NHL Rumor Mill – January 11, 2020

by | Jan 11, 2020 | Rumors | 30 comments

Check out the latest on the Bruins, Oilers, and Sharks, plus an update on Robin Lehner in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Jacob Camenker cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting the Boston Bruins could pursue Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli. “I’ll tell you this, I do think Boston if they wanted to, could do a deal for Toffoli almost at any time. I think they know they’ve got that in their hip pocket,” Friedman said. He added the question was whether they’d do that deal or wait for New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider to become available. Friedman said he’s been told the Rangers are starting to think more about keeping Kreider.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri checks all the boxes for the Bruins. If Palmieri’s available in the trade market, one NHL assistant general manager suggested the Bruins could make a pitch similar to the one that landed Charlie Coyle last year from the Minnesota Wild. Shinzawa proposed offering up winger Anders Bjork and perhaps a prospect like Axel Andersson for Palmieri, who’s signed through 2020-21.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports league sources confirmed the Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks have talked trade. One source mentioned Bruins defenseman John Moore as a possible trade target for the Hawks, who are in the market for a third-pairing rearguard.

Murphy also claims Bruins GM Don Sweeney has an interest in Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad and Rangers winger Chris Kreider. With only $1.7 million in salary-cap space, Sweeney must shed some salary to make room for a top-six winger. Moore has three years left on his contract with an annual average value of $2.7 million.

Are the Boston Bruins close to acquiring LA Kings winger Tyler Toffoli? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After falling just short of winning the Stanley Cup last spring, the Bruins are all-in this season. Sweeney’s not reluctant to make significant moves before the trade deadline, acquiring Coyle and Marcus Johansson last year and Rick Nash in 2018.

Be it Toffoli, Kreider, Saad, or somebody else, I believe the Bruins GM will pursue a top-six winger before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Anders Bjork could be packaged with a prospect or draft pick to acquire that winger. Given the Bruins’ limited salary-cap space, Sweeney must dump some salary and perhaps get a trade partner to pick up part of the salary of the player he’s pursuing to get a deal done.


TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos believes the Edmonton Oilers must add a top-six winger to avoid wasting another MVP season from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. While the Oilers hold a playoff position in the Western Conference, they’re not that far ahead of the ninth-place Vancouver Canucks. He suggests pursuing Ottawa Senators winger Anthony Duclair, who has 21 goals and 32 points in 43 games this season.

EDMONTON JOURNAL’s Jim Matheson recently tweeted Oilers GM Ken Holland will help his players out at the trade deadline by going after a third-line center. He wondered if Holland might look at Nashville’s Nick Bonino if the Preds fail to gain ground in the standings, but only if they pick up part of his $4.1-million AAV through next season.

Matheson also speculated Holland could look at Detroit’s Andreas Athanasiou. He doesn’t believe Holland will trade his first-round pick in this year’s draft but feels the second-rounder and a defense prospect could be in play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t dismiss the possibility of the Senators parting ways with Duclair, but he’s a restricted free agent this summer and they’re under no pressure to move him before the trade deadline. If he keeps playing well, the Sens could be keen to re-sign him.

Predators GM David Poile made a coaching change in hopes of getting his team back into the playoff chase. If they keep spinning their wheels, however, a roster shakeup could be in order, and that could include shopping Bonino before the trade deadline.

Not sure how interested Holland would be to acquire Athanasiou. The young forward staged an ill-advised contract standoff with Holland in 2017 but subsequently re-signed a two-year deal with no fuss. The 25-year-old is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

Holland also has winger Jesse Puljujarvi as a trade chip. He recently told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun he wouldn’t rule out moving Puljujarvi for a playoff rental, depending on who that player was. However, I still think Holland intends to use the winger to seek a more long-term return.


THE ATHLETIC: With San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture sidelined for several weeks with a fractured ankle, Kevin Kurz examined how his absence will affect the Sharks lineup. He also suggested it could make GM Doug Wilson’s trade-deadline plans less complicated. The problem is Wilson doesn’t have much to sell as most of his key assets have various forms of no-trade protection. He believes defenseman Brendan Dillon is a goner and forward Melker Karlsson could also be on the way out.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton also weighed in on the struggling Sharks’ woes without Couture. In addition to Dillon and Karlsson likely hitting the trade block, Clinton suggested shopping defenseman Tim Heed and goalie Aaron Dell. He also recommended asking Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau if they want an opportunity to chase a Stanley Cup elsewhere. Clinton acknowledged whatever returns the Sharks get for those players won’t include first- or second-round picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a significant second-half turnaround, the Sharks aren’t going to reach the playoffs. They’re currently eight points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth.

Wilson won’t get much back for those suggested trade bait, but whatever he gets will be better than nothing at all. He gambled everything on this roster, even giving up a first-round pick in this year’s draft for Erik Karlsson. Wilson must restock his prospect pipeline and look toward the summer in hopes of finding some affordable NHL talent via trades or free agency.


CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Jimmy Greenfield reports Robin Lehner made it clear he’s not accepting another discount on his next contract. The 28-year-old goaltender said he enjoys being a Blackhawks and hopes to remain part of their future. However, he’s also accepted contract discounts throughout his NHL career.

“I’m not a guy that wants to be overpaid either. I want to gain some respect that I think I deserve, and we’ll see if that happens or not,” he said. Lehner knows the market is wide-open for goaltenders this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, if the Blackhawks won’t pony up a lucrative long-term deal worth considerably more than the $5 million he’s earning this season, there are plenty of other NHL clubs willing to do so this summer.

They could include the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks, or Ottawa Senators. The Vancouver Canucks could also come calling if they can’t get Jacob Markstrom re-signed, as well as the Edmonton Oilers if they’re not sold on Mikko Koskinen as their starter.


  1. Karlsson ruined the Sharks. Rather his salary did. I bet they wish they could have signed Pavelski and Donskoi and at least some budget to play with . Burns is less of a factor. Hey maybe he is moved . I have a feeling that the first pick to the Sens is going to be a beauty.
    Said it late yesterday -all will be forgotten ( and forgiven ) in Montreal securing Lafreniere in the lottery. Stranger things have happened.

    • Said that it was a horrible contract the day they signed EK. He’s being paid his worth now, maybe. The back end of that deal will be overpaid, for sure. (If he makes it that long without injury). It’s an OK deal now, but it’ll kill them later.

      Contracts like this are paying a guy based on past performance with no ability to adjust if that performance drops as he ages…

      NHL has a horrible structure. One of the (many) problems is that Cap Hit is spread evenly across all 8 years, Maybe they can at least allow teams to determine how they want to take the cap hit over the term. ex: Higher hit on front years and lower on back years. As long as all the money is counted I’m not sure why it has to be even across the life of the deal…

    • The Sharks – Sens situation reminds me of the trade that brought Phil Kessel to Toronto. The two first-rounders that the Leafs gave up turned out to be Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton.
      “If if’s and but’s were candy and nuts…..”

      • “We’d all have a merry Christmas.”

  2. A turnaround for the SJ Sharks to make the playoffs is an under-statement. Not only would they have to climb over 5 teams to do it, they’d need to surge from a current pts % pace of .478 to .778 in order to reach 90 pts – which was the cut-off last season when, finishing with 101 pts, they played the entire season at a .616 rate. And now they don’t have one of their better F for a number of weeks to go along with a porous D and mediocre goaltending.

    The team currently holding down the last WC slot – Winnipeg – has played so far at a .577 pace. That could drop to .514 the rest of the way and they’d still wind up with 90 pts. And who knows, maybe this year it will require closer to 94 pts to qualify, making the task even more unlikely.

    That kind of a turnaround would border on the miraculous for the Sharks.

  3. I think Pennsylvania native Brandon Saad needs to come home. He’s got the motor to play for the Penguins and they have the cap space.

    • He’d be my top target. I’d worry a bit about cap space next year as Murray and or Jarry need raises as will Pettersson. Shultz resigned or replaced. But I’m sure they would figure it out. Not sure what to give up. 1st is steep and pens no have a 2nd.

  4. Alexander Daigle

  5. George you know Ottawa better than most…. Could Erik Karlson have been a contributor to the mess in the room last year? Could that be extended to San Jose?

    I have written here before Dorian is very under rated. People seem to ignore the limitations he works under. If I were Molson, I would order a full re-build trading all the guys over 30 and hire Pierre Dorian to do it. He ticks a lot of boxes.

  6. OBD, I doubt we’ll ever know the full story behind the Hoffman-Karlsson squabble. All we hear are rumours based upon nothing more than the baseless speculation that permeates the web.

    As for Dorion, he’s done as good a job as possible stocking the cupboard with the likes of Logan Brown, Batherson, Formenton, Brannstrom, Abramov, Norris, Pinto (one of the better players on the U.S. world juniors), Thompson (the D who served as captain of the Finnish world juniors), and Bernard-Docker, a D on the world cup champions, not to mention drafting the likes of Chabot, Tkachuk, White.

    Now it remains to be seen if Melnyk keeps his word on spending to the cap to keep the best of this lot together.

    • And the Sens could have two lottery picks this summer.

    • Melnyk has owned the Senators since 2003. He has been willing to spend but got tired of bad contracts and decisions. Jared Cowan, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Bobby Ryan the Hamburglar Hammond
      Funny Karlsson is a bum now , 2 years ago he was the 8th wonder of the world according to Dorion.
      Karlsson , Duchenne, Hoffman, Dzingle , Turris and Stone all considered superstars in Ottawa. Pretty ordinary or underachieving when they are moved.
      Nobody takes Ottawa seriously, always use their backup when they play them.
      Marc Methot made Karlsson look good. Chabot is just a younger Karlsson. Minus 18 same points. He creates lot for Ottawa and obviously the opposition.
      As for prospects everyone has them. They either turn out or they don’t.
      Peumpel, Noeson ,Lazar and so on and so on.
      Gee I forgot what I was saying

      • Chabot is a younger, and most important, healthier Karlsson. He will have a great career if he stays healthy.

      • That why I said “Now it remains to be seen if Melnyk keeps his word on spending to the cap to keep the best of this lot together.”

        Of course prospects are simply prospects – we don’t need your sage wisdom to figure that out Vinnie. Yeah, you can go on endlessly listing the same series of duds that came through Ottawa. So what? You can do that for every team in the league – Leafs, Bruins, Penguins, whatever.

  7. Palmieri ….Would be a nice add for the Bruins along with Ross The Boss ( take some pressure off Chara) … come on Sweeney the window is closing

    • with his age and where the team is really at……NJ should consider moving Palmieri to BOS for some youth. He is loved in the community but give the guy a chance at a cup. He iis already 28 and by the time Hughes and Hischier dominate Kyle will be well past his prime.

      Taking 2 good prospects and maybe even a pick would be a wise move.

      maybe even call Chicago since they want a Dman…offer up Greene and allow NJ fresh leadership in that locker room

      • Leafs should let oilers have their choice of 1 of johnsson, kerfoot or kapanen along with ceci for larsson and pulijarvi with leafs retaining salary up to 50% on ceci to make cap hits work. I love kappy but his speed on rw with mcdavid would be electrifying.

    • Palms won’t come cheap…..

      • No he won’t kev, but seems like the best fit IMO. Having him next year at a reasonable # is appealing.
        The price mentioned above, if accurate is fair. Bjork is an NHL player, 3rd line guy today with upside, and Andersson has good skills, but raw and far from a sure thing.
        Losing Bjork does create a hole on the 3rd line for BOS. Perhaps Studnicka, Frederic or likely Kuhlman (now healthy) get a crack at it.

    • I Agree, whom is Ross The Boss? i would consider Palmieri, Toffoli, Kreider as well as Brenden Dillon big Strong Logs heavy Minutes, Always need extra Defencemen for long runs to SC. There will be lots of options available.

      • Ross “the boss” Johnston.

        Joe likes his hockey players with the bark left on.

        I like that too.

  8. to MTL: Dillon & Jones
    to SJ: Price ($1m retained) and some type of pick

    struggling goalie for struggling goalie? =)

    assuming Price waves his NMC for sunny California (which I think he would)

    • i don’t know, that contract…

  9. Lots of what ifs for the Sharks. At this point, not really relevant to dwell on what happened in the past. Their captain and best forward is out till march. Line combos are a mess (goodrow on thorntons wing?). The other 40 year old is still the fastest player in the team – and the best backchecker. Don’t trade Dillon. Don’t trade Melker Karlsson. Do trade Martin Jones and Tim Heed. And what the heck, dress seven D and play Burns in a hybrid F/D.

  10. First move the Sharks need to make is getting rid of Wilson. He had his time. He had his teams that had a shot to win it all. He never really went all in to win. And then he decides thus is the team? He’s scrabbling and panicking. Best to just put him out of his misery and get a new GM in place for the tear-down and rebuild.

  11. You’re right George I go on endlessly about Dorion’s failures. He became chief amateur scout for the Senators in 2007.
    That’s when all the failures started. You can get lucky once in a while
    You’re right every team has their failures. Melnyk’s problem isn’t money, its he doesn’t have a clue who to hire.
    Looks like they have a pretty good ahl team this year , not bad for a great evaluator of talent. 13.5 years of evaluation gets you that . Anywhere else he would be fired.
    Ottawa is always doing it the right way . They laughed at Tampa for drafting old players in ’92 saying we are doing the right way with young players.
    28 years of doing it the right way. Ha Ha
    4 playoffs against Toronto and 4 playoff losses , they couldn’t even beat Toronto.
    I think Karlsson and Hoffman were arguing over who was going to wear Daigle’s nurse’s outfit.
    Melnyk is not a good evaluator of hockey executives.
    Muckler got them to the finals, so they fire him and put Bryan Murray in charge and Dorion as chief scout. Mediocre ever since

    • *Mic drops.

    • Which is the SAME point you’ve made over and over and over and over ad nauseam – I think we all get it by now Vinnie. That effing horse is dead. No one’s arguing with your point. Let it lie. Otherwise, again I ask – what’s your point and how often do you feel the need to bring it up? The Sharks were part of the opening topic so I made a comment on them. I didn’t bring up the Senators. But somehow you felt compelled to toss in “Alexander Daigle.”

      That was 27 bloody years ago. For Christ’s sake try and contribute something original besides the obvious.

  12. How much liquor to get Yzerman drunk enough to take Lias Andersson, Staal & a 3rd (or 2nd) for AA ??

    • All the liquor, Randy.