NHL Rumor Mill – November 13, 2019

by | Nov 13, 2019 | Rumors | 35 comments

Ilya Kovalchuk is rumored to be on the trade block plus the latest on Jesse Puljujarvi and the Sabres in today’s NHL rumor mill.


Are the Los Angeles Kings trying to move Ilya Kovalchuk? (Photo via NHL Images)

  LOS ANGELES TIMES: Jack Harris cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting that the Kings will keep Ilya Kovalchuk out of the lineup for the foreseeable future. Harris also mentioned The Fourth Period’s Dave Pagnotta claiming the club was exploring trade options for the 36-year-old winger. He carries a no-movement clause this season and a $6.25-million annual average value. Another report linked Kovalchuk with a possible return to the KHL.

General manager Rob Blake declined to comment about Kovalchuk’s future with the club. He claimed the winger hasn’t made a trade request and also pointed out he has a no-movement clause. Blake left open the possibility Kovalchuk could return to the lineup in the club’s next game on Thursday.



SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kovalchuk is unwilling to waive his no-movement clause there’s nothing Blake can do other than to park him in the press box and hope he changes his mind. Maybe a move to a deeper club might spark his offense, but I doubt it. He’s 36 and no longer an explosive offensive talent.

Blake paid Kovalchuk too much for too long and further handcuffed himself with that no-movement clause. If the winger agrees to waive that clause, his cap hit could prove a sticking point unless Blake picks up part of it. If the Kings GM can’t find any takers, he could buy out that final season next June. However, Kovalchuk’s on a 35-plus contract, meaning the cap hit will still count for 2020-21.


TSN: During the latest “Insider Trading” segment, Darren Dreger said he believes Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland is fine with Jesse Puljujarvi playing the remainder of this season in Finland. He also said some NHL teams continue to inquire about the 21-year-old winger. They will continue to investigate and scout the restricted free agent. Dreger claims one team would like Puljujarvi to return to the NHL to evaluate him on the smaller ice surface.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Puljujarvi isn’t signed by Dec. 1 he’ll be ineligible to play the remainder of this NHL season. The Oilers could trade him to a club willing to sign him before that deadline. Unless Holland gets a tempting offer, however, I think he’s content to wait until next summer.


TSN: In the same segment, Pierre LeBrun believes the Buffalo Sabres could work the phones for a top-nine forward after Vladimir Sobotka was injured during last week’s Global Series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has no idea if the Sabres are interested in Puljujarvi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For weeks there’s been some talk of the Sabres perhaps shopping a defenseman to bring in a right-side winger. Sobotka’s injury could step up their efforts if he’s out long-term as LeBrun believes. With the Sabres slumping after a hot start to the season, this situation could be worth watching.


  1. Puljujarvi + picks for Willy Nylander would clear cap space for Toronto and help Edmonton now. It would also send Willy to the West avoiding another Leaf-killer in-conference.
    Puljujarvi might shine on a line with Matthews, if the Leafs are lucky. If not, there’s always Bracco.
    I know, I’m dreaming. 😀

    • If Chiarelli was in Toronto he might make that trade…….. but I sure wouldnt

    • And at the same time giving Ken Holland a monumental headache. He’s already facing some significant roster juggling with Larsson (cap hit of $4,166,666) due back from LTIR and having only $451,387 in cap space.

      How would he even think about incorporating Nylander’s almost $7 mil cap hit as well as Larsson’s without reducing his roster from 23 to 20 and getting rid of over $11 mil in cap money?

      • Oh, and thomas, please note that it wasn’t I who brought the Leafs into the discussion.

      • Hey George O, As per capfreindly.com the Oilers current cap space is $4,740,833 and their projected cap space is $451,387 which is what the Oilers cap is projected to be at the end of the season. So after they send Manning down and activate Larsson from LTIR, the Oilers will have more than enough cap space for Larson.
        Although the Oilers do lack the cap space to bring Nylander into the fold. I don’t know how much of a headache a line of Draisaitl – McDavid – Nylander would be though. I also think it would take more than just Puljujarvi and picks to get Nylander.

      • I must confess, KevJam, that the CapFriendly listing of the Oilers is confusing as Hell.

        They show them with 14 F (McDavid, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins, Neal, Gagner, Chiasson, Kassian, Granlund, Khaira, Archibald, Haas, Nygard, Sheahan, Patrick Russell) whose combined cap hit is $46,950,000

        They have 7 D listed (Klebom, K. Russell, Nurse, Manning, Benning, Persson, Bear) whose combined cap hit is $17,237,000

        And 2 G (Koskinen and Smith) whose, combined, account for $6,500,000).

        That’s the full 23-man complement allowed. In total, they account for $70,687,000 – some $11,813,000 BELOW the cap limit of $81,500,000. At the moment they have C Kyle Brodziak on IR ($1,150,000) and Larsson on LTIR ($4,166,666). If both returned tomorrow their combined hit of $5,316,666 would be lowered by the demotion of two players -you indicate that might include Benning ($1,900,000) and probably one of the two ELCs (Haas or Nygard) who both account for $925,000. That total of $2,825,000 subtracted from the Brodziak/Larrson total means their cap hit would increase by just $2,491,666 to $73,178,666 leaving them clear of the max by $8,321,334!! More than enough to take on Nylander and still have some wiggle room (which would include the hit of whoever is demoted to make room for Nylander).

        So why does CapFriendly show them with a projected cap total of $81,020,597 and wiggle room of only $451,367?? What am I missing?

        Confused in Ottawa 🙂 (considering our political situation – pun intended)

      • Damn. I may have just answered my own question with another look – I overlooked the Lucic cap withheld ($750,000) and the buyouts of Pouliot, Gryba and Sekera which all total $4,883,333, thereby reducing that wiggle room to $3,438,001. Even if they found some way to unload Kris Russell’s $4 mil they’d be hard-pressed to fit in Nylander.

    • Good morning

      OFF TOPIC…but in topic … LOL

      Its VERY obvious with the Leafs that Defense is struggling….my first move if Leafs GM …( RIGHT NOW ) is firing Hakstoll …This guy is HORRIBLE …I dont care what pundits say about his hockey sense …Leafs have upgrades in Muzzin & Barrie complimented by Dermott and Rielly …the system and the line juggling has been nothing short of HORRIFIC on the back end this year.

      These guys are wayyy more talented that what is going on here ! SORRY ! Not saying this because I am a disgruntled leaf fan ..but this D core minus Ceci is a fricking solid D core in there top 4 in the league .

      Holl has brought size and stability when needed …but they have nothing going right now ..the match ups have been terrible and the line juggling in the D zone on power play and penalty kills has been just wrong!

      I wish the leafs would bring in a solid Veteran D Coach who has played in the league …maybe a guy like Luke Richardson ..or someone along those lines ..someone the guys can relate too and play for !

      Along with only playing Matthews 16 – 17 minutes a game on average has restructuring a Coaching change written all over this season…

      In regards to the Bracco comment ..

      Id love to see this kid on a line with Matthews and Ilya Mikheyev…both wingers are awesome skaters grinders and really high quality play makers and really good on puck retrieval deep in zone and in getting pucks off opponents …Bracco was second in the AHL for points last year ..has wicked hands and great hockey sense …I would say a comparable is Alex DeBrincat..long term for Bracco …IMO

      My rant for the day …take care have a good day !


      • The leafs defence is worse this yr than last, Barrie is very very weak in his own zone worse than gardiner and he’s not even putting up points! Ceci should be a 7th dman or in the ahl dermott and Reilly both aren’t good defensively the only real defender on the leafs is muzzin! It’s funny I was called hater so many times before the season started when I brought up the leafs new defence, especially Barrie either leaf fans didn’t watch him in Colorado or they were just dreaming he would become defensive in the off season

    • TroyTech, The Leafs might be a good fit for Puljujarvi.
      With their cap issue he may come cheap. Thought having Puljujarvi, with his insanely long stick, on the same line with Matthews would be a mistake. Puljujarvi is more of a shooter like Matthews, and would probably be better on a line with Marner and Tavares, although both Marner and Puljujarvi are right wingers.
      That was a really head scratcher for us Oilers fans as to why Puljujarvi didn’t flourish with McDavid when they were together.
      Also having Kapanen on the team with Puljujarvi would help with the language barrier if the rumour is correct that Puljujarvi doesn’t have any interest in learning english.

      • Why the leafs again read the headline leave the leafs alone

      • But, you have to admit,m they’re such easy targets thomas.

  2. As a Bruins fan, I am so glad they dodged that Kovalchuk bullet. Sweeney was trying to sign him when he signed with LA, and I was in favor of bringing him in on a 1 year deal.

    Would he be a fit anywhere if LA holds back half of his cap hit?

    Maybe San Jose could put him on a line with Thornton and Marleau and have the oldest line in hockey.

    • No

    • I don’t think the Sharks have any need for a selfish winger.
      Kane has that spot locked up.
      Sharks are rolling right now.

    • Just to be clear, the Kovalchuk to San Jose “proposal” was purely sarcasm.

    • Double minor, as a Kings fan who watches a lot of their games, I don’t think Kovalchuk is tradable even with LA eating half. He’s been that terrible for them.

      Rumour is he could be released but we’ll see.

      • Nylander, petan, ceci hutchison for pulijarvi, larsson, mike smith. We can retain some salary on ceci to balance out cap hit exchange. Lesfs get top 4 rhd, good back up and some toughness that can play. Oilers get a top line rw for mcdavid and backfield the spots they traded from.

      • Since Petan hutch and ceci all have zero to negative value it’s nyl straight up for those three. I think leafs would need to add.

      • As Nyr4life has pointed out, when was the last time you saw an in-season deal involving multiple players?

        Anyway, why on earth would Holland want to bring in a sieve goalie, a D that every Leaf fan thinks should be a $4.5 mil player in the AHL, a F – and likely career AHLer – he could have had on waivers 4 days ago, and a F every Leafs fans is soft and overpaid by about $2 mil per over a long haul, for a solid D, a goalie with a 2.58 gaa and .913 sv % and an admitted ? that he owns but doesn’t need at the moment and on whom he can simply develop a wait-and-see approach?

  3. I hope my Sabres pick up a winger with speed and talent soon before the wheels totally fall off. Sabres need two fast skilled forwards, right now they are slow as turtles up front. Ehlers for Risto? A guy with speed like that is what we need.

    • Ehlers has been the most consistent forward and one of a few jet players with positive possession #’s from last season. His zone entry ability and contract also makes it highly unlikely he’s going anywhere

    • The Sabres need a second line right winger. Considering that Johansson and Skinner both shoot left adding another left handed winger to the line wouldn’t be ideal. Toffoli from LA would come cheaper in both a trade and cap hit than Ehlers. Although Toffoli is a UFA at the end of this season.

      • Ok chrisms leafs can add any of hyman, bracco, engvall and multiple picks they have from 3rd round on. Edm needs to find a rw for mcdavid urgently or he will be seeking a trade in next year or two and franchise will never recover. Leafs have ton of add on pieces

      • No they really don’t Wendel, what the leafs have on the ice is what you get their prospect pool is ranked in the bottom third of the league

      • Never confuse them with a dose of reality bigbadbruins

    • Now that Brendan Smith is playing right wing, I’m sure Rangers would begrudgingly part with him for a 7th rounder. Bonus: he playS defense on penalty kill

    • I was truly surprised Nic Petan cleared waivers last week. He has speed and skill, he hasn’t put it together at the NHL level yet but has been a point-per-game guy in the AHL.

      I would’ve thought someone would have given him a shot.

      • Hockey’s chock-a-block full of players who shine in the AHL (always has been) who simply can’t translate to the NHL game. That’s what scouts are for and on Petan they were obviously unanimous.

  4. I disagree with the Buffalo slow comment. Sheary, Skinner, and Eichel are top percentile in the league quick. Mittelstadt and Johansson and to a lesser degree Vesey are decent skaters as well.

    I hope Dec 1 comes fast because Pujularvi is not moving anywhere to anyone

    Kovalchuk will spend the rest of the season at Knottsberry Farm and the SanDiego Zoo. Maybe try a little surfing. If he can’t play for LA season how would he be any good anywhere else ? Even money aside

    • I don’t think it is as much about skating speed as it is about puck movement speed. The Sabres are very slow at moving the puck around from player to player. They just aren’t playing with speed or quickness right now. It is about getting the puck on your stick and already know what you are going to do with it, not having to take a look, ponder, think, then make a move…by then it is too late.

  5. Can’t imagine there was a team requesting Puljujarvi coming back just so they can evaluate on smaller ice surface (15 ft across?) Didn’t he spend last 3 years splitting time between NHL and AHL?

    • Yep. And in 192 combined games played on the smaller surface, he contributed 32g 42a 74 pts for an average of 0.4 pts per game and was a career -12. Projected over 82 games, that works out to 33 pts.

      I know, circumstances he faced with ice time etc have to be considered – but that history doesn’t raise expectations to any great degree. He was a 4th overall pick who has floundered. Nail Yakopov was a 1st overall who couldn’t make it either and in 350gp (all at the NHL level – never skated in the AHL) he, too, averaged out to 0.4 pts per game.

      In the KHL Yakopov has played 89 games and has 37g 20s 57 pts for an avg of 0.6 ppg. Puljujarvi, who plays in the Finnish league – ostensibly a notch below the KHL – has 89gp with 28g 31s 59 pts for an avg of 0.7 ppg.

      So, on the basis of 0.1 ppg achieved in a lesser league, many are clamoring for a trade for Puljujarvi while no one is even thinking about Yakopov! Weird.

      So, why do so many

      • Puljujarvi Is just a weird case in the rumor mills. I suppose it has to do with the “change of scenery “ hopes and dreams. What’s really bizarre is I’ve seen some trade proposals involving him that seem to give up more promising players in the process.

        I wouldn’t give up anything more than a pick for him. And I’m not talking 1st or 2nd round either. If that’s Edmonton’s hopes….. good luck with that! Not saying it’s impossible, but I certainly don’t think it’s probable.

      • Not at this time for certain. That’s why I indicated further above that Holland may as well develop a wait-and-see attitude on him until next summer. They don’t NEED him either in Edmonton or with their AHL team right now, and clearly Holland believes he wouldn’t get a whole lot for him in any trade, so why take the chance now and see him suddenly flourish elsewhere while he holds a 3rd round (or lower) pick?

        Absolutely nothing to be gained at this stage. Nor is he going to get involved in some convoluted multiple-player exchange.

        Let’s just forget Puljujarvi for now – although I expect we’ll continue to see his name crop up until Dec 1 passes.