NHL Rumor Mill – September 25, 2019

by | Sep 25, 2019 | Rumors | 31 comments

Taylor Hall denies he’s close to a new contract with the Devils, the Canadiens could be shopping a forward, trade talks could heat up for the Penguins, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco reports Taylor Hall disputed reports claiming he’s close to re-signing with the New Jersey Devils. While confirming his agent met over the weekend with Devils general manager Ray Shero, the winger claimed it was a preliminary meeting.

Taylor Hall denies he’s getting close to signing a new contract with the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

Hall, 28, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He described the meeting as a positive one. “That’s the thing, when a guy like (TSN reporter Darren) Dreger says stuff that a deal is imminent or it could be close, there wasn’t even numbers discussed. That’s when you have to just let things take shape and see where they go.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s what Dreger actually said:

“Well, Taylor Hall’s agent, Darren Ferris, met with Devils general manager Ray Shero over the weekend and it sounds like they’re making some traction here”…”Now, you have to keep in mind that is coming off a significant injury. He loved the way he was treated by the Devils organization – very professional from start to finish. He likes what Shero has done in the changes that he’s made to the lineup of the New Jersey Devils”…”So it’s one of those situations. It could happen sooner than later, which is saying a lot considering that he’s in the final year of his contract.”

In other words, Dreger merely speculated that there might be some progress. Meanwhile, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Devils and Hall are “underselling this a bit.” He said they’re trying “to make a serious run at an extension.”


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens are looking to move a forward. He points out promising youngsters Nick Suzuki, Jake Evans, and Ryan Poehling are pushing for roster spots. Friedman noted Jonathan Drouin played a team-low 11:57 in Monday’s 3-0 preseason loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and suggests this is something worth watching.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs assigned Evans to the Laval Rocket but Suzuki and Poehling could be on the Habs roster when the season opens next week.

While the thought of Drouin being shopped just two years after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning makes for interesting speculation, I doubt the Canadiens will move him. Le Journal de Montreal indicated Nick Cousins or Charles Hudon could be the odd man out.

Recent rumors indicate the Habs have interest in Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka. Perhaps Cousins or Hudon gets dangled for the young blueliner.


THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reports Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford suggested a trade is a possibility before the start of the season. The Penguins are over the $81.5 million salary cap by between $300-400K and must become cap compliant before the season opens next week.

During the summer, Rutherford admitted interest in trading goaltender Tristan Jarry but couldn’t find any takers at the time. He now believes the goalie market has heated up in recent days. Jarry and goalie Casey DeSmith are no longer waiver exempt, meaning they could be claimed by another club if the Penguins attempt to demote one of them.

Yohe also reports sources claim the Penguins are willing to deal “numerous players” for the right return. They include Jarry, defenseman Jack Johnson, and forwards Bryan Rust and Nick Bjugstad.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication what the “right return” would be for those players, though I daresay it would be an affordable young roster player. If push comes to shove, it could come down to Jarry or DeSmith.

Johnson’s declining performance and contract (four years remaining at $3.25 million annually) could be a tough sell. There’s been talk Rutherford is reluctant to part with Rust or Bjugstad.


Friedman said the Anaheim Ducks continue to look for a right-shot defenseman. They recently attempted to acquire Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes but that deal fell through. Faulk was shipped yesterday to the St. Louis Blues. He also said there’s nothing imminent on Tyler Toffoli. The Los Angeles Kings forward is slated to become a UFA next summer and could attract interest in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks have been linked to Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen. The Sabres’ asking price could be a scoring right-winger.

If Toffoli and the Kings failed to reach an agreement on a new contract, he could be shopped if the Kings are out of playoff contention by the Feb. 24, 2020 trade deadline.



  1. GMJR might have to throw in a sweetner in order to move Jack Johnson.
    I’m thinking if he’s packaged up with 87 and a 2nd rd pick, there might be a slim chance that someone bites and takes him off the Pens hands.😏

    • ShoreOrrPark

      Sure … kick a guy when he’s down


    • Or he could trade him to Vancouver for a 2021 first round pick.

      Jim Benning on line one.

      • GMJB and GMJR are the only GMs that could do a deal together that would be LOSE-LOSE

      • Lol, sad but true.

  2. GMJR HAS to make a move…. he’s over the Cap by 330 K…w/o a trade Pens either :

    start season with 22 (move 1 League min player down) and start season with <$400 K in space ; OR

    Bury a player making greater than $1.1 M; start with 22 and only 677 K in space ; OR

    Waive two higher paid atheletes; bring up two league min’s ; start at 23 …. start season with about $300 K in space;OR

    Miraculously have an LTIR situation

    The top two scenarios prob less than 10 % chance of happening between them ; no way scenario 3 happens ; 4 is a crap shoot

    He HAS to make a trade

    All here know my thoughts on who absolutely MUST be traded ; and it just may cost Bjug or Rust …. it’s the cost of doing business

  3. The Habs have already traded a veteran forward. Andrew Shaw. For no apparent reason and without getting enough in return. No need to do so again. I seriously doubt that Drouin is going anywhere. If he is traded, it would have to be for significant and immediate help. And basing speculation on TOI for a pre-season game is ludicrous.
    As Lyle says, it is likely that a bottom liner with some NHL experience, such as Hudon, is traded so the team doesn’t risk losing him for nothing on waivers. Possibly for Honka or a similar underachieving but still young player. Or maybe for a mid-round pick.

  4. For Pittsburgh, being $331,625 over the cap with 23 shown at the ML level by Capf riendly, it’s certainly more than just dropping an ELC of $750,000 to become cap compliant. All that would accomplish is give them cap space of $418,375 but with a 22-man roster and no way to call anyone up from the AHL in the event of a short-term injury. As we’ve expected all along, it’s almost impertaive for Rutherford to make a trade.

    Carolina is $521,458 over the cap, but with 25 shown at the ML level, so two ELC demotions gets them comfortably under the wire with about $1 mil in cap space going forward.

    Buffalo’s excess of $1,059,824 with 23 at the ML level will be covered when Hunwick goes on LTIR with a lingering neck injury.

    St. Louis will cover their $561,260 over-the-cap dilemma with the demotion of one ELC to get them to 23 but, as with Pittsburgh, that will leave them with just $188,740 in cap space and also unable to call anyone up in the event of short-term injury. Another deal in the making?

    Washington is another in that boat, currently sitting at $1,364,294 over and 23 shown at the ML level They either drop two ELCs to get under and go with 21 and NO appreciable cap space, or trade someone in a higher bracket.

    Don’t know what’s going on in San Jose, but suddenly they’re shown at $3,579,083 over and with 30 at the ML level. Obviously there are 7 demotions in store which should more than cover that.

    Vancouver also has 3 to drop to reach 23 to cover their excess of $1,716,539 and, perhaps, Roussel’s $3 mil cap hit on LTIR – no final word on that yet

    Toronto is the granddaddy of all excess with a full $14,040,199 and 24 shown at the ML level. We know that Horton’s and Clarkson’s combined $10,550,000 will go towards covering Marner’s $10,893,000 along with Dermott’s $863,333 (to early Nov) and Hyman’s $2,250,000 (to end of Oct) covering the difference. There will also be one ELC demotion to get to 23. But when Dermott and Hyman get back another bigger move will need to be made.

    • Hi George

      I must have been typing at the same time as you …. just reading ur post now …. I had same thoughts re SJ…. weird

      • Isn’t that inflated cap number due to all the AHL players on the roster which all count towards the cap? So there’s nothing going on unless your team is still over the cap once they send those AHL players down.

      • It is, Ron, but why just SJ – and all of a sudden” Yesterday they were showing them with 23 and cap space of over $2 mil! If them, why not show every team with a bunch of ELCs showing at the ML level?

        It just seemed suddenly out of place compared to the other 30 teams.

  5. Just had a look at CF and had to laugh … per CF … Sharks showing 30 players (17-10-3)

    Obviously CF is showing all players still playing pre-season ; the strange thing is why CF isn’t showing other teams like that?

    There is absolutely no issue with Sharks getting to 23 and being cap compliant as 10 shown can be slid to AHL w/o needing to be waived; and even though showing over Cap now by $3.6 M…. just moving the cheapest 7 down to get them to 23 has them at least with $1.3 M in space

    It’s just odd ??


    • Pengy, re SJ, it could be they have 30 guys on NHL contracts and Cap Friendly can’t guess which ones will be waived or demoted. Not sure why other clubs don’t show the same.

      • Hi BCLeaf fan

        Ya I looked into that …. 8 of them are ELC so not NHL contracts …. any ELC can be sent down to AHL and some to Jr… it was just strange ??

  6. A lot of math going on with hockey teams these days.
    There has to be some movement prior to puck drop next Wednesday for a number of them .
    Who had Tkachuk last in the pool ?
    If rumours are true he maybe the last to sign and it may last to the quarter pole. Hope not.

  7. The Penguins are “willing” to move Jack Johnson.

    Replace “willing” with “desparate” is likely more accurate.

    Good luck with that, lol.

    • Maybe they keep him to make sure they finish in the lottery and. as they did with Lemieux, Crosby and Malkin, trust to blind luck again to get the 1st pick and their next franchise player Alexis Lafreniere! 🙂

    • Ron and George

      Your killing me here

      I thought of another resolution…. Mario could fire Jim…. any new GM will make the prudent move …. sit JJ for the year; or trade him with Rust or Bjug as incentive

      I still think Kessler for JJ or Eaves and Ritchie for JJ and Rust works

      What a nightmare

      • How much cap relief do the Pens get if they just send JJ to the minors and bring up a guy on ELC in the $800K range?
        I thought the team got up to $1.25M relief when a player sent down, but I am pulling that # out of my arse.
        If so isn’t that problem solved?

      • Hi Ray

        Bury max is $1.075 M; league min $0.7m; they are already over by $0.331 M

        Yes doable …. starting season with 23 and only 44K in space though

        I should have listed that as an option

        Highly unlikely GMJR would go that route

        Couldn’t last at it for sure

      • Pengy… A couple moves are coming to get under the cap probably this weekend…

        John Marino has played really well and was pushing for a spot on the third d pairing but got hurt

        Release, buyout, bury J,J

        Then release Rudwhedel
        Rikola plays with grudbranson & send down Trottman out long term.

        Rust & BuJgstad (Jarry or Desmith) used in a trade.
        I would keep Jarry

        Rust & Desmith & a pick or Simon could get you that top 4 d-man we need.

      • Pengy call Sweeney up in Boston and offer

        to BOS: BJugstad & JJ
        to Pitts: Moore and Backes

        then behind the scenes pay Backes to retire lol

  8. The signing of Tkachuk in Calgary for 3 years at $7 mil per puts them over the cap by $658,375 with 23 at the ML roster. That will be covered by Valimaki’s $894,166 going on LTIR, but leaves them with just $335,791 in cap space. Insufficient to bring anyone up in the event of short-term injuries, so they either go with 22 in that event, or there’s another deal to come,

  9. to WPG: Hall & McLeod

    to NJ: Laine & Perrault

    provided Hall signs a deal with WPG

    would it work for both teams?
    Perrault going to NJ leaves more room to sign Hall and Connor

  10. Shero doesn’t seem the type to willingly saddle himself with a prima donna. At least if Hall still shows no inclination to re-up by the trade deadline he’d bring back a better return.

    • I guess I was wrong with MT and the Flames. Not bad for both sides
      Then Laine might be last to sign

  11. Pundits, prognosticators, and parlayers give the Penguins little chance of winning the Cup as it is. A trade that includes Rust or Bjugstad as an inducement for taking Johnson would only weaken them, since it would return a player of lesser quality than either Rust or Bjugstad.

    I never cared for the trite hockey expression “go deep into toe playoffs,” often used to project excitement over a team’s prospects. Nobody remembers losers. Only teams that finish first are commemorated with parades, White House invitations, and Stanley Cup trophies. Perhaps, it’s time for the Penguins to get out of “win now” mode and face the reality that parting with assets to remove Johnson won’t win for them now, and will make it more difficult to compete with rebuilding teams like the Rangers, Devils, and Hurricanes in future seasons. They might be better off with a roster of 22 players.

  12. Not a bad idea Francis. Maybe a “retool” year off for the Pens. But you’re running out of years to win again with the big “two”.

    The Sens have room for JJ. Speaking of the Sens – George – how UNDERWHELMING have the Sens prospects been!?!!?

    • Yeah – nothing has stood out as “wow” that’s for sure. Guys like Logan Brown and Nick Paul need to realize this may be their best – and last – shot. Formenton looked like a deer caught in headlights in the Montreal game and wound up in Belleville to start the year anyway. I’ll cut Batherson, Abramov and Branstromm a little slack – but tonight and Friday in Montreal they’d better show something to catch Smith’s eye.

    • Good point, Dark G, and I may have Pittsburgh conceding too easily. However, Edmonton has had its Big 2 and has gone nowhere, and Toronto has flopped with its Big 3. Meanwhile, St, Louis spread its cap wealth over a lot of less notable players with Big Bodies, and that worked well for them. Do better supporting players bring more to a team than big stars? Does the Blues success indicate that the Penguins, Leafs, and Oilers need to go back to the drawing board?