NHL Rumor Mill – January 1, 2020

by | Jan 1, 2020 | Rumors | 56 comments

Check out the latest on Chris Kreider, Brandon Saad, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Galchenyuk and more in the New Year’s Day edition of the NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there’s lots of interest in Chris Kreider, but no word yet if the New York Rangers intend to trade the pending free agent winger. He points out they re-signed Dan Girardi in late-February 2014 and Marc Staal in January 2015, plus they took Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes to the wire last season before trading them. Contenders like the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, and St. Louis Blues are said to be interested. There’s speculation about the Montreal Canadiens, but Kreider’s partial no-trade clause affects that.

Will the New York Rangers trade or re-sign Chris Kreider? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kreider might not be keen to accept a trade to the Canadiens if the Rangers shop him before the deadline. He might be more receptive to one of those contenders mentioned by Friedman.

Friedman also believes there will be interest in Brandon Saad once the Chicago Blackhawks winger returns from injury. He carries an annual average value of $6 million through next season. He believes the Edmonton Oilers looked into Saad, but the dollars won’t fit.

Speaking of the Oilers, Friedman believes they’re wary of trading draft picks. “They didn’t have a second- or third-rounder in 2015; their 2016 first-rounder is estranged from the organization; didn’t have a second-rounder in 2017; nothing in round three-to-five in 2018; and six picks last year.” He feels that’s one of the reasons why they passed on bringing back Taylor Hall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could hamper efforts to bolster their struggling roster leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

As of today, players on one-year contracts are allowed to sign contract extensions. Ottawa Senators winger Anthony Duclair and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner are two worth watching.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both will draw considerable interest if they hit the open market this summer. Duclair has resurrected his career with the Senators, and they could be intent on re-signing him. Lehner is outplaying long-time Blackhawks starter Corey Crawford. Both are due to become unrestricted free agents this summer, and Lehner seems the most likely to be re-signed.

Other goaltenders eligible for UFA status this summer include Washington’s Braden Holtby, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom, the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, Boston’s Jaroslav Halak, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, Colorado’s Pavel Francouz, and Winnipeg’s Laurent Brossoit.

A few teams are wondering what direction the Pittsburgh Penguins could go with their goaltending. Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry are restricted free agents this summer. Speaking of the Penguins, Friedman wonders if Jake Guentzel’s shoulder injury might give a new lease on life for Alex Galchenyuk, who was reportedly being shopped by the Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Galchenyuk was expected to be the odd-man-out once the Penguins’ forward lines got healthier. That could change with Guentzel sidelined four-to-six months.

The Calgary Flames have some spare bodies who aren’t happy being shuffled in and out of the lineup. Friedman said there’s interest in Mark Jankowski, who needs a fresh start. There’s also interest in versatile forward Sam Bennett, but Friedman isn’t convinced the Flames will move him unless they get an impactful return.

Friedman believes the New Jersey Devils are interested in some of the Buffalo Sabres’ available defensemen.

Free-agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk is hoping for some contenders to show more interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Boston Bruins were said to have had some interest in Kovalchuk. I expect they’ll look at better options in the trade market.

There could be news on Justin Williams’ plans by this weekend.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The former Carolina Hurricanes’ captain has taken time away from the game to decide if he’s ready to hang up his skates. If he decides to return to action, it’ll only be with the Hurricanes.


  1. While many are writing about potential targets for the contenders like Boston, St. Louis and Colorado, I think Arizona will be a team of great interest leading up to the deadline. They have already spent futures on Hall, who may end up being a rental, so a big ticket player that will cost yet more futures is not likely. There are still some intriguing options for them to bolster their scoring with, some decent, some dicey.

    I thought a veteran center could be on their list… they have players that can play both center and wing in Christian Dvorak, Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller, and their youth has put them on the wings more often than not; Carl Soderberg has been seen on the second line recently. That made me think Adam Henrique, but he has 5 years remaining on his deal and is 29 years old, and would be a big risk. If he doesn’t perform well and doesn’t score, that would be a massive failure of a trade.

    So, given that certain guys can play flexibly within the line-up, some wingers of interest:

    Kevin Labanc has not been lighting it up this year, and will come at the cheapest price since he signed his current deal. If he can be rejuvenated on a successful club, big win for the Coyotes.

    Andreas Athanasiou still faces a jury that is not convinced, but he is another player perhaps worth pursuing and putting into Tocchet’s system. If he can motivate Phil, what could he do with this guy?

    J-G Pageau is a classic case of a player that can slot in at center or on the wing, and can slide up and down the line-up as needed.

    Then there is a player who is but 25 years old and will not return from injury for another few weeks maybe. I’m not sure how Columbus feels about Josh Anderson, whether or not his 4 points in 26 games this season is an anomaly or not.. so he may or may not even be available, or if he becomes available may not be cheap. But worth looking at for clubs like Arizona and Calgary…. p.s. does anyone know if he skates well?

    Finally, rounding out the list are the usual suspects Tyler Toffoli, Chris Kreider and Brandon Saad.

    This will be my first first post, let’s dig in!

    • Lots of food for thought in that post augustus. Keep ’em coming. As for Josh Anderson, I can’t find any site that assesses the skating ability of Josh Anderson. They do discuss his size and willingness to go to the tough areas. After racking up 27g and 20a last season, that and losing F like Panarin and Duchene who absorbed a lot of opponent attention, maybe resulted in suddenly facing much closer checking.

      Be interesting to see how he fits back in the line-up when he get back from that injury later this month, but if the Jackets do decide to move him I would expect a lot on interest around the league. Somehow, still being an RFA, I just don’t see Columbus willing to give up on him yet.

    • Anderson skates very well.
      Especially well, in fact, for such a large frame.
      His hands are quick and he likes to use his big body to rub players out, after he hunts them down.
      He’s a good player, in my lowly assessment.

      • Every team should be inquiring in on him. I’m not sure if anyone follows advanced stats, but a little digging shows he’s either had a tremendous amount of bad luck, declining (unlikely) or injured longer than he’s been letting on. Just a shooting percentage (1.6) regressing to its norm (11-12-ish) would put him at 7 goals instead of 1. His PDO, IPP and PTS/60 are significantly lower than expected.

        If he’s healthy when he returns, he should be a 40-50 point player with a physical nature.

    • With regards to Josh Anderson, it certainly does seem like an off-year with production. He certainly does skate well for a big power forward. I wish the Leafs would trade for him, for his toughness. When I mean toughness, willingness to grind in the corners, lay checks and take checks. On top of that, to be able to produce points.

      • A lot of teams in the cup hunt have that same need, LeafsAdvocate, and as I say, if – and that’s a huge IF – Kekäläinen decided to see what he could get for him once he returns, his phone would be ringing off the hook. But I really don’t believe he’ll go down that road, He’ll re-sign him.

        Meanwhile, that was a good signing by Dubas when he extended Holl who is turning out to be one of the big surprises of the season. Solid D-man.

  2. Toffoli and Kreider are older players, soon to be massively over paid older players. Media guys are talking about them like they are star players. I wouldn’t even trade a second round pick for either. Trade for them, have a 28+29th birthday party for them and sign them for 7 years , pass

    • I share your opinion.

      • So neither of you would trade a second rounder to bolster your roster to win a cup. Seems narrow minded to me. No one says you have to re-sign them.

      • I would trade a 2nd for Krieder if I was the B’s GM. I think the B’s gave up way to much for Rick Nash in 2018, but it was a heck of a lot more than a 2nd and I think Krieder is a better player today than Nash was then.
        1st, 7th, Lindgren (B prospect at the time), and some throw ins like Spooner and Belesky (Bruins ate 1/2 his salary).
        I’m not sure the Rangers trade Krieder but they may ask for at least a 1st for him if they do.
        B’s gave up a 2nd and a 4th for Johanson last year. Krieder is worth at least as much as Johanson.

      • I’m just not a fan of Toffoli, and Kreider isn’t getting traded to Bos for a 2nd. He also isn’t going to sign in Boston for the same money Coyle did.
        So why bother sending the Rags yet another 2nd, ( we all know in reality, it’ll cost much more) for 18 games of Kreider?
        I’ll concede that a 2nd rd pick for Chris Kreider is a great deal, but that trade will never happen, and we all know it.

    • So why overpay for either player?
      Toffoli and Kreider were ok players for a bit, thats all. Both will be looking for large new contracts.
      Even if they don’t get resigned, they’re hardly worth what The asking price will be.
      I wouldn’t trade for either player tbh. It’s not like you’re trading for Doughty or Zbad.

      Looking for players with term, as opposed to pure 3rd grade rentals, isn’t narrow minded in the least.
      In fact it would be considered to be the complete opposite.

      I’ll keep my 2nd round pick, and you keep Toffoli.
      Let’s check back in 3 years.

      • Aren’t most players traded “okay, or good”? If you’re waiting on the Herman’s , Mcdavids etc to make a move as a gm….. you’re going to die of old age waiting!

        Kreider is still a top 6 guy, teams need too 6 players , depth players etc. too. Depth wins championships. Having Mcdavid is great . But Edmonton hasn’t really been rewarded for it…. and he ain’t getting traded.

        A lot worse players have been traded for a lot more than a 2nd round pick.

        Again, if you’re waiting around for only superstars to be traded…. well you’re in for a long disappointing wait…. and rumor sites may as well close their doors. Lyle will have to start a gofundme…..

        They can’t all be PS4 trades😜

        As Canadian king points out… you don’t have to sign either guy…. take a run….walk away…. these type of players are 99% of the type of players move at the deadline…. nothing new here folks.

      • Hedmans not Herman’s!

      • You trade a second for Kreider. The 50th+ pick in next years draft will add nothing to a team for at least 3 years and probably more IF he turns out to be an NHL caliber player, let alone a top 6/pairing/starting goalie. Unless a team’s GM is a drafting wizard, there will always be windows to make a run.

        If Kreider walks, that is OK. I find the biggest mistake made is overpaying for a FA, because of the sense of investment. Cap room is the most underrated asset in sports and GM’s need to realize this…see: Skinner, Buffalo.

      • Exactly Ny4life, the best thing Kings ever did in 2014 was trade for soon to be UFA Gaborik for the playoff push. He went on to score 14 goals in the playoffs and was a huge reason they won the cup.

        However, the worst thing the King’s did in 2014 was sign him to an extension.

        I believe all it cost the King’s to acquire him was a second and a few young players that amounted to nothing in the NHL. Well worth it.

      • What’s your issue with Toffoli? A guy who is solid defensively, plays along the boards, creates scoring chances and is a 20-25 goals a year player. I get that last year’s numbers weren’t great but he was creating chances. I think because he scored 30 one year people expect him to score 30 every year. He’ll score you 20+ and be an effective forward. He gets too much blame for not being who he isn’t.

      • My issue with Toffoli is, term of existing contract.
        I’d prefer players with at least 2 years on a contract.
        Gives you a chance to see what you really got.
        Then you can re sign a guy based on knowledge as opposed to hope.

        He won’t be had for a 2nd either.

  3. With Pittsburgh having just over $2M in available cap space, they don’t really want to give up anyone now that Guentzel (sp) is out, so I think they’ll go and sign Kovalchuk for cheap…cheap enough to still have cap room to sign someone else…maybe they’ll (and other teams) will take a look at some of the Spengler Cup Team Canada performers like; Kevin Clark, Dustin Jeffrey or Kris Versteeg. Maybe sign them to a league minimum PTO contract.

    • Leafs Advocate,

      With you on this

      To me Pens signing Kovy is basically zero risk

      They are down a very important piece of their offence (top scorer in fact); but set that aside

      Down a forward …. options

      Bring up someone from WBS (again!!!!)… been there done that ; weakens WBS; is that player better than current weakest forward on Pens?

      Trade for another forward …. costs assets

      Sign Kovy at the reported close to league min… no real change to cap; no assets given up; no weakening to WBS; extra help on PP; available for a phone call and a signature; was on pace for higher numbers than G-Chuck (who gets nigh $5M)

      I’d sign Kovy regardless

      Pens need to be all in while still in the Sid/Geno window of cups

      So then after picking up Kovy….

      trade Bjug and ZAR for Toffoli and a 3rd

      Trade G-Chuck (19 % retained to make Cap even) and Laffy for Scands

      Trade Legare ; LA’s 3rd ; Pens 2nd (‘21) for JGP

      When Sid; Dumo; Shultz back:


Geno/Rusty/ and Kovy or Kahun

JGP/ Horny/ and Kovy or Kahun








      *The biggest gain in all of this is that with the Scands acquisition JJ and Ruhweedel won’t play a single game until next year

      **That line-up has an EXCELLENT shot of getting to the ECF (maybe Guentz back by then) and a fair shot at getting to the SCF where I think the above roster matches up very very well against Knights OR Blues OR Avs

      Just sayin’

      • Then put your little hand in mine
        There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb


    • Hah, Penguins will not sign Kovalchuk !!!

      Why would Penguins want to sign Kovalchuk ???

      The LA Kings one of the worse teams in the league released Kovalchuk.

      Remember the Penguins traded Kessel, a player not playing defense, not buying into Sullivan’s system !!!

      The Penguins have better options !!!

      • Hi Speed Kills

        I truly believe that Pens should at least call Kovy’s agent…. if he can be had at just over league min… it’s well worth it; well worth it

        At the amount he was getting in LA he was massively overpaid. At/near league min.; bargain IMHO

        At or near league min….Pens get help on the PP AND add a forward that extrapolates (current year’s stats) to produce more than at least 3 Fwds currently on the Pens and likely all WBS fwds.

        There is zero risk at making the call and if he’s asking for $900K or less (annual Sal) …. Pens should sign him

        No matter what…. Pens need another forward in the roster…. they are down one for the rest of the regular season

      • Pengy, Kovalchuk too much like Kessel. Absolutely, big risk bringing in a player like Kovalchuk. Players like these guys surely disrupt a team’s game. Also, remember Daniel Sprong, the next winger ? he wasn’t playing defense and buying into the team. How long did he last with the Penguins ???

        Don’t believe ZAR is going anywhere. Penguins love the 4th line : ZAR , Blueger , Tanev

      • Speed Kills…. agreed Rutherford has transformed the team to younger, faster, and better players.
        like Tanev, McCann, Kahun, Marino Rikola

        Guentzel is young Jarry is young Blueger is young Lafferty is young

        excellent vets Crosby still best overall in the world Malkin finally waking up from a year and a half slumber having horny back you can see it on some of the goals screening in front and he also scored.

        if you add a Kevin Fiala or Andre Anthansiou to this line up speed increases even more..

        ( Yes Schultz if we aren’t resigning him next year)
        Our number one pick if it gets us what will really push us to The top
        maybe even matt murray jarry keeps playing well and showing he can be a number one that saves us a 6 year deal for $ 7 million per for Murray coming up sppn..

        I would like them to go after a Kevin Fiala 23 young speedy skilled winger at $3 million signed through 2012-2022
        or a Andres Anthansiou, 25 also at $3 million, a good fast center (30 goal scorer last year)
        can move Mccann to wing with Sid or Geno

      • Agree that Pittsburgh will look elsewhere than Kovalchuk. They’ll be looking for quickness to keep up their pace of play.
        Also agree with the opinion that Josh Anderson stays in Columbus. He’s a good one.

  4. I think Calgary will make a move. It could be anything as they have surprised in the past. However, I think a lesser deal ls in the cards like a Frolik, or Jankowski.

    You can’t make a cake with all eggs. You need players like Kreider and Josh Anderson.

  5. Pass on all the Spengler cup guys, for sure…

    • Yeah, most of them have had their shots and have come up empty – that’s why they’re toiling in Europe. Teams are better off using any such roster spot for developing players in their systems.

      • Versteeg was a beauty for quite a stretch.
        Cup winner too.
        Watch for him on TV somewhere in the future.
        The guy is hilarious.

  6. As Ray Bark has pointed out numerous time the core for Boston Bruins has a small window with Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, all over 30 and Rask in his 30’s with two season left.

    The Bruins need a RW and Josh Anderson should be the type they are looking at has the size, skating, hands and physical play that Boston could use on a second line with Krejci and Debrusk. Would be a welcoming addition if the Bruins get far enough to play the likes of Washington. Brandon Saad would be another nice addition but with a $6m cap hit remaining for next season might not be affordable.

    I read posters saying throw Backes in the deal. One problem with that; no one wants him. Any deal involving Backes means you have to give up something you want. It’s like putting your old flat screen tv outside that isn’t a smart TV out on the curb hoping someone thinks it was value to them so you don’t have to pay the landfill $25 to drop it off.

    If the Bruins want to be contenders with their present core they’ll need to give something to acquire that piece.

    • with chicago ending d too with their injuries
      would ya offer Moore & Backes & 8th for Saad?

      • Lmao… did you not see his take on Backes?

      • I’m sorry IHC not sure if your post is sarcasm, i thinking it is considering there only 7 rounds of draft picks.

        If Sweeney could pull off that deal he be executive of the year again.

      • Hahahaha!

      • pure sarcasm….

        yes i read his feedback on Backes

        hence the type of post =)

    • Get the Bruins Josh Anderson & Ross The Boss … bring on the Big Bad Caps

    • Hi Caper

      If (huge IF) Bruins could move Backes; the room freed up definitely would allow enough space for key move(s) that could get them back to the SCF

      It’s nigh impossible to move him

      Any player can be moved …. there are just hurdles and costs to jump over and come to grips with

      First hurdle …. 8 team trade list

      2nd; a trade partner that can fit him (his cap) in this year and next

      3rd …. is a retention of $’s needed?

      4th (and the real painful one)…. the bonus paid for taking Backes

      Backes is from Minneapolis so Wild just may be on his 8 team; they have $5.3 M in space this year and do have space next year

      So ….

      Bruins retain 20% and add huge in “bonus” “extras” in the deal; OR

      Retain 50% and still have to pay a roster player in “bonus/extra” ; OR

      Flip Backes for Rask and the Bonus paid is much less

      The trouble …. the “bonus” required in the retention deals is likely starting with DeBrusk (or a package of similar ilk)

      Is there any way Sweeney could swing Backes and Kuraly and Trent for Rask and a late pick? That would free up $3.3 M (annual rate) in Cap

      • Hi Pengy, yes I agree anyone can be moved as long as your willing to pay the price.

        That’s the issue for me, I wouldn’t be willing to give up anyone just to rid myself of a depreciated asset.

  7. Thinking that the only shot the Bruins gave in trading Backes is trying to trade him back to St Louis but looking at St Lou roster really don’t see a match

  8. Hey Lyle. Cap friendly has Duclair listed as an RFA.

  9. To LeafsAdvocate, who earlier stated a genuine desire to see Josh Anderson on the Maple Leafs… interesting thought, and I wonder if a one-for-one swap of Anderson for Kasperi Kapanen would be enough for Jarmo, or Kapanen and a pick conditional either on games played and point production out of Anderson the rest of the way, or if the Leafs win a playoff round and Anderson plays all of the first round games?

    • Why would the Jackets want a Toronto Marshmellow?

      • Well, Ron… based on their acquisitions at last year’s deadline, the Jackets always appear to be wanting smore!

        bah dum ch

      • Lol

      • Awe shucks.

      • Ron, did I mention 8-1-1 in the last 10? Oh – yes, I did.

  10. Prediction , Penguins keep both Jarry and Murray rest of the season.

    • probably….keep both

    • Hi Speed Kills and BNG

      Pens MUST keep both

      Move one and move up DeSmith as back up leaves Pens an injury away from Catastrophe

      Offseason is a different game

      If they move any goalie it would need to be DeSmith and then Pens in same precarious situation if either Jarry or Murray gets injured

      So a deal for DeSmith would require a back-up coming back in the deal ; what bonus could any other team give that would make sense for either team in a trade like that???

      Murray and Jarry stay the season

  11. Pengy…..I agree with Speed kills on this.

    we don’t need a Kovalchuk a Kreider or even a Eric Stahl (having a good year) as attractive as they are they are older and slower and that’s not this team right now pens are buzzing around

    younger forwards like these

    Kevin Fiala
    Andres Anthansiou
    Ondje Kasic
    kevin LeBlanc

    and a defenseman someone I still don’t trust letang..

    • Hi BlackNGold

      No ifs ands or buts Pens need a D-Man…. a prominent enough Left D to move JJ down to 7th D

      Murray’s last two games …. 4 goals thanks to JJ ; 3 completely his fault and one shared

      The Scands for G-Chuck and Laffy would work

      I get your point re age but I still think getting Kovy for only cash …. no assets ; is a boon

      He is good on the PP (now down Guentz) and his frowned upon production this year on a much weaker (than Pens) Kings team is higher than G-Chuck; ZAR and Bjug

      $900 K (annual rate) or less …. I’d do it in a heart beat

      With the unfortunate loss of Guentz (and his subsequent placement for the balance of the year on LTIR); Pens can exceed by that amount … in essence they can bring in a $6M player without having to give up a player

      I’d like a shot at getting Toffoli but cede a much cheaper acquisition of the super speedy AA from Redwings would be a great add

      I think he’d thrive under new scenery and new team-mates

      • PENGY..I think Athansiou would absolutely thrive in Pittsburghs up tempo sped style..this is a 25 year old center who scored 30 goals just last year.. @ $3 million ufa moving bjugstad galchenyuk and schultz will allow us to resign him next year McCann can go to wing..you add Anthansiou to TAnev Kahun McCann simon adds even more speed