NHL Rumor Mill – February 3, 2020

by | Feb 3, 2020 | Rumors | 85 comments

The latest on Chris Kreider and Tyler Toffoli plus an update on the Blue Jackets in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Jeremy Rutherford was asked if he saw the St. Louis Blues pursuing New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. He thinks Kreider could help the Blues but feels the asking price could be a first-round pick and a top prospect because he could be the top player available.

Acquiring NY Rangers winger Chris Kreider could prove expensive (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Taylor Hall now off the market, Kreider is reportedly drawing interest from several playoff contenders, including the Blues. Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton could hang onto Kreider until deadline day in hope of driving up his value.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty believes Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli would be a good fallback option for the Boston Bruins if they don’t land Chris Kreider by the trade deadline. While he feels Kreider is the Bruins’ top preference, Toffoli won’t cost them a first-round pick and a top prospect. Haggerty thinks the Kings winger is a more suitable top-six forward option than anyone the Bruins come up with internally to address that need.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli lacks Kreider’s size, speed, and level of production, but he’s a versatile two-way forward who can play on the wing or at center. He’s also got Stanley Cup experience, which could prove invaluable to the Bruins. I agree with Haggerty that he won’t cost as much as Kreider. It remains to be seen, however, if Bruins GM Don Sweeney wants the best available player or the most cost-effective option.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline recently examined possible trade targets for the Columbus Blue Jackets and what they could offer up for trade bait. He feels GM Jarmo Kekalainen won’t be in “go-for-it” mode as he was last season, but he will try to help his roster as they jockey for playoff positioning.

Portzline said the Jackets could use a top-six forward. Chris Kreider and Tyler Toffoli could be on Kekalainen’s radar. Other options could include Toronto’s Kasperi Kapanen, New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri, Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau or Montreal’s Tomas Tatar. Forwards Josh Anderson and Sonny Milano and defenseman Ryan Murray could be trade candidates. Portzline also thinks Kekalainen could part with late-round picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given his club’s surge up the standings, I expect Kekalainen will monitor the trade market. Anderson could be the best trade chip to land that top-six forward.


  1. If Josh Anderson is available and healthy, He would be a fantastic acquisition for any team wanting to add skill, size, and good speed for a nice playoff push and run. I have always been a fan of his and his character is good too perfect for the locker room.


      Good morning

      In regards to Anderson ….

      it has been reported that the last round of contract talks went really really bad with both player and organisation…and it left Anderson a bit disgruntled …which has lead to speculation that if they go down another round of talks that it will get messy both with PR ..player and team which will not be good for the fan base…with the recent memory of loosing Bobs and Panarin and trading away Johanson…it is believed that the organisation may want to get assets back instead of going down that path with the player publicly.

      Just what seems to be the reasoning behind the rumours leaning towards wanting to move him …

      But without comments from either side that is purely speculation..in both the media and the rumour mill…

      Is he a $5 or $6 million dollar player per year …probably long term id say …and on the right team …TOP 6 player or 3rd liner …hard to say on a deeper team …id say more $5 million AAV IMO

      Id say any team would want this player in the right circumstances…$$$


      One player that seems to be under the radar in the rumour mill who is an RFA and a contract talk that may be VERY DIFFICULT is Barzal on Long Island …with LOU there …this could get testy this Summer ..this guy is going to want Marner money …and probably deserves it ..2I dont sknow if LOU will pay him and is Long Island going to shell that out or make things difficult …to where as in other options may need to be looked at …when the time comes of course …just poking the bear here …LOL


      Krieders value will be the highest when it goes right down to the wire …IMO …but the scare this past weekend ..may force a decision sooner …if he was hurt long term …the Rangers would never get the value he has right now …this is a tough decision …if I was Gorton ..id force someones hand and say …LOOK …I making a move …last chance at the player ..he goes today ..pony up or miss the boat and make the best deal you can now and take the worry out of the mix ..running the risk of the player getting hurt being out of the playoffs right now …is or may not be the best move and really taking a chance especially with the way he plays …..just sayin ..IMO


      • Marner doesn’t deserve Marner money know way Islanders pay Barzel anywhere close to 11 I could see a bridge 2 years at 6 who does he think he is Pasta.

      • lol – lou will pay barzal what he deserves. that kid is not going anywhere.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more.. it will never happen, but Anderson is exactly what the Pens need, he would give them an element they currently don’t have … Big, young, strong, fearless, everything you would want in a power forward… but like I said, never will happen, Mike Sullivan would rather watch his skill guys defend themselves and sit in the box rather than have a physical presence he could put out there …

      • Got us the last two cups.

  2. In the games played since each team reached the halfway mark (41 games), Columbus, which ranked 17th at that time in the league), now sits in 1st 12 games into the second half with a 9 2 1 19 points record, scoring 36 goals while giving up 22.

    Why would they want to trade a 6′ 3″ 222 lb physical F who turns 26 in May, and is an RFA coming off a $1,850,000 cap hit thanks to his season last year when he played all 82 games, scoring 27g 20a 47 pts. Thanks to a shoulder injury he’s only played in 26 games this year (1g 3a 4pts) but is ready to play again.

    They have to believe there’s no reason he can’t regain his form and so I seriously doubt Kekalainen has even given a moment’s thought of dealing him. That’s wishful-thinking on the part of journalists/fans hoping to see a boost for their favourite team.

    • Two weeks ago, I said Anderson would never be traded. But, since then and thinking about options, I believe it’s a possibility.
      1) Anderson held out during his last contract negotiations. This time, he has arbitration rights.
      2) The Jackets lack draft picks to obtain help via trade.
      3) Power forwards so rarely become available, except as UFAs, so Jarmo could drive up the price, should more than two teams inquire about Anderson.

    • George Anderson will be a RFA with arbitration rights. He will also be 1 year away from becoming a UFA. So if Anderson is still bitter about the last round of negotiations like they think, he could elect arbitration shoot for the moon on a one year deal. Columbus`s options would then be sign the deal or walk away. If they sign the deal, Columbus can`t trade him for one year. Then Anderson becomes a UFA at 27 and Columbus gets nothing for him. Can`t even trade his rights next June nothing that`s why Columbus may choose to trade him now

      • Well, if he’s demanding the kind of money and term that would cause Columbus to deal him now, isn’t that also what the receiving team would – might – face?

        But I see your point. Be interesting to speculate which team could offer the best return and, at the same time, fork over what he and his agent want once the deal is concluded.

      • Quite possible George but without a doubt, Anderson is in the driver’s seat and Columbus kinda shafted him last time around. It doesn`t that help Anderson isn`t having a banner year, which won`t help negotiations. Starting to look a lot like the Trouba situation in Winnipeg

      • Eerily similar. Do they have the same agent by any chance?

      • Good question George I don`t know

  3. Rumor – from a source , Kreider is difficult getting along with in the Rangers locker room , and why the Rangers would trade Kreider ?!? Anyone feel free to comment.

    • I think that source is bs. Everything out of NY is that Kreider is a go to guy in the locker room. He’s been a mentor to younger players , Kakko, Buchnevich etc.

      If there an actual article that says anything to the contrary? Or is this one of those …. a friend of a friends sisters uncles aunts cousin twice removed heard from a reliable sources aunts cousins brother that…..

  4. My predictions:

    Toffoli to the Bruins
    Palmieri to the Flames
    Kreider to the Bolts (history in trades) Athanasiou to the Oilers
    Zucker to the Pens
    Granlund to Columbus

    • Nice list.
      I bet you’re close.

    • So the Rangers would take Taylor Raddysh
      or Boris Katchouk Plus a pick from Tampa

      • Not so sure some teams don’t take it easy this TDL. More depth moves than big ones unless the price drops.
        TB – GM in an interview talked about how TDL acquisitions aren’t that effective. Pointed to STL who did nothing at the TDL and won. WSH who did next to nothing and won. And didn’t mention teams by name but basically said most of the moves don’t move the needle much and are not worth the cost. Doesn’t sound like a guy looking to make a big move.
        EDM – I think Holland will be patient. He has assets, mainly young D, that he really doesn’t want to part with. It would need to be a clear win and not about just this season. Will he trade for AA? If anyone knows this player it is him. I have no idea if he is a fan or not.
        BOS – I think they are the one team that makes a move because they have to. But maybe on a 2nd tier guy. Or, my hope is Palmieri. The 2nd year is big IMO.
        WSH – They just keep rolling add some depth. 7th D type move.
        Having said all that, maybe the price for a guy like Kreider comes down?
        All guesses obviously, just my sense based on who is available, value now put on 1st RD picks etc.

      • @Ray I completely agree. A first round pick is so valuable that unless you are getting an absolute star or good player with term you don’t do it. This cap thing is killing trades. Anderson’s with his speed would look good in Edmonton but he’s really just a slightly better version of Kassian. No way I give up a 1st on this years draft for him. Maybe a conditional pick that turns to a first if they sign him. I don’t offer him more than 4.5 per year either. Even that’s to much for a player who’s only had one 20 goal season with top 6 and first line power play minutes. I really think players are being over evaluated because they have size and play a tougher style of hockey. I would give up a conditional 1st and a good prospect for Kreider. The pick is based on him signing. Never underestimate a desperate GM making a move they will regret.

      • I strongly disagree with the importance of 1st round draft picks. Especially when considering a team going for a cup / win now mode etc. a 1st round draft pick has about a coin flips chance of making an nhl career…..

        Career, meaning playing anywhere in the lineup. 1st line, 4th line. Bottom line they are an unknown. . I’ll take a known talent today, rather than the unknown that isn’t helping you win the spring before you draft him.

        Guys like Toffoli, Kreider are bringing you closer to a cup today than a guy you’ve yet to draft and probably won’t be nhl ready for 2-4 years.

        Talent is talent…. who cares how you acquire it?
        At the end of the day, does it matter how you got a 20-30-50 goal scorer on the roster?

      • @NYR Only 1 team wins the cup and according to a TSN article(google odds of first round nhl draft pick making the nhl) 80% of 1st round picks make the NHL and play at least 40 games. Most of the players traded for at the trade deadline are at best 50 point guys. Not worth a 1st rounder if you can’t keep them for more than the rest of the season. There is a Sportsnet article(just google it) that actually proves that most of the teams that made a major acquisition did not win the cup. Columbus for example last year made a huge mistake. St Louis did almost nothing. In fact St Louis has traded away players like Shattenkirk whom they knew they weren’t going to sign even though they were contending.

      • ESPN did a study a while back. It is basically a 60%-40 split for 1st round success.

        I mean career, 40 games isn’t even a half of a season. I believe the study was over a 10 year span…. I’ll try to find the link.

        A 50-60 point guy that puts you over the top isn’t worth a 1st round pick? Who has nearly as much of a chance of being an insurance salesman in 7 years as he does a hockey career?

        I strongly disagree. Especially teams like Boston, Pittsburgh who have some core players careers winding down.

        They don’t have 3-5 years for a 1st round pick to develop. Their window is now.

      • St. Louis gave up a 1st , 2nd and some pieces for O’Reilly in the off-season prior to winning a cup.

        O’Reilly was the conn smythe winner….

      • Big thing this year ny is the quality of the draft. Considered on of the deepest in a decade. And the rental crop is one of the weakest in a long time. It makes for an interesting deadline

      • I would agree that the rental crop isn’t great, and the draft class is solid. But I still think that teams in the win now mode will roll the dice.and look for help today if they feel they’re close.

        Tampa, Boston, Pittsburgh I believe will drop a 1st rounder this year for another crack. Tampa didn’t do anything last year, which was a bit shocking.

        Imo, at least three 1st rounders move between now and the deadline. Kreider and Toffoli imo are fetching a 1st plus.

      • You are probably right. Deadlines are a crap shoot. Gmjr is looking death in the face… so f it. What is he? Like 70?

      • Good debate boys.
        I agree Boston will make a move, didn’t talk about PIT, but just don’t know them that well other than the obvious star players.
        One of the other issues BriseBois brought up was how the acquired player fit in to system and how it could impact the rest of the lineup. Not always a net gain or a good fit.
        IE Shattenkirk when he went to Wash, took PP minutes away from Carlson. Obvious in hind site.
        NYR – to your point about STL making their moves in the off season. That is when BriseBois thinks you should do it vs deadline. I didn’t elaborate well.
        A team like my Bruins, is at the end of their window and have an obvious hole up front to do better 5 on 5. Makes sense for them. TB and Wash, not sure it helps them all that much.

      • Nyr you clearly stated 1st rounders that made the nhl even as 4th liners. That’s at least 80 percent. None of the players available this year put you over the top to win the cup. If someone gives up an unconditional 1st rounder for Toffili or Reider than that’s there issue. O’Reilly had term on his contract so you make that trade all day. As stated in my comment I don’t give up am unconditional first rounder for a rental. The goal should be to stay competitive not trade away all your high picks on the very slim chance you win the cup. I lived through the 90’s and early 2000 leafs who had that logic. It didn’t work. There’s a great article where it clearly proves that big trade deadline acquisitions don’t work.

      • @NYR teams that won the Stanley cup since 2006 and the trade deadline deal that were made. You’ll see that there are very few 1st round picks and other than one of the trades the players didn’t put them over the top to win the cup. My favorite is Thomas Kaberle to Boston the year they won.

      • Roger to be clear, I said

        “a 1st round draft pick has about a coin flips chance of making an nhl career…..”

        Making the nhl is not really that big of an accomplishment. (As a 1st round investment) If you draft a player and he makes it to the nhl for 40 games… that’s less than a trade deadline deal rental (on a long playoff run). And ultimately it’s a huge fail.

      • And let me be a little more clear. I’m not suggesting teams build this way. Toronto, NY , Philly all went through that in the 90s.

        But there’s nothing wrong with sacrificing a bit of tomorrow to win today. I can’t imagine a Pittsburgh isn’t better off with a Toffoli or Kreider than a Galchenyuk? Or Boston or Tampa.

        I won’t pretend they’re a fit on every nhl team. But they certainly make some teams much better today than a draft pick in 3 years from now.

        Over the top…. ? Maybe maybe not. Certainly make a team better than a player they don’t have….. that may or may not pan out for more than 40 games….

      • I’d also argue that 1st round picks don’t always yield results. See Edmonton, Calgary, Tampa, NJ, Etc.

        I’m not saying I’d prefer Kreider over Mcdavid. But I think a good mix isn’t a bad thing.

    • good predictions SilverSeven

      I believe Kreider to Bolts would be a rental unless they could convince a player with a NTC to waive it

    • Athanasiou’s last contract negotiation with Holland did not go well and he ended up missing most of October that year. I think his agent is Darren Ferris who is also the agent for Marner, Hall and Josh Anderson.

      • Actually his last contract was pretty painless, he signed 2 years@3 mil before the draft which is contract he is playing on now. His prior contract is one that was difficult. AA is an RFA with arbitration rights this summer, having a crap year after posting 30 goals last year so no clear sign who may want him because what do you pay him? As a Wings fan I hope you get a 1st or a good A prospect and 3rd or 4th pick, but in reality I haven’t a clue where other teams GM see his value being.

  5. I see articles around that Bruins besides bringing in a 2nd line winger they are also looking for a Dman with size

    • Yep, and there are 6 more teams willing to drive the price sky high on any and all players made available.

      I’m just waiting for Pittsburgh to open the ball.
      GMJR usually strikes first.

      • Or Lou does.

  6. With Phoenix starting to slide out of a playoff spot I wonder if they’ll put Taylor Hall on the trade market, if there 6 points or more out come deadline day

    • Great question.

      Wonder if they can get back more than they paid?

    • Ya Bill, I thought about that too. Not a good look if it happens, which makes me think it won’t. But to your point they best get it going soon.
      They really missed Kuemper when he went out. If he isn’t 100% they have a big problem.

    • Not so much sliding as spinning their wheels. In their case, at the 41-game mark (half-way) they sat 15th among the 31 teams. 13 games into the second half they sit 16th with a 5 5 3 13 point record, scoring 37 times while giving up 41.

      • I love these rankings (1st half compared to 2nd half so far). Are they published somewhere for the entire league? Any idea how the Canucks fare?

      • Don’t know if they’re available as such anywhere I Want My Curtains Back – I kept records of every team up to and including game 41 and posted those results a few weeks back.

        At that time, Vancouver was 12th overall at 22 15 4 48 pts with 139 goals for and 123 against.

        In their12 games into the 2nd half they sit 4th with a 8 3 1 16 pts record, scoring 38 while giving up 35. Overall, at their 53 game mark they rank 6th – 30 18 5 65 pts 177gf 159ga

        I’ve thought about re-posting the half-way standings when all teams reach the 3/4 pole – 20 games into the second half – to compare who’s trending up with those trending down – or just spinning their wheels.

        If anyone thinks it will have any validity towards the discussions, I’ll do it.

  7. Is there a Jarmo Kekalainen out there this year. One GM that will go all in and chase the cup? The heck with tomorrow i want it today!

    If Sweeney wanted to go all in and based on what we hear for a potential cost

    Krieder for 1st, Heinen
    Toffoli for 2nd, Jakub Lauko
    Borowiecki – Prospect

    Does that move the needle enough.

    For the sake of Chrism i won’t do line combo.😋

    • 🤘

    • Fine with the last 2 on the list. Seems too much for Kreider as a rental.
      Have the B’s soured that much on Moore?
      When is Miller back, seems like a similar player to Borowiecki, wh I really like BTW.

      • Ray good question, personally i don’t see anything wrong with his play. Also don’t disagree with you.

        I do think Krieder is going to get a 1st and a prospect player. Basically I’ve given up on Heinen and hoping other teams haven’t.

      • Reading they say Miller could be back beginning of March but that’s not a guarantee

      • Ya Caper, I think Kreider will get that too as he is the best guy available. I just don’t want the B’s to pay it, but they might. We can live without Heinen, but nice guy to have when injuries hit. Kinda like a utility infielder, glad you have when you need him as he can play anywhere, but when he plays regularly you think you can do better.
        Kinda like a Moore. Meh.

      • Miller will probably get hurt again, and i can see them trading him too to free up cap space. Moore would also free up space too. With Kreider or toffoli i see the bruins adding backes to any of those deals if they’re giving up a first rounder and a top prospect or roster player. In all honesty i can see Clifton getting traded too because of Lauzon. It’s gonna be interesting say the least

    • Can you trade LTIR contracts during season?

      to BOS: Anderson & Dubinsky and low round pick

      to CMB: 1st, prospect & low round pick & Backes

      BOS keeps Duby on LTIR to clear cap room for another deal ??

      • No way columbas makes that trade. Remove Backes and Dubinsky and it’s a sure thing. Boston will need to add a significant sweetener for someone to take Backes bad contract on the books for a bad contract that is still in the books

      • Backes will be almost impossible to trade. Boston will either have to accept less than what this trade suggestion is, or add a significant sweetener. As it is, there isn’t enough there to make it worth it to the CMB’s.

      • They’re stuck with him the same way Winnipeg is with Byfuglien and Ottawa is with Ryan.

      • Only 1 year of Backes’ contract left.

        Far from impossible to move him.

        Anaheim, Minnesota and LA will deal.

      • @ihatecrosby to answer your question you can trade LTIR during the season. You`re pretty much giving the 1st and the prospect to acquire Anderson, so you want Columbus to give Boston almost 20 million in cap space for free. Mighty nice of you, but somehow I just can`t see Columbus being that nice.

      • fair enough guys… good points made

        4th line depth perhaps if Boston adds another piece ?

        so what would that reasonable piece be for both sides?

      • I also had suggesed this remember the Clarkson and Horton trade was necessitated because ownership only had $ to pay a body that they could ice and not sit in the press box.

        I am sure Dubinsky is insured unlike Horton but that was just clicking thru my brain.

        Backes is kind of a Torts guy too.

        so ya another player or better prospect

      • @Bob thanks for the info.

  8. They probably can have Lucic for Backes ..just saying

    • I dunno, Joe.
      1 more year of Backes vs 3 more years of Lucic.

      I keep Backes.

      • Lol….how about PK

      • Caper mentioned that the other day and I’ve been wondering about it ever since.

        I’ve decided I’d keep Backes.

  9. With TSN reporting that Winnipeg is now negotiating a buyout with him to clear cap space and allow him to sign with whoever he so chooses, can someone tell me why a team like the bruins or flames (or any team wanting too) could not buy out a player like Backes or Lucic to clear up space?

    The only difference is that he was suspended by the team, but claimed to be hurt and had arbitration hearing set. I guess I just dont see how they can buy him out like that.

    • Sorry I should have clarified that TSN is reporting the Jets are trying to buy out Buff to free up cap space.

      • Not a buyout a mutual termination of his contract. Buyouts only occur during the summer and doesn`t necessarily save Winnipeg much money. The termination saves them the entire 7,6 million cap hit and makes Byfuglien a Ufa immediately

      • That’s interesting Bob. I read the article and they suggest that he may be looking to retire and that his rehab hasn’t progressed.
        Methinks he wasn’t going to win his grievance or he wouldn’t agree to this.
        Will be interesting to see what WPG does, currently just outside a playoff spot.

      • OK, mutual termination lol. So if Backes (as an example) wants to play and not just sit at home, why can’t he and the Bruins not come to to the same thing?

        Seems like this will really benefit the Jets and I cant understand why other teams would not explore this if it is a thing, which is why I asked.

        A team with tons of cash like the leafs could take on tons of bad contracts and buy players out.

      • I think LA and Kovalchuk made it a thing.

      • So then as a bruins Fan, to me they should do the same thing as the Jets are doing with Buff. I mean they own Backes the rest of this year and 4 mill next year, come to some conclusion and settle and it opens up for next year and this deadline…

      • @Ray according to the report Byfuglien filed a grievance but it never went to an arbitrator. That usually means that he really didn`t have a case and the fact he hasn`t even resumed skating kinda shows he wasn`t or isn`t too interested in returning to Winnipeg. They said he didn’t want to retire because of the 14 million. Now he`s losing it anyway, my opinion he didn`t want to return to Winnipeg. If he signs before the 24th with another club then you`d have to believe that`s the case. We`ll know soon enough.

      • Gonzo apparently they can do that , you just have to talk Backes into giving up 8 million dollars that he`ll never recover. I`m sure Boston would love to terminate his contract.

      • Poor form.

        Backes shouldn’t have to walk away from anything.

        It’s up to Boston to honor his contract or trade his contract.

        I hated that deal the day it was signed.

        I’m also as far from a Backes fan as you can get, but he deserves to finish his career with his dignity intact.

      • Will be interesting to see what they do.
        If the B’s push it they could force his hand and he decides on the $$ or retire. But it seems like they want to work it out, I just don’t know what options there are other than minor, buyout or retire and terminate the deal.
        If he isn’t going to play elsewhere then just buy him out and move on instead of forcing him to play in Providence.

  10. To TOR: Anderson
    To CBJ: Kapanen

  11. To TOR: Big Buff
    To WPJ: Ceci + Johnsson

    • Why would we want a player who’s not going to play this year

  12. Heard from a reliable source that San Jose Sharks D man Brent Burns is on his way to Dallas Stars! What could possibly coming back in the package to SJ?

    • I think your reliable source doesn`t know about the cap and that Dallas doesn`t have any