NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2019

by | Sep 23, 2019 | Rumors | 38 comments

Rumors persist linking the Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen to the Jets, plus updates on Sonny Milano and Matt Benning in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports a recent hand injury to Brandon Montour could ensure Rasmus Ristolainen starts this season with the Sabres. Nevertheless, the 25-year-old defenseman remains a fixture in NHL trade rumors. 

Trade speculation continues to swirl about Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (Photo via NHL Images).

Harrington notes there’s no shortage of intrigue with the Winnipeg Jets after Dustin Byfuglien was suspended for not reporting to training camp. If Byfuglien retires, it’ll free up $7.6 million in salary-cap space for the Jets. However, they want him back and will quickly rescind the suspension if he returns for this season.

Byfuglien’s situation raises concerns over a Jets defense corps already depleted by trading Jacob Trouba to the New York Rangers and the departure of Tyler Myers via free agency. “And while many observers quickly connect the Jets to the Sabres because Winnipeg pro scouting director Peter Ratchuk is a former St. Francis student often in the press box at Sabres games, the Jets have a complicated cap situation,” said Harrington. He points out the Jets still have to re-sign wingers Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Throughout the summer there was speculation suggesting the Sabres should ship Ristolainen to the Jets for winger Nikolaj Ehlers. However, he’s a left-winger and it’s believed the Sabres prefer a right-winger.

As long as Montour’s on the shelf I doubt Ristolainen’s going anywhere. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out once Montour’s back in the lineup and if the Jets pursue him in the trade market. The Anaheim Ducks reportedly inquired about Ristolainen after the Justin Faulk deal with Carolina fell through.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports things could be coming to a head for winger Sonny Milano with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The former first-round pick (16th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft) has been passed by Alexandre Texier and Emil Bemstrom on the Jackets’ depth chart. They would prefer trading Milano rather than place him on waivers but the market for the 23-year-old winger is cold.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Milano’s recent off-ice escapades also hasn’t helped his trade value. He recently pleaded not guilty to an assault charge in connection to a dispute over a bar tab in Manhattan in July.


THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell suggests Edmonton Oilers defenseman Matt Benning could become a trade candidate as general manager Ken Holland tinkers with the roster. The Oilers have too many qualified defensemen based on preseason performance, which could prompt Holland to shop one of them.

Benning carries an affordable $1.9-million cap hit and is a restricted free agent next summer. If Holland is confident with his current blueline corps, Mitchell suggests perhaps Benning could be used to bring in a third-line center.


  1. I just posted this in the Headlines thread but meant to include it here – just one cuppa so far … sheesh

    With the suspension of Byfuglien CapFriendly is now showing Winnipeg with 19 at the ML level and cap space of $23,050,836. Which is illusory, of course, because, as Lyle pointed out yesterday, his salary-cap hit won’t count against their payroll only for as long as he’s not on the roster. If they attempt to dip into that to sign Connor and Laine and he suddenly changes his mind and reports, Cheveldayov is instantly back in Cap Hell.

    Right now, of the 19 at the ML level, just 6 are D-men –
    Kulikov, Morrissey, Pionk, Beaulieu, Niku & Poolman. And there isn’t anything in their minor league list that will instill confidence in going into the season with that collection augmented by 2 from the minors.

    I think Jets fans are in for a long, painful season.

    • Youre right, the cap space looks great but is nonexistent in reality. Looks like the Jets are in a world of hurt. Im inclined to agree its going to be a long season in Winnipeg. Unproven defence (for the most part) in front of suspect goaltending doesnt add up to a great deal of success.
      Get Conner and Laine signed and I think theyre good enough to make the playoffs but have no real chance of playoff glory.

      Jets are one team a wannabee like Edmonton or Vancouver could pass in the standings if the wheels come completely off.

    • i just posted this on the coffee news in response to your post, so below is 2.0 repost – lol

      good work as usual on the numbers George, thanks for the detail.

      Fans are still hopeful in Winnipeg because the core of the team is still there – even without Buff. Sheifele, Wheeler, Morrissey and Hellebyck. Ehlers, Lowry, Copp and Little are also solid pieces to have around.

      Its not a rebuild – its a reload!!

      • I agree … but Cheveldayov gotta get off his ultra-conservative ass and start re-loading soon. If Connor’s impasse drags on into the season, regardless of what he signs for eventually that first year cap hit is going to go up daily. Same with Laine, of course, but I think his Jets days are over. Move him IF they can – and that’s no guarantee at this late date since MOST teams simply don’t have the room without other major disruptions to their roster to accommodate him – assuming they even want to go down that unknown road with regards to his demands. Those teams that DO have the cap space -Ottawa, Anaheim and Columbus – likely don’t see a streaky Laine as making much difference in their playoff chances, so why bother with the headache?

      • there will be some kind of player movement this week – there has to be.

        Lots of talk about Buff, perhaps the ankle injury from last year hampered training – some say his weight is high 200’s again. He is still in Winnipeg as evidenced by some social media pics out there – perhaps working with a local trainer?

        Contract negotiations seem to need a crisis to close – there has to be some fear to bring both sides to their senses. I think Connor will sign a bridge and Laine either bridges, gets traded or sits the year. Laine’s value is a wildcard to the Jets. The best thing from Laine was 4 games in November, 2 games in April and that he is only 20yo. – you just don’t know what he may bring or may become.

  2. Rangers are right up against the cap and have a glut of bottom 6 forwards. Always felt that Columbus would be a good trade partner considering the JD connection and Jackets cap space. One of Strome, Namestikov, or even Fast could be moved in a deal with Milano coming back. I don’t see all 3 of those guys being back next year and adding another young prospect makes sense. He’s a NY kid and could benefit from joining the young core under Quinn. Gives team another left wing in case they decide against giving Kreider an extension.

    • Strome AND Namestnikov to CMB for Milano is fine with me. Can use the cap space to fine tune more.

  3. Buff should just offer Risto & Thompson for Laine and see what Chevy says.

    Then make a move for ADA in NY

    that would fill out his roster.

    • Why would Rangers trade AdA now? They have him on a great 1 year deal and they only have 2 other right shot defensemen left in camp. And 1 of them has never played a regular season game.

  4. And Kulikov will probably be hurt by Thanksgiving -Canadian that is not USA. The Jets backend is weak and they need something anything .

    Don’t think Torts is a big fan of Milano . A fresh start would help his career and the Jackets should move on.

  5. Benning is available? How??? It’s going to be fun to see them rush Bouchard into the league and ruin him too.

    They must really see something in this year’s projected first overall to already be throwing the season lol.

    • Might be jumping the gun with Bouchard Paul. I wouldn’t assume it’s him that they are making room for IF they move Benning. Big IF.
      Tippet will use 3 LD and 3 RD in the top 6 unless forced otherwise.
      Right now there are 2 spots in dispute:
      2nd pair RD – Currently it is Persson getting the most minutes with Klefbom. Seasoned pro, but in Europe not here. Is Bouchard the best player for that spot in camp? Ya, probably. Decision is that what’s best for him long term. I agree with you and Holland and Tippet likely agree as well. A year in AHL best. At least that is how they speak publicly.
      7th D spot –
      This will NOT be Bouchard. He will play plenty of minutes no matter where he plays. I would bet $$ on that.
      Lagesson, Bear and Jones are pushing hard for spots. Reportedly Bear took his summer seriously for a change and looks great in camp and in the best shape of his life. Has more skill than Benning and Persson.
      Oil have a log jam and need to make time for all the D, in the NHL and AHL. Guys like Bouchard and Samorukov need to play real minutes in the AHL and guys like Bear and Lagesson deserve a chance to play in the NHL.
      No room at the inn to do all of that. Holland trying to move one. If it is Benning than fine.

      • Maybe the Jets would be interested in Werenski and Milano for Laine or Connor. Such a deal would benefit both teams.

      • Good assessment Ray Bark. Bouchard has looked good in camp so far but getting seasoning in Bakersfield for a year would be to his benefit for his career. Same with Samorukov. Bear and Lagesson both have upside and their time has come to get a chance with the oilers.

    • Holland should call Vancouver on Benning. Likely get Boeser and the Canucks 2021 first rounder for him.

    • The Oilers local media is saying that Bouchard is looking good, but isn’t quite NHL ready. Lagesson is the one who has been impressing at camp and would be the one who would be replacing Benning on the roster.
      When have you ever known Holland to rush a player into the NHL?

      • Hearing the same thing on Lagesson Kevjam. Make few mistakes and defends well. Sound all around. Bear has a little more offensive upside.
        Benning the more proven obviously at the NHL level so will get a better return. Seems like a guy WPG could use right now but something needs to come back in $$.
        If it is Perreault, that is exactly what the Oil need but would then the Oil would need to move salary to accommodate. Also not sure the value matches up, but WPG could use some cap relief if they actually wanted to go long term with Conner, Laine or both.
        I also have no idea if that is what Chevvy wants.
        As to George’s point, the heat is on him. Has to be.
        Would be interesting to hear what the WPG fans think of all this and if they have turned on him yet.

      • Perreault would be exactly who the Oilers need. Although the Oilers would have to add something else to make the trade even. Or could this be part of a bigger deal with the Oilers offering Puljujarvi and Benning for Perreault plus?
        Although you are right, the Oilers would need to free up just under a million in cap space and the Jets are also looking at freeing up some cap space as well.

      • Hey Kevjam, WPG may be able to get Conner and Laine on bridge deals, they should then be fine.
        Tough to move a guy like Perreault when you don’t know if you will have Conner and Laine in your lineup yet. Also tough to go into the season with the Jet’s D core when Buff hasn’t decided if he is playing this year or not.
        Tough to be the GM in WPG this year I guess.

      • Yeah, definitely more questions than answers right now in Winnipeg.
        After the deals that Chevy has made the last few years it’s hard to think that there is media types that have Chevy as one of the GM’s who’s job is on the line.

    • Thanks very much Ron

      Greatly appreciated

      So bogged now with a new client and merger I didn’t get to this site until now.

      Wonderful article!

      My cousin (currently living in Pittsburgh) says that any radio news mentioning Pens always seems to have a rant by the broadcaster or fans calling in to immediately rid Pens of JJ…. and seriously vocal about it

      I noticed JJ changed sweater numbers ….. is he trying to fool coaches, fans, ownership that all pre-season mistakes are on (the now Blackhawk) Maatta ?

      He just simply MUST go

      No matter what …. per CapFriendly (CF) …. there is no room to maneuver with number of contracts …, they are at Max 50; and Pens are at 23 on roster and 330 K over (per CF)

      So unless there is a trade out of more players than coming in …. Pens start the season with no greater than 22

      Again …. absolute easiest solution …. JJ for Eaves ; Eaves on LTIR; waive Ruhweedel

      That l aves Pens with 21 on Roster : 13 F , 6 D , 2 G; and $3.6 M in Cap

      Bring up a WBS fwd or sign UFA Fwd for league min; sign McQ for $1.0 M or close to

      That’s 14-7-2…23 with at least $1.6 M in Cap to spare

      Above scenario IMHO puts Pens with an excellent chance at winning Div

      Status quo; playing JJ as a reg …. could cost Pens a playoff berth and will all but guarantee they don’t get to round 2


      • Correction

        CF just changed 50/50 contracts to 49/50????

        I’m not sure what changed? Was there a trade ? I see all the same names

        I’ll check back in later tonight for anybody’s answer to the 50 becoming 49


      • Pengy, all the rationale and potential trade scenarios and surface logic in the world can’t get away from one salient fact: NO team wants a 32 y/o slow-footed D-man who turns 33 in January and still has 4 years to go at $3,250,000 per. NO team.

        If he’d have had 1 and maybe even 2 years left, perhaps. But otherwise, no. I liken that situation with Ottawa being saddled with Ryan’s even worse $7.250,000 for 3 more years for a slow-footed F who turns 33 on St. Patrick’s Day.

        The mistakes that keep on haunting with no beneficiaries jumping up to bail them out. Not even Benning, Ron.

      • As someone who listens to a lot of Pittsburgh sports talk radio and reads most of the local rags I can say that is not true pengy. Jj gets some flack but not the way you would think. Honestly with Big Ben, Vasquez, Antonio, 0-3, the pirates being the pirates etc hockey isn’t much talked about at all yet. Distant number three compared to football and baseball.

      • Hi Chrisms

        Sorry if I inferred it was the topic of the sports casts… I just texted my cousin ; he said that he was referring to any NHL related media.

        His response just now was

        “Sorry …. all hockey media… not general sports casts. They are inundated with calls begging for that giveaway king to be moved. Send money quick; maybe we can bribe Rutherford”

        The only time I listen to Pitts Radio is when I’m down to see him 2-3 times a year) and when Pens game not viewable for me and I listen to the broadcasts

        He tells me at Pens games there are people that carry signs just lambasting JJ

        The article thatRon posted above says it all…. JJ is absolutely horrific and truly detrimental to the success of the team.

        I realize I tag on about him ; but it is just my passion for Pens to do well.

        My 2 fav teams as you know are Leafs and Pens. As at now; IMO, neither have any shot at getting to the SC next June.

        As it stands right now; and if Pens play him as s regular; getting into the playoffs just might not happen. If he sits for the year, or is traded (see below) then I truly believe that there is greater than a 50-50 chance that Pens meet Bolts in ECF

        George…. re JJ and nobody wanting him:

        True there is absolutely no demand for him …. but with any trade …. there is always a point of “you can’t refuse this offer”…. very seldom do offers get to the astronomically one sided type

        For instance ….. no one would ever pay 3 1st rounders for JJ ; and every team would pay a 7th in 2050 for JJ plus all of Pens picks for the next 3 years

        Two extremes that an amenable deal somewhere between the goalposts ; should happen

        I offered up Eaves for JJ…. workable but light ; incentive would have to be added

        Now … a couple of weeks ago I pondered/posted a deal that had JJ to An and Kessler to Pens (yes I realize Kessler must agree … but he’s likely never to play another single game ever …. why not have his net pay more ( Cal taxes vs Penn taxes)

        Ducks are an internal tight budget team …. they owe more than $4 M in non insurance Sal payments to Kessler over the next 3 years

        $4 M for nothing …. or JJ for effectively $2 M peg for 4 years…. it’s not that hard to conceive

        What it will more than likely come down to is JJ plus a player (incentive) for a pick or prospect ; and it seems media has thrown Rusty and Bjug out there several times as possibilities

        No matter what …. Pens either make a trade that nets them cap space (and a reasonable chunk of space) or they start the year with (A) at best 22 players and tops of $745 K in space (that’s waiving a player making over $1 M… to bury the max of $1.08 M) or (2) 23 players and $45 K in space (again waiving a player making more than $1 M ; filled by a player making League min)

        These two scenarios are scary in itself

        Moving JJ and Rust is $6.75 M less the cap of the return player; in space

        JJ/Bjug $7.35 M less the Cap of the return player


      • I have never seen one of those signs and there may be some media that skews towards the analytics crowd that go after Jj most hockey media does not. If you listen to hockey media in Pittsburgh it’s about how Malkin needs to step it up, who is his wingers, what is Matt Murray gonna cost to resign. If your looking for some sort of popular uprising to remove Jj by all cost it doesn’t exist in the burgh. I hear more complaints about tanger than Jj flat out.

        Not agreeing with said sentiment but it’s da truf.

      • Hi Chrisms

        Can’t challenge what you see yourself

        Always appreciate your viewpoints.

        I just disagree here re JJ

        I’m just going on what I see and read and what my cousin and his kids tell me

        Just my viewpoint ( similarly viewed by the media link from Ron)…, there is no player at all that should concern the Pens more than JJ

        Last year, they just made the playoffs by 4 points… several losses all solely on the back of JJ

        It’s not just the analytics crowd … I set the analytics minutiae aside for the most part…. the eye test is what I rely on…. he’s absolutely brutal

        I’ve played; I’ve coached ; and been a fan and I’ve probably watched over 5,000 hockey games in my life ; maybe more

        Thousands of hockey players I’ve seen… JJ is by far the most detrimental to his team than any other player… ever

        There have been worse players of course …. but they’ve been cut or sat…. never has any player anywhere near as detrimental to his team…, and I mean ANYWHERE near as detrimental to his team; played more than a few games in one year…. he played ALL 82 last year

        I keep blaming him but Sully and Jimbo have to accept blame as well

        JJ went out on the ice as asked… his job …, he didn’t do well at all…. but he went out on the ice as asked

        Sully sat JJ 2 shifts all year …. he sat Crosby more than that… it’s mind boggling

        If there is a radio station or media outlet that pays more concern to Letang’s play vs. JJ’s ; they are simply not watching the games… it would defy logic

        Re Malkin …. yep I’ve seen articles (many in fact ) that reference hopes/concerns re : Malkin rebound, but many many of them also refer to the huge negative impact that JJ has on teammates and none more negatively impacted than Malkin … no other DMan had more minutes with Malkin 5 on 5

        I’m just praying for logic and sanity from Sully/Jimbo

        So sorry Chrisms, this old fart just can’t side with any sympathy for keeping let alone playing JJ

        JJ gone or Sat full year … very good shot at winning Div and getting to ECF

        Jj in as Reg … playoff streak just may be over

        I’m 😢 but hopeful

  6. Ristolainen is 24

    He turns 25 durrent the season just as most of those players drafted in 2013. the 2013 draft class was 24 on Sept 15. then all turn 25 before next sept 15.

  7. Just heard Point signed.
    $6.75M x 3 years

    • Yep. 3 years – becomes an RFA again in 2022-23. That leaves TB with $1,726,669 in cap space with 23 shown at the ML level. They’re set to go.

      • Maybe this is the prod needed by Cionnor to lower his expectations/demands and sign a similar bridge. Unless Cheveldayov is REALLY low-balling him.

      • Yes they are good to go George. Crap.
        Agree that should help the Jets and COL get a deal done.
        It will be interesting to see how much Point makes vs Marner over the next 6 years.

      • What a deal for Bolts!

    • Dumbass and the Leafs got schooled by Marner and Matthews…lmfao

      • Matthews and Marner earn over $10,000,000 apiece, each hockey season.

        “Yeah, but taxes eat that up.”

        Okay, let’s say they take $8,000,000 each from them… think these guys are scrambling for rent?

        Anyway, because of taxes blah blah blah Point is actually earning a higher percentage of his number yadda yadda yadda. Furthermore, escrow, and General Managers who fundamentally misunderstand roster construction.

  8. Trade proposal:

    To St. Louis: R Mitch Marner, D Timothy Liljegren, D Travis Dermott

    To Toronto: R Robert Thomas, D Colton Parayko, D Joel Edmundson

  9. How about this for a solution for two teams…
    Islanders send Ryan Pulock and Anthony Beauvillier to Jets for Laine… very simple.

    Pulock is a Manitoba kid who would probably sign long term with his hometown roots and ABV would be a young and upcoming young wing to hold place in Laine’s spot, whereas Pulock would fit right in as a #1 or 2 RD to replace big Buf in the meantime keeping the Jets afloat in their cup playoff quest.

    Isles would have to move another piece, either Leddy or Hickey for picks/prospects but there is always a market for top 6 Defensemen, or LTIR for Ladd to make room for new deal.

    The Isles are so deep in defense that with Dobson @ 19 y.o. showing that he’s the real deal and a logjam in the AHL of defense. They can maneuver from their strength-DEFENSE with Aho, Vande Somple, Wilde, Bolduc, Bourroughs, Wotherspoon, Helgeson, Hutton and Quinneville in the AHL all ready for the NHL- it’s an embarrassment of riches.

    When you have a Leddy/Boychuck 3rd pairing you have to draw from your strength. With the #1 defense in the NHL, and another year of Barry Trotz’ system, they can afford to move a few players and fill in the blanks with lower paid replacements at no loss in efficacy.

    They could give the Jets Hickey instead of ABV, and give the Jets a starting pair for their top 6 Defense. What, you want a sweetner? ok have a 1st rounder as a cherry on top. Either way this make sense for both teams and it hurts a little BOTH ways, that is why it can work. Chevy-Lou get it done……..