NHL Rumor Mill – April 18, 2020

by | Apr 18, 2020 | Rumors | 35 comments

Possible destinations for Dustin Byfuglien, a look at what’s next for the Jets, and recent Blues speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE SCORE: Matt Teague listed the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, and St. Louis Blues as three potential free-agent destinations for Dustin Byfuglien if he continues his playing career following his contract termination with the Winnipeg Jets.

Will Dustin Byfuglien resume his NHL playing career? (Photo via NHL Images)

Byfuglien would provide additional right-side depth to the Canadiens blueline, joining Shea Weber and Jeff Petry. He would become the first-pairing right-side rearguard for the Leafs. If the Blues fail to re-sign Alex Pietrangelo, they could promote Colton Parayko to replace Pietrangelo on the top pairing and slot Byfuglien into the second-pairing spot.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis wondered if the Chicago Blackhawks would look into bringing back Byfuglien, who began his NHL career in Chicago and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2010. If he was willing to come back, they could perhaps sign the 35-year-old to an affordable one-year, bonus-laden deal. Roumeliotis points out Bufuglien might not be interested in playing again, but feels it might be worthwhile to look into it.

THE ATHLETIC: Before the Byfuglien contract termination, Ken Wiebe indicated such a move would free up $7.6 million in salary-cap space for the Jets next season. While he doesn’t expect Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to go on a spending spree, it will give him some options to address other roster issues. One could be re-signing defenseman Dylan DeMelo, who was acquired from the Ottawa Senators before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Another could be addressing their second-line center position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Byfuglien has hung up his skates, all this speculation will be for nothing. But until he publicly says his playing days are over, Big Buff will keep surfacing in the rumor mill.

If Byfuglien returns, it won’t be on an expensive long-term deal. As Roumeliotis suggested, it would be on a one-year deal with a low base salary and bonus clauses.

The salary cap for next season will also determine how much Byfuglien gets and which teams can sign him. Of the teams listed above, the Canadiens could easily afford him. The Blues, too, if Pietrangelo walks and they free up some additional cap room. The cap-strapped Leafs and Blackhawks, however, could find it difficult to fit him within their respective payrolls.


STLTODAY.COM/THE ATHLETIC: Ben Frederickson and Jeremy Rutherford examined the St. Louis Blues’ options following the club’s recent re-signings of Sammy Blais, Marco Scandella, and MacKenzie MacEachern. With over $79 million invested in 20 players for 2020-21, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong must shed salary if they intend on re-signing defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Vince Dunn.

Frederickson suggested shopping goaltender Jake Allen, or perhaps Armstrong makes an unexpected move. Rutherford also proposed trading Allen, buying out Alexander Steen, or making a series of smaller moves to free up sufficient cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Blues intend to re-sign Pietrangelo and Dunn (and I believe they do), they must make a cost-cutting trade, buy out somebody, or both. I think Allen is the most logical trade option, while Steen could become a buyout candidate, especially if the league and PA agree to implement compliance buyouts this summer to help cap-strapped clubs affected by the pandemic shutdown.

Armstrong could surprise us by shopping expensive players lacking no-trade protection such as Ryan O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn or Colton Parayko. However, I doubt he’ll move those guys.


  1. Buff makes his home in Minnesota
    (Rousseau) Why wouldn’t he want to be closer to family ? If in fact he can play .
    Starting the rumour to the Wild.
    Jets will need the money to sign and extend Laine

    • If he plays again the wild or hawks are likely the best fits for the man.

      It would add an interesting twist to the divisional games vs Jets. We would find out about any bad blood that may exist with jets such as Wheeler or Scheifele

    • How much is Laine worth? Looking for some perspective on this. 2nd or 3rd in goals on the Jets the last couple years, made progress on his overall game this season and more potential hopefully.
      Does another shorter term make sense? 3-4 years around 8m in pre covid money?

      • All depends how many UFA years you’re buying. Usually when you have a player of his age and potential you try and lock him in as long as possible because the contract after is his big one.

  2. Everyone seems to be assuming that, with Byfuglien, it’s merely a question of “if he wants to resume playing.”

    He turns 36 next March and, as far as is known, certainly would not have skated in a meaningful game for over a year and a half (assuming the new season starts in the usual time – no guarantee) and hasn’t played close to a full season since the 2016-17 season. He’s also had surgery on an ankle in late 2019.

    So it becomes more a question of “CAN he play again.” You would then think he’d need to demonstrate to any team’s GM and doctors that he is fully recovered and still has the foot speed necessary to play in the NHL before anyone offers a contract.

    • big Buff was awesome , George do you recall his check on Stone a couple of years back? most humans would not have gotten up after that blast.
      He is 35 years old , with an injury history, carries a lot of weight….in playing shape he was listed @ 260 , I would not be surprised if the is pushing 300 now. All things considered it would be one helluva comeback story.
      Retire Dustin, enjoy your health, memories of your career , the $ you earned , hunt and fish a bit

    • Definitely a big if George, both are.
      If he is 100% healthy, and wants to play, he is an interesting option on a 1 year deal.
      If he can still move, he is unique and valuable player.
      Can you say Leafs on a 1 year low cost contract?
      No idea if he would want to go there, or if he can still play, but kinda seems like exactly what they need if the answer to both those questions is yes.

  3. Who walks away from $14m. Yikes.
    Don’t care how much you have.

    • I hear you s7 but over the course of his career 66 million earned should be more than enuff unless he has had some evil people managing his money and hanging around. He strikes me as a ‘simple man’ .

  4. Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a interview that he spoke with Buff before the trade deadline and asked him where is wanted to go. BUFF replied he is happy where he is at and just didn’t want to play.

    This would lead me to believe that Buff is healthy to play.

    He doesn’t like the media or doing interviews cancel Montreal or Toronto

    He loves fishing and ice fishing, so why not Minnesota? Buffalo?

    Or he is just this rare breed that doesn’t have to or want to play anymore and walked away from $15m

    Would love to see him sign with Boston for one season. Not likely but this man is a game changer.

    • I ran into Buff a few times in ATL. Quiet guy, kinda went his own way. So I agree YYZ and YUL are out.

      Never forget his hit on Pronger – talk about the hit heard round the world.

    • If Big Buff wants to play surely he would want a chance at the Cup. That rules out Mtl and Toronto. Minnesota just because of fishing? He can fish just about anywhere.

      • Not all locations are created equal when it come to fishing, and the best lake fishing isn’t generally near major cities. Winnipeg is about as good as it gets in that regard, but if you want the best you head north.

        Minnesota is decent from what friends tell me as well.

        Versteeg knows him and commented he didn’t think he would play again. People change their minds though, and he has the rest of his life to fish and only a few years of hockey left.

      • Reindeer Lake has fish in it almost as big as Buff himself.
        Hardly any people or traffic on the water, most of the time.
        Unless they put a team in Saskatoon,(fingers crossed) you can’t find that anywhere else but northern Man.
        Maybe Edmonton, but its still a jaunt to the big ones.
        60 million over a career is enough to relax and fish for his duration on this earth, but as Ray said, he only has a few years of NHL Hockey left.
        I’d play, then fish.

      • I don’t know about that, Ray. I fish at the grocery store and I never come home skunked.

      • Haven’t been to Reindeer SOP, but want to. Jealous. That’s where the really big ones live! Might be the best Trophy Lake in the world for Pike and Lakers.
        Every June for just over 30 year a core group of us head north in Sask on a golf/fish trip.
        Golf Waskesiu area few days, keep going and fish a few days.
        Used to fly into a private cabin on a no-named lake just off Paull, so not too far from Reindeer. Walleye heaven. Guy sold it, now we go on the Churchill River. Again, Walleye like crazy with some big pike if you know where to look. Plenty of lakes off that river.
        Need to convince the boys to go to Reindeer.

  5. Everybody to the Leafs!!!

    • You come too Ron!

      • lol

  6. Buff to Blues—No Thanks!

    Trade O’Reilly, Schenn, Parayko—No Way!!

    Steen Buyout—Sad End!

    Allen trade to Buffalo or Ottawa—Necessary

    Trade—Gunnarsson, de La Rose, Bozak(?)

    Also—What about the possible trade of Dunn, instead of resigning?? The Blues have Perunovich, Mikkola, Walman as options.

    • Iowa Boy – re Allen to Ottawa – what do you think the Blues should get in return?

      • Maybe Nilsson and a 6th—a veteran backup who was with the Blues already for a couple games.


        Preferably the highest of Ottawa 2nd round draft pick.

        I prefer to free up the most $$$s

      • Allen would be a salary dump no way you give up a 2nd. There are great UFA goalie options this year that you can get for around the same salary that are just as good as Allen.

      • Well Roger–you may be right. Jake is a necessary “salary dump”, BUT he won’t be given away.

        I think Jake is underappreciated and underestimated–an unknown quantity to some.

        Nearly 150 games won with 21 shutouts,
        91.3 Save%
        Current year was really good–2.15 GAA and 9.27 Save %

        I’m not sure that many UFA options are better.

      • That may be so Iowa but there are just as good options in this years UFA goalie market. Why would any team give the Blues anything of any value. Just to do them a favor I suppose. If the blues want to get rid of him it’s because they are doing a salary dump and the other GM’s no that. Either they take a bad contract back or they can keep him and I’ll just sign one of the many UFA goalie options that should be at a decent enough bargain do to the current financial restrictions

      • Since were basing on opinions here are some UFA goalie options.

        Markstrom 5×6 per year
        Lehner 5×6
        Halak 4×3. Probably would love to be a true #1 again
        Holtby 7×5
        Khudobin 3.5
        Talbot 1.5×1 show me contract
        Smith 1.5×1 to be the backup
        Anderson 1.5×1 to be the backup.
        Miller 1.5×1 to be the backup
        Elliot 1.5×1 to be the backup
        Howard 3×3

        That’s just some of the UFA goalies out there. Ottawa would be better off to sign those on short term or as a backup because they have great goalie prospects. Not to mention if you’re going to give up a high pick or prospect why not pick up one of the many solid young RFA options like Gogiev. Allen plays on one of the best defensive teams in the league so I wouldn’t put much stock on his stats especially when you consider he list his job to an unknown and that unknown was able to win the cup with that team. Something Allen never came close to doing with the same team.

      • Oh Roger,

        You’re giving Dorian so much credit—I was hoping that Armstrong would just be able to bamboozle him 🙂

        You win—Be well

  7. Can’t see Habs making an offer to Buff. They’re trying to be bigger true and his experience would bring a lot to the table. They’re also trying to get faster and remain at the average peak years in player age of 26-32. Given the Alzner bust (a contract they want to get rid of) don’t see it happening unless it’s a bonus laden max 1 million and willingness to play as 6th or 7th D or bottom 12 winger (something he’s done before as well) Nope definitely see Bergie looking elsewhere and addressing more urgent need of large, mobile scoring centre, reliable back up goalie and yes a solid, speedy 3-6 puck moving right D.

    • Agree Andy. Would add that I’m not even sure at all Buff would even want to be in MTL. I see him, actually, as a PTO candidate for MB….he has (as you said) other positions to fill.

  8. Why is it when a “juicy” ufa hits the market, he’s going to Toronto. Everybody’s going to Toronto. (the most desirable place to play??) If he’s signed anywhere, he’ll get 7-9 mil. Not because he deserves, but a couple teams WILL pay! Toronto is in no position to take on another salary of that magnitude. All the big names are always going there. ……………………….? get a grip

    • Maybe in the past teams would pay that Vincois – but not now. Not with all the uncertainty about national economies, a tepid stock market, and no guarantees of the general lifting of crowd restrictions until we see a vaccine ready for world-wide distribution. And THAT is at least another year away.

      Besides, if Byfuglien decides to play again, it will be for a legitimate crack at a Cup and not from any desire to get back into the daily grind of a long season. He’s made his big bucks and, unless he’s been stupid, is set for life. So if he were to join a Boston or a Tampa or a Vegas or any other team considered a contender in the next year or two, it will be for a $1 mil per cap hit laden with bonuses. Giving him more than that would immediately label that GM as a moron.

    • I believe I threw the Leafs out there.
      That is because they need D, and a cheap one.
      I also qualified with a couple big ifs.
      He is exactly what they need if healthy and wanting to play.
      And if the Leafs had a better D core they would definitely be a cup contender.
      A healthy motivated Buff would help almost every team in the NHL. Especially a team like the Leafs.

  9. Vincois…..the why as to why every new free agent is going to Toronto has nothing to do with Toronto nor with the credibility of the write….it has to only with how many clics it generates both by Toronto fans and Toronto writers

    If you don’ like it about the only thing you can do is ignore….it you complain about you create clics….if rage against you create clics….

    • And even more so now OBD. With no real sports to report on, so called pundits are digging even deeper into their fantasy bags to put out content.

      Next we’ll hear speculation that OBD and LJ are about to be hired by the Leafs and Habs scouting department.

      Say … do you think …?

      • LJ,

        So 100% correct you are.

        I don’t know who Teague is, but Buff to Mtl is just click bait.

        A diminishing Cap is likely, Mtl has players to sign, and Buff is now going to play 3rd line LD behind Weber and Petry – who is years younger – or displace one of these two?

        Don’t think so.