NHL Rumor Mill – August 22, 2019

by | Aug 22, 2019 | Rumors | 29 comments

Updates on the Sabres, Canucks, and Blackhawks in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE BUFFALO NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski was asked if Rasmus Ristolainen will be in the Buffalo Sabres lineup on opening night. He felt the 24-year-old defenseman’s recent comments to a Finnish news outlet indicated he wants out of Buffalo. Lysowski doubted general manager Jason Botterill pulls the trigger unless he gets a package he wants in return. That doesn’t seem likely anytime soon.

Will Rasmus Ristolainen still be on the Buffalo Sabres roster when the season opens in October? (Photo via NHL Images)

In his 10 Sabres storylines to watch, Lysowski noted Ristolainen’s departure seemed imminent when the Sabres acquired right-shot rearguards Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju this summer. Botterill and head coach Ralph Kruger sound prepared for Ristolainen’s return but Lysowski wondered what role he’d play.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Yerden also weighed in on Ristolainen’s future with the Sabres. They’re not aggressively shopping the defenseman and he hasn’t publicly requested a trade but tension remains in the air.

Yerden suggested the Tampa Bay Lightning, Winnipeg Jets, and Anaheim Ducks as potential destinations. It’s possible Ristolainen might not be moved until sometime during the regular season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The additions of Miller and Jokiharju seems to set the stage for trading Ristolainen. However, if Botterill doesn’t get a decent offer, the blueliner will likely be back for training camp and the start of the regular season.

Ristolainen could stage a holdout but it doesn’t sound like he’s interested in that. If things improve under Kruger, perhaps he will feel more positive about sticking around.

WGR 550: Paul Hamilton reports veteran winger Jason Pominville would still like to return to the Sabres this season. Now an unrestricted free agent, he’s working out in Buffalo with several players (including Sabres d-man Rasmus Dahlin). Botterill said he hasn’t closed the door on bringing back Pominville.


VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports the Canucks are still hopeful of getting restricted free agent winger Brock Boeser under contract before training camp opens next month. Prorating Boeser’s 56 points last season would give him 66. That would align the 22-year-old with San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier, who inked a four-year, $24-million extension this summer.

Canucks GM Jim Benning said Meier and Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor came up as comparables with Boeser’s camp. He said talks remain constructive as they seek to reach common ground. Boeser’s agent, Ben Hankinson, prefers a four-year deal worth $7 million annually because today’s top players outperform longer commitments.

Meier’s contract is backloaded to give the Sharks an initial break on annual average salary but climbs to $10 million in the final season. He’ll be an RFA when it expires, meaning the qualifying offer will be $10 million. Benning is concerned about that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Boeser’s contract eventually looks like but I don’t see Benning agreeing to a deal that’s heavily backloaded. I expect it’ll be in the $7 million AAV range.



THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Mark Lazerus was asked about the possibility of the Chicago Blackhawks trading Erik Gustafsson at the trade deadline. The 27-year-old defenseman enjoyed a breakout performance last season with 60 points.

If Gustafsson continues playing well, Lazerus suggested the Blackhawks could shop him as they likely couldn’t afford to re-sign him. If they’re out of the playoff races by the deadline, it could be an easy decision to make.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blackhawks have over $61.8 million invested in just 13 players for 2020-21. In addition to Gustafsson, goaltenders Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner will be eligible to become unrestricted free agents. Budding stars Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome will be restricted free agents coming off their entry-level contracts.

Assuming the cap reaches $84 million next season, the Hawks will have around $22 million in cap room. It won’t be enough to keep all their notable free agents. If Crawford’s health issues remain a concern and Lehner plays well, and if they can convince DeBrincat and/or Strome to accept bridge contract, perhaps they could squeeze in a raise for Gustafsson. Otherwise, he could become the odd man out.


  1. I have said all along that the Meier contract is a decent comparable for all the prized RFA’s . Definitely Boeser and Connor and you could throw in Tkachuk and Laine as well. Rantanen and Marner slightly more but not much. Who knows in 4 years but a qualifying offer of $10m at that time would make More sense than now.

    Gustafson could be a part of a long line of one hit wonders. He will need to sign a show me deal first.

  2. Ristolainen for Ericsson, straigt up.
    DeKeyser? Straight up?
    Ericsson and Abdelakder?
    Yeah, that one works.
    Get it done, Stevie.

  3. only way I see Ristolainen traded is if he is part of a larger deal to acquire Laine

    Jets would have to take more salary back so Buffalo could fit Laine’s new deal under their cap, so Buffalo would probably have to throw in a couple of top picks and/or prospects

    • If buffalo trades Risto and somehow takes back terrible cap dumps I’m done, last thing we need is anymore junk like Svbotka and Berglund.

  4. Ok hear me out…. which team with an aging roster that is contending now could send a package for Sid? Seriously… I cannot see the Pens coming out of the East in the next 3 seasons again. Rebuild time. Gretzky… Messier… both moved on.


    • Hi ds

      I realize this is a hypothetical (no way Sid moves on in next 2 years) and you are certainly right …. as at right now there is NO WAY Pens get even a sniff at the ECF and there is a possibility that they could just miss out on the playoffs (all that dramatically changes if the rid JJ)…. but for the sake of hypotheticals ….

      Any team getting Sid would immediately jump massively in the odds to win the cup

      With your scenario …. basically trading a bucket of up and comers and prospects (futures for rebuild) the acquiring team gets the second best player in the entire league (I believe this is the year where I will admit McD takes over number one spot) and gives up little/nothing on their current roster ….. so that sky-rockets the team to fav SC contender in my mind

      Setting aside working within the Cap….

      Just imagine St L with its 2 top Centres being Sid and RoR

      Reunite Sid with the Flower … wow that would be a team to watch …. you want to hear nuttyville….

      Sid + Guentz swapped for Staz and Patches plus a major bucket of up and comers (including Glass AND Hague AND Whitecloud AND Lechysyn AND Elvenes AND a couple of firsts)… would put VGK as the Cup favs for the next two years

      Sid on Dallas …. hello !

      Can you imagine Sid for Krejci (plus a ton of futures)…. wow

      Again …. not s chance in hell it happens but it is a dreamers paradise

      …. JJ + Bjug for Staal ; waive Ruhweedel; extend Pettersson ; IMHO …. high probability of a Bolts vs Pens ECF

      Keep JJ and play him as a reg, regardless of any other trade… result IMHO …. equal probability of (1) first round exit and (2) just missing the playoffs (so would have minuscule shot at Lefranierre of Byfield).


      • Pittsburgh – Crosby, Malkin, Murray, JJ, Letang, 2020 1st, 2021 1st

        Edmonton – McDavid, Draisitl, Nurse, Larson, Smith, 2020 2nd

        Never ever happen….

    • Crosby along with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski, to the Los Angeles Kings for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, $15 million in cash, and the Kings’ first-round draft picks in 1989, 1991 and 1993.

      Get it done Rutherford!

      • Chrisms

        Don’t tempt Jimmy… he just may take that trade AND throw in Mario AND insist on playing JJ and Ruhweedel top pairing …. each North of 25 mins/game

        Those moves should be good enough for a 5-75-0-2 and 450 + GA season

        Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy

    • If, and that’s a big IF, Pens decides to start a rebuild my take is that Malkin is the first to offered up. That’s also a exiting thought. Malkin to NYR for Zibanejed, Lias Andersson and Grigoriev sounds right. Or Malkin to BUF for Risto, Mittelstadt +pics.

      • Nope. After his breakout season last year on a terrible team the Rangers wouldn’t even trade Zib straight up for an injury-prone Gino, let alone throw in two young players.

      • I seriously doubt ny is making that trade or anything close to that trade.

      • Ny no space for geno and pens would get far better offers. Bad match.

      • I don’t believe the Pens would get better offers for Malkin who’s 33 and often injured. Malkin is a great player when he’s healthy, but that’s not very often.

        And it’s beyond rare to see any team give up a guy like Zibanejad ++ for a 33 year old player.

        Malkins best days are behind him, and I don’t see any team giving up that much never mind more for his 60 games per season.

      • You watching the same nhl I’m watching? How many teams looking for a true number one center , even one who has some buyer beware, would shy away? Malkin would draw a return that would piss off non pens fans for how good it is and piss off pens fans for its return.

        Pens would get better than a questionable second line center and borderline prospects.

      • “A questionable 2nd line center” …. who ranked 19th in scoring among centers!

        Yikes! What nhl are you watching? Obviously not much outside Pittsburgh! Malkin ranked 24th among centers! You’re having another Dave Bolland moment here!

      • I guess if Zibanejad is a “questionable 2nd line center” and he outscored Malkin this year, and is 7-8 years younger….what does that make Malkin ? A questionable 3rd line center?

  5. Sid looked pretty good with Bergeron and Marchand on team Canada but if a team had to give up their best young players no point making a deal. If Boston gave up Pasta and Charlie and picks they would be farther behind. Tampa might be a fit Point , Sergachev and something would do it if Im Pittsburgh.

    • Hi Obe

      Again as I’ve posted above …Sid ain’t moving …. but your proposal of Pointe + Serge ++ for Sid is fair

      However , Bolts would be giving up futures and they are already Cup favourites …. so I can’t see an interest in that move

      Regardless ; Sid stays a Pen and please please please …. sit, bury , or trade JJ


    • Chances Tampa gives up Point , Sergachev ++ for Crosby? Zero!
      9 points separated Point and Crosby! Nine! 9 years separate the players! Nine! Which one is on the way up, and which is on the way down?

      Pens fans are on a role tonight!

      2010-12-13 Crosby…. this trade looks right. 2019? Not so much!
      Crosby and Malkin are on the back sides of their careers. Have Crosby and Malkin figured out time machines?

  6. The Habs have the most to give for Crosby

    • If the Habs had a good top 4 D and added Sid they would be decent squad but still not toronto, boston….

      If SJ had anything left to trade adding Sid would rise them up quick…

      2 A+++++prospects, a gap center and a 1st rounder

    • Hi John

      Habs do have a fair group in prospects but I wouldn’t necessarily have them having the most

      Again … Sid not moving … but to make the Cap work it would likely mean something like Sid/Tatar then a bucket….

      Kotkaniemi + Mete+ Juulsen + Suzuki + pics ….

      Now that would strengthen Habs now considerably but would it put them past Bolts in next two years? IDK and if it wasn’t a certainty then giving up Kotka et al could be costly

      • Trocheck+Owen Tippett+

        Florida becomes a beast.

        Obviously if breaking the core down Malkin would go before 87.
        Its a slow summer day

        if i was JR i would move one of them for the future. because in 3 years this team is a bottom feeder

      • Hi ds

        “Bottom Feeder” wears # 73 for the Pens

  7. With Guerin in the fold and a history with Botts would Buffalo & Minny make good partners again?

    Minny NEEDS to get younger
    Buff NEEDS to make the playoffs

    to MIN: Risto & Thompson & pick
    to BUF: Spurgeon

    Spurgeon will be a UFA at seaons end and Minny needs to get younger and keep cap space to round out the roster more.

    Buff needing to make the playoff gives up some assets and can flip Spurgeon at the deadline if they look not to make the playoffs.

    Does this work for both clubs?

    • Risto, Thompson and a pick for Spurgeon? Why on Earth would Buffalo do that? The last thing they need is another RD, let alone one that is not an upgrade, is 5 years older and will be a free agent at the end of the year. One for one they wouldn’t make the deal, and definitely would not add Thompson and a pick. A package of Risto, Thompson and a pick for Zucker would be more fair.

  8. Ristoisstayin (at least until the trade deadline )

    • Heh. Good one!