NHL Rumor Mill – August 19, 2019

by | Aug 19, 2019 | Rumors | 36 comments

The latest on Taylor Hall and Jake Gardiner in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NBC SPORTS: Scott Billeck wonders if the New Jersey Devils’ busy off-season will entice Taylor Hall to stay beyond this season. The 27-year-old left wing is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Billeck cited a June report by The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta suggesting Hall had no interest in re-signing with the Devils.

Will Taylor Hall re-sign with the New Jersey Devils? (Photo via NHL Images)

Since then, the Devils selected promising center Jack Hughes with the first-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, traded for superstar defenseman P.K. Subban, signed winger Wayne Simmonds, and dealt for promising forward Nikita Gusev. It remains to be seen, however, if those moves convince Hall to stay.

Billeck also suggested general manager Ray Shero might not be done tinkering. The Devils have roughly $8 million in salary-cap space. Billeck mused over the possibility of signing a UFA such as Pat Maroon or Ben Hutton.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: If Hall decides to test the market next summer, Kurt Leavins pondered the possibility of a return to the Edmonton Oilers. He points out the people who traded him to New Jersey are gone now.

Leavins said Hall always like playing in Edmonton and has heard the sting from the trade is largely behind him. There’s also the allure of playing alongside Connor McDavid. However, the Oilers would have to shed a significant salary to make the dollars fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall’s impending UFA status will hang over him and the Devils throughout this season. The longer he goes unsigned, the more speculation will grow over where he could end up by next July. A healthy season could lead to another MVP-worthy performance, making him perhaps the biggest name in next summer’s free-agent market.

Hall and Shero are playing things cool regarding contract talks. Both sides insist there’s plenty of time to reach a decision. Nevertheless, another poor performance by the Devils could push him into the UFA market. Even if they significantly improve, there’s no guarantee he’ll stay put. The opportunity to earn big bucks and perhaps play for a Cup contender could prove tempting.

As for a Hall reunion with the Oilers, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Sure, it’s possible, but Cap Friendly indicates the Oilers have over $57 million invested in just 10 players for 2020-21. That won’t be enough to sign Hall to a deal worth over $10 million annually. While Hall may have enjoyed playing in Edmonton, I think he’ll look elsewhere if he tests the market.


TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports former Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner declines to comment about his current status.

“Whatever is happening with the undeclared free agent Jake Gardiner, he’s not saying. He’s not commenting. He won’t even take a question. He did, however, ask how my summer was going when we spoke. So there is that.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gardiner’s ongoing availability in the UFA market sparked speculation he’s got a “handshake agreement” with a club before training camps open in mid-September. Some believe he’s hoping to return to the Leafs once they get Mitch Marner under contract.

That seems like a long shot, though Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has proven capable this summer of freeing up sufficient cap space to address his roster’s needs. Regardless, I expect Gardiner will be under contract with an NHL club before training camp ends.


  1. If Gardiner has agreed to sign with a team, what is the deal with this secret “handshake agreement?” If he has indeed agreed to sign somewhere other GMs will likely have heard via their networks, and it is likely that well informed reports will know too.

    The only way this makes sense to me is if Gardiner and another team have expressed serious interest in each other, subject to necessary salary based moves that a team hopes to be able to make. That would not be a handshake deal, that would be optimism.

    • Hi LJ

      I think you are bang on…. “handshake agreement” = “agreement in principle with hurdles (by team) yet to be overcome”

      As for the media not being aware of this I would think that since it has (in my scenario above) several “barriers” to completion; that it just is not being shared at this point in time.

      I would not be surprised at all if he had a few coals in the fire… at least a couple of “I’ll sign at X if……” kind of ongoing discussions.

      As for him back as a Leaf…. longer shot IMO than Hall back as an Oiler (see my other post below)

  2. Seems the Devils also have a roster ready to deal with Hall leaving

    • Hoping Ray has a drop dead date for Hallsy to sign. We love him here want him to stay, but understand if he wants to become UFA next summer. Devs just don’t want JT 2.0. Maybe there’s a trade out there?

      • So, get rid of free agency then? Because that’s all “JT” did…He didn’t owe the Islanders single thing. Quite the opposite, actually. I mean, he only kept them relevant for a decade or so…..

      • My thought as to why Hall would not want to stay is that maybe he does not like being the focal point. However, with the moves made, it takes a lot of the spotlight off him. I think the team is 100% better than last yr.
        As Isles fan I can understand not wanting a JT 2.0, I think your GM is pretty smart and you wont have to worry about JT 2.0.

  3. Camp opens Sept 15 season Oct 3 . I hope we don’t have to wait that long for some of these deals to get done. Talk about the dog days of summer

  4. Although it would be great to see Hall flank McD I think it is a tremendous long shot.

    They will certainly have a roster spot… as at now only 6 fwds signed beyond this year and many of the FWD UFA group (of next summer) won’t be coming back; but the Cap situation just doesn’t seem viable to getting Hall back in Oil country.

    Let’s say he magically signs in Ed for $9.0 M…. that’s $66.5M for 11 players…. another magic number of let’s say a Cap ceiling of $85M…. that’s 12 players to sign for $18.5M and one of them is Nurse and you can count on a pretty hefty raise for him!! Shall we say another magically signed contract for Nurse at $6M????… leaving at best $12.5M to sign 10 players!!!! doable with a move out of another big contract, but a true long shot IMHO.

    You gotta figure that if Hall is not signed by TDL that NJ will have to flip him to get something….. what is that going to get? 1st + young roster and/or prospect????

  5. Yeah, I don’t see him hitting Free Agency and then going over to the Oilers. I see him re-signing with the Devils. Right now on paper, the Devils are in a better and brighter spot than Edmonton. Edmonton will have to re-sign Nurse and look to solidify their D. Plus Edmonton won’t have much to spend and at Hall’s point in his career, he won’t be looking for a hometown discount. He’ll be looking for Tavares type money.

    • Not sure I agree that the Devils are better than the Oil on paper. It’s close, but they have some key guys they need to resign too including Hall & Vatenan. Devils definitely have more depth on their roster, but the OIl do have McDavid and Draisaitl and I don’t think there is a single Devil I would trade for either of them. Book is still out on Hughes obviously, and Hischier looks to be good, but perhaps not elite. Still too soon.
      I think both will be contenders in a couple years.
      They tried Hall with McDavid it didn’t work great because they both want to carry the puck through the neutral zone and into the attack zone. Small sample size. Hall and RNH clicked pretty good though.
      Not sure the Oil would want Hall back at $10M. I am sure he has matured since his time here, but there were issues.
      Doesn’t matter as Lyle states above the Oil can’t afford him.

    • It would be crazy to see hall with McDavid, unlikely but would easily be the best line in hockey even if they had an apple as the rw

  6. Maybe the leaf s will trade marner for hall

  7. Here is the NHL top 20 defensemen

    1. Brent Burns
    2. Victor Hedman
    3. Mark Giordano
    4. Erik Karlsson
    5. Seth Jones
    6. John Carlson
    7. Morgan Rielly
    8. Roman Josi
    9. Drew Doughty
    10. Kris Letang
    11. Alex Pietrangelo
    12. John Klingberg
    13. PK Subban
    14. Charlie McAvoy
    15. Jacob Trouba
    16. Torey Krug
    17. Miro Heiskanen
    18. Ryan Suter
    19. Colton Parayko
    20. Zach Werenski

    For me i’ll just pick one and do a comparison to the player he was traded for:

    Shea Weber 58gp 14g 19a 33pts +15 23:29 toi not ranked
    PK Subban 63gp 9g 22a 31pts +5 22:46 toi ranked 13th

    • Hi Caper

      Great list!!!

      Generally on board with you and your ranking.

      For me 1 & 2 could be 1A/1B ; and Carlson would move down a few spots.

      The biggest difference I have is Parayko at 19…. too low on that list IMHO.

      In a couple of years I would not be surprised if CP is top 5 in NHL DMen!

      My Bromance for CP continues….I’ve wanted him as a Leaf or Pen for a while!!!


      • Hi Pengy, sorry my bad, that isn’t my list it’s the ranking from NHL.com

        Personally don’t think Charlie McAvoy or Torey Krug belong in the top 20.

      • KK Caper,

        I will write Gary w.r.t. Parayko being at 19— LOL


    • I wish the list came out after McAvoy signed.
      Caper where did you get the list? Just wondering the criteria, if it was just for the upcoming season or more long term scenario.

    • How many on that list would you trade even up for Thomas Chabot?

      • None, not sure what Ottawa would have to add.

      • Hi George

        Re: 1 for 1 swap for Chabot:

        Oki Doki— I’ll give it a stab — answers are from the perspective of if I was GM of the team owning the following players:

        Brent Burns— If I’m SJ…yes only in that youth over age. Burns by far better now but will be (I’m expecting) on a decline. Not a chance that Melnyk takes on BBs contract though

        Victor Hedman— Bolts say No, IMO VH will stay ahead of TC for the next 4 years; so it is 5-7 years from now that I’d be trading for

        Mark Giordano— yep — same rationale as BB— age

        Erik Karlsson— irrelevant — Melnyk in no way allows that one

        Seth Jones- Jarmo says no— this guy is a great Dman and still young

        John Carlson– Yes

        Morgan Rielly— torn on this one. Chabot better in the long run but I’ve been advocating for MR to become the Leafs Captain; so I’d have to say no (politely)

        Roman Josi– yes

        Drew Doughty— yes— LA wants to get younger

        Kris Letang— I love Tanger, but I would make the trade 1 up for Chabot

        Alex Pietrangelo— yes mostly because he is UFA

        John Klingberg- yes

        PK Subban— definitely — but Melnyk taking on PKs contract —– mmmmmmm —- methinks NOT

        Charlie McAvoy— yes

        Jacob Trouba–Yes

        Torey Krug–yes

        Miro Heiskanen–yes

        Ryan Suter— yes

        Colton Parayko—No— previously stated Bromance

        Zach Werenski–yes

        So basically the only swaps I would not make if I was owner of the above players: Hedman, Jones, Reilly, and Parayko


      • Thanks Pengy. At least you took a realistic approach.

      • That’s a really good question George. Makes you wonder why he isn’t on the list.
        I don’t watch him enough, is he still too much of a one trick pony regarding giving up D for O?
        His numbers look great and his metrics are decent considering the rest of the team and his experience.
        Strange omission.
        The 3 I wouldn’t trade for him are:
        McAvoy – my bias for B’s,
        Jones – true #1 who does it all and young, Chabot might be, just don’t know yet.
        Heiskenen – Great all around game at 20 is impressive.

        But I am thinking long term and this list isn’t.

        Agree with Caper as I don’t think McAvoy should be on there if it is right now. Needs more seasoning. Krug is too one dimensional although he is a great PP guy.

      • Would you trade Provorov for Chabot? The former didn’t make the list either
        Werenski ahead of both those guys makes no sense.

        I think the list isn’t the best format for trade comparisons as we are only talking 2019-2020. Now if you are talking keeper league in fantasy hockey I’m putting Chabot in the top 5

      • Wow Pengy in all honesty I disagree with about 90% of your selection.
        Chabot was list as one of the 5 guys on the bubble.

        If you’re going to use the guideline he is a ufa or older then you should also use where the team is w.r.t Cup aspiration.
        The only player I would trade one for one would be Krug or Klingberg. The rest not this year.

    • That list is meaningless, Jack Johnson should be in around the 10-15 mark.

      I know Pengy agrees with me

      • Taz

        you’re ruining our friendship…LOL

        Of those who played at least 1 game in the NHL last year, JJ was the 906th best.

      • JJ was however, the 220th best D-man

      • Haha. Taz this is NHL wide, not just the Penguins organization. Jack

        Johnson is, debatably, among the top 10-15 defensemen in the Penguins organization.

      • Hi DM

        The Penguins Org. includes Wheeling…. so JJ is 20th best D-Man in the Pens org.


    • Shea Weber can play on my team any time. Not being an expert, I would have trouble comparing him to some of the others but it’s hard to think there are twenty guys in the league ahead of him.

    • Erik Karlsson ….can’t play defense worth crap…he is a orange cone / pylon out there on defense even when healthy…offensive dynamo yes…NUMBER 3 HELL NO (Its not just points)

      I’ll take anyone listed 1 through 14 ahead of him as an all around defenseman….

  8. Karlsson should not be on this list at all right now….Pietrangela too low, McAvoy and Krug too high…Doughty might not be on it next year!

  9. I think NJ is weak in goal. Pittsburgh is going to have to try to pass Tristan Jarry through waivers. Hmmm…who drafted him? Hmmm…who has cap space? I would not be surprised to see Ray snag another Penguin he drafted off waivers. Blackwood is waiver exempt so Jarry might easily earn an NHL roster spot as the 2nd goalie for NJ and if Schneider flops again Jarry could end up being the #1 goalie.

  10. While Chabot is a good offensive defenseman, I’m not sure he would make the top 40 as of yet.
    He creates alot of scoring opportunities for the opposition.