NHL Rumor Mill – January 31, 2020

by | Jan 31, 2020 | Rumors | 76 comments

The latest on Chris Kreider and David Backes plus updates on the Blues and Ducks in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes at least eight teams have expressed interest in New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider. The Rangers’ asking price could be similar to what they got for Kevin Hayes last season, which was a young NHL player and a first-round draft pick. The club is still hopeful of re-signing the pending UFA winger, but there haven’t been any contract discussions yet.

Eight teams reportedly interested in New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun didn’t name those eight clubs, but various reports in recent weeks linked Kreider to the Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, and Vegas Golden Knights. We don’t know how serious their interest in the Rangers’ winger could be.

I suspect the Bruins, Avalanche, Penguins, and Blues could be the front-runners. Kreider has an 11-team no-trade list, which could determine where he goes if the Rangers shop him before deadline day. Speaking of the Blues…

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford recently included Kreider on his list of potential trade targets for the St. Louis Blues. Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli, Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Columbus’ Josh Anderson also made the list. He also included Arizona’s Taylor Hall, though he acknowledged the left winger won’t be going anywhere as long as the Coyotes remain in playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong recently indicated much will depend upon when sidelined winger Vladimir Tarasenko returns to the lineup from shoulder surgery. If he’s not due back until the playoffs, that’ll provide the Blues GM with sufficient trade-deadline cap room to pursue another forward.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty weighed in on David Backes not reporting to the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence, noting the club is fine with it. He also speculates they don’t want the veteran forward risking another injury that would prevent him from getting moved before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

The Bruins would have to absorb up to half of Backes’ $6-million annual average salary to move him, plus include a sweetener like a draft pick or a prospect. However, some non-contending clubs (such as the Anaheim Ducks) have indicated they’re willing to take on extra salary for the right price.

One of them is the Anaheim Ducks, who have a winger like Ondrej Kase and a defenseman like Josh Manson who could address the Bruins’ needs. Haggerty notes the Bruins and Ducks have recently scouted each other.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks might be interested only in taking on a high-salaried player who’s on an expiring contract this season. Backes has another season left on his deal. His eight-team trade list could also complicate matters.

The Bruins need second-line scoring, but they could be eyeing a healthier option than the oft-injured Kase. And speaking of the Ducks and what contracts they might be willing to take from other clubs…


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently examined how the Ducks could weaponize their cap space to take on a bothersome contract packaged with some future assets. Among his suggested options were Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Ceci, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Alex Galchenyuk, Boston Bruins winger Danton Heinen, or Arizona Coyotes winger Michael Grabner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stephens was merely spitballing here. He’s not saying the Ducks are targeting those players. Nevertheless, we can’t rule out the possibility they’ll try to exploit a cap-strapped playoff contender that’s trying to free up cap room to bolster their roster.


  1. Good morning

    I think there is going to be a BIG hold up on trades this year ..reason being is that this draft is extremely well touted as being a very deep draft especially in the top 3 rounds …

    Last year I posted multiple times about how a 2nd round pick was going to start to be like gold because no one is going to want to trade 1st rounders anymore…that was met with a bit of contention …however ..

    I think now that is going to be a HUGE sticking point for trades this year..for a good majority of the players mentioned

    …if the starting point is a 1st round pick ….WELL… Iam not sure who is going to trade this years 1st rounder for a UFA ..I just don’t see how they can do it business wise …look what happened to the Sharks which is front and centre right now …who wants to be that guy to look that foolish !

    So for Krieder… J.Pageau and Toffoli if the ask is a 1st rounder to get things started in a convo …its going to be tough

    ..a good majority of the teams vying for those guys are looking at a kick at the can ..but in 1 – 2 or 3 more years they are really going to need that player they just gave up in the draft pick more so than the player they got in the trade !

    This is the issue this year in decision making more so than in years past combine that with the fact that this is a young mans game now …trading for older guys and giving up a 1st or 2nd rounder is now taking a bigger risk….the days where a 2nd rounder is a just a blind throw in for a trade is not the case anymore …they are starting to work there way up the INDEX …and have more value.

    Silver is the new Gold …


    • In addition to Ottawa having SJ’s 1st round pick (they also hold their 2nd Round pick in 2021 from the Karlsson deal), and Carolina likely holding the Leafs 1st pick (lottery protected), NJ has Arizona’s in the Hall deal (if that turns out to be a Top 3 it becomes a 2021 pick – but that’s unlikely) and if the Canucks make the playoffs, TB gets their 1st round pick

  2. So the leafs gave up a 1st to move Marleau, didn’t resign hainsey but traded for a worse dman in ceci while moving brown, now are going to have to give something else up to move ceci’s contract? While currently not in a playoff spot? Dubas is doing a whole lot of tinkering while going in reverse

    • @ Bigbadbruins

      YEA….LMAO… How much sense does that make !

      Very poor decision making …steal from peter to pay paul ..and cover up the mistakes…

    • Its easy to look at things that way, but remember…They needed Marleau to be gone to be able to sign Marner. Zaitsev demanded a trade and because Lou gave him those multi years at 4.5 million per they had to take Ceci for one year to rid themselves of that. With the other Salary cap restraints they could not afford Connor Brown over 2 million to be a 4th liner. The trade was essentially Connor Brown for a 3rd round pick. As for Hainsey, he wanted more money and term than the Leafs could afford. Smart of him to take it where offered.

      • @ Murph: Well put: Kind of places a mute
        button exactly where it needs to be placed

      • Well said Murph. Puts everything into proper perspective.

      • But they had to know they weren’t contenders? They’re giving up a lot to MAYBE make the playoffs! Why not wait a year with Marleau and move a couple of other contracts that could Actually bring back picks or prospects? Let’s be real the team can score but are terrible defensively, nylander,kapenan and johansson could be moved until the team is actually ready to compete for a cup

      • Trading Marleau also allowed the Leafs to sign Kapanen and Johnson.

      • You could make that argument BBB, and will likely turn out to accurate.
        I also wouldn’t write them off just yet.
        If they play Boston again in the 1st round, I still view that series as a coin flip.
        Health and TDL moves could change that opinion, but assuming both teams healthy as is… could go either way IMO.

      • “they had to take Ceci for one year to rid themselves of that.”

        True, but the thing they didn’t have to do was re-sign him. Or, at least, they didn’t have to qualify him at his previous salary. That deal would’ve been a clear win if they had just let Ceci walk and signed someone else.

      • Garth I was going to say that also thought he was an rfa when they got him. Ray I said “ maybe” a playoff team. All I’m saying is dubas did a lot of moves that didn’t improve the team

      • Ya but why bring facts into the equation? #troll ..could see ceci going to Vancouver? For Hughes? Or Ottawa for tkachuk? Jeez this GM thing is easy! Unfortunately just as trolling!

      • How and when did differing opinions in a site set up for this very purpose become – using the 21st Century’s favourite buzzword – “trolling?”

        Oh I see, when the comments proffered aren’t flattering for your favourite team.

  3. Backes is a proud man and good person he needs to retire make him an assistant coach and let him still be part of the team. Bruins have plenty of capable young guys on the farm who can step in ,play them and don’t give up your first. Like I said take your chances in a 7 game series I think it will turn out fine as long as they are healthy

    • He has next year at $6 mil – why would he retire? Salary as a coach wouldn’t even come close. He may be all that you say – but I doubt he’s that magnanimous. A contract is a contract.

      • George O, I think he coming down with a skin rash as were wearing his gloves with the combine sweat cause acute allergy reactions which can in return have negative effect on his vital organs.

      • LOL Caper. Forgot about the Hossa ploy. Didn’t the NHL take steps to close that loophole?

      • Backes only makes 3 million next year, even though he counts 6 against the cap. That is where it works in the Bruins favor if her gets moved, the new team can take the cap hit but pay out half the salary.

      • Boy, how I wish I could look at $3 mil and refer to it as “only” – 🙂

        But thanks for the clarification GreatGonzo – that DO make a difference when dealing with decisions to trade etc.

      • “Backes only makes 3 million next year”

        He makes 4 mill next year. $3M base and $1M signing bonus.

      • Fair enough, I missed a bonus. Either way a team he is traded too save a couple million. I think the bruins will work hard to trade him, but I have trouble seeing him go anywhere.

        The place might be with the Wild with some incentive going with Backes for someone like Zucker.

        I have trouble seeing him being moved.

      • How many teams out there are trying to weaponize cap space and save salary dollars? Arizona ain’t doing it no more.

      • Not many Chrisms, and in the case of Datsyuk didn’t have to pay him. We the fan may not worry about paying the millions of dollars to a player who isn’t very good anymore, but it would be a tough sell to the owner who actually forks out the dough.
        Hi boss, I have an idea ……

  4. IF Kreider is to be sent packing and the Bruins is pursuit …..would the quality of offer increase if the Rangers took back Backes with 50% retained by Boston?

    Rangers need a 4C and can let Haley & McKegg go at seasons end. Slow skater but better than what NY is icing on the 4th line currently.

    • They need a 4 c , so they should take Backes to lose either Their 2 c or Deangelo?

      • mckegg and haley gone
        Kreider salary would be split with strome & ADA and i am sure Smith will be bought out creating enough room with Backes at 50% off.
        Thought process was to leverage more from BOS in a Kreider trade.

        Not saying lol but The 4th line is terrible.

      • Back 3 million Shattenkirk jumps up 5 million……8 million total…. Haley, Mckegg and Kreider don’t total that much. Little to no chance Smith is bought out. This proposal is putrid, and no question loses one of Deangelo, Strome.

      • Backes 3 million***

  5. Kreider to the Penguins seems like a long shot because of the rivalry. I don’t see the Rags helping the Pens put another banner in the rafters. Vatanan is a right shot and they have that position covered so he’s out. I don’t see them getting a dman at all barring injury. This is the best d corps the Penguins have had in over a decade when healthy; even with the black hole as the 3LD. Guentzel replacement is a tall order. I like Toffoli, Zucker and Josh Anderson if he can get healthy and stay that way. If Jack is really bad in the playoffs they can plug Riikola in, which they should do anyways, and they will be fine.

    • Deee: I don’t see Columbus helping Pittsburgh out by trading them Anderson either. They hate the Pens as much or more than the Rangers.

    • Guentzel likely back during the playoffs.

      • Hi Speed Kills

        I’m hoping/praying; but TSN reports his earliest return would be third round (mid-late May); so Pens need to get to third round … to me, therefore would still need a top 6 winger

        First move should be for space … G-Chuck…. will likely meed to retain 50% and only get a 6th or 7th rounder back; but that alone frees up $2.45 M (annual rate)

        Then it’s just GMJR seeing what picks/prospects and/or depth forwards; needed to acquire said top 6 forward

        He (GMJR) has already alluded that he is Effectively “all in” this year

    • Hi Deee

      I’d absolutely love Anderson on Pens ; but Jarmo parting with him; to Pens…. long shot methinks

      I do not wish for Jimbo getting into a bidding war over Kreider … great player; but receiving team will be giving up tons

      Safer/more prudent move; is acquiring a top 6 winger from the next tier down…. cost should be much less and the differential in production (Kreider to whomever) shouldn’t be significant

      Zucker will also cost big in trade value (he has term) but I din’t see him as a game changer

      Re JJ and playoffs …. you know my thoughts on this … Sully and Jimbo blind to it

      However … if they insist (which you know they will) ….. must be bottom pairing ; absolutely no more than 13-14 mins per game; and 0 minutes on PK or OT

      You and I; and all Pens fans know that the team is way better with Riikola over JJ…

      and per practice today … where they had Shultz back ; paired with Ruhweedel (????) and ran JJ still at top pairing; Riikola was the “7th/outsider D-Man”…. so Sully un-phased with JJ detrimental play over the last month

      If Pens meet Isles again …. yikes …. he (JJ) individually cost two of the four last spring; and he individually caused both Isles losses in November


      • Riikola is getting a raw deal, I don’t know why Sullivan does that to certain young players. The kid can play and he plays hard. I’m not sure what the issue is.
        I think Jarmo is a pretty level headed guy and doesn’t seem to let emotion drive him. He and Anderson had contentious contract negotiations the last round and I don’t think Jarmo is looking forward to another go around. If the right package came along I think any team could get Anderson. Columbus doesn’t care about optics quite like a team from New York would.
        Ruhwedel is fine if you have to use him due to injuries but he’s barely at replacement level.
        Regarding the Islanders, last year the Islanders were faster and skated them out of the building, this year the Penguins are the fastest team in the league even with the black hole. The only team I can see beating the Pens in a 7 game series this year is Boston and it would be super close and a lot of fun to watch to be honest. A big physical player like Anderson could push the needle in the Pens favour.

  6. Good Morning, i apologize to my fellow poster who posed questions to me yesterday.

    I come on here daily in the AM then went i log out I generally don’t go back on until late night to read any additional comments. If a trade or firing happens then i find time to see what people think.

    Kal El, my preference for Boston is Tyler Toffoli up front and Brenden Dillon on D. Krieder is someone the Bruins should pursue in the offseason. I don’t think Kase move the needle and i’m not a fan bringing in Palmieri he lacks the size and physical toughness i want.

    Pengy that’s a great question on Big Buff suspension and i have not heard anything on it other then a recent comment saying that Byfuglien is still suspended. I must Tweet Ken Weibe of the Athletic see if he replies.

  7. Eric Stephens call Boston Danton Heinen a bad contract that Anaheim might be will to take.

    The first time I’ve ever heard of Heinen who has one more season at $2.8m and a rfa as a bad contract. Its not and all the reports is Sweeney and Cassidy like this player (me not so much) the rave about his hockey IQ and defensive awareness.

    Personally I’m all right with Boston moving Heinen but by no means will he be a dump, he’ll be traded for an asset maybe as part of a package.

    • So Penguins may miss playoffs but every team who wants a top winger will offer a better 1st rd pick than they will. Okay, thanks for that gem.

  8. Pens need help more than any other contender if they want to go anywhere this season. They have a sub .500 record against the Atlantic and barely .500 against the Metro. Most of their remaining games are against these teams. They better pray the goaltending keeps holding up or they cold drop out a playoff spot. Getting it right replacing Guentzel is vital. My vote is for Rakell or Zucker and would be willing to part with 1st to get them.

    • If Anaheim is going to peddle Rakell – which I seriously doubt – there will be teams lining up to offer 1st round picks a LOT higher than Pittsburgh’s – Ottawa for example who hold two, both of which could be in the Top 5.

      But that’s all academic, including opinions and arguments as to whether Rakell is worth a Top 5 pick, because there’s no way the Ducks, in the start of a re-build, are going to trade away a F of his caliber, at his age and who is on a cap-friendly $3,789,444 for two more years after this. That would be insane unless an offer came in that was overwhelming. I just don’t see picks – even high ones – as overwhelming. As many have pointed out in recent days in these threads, all picks are essentially crap-shoots – witness the results so far of the consensus # 1 and 2 picks last year (Hughes and Kappo) who aren’t exactly standing out in any way, shape or form – so far anyway.

      • @George based on last year and this years play not sure Rakell is worth that pick. To me, it seems a tad much for someone who hasn`t produced the numbers. If you`re a team that`s window is open now maybe but Ottawa might be better to wait for that deal at the draft. Last years draft doesn`t seem to be quite living up to it`s hype of quality so far. But kids develop at different speeds so it`s way too early to judge last years draft. I guess it depends on how much you trust your scouting staff. For Ottawa I don`t see the rush I`d wait till draft day to make that deal

      • I agree with Bob below, Ottawa isn’t exactly in a position that makes sense to be buying veteran forwards with top 10 picks. Rakell is rumored to be a player available for the right price. Kase is probably easier to get from ANA but history of injuries is worrisome. Pens certainly don’t need any more oft-injured players! Toffoli probably makes the most sense for the Pens but will be a popular target and as you point out, the Pens 1st pick isn’t likely to be an early round pick. Is there another “off the board” player anyone is thinking of? Evan Rodriguez? Grandlund? Fiala?

      • Oh yeah, Bob and Marko, I complete agree with your takes. Looking back I see I didn’t word that whole thing properly. What I meant to convey to your post, Marko, was that there are teams out there with higher picks in the 1st round that Pittsburgh’s will be, and that IF Anaheim was prepared to let Rakell go (which I still doubt they will for reasons stated) for such a pick, the bidding will be furious. I then ill advisably used Ottawa’s status with two picks as an example of one such team.

        But you’re both right – where they stand now in the re-build they’re slightly ahead of Anaheim in that regard so giving up one of two potential Top 5 picks is not a good idea. HOWEVER, should they – or SJ – move up a few notches in the standings before the season ends, and one those picks winds up 10th or higher, I’d consider Rakell for sure at the draft IF Anaheim shows any sign of going down that road.

        I simply don’t think they will.

      • Hi Marko

        At the right price; it just may be worth it for Pens to acquire Anthenasiou

        He has potential; and is having an awful year ; is an RFA

        If cost to acquire is reasonable …. low risk acquisition for potential high production return

      • “I look around this room and all I see is untapped potential … you have potential!”

    • Marko. I couldn’t agree more the Penguins need two forwards and one defenseman to compete.

      Guentzel isn’t coming back he is our 4 to 6 months.

      we need a top 6 forward (Palmeri or Rakell)

      another extra forward Kovalchuk to help on the power play.

      a defenseman because letang and Johnson hold your breath…

      Vatanen new jersey
      Manson Anaheim

  9. Here is my WAY off the board trade suggestion of the day.

    TO: New Jersey David Backes
    TO: Boston PK Subban

    who is doing who a favor?

    • if ya send moore to NJ also it works

      i’d do it as the new NJ GM Hextall

    • As a Bruins fan don’t know if I can deal with Subban’s on ice antics but it’s not all about me…

    • Can the Bruins afford PK at 9 million for 2 more years

    • I have thought of this same similar sort of trade. The bruins would need to start getting rid of some of their younger D and again as suggested, someone like Moore would need to go back to Jersey.

      one of my buddies is a player agent for a NJ player, and based on what he said you dot want PK on your team, so for that reason I would not make the deal.

    • Hi Caper

      Good discussion starter on a thinking outside the box trade proposal

      Setting aside player personalties….

      first of all for Bruins … NJ would need to retain 33%

      That puts no change in Cap the balance of this year and next ; for either team

      Overall on the full term of both contracts ; under that trade……. NJ saves closing in on $6M in cash

      Bruins are a rich franchise …. Cap way more important than actual $Cash

      So …. no Cap diff this year and next …. PK vs Backes …. I’d think advantage Bruins …. Backes is not playing; and WAS used this year sparingly…. so adding PK (even if used as bottom pairing); is better than either not using (or very sparingly using) Backes

      NJ is not a contender this year or next; saves close to $6M in cash; and has to weigh that with the $3M dead cap 2 years from now

      The above for Boston is pluses for sure IMHO until year 3 (‘21-‘22) for having PK

      Then (‘21-‘22) at $6M cap…. if he’s at this year’s level … that’s a big negative for Bruins

      If he’s as good then as he was a couple Of years ago 16-43-59 in 82 GP…. that’s a big bonus for Bruins at $6M Cap

      Me thinks his performance ; on the much better Bruins team; in 2 years; will be somewhere between the ‘17/‘18 PK and the ‘’19/‘20 PK

      It’s where in between those two posts; that Sweeney would perceive PK being; that would tilt the decision on this proposed trade

  10. And the Bruins are going to have to give something up to get rid of Bakis. Teams sign bad contracts, and need to give something up to get rid of them, not entirely sure why this is surprising.

  11. How about that gmjr interview yesterday where he said “jack has been great for us this year”.

    • As a member of the medical profession you should know better than to induce a heart attack with a seemingly innocent comment? \

      Pengy – sloooow deeeep breaths – and chew an aspirin.

      • Induction of a myocardial infarction can sometimes cure delirium.

    • What you are missing, Chrisms, is that JR was referring to his role as the hotel coffee go-fer on road trips. His bagels still need work though…

      • Augustus

        Nice one 👍👍👍👍

        You bring a smile to my face even with this JJ cloud over the Penguins heads

        Oh it were only true

      • Wonder how bad they were last year if he’s apparently gone from good to great

    • Hi Chrisms and George

      Saw it an cringed but stayed conscious and no heart attack

      I posted (responded to Speed Kills ) on it yesterday:

      “Making comments like that publicly means at least one of (probably all of)are true:

      1. He’s on crack and has already polished off a bottle of Glenlivet
      2. His Ego won’t allow him to say otherwise (as he brought JJ into the org)
      3. He’s actually not watched game tapes
      4. He’s a liar”

      Oh Jimbo …. 😡😢☹️

    • This organization is blind to this guy…yes he has played better be he is a 3rd pairing d at best….

  12. Would Winnipeg take Backes plus a prospect for Byfuglien.
    Both have one year left. Byfuglien is suspended without pay I’m not sure if they want him back when he’s healthy.

    • Dave, could they actually deal a player in his situation? Maybe Lyle can clarify if there’s anything in the rules prohibiting the trade of a suspended-without-pay player.

      • George all they would have to do is unsuspend him if worst comes to worst. So why not, but I can`t see Winnipeg trading him if healthy for Backes and a prospect. A healthy Byfuglien would fetch more than that offer. A healthy Dustin is still productive.

    • How about a healthy Byfuglien for Backes & Moore …. is it enough not enough

      • Wow does the NHL get records on how fast a GM hangs up the phone? If they do Winnipeg may break it on this one. A healthy Byfuglien I think would be worth a whole more than 9 million worth of deadwood. You may want to throw in a few sweeteners on that offer and I`m not a Jets fan

    • Winnipeg is going to have to move someone if Buff comes back to get under the cap. So this wouldn’t work.

  13. So what kind of sweetener would the Bruins have to toss in to have Detroit take Backes straight up, no salary retained? What comes back?

    • Would it be like Marleau? A first maybe

      • BBB i hope not.

        Off to watch the Bruins and Jets tonight.

        For Chrism

        Boston line combo

        Coyle centering Debrusk and Bjork 2nd line
        Krejci centering Heinen and Kuhlman 3rd line

      • 😒

  14. Don’t know how much of a pot sweetener you need for a soon to be 35 year old ( Byfuglien) who played 42 games in 18-19 season and 0 games in 19-20 season thus far …..

    • Leafs only have one bad contract in ceci that they had to take back to get rid of a worse contract in dubas. Ceci can be pushed to Anaheim with a 4th and a 7th which ana traded away. Dubas has did a great job cleaning up Lou’s bad contracts while not losing anyone of significanxe

      • I wouldn`t say that Dubas did a great job cleaning up after Lou. He could`ve traded Marleau for a contract that he could`ve bought out saving the first. He could`ve made life easier by not overpaying everyone. You have to remember when they signed Marleau they weren`t planning on signing Tavaras. So Lou`s mistake only became a real problem after Dubas signed Tavaras. So Toronto actually gave up a 1st to sign Tavaras which really isn`t terrible

    • Come on I notice that you forgot to mention that in the games Dustin did play in in the 18-19 season he was one of the better defencman in the NHL during the regular season 31pts +4 in those games. Not to mention 2-6-8 points+4 in 6 payoff games playing hurt. If I`m the jets GM I`m asking for the moon for sweeteners because that`ll be what it takes to get me to take Backes and Moore. How about McAvoy and a 1st for the sweeteners just to be as silly

      • True that Bob, if he passes a physical and is game shape, he ain’t gonna be cheap.
        This won’t happen as the Bruins need him, but the cost would be something like Krecji as the principal.