NHL Rumor Mill – September 8, 2019

by | Sep 8, 2019 | Rumors | 27 comments

The latest on Justin Faulk, Dougie Hamilton, Roman Josi, and Andrei Markov in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton notes the Carolina Hurricanes signing free-agent defenseman Jake Gardiner creates a logjam on their blueline. It also pushes them above the $81.5-million salary cap by over $1.5 million, forcing them to become cap compliant before the season opens next month.

Could Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton become a trade candidate again? (Photo via NHL Images)

One option could be demoting fringe players such as Gustav Forsling and Clark Bishop ($1.57 million combined cap hit). Clinton also suggested trading a defenseman such as Justin Faulk or Dougie Hamilton.

Faulk has a limited no-trade clause, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July and could fetch a solid return. Clinton felt Hamilton, who lacks no-trade protection, wasn’t as integral to the Hurricanes’ blue line last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell addresses this situation. The absence of a clear-cut starting goaltender could entice Waddell to maintain a deep blueline corps. He could go the cheap demotion route and see how things unfold this season.

Faulk is the better all-around defenseman but his UFA status could be a sticking point in any trade negotiations. Hamilton is a right-handed shot with good offensive skills but he’s now on his third team since 2014-15.


THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan reports Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi is among several notable potential 2020 UFAs still unsigned as training camp approaches. That’s a big change from last year when notables such as Drew Doughty, Logan Couture, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Ryan McDonagh all re-signed with their respective clubs. So did Ryan Ellis, Josi’s defense partner.

An NHL agent blames it on the current stalemate involving notable restricted free agents and their teams. While it doesn’t directly impact the Predators, it affects their efforts to forecast their already-tight salary cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Josi’s current annual average value is $4 million, which he’s also earning in actual salary this season. He’s in line for a significant raise on his next contract, more than Ellis’ $6.25-million AAV.

How much more could be determined by how much RFA rearguards like Boston’s Charlie McAvoy and Columbus’ Zach Werenski receive on their new deals. If either of them gets, say, $8 million annually, Josi’s agent could point to that as a comparable.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan cites Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin telling RDS’ Marc Denis he’s not interested in bringing back former Habs defenseman Andrei Markov. The 40-year-old blueliner is hoping to return to the NHL following a two-year absence. His first choice was to return to Montreal, where he spent his entire 16-year NHL career.

Bergevin said Markov has aged, the Canadiens’ organization has changed direction, and they want to give more playing time to up-and-coming defensemen like Noah Juulsen, Victor Mete, Josh Brook, and Alexander Romanov.

Markov said he’s also willing to listen to offers from other NHL clubs. His agent, Allan Walsh, recently claimed numerous teams had called expressing interest in his client.


  1. Speaking of agents, for what it’s worth Garrioch had this to say in his article in the Ottawa Sun this morning covering the Baby Sens 4-2 win last night i Belleville over the Baby Habs (a hat-trick for Abramov by the way)

    “Ottawa-based agent Andy Scott, who represents Senators centre Logan Brown and Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine, was in the house for this one. Yes, Jets’ general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff is in town, but the two didn’t meet. Laine is a restricted free agent and there’s been a lot of focus on contract talks with NHL camps set to open Friday.”

    The same article also goes into detail about the potential AHL Sens log-jam in goal with the odds-on # 1 Marcus Hogberg and would-be back-ups Filip Gustavsson (who they got from Pittsburgh in the Brassard deal) and Joey Daccord, signed out of Arizona State last year (he got the win last night while Gustavsson was in goal for the 8-1 win over the Baby Jets the night before).

    Maybe Gustavsson becomes a trade chip to a team needing goaltending depth.

  2. Firstly … I know I said this the other day … this is a hockey site ….. but I must send out a big congrats to Bianca 👍🏆

    Re RFAs and UFAs

    Setting aside some teams have players that will be on LTIR and some teams in CapFriendly showing rosters of > 23….

    Adding up all currently showing on rosters in CapFriendly league wide and only about 20 spots left

    … 30’ish RFAs of which 20 for sure are NHL players ; tons of UFAs with prob close to 15 of them 33 or older ….. there will be :

    (1) panicking players and agents

    (2) players signed for less than what they would have got just 2 months ago and much less than what they felt they were worth

    (3) A number of younger UFAs agreeing to AHL contracts or flying across the pond

    (4) some patient GMs picking up bargain basement deals ; and

    (5) a few retirement parties

    The next 2-3 weeks will be interesting

    • Watched an entire woman’s tennis match for the first time since Yvonne Goolagong & Billy Jean King were at their peaks!

      Impressive young lady, that Bianca. You just knew that, the longer it dragged on, the harder it would be for those 38 y/o legs of Serena to hold up. Like in any pro sport, the legs are usually the first to go. But, just looking at her record, what a champion she’s been over the years!

      • I watch the occasional match and have watching her lately

        I certainly remember BJK in the media; don’t remember watching her.

        The name Goolagong is memorable only in that it was a unique name …. i’ve no memory of what she looked like or what country she was from … the name sounds like it is First Nations/Aboriginal ???

      • Wow my Aboriginal guess was right

        I will have to tell the wife I got something right

    • Pengy like you I was glued to the TV and a month ago I couldn’t pronounce Bianca name and now I can’t stop saying it.
      Want to add Serena is all class, very impressed by her, great role model and the best ever.

      • Caper b4 Bianca, Serena was my fav female Tennis player

        She is still awesome

        Gretzky had to cede to up and coming talent when he was in his sunset NHL career

        I had no problem pronouncing Bianca

        …. but spell let alone pronounce her last name …. fageddabowdid!

  3. With more and more teams bumping up against the cap ceiling and less teams that will take on bad contracts I can see where teams will not carry 23 players. It would be very easy to have a roster of 22 players giving teams the ability to have one spare defensemen and one forward.
    I can also see the day when we might see a team start the season or go long stretches with only 20 players on the roster.

    A few years ago the Flames were in cap trouble and had to play a game with only 19 players

    In Carolina’s case they could drop two forwards and one defensemen, saving them 2.1 million and start the season with a roster of 22 players.

    We are finally getting down to the pointy end of the spear when it comes to all these RFA’s and the cap. It appears to me the casualty will be a roster spot

    • Agree FlamesFan. But it’s a risky venture. The one thing GMs/coaches like about the 23-man roster is the “motivation” aspect, especially when you’re playing a bunch of young kids prone to repeated mistakes OR have veterans who may tend to “go through the motions” now and then. Nothing like sitting a few games in the press box to deliver a message. If your roster is smack up against the cap and you can only carry, say, 20 players because of that, any short-term injuries can’t be addressed by calling up someone from the minors who maybe deserves a shot with his play in the AHL.

    • Hi Flamefan

      I can certainly see 22; and maybe a couple at 21 to start the season (2-3 games)

      I really can’t see any team starting opening day with only 20 (which is the number that is usually dressed for a game)

      I remember those two games that Flames dressed only 19 !!!

      As I said …. next 3 weeks will be very interesting

      The big winner here may be a patient GM that picks up a very cheap (desperate) UFA for a 1 year contract and that player performs way above expectations …. McQ? Hutton ? Vanek? Claeson?

      • The bigger winners will be those teams with cap space that don’t bend to the return demands for useful players that they absolutely MUST trade in order to free up cap space to sign their key RFAs, and who ultimately get those players for bargain-basement returns.

  4. Could Leafs trade Mitch Marner
    Brayden Point and Rantanen are more valuable to their respective teams and better players .
    In the end , Marner will get the larger contract , if he stays with the Maple Leafs
    It wasn’t that long ago .. Leafs went down the same road , with Nylander !
    Deja u ..all over again , with the same menace of an agent ..
    In my opinion , Leafs need to put an end to this “1” sided – me ..me… player behaviour , once and for all …
    New England Patriots are a proven example , of players – willing to take far less money – for chance of a Super Bowl ..
    Tyson Barries contract is up in 2020 , as is Muzzins .
    Morgan Reilly is upcoming , as is Anderson – this selfishness , has to END !

    • @ken
      Dubas’ work next summer is just as hard.

      Even if Marner signs for 9….you cannot contend very long when 4 forwards eat 40%+ of your cap…

      JT 11 Marner 9
      AM 11.6 Willy 6.9

    • Dear Ken, you forgot to add”in my opinion.”
      Otherwise where’s the proof that Point and Rantanen are better than Marner?
      The unsigned RFA list is something – not a bad roster actually. Who’s on the first line?

      • As for Marner, Point and Rantanen. Point is the better player, than Marner and Rantanen. Tavares is good for Marner but McKinnon is key for Rantanen, he wouldnt be nearly as good without him

    • Another good proven example of a professional sports team that has low cap hit players, all in efforts to put together a championship winning team, is the Boston Bruins! Their highest paid player is Krejci at a $7.25M AAV. I’m sure Neely says to the players and agents “if you’re here for the money, then you can go else where, but if you’re here to win championships, this is our market value…”.

      • Hi LeafsAdvocate

        Yep … Boston model excellent … both SC finalists spread the wealth around… StL only had 3 players paid $6M or more, with max Sal $7.5M (RoR and Teresenko); and Bos had 6 and max at $7.25M as u pointed out

        EC Finalists Canes had 1 (Staal at $6M)

        WC finalists sharks had 6 …. EK ($6.5M) , Vlasic and Kane both at $7M; the bearded wonder (tops at $8M); Couture and little Joe both at $6M

        That model worked last year

        As at now; ‘20 odds on cup fav Bolts have 4 …. Kuch ($9.5M) ; Stammer ($8.5M) ; VH ($7.9 M) and Mcdonagh ($6.8M) and of course will have a 5th in Point ($????)

        For Leafs future plan:
        I agree that 2 at $11M or more plus 1 likely to land hovering around $9.5 M and a 4th at $7 M …. all forwards BTW …. and with only 1 D signed past 1/7 next year….. is a very tenuous situation

        Convert $7M WW into a top 4 early/mid 20s D and with Cap in hand from the deal …. and that moves the long term cup probabilities upward quite a bit IMHO


  5. I agree Ken…I am a Leaf fan and my dream press release would be as follows by Larry Tenabaum….chairman of MLSE




    • OBD

      this perfect edict should have been posted last Sept exchanging the name Marner for Nylander

      Had WW sat last year (a prudent and logical move IMO )…, then he doesn’t get near $7M; AM is South of $11M and MM isn’t holding out now for what he believes he is worth

      I have no challenge at all to a player who tries to negotiate for what he feels he is worth and is the top point producer on his team

      The never sent Nylander edict I mentioned above has IMHO; affected the whole RFA dynamic throughout the league

      Many waiting on MM and his hold out is a result of, IMHO, GMKDs capitulation with the WW contract

      I truly believe that sitting MM for a year would be unbelievably insulting …. they capitulate for WW ; but force a far superior player , their top point producer I might add; to sit…. it also weakens their team; and all this after acquiring an extra LTIR just to make the deal happen

      I still think the long term solution …. addressing the long term D ranks (only Reilly signed past 1/7/20) is to move WW for an up and coming early/mid 20s D man either at now or trending to …. top 3D or top 4D; and at a lesser Cap hit

      His Sal this year is only $700 K and he’s owed <$5 M per over the balance of his contract

      • Wow. This angst out of TO is almost palpable. We’ve heard opinions about Marner ranging from “give him what he wants” – to negative comparisons to Nylander centering on his “selfishness” – to ungratefulness for not being humbly honoured to be a Leaf – and to ignore the bum and let him sit.

        We’ve also heard the first suggestions that Babcock might not have the ideal attitude to coach the team and that he could be on a short leash.

        But what we haven’t heard is that, maybe, just maybe, Dubas is seen to be out of his depth and that Tanenbaum/Shanahan might be reconsidering the decision to turn the team’s fortunes over to him. So far, anyway, he’s escaped that similar scrutiny from the faithful.

      • It’s crazy hearing leaf fans call marner selfish after they just handed out big contracts to matthews,Tavares and nylander! Lol it’s very debatable that all around marner might be the most valuable to the leafs yet fans doesn’t think he deserve as much as Matthews and Tavares lol dubas made his bed now he has to sleep in it

  6. It is not angst, yet George, it is fear now. Angst maybe later,

    It is the idea that current management could give a contract that would stop the team from achieving by signing an overrated small player….a good player….but far far from elite in the league….highest points the last 2 years or not. I think I could name 25 players I would rather have.

    Toronto is not the hockey mecca many Toronto fans think it is….but it is a large market with too many media guys who need stuff to write.who have pumped this guys tires beyond belief.

    I simply don’t want the guy on my team above 8.75 million, which he will probably get. Anything above that George and my fear will change to angst. So I guess I have some angst coming my way.

    • OBD, thirty other teams to cheer for, you could pull a Pengy and find another just in case the overpaid Leafs don’t get it done.

      • BCLeafFan

        I love all hockey but my two fav NHL teams are fOR 2 different reasons…. born/raised in T.O. and as a little boy I remember quite vividly sitting on my Dad’s knee watching the ‘67 Cup victory … so almost a defacto DNA demand that I’m a Leaf fan (all my life)

        Mario in his first two years sold me in the Pens …. and of course the back2back cups in the early 90’s with Mario and the Chzck Mullet wunderkind was a thing of beauty to watch

        Stuck with both clubs through the lean years and then of course my future son-in-law gets drafted in ‘05 😁

        My third fav team is VGKs !!

    • Obd it’s funny when leaf fans talk about their players in trades they way overrate them yet in contract signings they underrate them lol! D be surprised if marner got under 10 million but I think he deserves Tavares Matthews number they just play offense not very good on d at all yet marner is responsible in his own end and still puts up more points than anyone on the team

  7. Well here’s manure to the wind. Since Mitch wants what his biscuit buddy got and most people agree he’s entitled to ask for the earth, even if all he gets is much less, is it possible that Tampa would trade to TML Brayden Point for the negotiations rights to Mitch Marner, his agent and father and William Nylander too?

    Now wake me up when September ends ! Cheers