NHL Rumor Mill – December 20, 2019

by | Dec 20, 2019 | Rumors | 36 comments

The holiday roster freeze is in effect until 12:01 am on Dec. 28, but that hasn’t stopped the speculation. Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked if Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker or Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli were realistic trade options for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He suspects they’d like to add a top-six winger before the trade deadline and feels those names are worth keeping in mind. The Penguins attempted to acquired Zucker last spring. Yohe doesn’t believe they have an interest in free-agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk.

Does Pittsburgh Penguins’ goaltender Matt Murray have value in the trade market? (Photo via NHL Images).

Yohe was also asked about shopping Matt Murray if Tristan Jarry continues out-playing him. He suggests Murray still has value in the trade market, though it’s not what it was a couple of years ago. He also doesn’t rule out forward Nick Bjugstad becoming a trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford making any moves following the trade freeze until his roster is healthier. He’s consistently demonstrated his ability at making significant in-season deals so I see him being busy near the trade deadline. I don’t think Zucker’s available now, but Toffoli will be for the right price.

Yohe didn’t say if he thought Rutherford would trade Murray. If the Penguins GM is considering that possibility, I don’t see it happening until the summer. Jarry’s playing well for now but Murray still has championship experience. Murray’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. His future in Pittsburgh could be decided on what type of contract he’s seeking. 


TSN: Bob McKenzie reports there are a lot of teams ready to shed defensemen in exchange for scoring help.

He points out Buffalo Sabres blueliners Colin Miller, Zach Bogosian, and Marco Scandella are among those in the rumor mill for some time. Carolina Hurricanes rearguards Jake Gardiner, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Joel Edmundson are also out there.

McKenzie said the market’s been soft for those defensemen that are available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clubs in need of defensemen might be awaiting better options to appear in the trade market. Some of those teams could also be unwilling to part with a scoring forward.

Salary cap issues could also be a factor. Bogosian, for example, is carrying a $5.14-million cap hit this season while Scandella’s cap hit is $4 million. Gardiner’s earning over $4 million annually through 2022-23.


  1. If the speculations are true (everything I heard and read was prior to Murray’s current slump) that he is looking for something between Rask and vasilesky money than pens should try to move on. If they can keep him at a more reasonable level than I hope they keep him. Doubt he brings in a super significant return.

    • Agreed. Plus Holtby will be a UFA in the summer and he has been a healthier goalie than Murray. Jarry & DeSmith is not a bad combo to run with. Gives them more $ to shore up their backend. Better to do it in the offseason and take the wait and see approach and ensure Murray remains healthy and performs well in the playoffs.

    • Jarrys sample size is still way too small to start jumping the gun on him. He’s playing fantastic hockey right now but will that last? Murray is still a big game goalie and perfectly suited for the playoffs. Sullivan burned Murray out at the beginning of the season, but he’ll be fine. The one good thing about this Murray slump and all the injuries is that all the younger guys are getting big minutes and are doing well with the situation. Guys like Marino, Blueger, Kahn, Jarry, McCann, Lafferty, Blandisi, etc are all learning to play at another level. If they can get healthy by playoff time they will be a hard out for any team in the league. I’d add Toffoli if it didn’t cost anyone named Poulin, Legare, Addison, or Joseph.

    • Id be staying FAR away from giving bigbucks+long term to Murray- especially with Jarry & their team structure etc…

  2. odd as it sounds but what if LA took Bogo & Scandella for Tiffoli ? Buff gets their scorer and LA can trade both off to teams looking for depth going into the playoffs.
    2 assets to trade might bring 2 2nds vs Tiffoli with just 1 coming back.

  3. Happy Holidays

    Cant wait to hear what Pengy has to say about Murray..LOL …

    But who in the world are you going to replace him with right now are Jarry & De Smith better options to save money ..for the next few years …

    ..is a deal with the DEVILS a good way to go right now…NO PUN INTENDED..who need Goaltending big time …Id take a guy like Kyle Palmieri and a piece for Murray and play Palmieri with Syd !

    There are not a lot of starting goalie options to replace a big goalie like Murray …but I have to give credit when its due and Jarry has been stellar this year with all things considering and the Pens injury plagued season …like hes been really really good !

    But if the decision is upon the Penguins as it was with Fleury now with Murray this a no brainer …you have to let him go and collect some assets …I would not resign him …save some money that the Pens desperately need and move forward …if you keep him then the Fleury decision was a HUGE Mistake because there is no comparison …well actually it all ready is a mistake LOL ..I guess dont make 2 now …get some assets for him in the off season and move on and clear his cap .

    Any thoughts Pengy …curious as to what your thinking !

    @ Caper …

    I love watching the Bruins play hockey ..this team as Ive been gushing over this year is my favourite team to watch …the game last night was really good …the Bs can turn something out of nothing in an instant ..and when they do they make you pay all the time..to much talent up front …even if Marchand is having a bit of a slump ..this teams depth is the best in the NHL right now ….Bjork is having a break out year he looks really, Wagner is a work horse and so smart such a grinder…….really good game last night
    Boston VS Islanders ..I dont see anyone taking down the Bs in the Conference when real Hockey starts …they have been playing playoff hockey all year …thus far.

    Caper ……is there an off the chart player that you are hoping to get to bolster the team with, outside of Toffoli and or ( Kovolchuk the later a bad idea) IMO ..curious to see what you think this team needs …as I don,t see many holes ..


    • Kal El, always happy to hear that we have another possible Bruin fan coming on board!
      Regarding last night, the B’s lost. Again.
      I watched it and it could have gone either way. I think the B’s out chanced them but it was a tight game overall.
      IMO they have been living of their PP and goal tending and have been average 5 on 5. Things are starting to even out in the win loss columns when their PP cooled off.
      Need to add some scoring up front before playoff time.

    • Hi Kal El, i didn’t see the Bruins play last night and with only 10 shots in two periods they continue there trend of not being engaged until it’s to late.
      I was at the Jets game last night watching them lose to Chicago. Lehner and Kane had very strong game for the Black Hawks and Wheeler for Winnipeg was brutal, Lowry was the best player on the ice for the Jets.

      As far as who i would like to see Boston add, as you stated Toffoli and Kovalchuk have been mentioned.
      Bjork is having a nice season; the bruins could use more production from Debrusk and Coyle not saying they are playing bad but need more production.

      In Boston there always talking about a RW for the Krecji line. But the deals Sweeney made last year with Johnasson and Coyle almost push them over the top which had nothing to do with the second line but help create a new third line.

      Is there a player that could step in and be what Johnasson was last year for Boston. Here is my choice to put with Coyle on a third line tp help solidify the depth of the team Josh Leivo, the cost won’t be high, he has the size and he would be an nice addition to add strength and depth to the lineup.

    • Long time reader, minimal poster, big time Bruins guy lol.

      That being said i was going to post on here to see what other people though about wingers out there for the Bruins.

      For myself I Think the first guy I would go after is Kyle Palmieri from the devils. Plays RW and 25 goal scorer that would look really good on the RW. I think he could be had for less then Hall and the kind of guy Krecji would succeed with. Plus he has a great cap hit with 1 more year remaining.

      The other guy(s) I would consider is Brandon Sadd or Andrew Shaw, if they could send Backes back the other way to off set the salary.

      • Hi Greatgonzo with the $4.6m on Palmieri contract for another season, obviously he isn’t a pure rental not sure the Bruins can take that cap hit and who would be going back in return in your opinion?

      • I would think in almost any deal they try to move Backes and I am sure he would waive to play, but I think they have a move a guy like Miller or Moore.

  4. The on player I think could help Boston at a low cost would be if Oilers fall and Bruins make a trade for Zack Kassian. Big strong fast would be perfect for a playoff run and beyond but I believe Edmonton would want him next year also. Time will tell but Don will not sit idle we know that.

    • Obe, Kassian would be a great add. To your point about the Oil, they need RW’s even more than Boston does.
      On TSN 1260 this AM they reported that Holland met with Kassian’s agent in Dallas.
      Kassian wants to stay, is loyal because they gave him a chance when nobody else would and appreciates the situation he is in.
      The issue might be term as I think the Oil want to keep it 3 years. 4 max. My guess is someone would give him 5 years in the open market.

      • Agree Ray, I don’t see Kassian being moved.

      • what about a Ryan Reaves for Moore?

      • No thanks IHC.
        Need scoring more than toughness IMO.

  5. Assuming that Jarry is the Penguins” #1 goalie, the team’s decision on whether or not to move Murray must take into account not only the cost of re-signing Murray, but also the cost of re-signing Jarry, since both will be RFAs after season”s end. Would their combined salaries be worth their positional cap hit? Is it worth keeping Murray as a backup, even if he asks for a modest raise of $1 million from his present $3.75 million/yr salary? Would it be foolish to keep Murray and risk losing him and receiving nothing in return when he is exposed at the next expansion draft?

    • can always sign Jarry not to extension to a backup salary for say 3 years (once the playoffs are done) , then once the ink is dry…. move Murray and bring up DeSmith .

      money savings on Murray can fill out the back end.

      perfect time to use the massive cap space created by not giving a balloon contract to an injury prone goalie (regardless how good he can be).

      Murray = 3.75m saved
      AG = 4.9 saved
      then move BJugstad and his 4.1m to create significant cap space.
      consider moving Schutlz bc he will command 6m or more and if you want Murray at 7-8m you cannot afford Schultz and round out the roster.


  6. It’s important to remember that organizationally Jarry was traded up and drafted to be the next guy in net for pens. Murray really cane out of nowhere. There is some vested interest by pens in Jarry doing well

    • Yes they did. Then the next year he won the Memorial Cup for your hometown Edmonton Oil Kings. (toughest trophy to win in hockey)
      So he does have big game experience, including a memorable 3OT victory over Val-d’Or Foreurs.
      Kid is a gamer from way back.
      Sign him up!

  7. I have always been impressed with the information and and the way it is presented on this site. Kudos for that! On another note,I have also noticed that the tone and quality of comments is likley the best on sports sites that I read. A forum where differing opinions and arguments/discussions are presented in a meaningful way without the typical vitriol that is all to present in social media today is in a word, refreshing. Keep up the good work Lyle and posters!

    • Huh. You sure you been reading long enough? 😇

    • Visit hockeyfights.com and search for Striker vs. George.

      • Glwaa??

  8. Apologies, very late to the game today; despite the closeness to Christmas, lengthy client meetings today.

    To All here w.r.t. comments on Pens moving Murray……

    To me— not a good move at this time. Two reasons,

    the biggest being the sample size of Jarry is small and I don’t see a deep run with the risk of Jarry going down (and/or declining) and then relying on DeSmith (fair goalie but won’t be able to carry the team)

    Secondly, since his (Murray’s ) recent performance has been below par (NOTE: I believe he will come back very well BTW) then his current trade value is low

    So — no consideration of a Murray trade should be made now.

    Pens, the most injured team in the NHL by far, have been treading on the North side of the playoff bubble. Deep forward ranks are keeping Pens afloat along with spectacular goaltending from Jarry. Now another top 4 Dman down (with resulting increase in JJ minutes) will be extremely tenuous (at the very least). This is unsustainable IMHO.

    G-Chuck not working out and I can’t believe that Jimbo didn’t go after Kovy (who will be at/near league minimum and will produce at a higher clip than G-Chuck. Jimbo could have signed Kovy, and traded G-Chuck (even retaining as high as 50%) and would have increased production, increased cap room and saved $’s and got an extra asset in the return trade????

    Now with Shultz and Dumo out for a while ; D is needed.

    If I’m Jimbo, I aggressively pursue two trade partners on two different trades:

    1) Sign Kovy, then trade G-chuck (50% retained) , Laffy (50 % retained) , and Ruhweedel (50 % retained) , for Scands (20% retained); Motivation from Sabres— turns 1 “extra” D into 2 fwds and a lesser “extra” D and no change in Cap

    2) Trade Bjug (50% retained) and ZAR plus Trottman and a 3rd, for Carter (50% retained) and Tiffoli (50% retained) . Motivation LA— immediately Younger; saves $1.9 M in Cap (annual rate); and gets a prospect/7th D AND a pick in return; also Cap hit for Carter in 2 years now only $2.63 M ($1M cash)

    Advantage to Pens: once Roster is healthy:

    *Sid Guentz *McC
    *Geno, Kovy, Rust

    *Carter, Tiffoli Kahun OR Simon

    *Blueger, Tanev, Horny

    13th/14th Fwds: Kahun Or Simon and *Blandisi

    *Flexibility having 6 available Centres on the roster.





    *JJ — with Scands aquired, no matter what, JJ playing canNOT be justified at all.


    Team defense— Gets massively better

    Team offense— improves AND with Kovy available for the PP; the PP % should increase

    With Scands replacing JJ; high danger shots plummet; Murray save percentage increases dramatically.

    • Pengy

      I’m going to be foolish and dissent with a recognized authority on Penguins hockey.

      Let’s say that your trades have fixed the Penguins for the time being, but have you considered the long-term effects of your trades on the Penguins?
      *They become a much older team at a time when their GM is attempting to invigorate the team with youth.
      *They become a slower team when their objective has beem to regain a perceived loss of speed.
      *They reliquish a prospect and a draft selection, though their system is already depleted of prospects and rated one of the NHL’s worst.
      *With Carter and Kovy fading fast, Toffolli, Shultz, and Scandella set to become free agents, a large munber of RFAs,few prospects, and without the players you’ve just traded, who will play for them next season?
      *If Kessel frustrated Sullivan, Kovy and Carter will drive him insane.

      It seems that Murray has been trending downward since his Cup victories. Likewise, his trade value. Do the odds favor the reversal of these trends?

      Respectfully, you may have provided an unrealistically complex answer to a simple problem–the Penguins need a good, preferably young defenseman.

      • Hi Francis


        You are correct with some of the downside in the out years but Pens need to be looking at the here and now

        The logistics of so many moving parts in 2 separate trades also almost makes this virtually impossible

        However IF it could ever happen ; it is a move (moves) that to me is definitely a very good investment ; very very good move/investment

        The Kovy replacing G-Chuck is a no brainer … production increase at a much lower cost; both UFAs so no impact next year. Added bonus is Kovy adds a dynamic to the PP. G-Chuck just not doing anything

        Re Carter replacing Bjug (at 3C) this year and next …. to be very honest here …, I would take 34 year old Carter over the much younger Bjug for sure; no ifs ands or buts; Bjug injured now and last year and small sample this year he was just not worth his Cap.

        Carter is on an 82 game pace for 24 goals 13 A while on a much weaker team; Bjug 82 game rate is 8 Goals no assists; on a much more gifted offensive team

        Toffoli projecting higher than Laffy and ZAR combined. Toffoli UFA so not forced to keep

        Scands (also UFA) in instead of JJ …. in the words of Eric Idle “Say no more”

        The end result (after moves) this year is a team that has a very fair shot of getting to ECF

        As is and with injuries continuing …. simply precarious for Pens

        The give in these deals are

        1. the future of ZAR (who I believe has plateaued ) and
        2. Trottman (a fair 7th DMan that can easily jump into a bottom pairing when needed) and
        3. Laffy ( depth /4th liner ; I don’t see him as a career top 9 fwd)
        4. the 3rd rounder (not a strong odds of an NHLer and way down the road and
        5. 3rd year of *Carter

        *Low risk here — $1 M cash and $2.63 M Cap ; IF (big IF) he does NOT retire . If he stays , can be bought out or traded for small Cap hit

        Again , the logistics of so many moving pieces precludes these actual moves ; BUT as we all know ; us arm-chair GMs here just hash out “logical” moves that have very low probabilities of happening as posted

        If I was Pens GM ; I would not think twice in moving those pieces for the resultant take and the massive increase in potential for this year’s playoff success

        Next year Carter over Bjug …. ditto



      • Pengy
        Thanks for your clarification and amplification..

        It’s easy to explain our difference of opinion upon examining our valuation of the players involved in your trade scenario. I’ll cite Carter and Bjugstad as a single example, for brevity.

        Noting that you propose Carter as a center, whereas he ha been switched to wing, probably having something to do with his age as well as Lizotte, here’s how he and Bjugstad stack up over the last two seasons.

        Carter: Games-140, Goals-41, Assists-35, plus/minus- -25, plays 2nd line
        Bjugstad: Games-156, Goals-34, Assists-42, plus/minus- +23, plays 3rd line

        I’d prefer the much younger and more tradable Bjugstad.

  9. Time for the Ducks to start moving forward:

    To Buffalo:

    C Ryan Getzlaf
    R Ondrej Kase
    L Nick Ritchie
    2020 3rd Round Pick

    To Anaheim:
    D Rasmus Ristolainen
    R Sam Reinhart
    C Evan Rodrigues
    D Zach Bogosian
    2020 2nd Round Pick

    The picks can have some conditions if need be, and the dollars work for this deal.

    • Hi Augustus

      Yes ; ‘it’s time for Ducks to re-set

      I like big trades ; they are seldom seen but I like them when they happen

      There would need to be about $4M retained by Buff to make Cap even this year; doable as Reinhardt , Bogisian and Rodrigues make up over $10 M and are not under contract (as at now ) past this season

      I like the trade of needs for each team ; Buff does have extra D but giving up two key D might be tricky

      Other than the logistics (rarity in a 7 player deal) ; the main thing that truly holds this deal up is Getzlaf ; I really don’t see him waiving his NMC (he is very entrenched in the community and uprooting and moving his family of 6 nearing the end of his career just at an outside [would be a big long shot with Buff) chance at the cup is probably unlikely.

      If the same package mix was happening for Kings and if they had a young roster on the rise ; then he just might do it.

      Vegas would be the only other team I could see him waiving for as he wouldn’t need to , necessarily ; uproot his family….70-75 minute flight ; 4 hour drive

      Perhaps a smaller deal centred on Reinhardt/Risto for Kase/Ritchie with appropriate retention to make $’s equal and smaller assets/prospects/pics to make the quality of the trade equal

      BTW ; I’m hoping the extra D given up by Buff is Scands and that he ends up with Pens

      As an aside …. I’m all ears with any offer you might have for JJ (with max 50 % retained)…. perhaps Chris Wideman (UFA with Gulls) and a gently loved VHS copy of “D3: The Mighty Ducks”

      What say you good sir?

      • Hi Pengy,

        Great point about Getzlaf and his roots. Cold Buffalo is a long way away for an outside chance. But I, too, like the needs met by the trade I proposed. I don’t consider Bogosian to have much value anymore, and as a UFA, is pretty much a toss-in. Wherever he goes, he will likely just end up hurt again, and if he is “healthy” will be a shell of his young, potential-filled self. Even if they don’t like Colin Miller, the right side after the trade would still be …. Brandon Montour, Henri Jokiharju, Colin Miller.

        “Why didn’t Jack Johnson go blocker side?!”

        Here’s a quote from the 1997 Red Wings Stanley Cup Championship VHS, to answer what I am willing to trade for Jack Johnson: “Kris Draper was picked up for a dollar” …. literally.

      • Hi Augustus

        I’ll settle for a Fifty Cent piece 🙂

    • Augustus, while it’s always fun to speculate and argue about multiple-player deals going both ways, when was the last time we saw one of that magnitude mid-season? Certainly not since the advent of the cap and the rise of NM/NT clauses.

  10. Better yet, Pengy, 1 Russian Kopek from 1991!

    • Deal!

      na zdoróvʹje


  11. Pens do not need a wholesale change of the roster. JR already changed all the slow moving parts and the sample size so far is excellent.
    With Crosby, Hornqvist, Dumoulin, Bujgstad coming back in the new year, JR needs to stabilize the D. Schultz should playout the season and not resigned.
    Gal, Bujgstad will be traded by the deadline for major D improvement, 3rd line C, and yes, Carter could help immensely in a playoff run. Keep MM until off season, then decide who stays and who is traded.