NHL Rumor Mill – February 21, 2020

by | Feb 21, 2020 | Rumors | 80 comments

Are the Bruins targeting Brandon Saad? Could the Leafs trade Tyson Barrie? Could the Senators re-sign Jean-Gabriel Pageau? Are the Canadiens eyeing Ryan Graves? All this and much more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider and New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri are the two biggest names available for the Boston Bruins if they wish to add a top-six winger. However, the high asking prices for either guy could force them to consider other targets. He cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad as an option.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe McDonald and Scott Powers cite sources claiming the Bruins are considering making a pitch for Saad. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney would have to get creative to pull it off. Powers believes the Blackhawks would want at least a first-round pick as part of the return.

Could the Boston Bruins make a pitch for Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers reportedly seek a first-round pick, a prospect, and something else for Kreider. Landing Palmieri or Saad, who are signed beyond this season, could cost as much or more. Acquiring a quality top-six winger won’t be cheap. If Sweeney is willing to pay the price, it should be for a player with term on his contract, rather than a rental player.


TSN: Bob McKenzie reports several teams reached out to the Toronto Maple Leafs regarding Tyson Barrie after several trades involving defensemen went down earlier this week. The Leafs would consider moving Barrie under the right circumstances. Either a club offers a blueliner in a player-for-player swap, or picks and prospects that the Leafs can flip to another club for a right-shot rearguard.

The Vancouver Canucks are among the interested parties. McKenzie said there’s lots of talk out of Vancouver suggesting Troy Stecher could be available, but it remains to be seen if he’d be part of any deal involving the Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie hasn’t worked out with the Leafs, but some rival GMs could gamble on him regaining his form away from the harsh Toronto spotlight. The Canucks have over $7 million in projected trade-deadline cap space, giving them room to pick up Barrie’s $2.75-million cap hit.


TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie wondered if Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic might be interested in Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin, reuniting him with former Halifax Mooseheads linemate Nathan MacKinnon. He suggested Avs young center Tyson Jost could be available.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Montreal Canadiens are having talks with Ilya Kovalchuk’s agent while weighing trade offers for the 36-year-old winger. A contract extension would be a bonus-laden, one-year deal. It’s also possible he could sign that contract as a UFA with the Canadiens.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW’s Adrian Dater said he’s heard the Canadiens are pursuing Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes are interested in Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry. However, a source told LeBrun there’s 95 percent chance the Habs won’t move Petry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic needs an affordable, short-term replacement for sidelined winger Mikko Rantanen, not a struggling winger with an expensive long-term deal. Drouin carries a $5.5-million AAV through 2022-23. It’s not surprising the Habs would have interest in Graves, but I think the Avs would be reluctant to part with him.

As for Petry, I think Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin will have to be blown away by an incredible offer. If, say, the Avs offered up Graves in a package offer, that might get it done.


CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports it’s no secret Flames GM Brad Treliving wants to add a scoring forward. Those on his radar could include New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri, Florida’s Mike Hoffman, and Vincent Trocheck, Columbus’ Josh Anderson or Montreal’s Max Domi. He could also seek an affordable depth addition on defense, though Gilbertson wonders if he’ll try to pry Matt Dumba away from the Minnesota Wild.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes the Oilers limited salary-cap room will hamper their efforts to bolster their roster at the trade deadline. GM Ken Holland said he’s not shopping RFA winger Jesse Puljujarvi and no one’s asking about him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving made a failed attempt to acquire Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild at last year’s deadline. With just over $2.33 million in projected deadline cap room, he could be stuck in the bargain bin unless he parts with a quality player in a dollar-for-dollar swap.

Holland’s Oilers are up against the cap, leaving him no wiggle room. If he makes a move, it’ll be dollar-in, dollar-out.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports contract talks have started in recent days between the Ottawa Senators and pending UFA center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The two sides have exchanged numbers, but LeBrun doesn’t know how close they are. The Philadelphia Flyers could be interested if the Sens fail to re-sign Pageau before the Feb. 24 trade deadline, though they won’t part with a first-round pick. The Senators could also hang onto Pageau if they don’t receive any offers to their liking and try again to re-sign him before July 1.

Darren Dreger reports the Senators scratched center Vladislav Namestnikov from last night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets. That suggests Namestnikov is close to being traded. GM Pierre Dorion has received offers from the Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Pierre LeBrun, meanwhile, suggests Tyler Ennis could interest a club like the Edmonton Oilers looking for affordable depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Namestnikov is on his way out, perhaps as soon as today. It’ll be interesting to see if he heads to one of those four clubs or if someone else outbids them.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Vancouver Canucks interest in New Jersey Devils winger Wayne Simmonds has been hampered by their limited salary-cap room. The potential return of winger Brock Boeser by the end of this season complicates efforts to acquire Simmonds.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have to consider more affordable options to replace sidelined power forward Micheal Ferland. They’re also reportedly in the market for Tyson Barrie, who’d been much more affordable than Simmonds and his $5 million cap hit.


THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski lists Conor Sheary, Jimmy Vesey, and Zemgus Girgensons as the most likely Sabres to be dealt at the trade deadline. Among the least likely is defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Lysowski feels the acquisition cost could be astronomical, advocating he shouldn’t be moved unless it’s for a top-six forward.


  1. Kudos to the Maple Loaves last night on dominating my Pens … a thorough beat down …

    Vegas started SIX left handed d-men last night, DeBoar actually watches hockey and realizes that Deryk Englland is a joke back there thus … maybe Barrie to Vegas ? he clearly hasn’t worked out so far and maybe it’s time to admit it before the deadline …

    • True that, but Pittsburgh won 2 of 3 !!!

  2. Good morning


    I think the better fit for the Bruins both now and next year is Palmieri…this guys is just as dangerous as Krieder when push comes to shove or comparing apples to apples …if your going to give up the assets and for my money being able to have Palmieri for a few years hes your guy if your the Bruins …he will give you what Krieder does just the same …IMO


    Over the past 2 years I ve been hoping that the Leafs would do a deal involving 2 players …Alex Tuch and or Brayden McNabb ..
    if anyone reads my posts ..you will know the begging Ive done …LOL …

    Well it looks as with the Martinez trade the Knights have serious cap issues ..to about to the tune of $ 4million ….so Id really like if the Leafs can make a play for McNabb first …as this is a more important need …if Leafs can use a Barrie trade to get the pieces needed ..I would really like to target this guy …I hear that Vega sis after Gustfason on the Hawks so maybe something can be done in a 3 way …here !
    Vegas needs to shed some salary on the back end at some point here and that may be a piece now they can think of moving !

    Leafs really need to move on from Barrie and use this in a multi player deal to upgrade and upSIZE the back end !

    If the Leafs trade Barrie for Julolevi ..I WILL HIT THE ROOF ! …I can see this as something Dubas would do as he thinks he is sooooo smart and sees the game as a more SKILLED game than size game …ARGGGGGG could not be more wrong.


    I think Petry could be a steal for some team ..to bad this guy got ran out of Edmonton ..this is a player they really could have used over the years instead of a Larsson …If a team trades for this guy they will be getting a SOLID top 3 D man who can put the odd points up for you to ..if you want him to just sit back and play soft hard and shut won he can do that too…simple game he plays !
    Habs should look to grab some good assets on him while he has great market value …IMO
    Not sure it will get any higher !


    • Bruins: I agree Palmieri will be a better fit on the second line and may cost a little less than Kreider. I also still think they need a “thumper” D-man.

      • The non rental top 6 will cost less than the rental top 6? Huh.

    • Kal EL no thanks on Palmieri, offensively yes they’re the same, speed no, size no, Kreider is the better player.

      If Boston isn’t left with much of a choice then go ahead and get Palmieri but he isn’t my first, second or third choice. I want a player with size, speed and scoring and can play with an edge.

  3. Tons of content again today, everyone!

    No Brandon Saad for this guy.

    Thanks Lyle!

  4. Kovalchuk looks like a different player in the Habs system from his LA games I watched. Columbus could use a creative player…. He might not get enough ice time with the other contenders and revert back

    Namestnikov to Oilers?

    • He’s definitely going somewhere – could be Edmonton – lol, perhaps for Puljujarvi 🙂

      • Namestnikov, that is

    • ds, he has already reverted back.
      0 pts in his last 6. Heard that on the radio on my way into work this AM.
      If Kovy isn’t scoring what is he doing?
      I would pass.
      He is now producing at roughly the same rate in MTL as he did in LA. Only slightly better.

      • @ray
        he looked good last night outside of zero points but i see he is like -5 in the last week too

    • I think Kovalchuk for Puljarvi rights would be a good trade for both teams

  5. Why would the Avs want to make an offer for Petry?
    I thought you were going to provide a possible offer from the Canes?

  6. If Buffalo wants a top 6 for Risto

    could or would TML consider Nylander and then move Barrie for upfront depth?
    Buffalo can add in Grigor to offset cap

    Would solve both teams immediate and long term needs

    • Not sure if that’s a great move for the leafs. Buffalo also shipped out alex nylander for peanuts. I doubt they’d have interest in his brother. Risto could be expensive to resign as well.

      • @ Mikey J

        If you dont look to pay for good personal

        Then you deserve what you get !

        Lack luster play by players such as Ceci for only 1 million less….uggggg !

        Deal with Risto contract when it comes up ..the best D man available IMO for the needs right now !

        If you need to flip the player due to poor contract negotiations ..Iam pretty sure you can recoup your loss in a deal for that quality of a player ! IMO

        Worth the risk..those guys dont grow on trees!

      • Henri Jokiharju is an outstanding defensemen for Buffalo at age 20. Nylander was a terrible player, soft, no effort, couldn’t score in AHL

      • Buffalo shipped out Nylander for peanuts?? Have you seen Jokiharju play at all this year? At this point in time the Sabres ripped Chicago off.

    • @ i love crosby

      lve your mentality here ..I hear that Buffalo may be looking for a new GM ….please apply within !


      • @Kal El

        I will accept the position if analytics George O is my assistant GM to keep my head from getting too far into the clouds.

      • I want term!

      • 10 yr contract George. Win 1 cup and retire

  7. Fitz is not trading Palmieri unless a beautiful deal comes in – kinda like what the Rangers are looking for. So why would you not want the extra year and take Palms while giving up the same package? I just do not see a Boston first rounder (perhaps #31 after trade) as being too enticing, so I rule them out for Palms.

    • Agree Kevin, it would need to include a decent prospect as well as a 1st.
      The B’s have a few, no sure fire stars, but some that should be good NHL players. Vaak, Frederic, Studnika come to mind.
      Of those I can see Boston being most willing to part with Frederic.

      • Hello Ray,
        Thanks for the feedback! With Hischer, Hughes and Zacha down the middle I do not see Fitz targeting a Center. More D help and a Right wing need.

    • For me Kevin, Palmieri doesn’t move the needle enough for what Boston needs. Nice player yes, can help yes, improvement yes but i don’t think he alone can put the Bruins over the top, really not sure if there is just one player available that could. Well one but i don’t know if he is healthy or wants to play hockey anymore.

      Side not, the 3 centers you mentioned do you think one might have to move to the wing? If all 3 develop wouldn’t be enough ice time or cap $$ to have that paid out to 3 c’s and whom do you think will move to the wing?

      • Hello Caper,
        I hope Palms doesn’t go. I think all three would be fine down the middle, unless Devs draft a better one. Zacha on third line would be nice depth. Hischer developing nicely, and Hughes a work in progress. As mentioned, this team needs defensive help and right wing help.

  8. 3 days away from trade deadline I was curious to see a comparison of the records for 7 of the 8 teams that have made head coaching changes (didn’t bother with Minnesota since they’ve only played 2 since Boudreau was fired, going 1 and 1)

    Gallant 24-19- 6 .551
    DeBoer 8-3-2 .692

    Montgomery 17-11-3 .598
    Bowness 18-8-3 .,672

    Babcock 9-10-4 .478
    Keefe 23-12-4 .641

    Peters 12-12-4 .500
    Ward 19-12-2 .606

    Laviolette 19-15-7 .549
    Hynes 10-8-0 .556

    New Jersey
    Hynes 9-13-4 .423
    Nasreddine 14-14-6 .500

    San Jose
    DeBoer 15-16-2 .485
    Boughner 11-14-2 .444

    • These stats are good work and interesting but the new coaches come in at a time when the team has gotten a rocket from management, and the drive for playoff positions increases.

      Perhaps the end of the season, playoffs done, is more revealing?

    • George you made a mistake in Toronto’s case it should be
      Babcock 9-10-4 .478
      Inmates 23-12-4 .641
      The spoiled brats are running the show right now Keefe just does what he’s told. The ultimate yes man they say

      • Bob, if they can play the same sort of disciplined game over the next 3 or 4 in a row – don’t have to be wins – then it’ll be a sign that they’ve bought into Keefe’s new “message.” Certainly, after the way they played for 3 periods last night they can no longer use injuries as a crutch for poor play.

        LJ, I’ll re-do them at season’s end, including Minnesota.

      • Nah George that’s like getting mad at the wife for not listening to what you say. She’ll start listening for awhile then it goes back to the same old after a while. It’s like lip service, it’ll take a good 20 games before I’ll believe these guys have turned the corner and are ready for the real world

  9. The Leafs are not likely to trade Nylander to a division rival.
    Rarely does it ever work to try to convert a D-man to forward. Barrie to RW would not replace Nylander’s skills.
    Now, if you think Kapanen is a capable #2RW then you could consider trading Nylander for a top 4 RHD and move Kapanen up to the 2nd line.
    I’d love to see Ristolainen on the Leafs blue line.

    At 2.75M cap hit Barrie is a very attractive rental. He’s not going to sign with the Leafs in the summer so should be traded. He should be able to bring back a 1st round pick and prospect. He could also be used in a package to bring back a D with term.

    • Daryl, you could have shortened your post:
      “The Leafs are not likely to trade Nylander.”
      End full stop.

      • Why do people think the Leafs would trade Nylander, a consistent 60pt player, is a top line player for under $7m? I would rather have him at $1.4m more than say Drouin, a soft small mostly ineffective 3rd liner for 3 more years! Yikes what a bad contract that is. Good GM that MB is.

      • @Ron

        I merely suggested Nylander bc I see him as more likely than Marner or Matthews to be heading out of town to shore up their D. IF a player were to be moved for a top 4.

        That is all.

    • I don’t think Barrie gets you a first round pick, much less that plus a prospect, and not even a second round pick. More likely a 4th. Let’s face it, he can’t defend. If he could, the Leaf’s wouldn’t want to trade him, and the need for another defenseman wouldn’t be there either.

      • Wendell17Higgins will strongly disagree. In his view if Barrie is dealt it will bring back a first round pick. I would be curious to see which GM would go down that road because at that moment he becomes a prime candidate for dismissal.

  10. A late comment in regards to all the Dustin Byfuglien talk yesterday.

    Truth be known no one know very much about Big Buff condition and what kind of shape he is in.

    If he is in shape and can play, you better bet he can be a difference maker.

    The comment yesterday about his best years being long gone. I suggest you haven’t watched Buff the last two seasons or his playoff performance as he was Winnipeg best and most dominant player when he wanted to be.

    Blake Wheeler comments, when it came out that the Jets were looking at terminating Byfuglien contract, shed some life on behind the scene.

    Wheeler mention he and Buff had a conversation where Byfuglien told him his heart wasn’t in it anymore and Wheeler told him to make the decision that was right for him. Obviously that isn’t a direct quote but the most of what i remember.

    Chevy doesn’t want to terminate Byfuglien contract before the trade deadline for one simple reason. He doesn’t want a team he could potentially play in the first round of the playoff signing Byfuglien for peanuts then playing against the Jets in the 1st round. Better off seeing if someone will give up an asset to try and convince Byfuglien if he’ll play.

    The one thing i don’t know is if the jets decide to terminate his contract after the trade deadline, is Byfuglien allow to sign anywhere he wants as he will be an ufa at that point.

    • Hi Caper

      Yes I believe he could then sign for any of the 30 other teams…. same as Kovy

      However if he signs post TDL; he can only play reg season this year…. so basically a cheap add with little risk (only paid once healthy) but possibly that extra to ensure that team makes the playoffs ….. Bubble teams with space (after TDL)

  11. If Barrie is so poor defensively that the Leafs are considering trading him who the hell would want him?
    If his play is so bad that the no defence Leafs cant use him how could anyone else?

    Especially if Dumbass is looking for a 1st and picks. Gonna need a complete sucker to make that happen. Boy Wonders Kadri giveaway isnt looking so great now is it?

    • Sounds like you want him on your team…make it happen.

    • dim jim!

      • thats funny you mention Dim Jim…. rumor in Van is Stecher for Barrie…. apples for oranges…

  12. Never been able to figure out why tv or radio broadcasters dont announce a goal by Brandon Saad like this…..

    Saad skates in..dekes…he shoots…HE SCORES…what a goal…. unbelieveable!!!…….that poor goalie just got completely Saadomized!!!

    Asking for a friend……lol

    • At ..Ron Jull….

      Lmfao….I love your sense of humor…

      Thank you so much fof that laugh…today !!!


      • really eh! ron the troll! I read his posts ..which add nothing To a hockey conversation! just a keyboard warrior .. thought I stubbled acoss hockey buzz SAD!!

    • Booooo

  13. Day drinkin Ron?

  14. I don’t understand all this talk about Barrie working out in TO. A strong basis for this is his numbers are not on par with his last few seasons but you have to look a bit deeper. Under Babcock his numbers were bad..but once Keefe took over he’s been much better, and happier. He’s been going at a rate similar to his Colorado days but those numbers won’t make up the gap created by Babcock hence the on the surface belief he’s not performing well.

    • Do you ever watch Barrie play, he’s a disaster in his own end. The little bit of offence he provides doesn’t make up for his giveaways and lack of effort in his own end. Why do you think Sakic was trying so hard to get rid of him. Yeah Babcock tried to teach him how to play defence with no luck. Barrie needs to be on a team that’s desperate for offence and can overlook his bad defence

  15. Darren Dreger is reporting that Buffalo is going to but Zach Bogosian on waivers today for purpose of terminating his contract.

    Who will sign him on the cheap. I don’t think anyone will claim him on waivers.

    I cheap rental pickup for insurance.

    • Hi Caper

      Buffalo can’t unilaterally terminate his contract mid-season w/o a breach …. I’m assuming Bogs gave them the finger wrt reporting to AHL

      If there is a termination…. he’s out $1.5 M gross cash…… if some team signs him at an Cap rate of $2M…. he’ll get about $0.5M gross; still lose a million (gross)

      He’s a big boy rightie…. someone will pick him up for a low risk move

      This tells me that Botteril had no bites even at 50% retained

  16. Sound we got Kase from the ducks not sure o the return? Pierre Lebrun

    • The return is backes, axel andersson and a first! I kase has shown glimpses but hasn’t been consistent

    • Believe the full deal is Ondrej Kase to BOS for 1st-round pick, David Backes and prospect Axel Andersson.

      • Well if the thought process was it would take a 1st to move Backes contract, then the B’s got Kase for Axel.
        Not bad.
        Hopefully Kase stays healthy, as that has been his issue. The limited times I have seen him play, he kind of reminds me a little bit of Johanson. Skilled and can play with good players. Year after this and then an RFA

      • Sweeney quote after the trade ” We’re in it to win it”.

        Then he must have another deal in the works because adding Kase doesn’t scream winning!

        I would think without a 1st round pick Krieder is out of the equation but maybe signs in the offseason.

    • “We” says bbb…Ahahah

      • Anyone notice the price tag for Backes included a first-round pick? Patrick Marleau?

  17. Way to bulk up for the playoffs Sweeney ……Just don’t get it with how Neely played you would think he would bring in a need big, fast goal scorer with a edge

  18. Ottawa just brought up C Josh Norris from Belleville, who they got in that Karlsson deal with SJ. He has 30g 28a 58 pts and was about 5th in AHL scoring. Could be to prepare for Namestnikov being shipped

    Also. Detroit claimed D Cody Goulubef of waivers from Ottawa

    • @George watched that Norris kid play a few games this year. I liked what I saw the kid has a great shot. Heard Toronto put in a claim for Cody

      • Goulubef? Detroit had first claim anyway. Maybe they’ll take a shot at Bogosian too.

      • That’s what scares me they might

    • Is Detroit loading up for a long spring golf tournament?

  19. Should’ve at least brought Nick Ritchie back with him a guy you know he will get involved unlike his brother……

  20. Nice to move Backes and also receive a 24 year old with term and control good move Don hate giving up a first. When Chara Krech Bergie Marchand are done we will have plenty of firsts.

    • True that Obe

    • Another move with the extra cap space?
      Also when you look at next season, way more flexibility even after you sign Krug and DeBrusk.
      Depends if they want to pay Chara’s bonus this year or next.
      Anderson had potential but pretty raw at draft time.
      Really good skater and skill, plenty to learn was his scouting report if I recall.

      • I was thinking another move too.

        Holding 25% of Backes only adds to KAse salary so they may need to move out another salary but I cannot see them, at this point, sending out another first for Kreider or Saad.

      • @Ray Boston is using LTIR now and according to those rules LTIR money can’t be used to pay bonus money. So any bonus money to be paid out would automatically go to next year

  21. Re Backes trade

    $1.5 M retained… so when Kase back effectively playing him at a net of about $4.1M in Cap

    Bruins save in Cap ; get a younger , speedier player producing (instead of a “retired” player at home and “buried” $1.08 M in Cap)

    For a fair prospect and a first

    That’s sounds reasonable

    Bruins still have space for another move


  22. Flyers trade goalie JF Berube to the Rangers for futures….Rangers getting ready to deal one of theirs?

    • Maybe in case Hank or Gorgi goes to have another netminder to play in the minors and cover expansion draft.

  23. Pengy…

    to WPG: JJ & Bjugstad

    to Pitts: Buff

    ?? do the #s work?

    • Nah. They just got the second-coming of Bobby Orr in Dylan DeMelo. At least, that’s what you might think the way some in the Ottawa area are reacting to that deal – literally aghast at the fact Dorion DARED to trade away “a solid Top 4 D-man.” Jaysus!

      • lol

  24. If I’m Joe Sakic my offer for Kreider just shrunk not many teams out there can afford what I believe the Rangers are looking for (supply and demand ) I like hockey trades at deadline Coyle and Kase good hockey trades I believe for Boston two good pieces for the future.