NHL Rumor Mill – November 14, 2019

by | Nov 14, 2019 | Rumors | 44 comments

The latest on Ilya Kovalchuk and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: cited a source close to the situation claiming Ilya Kovalchuk will be granted his outright release from his contract by the Los Angeles Kings with more details to follow. A Kings’ spokesman had no comment. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported Kovalchuk would be a healthy scratch for the foreseeable future.

Could the Los Angeles Kings terminate Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract? (Photo via NHL Images)

Kovalchuk is in the second year of a three-year, $18.75-million contract. Termination of the deal won’t provide the Kings any salary-cap relief because it’s a 35-plus contract. He’ll be free to return to the KHL or to sign with another NHL club as an unrestricted free agent.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman said there was a meeting with the winger on Tuesday. He was informed he was being removed from the lineup. Several options were discussed, including contract termination. Friedman doubts Kovalchuk would walk away from the money unless it’s coming from elsewhere.

Other options include “working on a trade; leaving the team; staying until his bonus is paid in December, then leaving.” Friedman also said there was some pushback that he shouldn’t be forced to leave if he doesn’t want to go.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported the Kings and Kovalchuk haven’t made any firm decisions yet. LeBrun suggests the best trade opportunity would be after his Dec. 15 bonus is paid but he wondered if there’s a market for the 36-year-old winger. He considers it a fluid situation right now.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen how this shakes out, but it certainly appears the Kings and Kovalchuk will part company soon. If the Kings terminate his contract, it means there’s no trade market for the aging winger. Maybe a rival club will gamble on him with a cheap one-year deal. However, I don’t see anyone taking on the remainder of his current contract.


In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Friedman also reported a couple of sources claiming Ryan Donato’s name is out there in the trade market. However, he thinks the Minnesota Wild intend to remain patient with the 23-year-old forward.

The Buffalo Sabres have been in the market for a forward for some time. Vladimir Sobotka’s recent injury adds to that desire.

The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t as concerned over their backup goaltending as others seem to be. Friedman suggested Arizona’s Eric Comrie as an option but there’s no indication the Leafs have look into acquiring him. Minnesota’s Alex Stalock or either Tristan Jarry or Casey DeSmith of the Pittsburgh Penguins would be affordable targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless call-up Kasimir Kaskisuo can provide the answer to their backup problem, the Leafs could be forced into the trade market at some point to address this issue. Perhaps they’ll look at some of those suggested by Friedman.


  1. Leafs: On SN, a ton of comments on the latest loss but this comment was indicative of the general sentiment of the posters.

    ” Is it just me or does anybody else just love to watch the mess Dufas has created as this team of over rated and overpaid figure skating cream puff misfits drive themselves right off the cliff”

    • Joey, this is where they either create some space for themselves or head into the crucible of December when the game really begins to tighten up fighting for their lives. Without Marner. Right now they have a goal differential of 1, barely clinging to a wild-card slot, and find themselves 2 up on Buff who have 3 games in hand, 4 up on TB who have 5 goals in hand, 1 up on Carolina who have 2 games in hand and 4 up on NYR who have 4 games in hand.

      They’re in Boston Friday, then to Pittsburg Saturday where, if they don’t play Andersen back-to-back, they go with a rookie goalie. At least that’s the end of their back-to-backs for a while. NextTuesday they’re in Vegas. Thursday in Arizona and Saturday in Colorado. They then finish out November in Detroit Nov 27, and home-and-home with Buffalo on Nov 29/30.

      This is where you see whether they’re true contenders or pretenders. No “hate” here – just brutal reality.

      • George I don’t disagree with what you’re saying and regardless of +/- numbers, the team looks dysfunctional and appears to be playing just well enough to lose.

        The quotation I posted as found on SN is the general sentiment of hundreds of posters there and something very soon has to give.

        IMO, Shanny made a mistake in choosing Dubas over Lou and the sentiment among fans is getting very close to the paper bags, booing and jersey toss state it was before Shanny arrived and if that happens, then heads will roll.

    • So you post it in both threads? Definitely a leafer.

      • Hey shticky!

      • He didn’t choose Dubass over Lou,

        he was chosen over Lou & HUNTER!

  2. Sorry about that: Posted in the wrong section

  3. No one is in any hurry to toss a rope to Dubas to help him out of his goaltending dilemma. Certainly not Pittsburgh. Why would they? They don’t need to get rid of Jarry or DeSmith so unless Dubas comes up with a Godfather offer, he isn’t going to find relief there. Now, perhaps if Dubas offered Nylander for one of them plus JJ Rutherford might bite.

    Same with Minnesota and Stalock, a pretty decent back-up at just $780,000 for 3 years, including this one.

    • Murray has a history of injuries so I doubt the pens would move one of the backups. Unless of course Jj was part of the deal. Barrie for Jarry and Jj 😉

    • How can anyone judge Kyle Dubas for this? He has clearly improved this roster over the summer. Its funny all this talent and the cries are over the back up goalie and the last pairing D. The team was built to play a certain brand of hockey, one that the ego maniac Babcock wont adapt too.

      So many other teams play their stars for the whole powerplay – this imbecilic coach plays them for 45 seconds. Its crazy I have never seen such a stubborn coach unwilling to adapt to his team. He refuses to play Matthews more than 20 mins.

      I wouldn’t trade a body until the coach is gone and I dont think they will.

      The team was built to be coached by a modern coach not Babcock- he will be gone by Christmas. Every GM gets their own coach – judge Dubas once he has his.

      • @Sam Dumbas was part of the management that courted and hired Babs. Very few players average more than Mathews as far as ice time per game and the only coaches that play their players an entire pp are the ones that have no one else to put out there and they usually play the point on the pp. McFarland was brought in by Dumbas to run the pp. Babcock does have his favourites but you need to get your facts right. Free agents like Mikheyev came to Toronto because of Babcock, then the backup goaltender mess they have is 100% Dumbas screwup when he forced Babs to play Sparks. The cap problems all Dumbas. Shanaplan has one major flaw and that’s Dumbas. Pridham does his best to make the cap work without his help Dumbas would look worse. He’s gone from one screwup to another should have kept Lou

    • In my mind’s eye, Dubas is waking up with the front end of a horse.

  4. Why does it seem that nothing seems to end well with Kovalchuk and the NHL?

    • I typically shake my head reading comments from those of us who think they know hockey better that NHL coaches and GMs. We (certainly I) don’t.

      But LA’s signing is an example of a decision that was so bad from the get go it is hard to understand why it was made.

  5. George..

    Your comment: Now, perhaps if Dubas offered Nylander for one of them plus JJ Rutherford might bite.

    And you say no hate ? 🤔 Ok!

    • Where do you see “hate?” That’s the brutal reality I mention because THAT is going to be what it takes to free up enough cap space to bring in a seasoned back-up goalie. No one is going to be doing Dubas any favors. Why should they?

    • ya really! Maybe tkachuk from the sens for the same deal? Good lord! A back up is at most a 4th? Trolls are out today!

  6. To all here trying to move JJ to the Leafs…..

    Your killin’ me😡😡😡😡

    Just in the horizon of the remotest possibility of him leaving the Pens ; you are now fronting the idea to send him to my other favourite team

    I weep inconsolably


    • JJ and a 7th to the sens for a 1st I heard..boy this troll/kid stuff is real easy! Lyle has a great professional site then its gets this troll crap and its really unfortunate! (I usually enjoy George opinions)I guess sign of our times? Enjoy your day gentlemen you too Georgey

    • Man J.J to Leafs might be your worst nightmare…good news for me Black N Gold…. ha ha…

      J.j seems to be stuck…at least he is 3rd pairing and if we could acquire one more solid defender to play with Schultz (especially with Sid out 6 weeks) he would b a healthy scratch..

      maybe while they are in Pittsburgh tomorrow we can just ship him on your team bus… free of charge

  7. Dubas is in so far over his head he cannot see the surface of the water…

    This was predictable and as some of you know I have been writing about since the end of last season….The problems in my opinion are not with the Tavarres contract nor the Matthews contract….but with the following contracts…Nylander, Marner, AJ …..there is value in these contracts but not at the salary numbers that exist

    He as built a team that can win every game in Dubas computer and not many on the ice….where men have a tendency to men….not boys

    This Leaf fan’s fear is that they fire Babcock and replace him with the kid under Dubas control with the Marlies….thereby amplying and extending the naive beliefs of Dubas….I would fire Babcock by the way….the day after I fired Dubas..

    This is not overreacting….it is the observation of chaos and cowardliness on the ice….this team is the little sisters of the NHL

    • If you watch the Marlies play they’re not exactly running rucksack over the league and they have the most depth and the highest payroll. Remember Dallas Eakins he did the same thing with the Marlies and when Edmonton finally gave him his shot at glory what happened total failure Even with great success in the AHL doesn’t mean squat in the NHL

  8. WOW it would be nice if I wasn’t doing my job the way I should or could and somebody in my bosses ear would say “he shouldn’t be forced to leave if he doesn’t want to.”
    Welcome to the real world Ilya, where if you don’t do your job you get fired.

    • Pengy, do you have a source that backs up that floor proposal for Mathews?

      I’ve never seen or heard anything like that…. at all. I haven’t even seen anything that links Mathews to Arizona outside of some crazy proposals.

      • The only thing I ever saw to that end was some musing by Lyle’s namesake Mark Spector about what it might take for the Coyotes to get that pick. At the time of the following article, it hadn’t even been confirmed that the Leafs won the lottery


        I never saw anything that suggested Arizona actually made that offer.

      • Thanks George. That offer seemed a bit overblown.and unrealistic. I never heard of it at the time, and did google it before I asked.

        Not seeing anything on google had me a bit suspicious that it never happened.

      • Isn’t that a blog?

      • Who is Jimmy Murphy ?

        And Max Domi or Dvorak and 2-1st rounders are a far cry from Oel, Strome and 2-1st rounders.

        I’m not so sure Jimmy Murphy’s “reliable source” is much of a reliable source…. or that Jimmy Murphy is either.

  9. Re Leafs this year

    It is what it is….. I have no delusions that this team is a cup contender this year…. I stated last year and for a long time ….. the opportunity for a cup is ‘21-‘24 … all roads/moves must lead to/be in the mindset of this window.

    IMHO Dubas must not waste young assets (either on the roster or in the pipeline) or picks to try for a shot now.

    If the move brings a young player with term and potential while moving out an older player or waning younger player …. Oki Doki

    Again what is needed long term (for my beliefs for a chance at a cup)

    1) Massive improvement in D (note as at now …. only 1 D (MR) under contract past this year

    2) Grit / P& V

    3) Reliable back up

    4) If the coach has in fact lost his mojo …. replace him

    Note all must fit into Cap

    Trade pieces

    WW …. he would have been ideal to trade this past summer …. after 1/7 was only owed $700 K this year and effectively <$5M per year in cash for balance of contract ; and he’d shown great at Worlds (George has rightfully pointed out that this venue is a wider open much less hitting format …. agreed ; but he had done well there)

    Next summer after SB paid ….. he’s owed only $2.5 M for next year and effectively $5.1 M cash for final 4 years

    Setting aside our viewpoints of AM now …. how would Leaf fans here feel now if the final draft floor offer reported had been accepted ….. for 1st overall (AM) …. Arz’s 7th & 20th picks; OEL and Strome

    Those picks could have netted Sergachev at 7 (went 9th) and one of the following who all went later than 20th:

    Julian Gauthier (RW went 21st)
    Borgstrom (C went 23rd)
    Bowden (C went 25th)
    Steele (C went 30th)

    Note Gerard went 47th …. LOL

    AM Cap this year $11.6 M

    OEL , Serg , Strome this year …, $10.0 M

    There appeared no way at that time that they would have accepted that deal (and as we know, they didn’t )…. I had strongly advocated for that deal to be accepted then

    At that time even without the knowledge of how any of those picks (1st , 7th and 20th) would pan out (although AM’s potential was all but assured)…, Arz was offering a 4 for 1 swap that included (at the time of the offer) a solid 24 year old top pairing D ; the previous year’s 3rd overall (a C and big ) plus a 7th and 20th

    Hindsight …, doesn’t matter …. all in the past

    What would Chayka offer now and would Dubas accept it:

    It would have to start with OEL

    OEL , Chychrun , Crouse ….that’s $14.3 M in Cap

    Again …. the serious moves need to be next summer:

    1) WW out for up and coming early mid 20’s top 3 (or trending towards top 3 D) with term ; that comes in at less than $5M in Cap

    2) UFA or another swap (2 lesser wingers) for another D

    3) Leafs have plenty of young up and coming forwards that have speed and talent but lack grit and/or size and/or P& V …. swap (or via UFA acquire) for mid 20’s strapping/grit/P& V guy …. Josh Anderson type

    4) Decide on whether Babs is long term solution behind the bench …. make the change if need be

    5) Address the back-up situation

    Is this doable …. yep

    Will it be a challenge …. you bet Ur sweet boopy

    Is Dubas up for the job …. here is his opportunity to earn his keep and show Leafland that he is capable

    Will it happen (either under Dubas or replacement ) ….. TBD

    • “Howden” not “Bowden”

      • How about Jarry or DeSmith and a pick for Kapanen or Johnsson?

      • Hi SJF928

        Fair proposal but unfortunately leaves Pens short an emergency back up

        I’m hoping that Pens can wether the next 6 weeks at 500 or just a little better

  10. I know not listed here ….. but re Sid and his successful surgery

    🤞🙏 on Speedy recovery

    🤞🙏Gino takes off

    🤞🙏 the rest can step up an weather the storm

    Re any trade ….. the GudB trade freed up a fair deal of space (all here know what would have been a waaaaay better move) but with Sid out prob 6 weeks …. that’s a load more Cap space frees up

    GMJR ….. “start your engine”


  11. Leafs need to turn around asap as their D will look even worse next season. Glad that is not my job.

    The Rangers have Georgiev+Kreider but what do the Leafs have that the Rangers have any interest in? Nylander?nope

  12. The Leafs are falling. Are they playing to get rid of babs? No matter, they could be out of it by end of November playing the way they are…the last three games are misleading in the final score because Leafs wee outplayed for most of those games. There is nothing in the trade market that is gong to help Leafs unless they are willing to do a deal like the deal that brought Doug Gilmour in the ’90’s..and by the way, I would think seriously about trading the only really marketable player, and that is AM….unless you fire Babs, because AM is wasted under Babcock and everyone knows that…why if you were AM would you want to stay in Toronto with this mess unfolding?

    • Matthews has been a point per game player under Babcock. I’m not sure you know what “wasted” means…..

      • I think maybe what he’s saying is, he’s capable of being MORE than a point-per-game player IF he plays more minutes. Right now, Draisaitl, Pastrnak, McDavid, Marchand, Huberdeau, Barkov, Ovechkin, Patrick Kane and Elias Pettersson are all over a point-per-game and all of them – except Pastrnak, Marchand, and Pettersson all avg more time on the ice than Matthews. So, too, do McKinnion, Eichel, Panarin, O’Reilley and Kopitar.

      • With 26 pts in 20 gp, imagine what he might have if his ice-time avg of 19:54 was upped to Draisaitl’s 23:05!

  13. Looks like my Flames are in a dire need for a shake up as are the Leafs. I am always leary of a trade with the Leafs as we never win these darn things but I wonder if they could be a match. Neither have cap space so it would have to be dollar for dollar. I wonder if Brodie & Jankowski where Flames retain $400K of Janko’s contract for Barrie & Kapanen, Flames need a RW. Brodie & Barrie both seem to need a change of scenery. Just spitballing.

    • The Leafs need a d-man that can play defence, not another weak defensive d-man like Brodie. If the Leafs make a trade for a d-man from Calgary they would want Hamonic, and I don’t know if Calgary would be willing to trade Hamonic.

  14. I’ve seen the Brodie for Barrie and the Harmonic for Barrie both suggested….I don’t know how much the Flames need a shake up….I sure believe the Leafs need a fundamental group of changes…..if it can be pulled off….

    Dubas has not learned much in his short tenure….about the importance of strength and power…about structure in the back end and about the importance of a back up goalie….if a back goalie is to play 20 games out of 80 he should be getting more than 700,000…..

    just saying

    • Perhaps his analytics had told him that Hutchinson was suddenly capable of a sparkling gaa and save % than he has ever demonstrated in the past. When that failed to materialize he turned to Plan B – some kid no one has ever heard of, not due to any analytical evidence but simply because he can’t squeeze in anyone else he might be able to acquire without weakening some of his 2nd or 3rd line offense.

      That was no misinterpretation a couple of weeks back when, asked by the media who should step up and intervene for liberties taken with his roster, pointedly answered “who?” It was a clear shot at Dubas.

      • Babcock pointedly answered …