Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 25, 2019

by | Aug 25, 2019 | Rumors | 57 comments

The latest on Jake Gardiner, Jesse Puljujarvi, Patrick Marleau, and Rasmus Ristolainen in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas wants to re-sign winger Mitch Marner and bring back Jake Gardiner. The former Leafs defenseman remains an unrestricted free agent but his first choice is to return to the Leafs. Salary-cap constraints, however, makes this a difficult task.

Simmons said he was told the only way the Leafs could pull this off is by signing Marner to a bridge contract and then sign Gardiner, resulting in a trade of Kaperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson. “And still that might not be doable.” Simmons doubts this can happen but the Leafs could feel otherwise.

MAPLE LEAFS HOT STOVE: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s take on Gardiner’s situation during a recent discussion on Marner’s current contract status. He doesn’t think the blueliner is waiting on the Leafs and believes he’d be skating on the third pairing.

Friedman said he’s heard rumors Gardiner is waiting for a team to make a move. He telt the Arizona Coyotes had some interest and also wondered if the Buffalo Sabres might come calling if they trade Rasmus Ristolainen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gardiner’s ongoing availability in the UFA market makes him a subject of interest in a quiet NHL rumor mill. I agree with Simmons that the odds are long for a return to the Leafs. But as he also pointed out, Dubas has demonstrated this summer he’s capable pulling off moves to free up cap room to make the deals he wants. Maybe he has one more trick up his sleeve to sign Marner and bring back Gardiner.

Failing that, Gardiner will feel pressure to sign with somebody before training camp opens next month. Cap Friendly indicates the Coyotes are bumping against the $81.5-million salary cap. If they sign Gardiner they’ll have to shed salary to become cap compliant before the season opens in October.

The Sabres could be an intriguing option if they ship out Ristolainen but that’ll depend upon the return and the effect on their cap space. They’re currently sitting just over $1 million above the cap.

Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi remains a hot topic in the rumor mill. (Photo via NHL Images)


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports sources claiming Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi is attracting only tepid interest in the trade market. He thinks it’s more likely the unhappy Puljujarvi accepts a one-year, $200K contract in Finland.

Leavins feels the winger’s value is greater in Edmonton than anywhere else, citing their depth issues on the right wing. Oilers GM Ken Holland can’t allow the franchise to walk away from another first-round pick for nothing.

Turning to unrestricted free agent winger Patrick Marleau, Leavins said there are reports the former Leaf and San Jose Shark would be interested in signing with the Oilers. Nevertheless, he feels Marleau is more likely to sign with the Sharks.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont notes Puljujarvi doesn’t yet have a job lined up in Finland or elsewhere. “He just may have to come back hat in hand to new Oilers GM Ken Holland”, said Dupont.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes the Pittsburgh Penguins should attempt to acquire Puljujarvi. Earlier this summer, the Penguins “made contact with Edmonton but did not like the price, believed to be Bryan Rust.” Kingerski wondered if Holland might be tempted by a prospect or a forward with 40-point potential like Dominik Simon and Dominik Kahun.

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell wondered if UFA forward Riley Sheahan might be a good fit for the Oilers as their No. 3 center. He suggested Sheahan could be an affordable short-term fix in the faceoff circle and on the penalty kill, plus he’d provide a veteran presence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Gardiner, Puljujarvi’s been a fixture in this summer’s rumor mill. From what I’ve read and heard, Holland hasn’t been impressed by the offers he’s received thus far.

Puljujarvi has more value to the Oilers than anyone else right now but he’s also not a core player. His absence won’t significantly hurt the Oilers this season. Holland has stared down other young players in the past who tried to force his hand. He’ll do the same with Puljujarvi. If there’s no trade to be had, Puljujarvi will face playing in Europe or sitting out the season.

As for Marleau and Sheahan, the latter would be a better addition to the Oilers. The decline in Marleau’s performance over the last two seasons will only continue for the soon-to-be 40-year-old. He also skates at left wing and the Oilers need help on the right side. Sheahan could be a good fit centering one of their checking lines but it remains to be seen if Holland is even in the market for a center.



  1. Got a chuckle out of this line from Simmons column this morning

    “The challenge for Bill Guerin as new general manager of the Minnesota Wild is to get younger. Guerin played against Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Devan Dubnyk, Mikko Koivu and Eric Staal and he retired nine years ago”

    • Welcome to the Minnesota Retirement home.

      • LOL. Hey, I can relate Ron.

  2. The remaining UFA’s are largely in a holding pattern until the RFA’s cap space issues get clarified.

    On the bright side, September should be a busy month; with either trades, signings or other news about who’s left to deal with and why.

  3. Steve Simmons is basically Toronto’s answer to Brendan Kelly. After signing Johnsson and Kapanen to affordable deals, Dubas will not trade them merely to open up cap space for Gardiner.
    I attended university during the turbulent economic times of the early 1980’s. There was an economics professor who had an editorial cartoon on his door which showed the door of the office of an economics professor featuring a sign that said “Your guess is as good as mine”. That is basically the situation with Gardiner now. Nobody really knows.

    • You got it Howard. Great analogy. Unfortunately, adopting that approach is not conducive to fulfilling column requirements. So they speculate.

      • Pretty sure 3/4 of the drivel Brooks or Eklund write is completely made up tripe just to have a column to print.

    • Simmons is the Delphic Oracle compared to that mope Kelly. Kelly knows nothing and says it poorly. A sad state of affairs at the Gazette when readers go from having Red Fisher to someone who was recycled from writing hot dog stand reviews.

    • I’m actually beginning to think that with every team near the cap, there are more players that feel they are $5M + hockey players than there is $$$ to go around. Basically they’ve inflated themselves out of work. Cap is going away, league needs to maintain balance. Players are either going to have to come to terms with being paid less money than they feel/believe they are worth, or go play in Europe or Russia. The market just isn’t going to support everyone’s over inflated evaluation of themselves. The elite should be paid their due if that’s what they want, but need to be prepared to potentially spend their prime earning years surrounded by low/mid-range talent. 1 player doesn’t make a team, and the sooner they realize that, the better it will be for us fans of the game.

      • Cap isn’t going away…

      • Agree Leafmedic – which is why I think the time is ripe for an upstart league a-la WHA. There are enough big centres around, including new teams in NY, LA, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal that could pose a problem for the NHL.

      • I’ve enjoyed your alternative league stuff George. But look at the nfl. The most lucrative league and sport in northern merica. How often has a rival league been realistically competitive? Xfl Mach 2 is starting… have any real hope for success??

      • I dunno Chrisms. Just got the feeling that, if there’s a work stoppage – again – in the NHL, that would be the time for a new alternative league to form up IF they can grab coast-to-coast TV coverage in the absence of the NHL. Something like that, along with drafting and signing up all the UFAs/RFAs floating about, could just do the trick in getting established.

    • Not that I’m his agent or anything but Steve Simmon’s column on Saturdays is usually worth reading. His hockey stuff is only part of the piece and there are always things of interest to sports fans.
      He wrote a great column recently about how baseball has changed and the negative effect those changes (infield shifts, more homers and strikeouts) have taken away a lot of the fun plays to watch during the game.

  4. I know Rust is a solid player for Pittsburgh but Rust for PJ is not a bad idea for pittsburgh to consider to clear some cap in hopes of adding additional depth. PJ is younger by 6 years and may look good on a line with Malkin.

    Balancing the cap for both rosters would be the tricky part but it is still possible. Perhaps EDM takes on JJ as well and send back something else to balance it all out

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

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

    JJ for Manning is a wash in salary with the $ retained.

    EDM has 2.4 and can trade off an asset to make the acquisition of Rust possible. Only scene the rumor is they asked for Rust for PJ

    • “JJ for Manning is a wash in salary with the $ retained“

      Except those pesky extra 3 years Johnson has on his contract.

      • NY4Life


        This is a done deal as far as I’m concerned …. IHC is in a teleconference now with Jimmy and Kenny smoothing out the fine print


    • If gmjr had that deal of rust for jp and didn’t take it it’s a shame. I doubt teams get any value at all for their nessesary cost cutting trades. Some may have to pay for the trades. To get a potential solid asset back would be a steal.

      • Pj looks a lot like Yak part deux. Coming off double hip surgery, publicly asking for a trade and convinced he’s a top 6 guy, I fail to see a great amount of potential here.
        His numbers say he is more hype than anything.

      • Chrisms

        IHC’s 4 player swap with $1N retained by Pens is absolute music to my ears

        This trade is a win win win (that’s both teams and me 🤓😁)

        It’s out there now …. just need to close the deal; waive Ruhweedel ; take the $4M in Cap space and sign Pettersson and JP


      • Another weird thing with you pengy. Chad has been a serviceable 7th for a few years. Not someone I want as a routine top 6 but can hold his own even after sitting for weeks at a time. That’s a skill set that’s valuable. Reminds me of good ol Ian Moran.

      • Ny. Agreed. But the potential in return for cap space? This market I’m all about it. I don’t doubt that Crosby could guentzel him up a bit.

      • Hi Chrisms

        Sorry but here I must disagree

        He’s been a 7th D in the press box for gobs of time and when brought up to fill in 3rd pairing he did not fair well at all; he was very poor on D …. 18 games with a minus 9 …. extrapolating a full season that’s minus 41.

        He also has trouble (serious trouble) with the breakout pass.

        Trottman is a much better Dman; is bigger , stronger and can do the breakout pass much much better

        Trottman (a rightie) CAN and has , play/played both RD and LD

        Ruhweedel pretty well plays exclusively as RHD

        Too much is made in Ruhweedel being there as he is a RHD option…. what about Trottman who is much better

        Both signed for $700 K * 2 in the NHL but Trottman only gets $400 K if sent down while Ruhweedel gets $700 Kno matter where he is …, press box , Pens, WBS

        Add to that …. Ruhweedel was extended 5 weeks B4 Trottman

        …. there was absolutely no rush to sign Ruhweedel in May … he was under contract until 1/7 and I can all but guarantee that he had no interest from any other team

        Another Jimbo strange signing

        A D of

        Tanger Dumo

        Shultz Pettersson

        Gundbranson Rikkilo/Trottman

        7th : Rikkila/Trottman

        …. can possibly get Pens 1st in Div

        A D that has JJ as a reg will have IMO equal probability of (1) first round exit ; and (2) just missing the playoffs

        Now a D with JJ as a reg and Ruhweedel as a 7th that plays say 15 games this year…. the above listed equal probability, IMO , then skews 60%/40% in favour of just missing the playoffs

        Taking it further …. if those 15 Ruhweedel games have him paired with JJ …. make it 70%/30%

        IHC has saved the day with his proposed deal of Rust + JJ ($1M retained) for JP and Manning……. GGGGGGGGRRRRRREEEEEEAAAAATTTTT deal

        Waive Ruhweedel …$4M extends Petterson and signs JP …. some GF lost but massively massively massively compensated for by the gains in replacing JJ & Ruhweedel with Pettersson and Manning

        IHC …. hows the deal going?


    • IHC

      I was out for the day and just reading this now

      I realize you dislike my future son-in-law (hence the handle ); so you won’t be invited to the wedding.

      However ; you may have saved my sanity and in doing so; if you can get Jimbo to make this deal; I owe you a few rounds 👍🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺🥃🥃🥃🥃🥃🥃🥃🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

      Great trade proposal … absolutely sound both ways

      Holland has the benefit of being able to bury JJ (which to date GMJR seems to be clueless to)…..that frees up $1.08M .. so that fits in Rust

      Ed gets a speedy winger

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


      JJ and Ruhweedel replaced by Pettersson and Manning is a GIANT MASSIVE GARGANTUAN etc etc etc leap in potential outlook… that move alone should have Pens battling for Div lead if not winning it

      JP filling in for Rust will cost a few goals but this is waaaaaaayyyyyyy more than compensated for with the movement out of JJ (and of course Ruhweedel)

      Thank you
      Thank you
      Thank you kind sir

  5. Jasper Fast and A Georgiev to Edmonton for Puljujarvi.
    Skjei to Detroit for AA

    • Leaves a horrible hole on the left side. Skjei is their only good Dman on the left side. He will be the #1 paring with Trouba. It also creates additional logjam upfront unless others go.

      Not a bad idea for PJ BUT Namestnikov would have to move, or Strome as they are getting crowded in their top 9 as PJ wouldn’t be playing 4th line duty like Fast.

      Now Kreider for AA plus might not be bad.

      Ideally Smith for Ericsson LOL

      • I don’t see a “horrible hole”on left side. We’re stuck with Staal and Smith on left side for next 2 seasons. May not love them, but Quinn likes the experience they bring. Dealing from position of strength, I can see 2 of Hajek, Rykov, and Lindgren cracking roster out of camp. I think Miller plays 1 more year of college, and makes team next season. With Zib as #1 center, I don’t see a legit 2c. Unlike my fans, I don’t see Chytil filling that role. I’m more confident that maybe Kakko or Kravtsov could fill role but would prefer both stay on wing. Adding AA for Skjei would give us a legit top 2 young centers. Moving Skjei salary would give more wiggle room this year to sign 2 rfa’s. 3 if you count Puljujarvi. Fast plays up and down lineup. I’d rather keep Kreider as I see him as more of an impact player than Skjei.

      • > not “my fans.” Lol. Many fans! I have none. Chytil 1 full year in, I think he’s a good top 9 player. I just don’t think he’s an nhl center. Terrible in his end, worst +|- on team. 1 of worst face off guys in league. Strome shot a ridiculous 22% last year. I see him more as a bottom 6 guy, won’t be back next season unless it’s for half of what he’s making now. Even then, too many young guys that need to keep getting more minutes.

      • Chance Smith is a starter in NY on defense this year? Very slim. I don’t even seeing him playing on the 4th line as he did so often last year.

        This roster is too different than last year to have smith on it. He’ll be playing in the Ahl unless there is an injury.

        Nys top 6 is set. The bottom 6 over crowded already. Fast, Howden, Namestikov, Kravstov, Chytl, Andersson, Nieves, Mckegg, Lemieux , Lettieri, and Gettinger.

        Defense, Skjei, Trouba
        Hajek, Deangelo
        Fox, Staal
        Rykov, Lindgren

    • Hi Slick62

      Sorry but I’ve accepted IHC’s Pens/Oil deal

      “Called it”
      “ Stamped it”

      “No changeees”

  6. Frolik and a 4th rounder for Puljujarvi.
    Flames need to shed salary, Oilers get a good veteran player who is good in all situations and can score 15 to 20 goals

    • The oilers also get 2 million over the cap….

  7. Off topic but there are some players who just can’t get any respect from teams.
    Patrick Maroon is one of those guys.
    He must have a bad agent or just loves playing so much he doesn’t care how little he is paid.
    I thought he could have got at least 1.5 or even 2 million verses the 900k he signed for.
    Every team has 3rd and 4th line stiffs making over 2 million, Maroon played an important 3rd line role in St Louis cup victory.
    I just don’t get it

    • Not only that leblanc for San Jose got roasted by lots of people for signing for 1 million.
      And Maroon is smart for signing for 900 k. lol
      I personally think they both did alright.
      Looks like they think about the team as well.

  8. Can’t resist commenting on Marner….as some of you know IMO overrated big time….Kucherov 123 points 9.5 million dollars….many others way better than Marner make reasonable money….if Matthews contract is bad (IMO it is) than that is the last comparison Dubas should permit…

    Fortunately for all you Leaf fans I have the answer ( not really but it would stir the drink)….that is sign Gardiner for exactly the amount that would let Marner get 8 million…publish that fact and sit back

    Marner’s agent….his father Paul….and if they deign to include Marner in the discussion would know what is left for Marner without negotiating with them

    They then…… accept….ask for a trade ….sign an offer sheet and it is over

    This would end the tooth ache Marner is becoming….I hope he takes an option that gets him out of Dodge….this from a Leaf fan

    • OBD
      I agree, with your stance on Marner and extend that to all the RFA’s. The last CBA Gary gave all the teams control on their RFA’s and in true fashion GM,s are blowing it. Everyone of these RFA’s should be signed to a bridge deal no more than 6 million for 2 or three years or they should sit out.
      Dubas screwed up last year signing Nylander at the last minute. He should have let him sit then told him here is a 4.5 million dollar offer take it or leave it.
      That would make agents and players think twice about playing hard ball.
      The only player I can see signing a 6 or seven year deal is Point, and he should sign for 8.5 million

    • No tax in Tampa! That’s why those players are taking less cap hit, if kucherov was in Toronto he would be more than Matthews

      • NHL should make cap adjustments to cover states with no taxes. If the cap for Tampa and Florida (and other no tax states) is 81million then the NHL and NHLPA should adjust the cap to 83 or 84 million for teams in states with taxes and teams in Canada with a lower valued dollar. Set it up so cap adjustments for all teams are in place by the end of the Stanley Cup Finals. That levels the playing field for all teams with enough time to plan for their RFAs or UFA signings.

        (I just made up the $$ numbers, no actual clue as to tax levels or dollar values elsewhere).

      • Ron Jull
        Gary will never aloud to this. He would have a heart attack if money from Canada would be equal to this from Florida.
        Sure, this would make the league more competitive, and money from Toronto, NY will have the same value in Tampa (cap hit). But that’s impossible,

      • Not true, Kucherov took less money two contracts in a row to help team. Some players care about money more than winning. Marner won’t take a dime less and I’m sure wants way too much more than any winger in NHL history

      • Mayt what about matthews? Marner has outplayed him as an all around game since they game into the league matthews is overpaid if you’re looking at players that will help win the cup more

    • @OBD: That’s not a bad idea at all. Dubas should never have signed Nylander but rather just let him sit but that ship has sailed.

      Perhaps if the other GM’s adopted your proposed philosophy, then things might look quite different than they do now.

      I don’t begrudge the players asking for whatever they think than get. Why not? We all would if we were in their shoes but there will come a breaking point where this is all we got to give; if that doesn’t work for you, there’s always the KHL or the Swiss League or take the year off and see how that works for you.

    • Sounds good, but probably not going to happen

  9. Mike Johnson mentioned on the NHL Network over a week ago that Jake Gardiner was likely going to Montreal. Is there any chance that’s happening?

    • Anything’s possible. They need depth on the left side. They’ve got $4 million in cap space but could free up a little more by demoting a player or two.

      • Hello Alzner and his $4,625,000 in the Montreal suburb of Laval!

      • The issue with the Habs signing Gardiner right now is no longer the cap – they have the space. And at this point I doubt it’s his contract demand. It’s the log jam it would create on the left side.
        I agree that Gardiner would become their top LD. And a fringe player like Mike Reilly could easily be dumped off to a team with need for depth at LD. But that leaves Chiarot, Mete and Kulak. Bergevin does not wish to trade any of them right now, especially Mete. Nor would he want to sit any of them. Especially since any Gardiner signing is likely to be of the one year “prove it” variety.

        The only possible solution I see is if the Habs decide to play Juulsen in the AHL for more seasoning in view of his missing most of last season with injury and then move Mete or (more likely) Kulak to the right side.

  10. Gardiner is not returning to the Leafs: why would he given the way he is treated by fans? He is no longer the right fit if he ever was…..and I still want Marner gone..he is an irritant, a distraction and overrated due to the points total…….find a trade partner in the west and let him think about his prior testimony that he wants to be a leaf forever-his boyhood dream? His dream is dollar signs, not Cups!!

  11. Enough with the taxes.
    1 bedroom apartment in the city centre to rent
    Toronto $2100 Canadian
    Miami $2500 Canadian
    New York $4000 Canadian
    So taxes or no taxes why would anyone want to play in New York??
    Also, I think the endorsement $ would be greater in TO then Miami.
    Bring back the days where the conversation was about the teams and players, not the money

    • Yes guy,
      I’ve brought this up many times. Where do you stop to make it fair? The cost of living in NY is 130% higher than the national average, the cost in Pittsburgh is -1% below the national average.

      LA is probably way up there in cost of living. Where do you start and stop?

      I think 3 teams actually operate in the green from gate revenue. NY, Toronto and Montreal. Maybe it’s time for a soft cap with similar penalties to the mlb for crossing the cap.

      The marlins exist because they have taken in more in revenue sharing per year than they typically spend on payroll.

  12. Yes guy, I agree. The salary cap and what a player makes should be their business
    I think what it is , is the NHL figured out how to get the book worms involved. They like their money too.
    Growing the fan base.

  13. I don’t get all the fans here (NY included) drooling over Puljujarvi? What am I missing here? The guy has bust written all over him! How does draft position overwrite talent? He seems to be leaning towards bust rather than a guy with potential. I’d probably keep 95%+ of the players in trade proposals made here over Puljujarvi.

    People are complaining about Marner as a daily topic. Puljujarvi? Aye aye aye.


    • Kinda like another 1st round pick – 10th overall in 2009 – with a similar sounding name by the geniuses in Edmonton, Magnus Paajarvi, who scored a hilite-reel goal his first season that was played over and over most of that 2010-11 season. 9 years and 4 teams later he’s another unemployed UFA. At least in his case he did get 15g 19s 34 pts that first season – but then flatlined. So far he’s played 467 NHL games with 62g 62a 124 pts.

      I doubt he gets another anywhere.

      • Prior to playing in Chicago, Strome played 48 games over 3 years in the NHL.

        Puljujarvi Has played 139 nhl games over 3 years…..

        Also didn’t have hip surgery etc.

        I think it would be a bad idea to look at Stromes success and bank on lightning striking twice.

        Odds are not in his favor.

    • When a guy is a former first round pick there is always a team who thinks they can fix him. Especially top picks. Really sad

      • I’m sure Chicago is terribly disappointed with stromes season last year. Those pesky 1st round pick reclaimation projects

      • Wrong place… oooops see above..

        I’ll see your Strome and raise you a Yak!