NHL Rumor Mill – September 5, 2019

by | Sep 5, 2019 | Rumors | 46 comments

The latest on the Leafs, Sharks, Lightning, and Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said there’s a plan to re-sign Mitch Marner without resorting to long-term injury reserve on Oct. 2 to free up salary-cap space. He claimed there were “a number of ways,” and aso said they don’t want to wait until the start of the season to get the winger signed.

“Without getting into the minutiae of it, say tomorrow or before camp there’s a breakthrough, there will be no delay in getting Mitch in here.”

Dubas also isn’t ruling out bringing back Jake Gardiner. Until the unrestricted free agent defenseman signs elsewhere, “the door will never be closed here.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s too bad Dubas wouldn’t elaborate on how he could get Marner signed without waiting for the start of the season. We’ve learned teams can still use LTIR during the off-season though the savings aren’t as great as during the season. Maybe it’s a combination of that plus a trade and/or demotions. We’ll know for sure if Marner and the Leafs reach an agreement at some point this month.

Patrick Marleau won’t be returning to the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images).


NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: cites The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reporting San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson confirmed he won’t bring back Patrick Marleau. The 39-year-old winger was bought out of his contract in June following a trade by the Maple Leafs to the Carolina Hurricanes, sparking speculation he could rejoin the Sharks. Wilson praised the veteran winger, who spent all but two seasons with the Sharks, but indicated the club wants to give more playing time to their younger players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marleau moved his family back to San Jose earlier this year. He must decide if he’ll continue his playing career elsewhere or retire. Speculation linked him to the Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Smith said Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBois has maintained his confidence in getting Brayden Point re-signed before training camp opens. Smith, however, noted that it’s starting to get down to crunch time. He wondered if the RFA center will accept an affordable bridge deal as several of his teammates did and cash in on a lucrative long-term deal down with the Lightning down the road.

Smith also dismissed a recent rumor claiming the two sides were closing in on an eight-year deal with an annual average value of $8 million. He wondered if Point would accept a three-year deal worth around $7.1 million per season.

Asked about speculation claiming the Lightning had expressed interest in Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, Smith said the sources he spoke with claimed it was news to them. He doesn’t rule out the Bolts looking into it but doesn’t think anything’s imminent. He also noted they’re still trying to trade goaltender Louis Domingue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning have a recent history of convincing their best RFA players to accept less than market value on short-term deals and rewarding them with lucrative long-term extensions if they play up to expectations. I expect they’ll have the same success with Point. With over $8.4 million in salary-cap space, they can afford to give him a healthy raise and still leave room for other moves later in the season.


THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reports Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford claims he doesn’t have to make a trade to free up salary-cap room to re-sign RFA defenseman Marcus Pettersson. “You can’t make a trade when you can’t find anyone to trade with,” Rutherford said. “Just the way it is.”

Yohe notes the Penguins are on the verge of exceeding the $81.5 million cap. Rutherford would prefer a long-term contract for Pettersson but an affordable bridge deal might alleviate their cap issues. Forwards Bryan Rust and Nick Bjugstad were the subjects of trade speculation but Rutherford wants to keep them.

Yohe speculates the Penguins could demote goalie Casey DeSmith ($1.25 million) or Tristan Jarry ($675K) and perhaps defenseman Zach Trotman ($700K), who’s on a two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One can dismiss the trade option as rival clubs could become more receptive to trades as training camp progresses.


  1. Marleau might be done. 40 is tough ask Jagr
    Although I am sure if he agrees the Oilers will get him into their lineup . They need any forward help they can get

    • They’d be better off with Vanek.

    • No “might”. If you watched him last year he is done with a capital D.

    • Jagr still had good season in him at 40

  2. Sounds more like Dubas is buying time after questioning from the media than having any specific “plan.” Although sounding like a broken record, he also has to deal with the fact he’s currently $2,897,199 over the cap as well as finding a way to get Marner signed before camp without further significant trades. And I’m sure there are players on that roster who are beginning to wonder the same thing.

    And before the reeds lurkers chime in, this is neither “hate” nor “negativity” – just simple math.

    • As one commentator says, “Facts don’t care about your feelings.”

      Dubas has shown some aptitude in creatively making cap space, but that is a huge hurdle to jump for sure.

    • $2,897,199 over the cap with a 27 man roster, including Horton and Clarkson. Send them to LTIR, and Harper plus Holl to the minors to trim it to 23, and you’ve got $9,052,801 in cap space. That doesn’t take into account Hyman and Dermott’s injuries, which will add even more cap space, depending upon how soon they return to the line up. They can add more with a roster size under 23 as well.

      • The point is, Dubas saying he has a plan to get Marner signed before training camp. Full use of the Clarkson/Horton LTIR money – not to mention Hyman’s and Dermot’s – can’t be used until day 1 of the regular schedule, and the last two will be back by November. So how does he accomplish that before training camp without dealing someone?

      • The issue with the Leafs sending players down to the AHL is none of those 27 players are waiver exempt. Justin Holl may pass through waivers, but it’s unlikely.
        There is no way all 30 teams pass on Ben Harper, so he would be a loss.
        Once Hyman, Dermott, and Marner (once he signs) get back on the roster then there are three players currently on the roster that have to go through waivers, or get traded for draft picks or a non roster player.

    • No cause for alarm or panic in Leaf Land.

      Its all part of the Shanascam, I mean plan.


      • Why don’t you wait and see before calling him out.
        Seems like everyone is an expert.
        Time will tell

      • No one’s “calling him out” – and none of us are claiming to be “experts” – all we’re doing is looking at the roster he’s accumulated – add up the costs (including admittedly “projected” costs to get Marner to re-sign), see that, no matter how you slice and dice it, he can’t make the numbers fit without another significant roster move – or, as Kevjam correctly points out, loses someone (or two) to waivers. Remember McElhinney and Pickard from last season?. Was that part of the plan? And gow well did Sparks work out? And we’re not even adding in Gardiner and the fact Dubas hasn’t “closed the door” on that possibility.

        Of course we can only “wait and see” – but why should that stop us from speculating when the Leafs are part of the daily topics? We certainly speculate about other teams in much the same boat such as Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver when they’re the topics of the day, and both Ottawa and Montreal have been well – and deservedly so – roasted. On a frequent basis.

        That’s what this site is all about after all. Or is there some sort of special hands-off dispensation when it comes to the Leafs?

      • I have confidence in Dubas. He has made a lot of excellent moves. I just dont understand why he didn’t arb ceci walk away and sign Gardiner with that salary as he is far superior…and why he didn’t replace babcock with keefe. Everything else has been positive.

    • Of all the who coulds be sent down to accommodate his Nibbs and his $ Ugly contract demand, I don’t see Ben Harpur being a casualty here. He brings everything the Leafs don’t have on their blueline. Babs would be choked not to have him in favor of somebody else

      • LMAO! So many losers on here that think they know more than Kyle! Pretty sure he will make things work out!

      • Yeah. He has to be a genius doesn’t he? After all, isn’t everyone who takes on any job with the Leafs automatically the best ever at that job? That’s the impression conveyed by some in here who pop in now and then with no solutions other than “LMAO” and calling anyone who tries to open up a legitimate discussion a “loser.”

  3. Re Pens

    You can’t sign Pettersson to a long term deal w/o several demotions(waive) or a trade

    They are over Cap now so at least one player needs to be demoted just to bring Pettersson in at League min (dream in)

    Re :
    “Yohe speculates the Penguins could demote goalie Casey DeSmith ($1.25 million) or Tristan Jarry ($675K) and perhaps defenseman Zach Trotman ($700K), who’s on a two-way contract.”

    1) Pens HAVE to have 2Gs in the roster…. demoting Jarry???? and Leaving De Smith up …. that still has them at over Cap …. demote De Smith over Jarry (not happening … but even if I’d did … only gain $550 K)

    2) Trottman with a 2-way contract is obvious … that still doesn’t get them enough space

    3) WTF …. they don’t even mention waiving Ruhweedel ???? That’s Nuckin Futz

    Pens have ZERO chance at a cup with JJ and Ruhweedel in the top 7….. ZERO. Play JJ again as a regular for 82 games and they just might miss the playoffs

    They must gear towards this D or better (via a trade)



    Gudbranson / Riikola


    That’s done by waiving Ruhweedel and burying JJ…. leaving only $2.6M to sign Pettersson (and of course leaving ZERO Cap flex)

    In summary …. a trade has to happen and it just may be Rust sacrificed to rid JJ

    Setting aside what comes back …. that’s $6.75 M out the door ; waive Ruhweedel …. and now there is plenty of room to sign Pettersson and UFA Hutton

    That remaining D gets Pens at a very fair shot of winning the Metro

    I will return again to my proposal of

    JJ for Kessler (both at 50 % retained) and waive Ruhweedel

    Anaheim as an internal low budget team will be paying out the non insurance portion (over $4 M) just to have Kessler sit at home and retire in three years

    This proposal gets them JJ (and they had shown interest ) for a net of $2M cash per

    They go from paying $4M for nothing to paying $8M net and getting a DMan

    Pens after swap ; Kessler on LTIR( Ruhweedel waived …. will have about $2.5M in Cap space

    A bigger proposal would be JJ and Rust for Kessler and Ritchie

    Then LTIR for Kessler and waive Ruhweedel and Trottman …. that gives $6.5 M in Cap space …. extend Ruhweedel ; sign Hutton :

    Tanger /Dumo

    Shultz / Pettersson

    Gudbranson / Hutton


    No matter what …. several demotions / waives OR a trade; needs to happen if Pens want a shot at getting out of 1st round (if they can get into playoffs )

    • Is that last guy the one who shills for a cough drop company?

      • 😁

    • Woah

      Just realized s big typo … and brutal mistake in my post:

      “….gives $6.5 M in Cap space …. extend Ruhweedel ; sign Hutton “

      That should have read “extend Pettersson” and not “Ruhweedel” ….. that would have been a firing offence

      • Pengy……they must make some moves i think Rutherford is working quietly someone will go..

        Brian Rust and J.J. clear $4.08 million……
        Nick Bujgstad is another player who could go at $4.1
        thats $8.1

        The Pens need another top 4 defense man or its lights out we cant compete with the big teams.

        Whether its a Marco Scandella WHO IS A perfect fit or someone else we cant win with this defense especially in the playoffs . Marcus Pettersson is not ready for top 4 minutes just yet…

      • Hi BlacNGold

        Re “Brian Rust and J.J. clear $4.08 million” …. moving them both actually clears $6.75M

        I know you don’t think Pettersson can handle top 4. I do.

        Remember they had JJ doing too for in many games last year ; just flipping Pettersson for JJ is a massive improvement

        The Kessler deal I proposed would have them near $6M for Pettersson and another DMan

        No matter what …, GMJR saying he is not trading is just not going to cut it

        Having and playing JJ and Ruhweedel in their top 7 just may have Pens ending their playoff streak

        They only got in by 4 points last year

        Something has got to give

      • Ahhhhhh

        “too for” should have been top four

        Friggin auto-correct

  4. if marner to columbus is out. how about Vlasic to Winnipeg for Laine?

    • Question for Pengy – do you ever proofread before posting?
      It’s worth a try.

      • Hi BC LeafFan

        Sometimes 🙂


        Shall try to more often

        I single finger type on an iPHONE most times and don’t have the eyes I did 30 years ago.

        In addition, font pre post is smaller and in faint grey; on a slightly darker grey background. After it actually posts…. bigger font and black type on white background.

        When posting from a computer (a rarity) with all fingers pounding the keys; there seems to be no issue on spelling and/or grammar


  5. Someone asked why did Keller sign, why not wait and see how this year rfa’s fair and maybe get more? IMO he signed because he knows he isn’t a $7.150 annual player at this point. This is a big gamble by Arizona I don’t believe this contract will age well. It might spike for a couple of seasons then come crashing down.

    • Agree Caper

      This could turn out to be a good contract for Arz but the likliehoid of that happening is very slim and certainly outweighed by a higher probability that he doesn’t attain $7M annually in value

      He still needs tremendous work on his defensive game

      A lot right now to pay (as a small market low budget non playoff team) for you 2nd line RW (Phil as # 1)

      Yesterday I posted what this signals in terms of guys like Rantenen and Tkachuk for their contract values ….continued upward trends each year ; massively higher points; massively better defensively and massively bigger for both of them….than Keller

      Their agents must be sending cases and cases of 25 year old Scotch to Keller’s agent for raising the proverbial bar

      • Pengy I imagine other GM are not happy with the timing of this; however I would pay based on Keller or Kevin Hayes contract as far as that goes.

      • PENGY AGREED 100%

        What i meant was trading Brian Rust and releasing J.J clears $4.08…not sure they can trade him now although there are a couple western conference teams he could slide in to a bottom pairing situation.

        Ideally trade for Marco Scandella a couple picks in return to Buffalo they doesn’t have much cap space.. then move Brian Rust somewhere for picks in return…so the difference is only about $500,000

        Then release or buyout J.J which is $1.08 million
        Then release ONE OF Trottman, or Rudwhedl or Rikola

        sign Brian Boyle one year cheap deal.

        You add Brian Boyle and Marco Scandella the Penguins are much better

        Boyle can slide on to the 4th line with Blueger and ZAR OR Simon

        Crosby Guentzal Kahun- (this kid can fly and play)

        Malkin Galchenyuk Tanev (Tanev is fast & good defensively) geno Galchenyuk not

        Mccann Bujgstad Hornqvist

        Blueger Boyle ZAR / Wilson / Simon (who isn’t all that great)

        letang Dumolin
        Schultz Scandella
        Pettersson grudbrasson

      • Hi BlackNGold

        Would love to have Scands…. great add

        Understand now re the Rust/JJ net figures you had

        Don’t mind so much Tanev being tried out on 2nd line (I think he’ll probably end up on 3rd) ; but McC has to be tried out at least for a couple of dozen games with Sid and Guentzel

        Sully kept flipping him (McC) around but he clicked quite well with Sid/Guentz

        If that doesn’t work after a dozen games; give Kahun a shot

        Like the Boyle suggestion … great add if they can get him for around $900 K; but not a mandatory add

        He can also play C

        Everything starts with not playing JJ (waive or trade) 👍

    • Its already a good contract if you compare with Kevin Hayes. Keller is younger and is used in similar game situations. Keller lead his team in scoring, Hayes was never the top guy.

      • I don’t disagree with that but I don’t agree with it either. Hayes is a more complete player but Keller has a higher offensive ceiling and Hayes is just tall, but a 20 plus goal scorer.

    • The contract is a gamble for sure. I think Chayka must have seen something in training camp that convinced him there will be fireworks between Kessel and Keller or Schmaltz and Keller and he didn’t want to be in a war with their top young player next year after seeing this year’s RFA battles. I don’t know that Keller gets to the level of a 7.15 AAV player in one year, but it will be interesting to watch this contract over a couple of years. Chayka has locked up several young players to long contracts prior to their RFA contract year (Chycrun, Schmaltz, Dvorak). In a few years either he will be hailed as a genius, or these contracts may be the cause of his early retirement, or he will hit on some and lose on others.

    • I agree just look at Marrner might have got him long term at 7-8 last year now 10 is a hopeful number by Leaf fans and if that is the number they get him at it will only be a bridge .

  6. Here’s an interesting way to put these contracts all into perspective

    The Best player to have ever played ; IMHO , is Orr

    In his third season after just turning 20 ; he was almost at a PPG (21G 43A in 67 GP) and was Plus 55 (not a typo)

    The next year he earned (in today’s $’s) a little more than $1.8 M…. and not long after retiring he was effectively bankrupt (thanks Eagleson) he’s certainly doing ok now though

    If Orr were an RFA today at 20 and that far above every other D worldwide and basically better offensively than all but maybe 10 forwards …. at 20 …. with an expected huge prime ahead of him…. he for sure gets to North of McD $’s

    And that would have certainly been worth it in out years …. scoring championships ; trophies , cups …. career almost averaging + 1 PER GAME

    It puts things in perspective doesn’t it!

    • @ Pengy: Nice way to say all the right things about a legend like Orr. Glad to see people like Cherry and U still plug this guy cuz he was worth every nickel.

  7. Gmjr is great. So much hush hush in the league and he generally shoots straight. When he said there was no one to trade with it confirms, at least to me, that the few teams with space are waiting on using it or weaponizing it demanding teams pay them to take cap. Even for decent players. That spells trouble for several teams.

    Oh. Pengy. Chad is twice the damn zack is.

    • That’s been my mantra for a few weeks now Chrisms – totally agree. There is absolutely NO reason for teams like Detroit ($4,270,457 in cap space) – L.A. )$6,740,606) – Anaheim ($8,500,242) – Minnesota ($7,958,911) – NJ ($8,711,667) and Ottawa ($10,890,001) to overpay for decent players that one of the cap-strapped teams MUST move in order to free up necessary RFA space. Why would they as probably not even that decent addition would be the difference between being a lottery team again and jumping up into the playoff picture. It therefore isn’t a necessity for them so they can sit back and wait until the excrement hits the proverbial fan and those teams simply have to take the bargain-basement return offered.

      And if and when push comes to shove, those cap-strapped teams would probably rather see a decent player go to one of them rather than strengthen playoff bound or bubble teams with extra cash such as
      Montreal ($4,044,524 plus likely just over a mil for each of Alzner, Peca and Weiss when demoted) – San Jose ($4,682,583) – NYI ($4,653,334) – Colorado ($15,615,239)

    • Hi Chrisms

      I don’t trust GMJR anymore.

      It just seems he is in a “no care” attitude.

      His constant defence of the JJ signing; to me, lends proof to my stance on this

      If he gets a move done that gets rid of JJ before the season starts; he’d be going a very long way in winning my confidence back

      Re Chad vs Zack….. two years ago I’ll cede Chad being better

      Albeit a small sample size for both last year with the big club…. I only missed 2 games all year so it’s possible I may have missed 2 games that they played in …. but from what I saw…. Zack was a far better DMan ; FAR better; than Chad in 18/19. Chad was downright awful.

      Ruhweedel was only marginally better than JJ

      IMO, JJ and Ruhweedel should never be played in the same game let alone on the ice at the same time. Playing in different teams would be best.

      I caught a few WBS games last year and thought Prow shone big time. He’s waaaaaay better than Chad. Why haven’t they given him a shot?

      Both are righties; Prow has to be at least three years younger and he’s certainly better at both ends if the rink

      Head scratcher to me

      • I tried to help with the JJ ($1m retained) & Rust to EDM for Manning and PJ but looks like Holland & JR are not talking this week LOL

      • Sorry pengy. Realized I should have clarified. Gmjr is great as an ol bugger who says what he means cause screw it. I didn’t mind signing Jj. I minded signing him for more than two years. Chad is a good 7 d man. A guy who can jump in in an injury and make it work. I always love those guys. One of my favs was Ian Moran. Not only could he jump in and play bottom d but he was a good 4th liner as well.

        Anyways. If chad is your problem then it’s like a 1st world problem.

      • Hi IHC

        Thanks for trying

      • Hi Chrisms

        Love the Moran hybrid types that can play both depth D and depth wing; great memory Chrisms

        Re : JJ for a two year vs 5 year… yes I guess I would have accepted that ; as a trade (with likely 50 % retained) or a buyout in year 2 (this July) would have been a certainty and easy to swallow

        4 more years is catastrophic IMHO

        Chad for sure had that ability to jump in and fill in when needed in 17/18; I’m not questioning that.

        Unfortunately he didn’t in 18/19

        I guess we agree to disagree on this

        To me he was not good at all when called upon in 18/19 ; and his stats back that

        Zack filled in admirably when called upon; not fantastic by any stretch; but far better than Chad this year

        I would still love to see them give Prow a shot.

        Not sure I understand your:

        “If chad is your problem then it’s like a 1st world problem.” ???

        My weak mind ain’t understanding your point

        My point is that I truly believe that Pens have Zero chance at a cup and probably about an equal chance of (1) out in first round; and (2) just missing the playoffs…. IF they play JJ and Chad as 6th and 7th D

  8. The Keller contract might be good for Arizona look at drizlel contract for the oilers remember we all say that was a bad contract

  9. I mean who really cares anymore. You have a young player; not as good in my opinion as Brayden Point, asking for money equal to his teammate cuz his dad and agent are driving the bus.

    I get he’s entitled to ask for whatever he wants, but at the end of day, there’s only so much dough to go around. If what you are offering is not enough, let him sit or trade him to some dumb team willing to overpay him