NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2020

by | Mar 10, 2020 | Rumors | 37 comments

Can the Canucks afford to re-sign Tyler Toffoli? Who are potential off-season free-agent targets for the Sabres? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reported Tyler Toffoli has fit in well with the Vancouver Canucks, though his presence hasn’t translated into wins for the slumping club. The Canucks acquired Toffoli leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline, but he could be difficult to re-sign. The 27-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Can the Vancouver Canucks afford to re-sign Tyler Toffoli? (Photo via NHL Images)

Canucks general manager Jim Benning said he’d explore re-signing Toffoli after this season. MacIntyre observed the Canucks must also re-sign pending UFA goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Defenseman Chris Tanev is also a UFA this summer. MacIntyre wondered if terminating winger Loui Eriksson‘s contract this summer might be a way to free up sufficient cap room to retain Toffoli.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli has eight points in nine games with the Canucks. The absence of Markstrom as he recovers from a knee injury is largely to blame for the Canucks’ recent slump.

I don’t doubt Benning wants to keep Toffoli, bu it could cost over $6 million annually. Mutual contract termination for Eriksson ($6 million annual average value) would certainly address that problem, provided he agrees to it.

Trading Eriksson to a budget club in need of reaching the salary-cap minimum is another option. He gets a $3 million signing bonus on July 1, after which he gets $5 million in actual salary over the remaining two years of his contract.


THE ATHLETIC: Joe Yerdon recently examined several potential free-agent targets for the Buffalo Sabres to bolster their offense this summer. Should the salary cap reach $84 million, they’ll have around $21.5 million to spend. Right-wingers could include Florida’s Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov and Vancouver’s Tyler Toffoli, Taylor Hall and Carl Soderberg are among the noteworthy left-wingers, while centers include Derek Grant and Erik Haula.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have to be careful. While there’s an obvious need to boost their scoring, they must avoid overspending to address their needs. Their biggest need is at center, but this summer’s free-agent market is thin at that position. That could require going through the trade market. 

Pursuing Toffoli would be their best bet, provided he doesn’t re-sign with the Canucks. Hall would be a tempting prize, but they’ve already got Jeff Skinner and Victor Olofsson on the left side, and they’ve invested heavily ($9 million annually) in Skinner. Hall might prefer joining an established playoff contender, though the opportunity to play alongside Jack Eichel could be tempting. 


  1. Hey Lyle…. are there any teams projected to need to make a Eriksson type of trade to reach the floor next off season?

    • Hey, Chris. The Ottawa Senators seem the most likely option.

      • Yeah. I thought they may be the only one but don’t they have to pay Chabot?

      • That’s including Chabot’s new $8 million AAV starting next season. They currently have almost $42 million invested in just nine players for next season.

      • It also doesn’t includes RFAs Duclair, Tierney, Connor Brown, Paul who, combined, are coming off a 7,428,500 cap hit – all will likely be re-resigned at varying increases to a total closer to $11.4 mil.

        There’s talk they might bring back UFA Hainsey for 1 more year at the same $3.5 mil, and they’ll likely re-sign UFAs Borowiecki and Sabourin. Borowiecki deserves a good raise over his current $1.2 mil – probably closer to $3.5 while Sabourin get a modest increase over his $700,000 – maybe an even $1 mil. That adds $8 mil to the above total bringing it to $19.4 mil.

        Then there’s the ongoing concussion issues with Nilsson – if he’s diagnosed long-term (like MacArthur before him) it wouldn’t surprise me to see them bring back Anderson for 1 more year – not at his current $4.750,000 but closer to Hainsey’s $3.5. If so that’s an added cap hit in total of $22.9 mil.

        In total they’re then looking at $64.9 mil for 18 players with 5 to add. One of their draft picks this year might be ready to step in immediately next season along with Batherson, Norris and maybe Bernard-Docker or Thompson.

        What I can see happening is at least one trade before or at the draft involving one or more of those 9 picks they have in the first 3 rounds, perhaps the one they got from the NYI which is only lottery-protected if it somehow wound up in the top 3. That’s unlikely, but with the way they’ve been struggling I can see it being in the top 10. Which would be enticing for some teams not having a 1st round pick.

        Such a trade would probably bring in an experienced D-man with term and not too long-in-the-tooth.

      • Good numbers George. Ott could actually dip into the free agent market and get a legit player or two as opposed to taking a cap dump. Unless Eugene is really playing it cheap. And Eriksson came with a nice sweetener (think marleau like).

        There’s the rumors Florida is trying to cut cost. Could they be interested in the cap dump?

        Part of me thinks and hopes the cap dump to the floor era is over

      • I hadn’t heard about the owner (?) or Talon wanting to cut costs, Chrisms, but I can see why. He has his work cut out for him this off-season. As of now, discarding UFAs/RFAs, he has $60,538,294 committed to 13 players, and 67.9% of that is accounted fr by 6 (Bobrovsky, Ekblad, Yandle, Huberdeau, Barkov, Stralman). That leaves him with $23,461,706 to sign 10 (if the cap goes to $84 mil),

        He has 7 RFAs to deal with, 5 of them with arbitration rights – all except Weegar ($1.6 mil) coming off low ELCs totaling $5,902,083. Keeping all 7 will likely cost closer to $8.5, although some are likely headed to the AHL.

        As for UFAs, he has to decide whether or not to let Hoffman ($5,187,500), Dadonov ($4,000,000), Houla ($2,750,000), Boyle ($940,000) and Pysyk ($2,733,333) all walk for nothing, or attempt to re-sign some. Not counting Boyle, who signed on late, if none come sback he’s in effect trying to find replacements who can contribute 75g 73a 148 pts. Pysyk is also a 28 y/o D with 9g 9a 18pts who plays an average 12:45 a game and is a +4 on the season.

      • Canucks are going to be tight on cap but Im hoping they can get Toffoli re-signed

      • Tyler,

        Toffolli has been a great add for the Canucks. Id resign him if dollars and term are decent.

      • Lots of speculation that trocheck was moved for the return he got was to cut costs.

  2. Benning will need to add prospect or pick tomove Erikssons contract.

    • Yes – it cost Toronto a first round pick to get rid of Marleau’s contract that had only one year remaining. Can Vancouver afford a 1st + to get rid of Eriksson’s two remaining years ?

      • The Canucks don’t have a first- or second-round pick in this year’s draft, and I doubt they’ll most next season’s.

  3. It doesn’t make sense to buyout Eriksson this offseason, will only save the team $333k of cap space for next season. The season after (2021/22 season) there will be a cap savings of $2.333 million though.
    IMO the way to go is to trade Eriksson to a rebuilding team with draft picks and/or prospects that can afford him for next season. Then buy him out the following offseason.

    • I’d bet Petey enjoys having Loui around.
      Might as well keep him.

  4. Someone in Ottawa should an independent study on how many people are sitting waiting for the owner to die, sell or as they say in England “shove off” before buying seasons tickets again.

    Id buy a pair tomorrow. Full season.

    Especially since bozo doesn’t think he’s the problem. “a small vocal minority on twitter”. And when told the opposite was true, he hired an outside pr firm to try and tell him something different. Hires Little…who…tells him the same thing.

  5. I’d say quite a few, Dark G. By managing to envelope himself in a cloud of negativity – with the city administration, the fans, probably the league authorities and, of course, a lot of players, he’s managed to hang a huge anchor around Dorion’s neck. Who, by the way, I think has done a fantastic job overall considering the handicap under which he’s operating. Yes, he has a bad trade in his resumé – one he and a whole lot of fans would like to have back (and I’m NOT talking about the Karlsson, Stone, Duchene or Pageau deals which are working out just fine) – but show me a GM who hasn’t pulled a boner or two and there walks a saint.

    All we can do here is hope that his legendary stubborness gives way to the realization that the majority of the fan base want him gone and that he sells to someone like Laliberté. But I have this sneaking suspicion – and have had for some time – that what he’s been doing is paving the way for league (Bettman) approval of a franchise move to a larger market (hello Houston). Look for that within 3 years.

    • Bettman should be kept as far as possible from hockey, either professional or amateur

      • Bettman is the best thing to happen to
        The nhl since the puck.

  6. As far as I’m aware in the leagues constitution – before relocation can be put on the table, if the market is viable – local ownership has a chance to step up and purchase the team.

    This alone is why I’ve maintained he has to sell or die or even (and this is fine too) give it to his daughter and let others run it for her.
    I don’t believe they’ll relocate.

    He just needs to go.

  7. Hey Lyle if San Jose cancels the rest of their home games will Ottawa still have San Jose’s 1st round pick.
    If Dorion made one bad trade , that must be Duchenne.
    What about Zibanejad and a second for Brassard.
    Or Hoffman to San Jose and them flipping him to Florida for more.
    He might break even if he gets 2 first round picks.
    I might be typing for nothing , Lyle gets to pick what I post, it is his site after all.
    I keep forgetting no negativity towards Ottawa.

    • Vinnie, you know what else you keep forgetting?
      We can read Lyle’s and your posts too.
      He didn’t say anything about OTT, and you know that too.
      Can’t see SJ cancelling games, in the short term, but I can see them playing in another location or without fans.
      If those options don’t make sense either down the road, than ya, all major sports could be impacted.

      • Ray, international sports will be heavily impacted if the headlong tumble to worldwide (major) recession continues, thanks to the coronavirus effects. The stock markets are heading south, airlines, major tourist areas, including cruise ships, are seeing thousands upon thousands of cancellations, the bottom is falling out of worldwide oil prices, theatres are virtually empty.

        I think it’s safe to assume that, if things don’t improve drastically and the virus continues its incessant spread unchecked, a halt to any rise in the NHL cap space will be one minor casualty that will go unnoticed.

        Let’s hope they can get this under complete control sooner rather than later.

      • True that George, another groin kick for AB economy with the oil price war just to make it extra special.
        Gonna be a rocky ride.
        Take precautions young fella.

    • Seriously, I question your mental well being. How many days , months , years can this bs drag on?

      This is beyond beating a dead horse. Jesus Christ doesn’t this never ending bs ever get old?

      Jesus !!!! Grow the f—k up already. This is beyond old!

      As if the dog days of trade rumors isn’t painful enough here?

      We get it, Ottawa has made some bad moves… you don’t like them … you don’t like George…… understood!

      Now take your sensitive ass back to your safe place and stfu!!!

      • Mike rupp.

      • Let’s keep it civil and stick to hockey, folks. We can disagree with each without resorting to insults.

      • I’m usually a smart bum. But. Was that directed at me or ny. Or both. Cause ruppers was meant to be a fun little ribbin.

  8. Hey, Goerge O or Lyle, you might be the guys to answer this: what is Ottawa’s management like, in terms of structure? Do they have a hockey operations department, like a modern professional one, or is it just Eugene, the GM and the GM’s staff? Sounds like maybe there just isn’t enough of a buffer between Eugene and the rest.

    • Augustus, near as I can tell, they are in the process of naming a new CEO after Jim Little was canned after less than 2 months on the job (they’ve gone through CEOs like a proctologist goes through rubber gloves). Apparently there are some allegations stemming from his wife. I guess we’ll hear more in the days coming.

      Their Chief Financial Officer is Brian Crombie, their Chief Revenue Officer is Mark Bonneau, Rob Mullowney serves as senior director of corporate revenue as well as Chief Operating Officer of Belleville, and Carrie Croft is senior director of communications.

      • I gotcha. So Dorion essentially plays GM and President/VP of hockey operations?

        I’ve thought about things like this, and I feel like it would be beneficial for any team to have a bureaucratic hockey ops teams, that deals with everything from directing a scouting department to setting the direction for the on-ice product alongside the GM but with the business equivalent of having “51% say at the table”… and having a GM serve as the VP of hockey ops makes sense.

        Anyway, thanks for the info George!

      • George, Carrie Croft was fired and replaced by PJ Loyello who was Little’s guy. Loyello had his cell phone and computer taken away the day Little was gassed and is currently on ‘leave’. The S**t Show never ends…

      • Holy crap. You can’t tell the players without a program. Thanks Ranzeir. I think. It certainly is a rotating circus and that won’t change until Melnyk is history. Which, unfortunately, I don’t believe will happen. Dark G mentions the league constitution as a barrier to any sudden relocation – but it seems like Melnyk is slowly and deliberately doing everything he can to further alienate the fan base to the point where they’ll be challenging Miami for empty seats, at which point he’ll plead his case to Bettman that the market is no longer viable.

  9. Which NHL defenceman was just the victim of a hit and run against his vehicle? …….

    Cale “My car!” 😀

    • Woof.

      • You mean, “gold” hahaha. *sad tuba sounds*

  10. Toronto needs to address DEFENSE. I was praying for Dubas to trade Tyson Barrie at the deadline even if it was for a bag of pucks. My prayer weren’t answered. I was all hyped up when Toronto acquired him from Colorado, but now that i have watched him play for the entire season i quickly realized why an offensive superstar like Joe Sakic once was would trade Tyson Barrie. Joe knew that Barrie could defend if his life would depend on it. At least in Colorado, Barrie’s lackluster defensive play would be covered by the teams whole defensive unit, but in Toronto, he is being EXPOSED like a Vanilla Ice hardcore rap battle. I firmly believe, had Tyson Barrie not play for the Leafs this season, Toronto would have maybe half a dozen more wins to this point. He is god awful at his position. Toronto need to go after Ristolainen from Buffalo off season. Also try to pry off Radko Gudas off from Washington. We need sandpaper in the back end, not BALLERINAS likes of Tyson Barrie. That is all i have to say for today. Go Leafs Go