NHL Rumor Mill – February 27, 2020

by | Feb 27, 2020 | Rumors | 38 comments

More trade deadline fallout involving Joe Thornton, Tyson Barrie, Robin Lehner, Zach Parise and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: In his latest 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman wondered what the future held for San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton. If he’s not sold on the Sharks as a Cup contender next season, Friedman predicts the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a factor. He believes the Leafs considered adding Thornton before the trade deadline, but can’t confirm it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With all due respect to Thornton, the last thing the Leafs need is a past-his-prime center. It’s obvious to all that the Leafs desperately need to shore up their defensive depth. If management can’t see that, Leafs fans should give up any hope of this club becoming a Cup contender anytime soon.

Could the Vancouver Canucks pursue Tyson Barrie this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

Speaking of the Leafs, Friedman said they weren’t trading Tyson Barrie unless they got a return that immediately replaced the blueliner plus a sweetener for the future. They would’ve taken Troy Stecher, but the Vancouver Canucks didn’t have the draft picks and weren’t parting with futures.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks were linked to Barrie leading up to the trade deadline. I wonder if they might try to sign him this summer as an unrestricted free agent. That could depend upon how much he’s seeking and whether it’ll fit within their cap space for 2020-21. Stecher, Jacob Markstrom, Jake Virtanen, and Adam Gaudette are due for raises next season.

Friedman believes the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t want to go past two years on a contract extension with Robin Lehner. The goaltender was shipped to the Vegas Golden Knights on deadline day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t understand the Blackhawks’ reluctance. I’m well-aware of Lehner’s past issues, many of those tied to depression, but he’s turned his life and career around. He won the Masterton Trophy and was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy last season with the New York Islanders. He put up good numbers backstopping a porous Chicago defense and got along well with his Blackhawks teammates. If the Golden Knights don’t re-sign him, Lehner should land a fair contract elsewhere in the NHL.

Friedman also weighed in on the failed effort by the Minnesota Wild to trade Zach Parise to the New York Islanders for Andrew Ladd at the trade deadline. Getting the salary-cap dollars to fit was the sticking point. It was rumored young Isles winger Kieffer Bellows was going to be part of the deal, among other sweeteners. The Wild also had concerns about salary-cap recapture penalties if Parise retired early. Friedman isn’t sure where the deal goes from here.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild GM Bill Guerin hinted the two clubs could revisit those negotiations in the off-season. We’ll see if they can hammer something out.

The New York Rangers trading defenseman Brady Skjei to Carolina allows them to take care of internal business, like Anthony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, dumping Skjei’s $5.25-million annual average value through 2023-24 frees up salary-cap space to re-sign DeAngelo and Strome. The pair are restricted free agents with arbitration rights this summer.

Friedman also reported the Edmonton Oilers had an interest in Patrick Marleau before the Sharks traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, and Minnesota Wild were interested in Vincent Trocheck before the Florida Panthers shipped him to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Flames also checked into Wayne Simmonds for the second time in two years. He believes the Islanders had an interest in Mikko Koivu, who opted to stay with the Wild. A lot of teams called the Philadelphia Flyers about winger Scott Laughton, but they weren’t interested in parting with him.



  1. Jumbo Joe, you’ve had a great career. Time to hang ‘em up.
    As to Lehner, that makes two teams for whom he’s played well who chose not to commit to him long term. There must be something going on that we don’t know about.

    • As I infer from above, it’s one thing to give someone a second chance and it’s another to give them a second chance and millions and millions of dollars.

      Here’s hoping some team puts their money where their lip service to NHL policy is and that Lehner has a long and joyous career.

      • Thanks for that, George.
        I’d pay to see Jumbo play while he’s sitting atop a donkey.
        Or a big Russian bear.

  2. Please isles. Don’t trade bellows, it will haunt you for years to come lol

  3. IJ …I did read your entries yesterday…thanks….it was interesting as the Hab fans on Montreal radio….the Habs fans here are split in a similar ratio/manner…

    With the draft in Montreal and the split in opinions should be an interesting week end

    My bias for what is worth is towards the rebuild…..I wrote here about 4 or 5 weeks ago that the next GM of Montreal should be Pierre Dorion (who George will confirm I have admired for at least a year)…His trade deadline day was impressive

    Bergevin has definetly made some good trades but too many of the small value types…not since Weber-Subban has he made franchise changers…He does seem to have the strength of character to do them…..Does he have Molson’s confidence?

    • Montreal based reporters have said Bergevin has Molson’s confidence. I’d say that lasts another season, and ends if the Habs don’t make the playoffs.

      I share your sense that Bergevin will try something big in the off season.

      • I read that MB might make a big splash in the off-season. My question: what would that be?

        Trade Petry for a winger, and Tatar for a top 4D? Trade Domi for a defenceman?

        These are all *fairly* big, but they feel more like re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

        Bergevin needs to either trade futures for additional parts to win now or trade his current players for futures.

        But “hockey trades” are simply going to strengthen one part of the lineup and weaken the other, keeping the Habs mired in mediocrity unless Bergevin picks a lane.

        As a Habs fan, I hope the big splash is picking a direction and going for it!

      • we’ve heard that before Paddy. How many big splashes he was going to do? And what happened? Nothing. So don’t hold your breath

    • Hey. Bergevin tried to make a big splash. One of the biggest offer sheets in a long time. Good for him on the balls for doing that. Of course he was played by aho but you can’t say he didn’t try.

  4. Shaun, it’s not the money it’s the term. A team gives a guy millions for a year or two and it doesn’t work out at least the obligation isn’t too long. If you give him millions for 5+ years and it doesn’t work, then the team is added to a growing list of teams with a bad long term contract they can’t get rid of. Both the Isles and the Hawks would have been good with a year or two, but obviously not more.

    • I totally agree with you that it’s the term.

  5. If Lou trades for Parise he needs to be fired and put in a nursing home. He is 35 and that contract? If the Wild want to trade him let them pick up 6 million each year and forget about them getting Bellows they would have to give us their 1st round pick back. I Love Parise…. 10 years ago Come on Lou wake up it is 2020 not 2010. Enough already with this guy.

    • It’s too bad that Parise and Suter didn’t sign with Detroit in 2012. Playing with Datsyuk and “Z” might have got their names on the Cup once or twice. But right now, I would hate their contracts – both are not tradable at this point and going forward.

  6. Oldbluedog, I concur with you on the rebuild. Keep the younger players, keep Price and Weber for veteran presence, trade Petry and Tatar for futures. And someone other than Bergevin has to be in charge of it. Dorion would be good but Ottawa won’t let him go so easily.
    BTW you may want to check out Brian Wildes column from yesterday on Global.ca. Basically says what I’ve been saying. That Bergevin is quite adept at the small mives which serve little if any good toward building a contender.

    • Dorion – if he could – would literally JUMP at the chance to get out of Melnyk’s shadow and go to Montreal (see the article on Melnyk in the headlines thread)

      Far better there than Houston.

      • Im so hoping Melnyk puts some money in and around Dorion. Drafting and development is jey now.

  7. Maybe Elliotte Friedman didn’t understand that Lehner can’t win a shoot-out, and the Blackhawks didn’t need another no-trade contract or that they were spending even short term of a larger Cap hit as the rebuild continues.

  8. George: per the exchange a few days ago, Muzzin’s signing at 5.6 per year:

    How close are you to the Air Canada Center? Suggest you rush in to Dubas’ office and grab what was left on the table.

    • LOL. I wouldn’t mind $400,000 a year for 5 years … guaranteed.

  9. Unfortunately for the Leafs, the actual market value for Barrie would have meant that the TML’s needed to add a sweetener to Barrie to obtain a solid D’man. No GM in their right mind would give up a solid D’man + a sweetener to get Barrie – he just doesn’t defend well enough to warrant that much of a return.

    • As he and his agent will soon discover when they test the UFA waters if they think they are going to get a deal with term even at – never mind a raise over – the $5.5 mil he costs now off the cap (half by Colorado).

      • Right on George – a pay cut is on the horizon.

      • He is this year’s version of Jake Gardiner … not just a pay cut but dangling in the wind until the last minute before training camps open – what was it, Sept 6 before Gardiner got a contract – 4 years at $4.05 mil per. Bit expensive for a d-man noted for his offense who has just 3g 16a and is a -21 so far.

      • Barrie will be lucky to get over 5 mill per on a 3-4 year deal. Better in the OF zone but, What’s eating Gilbert grape in the d zone.

  10. And yet Thomas Chabot has 6 goals and 24 points and minus 23 and will make 8 million next year. Good thing the contract is only for 8 years.

    • Oops 34 points, I guess that makes it worth it.

  11. If Barrie is taking a haircut from current. Why not stay with the Leafs ? How low do you go ?

    De brusk de moted to da the third line. I thought he could potentially have been moved at the deadline. Not playing like he was a couple of years back.

    • He looks like he has eggs in his pockets.

      I wonder (like Caper) if he’s still not right from that headshot last spring.
      He avoids contact and quickly exits scrums, unlike before.
      I remember Bergy played a little like that after he came back from his concussion.
      I hope he gets better.

      • Maybe he’s more of a playoff performer then regular season. It’s not like he’s hurting the team. I mean they pretty well dominate the league anyway. Save it for the playoffs

      • True enough, Vinnie.
        That could very well be the case.
        He’s not a soft player.
        Just a little off, that’s all.

    • I bet Boston is kicking themselves after that draft.
      Boston had 3 picks in a row and picked

      The next 3 players taken

      • I don’t believe you.

      • Shoreorrpark,
        Who don’t you believe?
        If it was my post all you have to do is pull up the 2015 draft and see for yourself

      • I think it was a joke Flamesfan. We Bruin fans know exactly what happened in that draft, and have been reminded many times.
        It’s painful and sometimes we use humor to deflect.
        Can’t change it, move on.

      • Thanks Ray
        That makes sense, didn’t mean to rub salt in an old wound

      • All good Flamesfan.
        Just having fun.

    • Well – that depends on Dubas, and whether or not he has learned anything. Barrie is the exact opposite kind of defenseman Toronto needs. But Dubas has had a tough time grasping that fact. Since I am not a TML fan, I hope Dubas signs Barrie for 5 years at $6M per. That will tie up enough money to keep the Cup from stopping in Toronto for quite some time, except for at the Hall of Fame.