NHL Rumor Mill – February 13, 2020

by | Feb 13, 2020 | Rumors | 57 comments

Updates on Kyle Connor and Rasmus Ristolainen, plus the latest on the Devils, Panthers, Oilers, Ducks, and Predators in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman followed up on the recent rumor suggesting the Colorado Avalanche were interest in Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor. The speculation had the Avs offering up defense prospect Bowen Byram as part of the return. Friedman claimed he’d heard it was Connor for Byram and Vladislav Kamenev, but he received multiple denials when he looked into it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater reported the Avs scouted the recent Rangers-Jets game. He thinks they need to find a suitable replacement for sidelined center Nazem Kadri. Connor, however, isn’t a center. Neither is Chris Kreider, who could be shopped if the Blueshirts fail to re-sign him before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

As I said before, Byram has the potential to become a top-pairing NHL defenseman, but he’s yet to play a single game in the big league. The Jets need immediate blueline help. If they’re thinking about moving Connor (and I don’t believe they are), it would have to be for an established No.1 d-man.


THE BUFFALO NEWS: Travis Yost believes the Sabres should trade Rasmus Ristolainen before it’s too late. The 25-year-old defenseman has attractive individual skills, but Yost indicates the Sabres have been out-scored and out-chanced whenever he’s on the ice.

Should the Buffalo Sabres move Rasmus Ristolainen at the trade deadline? (Photo via NHL Images)

Nevertheless, he considers Ristolainen’s contract friendly enough to teams around the league that believed the blueliner’s circumstances are largely out of his control. He’s signed through 2021-22 with an annual salary-cap hit of $5.4 million. “It’s not working in Buffalo, and getting assets for a player who is having no impact on your team’s performance is always worth consideration,” writes Yost.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ristolainen was a frequent topic of conjecture last summer after it was revealed he requested a trade at the end of last season. He reportedly changed his mind, but one wonders how much more losing he can tolerate. His lack of no-trade protection gives Sabres management plenty of potential trade partners.

A Ristolainen deal, however, might have to wait until the summer. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, however, suggests the Sabres are more likely to deal players like Michael Frolik, Johan Larsson, Evan Rodrigues, and Conor Sheary. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Florida Panthers have explored the trade market for Mike Matheson and he believes there are teams interested in the 25-year-old defenseman. However, his contract complicates things.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson have an affordable $4.875-million AAV, but it runs through 2025-26. As Friedman points out, his actual salary steadily rises to $6.5 million per season in the final years of the deal. Any attempt to move him would probably have to take place in the off-season.

The Edmonton Oilers have been uninterested in moving their first-round pick, RFA winger Jesse Puljujarvi, or any of the top defense prospects for a rental player. Friedman doesn’t see that changing with captain Connor McDavid sidelined.

Friedman doubts the Anaheim Ducks are keen to move key pieces like Josh Manson, Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Jakob Silfverberg, and Rickard Rakell. Instead, he sees Ondrej Kase and Derek Grant as possibilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see why Ducks GM Bob Murray doesn’t want to part with those core players. Depending on what moves he makes between now and the start of next season, as well as the performance of young players like Max Jones, Troy Terry, and Sam Steel, the Ducks could be more competitive in 2020-21.

The Nashville Predators are going to have to decide if they’ll retain or trade pending UFA winger Mikael Granlund.


NJ.COM: Chris Ryan believes Sami Vatanen is most likely to be moved by the trade deadline. The pending UFA is among the top trade options in the market, which could drive up his value as the deadline approaches. They could also move pending UFAs Andy Greene or Wayne Simmonds, but Ryan suggests they could also retain them.

It would take substantial offers to pry away Kyle Palmieri, Blake Coleman or Nikita Gusev. The biggest obstacle to moving defenseman P.K. Subban is his $9-million AAV. Ryan believes Nico Hischier, Travis Zajac, Jack Hughes, and Mackenzie Blackwood aren’t going anywhere.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Devils seek “hockey trades” that will fetch young players to grow with Hischier and Hughes.


  1. Connor would take a lot more than that. IF the Jets were to even consider moving him it would take a Byram like prospect a first and a 3-4 defence-man. And that would be a maybe .
    Just look what Zucker took to land. I think Wpg will look to a Scandella or Bogosian type rearguard.

    • Good morning


      I would be SHOCKED if the jets were to trade Connor …I really think this would be a terrible play by Chevy ..it would literally have to be for a stud top 2 D man IMO …as Lyle says with a track record ..and NHL appearances.

      I know this may sound crazy weird ..but I look at moving Laine before Connor ..return may be better as well…and you wont be giving a up a 2 way player that hits 30 plus every year …IMO.


      I am all in on a Risto deal if I am the Leafs …Johnson or Kappy going the other way I have no issues with that …in the right atmosphere I see Risto as a Parayko 2.0 …if given the best chance to play to full potential in a proper setting !


      As I ve been stating for the past 2 months now …
      This Gusev kid is an ELITE passer …awesome PP player ..I ve spent time watching the Devils play on the Center Ice…he is a supper play maker that has gone way under the radar …He would look amazing on the wing with talent such as Mc David …Barkov …or in an AVs uni …in the top 6

      • @ Eddie van impe

        Kudos on the Maurice situation…he pretty much lost his top 2 D men (* Buff / Troubs ) and all most his entire top 6 D pairings at one point !

        What they have done as a collective has been pretty impressive ..Helly got off to a very shaky start this year as well…which did not help at the on set ..but has been lights out as of late and that seems to have put some positives back into team play !

        They still do need some help on that back end going into a playoff run though ..they cant let that go on if they want to make serious push !

        Martinez may be the calming effect they really need ..plus a Cup ring in the room makes a big difference !

      • Hi Kal El

        With save for 1 exception

        Parayko 2.0 is not Risto; it is Carson Soucy (my new bromance has begun)

        I’ve been watching his rise all season

        Size; speed; poise; late bloomer just like Parayko was. Soucy is 25 but a rookie this year (had only played 3 games before this year)

        If Brodin or Dumba are moved; Soucy will jump to top 4

        Agree re Gusev ….. what’s the ask?

        Are Knights kicking themselves for not keeping him and/or only getting a 2nd & 3rd for him??

      • “With save for 1 exception”

        should be

        “With you, save for….”

      • @ PENGY

        Thanks for the INFO on Soucy …

        Really not familiar with the player or knew he existed ….LOL…I will pay more attention to the player moving forward …interested now !

        Thx Pengy

        …BUT… I still would like Risto ..lol..


      • agreed that it is unlikely Connor will be moved. He is delivering the goods and is on a very reasonable long term contract.

        6 months ago I would have agreed regarding trading Laine first as he had glaring deficiencies in his game. I was not convinced that he had the character to make himself better. He has shown enough growth this year to become valuable again. He still needs to figure out how to win a puck battle and too often stickhandles himself into trouble. He is 21yo, I wouldn’t trade him to a conference rival.

      • Kal El, don’t think it’s crazy at all if Jets were to move Laine. As you said, his name recognition would certainly bring the biggest return. Someone like Brent Burns to fill the void left by Byfuglien.

    • Chevy has always been conservative in trades. There is absolutely zero chance he will trade a quality player that can move up and down his line up for a Quality prospect that has yet to prove he can play in this league. Zero chance.

      It’s more likely a band aid solution or nothing at all is done this season. The Jets simply this season off and work this summer when all teams have more flexibility to shore up their back end.

      Ristolainen is one I think that may be able to find his way to Winnipeg.

      • *simply right this season off

    • *Stiffles laughter @ Silver Seven

  2. To WPG:
    1. Brady Skjei
    2. TDA
    3. Buchenvic

    To NYR:
    2.2nd rd pick

  3. He reportedly changed his mind, but one wonders how much more losing he can tolerate.

    It’s only fair, the Sabres are tolerating his ineptness as a defenseman …

    If I own the Sabres I’m not too sure I want Jason Botterill making these decisions … I stand pat, fire him and bring in someone else … if they were going to poach from the Pens they picked the wrong guy … Guerin was the choice.

    And I’m not sure I want Ken Holland making any major moves with McDavid out … giving the Pens John Marino for nothing isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of his evaluation skills …

    Nice to see Maurice getting an extension .. what he has squeezed out of that defensive corps he was handed is nothing short of a miracle … same goes for Gabby in Minny … the goalie play they have gotten this season has been horrible

    • Whoof – I’d completely forgotten that Pittsburgh got Marino last July from Edmonton for a 6th Round pick this year! With the way things are turning out that could go into the books as a fleecing – unless that 6th rounder turns out to be another Zetterberg (actually a 7th rounder). And what are the odds on that?.

    • The Oilers were going to lose Marino for nothing as he wasn’t going to sign in Edmonton. The fact that all they got in return was a 6th rounder shows that the rest of the GM’s lacked the same evaluation skills.

      • With the way things are shaping up they might lose Puljujarvi for nothing. I don’t think he’s their “property” forever and at some point he could become a UFA. Can you shed some light on that Lyle?

      • I believe George as long as Edmonton keeps qualifying him they can hang onto his rights until he`s a Ufa at 27. Pretty much everyone agrees unless the Oilers trade him soon his value will keep going down

      • Thanks Bob. If that’s the case, as I said the other day the kid needs to swallow his pride, get his butt over to North America, and show Holland he’s worth another shot by playing well at the AHL level. Otherwise he’s history. You don’t get better at all aspects of the game playing until you’re 27 in a glorified ECHL in Europe.

    • Well said Ed…Botterill is in over his head. I understand he came in to some untradeable contracts but he has gotten didley back in his trades. He was supposed to be a cap guru and what does he do trades Scandella for a 4th and then takes that 4th to acquire Frolik and add 300k to the cap. That 4th might not be much but it is better than having Frolik on the team. There’s nothing saying he can flip Frolik or for that matter any of the other expiring contracts at the TDL. He’s done absolutely nothing to improve this team in his time here and it all starts with the garbage he took back for ROR. That trade alone should cost him his job.

      • Agreed. The ROR trade put St. Louis over the top for the cup last year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they win it again this year.

    • Wasn’t Marino a 6th round pick himself?

      I think it’s a bit early to call Marino any type of fleecing. Guys like Gost and Skjei had huge drop offs following stellar rookie showings.

      At 22 years old, 6th round pick, he still has “we’ll see” written all over.

      • Not saying it’s a fleecing yet – just that, with the way Marino has developed – and depending on what Holland gets with that 6th round pick – some years down the line (IF that pick doesn’t pan out) we could be calling it a fleecing then.

      • His game is showing little flaw. I worry he hits the college wall with fatigue but most non superstar rookies make me nervous. He doesn’t.

  4. if Sakic needs a replacement for Kadri

    to COL: ADA & Strome & Lias Andersson
    to NYR: Byram and another prospect

    Rangers can now resign Kreider
    Fox moves to 2nd pairing then throw Smith back on D for his and Staal’s final season.

    Cytil to 2c with Bread & Buch
    Kakko to line 1 with Zib & kreider
    Kratsov to line 3 with Fast & Howden
    Lemuiex line 4 with whomever

    • ihatecrosby

      I think the Avs pick up Drouin…when all is said and done by Feb 24th

      Player comes with contract and term and fits in with just needing to be a play maker and a finisher …he will be about 6 on the depth chart of importance and thats where he maybe better suited and flourish !…it seems as if it has been a lot of talk here in the rumour mill about him going to the Avs so where there is smoke there is fire …but I think it is really up to the Habs and more so they are willing to do this now more than they were before !…IMO

      • I could see Drouin as an option too

        Sakic has certainly built himself some good cap space for his young roster.

      • Boy, if they got Drouin and he and MacKinnon could re-ignite that magic they had with the Halifax Mooseheads … look out.

    • I’d be shocked if Colorado gave up Byram for that package. Lias Andersson has no value and they don’t need ADA and his upcoming contract negotiation when they already have Makar and Girard. Note that they just dumped Tyson Barrie who is a similar defenseman.

      Strome would likely be of interest, but they obviously wouldn’t give up Byram for a pending UFA. Pageau is a perfect fit for Colorado right now and I’d be pleasantly surprised if Ottawa got a late first or a top prospect for him. Pageau will likely get a similar return to Dzingel last year (two 2nd’s and a contract coming back – likely not as good as Duclair has turned out to be).

      • AVs …

        Here is all the money coming off the books next year in Colorado ….from buy outs …plus they have another $6 million in cap space …

        Tyson Barrie D

        Colin Wilson C

        Brooks Orpik D

        They can pick up any player / players they want …and thsi is a year they should …

        If they go out and get Pageau I think Anderson comes in that package as well…and the Sens will be getting a nice return ROI

    • Does Chytl even remotely look like a player ready to take on #2 center role?

      Yikers! Another swing and miss proposal!

      But perfect trade of NY would like to take a few steps backwards in the rebuild process.

  5. You and I are on the same page there Kal El – I made a similar point a few weeks back regarding the cap space Sakic has to play with. Since then, of course, he’s lost Kadri long term and so that will now play into whatever moves he makes – unless there’s someone in the organization ready to step up and take that spot for now.

    I could see Pageau going there – Anderson I’m not too certain about – his stats haven’t been good lately (but then, whose has?)

    • George, Pageau should be a good fit with the Avs. When Kadri returns, they have three excellent centres.

  6. Winnipeg isn’t moving Connor and if they did it wouldn’t be for a prospect. Top pairing dman if moved and who is doing that?

    I would almost do it from a Boston perspective but Boston doesn’t have a replacement on dman

    • Minny has Spurgeon (before his NTC kicks in) and Dumba plus a Donato to entice the move

      Minny has the pieces to make the offer.

      Both teams may make the best partners for a move.

      • I think the Jets would make that move but they`d have to clear some more cap space so Perreault or another contract may have to go in the deal

      • so ya are thinking

        to MIN: Connor & Perrault

        to WPG: Spurgeon & Donato


      • Yeah something it that neighbourhood, maybe a couple of small pieces back and forth just to give that mystery of who got the better of the deal

      • Dumba I wouldn`t trade Conner for him. He`s too much like Barrie in my opinion. I`m hoping Toronto stays away from him too unless you`re getting him dirt cheap.

  7. My Bruins wish list ….make it happen Sweeney

    Palmieri or J Anderson
    Ross The Boss

    • How about: Ondrej Kase Nicolas Deslauriers and Eric Gudbranson for David Backes, Danton Heinen, John Moore and 2nd?
      Frees up $ to peruse Toffoli if need be.

      • As a Leafs fan seeing those guys on the Bruins would kinda suck

      • You know what broken record comment I’d normally slide right here.

      • Yes, NYR4life.
        These trades just don’t happen anymore.
        I’m well aware, but stranger things have happened and it’s a more realistic offer than about 95% of those bandied about these boards as of late.

        Lighten up, bud.

      • I’m really not in need of lightening up. I like to live in reality, that hardly makes me a party pooper……And I wholeheartedly agree, there are a lot of bad trade proposals here…. where we differ… I don’t add to them. Lmao.

        Stranger things have happened, sure, certainly not in the cap era. So we may as well discuss flying pigs.

      • And more realistic than 95^? Lol. Salary dump, salary dump and player we’ve given up on (Heinen) for…..

        Looks right on par with the 95%ers

      • Shore throw in another pick

        long term frees significant cap for ANA on your proposal. They also get another Dman they apparently are seeking.

        can then trade DelZotto to VGS to meet VGS needs of adding another low cost Dman

        Moore have the ability to play the right side?

      • another way to clear cap is to take Kesler & Gudbranson for Backes & Moore

        and keep Kesler on LTIR

        then do a separate trade of prospect Studnicka for Kase

      • I still think it’s a fair offer. Maybe 2 picks like Crosby Hater noted.
        Benefits both clubs.
        Anaheim is open for business and willing to take on $.
        Heinen hasn’t been given up on. Other guys need reps. Bruce platoons the bottom 4 skaters.
        What exactly is the deal breaker in your opinion?

      • Honestly I can’t really get by the multi player, multi salaried player aspect. These type of deals just don’t happen.

        Beyond that, I think it would take a MUCH better sweetener than Heinen. And I think anyone that’s been here for a while knows my opinion of John Moore.

        One of the only players I’ve lobbied to oust in NY. I wouldn’t say to the point of Pengy/JJ…. but nobody was happier than me to see him out of NY. And that’s when he made nothing with no term.

        I don’t see an out for Boston / Backes. Certainly not one that isn’t very costly. Maybe next years deadline. But I don’t see any team willing to take him on without a guy wrenching cost this year.

        I’d love to see Staal, Smith and Lundqvist bounced for cap space, but I think these type of deals are truly becoming almost impossible to move.

      • @ihatecrosby, yes Moore can”play” the right side.

        Studnika is off limits.
        We got him as compensation for the Oil signing Chia.
        That and the fact that he’s pretty awesome makes him too valuable to move.

      • Mike rupp?

        Dave bolland?

      • Haha. Chrism I’d take both!

      • @ NYR4life.
        Yeah, I suppose that could be considered to be fair.
        I hope you’re just as fun over at the flying pigs site.

  8. Lol. Yes, I feel the same way about Moore and I remember your disdain.
    My hope has always been that he’s expansion draft fodder.
    I’m hoping Murray doesn’t feel the same way.
    Bad contracts have a way of getting moved.

    • They do. I think Moore is a player that can be moved. I don’t think it’s impossible to move Backes, but it’s highly unlikely this year.

      I think teams are a little too cautious because of Rfas demands these days. Backes has one year left, maybe they find a team to bite. I doubt without retention and a very nice sweetener.

      I think the days of moving a Albatross contract with term are near extinct. Unless they bring a turd 💩 contract back.

  9. Edmonton @ Tampa Bay tonight
    TB -$185 …..
    TB should move to within 1pt of the Bruins again tonight

  10. Strome and Gorgiev for Shane Bowers and a 3rd