money goes to the Government of Canada …so there take home is $600,000 or less for being 1 of only 70-0 players in the world to be a pro Hockey athlete….LMAO ..that is RIDICULOUS!

      We can all say this guys sucks and that guy sucks …and this guy is over paid and this guy should be in the KHL

      …BUT in the end if you have made it to the NHL and you are paid a league minimum before taxes of $750,000 grand for an 82 game season as a top hockey player in the world ….that’s disgusting economics.

      And no Iam not going to take a guy posting here saying that he is getting paid to do something he loves ..LOL ….NO NO NO ….thats not the way it goes …he has worked his entire life to get to this point ….out of literally millions of players with the same dream around the world !!!

      He made it ….and deserves to be paid …like 1 of the 700 players out of the millions who did not !

      To say that this is to create parody …is only to cover the word MORE PROFIT for the owners …who need a mechanism in place to protect themselves from spending $100 million on a team on any given year win or loose !

      Which for a a Billionaire ( which pretty much all owners are …that gets chalked up to a loss on the taxes and ends up saving them another couple million that hey dont have to pay uncle sam …and use it as a lose leader …so then can move money from one holdings company to the other to show a deprectaion of assets …THE OWNERS ALWAYS WIN and they always make money !

      Sorry about the rant !


    • Sounds like an election!

    • I am leaning to no work stoppage. The big issue has been settled, the salary cap. The owners stood firm and won and now all teams can compete and have a chance to turn a profit.
      I can see the players asking for earlier arbitration, at least I would, and lessening the amount of money held in escrow. Which has a downside for the players as it may impact the cap ceiling.
      From the owners side maybe they look at capping the contract term limits to a lower #.
      Olympics? The IOC needs to step up and pay the costs for the players extra insurance and compensate the NHL for stopping the season or they won’t play.

    • NYRforlife.

      You say a strike/lockout is already inevitable.
      I don’t disagree because I really have no feel for the situation.

      The previous situations were owner-engendered, and involved setting a hard Cap and then adjusting the %’s on the Cap.

      I’m curious on what point you think the players will strike.
      They are already making a move on escrow this year by refusing to approve a supplementary Cap increase.

      What, in your opinion, is the NHLPA “hill to die on”?
      I’m curious.

      • Rattus,

        I don’t remember a time there were this many RFAs unsigned this late into a summer. The bridge deal is gone the way of the dodo bird. The olympics, the lack of cap space league wide. The inability for teams to rid themselves of bad contracts.
        The list goes on and on.

        The biggest problem imo is the loss of the bridge contract. I’m not at all one of these people who scream players make too much. That is a ridiculous argument. Nobody is buying owner , coach Jerseys, or attending games because of management. Players put butts in the seats.

        All that being said, 2 years and cha-Ching I want “8-9-10-13 million dollars “is beyond ridiculous. Way too short of a window to truly evaluate a player… regardless of their 2 years production. Hello Nylander!!!!

        This all started with Hall, Eberle, RNH being paid big $$$’s coming right out of the gate. And has now come to 32-36 RFAs without deals. (Imo) I said 2 years ago, the player demands would ultimately choke out the cap, bad contracts would be near impossible to move, and owners and management would have the noose tighten around their throats.

        And here we are today!

        Sorry for the long explanation. But it wasn’t going to be a short answer.

      • I get your point Nyr4Life, the owners agree to the deals and now there isn’t enough money for some players to get similar deals as some of the players that signed ahead of them.
        But in the end isn’t difficult for the players to strike because a bunch of players are making too much of the cap?
        The only solutions to that is a higher or no cap which would be a hard no from ownership, or not guaranteeing contracts (NFL) which would be a hard no from the players.
        Or a system where the big market teams have an even larger financial advantage.

      • Ny. Correct with the rfa numbers being late and into the offseason being s new one. But what is also new is the sheer amount of game breakers that are rfas. That is also unusual. So it’s kinda hard to inference much from that aspect.

  6. Canucks give Jim Benning an extension. Talk amongst yourselves.

    • LOL. Ron, I commented on that in the News thread, suggesting that the news might have ruined your breakfast!

    • I’m just relieved to hear from you Ron.

    • Ron

      Has the JB extension got you drinking JB Double Oak 🥃🥃🥃🥃🥃🥃🥃🥃🥃 all day?

      Please let us know that your still conscious

      • Pengy….In the words of the most electrifying man in sports entertainment. The Penguins are far from done making moves…” IF YOU SMELL WHAT THE ROCK AND JIM RUTHERFORD ARE COOKING’.

      • 👍

  7. One issue, the Olympics, should be resolved by following the soccer format – only players under age 23 as of a specific date each Olympics. That way the best of the juniors/college players could form the national teams.

    • home run George!

    • Xsellant Mr GO!

  8. It’s simple isn’t it? Everyday is Kyle Dubas fault! He walked Matthew to UFA and gave Nylander exactly what he wanted with no financial penalty and a extended vacation.
    Dubas isn’t the conscience of the NHL, he is the GM of Toronto. Personally I think he mishandled both situations.

    • Caper


      The first mistake was quite a contributing factor in the second one

      I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat …. if he hadn’t capitulated and instead made WW sit; the power in negotiating wouldn’t have shifted ; WW would have eventually signed for less and for sure AM would not have gotten the contract he did

      • Easy for you to say, Pengy. What are the other GM’s then, a bunch of sheep? C’mon man!

      • Hi BCLeafs fan

        Don’t forget that I’m a Leafs fan (5 + Decades)

        I’m certainly not saying that he is the only GM making mistakes; he’s not.

        He has certainly made some very good moves and some risky moves that hopefully will pay off

        He did however capitulate under the pressure by signing WW (for what his camp wanted) and at the last minute

        I truly believe that the best strategy for the Leafs would have been to either sit him or trade him

        I’m not saying that in retrospect; I advocated for that last summer

        That capitulation lead to ceding a contract in favour of AM rather than a contract mutually favourable and has lead to the protracted stand off my MM

        I’m excited about the teams potential but know that there is still work (crucial work) to be done (starting with making sure the Leafs have more than 1 top 4D to start the ‘20-‘21 season…. right now only Reilly is under contract for then)


  9. The amount of Rfa’s is insane…so many rop notch players will b interesring to see what happens..offer sheets???

  10. I would just blame the Leafs, its easy and did someone say beer!!

  11. I said beer the other day and no Leafs fan second favorite team is Boston it’s like me saying Montreal is my second favorite team. My brother could play for Habs and I wouldn’t cheer for them.

  12. Ha Ha, yes Boston is my 2nd favorite, Leafs are # 1. And I don’t know your brother.