NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2019

by | Aug 26, 2019 | Rumors | 47 comments

A look at this season’s top-10 trade candidates in the NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, and New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider tops Matt Larkin’s list of this season’s top trade candidates.

Larkin dismissed recent attempts by Sabres general manager Jason Botterill to downplay the Ristolainen trade speculation. He pointed out Botterill loading up with right-side blueliners, Ristolainen’s apparent exasperation with the Sabres, and the club’s need for help at forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve suggested for weeks that the Sabres’ recent acquisitions of Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju set the stage for a Ristolainen trade. Botterill, however, will wait for the right offer. It could happen before training camp, early in the season or at the trade deadline but it should happen at some point this season.

After struggling with the Oilers, Larkin believes Puljujarvi needs a fresh start elsewhere. It’s difficult to see him returning to the Oilers. His low trade value, however, could make it tough for GM Ken Holland to find a suitable deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins observed, Puljujarvi has more value to the Oilers than he does in the trade market. The young winger lacks leverage as he doesn’t have a job lined up in Europe yet. He’s pressing to be traded but Holland can stand firm until he gets a suitable trade offer.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider remains a trade candidate this season (Photo via NHL Images).

Kreider could be shopped if the Rangers aren’t playoff-bound by the trade deadline. The Rangers insist he’ll be joining them in training camp. Larkin points out they have limited salary-cap space and restricted free agents Brendan Lemieux and Anthony DeAngelo to re-sign. He wonders if that could make Kreider a cap casualty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For months, Kreider was the subject of trade speculation. Most of it had to do with his UFA status next summer and the Rangers’ cap space. It seems, however, they want to see how things unfold with him in the lineup this season.

Lemieux and DeAngelo could end up accepting the Rangers’ qualifying offers (over $1.7 million combined), meaning the Blueshirts won’t have to shed that much to become cap compliant.

The pending UFA statuses of Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Florida Panthers winger Mike Hoffman could turn them into rental players by the trade deadline. If the Panthers are in playoff contention, Hoffman could be retained as an own rental for the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pageau ($3.1-million annual average value) should be an affordable re-signing for the Senators. But as Larkin points out, they’re in full rebuild mode and could peddle Pageau to the highest bidder. The veteran center could also decide he’s had enough of the Melnyk circus and move on.

Hoffman’s future will depend upon his role with the Panthers and what he seeks on his next contract. He was their leading goal-scorer (36) last season and finished third with 70 points. A similar performance could make him invaluable to the Panthers, especially if they’re in playoff contention.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk is also slated for UFA status next summer. If a new deal can’t be reached, Larkin wonders if the Hurricanes will risk losing him for nothing. Meanwhile, Winnipeg Jets center Jack Roslovic has expressed frustration over his bottom-six role. A restricted free agent next summer, he hasn’t asked for a trade. Larkin suggests he could be used to acquire a defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Faulk’s been a fixture in the trade rumor mill for over a year but remains with the Canes. I’d like to think they could re-sign him but team owner Tom Dundon is something of a wild card. He could become a factor in determining Faulk’s future in Carolina.

Jets management doesn’t seem keen to part with the promising Roslovic. But as Larkin notes, their depth at forward shows how difficult it’s been for Roslovic to crack the top-six. The cost of re-signing Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor won’t give the Jets much wiggle room to take on a salaried defenseman unless they ship out a comparable salary. Roslovic (894k AAV) won’t address that issue.

Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli, Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon, and Detroit Red Wings rearguard Mike Green round out Larkin’s list. All are pending UFAs on rebuilding/retooling teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another performance by the Kings like last season and they could entertain offers for Toffoli at the deadline.

Spurgeon expressed interest in re-signing with the Wild before their recent management change. That’ll depend upon where new GM Bill Guerin wants to take this team after he’s had time to evaluate their performance this season.

Wings GM Steve Yzerman will likely try to get something for Green by the trade deadline.


  1. Can anyone see any circumstances under which Puljujarvi returns to the Oilers and flourishes? So what this boils down to is Holland making a point, perhaps to any future similar demands by others.

    • Unlikely for the long term George, but I see a scenario where he might short term.
      I think most of us can agree that the best way for JP to get out of Edmonton is to play better so he has value.
      So if he quits pouting, works on his game, does what Tippet tells him to do, and is a decent team mate, he will get ice time.
      If he becomes a valuable asset he will get his wish as long as he and his agent just stop demanding it in the media, as that brings down his value.
      Do what Drouin did. Go back to the team, shut up and play better.
      If he wants out so bad, then do what it takes.

      • If JP returns to the Oilers and plays well I’d think their preference would be to keep him. Unless that’s prevented by cap issues. Remember, the primary reason that the Bolts traded Drouin was because they were pressed against the cap.

    • As an Oiler fan it was disappointing to hear that Puljujarvi still wanted to be traded after the hiring of Holland and Tippett. I’m wondering if there is a difference in personalities in the dressing room. Not saying that Puljujarvi has a bad attitude, just saying he might not be getting along with some of the players. Also how long does it take to learn english?
      What can increases Puljujarvi trade value is by going over to Europe and show that he is healthy and starts to show why he was the 4th overall pick.

      • Exactly, Kevjam.

      • It has been reported more than a few times that he didn’t hang with the team Kevjam, so ya there might be an issue there.
        Is it more serious?
        Maybe, and we will likely never know as players generally keep that stuff in house. As they should.
        You would think he would have leaned English by now, but for some reason he still doesn’t speak it well at all after 3 years. I guess he didn’t think it was important in North America.
        So what does all of these things tell us about JP?
        Wants to play in the top 6, yet can’t earn those minutes from the coach because he won’t work on puck battles and be aggressive enough to win them on the bottom six.
        Needs to work on his skills as he is a turnover machine and doesn’t generate scoring chances, but whines when they want to send him down to do just that and he gets his agent involved.
        Pouts about not having friends on the team yet hasn’t put forth the effort to learn the language.
        Sounds like this is all the Oiler’s fault in JP’s mind when the pattern of behavior seems pretty obvious IMO. He doesn’t want to put in the work for any of it. Until that changes he won’t get any better and is a low value asset until it does change. Up to JP.
        His team mates will welcome him back if he gets on the same page with them and work to improve and win hockey games.

      • Learning a second language isn’t something everyone can do flawlessly. Some not at all. Look at Ovechkin. He’s been here how long and you can still cut his accent with a knife. Yet someone like Kovalev wound up speaking English like he was born here. Same with Lidstrom.

      • Ovechkin is actually really good at English… you ever hear geno talk? Wow.

      • Oh, not saying Ovie’s English isn’t good – just that his accent hasn’t lost that Russian “flavour” – Kovalev, on the other hand, wound up sounding like he was born and raised in North America, Different strokes for different folks, I guess

      • I’m score.

      • Not setting the bar at Shakespearean George, but enough to get by isn’t too much to ask over 3 years?
        I know I rant on JP on this site, but this act annoys me to no end, and not just with JP but everybody who likes to blame other people for problems that are within their control to change.
        Maybe I’m just getting cranky as I age.

  2. Roslovic for Puljularvi both first rounders. Jets can throw in a conditional in case the latter turns into a third overall talent.

    • I think Edmonton would be all over that SilverSeven.

    • not even close for the Jets.

      Roslovic was a first round pick who belongs in the top 6 on an NHL team and who earned NHL player of the week honors in the one week when due to injury he was moved to a top 6 role. JP hasn’t shown he can play at NHL level yet.

    • Noah Juulsen and a conditional 2 or 3rd round draft pick
      For JP
      Works out well for both teams

  3. Sorry but JP is off the market.

    IHC came up with a deal (between Kenny and Jimmy) that just MUST be done.


    Please see my response to you from yesterday.

    IHC’s proposal:

    to EDM: Rust ($3.5 M), JJ ($3.25M ) w/ $1 M retained

    to PITT: PJ (?), Manning ($2.25M)

    Perfect WIN WIN WIN (both teams and me 🙂 )

    Ed gets a speedy winger. Ed can and will waive JJ…. freeing up $1.08 M—then JJ only showing $1.17 M above the line. This gets Rust in under the Cap.

    Pens, waive Ruhweedel and then have $4M to extend Pettersson and sign JP.

    Some loss in production (Rust vs JP) that is MASSIVELY (and I mean MASSIVELY) more than compensated by replacing JJ and Ruhweedel with Petterson and Manning…. wow what an uplift!!!

    As I mentioned yesterday , IHC, you obviously seriously dislike my future so-in-law (hence the moniker) so you can’t be invited to the wedding.

    However, you make this deal happen and I will be owing you rounds of drinks

    Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you

    Kind sir


    • Sorry that is JP not PJ…. ahhhhh!!!

      • I think you were in your PJ’S when you came up with your trade proposal.

      • Carolina just signed kid from Quinnipiac… free agent out of college. Another right shot dman. They could be shopping Faulk

    • LOL

      Glad someone liked my reasonable proposal.

      • Hi IHC

        C’est une formidable opportunité monsieur!!!



        Please advise as to how your negotiations with Kenny and Jimmy are coming along.

        Now the only other realistic option that I can think of (and it has waaaaaaay more moving parts) is for GMJR to talk to Murray (Ducks). Cash poor team with Cap space and wasted $’s on Kessler (have to pay 20% that Ins. doesn’t cover). They already had interest in JJ:

        So …. Rust, JJ, ZAR for Kessler (50% retained) and Ritchie.

        The Kessler at 50% for JJ is basically getting JJ for $2.5M annually in cash. For this, Ducks get bonus of Rust and ZAR for Ritchie

        Pens then waive both Ruhweedel and Trottman and have $4+ M to sign Petterson and say Lindberg at league min. Also sign Hutton to PTO.

        After opening game; Kessler goes on LTIR; sign Hutton; and bring up and/or sign another depth forward (league min.).

        Sid, Guentz, McC

        Geno, G-chuck, Kahun

        Bjug, Ritchie, Simon/Tanev

        Blueger, Horny, Simon/Tanev

        Depth Fwd

        Tanger, Dumo

        Shultz, Petterson

        *GudB, Hutton


        De Smith

        Prob left with $0.8M — $1.0M in Cap room.

        *Option to bury Gudb and sign McQ and just fit it under the Cap.


        Your option waaaaaay easier…. bonus of a Dozen Tim’s (on top of my rounds of drinks) if you come through on this one!!!

        Fingers crossed



  4. We continue to hear a lot about 1st round pick Puljujarvi and the contract loggerheads with Edmonton and, of course, the situations with the biggest names among the RFAs have been discussed at length. But you have to wonder what the heck is going on with these other still unsigned RFAs who, with maybe one exception and all 1st rounders but one, haven’t exactly been setting things on fire i.e., what are they and their agents seeking and what has the team offered:

    C Denis Malgin of Florida – ELC $690,000 with Fla having $1,531,331 in cap space – last season 50gp 7g 9a – career – 148gp 24g 24a 48 pts – 102md overall in 4th rd 2015

    RW/LW Brendan Perlini of Chicago – ELC $863,333 with Chi having $3,336,539 in cap space – last season 68gp with Ariz & Chi – 14g 7a 21 pts – career 199gp 45g 27a 72 pts – 12 overall in 1st rd 2014

    LW Anthony Beauvillier of NYI – ELC $894,167 with NYI having $6,753,334 in cap space – last season 81gp 18g 10a 28 pts – career 218 gp 48g 40a 88 pts – 28th overall in 1st rd 2015

    C/LW Adrian Kempe of L.A. – ELC $894,767 with L.A. having $8,740,606 in cap space – last season 81gp 12g 16a 28 pts – career 187gp 30g 41s 71 pts – 29th overall 1st rd 2014

    KW Kevin Fiala of Minn. – ELC $863,333 with Minn having $7,958,911 in cap space – last season 83gp with Nash & Minn 13g 26a 39 pts – career 223gp 48g 56a 104 pts – 11th overall 1st rd 2014

    C Pavel Zacha of NJ – ELC $894,167 with NJ having $8,711,667 in cap space – last season 61gp 13g 12a 25 pts – career 201gp 29g 47a 76 pts – 6th overall 1st rd 2015

    • Hi George

      I think they are all waitning to see witch RFA (of prominence) signs first (and for how long and how much) and go from there.

      from your list I would think PZ (Devils) and Beauvillier (Islanders) are the most crucial (to thier teams’) lower tiered RFAs

      There is still an opportunity (however with small likelihood) for an OS. Lower tiered RFAs won’t have much in compensation (<$1.4M nothing, $1.4M to $2.1M just a 3rd)!!!

  5. my latest offer for before camp

    to BUFF: Kreider & ADA

    to NYR: Risto & Thompson & pick

    Risto slots behind Trouba and allows Fox to develop slowly. Risto can be a shutdown guy.

    Kreider gives the offense Buff needs and ADA depth though he can be a trade chip for them.

    ADA is not in the long term future for NYR with Fox and Trouba on the right. Don’t need a 2.5m plus guy on the bottom pairing.

    Thompson gives NY additional depth on youth once Namestnikov is up at seasons end and gives flexibility to the forwards for NYR.

    • As a Risto fan I would of preferred him over Trouba…(sorry if mentioned this too many times)

      But with all the D prospects i think its best to go with the current D core. Unless somehow we swap Trouba for Risto and save 3 million per season to resign Kreider

      • If Hank & Smith were up this offseason I assure you I would want to re-sgin him in a second.

        I am just looking to lock ina solid top 4 because the forwards are young and wet

        my ideal top 4 for the Rangers

        K’Andre Miller/ Risto

      • @ihate
        nice top 4 for sure. I am still very unsold on Trouba…and hope he is a top pairing.
        Problem with Kreider is throwing him 7×7 next year…
        Fox might also be a good 2nd pairing RHD…obviously not the size of Risto

      • I think NY should see what they have before doing anything. Way too early to tell what Miller is going to be. He’s a converted forward who hasn’t played a single nhl game.

        Trading Kreider today is a little risky. That’s forcing 3 players to be top 6 players that are unproven.

        Today is projected to be
        Panarin, Zibanejad, Buchnevich

        Kreider, Strome , Kakko.

        Buchnevich, Strome are already top 6 question marks.

        Until Kravstov, Kakko, show what they can do, no sense of trading Kreider.

        Let these kids develop before forcing them into top 6 roles or top 4 d roles.

      • Kreider is a HUGE TDL chip.
        If Boston has another great season or if the Avs are ready now(throw him on the Kadri line…) etc etc
        A physical winger with speed who can score and play both ends. The Rangers will get a nice deal….considering what NAsh and Hayes have brought in the past

      • DS. If it means anything, NHL network just did a top 20 defensemen right now and had Trouba ranked 15th. I don’t think adding Risto to an already overpriced defense makes much sense. Staal, Smith, Shattenkirk, and Girardi will total over 17or 18 mil next year and chances are only one might actually play! Adding another 5+ makes no sense.

    • That’s a good trade offer, unfortunately Buffalo on left wing has Skinner, Oloffsson, Vesey and many other guys. We need a right winger bad

      • Agreed but Kreider is a #1 LW and would play #2 in Buff. Can always move Vesey to the RW where he play some in Manhattan.

    • Buffalo would say no to this trade. It does not address the team’s needs. Also, your claim of paying too much for ADA to be a 3rd pairing RD would still hold true if he was traded to Buffalo. With Buffalo trading for Montour, Miller and Jokiharju plus having Bogosian one more season, I don’t think they trade Risto for another RD. Also, the Sabres are in need of a RW or second line C, not a LW rental even though I like Kreider a lot.

    • HI IHC

      I think Rangers need to wait out the Kreider situation for a while.

      A hasty move to trade him just may back-fire.

      Plus— you are doing too much multi-tasking on trades right now…. you’re entire focus should be on getting Jimmy and Kenny to agree to your JP/Manning for Rusty/JJ deal.



    • IHC…under the present contracts no thanks…Krieder can be a one and done where you know you have Risto for 2 more yrs after this year worry free.

      • I know you say no BUT the Eichel line is your only line that can pu up numbers. How will you really contend for the playoffs? You have a ton of D to leverage and this makes a ton of sense for Buffalo and NYR

      • IHC. And what will Rangers 2nd line look like by trading Kreider? Why should we worry about what Buffalo needs to get in playoffs when right now we probably have a better team. Where were Av’s and Canes at last year at this point? If guys like Kakko, Kravtsov and Fox have any impact this year, and with additions of Panarin and Trouba, good chance we’re in playoffs this year. I think we wait and see what kind of year Kreider has before dealing him away

      • I agree slick,

        Ny has already lost their 3rd leading scorer (Hayes), their 5th (Zuccarello) , 6th ( Vesey) , Their 2nd leading scoring d-man ( Shattenkirk) now you’re suggesting trading their 2nd leading scorer (Kreider) and their 1st leading scoring d-man (Deangelo) in hope Fox, Kravstov, Kakko (zero nhl games combined ) pick up the slack?

        I’ve talked a lot about not liking Deangelo, but….

        I get that Panarin will pick up a lot. What if there’s an injury on that top 6?

        Remember some past highly touted college guys that came through ny? Matt Gilroy, Mike Mottau? That’s okay, most people don’t remember them either….. those guys won Hobey Baker awards!

        I won’t be holding by breath waiting for Fox to be an impactful guy. If he is? great!

  6. Won’t it be great to watch hockey again?! Once again reading George O’s invaluable post(s) peaks my interest in actually watching hockey rather than talking about it. Just as George said, “you have to wonder what the heck is going on with these other still unsigned RFAs who, with maybe one exception and all 1st rounders but one, haven’t exactly been setting things on fire”. Are you frustrated as I am George? I couldn’t agree more that many of these holdouts seem to see themselves in a much greater light than there employers see them in; if that’s what you are saying. Geez, guys just sign and play! Unless you are a caliber player like Marner then be real about the leverage you have or don’t have!

  7. In many ways, Steven, I see this grouping of RFAs as even more indicative of changing expectations among the agents and the growing reluctance of GMs to meet their demands than the bigger names still unsigned. Certainly, Dorion couldn’t have done Guerin any favours by handing out a long-term $4.75 mil deal to Colin White who was coming off a season of 14g 27a 41 pts and an ELC of $925,000 (taken 21st overall in 1st rd in 2015) when compared to the very similar production of Kevin Fiala whole compiled very similar 13g 26a 39 pts this past season with Nash & Minn. I’m sure that’s about where their expectations are. He’s the exception I mentioned above. Lord only knows how far apart the agents and GMs are with the others, but it must be fairly significant otherwise they’d have been signed long ago.

    Personally, I don’t see White as being worth anywhere near that … yet … so the one taking the biggest gamble that the contract will be viewed as a “steal” down the line is Dorion.

  8. Hi George,

    Re RFAs

    I posted a quick hi-level before but just took another gander at CapFriendly. Setting aside the knowledge of LTIR; Cap friendly has 31 teams with 686 players signed at a total Cap just shy of $2.4B… 27 spots available, about $164M.

    31 listed RAFas, I dropped the lowest likely to be signed/least important (Belpedio, Mainelenen, McKeweon, Comrie) and quickly tabbed the remaining 27 (to fill out full league compliment) at a Cap hit around what most have been pegging each at… the left over is only about $57M (or just shy of an average of $1.9M per team).

    With short term injury call ups through the year… that will eat into that $57M… if each team just averages 50 game call-ups a year at league min… that leaves less than $1.5M buffer average per team.

    Something has got to give

    • Yup. That’s what I’ve been trying to say when it comes to the big RFAs like Marner, Connor/Laine, Point, Petterson, Carlo & MacAvoy, Tkachuk. They may indeed get them signed, but someone has to go in the meantime, otherwise they play the bulk of the season below the 24-man structure and/or simply have no cap space to call up replacements for short-term injuries.

      You just put it better and in terms that underline it. Thanks Pengy 🙂

      • These RFAs I see as esential to their team’s fortunes this season – in order of their importance (as I see it anyway) – and therefore must be signed
        Rantanen – Col
        Tkachuk – Cgy
        McAvoy – Bos
        Connor – Wpg
        Marner – Tor
        Boeser – Van
        Werenski – Clb
        Laine – Wpg
        Konecny – Pha
        Petterson – Pit
        Carlo – Bos
        Provorov – Pha
        Fiala – Minn

        These RFAs are not seen as essential to their team’s expectations and could be allowed to sit long-term if demands exceed value to the team
        Barbashev – St.L
        DeAngelo & Lemieux – NYR;
        Honka – Dallas;
        Malgin – Fla;
        Puljujarvi – Edm;
        Perlini – Chicago;
        Goldbobin – Van
        Comrie – Wpg
        Mangiapane – Cgy
        Beauvillier – NYI;
        Kempe – L.A.;
        Zacha – NJ;

        (obviously some of the above – e,g., Mangiapane – are probably unsigned simply pending settlement of the bigger fish)

      • Hi George

        Both Bruins and Jets have two in that list and it’s possible one holds up the other (a waiting game so to speak) and for that reason I might view them as paired priorities at/near the top of your list

        At first brush I would have viewed two key DMen on the same team : McAvoy/Carlo as the top tandem priority; but looking more closely at Jets and they have only 19 signed (10-7-2) and with Connor/Laine holding up the others; I would put


        MacIvoy/ Carlo

        Then I would put the most valuable (IMO) of all the current RFAs … Point (I didn’t see him on your list but you did mention him in your post just before that)

        Then the rest of the list in the order you have them

        Once one of the key forwards get signed then I think the 💩 hits the fan so to speak

        ‘Twill be an interesting September

      • Gaaaa. How could I forget Point? I agree with the way you see the grouping. I thought about putting some on the same level as you did but listing them the way I did in no way suggests vast differences in importance to the teams concerned. You could cover most with a dime in that regard.

      • You’re like 100 years old. A little forgetting is a ok.

  9. Interview with Giordano says “the business side always sorts itself out It always has so it will this time “ He also said something to the effect of once one signs a bunch will fall in line.
    The shear volume of all the deals noted above to be done is more than I recollect ever. Oct 2 is roaring up. Maybe the contracts are all in the cue push a button There has to be just by the odds that players will be held out for some time. Going to cause havoc with fantasy leagues.