NHL Rumor Mill – December 19, 2019

by | Dec 19, 2019 | Rumors | 17 comments

The next potential trade-rental targets and updates on teams that aren’t interested in Ilya Kovalchuk in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts”, Ellliote Friedman looked at potential playoff rental targets now that Taylor Hall’s off the market.

With Taylor Hall off the block, New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider could be a hot target in the trade market. (Photo via NHL Images)

He considers New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider and Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau as obvious targets, based on the past behavior of those clubs with their previous notable unrestricted free agents. Both clubs attempted to negotiate with their former UFAs right up to last season’s trade deadline before moving them. Friedman expects the same for Kreider and Pageau. He also speculates there could be a bit of interest in Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki.

Friedman expects the Los Angeles Kings will shop pending UFAs such as Tyler Toffoli and Trevor Lewis. The Buffalo Sabres have two UFA blueliners in Zach Bogosian and Marco Scandella, who’ve been healthy scratches at times this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kreider and Toffoli seem likely to be dealt by the deadline, but I’m not so certain about Pageau. The rebuilding Senators are showing improvement and Pageau’s been a part of that. The Senators might have to overpay a bit to keep him, but I can see Pageau staying in Ottawa.

Bogosian requested a trade and I expect the Sabres will try to accommodate his wishes. They could retain Scandella if they’re still in the playoff hunt by the deadline.

Several pending UFAs are on clubs that are trying to win this season, which eliminates the possibility they’ll be shopped this season. They include Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby, Boston’s Torey Krug, and St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo. He expects those teams will deal with the fallout after the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. Unless those clubs completely collapse over the next two months, I don’t expect any of those players to be shopped. And in the case of Backstrom, I think the Caps intend to re-sign him no matter what.

The same goes for Toronto’s Jake Muzzin and Tyson Barrie, Philadelphia’s Justin Braun, Carolina’s Joel Edmundson and Erik Haula, the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, Washington’s Radko Gudas, Pittsburgh’s Justin Schultz, and Arizona’s Carl Soderberg.

Friedman also points out several clubs trying to win that could shuffle the deck. He thinks that could affect Calgary’s T.J. Brodie or Travis Hamonic, Florida’s Mike Hoffman, and Nashville’s Mikael Granlund.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund is probably the one in that list most likely to be shopped. He’s struggled to adjust with the Predators since being acquired from Minnesota last season. This could be a case of a player simply not being the right fit with a particular team. Granlund could regain his scoring touch with another club.

Vancouver could be worth watching. Friedman believes there could be interest in pending UFAs Josh Leivo, Chris Tanev, and Jacob Markstrom. However, the Canucks could stick with those three if they’re still in the playoff chase by February.

There could be a market for defenseman Erik Gustafsson if he doesn’t re-sign with the Chicago Blackhawks before the trade deadline. Depending on where the San Jose Sharks are in the standings, Justin Braun could also be available.

While the New Jersey Devils were in the process of trading Taylor Hall, Friedman said a team contacted them expressing interest in defenseman Sami Vatanen. Someone reported the St. Louis Blues offered up Vince Dunn as part of a pitch for Hall, but Friedman would’ve been surprised if they had. He also thinks Wayne Simmonds might prefer staying with the Devils, as he didn’t enjoy his experience last season as a rental player.







  1. Good morning …..Happy Holidays

    REALLY surprised that A. Czarnik is on waivers …id be shocked if he wasn’t picked up ..unless its injury worries related….. this would be a SOLID pick up for free!
    Really good depth player at the price…early x mas gift to some team for sure !

    Another player that I am really surprised hasn’t been gobbled up via trade that has been in the rumour mill for sometime now is Mike Hoffman ..

    while I understand a bit of the ( ISSUES ) in the past off the ice…this guy is a solid sniper who puts up POINTS every year …he is one of the most consistent point producers in the league …at the same time can play in ANY top 6 in the NHL and makes serious play…he is not a shy player either and gives you a lot more than just a goal a game!

    Id put this guy at the head of the list before Krieder and Toffoli for talent maybe not price point but talent and production for sure …hes only $1 million more than both those guys in salary for this year ..but his production is well worth his weight in gold in comparison….id love to swing a deal for Hoffman to play up and down the first 2 lines and 2nd pp unit.
    He may even give you a few shorties as he likes to skate and use his stick in lanes ..good speed and amazing hands..


    • Hi Kal El

      Re Hoff

      I posted yesterday that I was very surprised that he was even in the “trade” rumours

      Panthers right now 1 point out of 3rd ; 2 out of 2nd AND 2 games in hand with EACH of them!!

      Very much in the mix

      Add to that Hoff is 2nd in goals for the team and on pace for 30….. trade talk on him does not make sense …. Panthers would need another 30 G scorer back in the trade…. who ? And why would another team do that?

      Now come TDL if they are clearly out of the playoff picture ….. whole new ball game !

  2. Pens NOT interested in Kovy ??????


    Kovy has better production this year than G-Chuck; and will be $1M or less; G-Chuck $4.9 M (also UFA)

    Sign Kovy and trade G-Chuck (NOTE: even retaining as much as 50 %) and Pens (1) increase production (2) add PP guy (3) save a min (even at 50 % retained) $850 K cash (4) save an additional (even after retaining 50 % ) at least $1.5 M in Cap room (5) get some sort of asset back in G-Chuck 50 % retained trade

    How the hell can Pens not be interested in Kovy ????

    If I were Jimbo (ooops I feel a brain freeze coming)…..

    ……knowing from TSN/SN that Buff had some thoughts on G-Chuck and looking to move a D….

    G-Chuck (1/3 retained); ZAR; Ruhweedel for Scands

    ….. and sign Kovy 1.0M

    No Cap change for Pens

    Buff uses extra $1.0 M in Cap but can mitigate $700 K by waiving CR

    Buff effectively converts an “extra” D into 2 Fwds and another “extra” D

    Pens D improves tremendously; offence output will not decrease and may increase (Kovy & Scands vs G-Chuck, Ruhweedel, ZAR); Pens open up another contract space


  3. I’m still not convinced Rangers won’t sign Kreider. I think they’ll get something done. IMO, it makes no sense to go out and get Panarin and Trouba, only to continue to trade top 6 guys at deadline. You can’t just bleed your roster and continue to stockpile picks and prospects. Fans tend to get caught up in rebuild mode, where you automatically think these young guys are going to step right in and make a difference. Instead, we’re watching Brendan Smith, Greg McKegg and Michael Haley fill roster spots. A Kreider trade will just assure not making playoffs for a couple more years.

    • I get you are a huge Kreider guy BUT keeping Kreider is no assurance TO making the playoffs as your last sentence infers they will by keeping him.

      Think with their cap hits next eyar they need to carefully evaluate how they will spend upcoming dollars.

      Questions to ask
      Is Kreider worth more to the team than keeping both Strome & ADA?

      What will the bridge contracts look like for several young Rangers over the course of the next 2-3 years?

      Will signing Kreider hinder the flexibility to get an even better price down the line?


      Kreider is really good but I do not see him making this team a serious contender in the playoffs. He is not the game changer the Rangers have in Bread.

      Just making the playoffs is not good enough to invest serious $ and term. Doubt Kreids iwll take a 3 yr deal at 6.5 (which with their cap now will force ADA or Strome out, bc they are going to want raises).

      It will be interesting, if they trade him, what piece they can get back. Of if tehy keep him, what they do with Strome/ADA and their cap management. Does it force another buyout of Staal ? (i don’t see another buyout as an option)

      • IHC. You don’t see Kreider making team serious contender? But yet the rumors are he’s next big name on market. So obviously there are teams that he will make a serious contender. Sure Rangers aren’t there yet, but my opinion is they’ll be further from contention if they move him. Next year is the hardest as far as cap goes, but will work out. Every team does what they need to. Year after next we’re done with Staal, Smith and Hank. You must be really high on prospects to think they’re all getting huge contracts on 2-3 years

  4. As Bobby Mac reference Boston is interested in Kovalchuk. We’ll see where this goes, if Kovalchuk is looking for more then this season; If it’s at the league min sure but if he is looking for anything more then one more year no thanks.

    • I believe they’re not interested in his services.
      You’d probably get him at 700k, pro rated though.
      Thats pretty cheap for a guy who could possibly score 15 – 20 the rest of the way.
      Who knows?

  5. If Botterill waits till the trade deadline to get help I think it will be to late. Tor, TB and Fla will pass them by then, probably sooner. He’s getting no production from the 2nd and 3rd lines, if not for what he is getting from the 4th line and Eichel’s tear the Sabres would be out of the playoff standings for sure.

    The other part is he really doesn’t have much to trade other than UFA’s. He’s parted with draft picks before but I can’t see him part with the Sabre #1’s and the first he traded for Montour was from a previous trade. I’m really interested in seeing what he does bc he has worn thin with the fan base at this point.

  6. I’m not sure why the Sharks place in the standing matters as Justin Braun now plays for the Flyers…

  7. Don’t see a way how the Bruins resign Krug who’s at $5.25 mil and a UFA after this season and probably looking at $7 mil + per year … McAvoy is improving at both ends and can take Krug’s place next season on the PP ….if they can get a goal scorer with size for him at trading period why not move him to a team looking for a offensive Dman

    • Because he gives us a better chance at a cup than a rental would.

      • Joe, didn’t say a rental. I know it’s not the popular answer depending on the return for Krug i definitely think Boston should be exploring; however being only teams interested would be teams making a push for the cup; hence not going to give Boston what they need immediately.

      • All we could get for Krug as a pending UFA, is either prospects and picks, or a top six forward without term, also known as a rental.
        There’s no way Sweeney gets a top 15 2RW with term, for Krug.
        If he can, then I suppose it’s worth looking at. But I wouldn’t, at this time.

      • Not a bad thing to explore even if for a rental. All depends on who comes back.
        The B’s really like him and the have over $8M coming off the books after this season with Miller, Halak, Belesky and Seidenberg. Cap may go up by $2M or so.
        Halak may get starter offers, or at very least a raise as a platoon. Can they afford him?
        Debrusk gets a raise.
        Chara gonna retire?
        Lots of maybes and options is all I’m saying.
        Krug may stay if they can get him for $7M and 5-6 years.
        He has said repeatedly he wants to stay.
        If Miller is gone, Krug gone, Chara retires. Are the B’s still deep on D?
        My take – they need to make room for McAvoy to play in all situations including 1st unit PP. Krug and the B’s go for it this year and shake hands and part ways in the off season.
        Vaak, Zboril & Lauzon battle for an NHL spot.

  8. What has happened to Eric Comrie? Could he not be a better back up then Hutch with Leafs?

    • Too late. He’s back with the Jets.