NHL Rumor Mill – September 20, 2019

by | Sep 20, 2019 | Rumors | 54 comments

Updates on Dustin Byfuglien, Patrik Laine, Mikko Rantanen, Brayden Point, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes Dustin Byfuglien’s decision to take a leave of absence from the Winnipeg Jets isn’t the action of someone who doesn’t intend to play this season. It’s believed the ankle injury that cost him 30 games last season never properly healed and continued to give him problems. General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will give Byfuglien as much time as he needs.

Dustin Byfuglien’s leave of absence from the Winnipeg Jets continues to fuel trade speculation (Photo via NHL Images).

Friedman notes there’s trade speculation linking the Jets to Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Justin Faulk and Buffalo Sabres rearguard Rasmus Ristolainen. However, if Byfuglien is returning at some point, the Jets must account for his $7.6-million salary-cap hit. That also doesn’t mean they can throw extra cash at restricted free agents Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman’s colleague Ryan Dixon is among those wondering if the Jets could pursue a top-four defenseman like Faulk. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun also pondered the possibility of the Jets looking at Faulk or Ristolainen.

The off-season departures of Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers, and Ben Chiarot depleted the Jets’ defense corps and linked them to Ristolainen earlier this summer. Byfuglien’s absence only heightens that speculation.

Friedman also looked at Laine’s contract impasse with the Jets and how his name is being floated as a trade candidate for a defenseman in the aftermath of the Byfuglien news. However, he considers that a hard trade to win. As for how much Laine seeks on his new contract, Friedman speculates it won’t be under $6 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine’s asking price could be much more than $6 million per season. Dixon suggested moving Laine might be worth exploring if it fetches two significant pieces on the blue line. It would also allow them to re-sign Kyle Connor. If Cheveldayoff is exploring that possibility he’s keeping those plans close to the vest. So far, there are no reports suggesting he’s looking into that option.

Friedman believes former Minnesota Wild Paul Fenton wanted to pursue a trade for Mitch Marner during the winger’s contract negotiations with the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, it never got far on a contract. Fenton has since been replaced by Bill Guerin while Marner re-signed a six-year deal with the Leafs.

Justin Faulk’s agent hesitated to say a potential trade to the Anaheim Ducks to be completely dead but Friedman thinks it looks that way. It’s believed the Faulk camp sought a new deal worth $6.75 million per season.

Buffalos Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen declined to say if he’s asked for a trade but other NHL clubs assume he has. A recent injury to Brandon Montour, however, could affect the Sabres’ decisions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun reports the Ducks checked into Ristolainen but the Sabres’ asking price was high. While he didn’t indicate what it was, rumors throughout the summer suggest they’d want a top-six winger.

The Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, and Calgary Flames were believed among the clubs looking at Dallas Stars d-man Julius Honka, though the Flames’ interest doesn’t appear recent.

The Vancouver Canucks have four or five players available but Friedman doesn’t believe forward Jake Virtanen is among them.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Colorado Avalanche made a long-term contract offer earlier this month to restricted free agent winger Mikko Rantanen. Since then, however, there hasn’t been much movement in negotiations. Rantanen’s agent Mike Liut recently suggested Toronto’s Mitch Marner as a comparable. However, LeBrun said the Avalanche won’t pay him the same as Marner, who’s earning an annual average value of $10.89 million.

SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston reports Brayden Point’s agent, Gerry Johansson, said they don’t appear close to signing a new contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. While he indicated talks are ongoing, they’re still a ways apart. The Lightning has around $8.4 million in salary-cap space. Johansson said Point is open to short- and long-term offers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s expected Rantanen will become the Avalanche’s highest-paid player. The question is, how much will his annual cap hit exceed superstar Nathan MacKinnon’s $6.3 million? There was speculation it could come in between $9 – $10 million per season.

As for Point, Lightning GM Julien BriseBois has over $67 million tied up in 13 players for 2020-21 with Mikhail Sergachev, Anthony Cirelli, and Erik Cernak becoming restricted free agents next summer. He’ll want to leave as much wiggle room as possible to accommodate those new deals next year.


  1. I don’t know where all this talk that Habs are interested in acquiring Laine is coming from. Just because they put an O.F. In front of Aho? Laine does not fit their need for a top 3 D or number one centre. Habs already have an underperforming diva in Drouin who took his ball and went home when playing for Tampa. Jets need a Dman back and Habs don’t have enough in their system to risk making their blue line weaker than it is. After Weber and Petry itbgjins quickly in terms of experience. Nope not a fit.

    • I haven’t heard any rumors linking the Habs to Laine. At least not by sports writers.

      If you have been following the Habs in pre season you will have seen there are several young D who are legitimate contenders to make the team. Their D will be solid, after a long run of mediocrity. Which is why rumors of their being interested in Honka are nonsense.

      • The Fourth Period.com’s David Pagnotta (a usually reliable source, at least to guys like Elliott Friedman, et.al) stated the Habs contacted the Jets last month about the possibility of trading for Laine.

        I am NOT saying it’s going to happen at all (don’t shoot the messenger), I just thought you should know that the source was credible.

      • Thanks Mark.

      • With DeAngelo signing today in NY for 1 year at $925,000 there are now 6 unsigned RFAs left (cap space/# of players at ML level according to CapFriendly)
        Connor & Laine – Wpg – $15,450,836 – 20 – no LTIR available
        Tkachuk – Cgy – $6,341,625 – 22 – LTIR of $894,166 for Valimaki available;
        Rantanen – Col – $15,615,239 – 23 – Cole’s $4,250,000 LTIR available to late Dec + the ELC amount for whoever is demoted if and when he signs
        Point – TB – $8,476,669 – 22 – no LTIR available – add in a possible $1.4 mil of Condon’s & Domingue’s cap hits if they remain healthy enough to be demoted
        Honka – Dal – $970,001 – 22 – Hanzal’s $4.75 mil LTIR available (Honka has asked to be traded)

        These 6 teams, while having everyone signed, are over the cap by the amount shown, so watch for other imminent roster moves as necessary (current # of players at the ML level also indicated – the 2 teams over 23 have the additional cap space of those demoted

        Toronto – $13,365,199 – 23
        Vancouver – $1,716,539 – 26
        Carolina – $2,254,791 – 25
        Washington – $1,364,294 – 23
        Buffalo – $1,059,824 – 23
        Pittsburgh – $331,625 – 23

        These are the teams with everyone signed and remaining cap space with ML level roster number as shown by CapFriendly – those showing 24 and over obviously will have additional cap space as dictated by who gets demored, while those below 23 will add in the cap space of the player(s) making up the difference – Florida, StL, NYR, Ariz are up tight
        Ottawa – $10,890,001 – 22
        Columbus – $10,765,918 – 22
        Anaheim – $8,500,242 – 21
        NJ – $6,461,667 – 22
        L.A. – $5,240,606 – 24
        Minn – $4,958,911 – 21
        NYI – $4,653,334 – 25
        Det – $4,270,457 – 22
        Mtl – $4,044,524 – 25
        SJ – $2,682,583 – 22
        Chi – $2,462,414 – 21
        Edm – $1,533,001 – 23
        Nash – $1,334,524 – 24
        Pha – $1,467,421 – 21
        Bos – $1,153,334 – 23
        Veg – $1,025,001 – 22
        Fla – $781,331 – 22
        StL – $495,406 – 24
        NYR – $235,201 – 23
        Ariz – $178,099 – 21

      • Which is exactly why they should not trade one of them they still need development. Unless another team is making an over the top offer it ain’t worth it sending Petry or a young D away while rest are coming into their game.

      • Thanks Mark. That one got by me.

      • The Habs got rid of players with the wrong attitude, why would they be interested in Laine’s.

    • Yes Laine is a slacker I dont want him on the habs.

      • Yes and as you say I don’t want any of the Habs on my Winnipeg Jets and I have been a Habs fan for over 60 years

    • Islanders have plenty to trade on D side so deep defensively with guys like Aho Dobson and Hickey with no room to get into top 6. Plenary of good youngD under cheap contracts. Islanders can offer Ryan Pulock who was in their number 1 pairing and led the league in GA They can even through in a Boychuck and keep some salary or a Hickey as a throw in the help their D depth. They have few good offensive prospects as well. Maybe Lou can convince them to take their former Capt. Ladd if they need help in the locker room back as well and sweeten it w a young prospect or draft pick and make it easier for them to want his contract

  2. Laine will be traded in the next two weeks: not sure where he will go but Montreal might be one destination: who else has both cap space and the willingness to risk $$ for the sake of a great return if he reaches his potential..but it is a risk because he does not seem able to accept his game needs a lot of work. Not sure what the market would be for him: Hurricanes? Flyers?

    • The teams with the most immediate cap space without further roster adjustments and players still to sign are
      (# of players at the ML level according to CapFriendly)
      Ottawa – $10,890,001 – 22
      Columbus – $10,765,918 – 22
      Anaheim – $8,500,242 – 21
      NJ – $6,461,667 – 22
      L.A. – $5,240,606 – 24

      Of the above I’d say Columbus might be the best bet

    • I’m not putting too much into the Laine to Montreal rumours. The Habs only have a little over $4 million in cap space (capfriendly). They would also have to cough up someone good as well.
      The only names I have heard is Domi and Petry. Domi has been loving Montreal and, I believe, is in contract extension talks. Petry would weaken the defense that needs to be strengthened. Not the ideal trade candidates.

    • Jon, not so sure this ends in 2 weeks. I agree with George that Chevvy can move on and turn Laine into a valuable asset, and that might become his only move if this standoff continues.
      Difficult to move a guy when the team you are trading with doesn’t want to pay him what he is asking for either. Especially, as Jon notes, his game needs a lot of work but wants to get paid like it doesn’t.
      If I am Buffalo, CLB or Carolina I definitely haven’t made my best offer yet. And if I have spoken to him about his contract demands and they were unreasonable…….
      Not much Chevvy can do in that situation to get a good return.
      Other than wait Laine out and get him signed to a reasonable # and then trade him. Maybe that happens in 2 weeks, I am really just spit balling. Would love to be a fly on the wall in WPG.

    • The Flyers decline.

    • Laine, 3rd in 2020 & Roslovic or Veselainen to Carolina

      Pesce & Svechnikov to Winnipeg


      If the Jets don’t do something about their D they might not make the playoffs this year. And that’s assuming. Connor and Laine resign. Hopefully Buff sits through camp and maybe a month of the season then comes back.

      What’s up with the rumours of dressing room issues with the Jets?

      • So, two good players on bargain deals (a No. 2/No.3 D at a low $4m and a 2nd line forward on an ELC) for a 1-dimensional scorer reportedly looking for ~$7M? Into a Hurricanes team that is currently over the cap, no less.

        Hard pass.

      • No its not realistic because Carolina is not trading trading Svechnikov. He has the work ethic and attitude to go with his talent and will be an elite player in a few years. He is also very coachable and is well respected by veteran players.

        I think Carolina’s trades Faulk this year and Hamilton next year if they are not willing to sign a team friendly contract. Ron Francis was pretty smart to lock up Pesce and Slavin early in their careers for 9.325 million combined.

        It appears Faulk will be traded before the season starts, which I believe to be a mistake. They should at least get through the first three months of the season with defensive pairings they know will work before trading Faulk. My preference would be to sign Faulk and trade Hamilton if one of them had to go before the start of the season.

    • I am sure Hurricanes would love to pair Laine with Aho, but not sure Canes have enough to send back to cover what they would need to sign Laine for.

  3. Hard to believe anyone would leave $15m on the table. Buff will be back.

    I heard from a reliable source that both Tkachuk and Point are being low balled on a bridge deal. As in closer to $5m rather than the $9-$10m being reported. Not sure either at this juncture are willing to accept

    • It’s hard to believe someone would leave $14m on the table, yes; but if one player would very well could be big Buff, never been a fan of the spotlight, we would much rather go fishing then play hockey, he is a very low key kind who like to have fun but isn’t having fun anymore.

      This could lead to why isn’t he having fun? I can tell you living in Winnipeg there is a lot of chatter about the tam chemistry and something is going on in their dressing room, don’t want to speculate hearing different things but players have made comments as such even Wheeler comment about players needing to be held by the hand or cuddled. This isn’t a tight knit group, this isn’t to say this is why Buff isn’t there but could’ve made his decision easier.

      • It’s weird, Caper, but this is starting to sound like a carbon-copy of the Sens situation. From one step away from glory to disaster. Cliques, dressing-room lawyers perhaps – and everyone at the centre of those rumours – and let’s be clear, that’s all they are, unsubstantiated rumours and chatter – is gone from Ottawa. And from my viewpoint, the ONLY regrettable departure was Stone – and you couldn’t really blame him, given the prospect of a long re-build.

        Let’s hope there’s nothing of that sort to the ‘Peg chatter floating about because, with the right moves involving Laine (and getting Connor signed SOON is imperative), they could shore things up fairly quickly. Let’s hope so because the last thing we need to see is 5 of the 7 Canadian-based franchises on the outside looking in again.

      • George O, nice signing by Ottawa yesterday also as you mentioned with White signing send a different message to the fan base and potential ufa’s down the road.

        There just too much chatter in Winnipeg and lots of rumblings about the dressing room I go with the old saying “where there is smoke there is fire”

        Could be a simple as Wheeler and Scheifele and their intensity and wanting other players to play the same way and do things they never done before a simple as blocking shots is rubbing some the room way.

        Or it could be someone doing something with someone whom they shouldn’t be doing it with.

        It’s like the National Enquirer out here. Every corner has a new tale to tell.

      • Ya Caper, rumors and “theories” can take on a life of there own and become truths in some folks heads.
        I understand why Wheeler and Scheifele are as intense and demanding as they are. Careers are short and windows to legitimately compete for cups are even shorter. They are the type of guys you win with.
        I also understand the frustration when team mates do not. But the bottom line is many people simply don’t have the same drive as others.
        Can’t force people to do anything and persuading people to want to do what you want them to do is complicated and often requires more finesse than force. Finesse was not part of any team culture I was part of, let alone an NHL team where the stakes are sky high.
        The B’s seem fairly adept at bringing the young guys into the fold and having them buy in. They treat the same as the vets right off the bat. No hierarchy. But they also had their days when Bergy was ripping guys (Spooner) on the bench on their way to just missing the playoffs.
        Some guys never come around, best to get them out earlier rather than later.
        No idea where Jet’s players like Laine fit on that scale, but if it is a problem, they best get a handle on it.

    • But it’s easier if you have 40 million in the bank.

      • George, “let’s be clear…” sounds like an American politician just before an attack. Just sayin’

  4. Chevy usually makes pretty shrewd moves. But he needs defense now. So who does he go after with Laine.

    Or is all this trade talk just fluff.

    I wish the Sens would offersheet Mathew Tk.

    • Dark g the issue with trading Laine is two fold for me

      1. he is a pure goal scorer if not the best release in hockey he is only behind Ovi and you can’t teach that skill so you could be potentially giving up a perennial 40 goal scorer if not 50

      2. With the disastrous second have last season, a concern is now there is Laine can be more then a PP specialist or can he evolve his game and become for elusive and get open for his scoring chances. His second have may a diminished the return he could bring in a trade and compounding that is his salary demand which I don’t know what it is at the moment but I do know he doesn’t like Winnipeg offer or otherwise he be at training camp.

  5. Off topic, but does anyone know how it works for Rangers and Girardi’s announces retirement today? Does NY get any cap relief from buy out hit?

    • Keep an eye on CapFriendly Slick62 – they’re usually pretty quick with the adjustments. The DeAngelo signing was factored in this morning but they’re still showing the Girardi buyout numbers to 2022-23

      $3,611,111 $1,111,111 $1,111,111 $1,111,111

      Maybe they got wind of the Girardi plans and that’s why they felt comfortable with DeAngelo’s signing.

      • George, was thinking same, until I see DeAngelo took the low ball offer. Hard to believe he didn’t get an offer sheet of at least 2.1m… would’ve only cost a team a 3rd rounder

      • DeAngelo has a huge buyer beware tag still. No one wants to bring him into their room and still have to negotiate with him. He is easier to move now with this affordable 1 year contract.

        Will not be surprised to see him dealt if his continues to play well

  6. my feeling on the Laine contract is that the impasse needed a crisis to get people thinking rationally again. Between Buff contemplating retirement (really hoping this is more about dodging training camp) and controversial remarks in Finland forcing Laine to contact teammates to apologize, the crisis we see may help get contract talks moving along.

    A 1-2y bridge around 6m seems like the best way forward though I suspect Chevy would take a chance on a long term deal identical to Morrissey’s 8y, 50m deal.

  7. It looks 2 me like Brisbois is doing some smart things.
    Getting Moody for 1 & so far what he is doing w/ Point.

    • Moody?

      • oops-Pat Maroon-

    • Casper

      Reading North to south on posts today so didn’t immediately catch your correction response to George….. at first read I didn’t know if u were surmising on Brisbois’ demeanour or if there was a UFA named Moody I hadn’t heard about.

      Glad I scrolled down some more before posting… LOL


      • well Pengy- u might b 2 something w/ B’s demeanor-
        getting Shattenkirk could b a disaster-Maroon looks awesome 2 me-

      • Doesn’t hurt to have a recent SC winner – with some sand – in the dressing room of a talent-laden team that somehow lost its way in the 1st round last spring. But they do need to get Point signed. Someway. Somehow.

      • Maroon always good

        St L just didn’t have the fit/room this year

  8. It seems avs and rants agent are at an impasse…. avs not moving off a long term $8.5 mil deal and agent wants “Marner” $…..looks like Rants might be enjoying the Swiss league for $700k

  9. Bunch of waivers today the most recognizeable of which are Domingue and Condon by TB and Beleskey by NYR. Here’s the link – anyone with knowledge of the various systems see any possible hidden gems in the others?


    • Thanks for the link George

      Not sure who might pick up either of the 2 Bolts Gs

      Seth Jones Bro’ Caleb in Ed was sent down ; I thought he had a shot this year 🧐

      Some team might take a flyer on Dotchkin at League Min…. this waiver was easy to see with the backend StL has and they are still sitting with 8 D ; 24 players on Roster …. I would think it’s MacEachern or Pouliot that is the next to be waived.

      Jordan Nolan also waived …. again a team may take a flyer on him

      Dotchkin AHL $’s …. $425 K
      Nolan’s …. $300 K

      These are the prices of depth insurance

      Dotchkin dropped 30 lbs in a year…..I’d take him any day over Ruhweedel (Pens depth insurance RHD) who is guaranteed $700 K (up OR down) for the next 2 years …. ouch! 😢😡

  10. IHC

    Haven’t heard back from you re: Ur negotiation assignments

    Rangers tight in space; same for Pens:


    To Wild: Smith ($500 K retained) and Bjug

    To : Rangers : JJ ($1M retained)

    To : Pens : Brodin


    Wild : gain a player (Minnesota lad) decrease Cap space by $3.8 M ; at the expense of replacing Smith for Brodin; start season with $1.2 M in Cap space

    Rangers :a flip of problem children ; save extra $1.6 M in space (note $500 K retained on Smith but JJ has $1M retained …. 23 on Roster; $1.8 M in space

    Pens: lose a net roster player; lose a nightmare ; gain $2.2M in cap space ; gain (over JJ) a LHD; at the expense of losing Bjug; then waive Ruhweedel ; now at $2.6 M in space ; use $1.5 M to promote two WBS depth wingers …. start season with 23… $1.1 M in space

    Can I have an Amen good Sir

    • Just what NY needs, yet another anchor contract on defense. Because Staal, Shattenkirk buyout, Girardi buyout isn’t enough? Not to mention the logjam at left in NY as it is!

      Ny is by far the biggest loser of this trade. Why retain 500k on Smith and take JJ back? To save a couple of 100k? And add 2 years of term in the process?
      Yeah, I see a quick hang up on that call.

      Another swing and miss. JJ is staying put. This has got to be the most painful thing to see here DAILY by far.

      • Hi NY4Life

        I live the pain

        I thought you guys abhorred Smith

        Was just thinking outside of the box (painful box that it is) to come up with a resolution that saves Pens playoff streak and Benefits other teams in some way

        Re: the retention of $500 K on Smith…. JJ coming over at $2.25M; if push comes to shove ; the Smith $500 K retention can be dropped; freeing up an additional $500 K Cap for NYR at the expense of Pens

        IHC had come up with a great trade with Oil; that had JJ sauntering West ; but he (IHC) hasn’t come through yet to close the deal

        No matter what ; Pens have to make a move to start the season

        At 23 on roster and already over by $ 0.3 M…. so they either waive somebody and start at 22 right up against the Cap; or make a trade that nets Cap space …. both Bjug and Rust have been bandied around by Media as the sacrificial lambs

        I’m just an arm-chair QB/GM rationalizing ANY move that GMJR can make that rids JJ

        I know I’ve repeated this many times and it sounds like a broken record Mantra; but I honestly believe it to be 100 % true …. if JJ is played as a regular on the Pens …. ZERO chance at a cup; ABSOLUTELY ZERO; and in addition, a chance at just missing the playoffs.

        However, just sitting (for the year) or waiving JJ ; and doing nothing else; gives Pens a very good shot at winning the Div.

        One small step Jimbo …. and …., 👍👍👍👍👍👍

      • What if it was Staal moving instead of Smith?

  11. Pengy why don’t ya offer Guerin

    to Minny: Bjugstad & JJ ($1m retained)
    to Pitts: Rask

    you save $ that way
    get a #3 center
    and finally ri of JJ

    and don’t need my help with Holland in EDM lol

    • Hi IHC

      There you are

      Please continue with Ed

      I normally would say any deal to get rid of JJ ; but that is major overpay ; major

      Rask per Minni Media is their JJ; akin to Loui in Van…. 3 more years at $4 M

      if Pens had the Cap space … a straight up swap might be it… having Pens retain $1 M and give up Bjug is major over pay

      …. JJ & Bjug & ZAR ($8.35M)

      for Rask & Staal ($7.25M)

      Staal becomes 3C

      Rask buried; Ruhweedel waived ….$2.6 M to bring up 2 WBS fwds or 2 UFAs and have Cap left over


      JJ & Bjug & ZAR ($8.35M)

      for Rask & Brodin ($8.3M)

      Bury Rask; waive Ruhweedel

      I still like ur Ed deal but the most obvious and easiest deal is

      JJ for Kessler ( if he’ll waive his NTC)

      Or JJ for Eaves

      Once either Kessler or Eaves on LTIR…. $3.25 M in Cap freed up


  12. Here’s a sweet deal, maybe, possibly. Three way deal between Pittsburgh, Winnipeg and Los Angeles.

    Penguins get: Penguins lose:
    R Patrik Laine R Bryan Rust
    D Neal Pionk D Kris Letang
    D Alec Martinez D Jack Johnson
    R/L Ilya Kovalchuk C/W Nick Bjugstad

    Jets get: Jets lose:
    D Kris Letang D Neal Pionk
    R Tyler Toffoli 2020 1st Round Pick

    Kings get: Kings lose:
    C/W Nick Bjugstad R Tyler Toffoli
    R Bryan Rust R/L Ilya Kovalchuk (ret. sal.)
    D Jack Johnson D Alec Martinez
    2020 1st Round Pick

    • Wow

      3 team; 10 player plus 1st rounder deal …. that quite literally would be historical

      I haven’t looked closely but do the Cap numbers work to net Pens at least $8 M? They are already over and would still need to sign PL

    • You missed losing Laine on the Jets side. So Winnipeg gets Letang and Toffoli and lose Laine, Pionk and a 1st round pick. Winnipeg says thanks but No.