NHL Rumor Mill – September 30, 2019

by | Sep 30, 2019 | Rumors | 61 comments

Penguins exploring potential trades for Jack Johnson plus the latest on the Wild and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports sources saying the Pittsburgh Penguins are exploring potential deals that could involve defenseman Jack Johnson. The blueliner has been informed by Rutherford that he could be traded within 48 hours.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are reportedly close to trading defenseman Jack Johnson (Photo via NHL Images).

The Penguins are above the $81.5-million salary-cap and must become cap compliant before the start of the season. Johnson is signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $3.25 million. He’s been surpassed on the Penguins depth chart by rearguard Juuso Riikola.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deadline for clubs to become cap compliant is Oct. 1 at 5 pm ET. Rossi also indicates the Penguins could get some temporary cap relief if Sidney Crosby or Bryan Rust are sidelined to start the season. Both are nursing injuries suffered during pre-season play.

Rossi didn’t indicate the potential destinations for Johnson. It could be a club with cap room in need of depth at left defense. The Ottawa Senators, New Jersey Devils, and the Los Angeles Kings could fit that profile but that doesn’t mean they’re among the potential suitors. The Kings, for example, are already loaded with aging talent on long-term deals. 

Of course, there could be other clubs hoping to squeeze the Penguins for a high draft pick or top prospect in the deal. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires.


NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien took note of a recent report indicating Victor Rask might be the odd man out among the Minnesota Wild forwards this season. The 26-year-old forward struggled in recent years, managing just three points in 23 games with the Wild following a mid-season trade from Carolina.

Rask is signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $4 million. O’Brien feels the Wild should put him in a position to improve his numbers and trade value. That would be better than making him an expensive healthy scratch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Rask had consecutive 40-plus point seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17 but his production significantly tumbled since then. Coach Bruce Boudreau suggested he’s struggling with his confidence. Scratching him from the lineup won’t help.

Even if Rask’ performance improves his contract won’t be easy to move. It could mean picking up a big chunk of his cap hit or include a sweetener in the deal.


TSN: Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin recently confirmed he’s received calls about highly touted goaltending prospect Cayden Primeau. “I’ve received calls in the past, yes,” he told TSN Radio 690. “A few. Unless you offer me a number-one center around the league, which is not going to happen.”


  1. I can’t see anyone taking Johnson without a high draft pick coming with him or a toxic contract going back to Pittsburgh which the Pens can’t afford anyway.

    • Hi Bruins fan

      There is a resolution w/o taking back Sal; w/o taking back a crap contract and w/o giving up a prospect or pick :

      I posted this a few times before:

      Ducks need a D (albeit RHD; notes) and have expressed interest in JJ

      Ducks are currently paying Kessler and Eaves the non insurance portion of $4.6 M + to watch them retire early

      JJ for RK or if push comes to shove ; JJ for RK and PE

      Ducks go from paying up to $4.6 M for nothing to getting JJ for $2M per (just RK deal) or $1.9 M per (both RK and PE)

      Pens rid JJ and at better than they would have if they bought him out in June (which would have been perfect then as Cap this year would only be 270 K this year)

      The buyout would have been $8.1 M over 8 years with associated Cap hits

      This deal costs $4M + — $4.6 M + ; with no associated Cap hits

      win win win (Ducks, Pens [team, team-mates, coaches , ownership , fans] and JJ [fresh start])


      • It feels like JJ has needed a lot of fresh starts, doesn’t it?? Makes you wonder why someone would offer him a contract like the one he received…

      • As the Ducks are cap compliant with Kesler & Eaves on roster makes little sense to trade them to Pens in a JJ deal. As well they would only have 18 players with RK & PE on LTIR. I expect they are going to be players in helping other teams becoming cap compliant and with 5 roster spaces and about 14M in cap space and 5 roster spots when they send the 2 to LTIR. Pengy I would expect a middle 9 forward top prospect and draft capital heading to Anaheim if Murray pulls the trigger on a JJ deal

      • Hi Swamp Dtagon

        Ducks are at 20 now (12-6-2) plus the two LTIRs (effectively 22)

        A little more than 1/2 of the teams go 14-7-2; so they’d need 2 more Fwds ; 1 D

        Effectively with the LTIR spots they have over $19 M to fill those three spots ….

        Cap is not an issue for them; LTIR or not; for the next 3 years anyway

        They are a tight internal budget team … paying $4.6 M to watch 2 guys retire is not palpable

        It’s nothing to Leafs; it’s definitely something to Ducks

        The proposal I offered; moves them from $4.6 M for nothing to getting a D (which they have to fill) for $1.9 M per

        ….and they did show interest in JJ in the summer

        it’s workable


    • Bruins fan..i do agree with you about Johnson….but the athletic and rossi who covers the penguins and yorbe say their are two teams willing to take on his contract..I’m not sure who but Rutherford has revealed it so..he’ll ill take victor Rask he’s talented theres our 4th line center at 4 million for johnson then waive rudwhedel trade jarry or desmith.

  2. It feels like it should cost a first or one of the few good prospects the pens have to get rid of Jj. But if that’s the cost your better off keeping him.

    If it’s at the cost of a bjugstad or zar or Kahun fine.

    One of the biggest issues last year wasn’t playing Jj. It was playing him in an elevated role. If it’s a huge sweetener then I’d rather see Jj in a 6-7 role.

    • That about sums it up Chrisms. Ottawa certainly has the cap space – this year – but with Chabot’s new contract kicking in next year and RFAs Tierney, Connor Brown, Duclair, Chlapik and Balcers to consider along with a clutch of UFAs – a few of whom they might want to re-sign (e.g., DeMelo, Borowiecki, Pageau), there’s no way Dorion takes on 4 years of Johnson, even with a 1st round pick tossed in (which figures to be middle of the pack anyway – and maybe even lower if Pittsburgh can shed Johnson) 🙂

    • Hi Chrisms

      See my post above to Bruins fan

      Can be done w/o giving up anything in the way of players/pics

      If that deal doesn’t work ; no matter what; JJ MUST go

      The elevated minutes isn’t the issue; JJ playing on the team in any capacity, is.

      As a 7th D and getting 15-20 games where he plays only 10-12 mins in those games will still be a detriment to success in those games (he could still cost a game or two) and he is still hitting the team with $3.25 M in Cap for the next 4 years

      So if my Ducks proposal fails ; and Pens have to give up a player or prospect or pick to make it work; so be it

      Pens are just about to turn a very critical corner onto a positive path

  3. We haven’t heard from Pengy yet. I assume he’s out buying champagne.

    • Hi Whalercane

      See above

      Champagne in chill; not popped yet

    • The price and player coming back for JJ

  4. Hi Lyle

    Question re Cap relief

    Above noted potential to have Cap relief if Sid is off.

    I thought Cap relief only happens if a player actually goes on the LTIR list and not if they just miss a game or two…. have I got that correct?

    Also re LTIR , if a team does decide to place a player on LTIR is there a minimum time/games they must be off?

    If I have above correct (only LTIR for Cap relief) and there is a min required for LTIR and Sid is day-to-day…. then Pens wouldn’t put Sid on LTIR and there would no Cap relief…. have I got my assumptions correct

    Thanks in advance for your response

    • If placed on LTIR that would provide the cap relief. By the sound of things, Rust’s injury could be more serious than Crosby’s. A moot point if Johnson is traded.

      • Thanks Lyle

        Is there a min time/games that a player must stay on LTIR once placed there?

        Thanks again

      • Hi Pengy,

        Cap Friendly is a great source for all of these types of questions.
        From what I can tell it looks like to put a player on LTIR they have to miss a minimum 10 games or 24 days.

      • Thanks KevJam


  5. Rossi is a frequent visitor of this site and is just yanking Pengy chain.

    • Rossi

      “No soup for you”

      • Penguins waive goalie desmith..

      • BlackNGold

        Saw that

        It’s a gamble (losing him to waivers; but immediately makes them Cap compliant

        The risk is lower as most teams have basically either finalized their roster or are still cutting players

        There are only 3 maybe 4 teams that could/would snap him up from now unti tomorrow at 5

        If GMJR has done this 3 days ago; high chance of losing DeSmith

        Still a chance…. just a much much less chance


  6. Been quiet on the Jessi Puljujarvi front. Hard to believe Holland hasn’t found the right deal for him.

    With their limited cap space $1.533 you would have to think it be prospects, picks or a player on elc

    • Same with Honka in Dallas. I think in Puljujarvi’s case, Holland is quite content to let him start the year in Finland.

      • Am I the only one who thinks swapping the 2 makes sense. Oil need blue line depth.

      • It sure looks like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? The only thing I think of is that neither GM wants to be the one who gave up the one who turns out to be a hidden “star” while the other wound up with the dud. Both were 1st round picks and the hope lingers.

      • Actually MotorCity Smitty, the Oil have plenty of depth on the blue line. With guys like Bear, Lagesson and Jones knocking on the door and Honka isn’t any better than either of those guys today IMO. High end prospects like Bouchard and Broberg are a year or 2 away.
        It will be a strength soon.
        What they lack are wingers and a true #1 tender.
        JP likely has a higher upside than anything they have been offered thus far, so he plays in Finland.

      • With Ray here

        Oil of course would benefit with a top 4D; but Honka is not it and as Ray said; Oil young D on the rise

        The beneficial trade for JP ; as at right now; just doesn’t seem to be there

        Now … a team gets a key fwd injury that is expected to be for the balance of the year…. then perhaps there is s trade out there?

  7. CapFriendly continues to reflect the headaches faced by quite a few teams as they move pieces around prior to the 5:00 pm deadline tomorrow to a) get cap compliant and b) decide whether to go with the max 23 or, failing the ability to move salary, something less than that.

    At this writing, some ML rosters still vary from 19 to 26 as reported by CapFriendly. Lots of moves to come between now and 5:00 pm tomorrow.

    • Hi George

      Ya the dizzying effect of roster numbers up then down then up again on CF is weird

      Right now Caps and Jets at 29, Canes at 28

      in 5 minutes it will be like “Bits N Bites”…. “whole new ball game”

      • The Toronto Maple Leafs have placed Kenny Agostino, Kevin Gravel, Nic Petan and Garrett Wilson on waivers. Timashov and Liljegren are on the opening roster. Smart moves.

        1. Timashov requires waivers but Liljegren does not.
        2. Agostino is on a one way $737k, two year contract. Other teams will think twice before claiming him.
        3. Leafs have 13.663m in LTIR cap relief and are using 13.652m of it. Shades of Lou Lamoriello – If you have time, use it. ==> If you have LTIR relief, use it.
        4. Opening day cap relief ceiling is very important, especially considering that Leafs will be operating under LTIR relief for the entire season.
        5. I expect Timothy Liljegren to be sent down very soon if he is not playing or if the Leafs claim a goalie off waivers.

        Toronto may lose a player but the flexibility gained is well worth it.

  8. Am I the only one that laughed at Bergevin‘s quote? He wants a NHL 1st line center for an unproven goalie….yes goalie. And many think the Leafs fans/media overrate their players! Sheesh!

    • Can’t argue with that. Maybe it was just his way of saying “I have no intention of trading him unless the return is overwhelming …”

    • Pretty sure he was being facetious.

      • Yep

    • Ron I think you’re the only one that thought he was being serious lol

  9. @Pengy

    to NSH: JJ & Rust (7.75)

    to PITT: Turris (6)

    gives ya about 750k in relief
    move Bjugstad and Horny to 3rd line with Turris
    or while your son-in-law is out slot Turris #2C

    • Why am I the only one to see the son in law thing as creepy here?

      • He wants Crosby to bang his daughter. So what?

      • Lmao, I have sons, so I can’t say with any degree of certainty…. but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t fantasize about hearing some pro athlete knocking the headboard through the wall if I had a daughter.

        I still tell all my nieces to put more on (like a turtleneck and baggy pants) at the beach in 97 degree weather.

      • My daughter is only two… not sure about pengy. But I know my daughter is gonna be boned by someone someday… and I doubt it’ll be a man as rich and supposedly nice as Crosby.

      • Glad to see you are being pragmatic about this Chrisms. Our daughter now has 2 sons, so to your point, it is inevitable. My son in law is a great guy, and a good father/husband. Got lucky or she learned something from us along the way.
        Gotta tell ya though, when your daughter is from the age 15-18 and the guys show up at the door to pick her up….. you don’t trust any of the MF’s.

      • Chrism,

        Yeah, Bill Cosby, Ray Rice, OJ Simpson seemed like nice guys too. Rich or not, let’s not pretend we know people from a game or an interview.

        Usually celebrities, actors and rockstars are the worst people on the planet. Especially to their spouses.

      • Ray that terrifies me. Ny that is an over generalization of an highly publicized group of people. For the handful of celebrities who are proven to be bad people the large percentage are as proven to be bad as joe shmoh next door. My idea of who Crosby is is from someone who has watched him from a distance over the past decade. Could he be bad? Sure. But then again so could you. But I don’t get that impression either.

      • Generally speaking, they’re not known for their abstinence from other women. And I’m sure it’s not easy to be when women are throwing themselves at you at every turn, and the wife isn’t within 7 states. Using Cosby, OJ etc may be a bit of an extreme. But these people are the most disingenuous people on the planet by far.

        Hence why the vast majority of them are married 4-7-9 times. And I’m not even just talking about modern era. Liz Taylor , Johnny Carson, Robert Deniro etc.

        The last thing I’d ever wish on my kid is a celebrity spouse / life. Where when these indiscretions happen, it’s under a microscope and the humiliation of it all is pulic and in every tabloid.

      • I’m curious ny how many you have gotten to know well enough to say they are disingenuous? I’ve only known a few and they were super nice. I think you need to check your numbers. The vast majority? I had you pegged as a guy who could see past the media selling bad news as standard reality.

        Maybe we won’t agree. But! I agree whole heartedly that the public eye of celebrity would be, to me at least, a f’n nightmare.

      • I don’t have to know them personally. Look at Hollywood. A divorce rate more than 2x’s that of normal people. They’ll say and do about anything for attention and money. Look at the Harvey Weinstein thing….! These women were holding his hand at awards and doing multiple movies for the guy, and claiming they were sexually assaulted during their 1st or 2nd movie? Odd to say the least. I’m not saying nothing happened, but you go and do 8 more movies?

        All that being said, I wouldn’t wish one on my child. Male or female.

        And I wouldn’t wish stardom on my kids either. Horrible people. And not just based off media, baseball off their spouses , children’s , siblings , parents accounts as well.

      • How did we go from sports figures to Hollywood?

        If I missed Crosby staring in home alone 5… Christmas at Mario’s at age 30 then I feel left out.

    • Hi IHC

      I see the logic but that would put them at 22 with $400 K space ; so still not sustainable

      GMJR bought some time ; DeSmith down makes them Cap compliant

      A risk they lose him; but done on last day when others trying to be Cap compliant ; so risk much slimmer than 3 days ago

      Now GMJR can work his JJ deal w/o immediate concern for being Cap compliant


      • Pengy…John Marino is starting the year in Pittsburgh. That means your boy Jack Johnson is out one way or another.


    • Turris is still a good player..off year….i would make that move rust is terrific but we have more depth now… i agree with this proposal

  10. I’m a little surprised to see Kravstov and Shestyorkin sent down to Hartford. I’m fall out of my seat chocked to see Chytl sent down to Hartford!

    Yikes! Quinn showing some tough love!

    • same here. I was anticipating Howden on the 3rd line with Chytil and Kratsov with Lemiex rotating in
      then the 4th line Andersson with Namestnikov and Fast with Smith rotating in.

      I saw the 2nd line as Strome centering Kreider & Kakko.

      if Chytil goes down too I am guessing a tank season as Chytil & Kratsov will outscore Lemieux this season.

      I think they are sent down for
      1. defense assignments…to learn better
      2. play physical. both did not lend the body tot heir game this camp.
      3. more quality ice time on the top line to build chemesitry and get Chytil center ice time with Kratsov as his winger.

      just IMO

    • Chytil looked bit lost but so did Howden.
      Kratsov assumed needed some more time

  11. Ottawa has a few injuries on their back end. Branstrom made the cut out of camp. I could see the Sens picking up Johnson with a nice draft pick as insurancem but i dont seem them wanting tk spend the money until Brannstrom proves he cant cut it.

    • No thanks. Mid to low 1st round pick to take that 3 year albatross on simply isn’t worth it. Not with the RFAs and some UFAs they’ll want to re-up next year, not to mention Chabot’s $8 mil deal kicking in. Now, if someone could guarantee that the Pitt pick next year is a lottery one – and NOT lottery-protected – then MAYBE, and even then it’s remote.

      The only injury on the back-end is Wolanin and, with Zaitzev, Chabot, Hainsey, Demelo, Borowiecki, Brannstrom being the 6 main D and Goloubef (temporarily) as the 7th D with Jaros and Lajoie marking time in Belleville, they have enough in their system for a year that doesn’t project to be anywhere near a playoff spot without adding a pylon.

      • It’s a 4 year albatross George. I’ll be shocked to see any team take him without some serious sweetener and retention.

      • Thanks – expensive typo 🙂

        If Rutherford did, as is being reported, advise Johnson that he’s working on a trade and that he should be prepared to move on, you have to think he’s under the impression that something will be worked out over the next 24 hours. Otherwise, why say anything of that sort? It’s nothing short of adding insult to injury if he then has to call him again to advise him that no team in the league wanted any part of him – not even with multiple “sweeteners” tossed in. I mean, maybe the guy is seen as a detriment on D but that’s no reason to make him look like a complete non-entity. Rutherford did, after all, give him that idiotic contract in the first place.

      • Ya George

        I’d be very surprised if JJ becomes a Sen

  12. Vancouver just placed Goldobin and Biega on waivers – they could lose one of them.

  13. Unless someone offers Bergevin a bonafide, premiere, elite number one center and/or a pile of high ranked prospects and high draft picks; Cayden Primeau isn’t going anywhere and Bergie is just savy enough to pry an extra D out of any deal because PP is still an issue

  14. There has to be a deal in principal otherwise why tell Johnson to not buy any green bananas