NHL Rumor Mill – August 8, 2019

by | Aug 8, 2019 | Rumors | 34 comments

The latest on Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, an update on the Sabres, and some waiver options for the Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre weighs on in what he considers a game of chicken regarding contract talks between the Winnipeg Jets and restricted free agent forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor. The young scorers are due for significant raises but how much, and for how long, remains to be determined. 

There’s no indication the Winnipeg Jets are close to signing Patrik Laine (above) and Kyle Connor (Photo via NHL Images).

McIntyre notes Laine and Connor are among several young NHL stars still unsigned this summer. While they have some degree of leverage right now, that’ll change once they start missing paycheques. Josh Morrissey missed the start of training camp last September but soon re-signed with the Jets.

The December 1 deadline to sign RFAs swings leverage back to the team. It would be a nightmare scenario for the Jets if a standoff with Laine and/or Connor goes to Dec. 1, McIntyre would be shocked if it goes that far.

The Jets have around $14.5 million in cap space to sign the duo. If more cap space is required, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff could be forced to make a cost-cutting trade. The threat of an offer sheet remains a possibility but McIntyre considers it unlikely.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Jets have over $17.5 million in cap space. However, they have just 17 players under contract. Once Laine and Connor are re-signed, they’ll need another four players to fill out the 23-man roster. Those could come from promotions from their farm team or cost-effective free-agent signings. It could cost between $13-$14 million to re-sign the duo.

Forwards Nikolaj Ehlers ($6 million annually) and Mathieu Perreault ($4.125 million) surfaced this summer as cost-cutting trade candidates. However, I think Cheveldayoff prefers to avoid that option.

The standoff with Laine and Connor probably won’t be resolved this month. Once we get into September and training camp approaches, that’s when we could see more activity in contract negotiations. 


THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski reports Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said he doesn’t have to make a trade to become cap compliant before the start of the season. The Sabres currently sit $1.1 million over the $81.5-million salary cap. Botterill said he could place an injured defenseman (Zach Bogosian, Lawrence Pilut, Matt Hunwick) on long-term injury reserve or send a player on a one-way contract to the minors. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Botterill has plenty of options at his disposal. He could also use his second buyout window to free up some salary, though Lysowski noted the Sabres GM didn’t go that route during his first buyout opportunity in June. If Botterill goes the trade route, it could be to bolster his roster rather than becoming cap compliant. 


THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell examined some potential waiver options for the Edmonton Oilers to add a forward before the start of the season. Possibilities could include Columbus’ Sonny Milano, Tampa Bay’s Carter Verhaeghe, Toronto’s Nick Shore or the Islanders’ Joshua Ho-Sang.


  1. Milano and Ho-sang should get a chance with another organization . They would also be good trade candidates for Puljularvi (with a draft pick of some sort) .

    Gordie Howe in his day was not the highest paid in the league and not even on his team.

    • That’s because the off-ice Gordie was a shy, country boy from the Prairies.

      He also put the team first and was his own agent, not the greatest combo, and the Red Wings routinely took advantage of him.

    • I think Hosang should go to Columbus. The drama that he and Torts could create would allow everyone to forget they lost Bobrovsky, Panarin and Duchene.

      • Murph

        The Torts/Ho-Sang Soap would be picked up in a NY minute by Netflix …. a must see 👍

        Episode 1 guest appearance by Brooksie?

        Make it happen 🤓

      • Murph

        The Torts/Ho-Sang Soap would be picked up in a NY minute by Netflix …. a must see 👍

        Episode 1 guest appearance by Brooksie?

        Make it happen 🤓

  2. Re Mitchell and waiver options for Oil.

    I hadn’t realized that those players had been waived. That surprised me.

    If true, a smart reasonable pick up would be Bolts’ Verhaeghe, IMO

    Has speed; good numbers; is a C that an play wing; League min. Cap hit

    • They haven’t been waived, Pengy. Mitchell only listed them as possible options who could end up on the waiver wire.

      • 👍

        Thanks Lyle

        I thought I was going 😜 …. again

  3. Just to be sure that I’m right, I googled Sonny Milano. He’s under contract, having accepted the Jackets’ qualifying offer. Considering Panarin’s departure leaves the Jackets with a scoring hole, Milano will be given every chance to make the team. If he doesn’t (A strong possibility, considering that he hasn’t improved his play off the puck, which is the reason he hasn’t been able to stick with the CBJ.), expect Jarmo to trade him instead of trying to sneak him through waivers to send him back to Cleveland.

  4. I’ve heard talk of the Jets offering Ehlers to Buffalo for Ristolainen. What about Brandon montour? Would a Ehlers for Montour deal work for Winnipeg after losing 3 dmen in Chariot Myers trouba.

    And Lyle what’s your take on all the young high end RFA’s? Who should get paid the most vs least?

    Hopefully Chevy gets Connor for $8M per max longterm and trades Laine. Haha

    • I think Marner’s getting between $10-$11 million per. Rantanen and Tkachuk could get up to $9.5 million each. Point will likely get $8 million per. Laine, Connor and Boeser are in the $7 million range. Werenski could seek $6 million per. McAvoy should also get that much but the Bruins could try to keep him around $5 million.

      • Leon Draisaitl or Seth Jones ? Who’s the better value contract ?

    • Montour for Ehlers? We keep Risto? I’ll take that deal. Have your people call my people.

    • Not happening Geoff, Botterill went out and got Montour bc he wanted him…it would be Risto if there was a trade of Ehlers to the Sabres were to happen. I think there would be more pieces added in a trade like that.

  5. Marner is getting paid! And the Leafs will sign him!

  6. Ho Sang for Pujularvi one for one, headache for headache. Both have potential but both could bust.


    • They both have there issues Ron, but Ho Sang is 23 where JP just turned 21 this off season. Just 2 years, but when you are 23 and recently benched by your AHL team, methinks the issues are more serious than JP’s.
      I don’t know much about the kid other than what I have read so the opinion of an Islander fan would be useful.
      JP is an NHL player today, just thinks he should be top 6, which he hasn’t earned. Now he is pouting and wants out.

  7. Thanks for specific numbers Lyle…..it takes confidence to write actual numbers before events unfold….

    Do you really think Marner is worth almost twice as McAvoy …and that Rantanen will get 1.5 less than him….or is this just the way you think it will turn out

    If those numbers turn out to be accurate….someone somewhere should be fired….Shanahan & Dubas because they gave that much away for a small player with one good year behind him……OR….. the agents for MacAvoy, Point, and Rantanen as they did not get their clients what others in the market are getting…and that a player not as valuable as them got far more than they did..

    I have long favoured trading Marner (in the minority there) as I believe many players playing with Tavares get points as a result of being there….the Sabres got stuck with Moulson….the Leafs will get stuck not with Marner as he is a good player….but Marner’s bad contract…..if they give the $ you suggest

    Upper management Cope & Tanenbaum should insist that the Marner contract not be in the hands of an inexperienced Dubas but that it be approved before signing by the full Board…

    Again thanks for the specific numbers ahead of events, ….I wonder which of the RFAs is first to sign….and I hope to God it is not Marner….

    I think I could find 10 wingers better than him and 40 NHL players more valuable than him…do you know what is the 40 th highest NHL salary

    • @OBD: Marner is good..yes he drives the play; but I too don’t think he’s worth what he thinks he is.

      I think TML want him signed anywhere from $9.5-10.5 per season; and not a nickel more; and if they cant, i think there will be a showdown; or a sit down; maybe an offer sheet too out of nowhere forcing a gun fight!

    • @old blue dog….

      i see how you are comparing Marner to other team’s players. I understand where you are coming from. I am looking at it from a different perspective. Marner is more valuable to TML than McAvoy is to BOS at this time..etc etc…

      Like the MVP voting. McDavid is the reason EDM is not worse but their team still sucks.

      TML losing Marner would hurt more than if they lose almost any other player except Matthews, JT & Reilly. He is that important to their team for THEM. Hence the $$ being asked.

      IMO he i worth it and Nylander should NOT have been signed for 6.9 so early. That caused the cap crunch and Marner knowing he is worth comparable to Matthews based on pts. 11 is fair 9m is below market value which was set by TML with Matthew’s contract.

      • Ihatecrosby: I don’t agree but I do appreciate the well thought out response. Just for the sake of irony….when I first saw Matthews play I thought his comparable was Crosby.

  8. NJ should see if they can snag Nylander from TML for Zacha.

    • @IHC: I too would enjoy seeing Nylander shipped out for Zacha;..but I think Dubas first wants to see what Nylander does at training camp and up until the US Thanksgiving and if. at that time, Nylander has kicked butt, he’ll likely trade him. I would; as his value would then be maximized. Just a thought

      • Joey…agreed taht is what Dubas would IDEALLY want. That being said, he cannot NOT lock in Marner pair to camp. NJ can send a 1st too. Think it would be a long term win for both teams.

      • Nylander’s play/results this coming year (25 goals and 45+ assists) will change the perception of that deal; and by the end of the contract it’ll look like a bargain.

  9. I am with old blue dog! Marner is not worth more than Point, or Rantenen or Tkachuk, o quite a few others…the litmus test is whether a GM would take him for a 1/2 d-man. Would CBJ give up Jones for Marner? Werenski? Dallas give up their young Finn? Would Hurricanes give up their number one d-man, Jacob….Marner for McAvoy? No, in each case. Marner is the product of a great marketing effort and John Tavares…….yes, he can dipsy-doodle but he can’t shoot and his size hinders his puck possession.

    • JT makes everyone great but Marner was putting up those numbers before JT too. Marner is the next Patrick Kane. More points than Matthews equals comparable contract and not 3 mill a year less. Marner IS that good.

      • He was? In what league? 25 points over previous career high in the NHL.

      • @Craig

        Matthews : 69 pts
        Marner : 61 pts

        Matthews : 63 pts
        Marner: 69 pts

        Marner then went on to have 94 pts in 2018-2019

        So comparable to Matthews. Matthews signed his deal prior to last season beginning. He ended the season with 73 compared to Marner’s 94. JT was supposed to take the matchups away from Matthews.

        Marner may gets less but around $11 is warranted based on the market set by TML themselves. Think after going from 69 to 94 pts Marner is going to accept 8m a year for 3 years? That is $3m less per year. Not going to happen.

      • I agree , 3×8 never happening , never said or thought it would. But you said he was putting up those numbers before ? 25 points over career high is not close to the same .
        Mitch /agent care about 1 comparable , Mathews and I agree he will be in the 11 range due to the leafs previous contract choices . Do I think he is worth 11 ? No , didn’t think Mathews was worth 11.6 on a 5 year term either, that would be well over mcdavid on 8 year term but after he got his ask , can’t blame Mitch for wanting his too after outscoring Mathews , staying healthy and pitching in on the pk .

      • Craig…agreed Matthews @ 11 is crazy too….
        but new NHL is paying for youth and what can be versus old men and what they did…. lol

    • Marner,ceci,hyman,bracco (add mid round picks if necessary) for seth jones and Josh anderson. Leafs then also sign gardiner with the cap savings from the trade.

      • Lol

      • Perchance to dream …