NHL Rumor Mill – September 27, 2019

by | Sep 27, 2019 | Rumors | 40 comments

The latest on Jonathan Drouin and Jack Johnson plus some Blue Jackets speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin dismissed recent media speculation suggesting winger Jonathan Drouin could become a trade candidate. “I don’t know where they come from,” said Bergevin. “Most of those reports are from somebody in his basement in Toronto. So I don’t pay attention to them, to be honest with you.”

Trade speculation is starting to swirl around Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The speculation originated from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Eric Engels, who must have very expensive basement apartments in Toronto. 

Friedman suggested Drouin’s status could be worth watching after he played just over 11 minutes of playing time during a preseason game earlier this week. Engels, meanwhile, reported an Eastern Conference executive told him Drouin’s name was “out there”.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien feels Drouin’s underwhelming performance and $5.5 million annual average value through 2022-23 hurts his trade value. If teams believe the Canadiens are desperate to move him, that’ll make it difficult to get a quality return. O’Brien wonders if it would make sense to swap Drouin for an equally polarizing player, like Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin always plays his cards close to the vest. If he’s listening to offers he won’t broadcast it. If he’s quietly shopping Drouin and somebody blabbed he could shut down trade talks for a while.

I think Bergevin will be patient with Drouin and see how things unfold this season. If there’s no improvement in the winger’s performance, the Habs GM could take serious steps to move him.


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel pointed out defenseman Jack Johnson was a healthy scratch from the Penguins’ lineup during Wednesday’s preseason game against Detroit. He speculates there’s a legitimate chance the 32-year-old blueliner could be in the press box when the Penguins open the season on Oct. 3.

Johnson’s performance has declined in recent years. Vensel reminded us the blueliner was part of a failed attempt this spring to ship Phil Kessel to the Minnesota Wild. Kessel was subsequently shipped to the Arizona Coyotes.

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi also wondered what Johnson’s absence from the Penguins lineup on Wednesday meant for his immediate future. The Penguins must become salary-cap compliant before the season opens. Rossi suggests trading Johnson, even if it means picking up part of his $3.25-million salary-cap hit, would make GM Jim Rutherford’s job much easier. However,  multiple sources claim there isn’t anything going on involving Johnson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s not much of a market for a fading veteran defenseman signed through 2022-23. If Rutherford hopes to trade Johnson he could be forced to absorb a healthy chunk of his cap hit and perhaps add a draft pick or prospect. Even then, that might not be enough. 


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline speculates Blues Jackets winger Sonny Milano could be playing for another NHL team within a week. If they attempt to demote him it’s unlikely he’ll clear waivers. Milano’s decision making and play without the puck have affected his efforts to secure a roster spot with the Jackets. He now seems in a battle for one of the final fourth-line positions.

Portzline and Alison Lukan consider defenseman Ryan Murray as the best trade candidate if the Jackets need to acquire a forward. Lukan also included blueliners David Savard and Markus Nutivaara as possible trade options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One wonders if Milano’s off-ice legal issues could affect his trade value. He has a hearing on Oct. 16 on an assault charge related to a July incident in New York.


  1. Updated summary of rosters – cap space/# of players at ML level now showing breakdown of F-D-G according to CapFriendly – info changes hourly as roster decisions are made and injuries pop up as we get closer to the season openers (Note that Arizona now appears with those teams over the cap)

    3 remaining unsigned KEY RFAs … plus Honka
    Winnipeg – Connor & Laine – $23,050,836 – 19 (10F 6D 3G) – includes $7.6 mil for Byfuglien
    Colorado – Rantanen – $14,165,239 – 25 (13-10-2)
    Dal – Honka – $970,001 – 22 (13-7-2)

    These 9 teams have everyone signed but are over the cap by the amount shown, so watch for other imminent roster moves (including application of LTIRs) as necessary on Day 1 – the 3 teams over 23 have the additional cap space of those demoted

    Toronto – $13,365,199 – 23 (13-8-2)
    Vancouver – $1,716,539 – 26 (16-8-2)
    Washington – $1,364,294 – 23 (14-7-2)
    Buffalo – $1,059,524 – 23 (13-8-2)
    Calgary – $658,375 – 23 (14-7-2)
    Ariz – $631,068 – 22 (12-7-3)
    St. Louis – $611,260 – 24 (14-8-2)
    Carolina – $498,124 – 24 (14-8-2)
    Pittsburgh – $331,625 – 23 (13-8-2)

    The teams with everyone signed and the most remaining cap space – listed according to adjustments which will follow increasing or decreasing to meet 23-man roster
    Ottawa – $11,815,001 – 21 (14-7-2)
    Columbus – $13,090,043 – 19 (10-7-2)
    Anaheim – $9,250,242 – 20 (12-6-2)
    NJ – $6,461,667 – 22 (13-7-2)
    L.A. – $5,240,606 – 24 (13-9-2)
    NYI – $4,653,334 – 25 (16-7-2)
    Mtl – $3,181,191 – 26 (16-8-2)
    Minn – $4,958,911 – 21 (12-7-2)
    Det – $4,270,457 – 22 (13-7-2)
    SJ – $2,682,583 – 22 (12-8-2)
    TB – $1,726,669 – 23 (12-9-2)
    Edm – $1,533,001 – 23 (14-7-2)
    Nash – $1,334,524 – 24 (14-8-2)
    Chi – $2,462,414 – 21 (11-8-2)
    Bos – $453,334 – 24 (13-9-2)

    These teams have everyone signed but have NO wiggle room
    Pha – $1,867,421 – 20 (10-8-2)
    Veg – $1,025,001 – 22 (14-6-2)
    Fla – $1,481,331 – 21 (12-7-2)
    NYR – $235,201 – 23 (14-7-2)

    • Ottawa – 23 (14-7-2)

  2. Rutherford signed Johnson to a stupid contract despite Torts sitting him for the playoffs. Pittsburgh is stuck with him and Jackets fans still chuckle.

    • It’s always nice when the haves can do something nice for the have nots. Enjoy the chuckle on us. Free of charge.

      • Your killing me Chrisms


        Glad to see that he’s sitting

        82 games just like that and all good

        If there is no chance of trading him (I still think there is) OR if they have to take back funds AND give up pic/prospect …. why not just waive him

        Makes them immediately (just) Cap compliant

        Let’s say Pens are weighing retaining $1.0 M plus pic/prospect

        That’s 1.0 M

        Burying him …. $2.17 M up; $1.08 M down but giving up nobody

        I go back to the best available trade though….

        Kessler for JJ…. Ducks right now will pay him (their end) $4M + to retire early

        That’s $4M + for nothing

        The flip gets them something …. JJ effectively for $2M per

      • If Jj is something, I’d rather have nothing.

      • 🤓

  3. Being patient with Drouin is fine IF he shows improvement. Otherwise, trying to move an underachieving, inconsistent F costing $5,500,000 off the cap with 4 years to go becomes real problematic.

    Even now, I doubt there are teams offering a whole lot for 0.2 goals/0.4 points per game floater.

    • Think he may “improve” if EDM picks him up to play along McD? Drouin just would have to shoot lol.

      What could EDM give back that MTL needs??

      • Without moving back a contract of at least $4 mil (Russel??) there’s no way Edmonton could accommodate his $5.5 mil cap hit.

        Without that Rantanen impasse, maybe Sakic would like to try and re-unite him with MacKinnon. They were dynamite together in Halifax. That could be the spark he needs under his ass.

      • Think he has room to do it and still leave room for Rat.

        They have some depth and prospects to send back.

      • Maybe. I guess it all depends on what Bergevin wants – and needs – in terms of his starting roster.

    • Stuff like this is a major reason why Montreal is on most players’ no trade list.

      Yes Drouin has had a mediocre pre season – the key phrase. No one’s performance is going to be judged until we get in November.

      Scratch that. Habs fans/media are already doing so; Bergevin isn’t going to judge Drouin’s play until November – at least in terms of considering trading him.

      • NOBODY is suggesting his moving could be based on pre-season crap. Where’d you get that idea?

        If anyone IS guessing he could be moved soon it’s based on the fact that, over 322 NHL games he’s produced at the rate of 0.2 goals per game and 0.4 points per game.

        Over 82 games that projects to 16g 33a 49 pts. If you think Bergevin is happy with more of that sort of production at a cost of $5.5 mil off his cap, then I suppose all the speculation is indeed based on nothing more than guys named Friedman and Engels vegging in their mom’s basement.

      • I got the idea, George, that this is being driven by his pre season performance from listening to the reports from the media. Here is one quote from Hockey Inside Out:

        He had a good summer,” Bergevin said about Drouin. “Training camp is training camp. I mean, he’s not the only one who’s not up to par right now. So I know we’re picking on Jo — or you guys asked me about Jo — but I can name you a few guys that are not up to par. That’s what training camp is all about.”

        You can find a TSN clip with John Lu talking about it and a Sportsnet article in today’s edition.

        Did Drouin suck the last part of last season, yes. But we would not be hearing any of this nattering if he had been lighting up pre-season, and you should know that.

        I don’t mind being called out George, but when I am, I want those doing it to have their facts straight.

  4. CMB can try to offer Murray and Milano for a Ritchie in ANA
    ANA is looking to add to the defense and Milano is a nice throw in.
    CMB gets that depth forward they need and I think he is a Torts style of player.

    • Hi IHC

      To me Murray + Milano is a massive overpayment for Ritchie; there’d have to be much more coming back IMHO

      ….. plus , I called first Dibs on a Ducks deal

      • Pengy…so.ethinfs a brewing with the Penguins and this weekend will be big.. Johnson has been sitting so finally think Pens realize he needs to be off the ice and moved. Hearing Minnesota talks heating up again with our friend Billy guerin in Minnesota. Not involving zucker but Rask rust Johnson others o e penguins goalie will be dealt not sure where or which one.stay tuned…hopefully Johnson

      • Thanks BlackNGold


      • @Pengy

        did i not suggest rust & jj for ask the other day? hmmm maybe i am secretly bill guerin lol jk

  5. LJ no bashing of Montreal or Ottawa on this site. George will not allow it. His panties get bunched up.
    He prefers to bash the Leafs.
    So chose your topics more carefully.
    Leafs are in cap hell this year, next year and the foreseeable future and Dubas is giving to much money to everyone.
    Just to give you an idea what to talk about

    • Your back. Great. Idda thunk the sentence was longer for repeat offenders. How’d your neighbors take it when you had to go door to door?

    • I will try to be better, Vinnie. Sorry about your wedgie, George.

      • LOL. Nah. Just wishful-thinking on someone’s part. What I was trying to get across LJ – and looking back I could have worded it better – is that any pundit looking only at pre-season stuff should get a new line of work. But I do believe the talk – IF there is any actually going on as Engels implies (and really, you have to expect Bergevin will come out in public in defense of his players) is based upon Drouin’s less-than-stellar production for the kind of coin he’s taking home.

  6. Pretty Savage in here again today.

    As long as 87 is part of the Pens, JJ gets a pass.
    The kid was taken to the cleaners by his own folks!
    Sidney and GMJR are good people, helping a guy who was robbed by those he trusted most.

    I dont get the hate, in what should be a feel good story.

    Things were bad, now they’re good.
    GMJR and the Pens are ok by me.

    We should be helping each other more.

    • Hi ShoreOrrPark

      I’d never challenge the hardships he’s gone through financially … and screwed by his parents to boot… that was just awful

      Yes GMJR did come to his rescue but he massively overplayed him and for way too long and did so right after he turned UFA.

      He wasn’t in demand. No other bidders driving up the contract value. He could have been helped out with a shorter/less expensive contract

      GMJR could have really helped him out in June by buying him out …. guaranteeing him all but $4M of his contract …. he could have then signed elsewhere for $1 M per and got a new start

      The buyout Cap hit this year was only going to be $270 K (that’s it)

      Instead ; GMJR has kept him???

      A new start with the Ducks (flip for Kessler) is a win – win – win (Pens [team, coaches, ownership , fans] , JJ [fresh start and playing in NHL ], Ducks [avoiding $4 M for absolutely nothing])

      I have no hate for the man himself; not at all. I don’t know him. From all that I’be read he is liked as a person by his entire team.

      I just can’t stand the damage (and it’s big) that he does by playing; to the performance of the team

      I know pre-season is nothing to go on; but he had years before that he was detrimental to Clb; he was a huge detriment to Pens last year ; he’s got a guaranteed contract ….the decision just must be to make sure he doesn’t play for the Pens

      Waiving him … he still gets his pay; gets to play ; albeit in WBS; and perhaps work on his game; and most importantly ; Pens save $1.08 M in Cap


      • I understand your point, and have no rebuttal.
        Good reasoning.

      • The Johnson signing reminds me a lot of (a less expensive) wade Redden deal.

        His old team, commentators, GMs, fans etc all could see these players were done, yet they somehow got a gm to overbid (against nobody) for their services.

        I don’t believe contracts like this are moved anymore. Any team that appears to have cap space is an illusion. They don’t, and now they have to face paying their own rfas big $$$’s right out of the gate.

      • Pengy….Im hoping it is

        To Pittsburgh Jonas Brodin and Victor Rask
        $ 9.75 MILLION

        To Minnesota Brian Rust Nick Bujgstad and Jack Johnson

        $10.9 Minnesota can absorb that extra $1.2 million

        Rask is our 4th line center and Jonas Brodin slides in with Justin Schultz second pairing.

        Brian Rust slides in second line wing and Nick Bujgstad 2nd or 3rd center and Johnson their 3rd pairing d for MInny…

      • You know what they say…. you can hope in one hand and crap in the other….

      • Morbid curiosity… when is the last time such a deal was made?

  7. Laine 3 @ 6.75 …. done … atta go Chevy

  8. Dubas gave Marner how much???

    • Nyr4life..these two teams almost pulled off a deal like this involving Zucker rask johnson Rust earlier.in the summer…..now billy guerin is there former pens assistant gm. Look ill take Rask for Johnson plus..

      • Almost…. But that trade is far from Rask, Brodin for Bujgstad, Johnson and Rust.
        You don’t see 5 nhl level players with any type of salary moving in one deal between 2 teams.

        I don’t see Guerin doing Pittsburgh any favors because he was formally employed by them.

  9. Lyle, Bergevin didn’t say that the rumor came from somebody with a basement apartment. He said “somebody in his basement in Toronto”

    I’m sure Elliotte Friedman has a beautiful house in Toronto with a finished basement where he meditates and deeply thinks his 31 Thoughts.

  10. Think it’s two years which is better for Laine but he must prove his worth unlike Vinnie,s Leafs who sign monsters without winning a playoff round.

  11. Point < 7 million
    Tkachuck – 7 million
    Laine < 7 million

    Marner – 10.9 million
    Matthews – 11.5 million
    Nylander- 6.9 million

    No wonder everyone wants to be a Leaf. Cha Ching.

    Every rfa signing exposes Dubas for the incompetent he is.

    • we can’t help that those 3 players mentioned above in signing 7 mill are not bright or are just chumps

  12. We know Laines cap hit but what is the breakdown? Qualifying offer and all that.
    I don’t think Laine needs to win the Selke trophy, he just needs to score 40 or 50 goals every year.