Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 29, 2020

by | Mar 29, 2020 | Rumors | 12 comments

A recent look at some of this year’s top unrestricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Emily Sadler recently reviewed and ranked this year’s top NHL unrestricted free agents.

Topping the list was Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall. Before last month’s trade deadline, rumors linked him to the Colorado Avalanche and Montreal Canadiens. Sadler wondered if injury fears and a decline in production would prevent the 28-year-old from landing a double-digit salary-cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The possibillity of a flat salary cap next season could also hurt Hall’s hopes of landing an annual average value of $10 million or more on his next contract. 

The Avs and Canadiens would have the cap space to sign him. The Avs, however, already have a top-line left winger in captain Gabriel Landeskog on their top line. They must ensure they don’t use up too much future cap space because they’ll need it to re-sign Landeskog and rising star Cale Makar next summer. As for the Canadiens, they have a difficult time attracting top UFA talent. Hall might not see them as a desirable destination.

Early-season reports suggesting St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo could receive around $8 million annually on his next contract seem like a bargain now. Sadler wondered if Blues general manager Doug Armstrong might use this current hiatus to talk contract with his captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports speculated the Pietrangelo camp could seek around $9 million per season. Assuming a flat cap, re-signing him at that price would eat up all of their remaining salary-cap space. They’ll have to shed salary via trade or contract buyout.

Braden Holtby’s struggles with the Washington Capitals this season could hurt his hopes of landing a lucrative new contract (Photo via NHL Images).

Goaltender Braden Holtby‘s career-low numbers and the emergence of Ilya Samsonov puts his future with the Washington Capitals into question. Clubs could be wary of handing him a contract comparable to Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Holtby’s stats ensures he won’t get $10 milllion per season. Or $9 million per. Or $8 million per.

Despite the Boston Bruins’ shedding some salary at the trade deadline, Sadler believes they’ll be hard-pressed re-signing defenseman Torey Krug. There’s speculation the Michigan native might be willing to return home and join the Detroit Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Wings were the powerhouse of yore, I could buy into the theory of Krug coming home. I’m not sure he wants to be part of a long rebuild. He’s already indicated a willingness to stay in Boston. The Bruins will try to keep him in the fold.

Sadler pointed out defenseman Tyson Barrie‘s struggles with the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, as well as the club’s attempt to move him before the trade deadline. She also suggested a mid-term deal (three or four years) for Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom at $6 million annually could work for both sides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie’s stock tumbled this season. He could end up getting a one-year for less than his current $5.5 million. The 30-year-old Markstrom’s age could be a factor, but the Canucks can’t afford to lose him. They struggled when he was absent with a knee injury.

Florida Panthers’ underrated sniper Evgenii Dadonov will earn a big raise over his current $4 million AAV, thoug the 30-year-old’s age could deter teams from signing him to a long-term contract. Teammate Mike Hoffman leads the Panthers in goals (29) and sits third in points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s talk of the Panthers’ cutting costs and perhaps shaking things up if they miss the playoffs this season. That could include letting Dadonov and Hoffman depart via free agency.

Sadler wondered if Robin Lehner has a future with the Vegas Golden Knights. With Marc-Andre Fleury under contract for two more seasons, the acquisition of Lehner at the trade deadline feels like a rental situation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leher wants a lucrative new contract and the opportunity to be an undisputed starter. Unless the Golden Knights pull a swerve and trade Fleury, Leher’s stay in Vegas will be brief.

Winger Tyler Toffoli has played well since being acquired by the Vancouver Canucks, with 10 points in as many games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Canucks will attempt to re-sign Toffoli. To free up sufficient salary-cap space, they must find a way to move Loui Eriksson and his $6 million AAV.

Other notables include Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund, Calgary Flames defensemen Travis Hamonic and T.J. Brodie, Boston Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak, Florida Panthers center Erik Haula, Washington Capitals winger Ilya Kovalchuk, Minnesota Wild winger Alex Galchenyuk, Buffalo Sabres winger Wayne Simmonds, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Sami Vatanen, and San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A recent report by Sadler’s colleague Eric Engels claimed Kovalchuk was all but assured of returning to the Montreal Canadiens on a one-year, bonus-laded deal. If Thornton returns for another season, it’ll be with the Sharks on a one-year deal.


  1. Free agents will have rude awakenings awaiting them July 1. A couple teams can’t wait to shed bad contracts given out in previous July 1’s if compliance buyouts opportunities become available.

    • Couldn’t agree more Toronto St Pats – with millions in North America losing their jobs – and probably many more to come – it’s going to take an athlete with some giant sized gonads to say “X million isn’t enough … I deserve XX millions …” Instant pariah throughout the league

  2. It will be very interesting to see how recent a contract might be bought out….if some from last year are…..I would love to hear what one of those owners said to their wife in private upon giving up millions of dollars….

    I would like to see the job review of the GM that gave a high contract to UFA or RFA one year and then buys them a year or so later

    It has been reported this week that NHL & NHLPA have been cooperating to a greater extent than ever before. Maybe both sides fear what seems like a battle or war in good times…..seems like a circular firing squad in bad times …..

    We need a diversion….if we can’t hockey games….maybe this will the diversion…..what do self absorbed millionaires on both sides do in rough times

  3. If nucks don’t like markstroms ask there will be a ton of goalie options this off season. A reunion with schneider for cheap? Halak as a 1b ? Lundquist? Holtby? A trade for Matt Murray or Jarry? Allen? Lehner or maf? Lots of potential goalie options out there. Of varying talent levels.

    • Wondering if Vegas will move towards Lehner as their number one moving forward and moving MAF.

  4. Put it this way. Only 31 to be 32 starters soon. 62-64 overall positions. With the emergence of sorokin samsonov Blackwood Jarry merzlkins Francouz… that’s a lot of 1 and 1 bs that elbowed their way in. Others gonna have to move out to make space.

  5. If the cap is flat, Barrie, Holtby, and Hall are all in for a very rude awakening. Barrie, he is a PP specialist who needs to be hidden the rest of the time due to his own zone poor defense. His salary should be no more than half of his $5.5, on a 1 or 2 year deal. No one will protect him in the expansion draft. Holtby is much the same – unprotected in the draft, and his numbers warrant no more than 3 yrs. at $3M per. Hall isn’t worth anywhere near $10M per – think more like 5 yrs. at $5M – $6M per.

    • I think you are right in your verdict but a little tough on the dollars. Barrie 2*3,5-4m, Holtby 3*4-4,5m and Hall either a one year deal at 8,5 or a 6*6,5 deal

    • I think that next year, Colorado Avalanche will move up some young talents like Kaut, Greer, Timmins and Byram, and that , they will have to make some room for them by shedding some dead wood, like Barberio, Nietto, Namestnikov. Maybe, they will consider a trade for Jost and Nikita. I would buy into that. How about you?

  6. NHL lottery: I don’t recall if the marked ball lists get transferred to establish exactly which lotto ball actually winds up in determining the winner….how would you establish if it is from that 6th or 10th slot?

    New Jersey, currently 6TH&10TH lotto spots, acquiring Arizona’s 10th slot. Do they know which balls were designated as originally Arizona’s?
    IF New Jersey wins a jump into 1, 2 or 3, wouldn’t you need to know if the jump was from by slot 10 balls or slot 6 balls to establish where their second chance slot is in the round?

    • Aren’t the original holders of the picks marked on the appropriate number of balls? If one comes up in the selection, they then show who holds the pick – or at least I think that’s the way they do it

  7. I am sure Hall could have stayed in Jersey for more. His agent at the time professed it is optimum to wait until he is actually a free gent . Not this time