NHL Rumor Mill – December 18, 2019

by | Dec 18, 2019 | Rumors | 22 comments

Could Ilya Kovalchuk end up with another NHL team? With Taylor Hall off the trade block, which winger could be targeted by playoff contenders? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Bob McKenzie reports Ilya Kovalchuk’s agent will try to find a new NHL home for his client after his contract was terminated yesterday by the Los Angeles Kings. J.P. Barry will try to find a short-term deal worth close to the league’s minimum salary of $700K. Because Kovalchuk’s previous contract was 35-plus, the Kings are stuck with his annual salary-cap hit of $6.25 million. As his contract was mutually terminated, the Kings cannot trade it to another club.

No longer a King, could Ilya Kovalchuk soon find a new NHL home? (Photo via NHL Images)

Darren Dreger tweeted, “Some teams have already inquired and it’s believed there are a few good options and at least one NHL team keenly interested. Kovalchuk wants to get back playing ASAP.”

SPORTING NEWS: Tommy McArdle cites Russian sports journalist Igor Erenko claiming the Boston Bruins could be interested in signing Kovalchuk. The Bruins have limited salary-cap space ($1.7 million) and are seeking a winger for second-line center David Krejci.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Brian Witt considers it unlikely Kovalchuk will land with the San Jose Sharks. The veteran winger wants to sign with a contender, but the Sharks are sitting outside the Western Conference playoff picture. They also recently fired head coach Peter DeBoer, who had a good relationship with Kovalchuk during their tenure with the New Jersey Devils. Given the direction of the Sharks’ season, Witt feels they’re better off giving playing time to younger, cheaper players.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton speculates the Kings could have more moves in store after cutting ties with Kovalchuk. “Tyler Toffoli, Trevor Lewis, and Kyle Clifford will all become trade fodder as the deadline approaches, as will Hutton and fellow defensemen Alec Martinez and Derek Forbort,” writes Clinton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nobody was interested in a fading Kovalchuk when he was carrying a hefty salary-cap hit through 2020-21. For a prorated $700K on a one-year deal, however, someone could take that affordable gamble. The Bruins had an interest in Kovalchuk before he signed with the Kings in 2018. They could take a chance on him if they’re reluctant to part with assets near the trade deadline for someone like Kings winger Tyler Toffoli.


TSN: With Taylor Hall traded to Arizona on Monday, Darren Dreger believes interest will shift toward New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider. Like Hall, the 28-year-old Kreider is eligible for unrestricted free agent status in July.

Given the fact the Coyotes jumped early to get Hall, Dreger speculates another club might try to do the same with the Rangers winger. He expects the asking price could be a first-round pick and a mid-level prospect.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If a rival club pursues Kreider, it’ll be interesting to see if he’s willing to consider a contract extension. That could improve his trade value for the Rangers. They’re still within striking distance of a playoff berth. Unless he gets a significant offer, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton could remain patient and see how things transpire leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline.


  1. If Kovalchuk wants to go to a contender Washington is the place to go. Is he friends with Ovie. Boston could use him but don’t think it’s the right fit for him.

    • Hi Dave, why don’t you think Kovalchuk isn’t a fit in Boston.
      Personally he is a low risk why reward, no harm by bringing him in spending $700g.

      • Ya Caper, try it out for a few weeks, if it doesn’t work out waive him.
        I am skeptical it will work out, as he is a defensive liability, or at least was in LA.
        Maybe he gets a new lease on life, but I wouldn’t bet any $$ on it.

      • I’m hearing the same thing boston? Pittsburgh has crept in to the rumors because he is close with malkin..

        This guys is elite and can score on the power play which we need.

        he is also lazy, toxic and -36 over the last while..we are built now on speed and defensive structure no of which Ilya is..

        my worst fear is he goes to Washington and lights it u… who knows?

    • Dave do you know anything on Kovalchuk? i went on hockeybuzz.com before I left work then scrolled down click on the penguin logo talking about Kovalchuk and it said he signed a dal with the Pens $925,000 through the end of the year…but nothing on the nhl telecast tonight..weird..

  2. Although I still believe Hoffman (if he becomes available) is the best fit for the Isles getting Kreider would be a good move as well. I just don’t see the Rangers trading him across the river unless they hold the Isles up for a massive haul which Lou won’t pay.

    • AVS have the prospects and long term cap space. Perhaps they offer up something and work to get him long term.

    • Hi nk & IHC

      I don’t understand the Hoffman rumours now

      If they are outside looking in near TDL …. maybe

      But right now FLA is one point out of 3rd (with game in hand) and 2 points out of 2nd (with 2 games in hand)…. so right in the thick of things ….

      …. and Hoffman is 2nd in scoring for the team and in pace for 30 Gs

      If Panthers 5 points out at TDL …. ????

      If they are in OR just outside the bubble …. that’s a tough trade

      BTW , as a Pens fan , I certainly don’t want to see Hoff as an Isle …. grow a beard and refuse to shave if traded to Isles 🤓

  3. “Kovy to Pens”

    Has a nice ring to it 😀

    He’ll be cheap and will come in $1M or less ; so not a burden on the Cap hit

    I posted yesterday and the day before …. he’s producing at a higher rate than G-Chuck (who is $4.9 M and UFA)

    Pens for sure should be able to find a taker for G-Chuck at 50% retained and get back an asset (any asset!!)

    Then sign Kovy at $1M or less

    Pens improve production ; free up at least another $1.45 M in Cap (annual rate) ; save at a minimum $850 K in cash for the balance of the year; AND gain an asset (even if it’s a 7th rounder ….. BTW it will be more than that …. but even if it was …. it’s a bonus extra)

    Jimbo ….. make ur call


    • Pengy..read my post yes Kovy could get rejuvenated playing with his buddy Malkin…and we do need help on the power play and he can still shoot.

      We are also built now on speed and defensive structure neither of which Kovalcuk has anymore..my worst fear is he goes to the Crapitals and lights it up.

      we need defense… with broken GPS system letang and slug slow foot Johnson in our top 4

  4. Jarry is pulling a Murray on Murray the way Murray did on Fleury.

    If he stays the #1 going forward, where can the Pens trade Murray in the summer?

    • Depends on his demands. If he wants 7+ mil a year he won’t have many suitors. Devils. San Jose. Buffalo maybe. Calgary? Goalies don’t bring back much. It’s probably a pike dream to get a schneider like return. So a 2nd round pick? A decent but not great prospect?

  5. A sniper for the PP, just what the Habs are lacking. Make it happen Bergie. Little impact on all the cap room you have.

    • no thanks

    • Bergebvin may just do it but, Kovy wont go to Montreal. Not gonna happen.


  7. I heard some rumblings , of Simmons and Sami Vatanen, coming to Toronto, with jersey taking on a portion of the vatanan’s contract..
    Ceci and marlies were going the other way????

    Toronto needs to address the back up goalie situation, as well…

    • Where did you hear that?

    • Two players that will be highly sought after at deadline (Sami) or at least have some competition (Simmonds) for a d man who has essentially no value and ahl players? Sounds legit to me.

      • And the blog also suggests a 2nd and 3rd going to NJ which, of course, Shero would want to be 2020 picks which would then mean Dubas is sitting around at the draft with this thumb up his butt until the 4th round, having already dealt away his 1st in the Marleau trade.