NHL Rumor Mill – March 12, 2020

by | Mar 12, 2020 | Rumors | 20 comments

Could Islanders center Mathew Barzal receive an offer sheet this summer? Can the Isles afford to pursue a big-ticket UFA like Taylor Hall? Could the Rangers find it costly to re-sign Tony DeAngelo? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman spoke about the possibility of New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal receiving an offer sheet this summer. He pointed to the Montreal Canadiens’ attempt to sign Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho last summer. He also believes there were some considered for Mitch Marner, but he decided to stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and that the Arizona Coyotes would’ve attempted to offer-sheet Auston Matthews had he not re-signed with the Leafs by July 1 last year.

Could New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal become an offer-sheet target this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

Friedman believes we’ll see more offer sheets in the future. Barzal could be a target if he’s unsigned by July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barzal is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract and lacking arbitration rights. The threat of an offer sheet could provide his representatives with significant leverage to secure a lucrative raise on his next deal. The Isles, however, have over $71.3 million invested in 18 players, leaving little wiggle room to ink Barzal to a big raise and address their other roster needs.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple believes the Islanders must find a top-six scoring winger, but it won’t be easy. General manager Lou Lamoriello will be courting a salary-cap disaster if he revisits his attempt to acquire Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise this summer. If he attempts to sign Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall via the free-agent market, he’ll have to cut payroll to make room for his $8-$9 million annual average value. That could mean attempting to move out defenseman Nick Leddy or winger Leo Komarov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the league does to address ongoing coronavirus concerns this season will also affect the Isles salary cap (and those of every other NHL club) for 2020-21. The recent projection of a cap between $84 million and $88 million seems optimistic now.

Assuming the cap reaches $84 million, the Isles will only have around $12 million available, with most of that to be taken up re-sign Barzal and defensemen Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews. Pursuing Parise or Hall could become more complicated. Slashing payroll to add a scoring winger could create more holes elsewhere in the lineup.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently mused over the potential cost for the New York Rangers to re-sign Tony DeAngelo if it goes to arbitration this summer. The 24-year-old defenseman has 53 points on the season. “What do you think each point might be worth now in an arbitrator’s straight calculation — $100,000, maybe?”, asked Brooks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: By that calculation, it would cost the Rangers $5.3 million annually to re-sign DeAngelo. He didn’t have arbitration rights last summer and was forced to accept the Rangers one-year, $925K contract. It’ll be a different story this summer.

With over $67 million committed to 15 players, the Rangers have the cap space to re-sign DeAngelo to a substantial raise. Nevertheless, it could make it difficult to re-sign or replace their other RFAs, such as Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux, and Alexandar Georgiev, who also have arbitration rights.



  1. Brooks…throwing cold water on the Rangers again. They would have to trade Kreider, then not. Now DeAngelo. He’s always stirring the pot. Can we get Tortella to beat him up at the bus stop?

  2. Imagine the cap hell for some teams if the cap actually goes down?

    Toronto, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Edmonton, Tampa would all be in trouble.

    • A distinct possibility, Ron.
      Another point for the league to consider is, if they carry on during the pandemic, season ticket holders might stay away and then argue that they should get refunds for those games, citing their health and well being as the reason for staying home.
      I think the NHL has little choice here but to suspend play indefinitely.

      • The NHL should lock it down, like the NBA. Postpone but dont cancel yet.

        Always better to act than react.


    • You would think – or hope – that any contingency plans made by the NHL based on game cancellations and playoff reductions would take that into account Ron. A full-blown recession along the lines of the Great Depression – or even remotely close – would make pro sports tickets a significant reduction in one’s priorities behind eating and paying rents/mortgages. In that extreme circumstance the entire salary structure of pro sports would need to be drastically lowered – assuming the sports would even continue. $100 mil to pitch a baseball every 5 days? Fuggetaboutit.

  3. Suspending the season is the responsible thing to do.

  4. If the NHL is forced (decides) to suspend play, do the players get paid anyway? Or is this an Act of G-d clause where the players don’t get paid? Is there any logic to suspending the season for 2-4 weeks and then start playing again? Would the players be able to stay in shape? Would the ice rinks be OK with playoffs in July or even August? How bad would the trades made to win this year look when the rentals really only played 4-5 games for the new teams. There really is so much to consider here.

  5. It seems like every team in the league is running out of cap space so it’s going to be hard for these young guys like Barzal to get their fair market value because there won’t be any room to do so. It’s going to be impossible to trade bad contracts for picks and prospects as well.

    • Assuming the league ends the season at this point, wouldn’t many, many contracts need to be re-negotiated to fit into a much lower salary cap for next year?
      All kinds of questions that don’t seem important right now.

  6. How much love would MB get if he signed Sergechev to an offer sheet?

  7. NHL shares 11 buildings with the NBA.
    I think they do what The Donald imposed -Friday midnight shut it down. Alternatively,What if they played with no fans. March madness Is not cancelled and universities must be a germ factory . All morning skates cancelled today so we will see . It would suck if everything ended now.

  8. The last time there was no Stanley Cup
    Playoff was due to the so called ‘Spanish Flu’.
    Almost 100 years to the day.
    Looks to happen again.

    • Last time there were no playoffs was due to the players being locked out I believe….

    • What was it like during the Spanish flu, George?
      We can learn from history, sometimes.

      • LOL. I’m OLD Shoreorrpark – but not THAT old, As I mentioned to someone yesterday, I did grow up through the polio and diphtheria epidemics.

      • Regale us with that old tale about when the first “horseless carriages” began rumbling their way through muddy city streets..

        Sorry George, didn’t want to miss out on the fun 😀

        The league is doing the right thing suspending play. This is perhaps the most frightening thing we’ve seen happen in the world since a false alarm almost prompted the Soviets to launch their nuclear arsenal in the 1980s.

        Entire countries shutting down, travel being banned. It might not seem like it in this “devil-may-care” kind of world we live in, where most people tend to be focused inward and feel invincible against external threats, due to an unprecedented lack of war on the home front (last battles fought on American or Canadian soil were in the 1890s) … but this is pretty damn serious.

      • Gah, now I’m forced to say Pearl Harbor doesn’t count because it was just one day. Besides, it wasn’t a pitched battle, but an ambush.

  9. Ron, you’re right. I’m still in denial.

  10. Boston wins cup because they are in first place plan the Parade with zero fans watching what a world we live in.