Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 22, 2019

by | Dec 22, 2019 | Rumors | 36 comments

Updates on Braden Holtby, Ilya Kovalchuk, Taylor Hall, and Lias Andersson in the pre-Christmas NHL rumor roundup.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Washington Capitals and the agent for Braden Holtby won’t talk contract during the season, putting their focus on winning the Stanley Cup. The 30-year-old goaltender is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Friedman points out the Capitals have gone this route before with John Carlson and T.J. Oshie before their UFA eligibility on July 1. Just because Holtby could become a UFA doesn’t necessarily mean he will.

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby’s contract talks on hold until season’s end (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Salary-cap space could be an issue. Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have over $61.9 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21, with Holtby and Nicklas Backstrom as their prime UFAs. It could cost a combined $18 million to re-sign both, leaving little room for the rest of the roster.


SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports there’s a fair bit of interest in Ilya Kovalchuk following the mutual termination of his contract with the Los Angeles Kings. His agent is working the phones talking to interested clubs.

Kovalchuk will have to sign a much smaller deal than the one he had with the Kings. Though there’s nothing imminent, Johnston feels he’ll find a new NHL home soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I share the view of the Boston’s Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont: “The truth about Kovalchuk: His last outstanding year was 2007-08, when he potted 52 goals with the Thrashers. Otherwise, not worth the price or the bother.”


BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont believes the New York Islanders could aggressively pursue Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall if he hits the open market next summer. The Isles have lots of salary-cap space, even though young center Mathew Barzal will be due for a big payday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders have over $64.5 million committed to 16 players for next season. Assuming Hall seeks over $10 million annually on the open market, it won’t leave enough for Barzal’s hefty raise, new contracts for arbitration-eligible RFA blueliners Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews, and re-signing or replacing UFAs Matt Martin, Derick Brassard, and Tom Kuhnhackel. Unless GM Lou Lamoriello intends to shed salary, he could pass on Hall to consider more affordable free-agent options.


NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker reports the New York Rangers yesterday confirmed Lias Andersson has requested a trade and is no longer with the club. The Rangers’ first-round picks (seventh overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft, the 21-year-old winger skated in just 66 games over parts of three seasons in New York.

General manager Jeff Gorton is expected to use the current NHL holiday roster freeze to shop Andersson, who spent much of this season on the fourth line.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston believes it’ll be challenging for the Rangers to move a young asset who hasn’t played up to lofty expectations. Nevertheless, they’re not going to just give him away.

Elliotte Friedman said Rangers had talked to the Edmonton Oilers about swapping Andersson for Jesse Puljujarvi before the Dec. 1 deadline to get the latter under contract for this season. He wonders if that might get revisited.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson said the Oilers weren’t interested in Andersson because they didn’t think he plays “with enough NHL pace”. The same, of course, can be said of Puljujarvi.

Gorton might have to package Andersson with a pick or prospect to make him enticing. Perhaps he becomes part of a bigger deal near the Feb. 24 trade deadline.


  1. Thinking Andersson gets packaged with Kreider out west to Avs or STL to increase what the Rangers get back in prospects

    perhaps to STL for Kostin , Kyrou & conditional 2nd that becomes a 1st if Kreider resigns.

    • How much value could Andersson actually add to a deal? He has draft pedigree and….

      • Teams giving goalies huge contracts always regret it. Unless the goalie is 22 years old and a superstar I would never give a goalie a 7-8 year deal at 9-10 mill per.

    • You think Kreider and Andersson land St.louis top 2 ranked prospects +?
      I certainly don’t think so. Re-signed Kreider or not.

      Andersson has little to no value at this point. I’m not sure how NY changes that with him gone….. but it is what it is…. Maybe let him go home and play?

      • I still think the right coach and system would work for Lias. Tippet was a similar player. STL as a team might shake it out of him. I am sure a few times will throw a similar failed prospect for him.

      • I’m sure someone will throw a similar failed prospect at him…. but that lines right up to little or no value. Lol

      • ‘ but that lines right up to little or no value. Lol’

        Look at Brett Connolly …from top 10 pick to bust to big contributor on a Cup run. He is a good depth player now that can move up and down a lineup.

      • Brett Connolly… the exemption, not the rule. Look at Yak, PJ, Etem, Ho Sang, etc.

        For every Connolly… I’ll raise you 10 busts.

      • @nyr
        why did you have to mention etem…..
        I do hope the follow up reach for Kratsov works out- Wahlstrom looked like the proper Kreider replacement

    • So, Kreider and an unproven prospect for St.Louis’s top two prospects, plus a second…maybe a first. Someone would be getting fired for that trade and it wouldn’t be Gorton.

    • Blues aren’t trading Kyrou for Kreider and Andersson.

  2. The funny thing with Anderson is he probably would’ve had more value if he never was forced into a regular role with big club. Chances are if Rangers hadn’t decided to rebuild, Anderson might’ve still been in AHL developing with the occasional call up. If you take away the “lofty expectations”, he could still have value as a bottom 6 guy. Just turned 21 and cost controlled.

    • Can’t say I’ve spent any time watching Anderson. But if Holland’s take on him is correct, that he lacks “NHL pace”, AKA doesn’t skate well enough, then that is a problem that won’t fix itself quickly or easily. Or ever.
      It is one thing to learn to play in a system, right side of the puck etc,. that can be fixed with the will to change and reps. Improving your skating will take considerable time and might just be outside his physical ability to change.

      • Nobody can teach speed, you have it or you lack it. His lack of speed is being exposed as well in the AHL. He might be coming to the realization he’s not the player he believed he thought he would be. To think he’s above working on his game in the A shows he wasn’t close to being a leader some of these draft pundits said he was. He’s shown virtually very little and now he wants to demand a trade….. good luck with that.

    • I agree with all of that.

      I don’t believe he’s a top 6 guy anywhere. He lacks speed, and nobody will ever mistake him for a sniper or great playmaker. A decent 2 way center will be his ceiling imo.

      Nothing I’ve seen out of him has amazed me.

      But could find a useful role as a bottom 6 guy somewhere with some work on his game. If he thinks he’s above some Ahl time and some fine tuning to his game…. he’ll make Yak look like Ovechkin!

      • Best take I heard on Yak – “playing with Yak is like playing with a moth around a light bulb”

      • Lol. Did that come from a former teammate? Yikes!

      • LOL. Ray. Thanks a lot! Now that’s an image that won’t go out of my head

      • Ryan Rishaug, TSN, who lives and works out of Edmonton. He didn’t say who he was quoting, but it was a past or present Oiler.

  3. Honestly I’m glad Andersson is forcing NYs hand. I believe Chytl and Howden are much better players with much higher ceilings.

    Makes that decision a little easier.

    • Have to figure he sees that as well. Not much of a path for him.

    • Howden is the coaches pet with a longer leash than most of the other young players. Howden also could maybe be a 3c

      • I think Howden has a much better skill set than Andersson. In about every way possible. So if Howden has a ceiling of a 3c, Andersson should be bagging groceries at a local Walmart.

        I disagree about the teachers pet thing. As I’ve said before Quinn has scratched and benched players with such regularity that it has pretty much lost all meaning other than “yay, I get the day off”.

      • DS. By coaches pet, you mean plays the way coaches want? I think it’s been talked about enough about what coaches expected from Anderson. Howden has been the more defensively responsible player. I thought Anderson was better off going down instead of limited minutes on 4th line. Really surprised he’s taken this route. Deadline is less than 2 months away. Who knows what players might be moved. Maybe he would be dealt anyway, or maybe Strome. Guess he’s not confident in his chances. Possible he’s not a fan of Quinns

      • @Slick
        Howden has been on par with Andersson’s performance since he was moved down

  4. I don’t make many predictions but … I expect some GM to give Hall $70M++ and then regret about $50 of that.

    • $50M

  5. My rebuttal to Spector is that if Hall is willing to sign with the Islanders, there are plenty of options that will not gut the core or hurt the future. There are several big tickets that can be moved. Bridge deals can be made. Do not sell the new brand of Blue and Orange short.

    • I’m not selling the Islanders short, I’m merely pointing out there’s not as much cap space as Dupont suggested to sign Hall. They have over $64.5 million invested in 16 players. Hall could cost at least $10 million annually, but let’s assume they can get him for $9 million per. That sends their payroll to $73.5 million. If you try to bridge deal Barzal, your leading scorer in the last two seasons and most likely to be their top scorer this season, good luck with that. But assuming they do, it won’t come in under $5 million. Indeed, for their leading scorer, I’d say at least $6 million, but to be conservative, let’s say they bridge Barzal at $5 million per, that pushes their payroll to over $78 million. Pulock and Toews have arbitration rights, so figure a minimum combined salary of $5 million if Lamoriello can convince them to take it. That’s over $83 million and you haven’t re-signed or replaced Greiss, Martin, Brassard and Kuhnhackl yet. That’s why I suggest Lamoriello would have to shed salary to pull it off.

      • Don’t confuse ’em with high-math Lyle 🙂

  6. being a B’s fan I’m concerened with the play of David Krejci and it’s probably because of the lack of a goal scoring winger to play on the #2 line with him, Sweeney has been looking for that winger at least 4 years now…

    • Krech has been great.
      His linemates can’t finish.
      Ritchie should never see top 6 minutes, ever again.
      Debrusk and Heinen have been underwhelming.

      The thing to do here is trade Backes and Nordstrom for Pat Kane and Debrincat, have Chi hold back monies and anything else to make the cap hit work in Boston’s favor.
      🙂 Isn’t that how its done here?

      • Underwhelming for DeBrusk & Heinen is being kind…

  7. Andersson has no upside. Puljujarvi does. Failing all else he can skate with decent size. No way that deal happens on its own.

    I don’t think Hall gets $10m . Close but less. Otherwise it is a mistake that we all see coming.

    • I figure it’ll be something significantly less … but over 7 years. That’ll be the trade-off in dickering … and someone will bite next spring during the UFA “frenzy.”

  8. Im sad to say that Andersson just doesnt seem to have the wheels enough, based on that I would say 3 or 4C tops. But the problem is that he needs to realize thats what he is. If he can do that and be good at that, then maybee its possible to stay in the NHL, if not then no. Hall shouldnt be paid more than 8,5-9 times 7 at the most, anything more wil come back to haunt the payer of the $