NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2020

by | Feb 22, 2020 | Rumors | 70 comments

The NHL trade deadline is 3 pm ET on Monday, Feb. 24. Check out the latest on the Leafs, Bruins, Devils, and Penguins in today’s rumor mill.


TSN: Frank Seravalli believes the Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights, Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes have contacted the Toronto Maple Leafs about defenseman Tyson Barrie.

Four teams reportedly have interest in Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie (Photo via NHL Images).

The Flames may have proposed a straight-up swap of pending UFAs, with Barrie going to Calgary for T.J. Brodie. The Golden Knights have extra salary cap space after trading Cody Eakin’s $3.8 million to Winnipeg yesterday, which could be put toward re-signing Barrie if they acquire him. The Hurricanes view Barrie as a rental player. They hold the Leafs’ first-round pick in 2020 from last summer’s Patrick Marleau buyout trade.

The Leafs could try to do a one-for-one trade by dealing Barrie for another defenseman or swap him for assets that can be flipped to another club to land an established blueliner.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran weighs in on the Maple Leafs need to add a defenseman before the upcoming trade deadline. Possible targets include the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba or Jonas Brodin, the New York Rangers’ Tony DeAngelo, the Montreal Canadiens’ Jeff Petry, the Buffalo Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen, and the Chicago Blackhawks’ Erik Gustafsson.

McGran also examined the Leafs’ potential trade bait. He suggested sidelined winger Andreas Johnsson could be enticing to non-contenders. Other options include Tyson Barrie and rookie blueliner Timothy Liljegren.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Leafs clinging to one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, general manager Kyle Dubas is under tremendous pressure to find some blueline depth before deadline day. They have over $9.8 million in projected salary-cap space with Johnsson, Morgan Rielly and Cody Ceci on long-term injury reserve. The latter two could return before season’s end, meaning Dubas must ensure he’s got sufficient cap space when they do.

Just because some teams have interest in Barrie doesn’t mean he’s going to one of them. The Athletic’s Harman Dayal believes Barrie would be an awkward fit on the Canucks’ blueline, pointing out they already have a skilled puck-moving rearguard in Quinn Hughes. The Golden Knights acquired Alec Martinez earlier this week, and might not have the assets the Leafs need to flip to another club for a defenseman. The same could be said for the Flames if a Barrie-for-Brodie swap falls through. The Hurricanes supposedly don’t want to part with picks or prospects for rental players.

As for those suggested trade targets for the Leafs, Gustafsson could be the easiest to acquire. It’ll take a first-line center or a second-line center and more to acquire Dumba. Brodin might be more affordable, but there’s no certainty the Wild wants to move him right now.

The Habs are reportedly keen to retain Petry. With the Rangers surging toward playoff contention, they could hang onto DeAngelo. The Sabres’ asking price for Ristolainen is a top-six forward, preferably a second-line center, which the Leafs can’t spare right now. 


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty wonders if Bruins GM Don Sweeney could have another move planned after acquiring Ondrej Kase yesterday from the Anaheim Ducks. Having shed 75 percent of winger David Backes’ annual average value in the deal frees up nearly $2 million, which could be put toward another move before the trade deadline. Sending their first-round pick to the Ducks could take them out of the bidding for the New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider or the New Jersey Devils’ Kyle Palmieri.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Following the Kase acquisition, Matt Porter reported Sweeney said he’ll continue looking for improvements to his roster.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites a well-connected source claiming the Bruins could be considering San Jose Sharks center (and former Bruin) Joe Thornton. The Bruins, however, aren’t the only club with interest in the 40-year-old Thornton. He’s been linked to the Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars, and Pittsburgh Penguins. Murphy also tweeted the Bruins might not be done pursuing a winger, with Danton Heinen and John Moore as possible trade bait.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kase could be the only significant move Sweeney makes before the deadline, but we can’t rule out the possibility of him swinging another deal. I doubt it’ll be for Thornton. While that would make a great story, the Bruins are already deep at center with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Charlie Coyle, though they could shift the latter to the wing and plug Thornton into the third-line role. I also think they’re out of the Kreider and Palmieri sweepstakes.


NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco reports New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri remains unconcerned about the trade rumors swirling around him. He’s been linked to the Bruins, but their acquisition yesterday of Ondrej Kase could take them off the board. The Calgary Flames have also come up as a destination. It’s unclear if Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald is actively shopping Palmieri or merely listening to offers.

NJ.COM: Chris Ryan lists the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, and Calgary Flames as the most logical trade destinations for Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vatanen’s been largely overlooked given all the trade buzz about Palmieri and the Devils’ trade activity earlier this week. We can’t rule out the possibility that he’ll land with one of those clubs listed by Ryan.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Seth Rorabaugh reports Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford would like to add another depth forward and is also taking a wait-and-see approach regarding his defense corps. The status of sidelined rearguards Brian Dumoulin and John Marino will determine if he pursues another blueliner. He’s open to adding a winger or a center.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports the Penguins are rumored to be looking at a fourth-line center to improve their faceoff win percentage. They’re also said to have some interest in New Jersey Devils winger Wayne Simmonds.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford is perhaps the NHL’s ablest GM when it comes to swinging in-season trades. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tinkers a little more before the deadline.

While adding grit for the playoffs is never a bad idea, the Penguins remain built for speed. I’m not sure Simmonds would be a good fit. He’s slowed considerably over the last couple of seasons.


  1. The Leafs may have a lot of cap space now, but they have 8 players on expiring contracts, including Muzzin. If Muzzin “gifts” the Leafs at 5 million a year, that leaves about 6 million to spread around on a lot of players.

    Can’t see how the Leafs can do anything other than absorb a rental this year. And if it is a rental, they are not likely to give up much so they won’t get much.

    I have to think that when the inevitable early playoff exit happens a core forward has to go to make room for signing better D

    • Leafs

      Iam not going to get into trade scenarios as it really unwise to do so here …lol..but I will say that Id like the Leafs to move on from these players if a deal is there …Kerfoot… Ceci Barrie Nylander…

      Players I covet :

      Brayden Mcnabb , Alex Tuch – Golden Knights

      R Ristolinenen – Sabres

      Anthony Beauvillier – Islanders

      Sam Bennet & Jankowski – Flames

      Josh Manson – Ducks

      Warren Foegel – Canes

      • Kal-el, when you boil it right down, Dubas almost HAS to to trade Barrie and I believe he will … but it will be one of those that likely goes right down to the wire on Monday.

        The reason I say that is, between now and then he has to weigh the pros and cons of each offer received, attempting right up to the last minute to get what he thinks will help the team right now. But regardless of what he ultimately settles for, he has to go for SOMETHING because the alternative is to hang onto him until the end and then see him leave as a UFA with nothing in return. And that wouldn’t look good on his resume after having given up Kadri and a 3rd round pick to get him. That would leave the return being Kerfoot and a 6th round pick!

      • Make Buffalo offer they can’t refuse Ristolinnen for a first round pick 2020/2021 then trade Kappanen for Josh Manson that was easy Dubas we can figure these things out why can’t you Go leafs Go

      • Please no Risto.

      • Just like that eh? No problem. Except the Leafs don’t have a first round pick in 2020 and if they deal next year’s, that would be 2 in a row without a sniff at the first round. And if you truly believe they’d give up Manson for a floater, well ….

    • LJ, with decent D at a premium right now do you really expect one who just turned 31 and is coming off a cap hit of $4 mil to accept a paltry raise of $1 mil over the course of what is almost assuredly his final contract (of any consequence)? He’ll get offers closer to $6 mil – likely for 5 years – from someone, so why should he leave $5 mil on the table?

      • No argument George. That’s why I said if Muzzin “gifts” the Leafs at 5 million. He is from Ontario and says he wants to stay. If he wants more Dubas is really going to have to move players out.

      • LOL. I hear ya … I’d love for someone to “gift” me $5 mil – whooeee

    • Nobody for sure knows what they can or will not do other than what CF tells us with respect to Cap Space, LTIR, and other things; but the fact is at 6:40 left in the 2nd period, TML is laying another egg for its fans as they are losing 4-2

  2. Flyers have the D-man TOR needs, but who for who?

  3. I don’t doubt Benning wanted to know the asking price for Barrie, but Quinn Hughs is doing pretty good as the QB on the pp

  4. Bruins with $5 mil in cap space available will Sweeney sit on it or use it ……could a Heinen & Moore bring back a Palmieri or is it not enough …..with a healthy Kase seems to be no room for Heinen

    • @ joeman

      I think that Palmieri is the best route to go for the Bruins as well…Krieder will cost you big time …and I think he ends up back as a Ranger next year one way or another !
      Palmieri is worth the investment if thy so choose to go that route with another year on his deal ..


    • Joema, agree Kase is a nice addition but him alone isn’t a difference enough of a difference maker.

      The market seem to be shown that term cost more then rentals. Might be a lower cost to get Kreider then Palmieri. But if Boston can add one of them then I’ll feel much better about their chances.

      I don’t know if the Rangers will deal Kreider as they are inching up the standings. Maybe if they can get a couple of NHL players for Kreider?

      • Thinking Kreider stays right where he is …. would like to see B’s add a Palmieri or Anderson if they don’t then go for the size and tough guy Ross The Boss type for the playoffs ….just tossing stuff out there

  5. Can’t see DeAngelo going anywhere. Their top right D prospect in Hartford was just traded. Besides maybe getting into playoffs, they’re not very deep there. Only trades I see for Rangers are Fast and Gorgiev

  6. I think you are right LJ. And maybe it is a good thing if the Leafs limp into the play offs and limp out. Lay down to rest a while….and rise again as a different entity….maybe under different leadership. They are not a well designed team.

    On another subject, I think it was you who did not like it when I quoted PJ Stock a month ago who thinks that the Habs should be stripped down. All younger players back to Laval to make Laval a winner and trade everyone over a certain age, to get younger.

    I happen to like PJ Stock who is a Montrealer through and through. I am not and do not watch many of their games. What do you think the Habs should do?

    • “PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports the Penguins are rumored to be looking at a fourth-line center to improve their faceoff win percentage.”

      let me connect the dots here…nate thompson?

      • That would be a good pick up for the Pens.

        Nate Thompson is a good player.

      • Derek Grant? Curtis Lazar?

      • If they go after Thompson instead of Grant…. something is up

        Both UFA depth centres

        Grant is a far far better player; far better numbers this year; much better physically ; 6 years younger; taller and bigger; 14 goals for Grant vs 4 goals (Thompson) this year; also not bad on the dot… 51.5 %…. and Cap hit is league min; Thompson $1.0 M

        The only thing Thompson has is a slightly better face off …55%

        Going after Thompson to win at best 4 extra faceoffs in the play-offs over Grant (with much better numbers; much higher chance of goals; better grit; size; cheapr…. etc etc )…. would be very strange ??????

      • Didn’t the Pens ship Grant to Anaheim to begin with?
        Homecoming of sorts, Pengy?

        Ottawa will rue the day Buffalo trades Lazar to the Pens……or something like that.

      • Yeah, we’re still ruing? the day they traded Lazar to Calgary, and I imagine Flames fans are “ruing” the day they didn’t offer him a qualifying offer.

      • Hi ShoreOrrPark

        Yep… was a good add then

        No idea why the move after ????

    • A great question OBD. Don’t know if I have a great answer after banging my head on a wall for most of this season. How does one explain beating the Caps twice and being swept by the Wings, FFS?

      I think Bergevin has set things in stone with drafting Kotkaniemi, Poehling, Fleury and Juulsen. It is too early to know if they will turn into the players are projected to be, so the Habs have to stay the course for the next couple of years. If they are busts then the Habs become this decade’s Sabres and Bergy will be gone.

      Yeah, I was a little snarky about Stock. Been a long disappointing season.

      As for your Leafs, sorry to have to agree that they are imbalanced.

      • Wonder what the price would be for Andreas Athanasiou?

      • A 6′ 2″ 190 lb C with speed to burn still just an RFA (with arbitration rights) and with 10g 14a on a very bad team with lots of cap space? A lot.

      • Pens already had Grant once, and he didn’t last too long. He didn’t score and wasn’t very physical. a ho hum 4th liner, nothing special. An AHL call up can do just as well. There is a reason Grant has been on a half dozen teams…

  7. Sooo… I’m not convinced that Eric Francis, the “pizza pig-out” guy from the Calgary Sun, and now contributor to Sportsnet TV broadcasts, is a legit hockey pundit, but I noticed yesterday that he was on air telling us that some of his sources reached out to him to say that “Carey Price to the Avalanche” talks are taking place in a more than casual manner….

    I don’t think I need to add more to that, what does everyone think? What would it take to get that done? Would the…Price…be too high? 😀

    Frankly, I don’t see how it works unless Montreal retains an amount of salary that would be insane for any team to have to take on for another 6 or 7 years for a player no longer with them. Either that or the Avs give up a player like Landeskog that significantly weakens them outside of the net.

    • joe s. has become one of the smartest gm’s in hockey…..he has great patience and never tips his hand….he has said the avs window is wide open but the goal is to keep it open for many yrs….he will not make a deal that puts the avs straight into cap hell

      • Bingo! That would be absolutely nuts.

    • Patrick Roy 2.0

      • Wouldn’t that be something?
        After a tough stretch Price has actually been really good this year.
        But the contract is crazy.

  8. At the rate players are going down. I would want depth. Those big name defence noted are not going anywhere Gustafsson and Liljegren are more realistic. Hey maybe that is the trade.

    Trade Barrie why ? You are so thin back there as it is.
    I like Johnsson to a non playoff team though. But with that injury don’t you want to be sure ?

    • The Avs need a stud goalie to compete for a cup. Price has struggle last couple years but I think a fresh would put him on the top again. Rumor has it habs are after Greaves. Not sure how cap would work

      Petry and Price
      Greaves, salary dump(if the have one) Byram, another prospect and 1st

      This puts habs in a 2 to 3 full rebuild which they should have starter 2 years ago. I agree with the comment that mention PJ stock that the habs need to trade anyone over certain age i.e. Tatar, Kovy

      This puts Avs in a 4-5 year cup window which they need to be at the cap hit the got Mckionnon at. I don’t think they need to pay much more than this as they are relieving the habs of Price who they don’t need during a rebuild

      • 🤦

      • byram is going no where

  9. It appears that my Blue Jackets are not going to make any moves. I can live with that since if they make the playoffs getting out of the 1St round would be a stretch. Being a season ticket holder, on the other hand, making the playoff would be nice. It’s not like we make the playoff all the time. They still have a chance even thou all the experts said they were a lottery team. If we still had “bob” in net we would be a lottery team. New flash Florida he’s having a bad year maybe but he in also 31. Have fun we him at 10 mil a year for the next 6 years.

    • Carey Price 2.0

      • George O r we thinking alike?

    • Losing Seth was a killer for CLB. Their best player IMO.

      • No doubt about that. Probably THE one guy they simply couldn’t afford to lose long term.

  10. Unlikely but anything can work with collaboration. Jost ,Timmons and Grubauer for Price held $1.8m and one of their 3 seconds. Next year the Avs let Wilson and Nieto walk. They are on long term and if back for the playoffs some depth . Primeau is the future in net in Habs land.

    • Montreal has to give something for anyone to take Price. He’s been declining for a few years now and is easily the worst contract in the NHL. Colorado already has better goaltending then what Price is as of today. 10.5 million on a goalie is just bad. Price has done squat except for winning the Hart trophy one year. It’s not like you’re getting Patrick Roy who is a gamer and increases your odds of winning the cup. Montreal is stuck with him and wallow in mediocrity until they figure out a rebuild is necessary.

      • I have been disappointed in Price’s play as well, but the Habs have played him into the ground the past couple of years. Let’s acknowledge the lack of a back up has clearly been an issue.

        Bergevin can be as glib as Shakespeare, but they are in a rebuild by any other name.

    • I can see a deal between the Habs and Avs being Drouin for MacKinnon. The Avs have enough depth on d to absorb the losss especially with the emergence of Graves. Bryam is waiting in the wings. Drouin is reunited with MacKinnon and Girard goes back home to Quebec.

      • Who do the Habs get back?

      • Where He (Girard) would automatically lose another 10% of his income to taxes. I doubt the “lure” is worth that much just to be “going home.”

      • Oops, sorry for not reading properly.

      • Girard wouldn’t have a choice George 🙂 but don’t underestimate the ‘lure’ of a Quebec kid wearing the Canadiens jersey. I am sure he wouldn’t be disappointed going to Montreal.

      • girard is not going anywhere…

      • Those “glory” days are long gone where just pulling on the sweater was enough. They haven’t been a fact or since 1993 – that’s over a quarter of a century ago when salaries were still in 6 figures at the highest. Now it’s the really big bucks that are the lure and no one – not even a boy from La Belle Province – wants to see a large chunk go to the highest-taking municipal and provincial coffers in the country.

  11. For pitt I’d be interested if n glandening.

    • Pittsburgh needs a kick in the ass – down 4-1 to the Sabres?

      • 🤦

      • I’m just glad Caps lost as well … keeping Pens in 1st

        Some very good goaltending by Hutton …. Pens outshot Buff 43-26

        Some very poor plays defensively by Pens

        …. and you know who once again brutal; on for 3 ; one goal screen by him ; another he gets completely fooled at the far blue line and then causally and very slowly saunters back to about 40’ away when puck goes in😡

        I have no idea what Rikkola has done …. he must have either made an inappropriate comment in front of/about or made a pass at, Sully’s wife

        Sitting him out instead of 3 worse D-Men (JJ, Ruhweedel and Trottman)… ?????

        Riikola …. just suck it up and apologize to Mrs. Sully and Sully himself

        Team wins are more important than trying to woo Mrs. Sully!!!

      • Cause it was his fault letang and Malkin politely handed buffalo goals. Good lord.

      • Hi Chrisms,

        Just two goals not three

        Mistake at far blueline, then standing there admiring play and slowly coming back …. too late

        Mistake on other goal screening Jarry’s sightline

        I know you and I don’t see eye to eye on JJ; but I firmly believe that playing him top pairing with all those minutes is massively detrimental to the team

        Remember when they experimented with Tanger/Rikkola earlier in season and how well they clicked

        I know Pens are stuck with Marino and Dumo out; but Sully has many options other than 22+ mins/game of JJ

        Remember he just recently set an NHK record for most consecutive games played with being on ice for at least 1 GA…. and the record he broke was his own

        In the last 9 weeks he’s had only 1 game in which he was not on the ice for at least 1 goal against

        When Marino and Dumo are back ; he’ll go to third pairing … it’s just frustrating watching him now…. mistakes causing goals; unforced icings; blown passes causing a stop to extensive pressure Pens were putting on ; following Tanger into Tanger’s corner where Tanger already engaged with a player; or blowing a cross ice or break-out pass forcing a re-group

        I’m not by any stretch saying that Pens win today if JJ was out; Pens ran into a hot goalie and Jarry would like one of those goals back

        I do however, truly believe the score is nowhere near as lopsided had JJ been in press box instead of Riikola

        Glad Caps lost

        Pens still in first

        GO Pens Go

        I’m at Leafs game right now … starting soon

        So also

        GO LEAFS GO

  12. Barrie has not worked out with Leafs. They should try to get their first back from Car for him. Muzzin should not be resigned as leafs have good future dmen format side in rielly dermott and sandin. Better to put that money along with more for a right side top pairing in summer (pietroangelo) tavarez buddy from TO suburb.

    Johnsson (to non contender) and/or kerfoot can be moved for a rhd with engvall and spezza as 3 and 4 centers…..and leads wont be limping in they will be charging into playoffs, just too much talent to not turn it on down the stretch.

    • I’m not certain, but I don’t think Carolina will trade you a 1st for Barrie.

      And you do know about the Salary Cap, right Wendel?

      • I ran to a window when I read that … saw no pigs in flight. Boy, he remains absolutely convinced Barrie will bring back a 1st round pick.

    • 🤦

  13. first time i have ever heard the Pens being linked to Joe Thornton… that would be terrific but I have a hard time seeing it … and forget Simmonds, he’s not soft enough so Sullivan would never dress him, let alone play him … same regarding Bogo … Pens already had Derek Grant and traded him … not a big Nate Thompson fan, pass ..

  14. Chrisms, you are funny today. That forehead slap.

    • ✊🏿

  15. Geez, Seravalli must have been under deadline stress to indicate the Flames would trade straight up Brodie for Barrie.
    Brodie is playing really well this year especially with Giordano and Hamonick out. He is playing In a top 2 role and playing very well.

  16. After the way they got beat by a Zamboni driver is proof that Dubas should be fired and get a experienced gm this team is aembarrassing to watch or even to be a fan of .
    And Keefe needs to hold his player accountable when they show no effort bench them and I would start with the so called captain

    • Auston Matthews: $11.6M $15.2M Signing Bonuses paid already
      John Tavares: $11M. $14.99M
      Mitchell Marner: $10.9Mistake $15.3M
      William Nylander: $6.9M $ 8.3M

      Total: $40.4M. Total: $ 53.79M Signing Bonuses already paid.

      Thus no incentive on being consistent in playing for keeps. “Zero Urgency|Desperation”.

      Epic fail!

      They lost (and couldn’t score on) against a 42 year old guy 👇who made $500 👇and drives a zamboni👇and Manages Mattamy Athletic Centre.

  17. Not just losing to a 42 y/o Zamboni driver, but also getting out-shot by an almost 2-1 margin in the process. That was ugly. Especially seeing Keefe sending out his 4th line to take repeated face-offs towards the end in Carolina’s end after icings and sitting the “big guns” on the bench.

    At least Dubas is changing the face of the Marlies, making another tweedle-dee for tweedle-dum deal (Harpur for somebody named Miikka Salomäki)