NHL Rumor Mill – August 20, 2019

by | Aug 20, 2019 | Rumors | 80 comments

The latest on the Leafs plus an update on Zach Parise in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports there’s no real update in the “contractual game of chicken” between the Maple Leafs and Mitch Marner. Both sides seem willing to wait until training camp or “more specifically, the end of pre-season”. That’s when the Leafs can place permanently sidelined forwards David Clarkson and Nathan Horton, who have a combined salary-cap hit of over $10.5 million, on long-term injury reserve.  

Could Mitch Marner’s contract negotiations with the Toronto Maple Leafs drag on into the regular season? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Marner camp could push for a cap hit comparable to Auston Matthews’ $11.6 million annual average value. If so, Hornby suggests they must either accept a short-term bridge deal (which neither side is keen on) or take the Leafs to the RFA wire as William Nylander did last year. 

Hornby also notes former Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner is waiting to see what unfolds. The unrestricted free agent has yet to sign elsewhere in hopes the Leafs find extra cap space to sign him. At this point, that would mean trading a set roster piece.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the combined annual average value of Clarkson and Horton is how high the Leafs are willing to go with Marner. They could also free up a little more room by demoting or trading a lower-salaried player but I doubt they want to go as high as $11 million annually.

I don’t see Marner attending training camp without a contract. It remains to be seen if he’ll risk missing the early weeks of the regular season, especially after seeing the toll it took on Nylander’s performance last season. 

As for Gardiner, I don’t see how the Leafs can bring him back once Marner is re-signed without shedding some salary. General manager Kyle Dubas has proven adept at cost-cutting creativity this summer without hurting his roster depth. He could have another trick up his sleeve with Gardiner. 


THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports Zach Parise hopes to put last season behind him as he enters Minnesota Wild training camp in a positive frame of mind. The 35-year-old left-winger expressed shock over last month’s firing of general manager Paul Fenton, who explored trading Parise back in June.

Russo said one team made an offer and remains interested in Parise. He has a full no-movement clause and wouldn’t comment on the trade speculation. He remains focused on helping the Wild this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In a recent mailbag segment, Russo said that trade offer for Parise involved the Wild taking on another bad veteran contract. With six seasons remaining on Parise’s contract and an annual cap hit of over $7.5 million, that unnamed club must be desperate to shed that other contract.

Parise remains a solid top-six forward when healthy but age and his injury history are cause for concern. Factor in that cap hit, his actual salary being $9 million this season and his movement clause, and trading him is a daunting challenge. 

As Russo points out, it’s unlikely Fenton’s replacement will attempt moving Parise as his first act unless it’s a no-brainer. The Wild would either have to take back a bad contract or absorb a big chunk of his cap hit to make it work.


  1. Well I guess If $10.5 Million a season for whatever term doesn’t work for Mitch, then I guess he’s either sitting out a year or getting traded.

    As for Gardiner, if he truly has aspirations of returning to Toronto, then a whole lot of change needs to happen in Toronto first for that to happen and I just don’t see a fit there

    • Heard an interesting comment by Elliot Freedman on the Tim & Sid show yesterday regarding the glut of key RFAs still unsigned. After talking to some agents he gets the impression that, following the lesson learned last season by the poor performance of Nylander after missing training camp and the first 2 months, that anyone not signed as of Dec 1 by any teams who don’t really see themselves as legitimate contenders anyway will be allowed to sit out the season. Here’s the link – that aspect picks up around the 7:00 minute mark (interesting comment by Micallef re Marner and some fans as well)


      • If only that becomes the case. I generally favour players in salary disputes as their career is short and the nature of pro sports in general is darwinistic and therefore ruthless and brutal.

        What has happened now is that key players emerging from their entry level contracts hold disproportionate clout and it has – in my opinion – made a mess of a team’s salary structure and internal equity. Having an overachieving RFA sit out an entire season would bring much needed balance back the equation.

      • These teams are probably among the ones he’s describing who might just let their RFA(s) sit out a season. Some will argue against the inclusion of the NYR, Jets and Blue Jackets in this list, but do any of those three see themselves as contenders of any consequence – especially the Jets and Columbus whose rosters have drastically changed?
        The following teams may be among those he describes as not having any great contending aspirations. Some will counter argue the inclusion of the NYR, Jets and Blue Jackets but do these teams really look upon themselves as serious contenders? especially the Jets and Columbus whose rosters have been drastically altered?

        NYR – DeAngelo & Lemieux;
        Edmonton – Puljujarvi;
        Chicago – Perlini;
        Vancouver – Goldobin & Boeser;
        Winnipeg – Comrie, Connor, Laine;
        Minnesota – Eriksson Ek & Fiala;
        L.A. – Kempe
        Ottawa – White;
        Columbus – Werenski;

    • Trade marner for for seth jones. Dump ceci and sign Gardiner one year 6-7 mill and they still have space for a good rental at deadline

      • And why would Columbus do that? And have to fork over to Marner what the Leafs don’t think he’s worth? And “dump” Ceci how exactly? They just gave him a 1-year contract.

  2. Praise has had a tough time staying in the lineup his entire career. He would be a tough trade and the Wild would need to accept something toxic back -what is the point. If in the lineup a decent PPG player.

    Moving Rask and Donato in is not terrible. Zuccarello is a good add but they had that player in Niederrieter . Not sure why Fenton terminated. Maybe it was attributed to the deals he tried to swing and failed.

    Marner will miss the first week of regular season.

  3. My gut feeling

    1) Parise stays;

    2) Marner/Dubas come to an “understanding” first week in TC; deal signed on 2/10 after Clarkson & Horton officially put on LTIR

    3)Gardner not signed by Leafs

    • @ Pengy: Ya that’s likely the outcome on all 3 counts

    • Pengy,

      1) Agree
      2) Agree
      3) Agree

      Anyone who thinks that Gardiner hasn’t signed with another team because he’s waiting to see if the Leafs can open cap space for him is kidding themselves. He would be crazy to take such a risk.

      Quite simply, Gardiner has not signed because he has not yet received an offer that he finds satisfactory. He will wait to the eve of camps, or even after camps have started, in hopes that a team puts forward a good offer, possibly due to an injury. My guess is he’ll take the best offer he can get sometime in Septembet. And I don’t see it being the Leafs.

      • Gardiner to Montreal’s my bet. Not sure why it hasn’t happened already.

      • Hi BCLeafFan

        We must have been typing at the same time. I posted below (to Murph) my similar thoughts…. Gardner in Mon

      • Gardiner is following in the footsteps of Cody Franson if he doesnt sign somewhere soon
        I can live with Gardiner in Montreal, but kinda want Markov back for a year

      • Howard..agreed on the handshake deal with another team..i hear florida Edmonton Pittsburgh…he would fit nicely on our second pairing with justin Schulz..Rutherford will move rust johnson and bujgstad if needed.

    • Gardiner is out of the picture, can’t brain cramping in the playoffs. Marner has to wait for the old Horton/ Clarkson trick. Go Leafs!

    • Gardner a Penguin ? could happen….. I know he wants To be a leaf… but WITH Pittsburgh he would fit in well with Justin Schultz on our second pairing..

      Rutherford can move Rust, Johnson and possibly Bujgstad

  4. Jake finding out that’s he isn’t as good as his agent tells him he is. Otherwise he would have signed already. The log jam of RFA is more forwards than Dmen. Sure Boston has to solve their issues with RFA but Jake isn’t as good as he thinks he is. He isn’t terrible but time for reality

  5. Re:

    “trade offer for Parise involved the Wild taking on another bad veteran contract……..that unnamed club must be desperate to shed that other contract”

    Ummmm ; me thinks that just may be Penguins they were referring to

    So my stab at an amenable trade :

    JJ + Bjug (Minny lad) for Parise (50% retained) + Spurgeon (31% retained)

    Cap hit nets exactly even ; cash-wise this year Minn out an extra $710 K

    Pens on hook for Parise until he’s 40 ; but his last 3 years of his contract are $2M; $1M ; $1M …. so I can’t see him playing out his contract


    • Another reason why teams maybe shy of trading for Parise is the cap penalty the team would get if he retires before his contract is finished. So, like you said, he most likely will not play out his contract and retire. Which would mean, just like Vancouver and Florida, Minny and the team that he gets traded to would get cap circumvention penalties.

      • Correct me if I ma wrong Lyle, because Parise’s contract is front loaded, would Minny be on the hook for some of the cap hit?

      • You’re thinking of salary-cap recapture penalty, Mike.

      • Hi Kevjam

        Thanks. I had completely forgotten that his contract was signed pre last CBA and that he fell into the Luongo/Weber type of contracts (with recapture penalty)

        so in that case …. nix my suggestion.

        You are right — that will almost preclude any deal. I really can’t see him wanting to play at 39 and 40 for $1M so he would likely retire and then Cap recapture as you pointed out…. ouch!!!!!

        Dang… I was this close to getting rid of JJ!!!

    • Pengy,

      Rutherford should have made that call while Fenton still had a job. I dont see the Wild making that deal

      • Yep but now that I realize about the recapture …. and with fair probability that he retires early ; Pens won’t want the recapture portion…. unless….. they have fully concluded that rebuild will be in effect in 4 years so the recapture part is irrelevant to Pens???? Who knows???

    • JJ for a broken stick, half roll of tape, and one shin pad

    • I believe while unlimited salary may be retained; the cap hit retained has a maximum of 15%, I think.

  6. I cannot see how Gardiner ends up back with Leafs, or why they would do it. He would need to sign a Kevin Labanc contract and or Leafs would have to trade one of Kapanen or Johnnson. No thanks. Teams need to resign their RFA’s or make some trades I think before he lands somewhere, whatever the amount of his contract.

    • Hi Murph

      I’m confident that Leafs would like to have Gardner back. Desire is not the issue…. it is nigh logistically impossible for it to actually happen.

      Now if GMKD were to trade WW for an up and coming young D at much lesser Cap plus a prospect/pick; then the extra freed up Cap space could be used to re-sign Gardner. To me, that is the only way I can see a plan in place to actually get Gardner back.

      Montreal signing Gardner, to me at least, is a much much greater possibility.

      • @ Pengy: I’m all for a WW trade too but I don’t think that would ever happen before the US Thanksgiving has come and gone and teams have then seen his no excuses body of work.

        Now I know one poster on here thinks both you and I have it all back assward as it applies to Nylander but that poster is under the assumption he returns to form and also assumes that no GM would trade a 60 point winger Nylander’s age. That depends what the offer is now don’t it

        If Dubas is presented with an offer too good to pass up; even if Nylander is kicking butt come the US Thanksgiving, it would not surprise me to see WW shipped out for other needs

  7. And once again its ground hog day.
    I think I know why Bob Mackenzie takes the summer off.
    He would get tired of repeating and repeating.
    He talks alot but has something worth while to talk about.
    We all know Dubas and the Leafs are going to screw it up.
    And that Dorion is a genius and doing it the right way.
    Maybe Hockeybuzz has something new and interesting

    • Yes, Vinnie, it’s tough writing about the same stuff every day…oh, wait, there’s also a bit here today about Zach Parise…Yesterday, there was a piece about Taylor Hall…and the day before that, Patrik Laine and Rasmus Ristolainen…and the day before that, Justin Schultz…and the day before that, the Kings and Oilers… Come to think of it, the last time I posted up anything in the rumors section on Marner was August 7, nearly two weeks ago…Guess it’s not like “Groundhog Day” here after all…;)

      • Whammy!

      • 🙂

      • 🙂

      • @ Lyle: Thumbs up Lyle !!

    • Hi Vinnie!
      You reap what you sow.

  8. Bazinga!

    Lyle, I for one appreciate you keeping the off season interesting. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Murph!

  9. Guess I hit a nerve, its alright not everyone can be Bob Mackenzie. lol
    But ya gotta admit you regurgitate the same old stuff constantly.
    That’s why I do the Senators bit every once in awhile, everyone gets tired of that too.
    I assume you don’t make a living at writing. You would get sick of hot dogs.

    • You made a baseless complaint, Vinnie. I’m just proving you wrong.

      I don’t assume to be Bob McKenzie nor do I pretend to be. I post up rumors generated by the hockey media and share my thoughts on them. Please indicate an example where I “regurgitate the same old stuff constantly.”

      As for your assumption, you’re wrong again. I’ve made a comfortable living at this and my freelance work for the past 13 years.

      And hey! What’s wrong with hot dogs? 😉

      • The m trying something new tonight! I premade pizza crust, a can of chili for the sauce. Hot dogs shredded cheese onion as the toppers.

        Gonna be a rough day for my coworkers tomorrow!!!

      • Sounds good, Chrisms! Just remind your co-workers to be upwind of you tomorrow…;)

      • spectors is as much a part of my morning wake up as coffee and a bagel.and with marner making headlines well into late august, well anything could happen.besides here in south florida I end up talking hockey with my cats

      • Can’t wait to see how LeafsNation will deal with the latest rumor that has Marner talking to the Zurich Lions of the Swiss Hockey League!

    • At least Lyle has written a great book called battle of alberta, Bob all he does is open his mouth and hot air comes out, like when Cody Hodgson was drafted he said he had the best hockey sense in draft lol, actually he had the worst.

      • Matt, it was Mark Spector (Edmonton writer and a good one) who wrote the Battle of Alberta.
        Lyle’s history is the Hockey News and also Sporting news, likely more but that’s what I know.
        I would guess that he knows both Bob Mac and Mark Spector.

      • Folks sometimes confuse me and Mark Spector because of my nom de plume. We’ve occasionally joked that we’re cousins. Spector and McKenzie have at times provided me with very helpful advice along the way.

      • Spector used to live on the end of my Crescent. Never bugged him about his hockey work, when I ran into him walking the dog, I thought that would be rude.
        Just his Cubs.

  10. Think Benning would take Parise for Eriksson & Sutter?
    Minny has the space

    1 headache for another

    • More like one headache for two. Only Eriksson and Sutter wouldn’t last as long.

      • LOL Agreed.

        Just thinking froma cap perspective. Minny gets the short term but a few extra off the cap per year for Van to sign their RFA’s.

  11. You’re welcome Lyle , I have already made this site more interesting today. Gee I don’t know Marner and Gardner, the team and the agents never release any information and you keep going on about it.
    Maybe do a piece on retired hockey player and what they are doing now
    Or why JJ is Pittsburgh best defenseman.
    Or maybe some old time trades.
    I dunno you’re supposed to be the writer, use your imagination.
    Right now you have people doing your research and making up the interesting topics.
    Might have to start dividing your salary.
    Lyle maybe we could put all the writers on a salary cap to make it more fair .
    Or maybe have Mackenzie share his ideas.

    • Or I could just keep doing what I’ve been doing successfully for the past 13 years, and which most of my readers seem to enjoy.

      Marner’s only appeared in the rumors section twice in the last two weeks, and that’s because a pundit provided an update on his status. As it’s now the slow period in the off-season, I duly noted it here. Same goes for Gardiner. If I didn’t, someone like yourself would probably complain that I missed it.

      BTW, rumors aren’t the only thing I do. Maybe check out the links below the masthead on this site or my work at Featurd.io, which now also appears regularly on this site. You’ll find I put my imagination to good use there. Cheers!

    • C’mon, Vinnie, just accept that Lyle used actual evidence to prove you wrong. It’s all of us armchair GM’s that keep circling back to MM and the Leafs, and blah, blah, blah.
      Training camps can’t come soon enough.

      • I agree, training camps can’t come soon enough. Looking forward to real hockey news again.

    • The number 1 rule when digging a hole for yourself is stop digging.

      • I know but Lyle won’t stop digging. I guess he doesn’t get it .lol

      • @RayBark: ya no kidding

  12. Tavares made Marner better, just like how Tavares made Matt Moulson a 30 goal scorer lol. Look at all the guys who made great livings riding shotgun with John T. Marner is great player but not worth 11-12 million. 9.5 million take it or leave it, sit out all year and we are not making you captain just because your Daddy went on Radio shows saying you should be.

    • Matt agreed mariner is a stud but Tavares made him better….. HE IS WORTH $8.5 OR $9.

      look at how many people Crosby has made relevant, good and great…thats what world class players do…that what Tavares did for Mariner….

  13. Well you gotta admit today has been more interesting. People coming to Lyle’s defense . I’m retired maybe I’ll start writing it looks easy. Nothing has to be actual or factual and I got spell check.
    And I am thick skinned.
    And I guess you get paid for this , that’s a bonus.

    • If you believe writing for a living is easy, go for it, Vinnie. I don’t mean that as an insult. Best of luck, though, you’ll need it.

    • Vinnie that’s a great idea! You could start at Hockeybuzz tomorrow.

      • Don’t worry guys , I wouldn’t leave this site. It’s highly entertaining, not as good as hockey buzz but not bad.

      • As long as you keep coming back, Vinnie, I don’t care where you rate this site. Cheers!

    • @Vinnie: U sometimes slag people; George, who actually offers a lot of feedback on here and is mostly supportive to the overall atmosphere of conversation and now Lyle: You brought it all on yourself man.

      • You guys are gonna hurt my feelings.

  14. Well, I guess the laws of physics cease to exist on top of your stove. Were these magic grits? Did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans?

    • Changing the subject: “somebody help me, but not a stranger.”
      Just checked CapFriendly (is that an oxymoron?): Lightning have Domingue as a buried contract…what does that mean to cap hit?

      • Do you pronounce the h?

      • hErb, they will have to get him through waivers before they bury him during/after training camp. Unless TB decides to keep 3 tenders.
        Seems like a guy another team picks up. Affordable backup with a decent track record.
        My guess is he is playing somewhere else when the season starts.

    • Chrisms

      Great movie 🎥 🍿 !!!

      The honourable V LaGuardia Gambini at his best

      I swoon over Mona Lisa Vito 😍🥰

      • It was an interesting evening Pengy.

  15. Marner is gone, he’s not signing in Toronto, bank on it.
    Winnipeg is going to sit their RFA’s that won’t sign.
    The rest will be out or in within the 1st week of the season.

    Toronto’s in cap trouble. The players won’t initiate the escalator before the new CBA negotiations, GM’s are getting hard-balled by RFA’s because the players know they hold the leverage to do so.

    It’s no longer about the Stanley Cup, it’s all about those greenbacks now.

  16. Ya George I don’t think Marner will play in the swiss league.
    The most he can make is 460,000 thousand dollars.
    Maybe Melnyk should move his team there, sounds like he could afford the salaries

    • Vinnie Vinnie I thought for awhile you were turning a new leaf but than I read this nonsense. I used to think you lived in your mothers basement but now I’m thinking you were bullied as a youngster. Please stop trolling and try and stay on point if at all possible my Question to all is how many 50 goal scores next year I say two Ovi and Pasta?

      • And Matthews and Tavares

      • Obe

        I think it may be none …. two or three get 48 or 49…. just throwing these out there … Stammer , MacK , and Pasta

        JT and Ovi right behind them

  17. Cantankerous

    • No it’s worse than that.