NHL Rumor Mill – April 10, 2020

by | Apr 10, 2020 | Rumors | 9 comments

Offseason questions for several Pacific Division teams in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary recently posed one offseason question for each NHL Pacific Division team. Among the noteworthy were the following:

What’s the direction for the Anaheim Ducks? O’Leary feels a full rebuild is necessary, but management hasn’t yet shown any desire to go that route.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If general manager Bob Murray opts for a roster teardown and rebuild, he could consider shopping veterans such as Adam Henrique, Rickard Rakell, Cam Fowler and Josh Manson. All of them surfaced at one point or another in this season’s rumor mill.

Henrique, Fowler, and Manson, however, all have modified no-trade clauses. Rakell lacks no-trade protection, but moving him would only deplete the Ducks’ anemic offense.

Given the Calgary Flames’ salary-cap constraints, O’Leary wondered which of their unrestricted free agent defensemen will be back next season. He pointed out that Flames GM Brad Treliving attempted to ship T.J. Brodie to the Toronto Maple Leafs last year for Nazem Kadri before the latter was shipped to the Colorado Avalanche.

Travis Hamonic shouldn’t be too expensive to retain. O’Leary also wondered if recently-acquired Erik Gustafsson might be offered a team-friendly deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $64.5 million invested in 13 players, the choice could come down to Brodie or Hamonic. I also read suggestions they could let Gustafsson walk in favor of retaining the more-affordable Michael Stone.

Will the Edmonton Oilers re-sign goaltender Mike Smith? (Photo via NHL Images)

O’Leary asked how the Edmonton Oilers can build upon this season’s success. GM Ken Holland made some savvy moves to bolster their roster depth this season, but what else could be done?

He felt they’ll have to rely on finding cheap reinforcements while allowing youngsters like Kailer Yamamoto, Ethan Bear, and Evan Bouchard to develop into NHL players. He also wondered if they’ll re-sign goaltender Mike Smith for another year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have over $70 million committed to 15 players, so the options are limited unless they make a salary-dumping move or two. Buying out James Neal has been floated by The Athletic’s Allan Mitchell. Some in the Edmonton media feel Smith’s done enough to earn another one-year deal.

Addressing the goaltending is a question for the San Jose Sharks. Starter Martin Jones has four years left on his contract with an annual average value of $5.75 million, and he’s hurt his trade value with successive poor performances over the last two seasons. O’Leary feels GM Doug Wilson will have to get creative.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Leary mentioned the options of shopping the first-round pick in the 2020 draft they picked up from the Tampa Bay Lightning, but I don’t see Wilson moving that unless he gets an offer too good to refuse.

The Sharks GM has shown the ability to wheel and deal to get his club back on track following a lousy 2014-15 campaign. He could pull it off again.

What does Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom sign for?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is four years at $6 million annually. Discuss!

O’Leary wondered if the Vegas Golden Knights will re-sign goaltender Robin Lehner. The pending UFA goalie was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks at the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless they plan on a giant swerve by trading Marc-Andre Fleury, I don’t see how they can afford Lehner. After two solid seasons, he’ll be seeking a lucrative long-term deal. With over $72 million tied up in 14 players, the Golden Knights lack the cap space.


  1. Flames have a ton of options on the backend. Forbort even looked decent. Stone wants to live in Calgary and will take the minimum and probably a one year . Valamaki’s status is a factor. I would try to keep them all. Even Gustafsson.
    Kylington is the odd man out.

    Canucks need Markstrom or Lehner. Both will cost some money and term. Toffoli might make a deal and be able to fit but one maybe even two of those high priced 3/4 liners will have to move : Sutter, Roussel, Ferland, Beagle Ericksson

  2. Markstrom at 6 million seems reasonable. Without him the Canucks would be a lottery team with no cap space.

    • Maybe but with the glut of starters flooding the market big deals for goalies might be a stretch

  3. I like everyone else am wondering what’s going on. Are we missing the big picture ? If NHL/NBA are all worked up about not playing the last 15% of the season then they are in deep / deep trouble. In the real world people are losing jobs that they will never get back. Factories are closing others reducing 25% / 50% etc. When we are discussing NHL/NBA/MLB/ etc we are looking at the Entertainment Money. It’s the money we spend after rent / food/ health care / education / transportation / retirement etc is funded. When you lose your income ( personal or business) the first cuts in your budget are Entertainment and that includes eating out at expensive eating places. If I am an NHL owner I’m more concerned about how much revenue can I expect next season. I don’t care about what the cap hit is as that is just a made up number (restriction), I am more concerned about how much money will I be getting in to pay bills. What will season ticket sales be like ? Are people going to shell out bucks for Jerseys, caps etc. Will people be cutting out cable TV and how will that effect me. What company’s are not going to be buying commercial time on local or network games ?

    Where can I cut expenses ?
    Do I really need to have a working agreement with a ECHL team when I am already paying for a full AHL team ? etc, etc, etc

    Every market has booms and busts and the Entertainment market just got creamed.
    There are going to be a lot of people / businesses / teams that will not be here in the next year or so.
    It’s all about where will the $$$$$ come from to pay for all this.

    • Well put … and 100% agree. Been beating that same solemn drum for a few weeks now, albeit in different words, when I suggested a couple of times that “the days of the $100 million shortstop, $99 mil point guard and $60 mil QB are history, never mind $10 to $12 mil dollar hockey players.”

      It will take a long LONG time for things to even approach the numbers we’ve seen build up in the entertainment world over the past few decades to the point where they were bordering on the obscene – including sitcoms and dramas on TV, and “blockbuster” films where the “stars” can demand – and get – millions of dollars per episode or for one movie.

      As a consequence, when advertising dollars diminish, ticket prices (games, movies) will come back down to reality.

      Those who have been living high off the hog in those fields will have two choices – take what’s offered as reasonable in the new reality or do something else to feed themselves and their families. I suspect most will adjust, like everyone else will have to do, as – to paraphrase General Patton – it will beat the hell out of shoveling s*^t in Louisiana.

      • In the end George they’ll still be professional sports how much they get paid, personally I dont care, as long as they’re playing and they will be.

      • I agree caper. Someone’s going to get paid. The players the owners….

    • That was really well said and well written.

  4. Valid rant