NHL Rumor Mill – December 16, 2019

by | Dec 16, 2019 | Rumors | 27 comments

The Taylor Hall trade watch continues, plus the latest on the Leafs, Canadiens, Blackhawks, and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NJ.COM: Chris Ryan cites reports indicating the Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche are the leading contenders to acquire New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall. He speculates the Devils could seek several pieces, including a high draft pick, an additional conditional pick if Hall re-signs with his new team, a top prospect or one or two other solid prospects.

Despite a weekend of rampant speculation, Taylor Hall remains with the New Jersey Devils…for now (Photo via NHL Images).

Ryan examined the possible returns the Devils could receive from these clubs. He suggests targeting Coyotes prospect Barrett Hayton or Victor Soderstrom, Panthers prospect goaltender Spencer Knight, Blues defenseman Niko Mikkola, or Avs prospect Bowen Byram.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports multiple sources claimed the Coyotes aren’t offering up Hayton or Soderstrom, but the two sides could be haggling over prospect defenseman Kevin Bahl. He doesn’t know the details of the Coyotes’ package offer to the Devils, but it’s believed to be futures-based. The Coyotes could go in a different direction if this continues without a resolution for too long.

Friedman also cites sources claiming the Devils may have received an offer or two that revolve around younger, established NHL players. Devils general manager Ray Shero could face a choice between a futures offer or a hockey trade that can provide immediate help.

The Devils haven’t yet permitted interested clubs to speak with Hall or his agent regarding a contract extension. However, Friedman suggests that it doesn’t mean they won’t if they receive an offer they like that’s contingent on one. He also wonders what the Devils will continue to sit Hall if he’s not traded before the upcoming holiday trade freeze.

VANCOUVER SUN’s Patrick Johnston cited a source claiming the Panthers’ offer includes forward Vincent Trocheck and several Boston-based prospects.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the Hall trade saga is becoming a farce that could affect his trade value. “The deeper we go into the season, the less Hall’s value, especially as a rental,” said Staples. “The more complications that come up in moving him — and surely a major league complication came up to thwart a trade this weekend — the less his value.”

Jim Matheson took to Twitter musing about what Oilers GM Ken Holland could offer up to acquire Hall as a rental player. He speculates the offer would be winger Jesse Puljujarvi’s rights plus a second-round pick that becomes a first-rounder if the Oilers reach the playoffs. Kurt Leavins asked, “Why would the New Jersey Devils grant negotiation status to a club that Taylor Hall doesn’t want to sign with?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It certainly seemed like a Hall trade was imminent when the winger was held out of the lineup over the weekend in consecutive games against two clubs – the Avalanche and Coyotes – reportedly interested in acquiring him. A deal could still go down soon, but it appears Devils management could be using the upcoming week-long holiday roster freeze (which begins at midnight ET on Dec. 19) as a deadline to pressure interested parties into improving their offers.

On Saturday, Chris Johnston reported the Coyotes had emerged as the front-runner for Hall. Friedman felt the Devils were trying to leverage the Coyotes’ trade package into better offers from other clubs.

In other words, “Here’s what the Coyotes are offering us for Hall. Can you match or beat it?” The lack of news since then suggests no one has done so, though it’s possible the haggling is continuing.

If the Panthers are offering up Trocheck, it will leave them thin at center. The Boston-based prospects could include Spencer Knight, defenseman Benjamin Finkelstein, and winger Logan Hutsko.


THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle believes the Toronto Maple Leafs will face some tough decisions once sidelined forward Andreas Johnsson returns to action in January. With the third line of Pierre Engvall, Alexander Kerfoot, and Ilya Mikheyev keeps playing well, the Leafs could be reluctant to break them out. That could mean demoting Johnsson or Kasperi Kapanen to the fourth line, which doesn’t make sense given their experience and salaries.

Mirtle said Kapanen is a player rival clubs lacking depth on the wing are keeping an eye on. He wondered if someone like Edmonton Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson might be a good fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs reportedly don’t want to move Kapanen. If their depth issues in goal and on the blueline persist, however, they might not have much choice, especially if it could derail their playoff hopes. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Larsson, but I think the Leafs would prefer a good second-pairing rearguard in return for Kapanen.


TVA SPORTS: Speculation persists over Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin’s recent scouting of the Chicago Blackhawks. Defenseman Olli Maatta’s name has surfaced, but Yvon Pedneault suggested Erik Gustafsson could be the target. He doubted the Blackhawks want to part with Maatta, but they could be willing to listen to offers for Gustafsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks acquire Maatta during the summer. He’s under contract through 2021-22. Gustafsson, however, will become a UFA in July. He’s the more likely trade candidate.



  1. Happy Holidays


    No thank you on Larson ..for Kappy ..I will keep at that …not beating a dead horse..that should not even be a discussion by Dubas…Kerfoot can go but Mykheve is going no where …neither is Engvall..

    Trade bait for me on the Leafs should be
    Johnson, Nylander ,Kerfoot , Ceci, Liljergen, Gauthier, Timashov.


    I think Shero needs to learn from the Dorion / Karlsson trade …that quality is better over quantity .. some players for the Sens have been very decent but you need that one player in a deal that will be something you can hang your hat on when dealing with these type of caliber player trades

    …Trochek is an awesome player ..amazing goal scorer..but he is also been injury riddled ..and you may need someone else who is ready for a break out and still has some years left in the tank after 2 years ..something to build on…..it sounds like Shero has plenty to think about …this season is done for them ..he needs to make a trade that will give him strength for the next 3 – 4 years in this deal …not just for the sake of a trade and names sake..

    – Experienced NHL ready player #2 Center
    -First round Draft pick
    – projected 2 – 3 young puck mover D man
    & a decent goalie prospect…..

    I still like the Preds as the team who makes this deal in the end ….

    should be on his wish list !

    • That’s quite the wish list for Shero Kal El!
      If I am reading your post right, and I might not be, giving up a 2C who is under contract for the next 3-4 years is a big ask. Too big IMO. I wouldn’t do that straight up for a Hall rental.
      A first round pick and a D prospect would be a good return and more like what I think he will get.
      Add a 1st rd pick if he signs with the club he is traded to.
      Larsson for Kappy seems pretty fair to me. Larsson need to prove he gets his game back after missing the first 2 months of the season. Oil may need to add a 2nd rounder or something to even it out.

      • STL should try Steen & Kostin & 1st in 2020 for the rental of Hall??

        one major push with this current team

    • I really like Kapanen but I would do this trade to address 2 areas of most need:

      Kapanen, ceci, Hutchison for larsson and mike Smith.

  2. Final offer from the Blues (for Hall)–Vince Dunn, Zach Sanford, Ville Husso and Nathan Walker and a 5th, with a conditional 1st (if new contract)

    • Lightning might need a shake-up. Condon, Two forwards with some NHL time (Bolts have four or five), a first (have two next year) & maybe a 6th D. They need to be all-in this year with cap issues & Seattle draft coming, & a Hall rental would fit. No rumors, but then, there seldom are from a very tight lipped Bolts front office. They have some cap space this year.

      • Killorn, Foote & 1st via Vancouver?

  3. I think Shero is getting low-balled. Prob Karma.

    He trades Larsson for Hall straight up, cause ‘dmen are in higher demand’

    Then he trades 2 2nd rd dmen for Subban cause ‘well he won the norris but what has he done since then?’

    Now he wants to trade Hall for a ransom, including solid dmen?

    Rival Gm’s are prob thinking:
    a) dmen are more valuable than forwards, esp a forward on expiring contract
    b) since his MVP, what has he done? 62 pts in 63 games, injuries, only 17 goals in this span, not that good
    c) expiring contract

    What is he really worth?

    I also think Hall should re-think his not upping on a contract. Unless he gets traded and then rockets off in his play he may have a hard time getting the $$ he wants. There are a LOT of DMEN coming available next year. They may be top on teams lists and take up the free cap dollars.

  4. Kovalchuk on waivers. No surprise there but, where now? Where does he go, back to KHL? I dont see anyone picking him up, maybe Florida if the can’t land Hall.

    • His analytics are good maybe dubas will trade for him?

  5. Gustafson or Maata from Hawks to Habs? Could work if the cost isn’t too high. I feel Maata’s best days are behind him but he could resurge in a fast team like MTL he was at his best when feeding speedy forwards in Pittsburgh. Gustafson may be the better option a little more versatile and has more grit as well. Either way it may be a temp fix for bottom 4 D. Hawks will definitely want some offense and a pick or prospect though.

    • Maatta is less than 25 years old?

  6. Lyle

    Question re Kovy

    He’s on waivers now and no one will pick him up and per TSN he’ll walk away from contract … so walking away from balance of $700 K Sal this year and $4.25 M next year. LA saves balance of $700 K plus full $4.25 M next year but remains with Cap throughout

    So far I think I understand it

    It’s from the point of termination that I don’t understand …. if Kings terminate his contract as expected …. can he sign immediately wherever he wants (KHL or NHL)??

    If NHL …. although his numbers are low ; his 82 game pace is 14-29-43 …. certainly at a league min value ($700 K)…. so can he sign right back with any one of the other 30 teams (for $700
    k annual rate)…. he’d not lose a penny this year and could choose options (teams) if there appears to be bidders

    I’d think there would have to be at least one other team willing to take him on at minimal risk ($420 K or thereabouts , for balance of the year)

    Thanks in advance for your response



  7. At the risk of being a bit silly.

    Would you rather have Kovalchuk for just money or trade for Taylor Hall?

    Think about it.

    • Hi Joe

      Not sure if you are asking me in response to my post

      Seeing what Arz gave up … I’d take Kovy for no assets and $420 K instead of the trade for Hall as it has unfolded

      If we can somehow equate Schnarr and Speers as saw off …. then it’s a 4 for 1 …..1st, 3rd, Bahl , Merkley (and Bahl has been hyped huge recently )

      This may win them (‘totes) the Div and maybe get them to WCF …. but won’t get them to SCF let alone winning it ; and I can’t see him re-signing in Arz

      It’s s Bullish move and only time will tell if it pays off

      • Even with Hall now in Arizona I think Colorado is the best of the west, and I also don’t believe Hall will re-sign there, so those conditional picks are just window-dressing. Bahl is a decent prospect who, if and when he makes the NHL, will be – as I say elsewhere – at best a 3/4 pairing and at least 2 years hence.

        That was a pure rental deal with some just-in-case cookies tossed in if, by some miracle, the Coyotes hoist the Cup next spring AND sign Hall. Don’t hold your breath on those events.

      • Hi Pengy,

        Was intended to be an original post.

        I see Hall more like a Kessel.

        A great support piece but not what drives a team to victory.

        Kind of what Kovalchuk could be.

        I am not familiar with the assets that Arizona gave up. They might have been the only team offering a 1st rounder.

        If I was a GM, I personally would not spend my 1st rounder on Taylor Hall.

        The Arizona market may need a marketable name and maybe Hall is the best they can do?

        Either way, I am happy the Coyotes are finally a serious threat in the west.

  8. The Leafs should be thinking about trading
    Nylander, Barrie ( to much $ to resign) and Ceci ( won’t resign)

  9. Toronto dealing a forward will be tied to what happens with pending free-agents on the blueline.
    Ceci, Barrie, Muzzin are UFAs. Dermott will be an RFA I think. If any of them want to stay, then Dubas will be looking for an early extension. If the Leafs aren’t back in a play-off spot in a few weeks, there will be pressure to deal some of these pending UFAs for younger cheaper assets.
    Barrie and Muzzin could fetch a heck of a lot, so Dubas likely already feels the pressure to shop at least one.

    • Barrie has not been a good fit from day 1 he and the Leafs need to part ways ASAP. The Oilers could use a rushing D man and Nylander for Pulijarvi, Larsson and a # 1 going the other way allows the Leafs salary wiggle room to make a move for a backup and the Oilers get some much needed help for Connor & Leon they both look gassed the last 3 games, bring them help.

  10. Hall to the Yotes.

    • Hi ShoreOrrPark

      See my response toJoe Hockey above

      I think the haul for Hall is a bit too much … IMHO at best gets them to WCF but won’t get them to SCF and I can’t see Hall re-signing in Arz

      Jury out on worthiness if trade until mid-May

  11. Yup, along with Blake Speers in return for Kevin Bahl, Nathan Schnarr, Nick Merkley

    On the surface the primary pieces are, of course, Hall and Bahl, a 6′ 7″ LD with Ottawa 67s 5g 15a 20 pts.

    Schnarr is a C 6′ 3″ 185 1g 8a 9 pts in Tucson and Merkley is a RW 5′ 11″ 184 lbs 3g 13a 16 pts in Tucson.

    Speers is 5′ 11″ 184 lb C and, so far, a career AHLer

    This is about what you’d expect for a rental acquisition. I doubt Hall signs there

    • Slick62 called it two day ago! That elevates Arizona a notch in this years WC favourites – although my money is still on Colorado to come out of the west.

    • last above should read “… signs there which will negate the conditional picks (1st round in 2020 and 3rd round in 2021).”

  12. Halls Bahls.

    • Winner