NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2019

by | Oct 8, 2019 | Rumors | 29 comments

The latest on the Jets, Senators, and Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill.


WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre expressed concern over a battered Jets defense that gave up 14 goals in their first three games of the season. Until Dustin Byfuglien decides on his future, however, there’s not much they can do to address the issue. “A money in, money out trade seems to be the only tangible option at this point,” said McIntyre.

The Jets are using largely untested defensemen, such as Ville Heinola and Carl Dahlstrom, to fill the gaps. They’ll also turn to Sami Niku, who’ll make his season debut tonight after recovering from a groin injury.

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ares looked at possible trade options like Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen and Dallas’ Julius Honka. Ristolainen has plenty of experience but also comes with a $5.4 million annual salary-cap hit and would be costly to acquire. Ares is also critical of his five-on-five play. Honka would be more affordable and has potential but has yet to establish himself as a full-time NHL defenseman.

Could Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen become a trade target for the Winnipeg Jets? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets breathed a sigh of relief when top-pairing rearguard Josh Morrissey returned to practice yesterday after getting injured in the pre-game skate before Sunday’s game against the New York Islanders. I expect they’ll continue waiting for Byfuglien’s decision and hope the call-ups will improve. If Big Buff retires, they’ll have plenty of salary-cap space to pursue a top-four defender in the trade market.


OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren mused over which position recently acquired Vladislav Namestnikov will fill on the Senators’ forward lines. He played primarily as a winger with his former club, the New York Rangers.

If Namestnikov moves to center, Warren wonders what happens with current centers Colin White, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Chris Tierney, and Artem Anisimov. “Could there be an additional move coming?” he asked.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The initial reaction to the Namestnikov trade indicated the move was made to bolster the Senators’ depth at center. His versatility gives the Senators some flexibility to adjust their forward lines. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.


TORONTO STAR: Dave Feschuk wonders if the Maple Leafs backup-goalie position will remain a concern this season. Leafs coach Mike Babcock didn’t blame Michael Hutchinson for the club’s 6-5 meltdown on Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens. However, the Leafs need to know they can trust Hutchinson to spell off starter Frederik Andersen this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Feshuck acknowledged it’s just one game and too early to start worrying about Hutchinson’s performance. Nevertheless, this could be something worth watching as the season progresses. If Hutchinson can’t get the job done as Andersen’s backup, the Leafs could be forced to address the issue via trade or waivers.


  1. Namestikov trade I think was more about Rangers dumping salary. Surprised they only had to retain so little. No lose move for Sens. They get a decent middle 6 guy that can play any forward position and can probably get back assets at deadline should they decide to flip him. I liked Namestikov, but not at 4mil a year.

    • 3million in cap space is nice for a player with no future as a Ranger

  2. So far in his NHL career, White has played as much wing as C – he’s probably ticketed to go back to the wing position with the more experienced Namestnikov moving into the C position on the top line with LW Tkachuk and either Connor Brown or Abramov at RW.

  3. I was a little surprised Winnipeg didn’t claim Joe Morrow on waivers from New Jersey.

    He’s no replacement for Buff but he played 41 games for them last year, knows the team and the system.

    • If they wanted him they coulda just signed him themselves.

      • True enough.

  4. Jets are not making the playoffs with that current defence.

    Probably a little early in his career for White to be the number one center.

    Malkin down again until mid November . The play looked fairly innocent . Pens can’t afford any more with Rust and Bjugstad shelved as well . This is why you can’t be at the cap.

  5. Jets have offense. Isles have defense. Seems like a trading partner.

  6. Dubas’s mistaken philosophy….

    1) back up goalie is not important enough to spend on….one of the best decisions this year ….Kinkaid as back up to Price…Dubas blew 2 better back ups to keep Sharp….did not think enough of back goalie to do anything beyond Neurith and Hutchison….all that high paid help and they can’t get this obvious fact in their heads….

    2)imbalanced roster due to imbalanced spending through the roster….too much money on 4 forwards not enough on best D man….

    3) he believes speed will over power and heaviness….it might in October ( didn’t last night)….it sure as hell won’t in May…St Louis hit the Leaf D legally at every oportunity….to good effect

    4) has a non first rate coach at first rate salary….what kind of team building when a coach takes a credible veteran ( Spezza) has his 4 daughters and parents around to watch him play and the coach benches him and plays Shore….Dubas seems afraid to take on the coach…

    • Changing the head coach is more important than any personnel moves for Leafs and it is not even close.

  7. See anyone taking a low dollar, low risk chance on Phaneuf? Maybe the Jets?

  8. The fact he did that (and there’s no way he didn’t know) while choosing to play someone who’s plugged his way through 3 previous teams while scoring a whopping 15 goals in 238 gp paints him as an a-hole supreme.

  9. The Islanders have a blueline surplus and need to make room for Noah Dobson. Kevin, call Lou.

    • Hey Mark & nk, I’m not an Islander expert but I don’t see the surplus.
      Dobsan is there now and everything I have seen (WJC & Mem Cup) and read is that he is a great looking prospect.
      I am guessing, so please confirm, that Trotz will have him playing in the bottom pair to start in order to shelter him.
      Good top 3 in Boychuk, Leddy and Pulock and then, meh.
      If you trade one of those 3, they don’t seem deep at all at the NHL level IMO.
      What am I missing? No trying to be a dick, I just don’t know the Islanders all that well.

      • @Ray Bark, clearly you are correct in that you don’t know the Islanders very well as their top pair is Pulock/Pelech and their second pairing is Mayfield/Toews. Leddy and Boychuk are their 3rd pairing and more likely than not Dobson will be making his debut tonight with Boychuk sitting. Lou can only hope the GM he’s trading with knows as little about the Islanders defense.

      • Who stuck a stick up your ass Brettzky? Chill dude.
        I mean what I said, I don’t know them well.Hence the question.
        Hopefully the next guy who responds to one of my posts isn’t a dick.

      • Ray, just ignore a-holes like that. For the record, here are the total minutes played by the 6 D so far

        1. Pulock – 21:55
        2. Leddy – 20:42
        3. Boychuk 19:53
        4. Pelech & Mayfield – 19:01each
        5. Toews 18:27

      • Ya George, I checked those #’s before I made my original post. While ice time isn’t the sole barometer, it it a pretty darn good one about who the coach values.
        The Isles seem to split the ice time more evenly among their 6 D than most teams, which is why I was curious.

        Having said that I don’t force Dobson in too quickly and having 7 healthy D changes to 5 or 6 real quick, and now you have a kid in a position where he is exposed. As good as he looks, I don’t think that is ideal.

      • Hey ray. You opened yourself up for that. I didn’t think he came off like an ahole. He was educating you about team you didn’t know much about. Which you asked for. Lacking non verbal communication can make it tough to tell a persons response. But I thunked he was gen-u-ine.

      • It was a shot Chrisms, kind of weird one since it was for what I admitted to.
        So I shot back, but should have ignored.
        I don’t think anyone will lose sleep over it.

      • Not a shot at all Ray, just trying to explain the depth you guys spoke of but whatever. A little too sensitive. George your response was not very nice and its great that you can recite minutes but if you do not watch or follow a team you can’t possibly know who specifically fits where. Same way I couldn’t tell you the Sens lines and pairings. Thanks Chrisms for trying to explain. Have a good night

      • I apologize Brettzky. Hell, I should know by now that, as Chrisms says, when you put thoughts down in script, intent is often lost in translation. I’ve done it. Please forget that exchange.

      • Boychuk was a healthy scratch against the Edmonton Overachevers.

        Inexplicably they’ve been trying to trade Leddy too.

        not sure why

  10. So now Kulikov is out for personal leave? Rut row.

      • Chevvy will need to start wearing a cup to work.

  11. There was that Mathieu Perreault for Kris Russell rumour floating around a few weeks ago. Identical term @ 2 years and only $125,000 difference in salary. 1 year apart in age. Not sure Edmonton would still entertain it with the Larsson injury.

    • Seem pretty fair Probert fan.
      Maybe once Larsson is back it would make more sense. The Larsson hole is on the RD side but Russell has proven he can play his off side without too much of a dip in play.
      So far they have plugged in Bear and he is doing pretty good considering his lack of experience. Not sure Sheehan is the answer at 3C for EDM as he was brought in as a 4C. He gets in the lineup tonight for his first kick at it.
      If he struggles early in the season maybe that motivates EDM to move.

  12. Hutchinson wasn’t the problem, the defense looked like Swiss cheese. They got a 4-1 lead then 15 seconds later 3 Montreal forwards waltz down the ice like no one was there and score. Gallagher scores the third goal 2 minutes later and then they take a penalty.They almost kill the penalty off but Kapanen throws his stick at the Montreal player and they get a penalty shot and score to tie the game. Hutchinson face 42 shots and made some nice saves in OT when again the Leafs were on a penalty kill. The team in front of Hutchinson was to blame for that loss in particular Kapanen for suck a bone head move.