NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2019

by | Dec 7, 2019 | Rumors | 58 comments

Potential goaltender trade targets for the Maple Leafs, and examining Sami Vatanen as a trade option for the Golden Knights in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen listed 10 potential backup goalie targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They’re badly in need of a reliable understudy to spell off overworked starter Frederik Andersen. Their limited salary-cap space could hamper those efforts. Analyst Brian Burke believes Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas could be forced to overpay by giving up a second-round pick or a good young prospect. Nevertheless, Burke feels it’s worth it to address this issue.

Options for under $1 million from the AHL include the Philadelphia Flyers’ Alex Lyon, the New York Islanders’ Christopher Gibson, the Nashville Predators Troy Grosenick, and former Leafs backup Garret Sparks, who’s now in the Vegas Golden Knights’ system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Dubas is unwilling to part with Burke’s suggested asking price for a quality backup, he could be stuck with these options. I don’t see any of them suitably addressing the Leafs’ backup issue. I doubt a reunion with Sparks is in the cards for the Leafs.

Could the Toronto Maple Leafs attempt to acquire Pittsburgh Penguins backup Tristan Jarry? (Photo via NHL Images)

NHL options under $1 million include the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Tristan Jarry, and the Los Angeles Kings’ Jack Campbell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Georgiev is close to becoming waiver-eligible. Based on his performance this season, I don’t believe the Rangers will part with him. Same goes for the Penguins with Jarry. Campbell’s a possibility but only if the Kings are confident in calling up promising Cal Petersen this season.

Those that are above $1 million include the Anaheim Ducks’ Ryan Miller, the Penguins’ Casey DeSmith, and the Chicago Blackhawks Collin Delia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Miller will accept a trade to an Eastern Conference. Boylen speculates the Penguins could prefer keeping DeSmith as insurance in case Jarry or Matt Murray become sidelined. The Blackhawks could consider Delia as their backup next season once they part ways with Corey Crawford or Robin Lehner next summer.

TORONTO STAR: Rosie DiManno wonders if the Tampa Bay Lightning might consider parting with Curtis McElhinney. Like the Leafs, the Bolts are stuck in a funk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, but I don’t think the Lightning are at that stage.


LAS VEGAS SUN: Justin Emerson suggests Sami Vantanen could address the Vegas Golden Knights’ pressing need for blueline depth. The 28-year-old right-shot defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

Emerson points out Vatanan’s been a solid offensive performer his entire career, plays a responsible defensive game, and is among the best players on a bad Devils team. With the Devils season slipping away, they could put Vatanen on the trade block. His addition would enable the Golden Knights to shift Nate Schmidt or Shea Theodore back to the left side where they’re more comfortable. He could also skate on their second power-play unit.

The asking price could be draft picks or prospects, something the Golden Knights have in abundance. They could offer up one of their second-rounders in the 2020 draft or one of their three in 2021, along with a later-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know if the Golden Knights are eyeing Vatanen as a trade option. As the season progresses, however, I daresay Vatanen will start drawing interest from playoff contenders seeking a top-four blueliner.


  1. Are the Jersey Boys blowing it up ?
    I am not too sure . Adding Subban and Vantanen in the first place said otherwise. They are going to have a top pick again . Maybe number one again.
    Weber Subban trade looks a little different now. Weber 6th in D scoring and Subban , well 5 points and looking brutal.

    • @ Silverseven

      a few days ago you help expand on the issue of the buy out on Turris …thank you for the clarification on that topic..I didn’t know that info.

    • Weber is still on the same team he was traded too also. I am a fan of Subban and his style of play; however, Weber has demonstrated a more consistent and predictable level of play throughout his career than Subban ever has. I was never convinced that the Habs ever lost this trade. Take it from a Leafs fan a consistent effort on the defensive end is something all teams should strive for. Even at his age and number of hard games played I would seriously love to see him in a Leafs jersey. Dubas will never get it right until he understands the balance a team needs. The discussion around the Leafs trading for backup goalie is just a start to some of the other things they need. Perhaps a new GM among them? This is a very disappointing team (the Leafs that is).

      • grow up pick on your own team

      • “…pick on your own team”?

        Some here have 15% of the teams in the league, as the team they “root for/bandwagon”

      • Grow up pick on your own team? I am being a constructive fan. Our team is simply not good enough. I thought that was being objective. Look at the record…. simply not good enough!

    • SilverSeven, unless everything starts to click all of a sudden, Jersey certainly has to go down as one of the THE major disappointments of this season. Of all the bottom-feeders from last year, their additions through signings, trades and the draft had everyone thinking they’d move up considerably from their 72 point finish last season (.439 points %). So far they’re shuffling along at .411 and would need to up that to .453 just to get to last year’s 72 points!

      Not only did they have the 1ast pick at the draft, taking almost everyone’s choice as # 1, Jack Hughes, they used some huge cap space (in the area of $30 mil) to bring in P.K. Subban and KHL MVP Nikita Gusev, Wayne Simmonds and Jesper Boqvist to augment the likes of Hall, Palmieri, Zajac, Hischier, Vatanen, Severson, Greene, Butcher, Mueller, and had top prospect MacKenzie Blackwood ready to back Corey Schneider in goal.

      Now, 28 games into the season, their top goal scorer is Palmieri with 10 + 8 assists for a modest 18 points, followed by Hall with 5g 18a 23 pts, Hischier with 5g 11a 16 pts, Coleman with 9g 6a 15 pts, Gusev with 5g 8a 13 pts, Simmonds (4g 7a), Hughes (4g 7a) and Zacha (2g 9a) all with 11 pts, and Zajak 3g 6a 9pts. The secondary scoring of Wood, Boqvist, Hayden, Bratt and Rooney (combined 10g 9a 19 pts) can charitable be described as mediocre.

      That kind of production isn’t going to lift a team from the depths when the D and goaltending is even worse. Schneider faded like a late summer rose to the point where they felt compelled to bury his almost $5 mil cap hit in the minors and neither Blackwood nor acquisition (from Tampa) Domingue are giving them top level goaltending.

      They’re beginning to resemble the Oilers under their previous management and look poised to have a big shot at the # 1 pick. Again.

  2. Dubas was not ready for the job. It was obvious at the time. Choosing him over Lamarallo and Hunter was incredible at the time. And the passing of time has confirmed it.

    4 forwards at 40 million while having no credible dominant D man is stupid. Having a roster plan that allows only minimum salary for the back up goalie while expecting that player to play 20 games and gather 20 points in the standing is an insult to back up goalies. Paying 10.8 million to Marner while expecting the 4 th liners to play hard at less than 10% of that is a recipe for disaster inside the room. Does Dubas think that is a good working environment.

    Unfortunately, much of this die is cast. The Board and or Shanahan need to bring this employee in and demand a defense of his plan and demand changes to the plan itself. Or dismiss the employee.

    Hind sight is 20-20 but GMs are paid for foresight. He has shown none. He reacted to the demands of Matthews, Marner and Nylander. They and their agents played him for the naive rookies he is. And now he has no cap space to work with. The question is can he correct himself or does someone have to come in behind and clean up the mess.

    I think if he does not write off the play offs this year…make some trades for the future including moving some combination Matthews, Nylander, Kapanen , Jonsson for power at the forward position and D men who can control behind the blue line, and a good back up goalie then the Dubas experiment will be a failure.

    This has become a dog’s breafast

  3. Sami has been one of the only bright spots on Devils so far this season. I hope they keep him.

    Tristan Jarry has been a stud for Pens, not going anywhere.

  4. OBD: Can’t Say I disagree with your perspective on things TML. I, like Pengy, would like to see Dubas trade Nylander but unfortunately, he is owed another $3.5 million bonus come July 01/2020.

    So regardless of what team Nylander might get traded to; or players were involved, TML is going to have to include that 3.5 million bonus moving forward to rid themselves of Nylander. Unless of course there is some NHL rule that says they can’t do that.

    There is a # of people who have no issue trading Matthews either while he’s young and worth something either; Ya, well good luck with that salary too but maybe Arizona might come calling on that chance as they do have a more rounded team than TML currently does.

    • Joey, those up-front and large bonus payouts might be a deciding factor in getting certain players signed but they can sure become a problem if and when – for whatever reason – it’s decided that that player needs to be moved. Not many teams can either afford such contracts in the first place or at any time take on the necessity to pay it out following a trade. Certainly severely limits the options.

      • George,/Lyle: is there a rule that says the team who signed the player with the post dated signing bonus, can’t include that cash equivalent in a trade to any receiving team moving forward?

      • Not sure if the answer to your question is included here .. but I would think the terms of any contract go with the player traded – unless the trading team agrees to withhold either a % of the cap hit and/or any signing bonus yet to be paid out. To do both would certainly indicate that the trading team REALLY wants to get rid of the guy!


      • George: Thanks for that link: But I’m as confused as ever after reading the logistics of it but thumbs up for the effort to answer that tricky ?.

        In short, I think both Pengy and I are stuck with Nylander until July 01/2020.

  5. Montreal has Kinkaid available.

    Did not exactly show “reliable” in Montreal, but then again there are really only 3 “reliable” NHL D on the Montreal blue line.


  6. What happened to PK? He looks so average

    Leafs………Send AM to LA for Drew+their pick+Campbell. No one wants Nylander

    • Are you serious? Doughty alone lands LA Mathews, let alone throwing in a quality back up and a very high first rounder. Give your head a shake on that one.

      • Are you serious? Even with the first and backup that’s a fairly weak offer for Mathews. Doughty is only gonna trend down as he ages and Mathews trend up. Duh.

      • Doughty is only 29, quit making it sound like he’s old and over-the-hill. He is easily one of the best, if not the best two way dman.

        There’s a reason he’s won multiple Stanley cups, multiple Olympic gold medals, not to mention world Junior and under 18 gold’s as well. Oh yea and a Norris trophy. And the guy is an iron man that very rarely misses time even though he’s a physical presence.

        I implore you to name a better all round dman in the league, factor in regular season and the real season, where Doughty actually gets better. What has Mathews done in the playoffs? Not a damn thing.

        Just lost all respect for your knowledge of the game. Hey at least your still funny.

      • I would take doughty over matthews any day maybe the leafs throwing a 1st?

      • Funny?

        Cant say id consider him funny,

        more like a “try hard”

        Leafs should get rid of Mattews, imo. Cant win as-is + its almost for their annual “playoff hide & seek”

      • Pretty fair trade IMO. With risk for both sides. Daughty is a first ballet hall of famer. Arguably the best D man of his generation. HAs a good 5 years left at a high level IMO as he skates so well. Problem for LA is that it may take 5 years to be a contender again.
        Matthews is only signed for 5, so the age thing doesn’t matter much to me other than Matthews will probably improve. Or he may just be a really good goal scorer with an incomplete game and stay what he is. We just don’t know and I think he is only 21.

        Straight up player for player I take Daughty.
        He is a top 3 player in the NHL IMO.With both teams current and future in mind? Not a bad deal for both. If I am Toronto I make that deal in a heart beat. It will change that team immediately. He is exactly what they need.

      • Ouch. Yin’s all hurt my fillins. The only player type harder to find than a number 1 center is a franchise centerman. You made the classic error of supplementing your perceived value vs what historically is the actual value of said position/player. Now if you had argued that Mathews contract ended with ufa… I can get behind that. But Mathews has greater value in the nhl market than drew based on the position he plays.

      • Where we might disagree chrisms is I think Daughty is the best at his position. I don’t think Matthew is even in the top 5 at his. Obviously a tough call for either team.
        Heck, I think the Oilers have 2 centers that are better than Matthews.
        Matthews may not even be the best center on his team.
        Could he be top 3 in the league? Maybe. I don’t think he is all that close today. When he has the a chance to score, he is great, but much more to being a franchise center than that. But he is only 21.
        Hence the risk for both teams.

      • It’s nice to have a level headed discussion mr bark. I’d wager the center would have more value than the d man. Factor in age as well. It’s very relevant to factor in Mathews ufa ending contract which I initially failed to consider. I also wouldn’t trade my number one if I was la unless it has lotto protection.

      • Chrisms look at how the leafs are playing now and since December 2018 .500 hockey and DESPERATELY needing a drew doughty type dman! Solid two way defenders are more important than centerman now

    • We can all dream about our favourite teams – but why on Earth would L.A. do that? Yes they’re rebuilding, but adding Matthews to get more scoring is not balanced off by trading one of THE elite D-men in the league who is still only 29.

      Give me him at $11 mil per for the next 7 years (including this one) over Karlsson at $11.5 mil for the same period any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

      • Thank you George, someone with knowledge weighing in.

    • That’d solve their backup goalie situation/fiasco, add a stellar experienced Dman & get rid of a F who ghosts thru the playoffs…

      + 1st round pick = way, way too much

      It instantly makes the Leafs much better, especially on back 2 backs

      WHY WOULD L.A want Matthews, while giving up so much for him- in a rebuild no less..?

  7. Going to hate seeing Vats go… he is having an incredible season on a very down trodden devils defense. Shero always seems to do right by the player so i”m hoping he finds a good fit. With Butcher, Severson, and Ty Smith hopefully coming into the fold Nj much like it’s forward core needs time to mature. Never been a fan of drafting U.S college kids as they have the ability to walk. Otherwise I would have added Walsh to that category as well. Thanks for the blogs Lyle… your insights always seem very realistic. Good to not see Taylor Hall posted today : )

  8. Cal/NJ

    I was looking at some of the players of strugging teams and noticed Cal/NJ. So Gaudreau is from NJ? Hall is from Calgary? WTH?

    To NJ Gaudreau, Lucic, 1st rd
    To Cal Hall, Mike McLeod, 3rd rd OR Simmonds, Wayne or D prospect

    Why would the teams do this?

    NJ – Things havent worked out like they anticipated and will prob lose Hall. Sure they can wait but risk getting low balled. GM’s are more cautions now as scrutiny is extremely high and they dont want to screw up.
    • + they get Gaudreau for 3 years at a nice contract, get another 1st rd
    • + I dont know about playing Gaud, Hirscher and Hughes on the same line (too small, but maybe?) but consider them on the PP. They will dance circles around the PK.
    • -, + Lucic. He may not be what he once was but consider this. Luch at 5.25M, not a good deal. but trade him, retaining 50% and Luch at 2.6m? That is not a bad scenario IMO. That would fetch a pick + prospect. NJ isn’t great on the cap but could absorb it to help get things right.

    Calgary – they have been in a funk but have the horses to win if they get going again. Good goalies, solid D, good forwards, need a bit of a change.
    • + get rid of Lucic, Cal couldn’t absorb his cap as NJ, this is next best thing
    • + get Hall, hometown boy, playing for his team growing up? Is that true? I don’t see a hometown discount but getting him @ 10-11M would be solid. They will have cap next yr as they are losing players, they will need to re-stock the D but, that is a worry for next year.
    • + get a young prospect from NJ
    • +/- Get Simmonds? I don’t know if this would be good or bad but it evens out the $$


    • Nice effort to dump lucic I’ll give you that.

  9. SJS sends 44 to MTL
    SJS sends 2021 1st to NJD
    MTL sends Yamamoto (or similar) and 2020 1st to NJD
    NJD sends Hall to SJS
    Maybe SJS adds conditional picks to NJD and maybe even MTL if Hall resigns

    Note: this ensures we talk about hall for an entire week 😃

    • Why would MTL pay a 1st and a prospect whose rights are owned by EDM to get Vlasic?

      End of the discussion that never happened.

  10. Marco, as Nyr4life has pointed out several times – and to which I totally agreed, even posting a link to related trade history – those kinds of multiple-player deals simply don’t happen any more with the cap, age considerations (above 35), nm/no trade clauses to consider, and upcoming draft depths. In fact, in that link the last such trade occurred a decade ago. While they’re fun to speculate on and debate the pros and cons, they are simply a part of NHL history which we’ll likely never see again. Like hard-assed bullying coaches.

    • Chris, I would’ve gladly had a discussion about Mathews for Doughty straight up. Personally I think Doughty is more valuable, but the discussion could be had. But suggesting that LA has to add a first and a good back up is ludicrous and lacks any semblance of a ” level headed discussion”.

  11. George…..

    Potential reasons LA might do the Matthews trade….LA is a town that likes stars….Matthews has that potential….I don’t know the values within the LA roster but does their potential window not open for 3 or 4 years when Doughty is 34…or maybe it is even later…when Doughty might be 36+

    The general issue of windows opening and when interests me….this and the lack of flexibility due to backing a team into a hard cap seem to me to be very important when planning a re-build…

    I don’t know the LA situation specifically to say whether Matthews to them needs only Doughty or whether the Leafs or the Kings add….there is a large age gap between that has value

  12. Maybe a deal involving Matthews straight up for Doughty could happen if L.A. is pursuing the attraction of “star” power, Old Blue Dog. But Doughty himself can fit that category, if not with offensive points certainly with his dominating presence on the blue line. He’s also 100% better in front of a microphone and camera.

    But I just don’t see Blake as that type of GM – fans and marketing be damned. Are they in need of something to boost ticket sales?

    One thing I am certain of is, it would need to be a one-for-one deal – no picks or prospects are being added.

    • Agreed. The people suggesting LA needs to add yet say the deal is important for them as it helps them rebuild are being hypocritical.

      Trading a high first rounder, that could potentially end up being Lafreniere or Byfield along with a stud RHD, which is the hardest position to fill, doesn’t help with the rebuild. It’s a lateral move rebuilding-wise.

      It definitely would have to be one for one.

      • I’ll concede that the trade would have to be amended to reflect lottery protection.

  13. In 2016 the Maple Leafs finished last . Three years later people say it’s a failure.
    Good thing people on this site don’t have any control.
    3 years in the playoffs, and they lost to mediocre teams.
    The core of the team is under 24 years old. Do they need some tweaking sure.
    We will have to see how the season plays out.
    Wonder what the hockeybuzz experts think.
    They seem more knowledgeable

    • Vinnie, your missing the point. Teams need to win the cup when their star players are in their mid-twenties, cause once they hit 28, they get the fat contracts. Which means there’s no money left over to have the depth needed to be a true contender.

      Look no further than LA and Chicago. They won their multiple cups when their stars were in the mid twenties and only making $6 mill per.

      Do this is exactly the time that the Leafs should be winning. When guys like Reilly are due I can guarantee the cap situation won’t be getting better for them.

      • Who won last year? The year before? The year before?
        Give me a break!

      • BCLeaffan, the Blues won last year with their best players, Pietrangelo and O’Reilly, making $6.5 and $7.5 mill per respectively.

        Which also happens to be their two highest paid players. My point has been proven

    • Cousin Vinnie:

      Did the Leafs look good in the playoffs those years?

      How about their star players?

      • They didn’t look bad , and they were playing top experienced teams. 1 6 game series and 2 game 7’s
        They weren’t swept in 4 games, they were competitive. And their core players are still under the age of 24

    • Go to HockeyBuzz by all means if you think it’s better. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

      • Thanks George for worrying about my ass .
        You get moody when someone don’t agree with you.
        Please forgive me I’m almost 82 and sometimes I forget what I’m sa

      • And get off the age thing you cipher. You’ll get there one day – if you’re lucky.

    • Vinnie, Thank you! It’s a young team.

  14. I have said this many times on this site and I will mention it again, the biggest mistake Dubas made was signing Taveras. I know he is a good player but he upset the cap situation so bad that they will waste the best years of their very good young players by not being able to provide a good supporting cast, and the thing is it only gets worse over the next couple of years.
    It is very hard to win with only 6 good players. Look at all the Cup champions they have a balanced lineup with the 3 rd and 4 th lines making the difference between winning and loosing championships
    Chicago is another example what the cap did to them when they signed their top players to big contracts.

    • Tavares is FAR from the worst mistake made by Dubass, he is worth 5x a Nylander…

      • Agreed. 😘

  15. Well that would mean they have about 4 years to be in their mid twenties. It takes a while to build a team.
    But for some reason Toronto has to win it tomorrow.
    I think the point is they were last in 2016. They have made the playoffs the last 3 years and lost
    to experienced teams.
    Washington , Pittsburgh and St. Louis teams were mid twenties.
    I think not.
    Toronto will sort it out. They may not win a cup , alot of teams don’t.
    See San Jose and Ottawa
    Ottawa was the 90’s version of the Oilers. 3 # 1 picks , 2 # 2 picks , 1# 3 pick
    And 0 cups

    • Patience is a virtue.
      Millennial Leaf fans need to relax. This team is a fringe playoff team at best right now.

      Give them 3 more years and then we can accurately judge this club.

      They’re still not a complete team. Defensemen and a back up goalie are needed.
      Maybe swap in a little more grit on the wings.

      They’re doing an ok job overall, but not even close to what the NYR are doing with their rebuild.
      She’s a thing of beauty.

      • While I appreciate your view… it must be hard to tell “millennials “ leafs fans to chill. Cause boomers gen x’ers and whatever else is between the 50’s and now didn’t get much for that. Maybe they should change their uniforms to get rid of the blue?

      • Ha!
        I guess I should have thought that through a little more.

    • Sticks and Stones George.
      Sticks and Stones