NHL Rumor Mill – February 28, 2020

by | Feb 28, 2020 | Rumors | 53 comments

The latest on Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug, Josh Anderson and Joe Thornton in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes the respective contract situations of St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and Boston Bruins blueliner Torey Krug won’t be resolved one way or the other until the season is over. The Bruins’ limited salary-cap space makes it difficult to fit in a new contract for Krug unless they shed some salary in the off-season.

Will Alex PIetrangelo re-sign with the St. Louis Blues? (Photo via NHL Images)

LeBrun expects whatever offers Pietrangelo and Krug receive from their respective teams will be less than what they can get on the open market on July 1. He thinks the Blues could offer Pietrangelo something comparable to the eight-year, $64-million contract John Carlson signed with the Washington Capitals. The Bruins, meanwhile, could be reluctant to pay Krug more than teammates David Pastrnak ($6.6 million AAV) and Patrice Bergeron ($6.875 million).

If Pietrangelo doesn’t re-sign with the Blues, LeBrun speculates the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs could come calling.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how things play out for Pietrangelo and Krug this summer. Krug has indicated a willingness to accept a hometown discount, while the Pietrangelo camp was rumored to be seeking $9 million annually.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes there’s a strong possibility the Columbus Blue Jackets trade Josh Anderson this summer. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and a year away from UFA eligibility. LeBrun also thinks there’s been a difference of opinion between the Blue Jackets and the Anderson camp over how to treat a shoulder injury suffered in December that could sideline him for the rest of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was plenty of speculation about Anderson leading up to the recent trade deadline. The 25-year-old power forward will draw lots of interest if the Jackets shop him this summer, provided he’s fully recovered from his shoulder injury. Recent reports indicate he could require surgery. If so, the length of his recovery period could adversely affect his trade value.


THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reports Joe Thornton fully intends to return with the San Jose Sharks after this season. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently speculated Thornton could sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs if he’s not sold on the Sharks bouncing back next season.

“It’s an iconic team for sure. But I’m a Shark. I’m a Shark. I’ve been privileged to play here and understand what it is to be a Shark. I’m trying to pass it on to the younger guys and how much pride we take out here playing in front of these fans. I’ve always said I’m a lifelong Shark and that I will make no apologies for that.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And if the Sharks want Thornton back, they’ll be happy to sign him to another one-year, bonus-laden deal. 


  1. Good morning


    There is NO WAY Iam paying KRUG more than Pastrnak …great trade chip to up size if there is decent players available ..wonder if you trade Krug …and get a nice piece back and then sign a player like Vatanenen at a lower AAv and less term…


    I think a Carlson deal is a perfect style deal for the Blues and Petro …IMO ..you have to give Petro a bit more though for both being a Captian and winning a CUP…maybe $ 9 mill..
    LOVE the Blues D core in totality!
    maybe the best in the league 4 lines deep..


    I would have NO ISSUE with Joe on the Leafs next year for a 4th line roll…the Gauthier experiment is DONE.

    I would also move Kerfoot for a bigger skilled 3rd line centerman who plays way more physical and has some skill…as well..he is not cutting it in a shut down roll..IMO

    I would also have a SERIOUS conversation about trading Sandin in a deal that can bring you back a way BIGGER TOP 3 – 4 Dam with term and skill…Iam not crazy on this guys give aways and smaller size …long term..he really gets tossed around in his own zone too much ..and his in front of net pizza deliveries are really starting to get on my nerves..NOT GOOD!


    Buyer beware on Anderson ..having not been aware of the severity of his injuries I would not trade a player like Kappy or Johnson for him now …just to risky..better to either upgrade with another option and go with the devil you know ..if you can get him for a decent cap hit as a UFA then look at it but not giving up ANY pieces for him…


    • I agree about Sandin. His skating is not as-advertised. I’ve seen him get beat several times chasing a lose puck into the D-zone, and failing to catch someone on the back check.
      Sell while the value is high as part of a package for a guy like Carlo or parayko.

      • Wow, that Sandin kid a helluva career that one season with the Leafs.
        Hope his next ten years in the league are better.
        C’mon, man!

    • @Kal El

      It is always easy to say that the Bruins can’t pay Krug more than Pastrnak, but Pasta’s contract was signed 3 years ago after he had a single 70 point season. Over the last 4 seasons, Krug has averaged 0.74p/gp and is ranked 10th in that metric this year. That ranks him ahead of Pietrangelo, Burns, Karlsson, etc. To think that he doesn’t deserve more than $6.67M because Boston got Pastrnak to sign cheap doesn’t make sense. If Pastrnak was negotiating for $ after this season, he would get Patrick Kane money (at least).

      Also; Carlson got a cup the year before last, so that shouldn’t factor into Pietrangelo getting more $ than Carlson. (The leadership aspect still should though).

      • @ Spencer

        fair enough…

        but I aint paying Krug more than 6 million a year ..no way in heck…money will be better spect elsewhere IMO ..

        Not sure what bigbadbruins or Caper thinks but for me being on the outside in…and an AVID Bruins watcher ..LOL… for obvious reasons LOL..not to mention they play the exact style of Hockey I love to watch ..as well as divisional rivals..LOL

        I am not signing him for more than 6 mill…

        ..not for me no thx !

    • Kal el,

      I definitely agree Boston’s money is better spent elsewhere. Krug’s injury history is always troubling and I think Boston is better off getting a 2nd line RW (don’t see Kase filling that role) than spending that amount on Krug.

      I would bet on Krug getting $7+ on the market though…

    • I don’t see the B’s dealing Krug, I think they’ll sign him to a home town discount in the area of $7 million per season. A six year, $42 million deal.

      • Further, if you look at Krug’s career stats, he hasn’t missed a lot of games. In the previous four years, he’s played 302 of 328 games. This season, he’s played 57 games. he’s missed 8 games. So, he’s proven to be a durable player.

    • I don’t know that Boston should be worried about paying someone more than Pastrnak.

      He’s probably the best contract in the NHL (team perspective) .

      I can’t imagine you can expect other players to fall in line and be under market value.

      Not saying Krug, I mean generally.

  2. trading Krug ship has sailed Kal El , don’t be surprised to see the Habs offer him crazy $

    I am with you on Anderson , I love the player but no way I would trade for him until he proves he can come back and play with a damaged shoulder. Power forwards and bad wings do not mix

    • @ fergy

      Thx for the reply …I think the Bs can still trade negotiating rights prior to the draft ..so there may be some options still..


      • Trading rights almost non existent anymore.

      • @ Chrisms

        They do at the draft at lest they did last year for Panarin ..and OR

        I beleive Hayes ??

      • Panarin no to my recollection. Hayes yes but a 5th rounder. Not exactly a huge haul. Not even sure why a team would do this unless they really wanted to offer 8th year

  3. I think rather than Thornton, I would try to keep Spezza.
    They do need a top 4 defenseman but , there is no way I trade Sandin. He is still junior age lots of time to fill out.
    Most defenseman his age aren’t playing in the NHL. He will be back with the Marlies when the injuries are over.

    • @ Vinnie

      thx for the reply …it has really become aware throughout the league that size on the back end is more important than more offence ..the Leafs D are too small and NOT provididng enough offense this season…however they have enough scoring upfront …they need size mobility and shut down guys not more Tyson Barries …and that is what it seems to me Sandin will end up being !

      Iam not confident in any of the leafs depth on D AT ALL …long term ..and they will miss out on getting a high quality chance at one this year with hardly any Picks in 2020..


      • I respectfully disagree with you, Kal.

        Scoring wins hockey games, not huge defensemen.

        Krug, Fox, Makar, Girard, Hughes, Dumba, Ellis, Etc, etc, etc.
        We’re seeing a change all right, but it’s contrary to what you are seeing.
        The little guys move and lug the puck better than most great big men.
        That trend will undoubtedly continue as the game grows.
        Hockey is for everyone, not just guys over 6’2″.

      • @ Shoreorrpark

        I really disagree ..lol…

        Iam talking about D men not just wingers ..
        as a side note the Leafs have one of the most goals for in the league and are just barely hanging on to a playoff spot …because they also have the 27 or 26th most goals against in the league and that is due to poor D and poor D size and mobility !

        Ive done the research ..most of the teams that end up being in the last 4 teams in the Conference finals have the biggest D men…

        When PiTT won against the Preds they were missing there top 3 D men for almost the entire playoffs ..but almost all of the D men were over 6 foot 1 & 6 2 …and heavy …as was the Sharks ..Preds …Jackets.. Bolts and so on…..Bruins minus Krug

      • Yes, Kal. I’m aware you were referring to defensemen. That’s why I listed a handful of new, younger, future defensemen under 6’2″.
        Ideally you’d deploy 3 pairs, with both a puck moving offensive specialist and a shutdown type defender to protect the house.
        I don’t really have time to explain further, but look at the rosters.

      • Agree. The modern day defenseman’s role has changed. They are expected to retrieve pucks and flip it up to forwards as quickly as possible to transfer from D to office. To get the puck up the ice to the offense of zone and keep it there. Think it as more time your D spends in the defensive zone the better.ie less time /opportunity for the opposition to score. It’s like “protect the house” by making sure that puck is a far far away from it. To do that, you needed shifty players, not big wrap them up 90s style.

        @ RON MOORE

        If you guys work for Kyle Dubas …than YES thats your Mantra…..

        That’s is not the evidence for the rest of the league SORRY GUYS!!

        @ RON MOORE

        Those are called outlet passes ….and the Center man is suppose to do a curl in front of the net for a quick out from the corner at the top of the O ZONE circle or dot and rush the puick out which makes for better posession stats …UNFORTUNATELY …small players on teh D side are having a hard time when a team has a cycle game …and can not get the puck out to a forward and its costing them in this system …especially on the Bottom 6 pairings as the skill level to obtain a puck and hit that outlet pass is harder …

        You will see a move away from smaller D men and revert to bigger D men who are more skilled in the next few years ..teams will start to shy away from smaller D men all together
        Hence why Dougie Hamilton was having a good year …he wa able to do that …Faulk wasnt ! …and as George O says …I WILL TELL YOU …
        I told you so …

      • Teams need a combination of both. Skilled d-men who can put up the points combined with tough d-men who can actually play defence and make things tough for the opponent in their own zone. Or even better, as in St. Louis’s case, a defenseman who can do both in Pietrangelo.
        Look at the top teams. Boston has Krug but they also have McAvoy, Carlo, and Chara.
        Tampa has Sergachev and Hedman is a great 2 way d-man.
        I could go on, but don’t have the time. All the top teams have good combination of d-men who can do both score and defend.

      • @ KEV Jam

        is 6 foot 217 pounds …LOL

        Tampas has NO small D men at all..

        neither does the Capitals… Pitt ..Blues ..Vegas

        and Colorado got rid of theres …LOL


      • That’s swell Kal.
        Inaccurate, but swell.

        I’ll stand by my opinion of having a proper mix of size and speed.

        You just keep up the steady work.


        Not sure where I was inaccurate ..but Ok ???

        Sorry…sir… was just pointing out the facts ..

        We can debate on who the all time best goal scorer is just the same Gretzky or OVI ..

        But If Iam building a team ..I want size on my back end ..not small players ..who are only good for one pass a game ..from behind there own net…

        Did not mean to offend you in any way ..just my own personal preference but as well as I went through all the teams that have finished up to the last 6 teams yearly and all have had the biggest Defesne !

        Just a fact sir ..not offending you in any way ..

        Take care

      • I’m not offended, bud.
        I was blessed with a thick skin.
        I enjoy the debate.

      • I think a key point to the debate was Ron’s. D need to be able to retrieve pucks quickly and get it to the forwards. Quickly.
        Even if you are big, if you don’t get their quickly enough you will be checked and in a puck battle. In your own end.
        In EDM Bouchard is in the minors for that very reason. He is 6’3″ with a ton of skill and can run a PP. He wasn’t retrieving pucks fast enough and is in Bakersfield. Sounds like he is making progress and we should see him next year at some point.
        If you are a bigger guy like Carlo who did that well as a youngster, you play.
        Agree with Kal El that size matters, it does, but if you can’t go get it and get on your forwards stick quickly, you will not play in today’s NHL.
        Krug – 6.5 for 6 or he walks. His call and I think he stays.

  4. If Krug remains a Bruin it needs to be 5 years at 6 million if he wants more go sign with Someone else. Boston has a ton of young D men and can always sign someone at a couple million. I like Krug but he is one dimensional and I see Grzelcyk or McAvoy taking over more of that role also have to remember expansion draft.

    • John Moore is expansion fodder.
      I agree with everything you said, Obe.

  5. You are right Kal El they do need more size on the back end. But they also need some skill to move the puck. I imagine next contract Reilly will be playing somewhere else. Barrie will be gone this year. People don’t usually trade the type of defenseman that they need.
    Dubas is slowly doing it
    They needed a backup and some toughness and he got it. They said there would be growing pains and there is a little.
    What scares me is what is Hyman going to be worth next contract. Plus he is 28 this year that will be a dilemma. Those types of players are what makes teams winners.

  6. Leafs Off Season Strategy – Let me know what you think.

    Try to sign Pieterangelo as a free agent.

    Create salary cap room by trading Marner’s $11M for a combination of draft picks and entry level contracts.

    This gives them the D they need to be successful, let’s them keep their mid – level salary guys, and gives them future prospects.

    • Not happening

      • why?

    • Hi Chris

      See my response below to Augustus wrt trade move I believe would be most fruitful for Leafs

    • I think the TML’s should look to move Tavares to get / make room for one or two defensemen. He is the guy they should never have signed in the first place, and getting his contract off the books now (if possible) makes more sense than giving up on the younger Marner. Toronto has been in salary cap hell ever they signed JT – signing him solved a problem they didn’t have – scoring goals..

      • But what happens when Matthews pulls chute after his contract expires?

        Tavares signed long term in Toronto, because he wants to be there.
        Matthews signed for only 4 years, because he does not.

      • Tavares great signing. Not immediately moving Marner or nylander for d help was the dumb move.

      • @IAGO: Tavares has a full NMC clause so considering what he turned down in immediate cash offers to sign in Toronto, I not only don’t see Dubas ever asking Tavares to wait it for a trade but even if asked, Tavares has every right to say NO

      • I should have looked up Tavares contract before I posted – my bad. I guess we all have an opinion about players, but I think there is agreement that having so much money tied up in 4 players isn’t good – about $8M more than the next highest team in that regard, and about $12M more than the Bruins do. I think that Dubas overpaid for all 4 of those guys and put himself in a pickle. It will be interesting to see how he gets out of this.

  7. Late to the board again today

    Re the D make-up of a contender
    I fully believe that no team can win with 6 D who are gifted playmakers/passers/offensive threats but that are all less than 5’11” and all less than 185lb

    I also believe that no team can win with 6 behemoth stay at home D-men that can “thunk” the crap out of any player; and prevent a ton of goals; but falter heavily on moving the puck.

    There is limited selection of large D-men that are both very effective in their own end and excellent puck-movers and offensive threats. No team can afford 6 Victor Hedmans. Period, end of sentence.

    I believe, size does have some impact in the playoffs for sure as it is a grinding 4 rounds to hoist the SC. It will be very difficult for a team whose overall average size is 5’ 10” and 190 to beat 4 teams averaging 6’ 1” and 208 and better.
    We all know that these extremes do not happen. No team is quite that small on average and for sure there are not 4 straight Caps /Blues types of teams to go through to win the Cup.

    Depth is key w.r.t. chances of injuries affecting successive series wins. A D balance (offense vs. grit/size/defensive end prowess) is needed. .
    Leafs are NOT there yet.

    Leafs can score, no question. Leafs do not have the D depth and/or right balance of skill/size/grit to wade through 4 rounds

    Looking at the “so called” contenders D core (as a whole) right now my opinion plus size stats are:

    D: Speedy, offensive, and fair balance of grit. Size:Top 6: 6’ 3.2”, and 222— Big!!

    Good mix of grit/stay at home and puck-movers. Size: Top 6 D average 6’ 1.7”; and 206 lbs; a tad lighter than league D average.

    Overall the biggest team in the league with full roster averaging 6’ 1.7 “ and 208lbs. D good mix of grit/puck-movers. Top 6 D same height average as Bruins; but average heavier at 211 lbs

    D: Strong in both ends. Great puck movers that can hit. Big: averaging 6’ 3 “ , 215

    Good mix at both ends. With recent acquisition, have shored up some stronger own-zone issues. D size as a whole; taller than League D average- VGKs at 6’ 2.3”; but slighter than League D average— their average D weighs only 201.

    D with all healthy and JJ in press box (here’s hoping and praying); 3 balanced and strong pairings of a puck-mover with a stay at homer; size: same average height as Bruins and Caps but very light— only 191 lbs.

    With JJ in replacing Riikola (sadness abounds ) — top 4- 2 very strong and balanced pairs; and a third pairing horror show (due to you know who). Height increases just a very small fraction; average weight goes up to a bit over 197— still small.

    From the above 6— I’d pick Bolts as having the best D.

    • @ PENGY

      Good post …

      I am going with the Blues..and 2nd Vegas …on D

      Both have decent size…but are in my opinion the most mobile of the group with that size ..and have the skill..to back it up.

      I like the Caps size on D outside of Carlson they lack the over all skill 4 deep…BUT that may not matter in that system as Carlson plays 25 minutes a game and the offense on this team will allow for the caps D to just sit back and make that first pass and grind guys down all game!

      Cant wait for playoffs

      PS …

      Keep an eye out for Crosby interview wit Elliot Friedman on the Golden Goal



      ( IMO )

    • All my ex girlfriends told me size doesn’t matter. So there!

      • Chrisms

        That can be interpreted both ways … never divulge whether your Exes were compassionately sympathetic to you or overtly bragging

  8. I know some folks are down on Sandin in Toronto, but why? The kid is, what, 19 years old? He will get bigger over the next few years, and his increased core and leg strength will improve his skating.

    I think it would be a big mistake to trade him unless you can get a D man back that already plays at the level Sandin’s potential represents. If Morgan Rielly never lives up to his fullest potential, Sandin will be the guy to replace him in a few years time.

    For a team always focusing on a lack of quality defenceman, be wary of trading your top D prospect.

    • Hi Augustus

      I fully agree that trading Sandin now is not the correct move

      I am not saying he is for sure going to be a top 2 guy. Or even top 4.

      I’ve no idea on that.

      We’ve seen only a small window in a 19 year old’s life.

      Those trading for him will have the same window of viewing so his trade value comes with future risk/forecast of performance built into it

      Keep him and develop him

      To me ; the potential upside of developing him and his play with possibly eventually taking off; is worth the mitigated (lower due to future uncertainty) return Leafs would receive now as well as the risk of keeping him and then having him flop and become worthless (unlikely IMHO)

      Leafs top heavy and no issue scoring

      D strengthening needed

      One of top 4 most go to bring back space and improve D

      It won’t be JT or AM now…. if Leafs don’t at least get to Cup by June ‘23…. Leafs then need to rationalize a huge return in June of ‘23 for a 25 year old AM vs the gamble of keeping him for a try in ‘24 (I’m confident in his exit on 1/7/24)

      Leaving WW & MM as trade chips

      Very few teams have the want and space for MM at $10.9M

      Many teams would want WW after his SB is paid 1/7…. he’s then owed only $2.5 M for 20/21 and effectively only a Cash AAV of ~$5M per for balance of contract

      With his numbers/performance this year that should entice a return of a top 3 (now or trending to) D-Man who is early – mid 20’s ; with term ; and at a much lower Cap

      Leafs will have improved D; saved Cap; but will still be readily able to put the puck into the oppositions’ twine

      It’s the way to go IMHO

      • @ PENGY

        Just to clarify ..my post about trading Sandin was a bit misconstrued …I didnt clarify enough and did not mean to create a situation …LOL

        Iam purely suggesting and ONLY if you get a mobile big D back with quality NHL experience ..I like Sandin ..I think he is a quality D man at 19 yrs of age..but there are some things that I can see that could be problems later on…

        DONT MEAN TO GO ON ABOUT THE LEAFS …BTW …I did post on other stiff…LOL

        I also have to say that Iam not a big fan of the pre INJUEY Leaf D pairings ..Iam not a fan of HOLL & MUZZIN on the same pair.

        The tow biggest most mobile guys should not be on the same pairings ..IMO when everything below that is young and offensive minded…

        Martin Marincin has literally hands of stone that guy fumbles the puck more than anyone ive seen in a long time ..

        When healthy id like to see:

        Rielly – Holl
        Muzzin – Barrie
        Dermott – Sandin

      • Pengy – I’m fine with a trade of Nylander or Marner for a strong defender (read top 2 right shot D). Although I believe Marner is a better player than Nylander, I would rather have Nylander and $4M in cap space than Marner.

        But ultimately the other 30 teams would decide who is more valuable in the trade market.

        To All Comments about trading Tavares – He came to Toronto with a complete no move clause so that he could be near his family. Very unlikely that he would agree to a trade.

      • @ Chris

        I agree…

        wander what you could get now that he has had a career year and at that cap hit?

        Pretty valuable chip if they are very serious in a D man ..

        This year however the Leafs secondary scoring has not been good…he has filled that role quite well and I say that reluctantly ..but its true.

        I still hold firm though he is the best option for a true legit Top 2 D man with size ..

        Will see in July ..I guess who gets kicked off the island..lol


      • I think you get a top pair D for Nylander. Not a #1, like a Daughty in his prime, but a guy like Parayko maybe seems doable.

      • Ray

        You’ve made me dizzy

        I’ve had a bromance on Parayko for a while

        Yes please and thank you

        I’ll take Parayko and the extra $1.5 M in Cap space for WW….. ANYTIME!!!

        Geddderdone 👍😁

      • I like Nylander as a player and his salary seems about right to me.
        Marner seems to be overpaid by a few million and harder to trade even though he a little bit better offensively.
        If I was STL and had to choose between Willie and Marner for Parayko I would take Willie because of the $$.
        Not saying STL should or would trade Parayko just he seems like the type of #2 guy with a similar value to a high scoring winger.
        Or a Nurse type.

  9. To me , if you can you move Marner I would do it .Nylander is worth his contract and Matthews is as well. Tavares isn’t going anywhere with his NTC nor should he.
    Marner would be a good fit for someone like Ottawa. Alot of his money will be paid in bonuses soon. Melnyk gets to the cap floor. Colorado would be another good option with some defensive prospects coming the other way

  10. My top three D men of course are Bruins but all were pretty good Robert Gordon Orr Raymond Bourque and Brad Park are we’re between 5-11 and 6 feet close to 200 lbs they all could skate and shoot but thought the game way above average. I would take a D man who thinks the game and can skate above size but if they had both that would be awesome. If I could pick a D man today to build around it would be Cale Makar and he is 5-11 185 but skates like the wind and is smart. Just my 2 cents.