NHL Rumor Mill – December 12, 2019

by | Dec 12, 2019 | Rumors | 38 comments

The latest salary-cap speculation, plus updates on Taylor Hall, Ilya Kovalchuk, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman declined to project next season’s salary cap, but Elliotte Friedman reports some clubs have the impression it could reach between $84-$85 million. Based on concerns over a lockout, he points out many players structured their contracts with low cash payouts for 2020-21. That means a lower escrow clawback, which could prompt the NHLPA to use their annual escalator clause to raise the cap ceiling by up to five percent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After several years of seeing annual cap projections coming in lower than anticipated, I think the clubs will make a conservative estimate for their cap payrolls next season. If it comes in higher than expected, they’ll have more flexibility to add or retain talent.

Could the New York Islanders get into the bidding for New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall? (Photo via NHL Images)

Friedman believes the New York Islanders could use a scorer. “But I’m not expecting Lou Lamoriello to tell me how he feels about Taylor Hall.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles are on my list of realistic bidders for the New Jersey Devils winger. Lamoriello never tips his hand and rival GMs know not to leak trade discussions at the risk of him shutting down negotiations. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s looked into the Devils’ asking price.

Speaking of Hall, TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie reports the Montreal Canadiens aren’t interested in acquiring Hall. He claims the fact the Devils don’t want to give Hall a six- to eight-year deal raises a red flag. Acquiring Hall this season would be a waste of assets for the Habs. He’d improve their scoring, but not their defensive depth, and that’s their biggest concern right now.

Friedman believes the Los Angeles Kings could attempt to work out some sort of contract termination for Ilya Kovalchuk once his final bonus is paid on Dec. 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings reportedly looked into trading the 36-year-old winger without success. Maybe they’ll have better luck after Sunday but I doubt it. He’s been a healthy scratch for a month now.

St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong isn’t sharing details on his contract talks with Alex Pietrangelo. He said they prefer keeping negotiations in-house. “I know it’s a long time until June 30, 2020.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo could depart next summer via free agency, but the Blues won’t trade him before the Feb. 24 deadline. They’re attempting to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, and Pietrangelo will play a key role in that quest.

Friedman has his doubts the Toronto Maple Leafs will upgrade their backup goaltending. He claims they’re not enamored with what’s available in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry and the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev have come up in media speculation, but I don’t believe either guy is available. Looks like the Leafs are stuck with what they’ve got for the time being.

Jarry’s played very well backing up starter Matt Murray. Given the latter’s injury history, they probably won’t part with Jarry or Casey DeSmith this season. Despite all the fuss over Georgiev becoming waiver-eligible soon, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton doesn’t sound like he’s keen to part with him.

Speaking of the Leafs, Friedman said a rival GM claimed they learned they could easily trade winger Kasperi Kapanen during their previous losing skid. However, they don’t want to move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is proving adept at juggling his limited salary-cap space. At some point, however, he could face making a cost-cutting deal to address a roster need, such as their backup goaltending. That could force him into making a difficult decision about Kapanen or another salaried roster player.

Friedman reports the Pittsburgh Penguins were testing the market on winger Alex Galchenyuk. He believes the Buffalo Sabres looking into it. “There were rumblings about Ottawa, but a few sources pooh-poohed that,” said Friedman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have had recent success with reclamation projects, such as Anthony Duclair. While it’s tempting to suggest Galchenyuk’s inconsistency scared them off, perhaps they’re simply unwilling to acquire a player slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Friedman believes the Carolina Hurricanes had interest in Dallas Stars free-agent defenseman Julius Honka before Dec. 1. He wonders what the summer might bring for Honka, who needs a fresh start.


  1. “He claims the fact the Devils don’t want to give Hall a six- to eight-year deal raises a red flag.”

    Is it a fact that the Devils don’t want to give hall 6-8 years? Over the last few weeks the “fact” was that Hall’s agent doesn’t like negotiating in-season because he knows he can get more in the off-season. Has that changed?

    • Just passing along what Lavoie reported. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Hall camp set that out as a parameter. Most reports suggest they haven’t gotten around to discussing dollars.

      • Ah, thanks.

        And I hope it didn’t come across as me questioning your reporting, it was intended be be questioning Lavoie’s.

    • I agree, come July Hall can have the money he wants and play with who ever he chooses.
      Why would he give that up.

      • No worries, Garth. Cheers!

  2. Is Halls agent still Orr group?
    I know it was when he was drafted.

    • Darren Ferris don’t know what group or stand alone …it was a google

  3. Pete DeBoer to NJ in the off season 🙂

    Not sure what ails SJ …

    Any ideas? Not sure it is a balanced roster issue as they have depth upfront still.

    • Goaltending. Then, there’s the goaltending. And oh, yeah, the goaltending…;)

      • Hi Lyle

        Sorry but I have to disagree with you

        I believe the Sharks problem is either (1) the goaltenders OR (2) the two guys between the pipes OR (3) all of the Sharks players that are NEITHER forwards OR defence OR (4) a 29 year old from North Van AND a 30 year old from Airdrie

        It’s just the way I see it

      • Lyle LOL

        true story

      • LMAO Pengy

      • Quit being vague Pengy! 🙂

    • Confidence. They’re playing like a team who is hoping to get the first goal like it’s a major achievement. On paper, the Sharks are solid. They should be dominating teams, not playing to the level of their opponent or rolling over when down. Goaltending is an issue, so make a goaltender coach change. Can’t score? Try something new offensively. It’s not too late.

      • DPF,
        As a sharks fan I agree, on paper they are solid and should be rolling over teams. Unfortunately the sharks can’t get out their crayons and play on paper, they have to play the games on ice. The goal tending has been suspect for a few years now, I have had no confidence in their abilities to get them through the playoffs, and now through this season. As a long time fan of this team I have come to the realization that the Legacy of Disappointment is the Sharks reality. Over the decades on paper they have been great, on the ice it has been a different reality.

    • IHC, goal tending?

      • And let’s not forget the goaltending! 😉

      • I propose

        to NYR: Aaron Dell
        to SJ: Hank

        Hank has good numbers =)

        will hold 25% too.

      • and then ….

        to DET: Jones
        to SJ: Howard

        I like Howard….he will do well in SJ =)

      • There is always the

        to SJ: Schneider & Domingue
        to NJ: Jones & Dell


      • IHC. You know Hank isn’t going anywhere. But, I’ll bet Gorton has taken a few calls on Gorgiev.

    • Karlsson……..he’s awful…..Horrible defensively.

      The heartbeat of that team Pavelski now plays in Dallas.

      Thorton last week lost a skating race to the statue of liberty

      They’re goalie Martin Jones is consistently inconsistent.

  4. Anyone mention goaltending issues in San Jose?
    Asking for a friend.

    • Hi ShoreOrrPark’s friend

      I’m Pengy and I approve this response:

      “Media has reached out to two Sharks named Marty and Aaron who plead the fifth”

    • So, instead of getting his coach a goalie who (to paraphrase a famous Tortorella quote) “does something nice for his coach and make a save now and then,” Wilson fires almost his entire coaching staff. Every program I listened to today (and I’m betting we’ll hear more of the same this evening on shows like Tim & Sid) suggests that Wilson is certainly partly to blame – but when I suggested the same thing in the Headlines thread the resident wing-nut pops in and calls me stupid for attempting to call out what he – I guess – considers a genius. Ah well … like I say, I just consider the source.

      • George you think Dorion is A genius.
        14 out of 15 seasons playoffs.
        4 conference finals
        I guess its better to get draft picks and continually finish the bottom
        But I’m almost 82 and sometimes I forget what I’m sa

      • Who’s the fiddle now?

      • Well played, but I’m more of a violin

      • I would say SJ should see if they can trade Dell for vet Anderson in OTT.

        That guy can still play.

      • Ummmm – no thanks. If Anderson is going anywhere it will be at the trade deadline.

  5. SJ also lost the glue, Joe Pavelski.

  6. Did the Caps Bruins game last night & 4 takeaways from me…1 as shown the B’s can’t beat the Caps… 2 the B’s need a shutdown DMan they were lucky last night the Caps didn’t score 5 goals ..3 again the need for scoring from the 2nd line just isn’t there and amazed that out of 14 PP goals they have scored 12 were scored by Pasta …..4 they are not a big team and think the reason why the Caps handle them so easily is because of the size they have over them..

    • Ya Joe, the Caps have the B’s #. For a while now. Not sure it is the shutdown D man, as the Bruins don’t give up many goals. Carlo and Chara could both be considered in the upper end of that category.
      Wash is one of the most physical teams in the league, so maybe you’re on to something in that regard.
      But the B’s played well last night and while it could have gone either way, I think the B’s were the better team. If that goal doesn’t get disallowed on the off side, it is 2-0 and perhaps a better outcome.
      Whatever it is, we are at the point of ridiculous with regards to there record against the Caps. Get them out of the way during the regular season, and the bounces go our way in the playoffs!
      The Bruins haven’t played well for a while and last night was one of their better games over the last couple weeks.

  7. if the Bruins need a shutdown D man….the Leafs 4 of them

    • True Story

  8. This was a truly beautiful thread. The puns. The running jokes. Yin’s all did me proud.

    • (chuckles) Go Sharks!

      • In the same direction they”ve been going for the past 2 weeks. Please.