NHL Rumor Mill – April 20, 2020

by | Apr 20, 2020 | Rumors | 34 comments

Recent speculation on the Canadiens, Penguins, and Panthers in today’s NHL rumor mill.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey believes re-signing Tomas Tatar, Brendan Gallagher, and Phillip Danault should be an off-season priority for the Canadiens. The linemates are all eligible next summer to become unrestricted free agents. Tatar was quick to credit Gallagher and Danault for the success he’s enjoyed since joining the Canadiens in 2018. He turns 30 in December, which could affect the type of contract offer he gets from the Habs.

TVA SPORTS: If the Canadiens decide to trade Tatar, Jean-Charle Lajoie doubts he’d fetch much of a return. He cites sources claiming the winger didn’t attract much interest before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

Will the Montreal Canadiens re-sign or trade Tomas Tatar? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the reason Tatar didn’t draw much interest before the deadline was Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin’s reluctance to trade him? Regardless, if Bergevin were to shop the 29-year-old winger, he’ll probably have to package him with a draft pick to get a quality return.

Bergevin could re-sign Tatar, but I agree it won’t be an expensive long-term deal. I can see him getting a four-year deal with an annual average value of around $5.5 million.


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel recently wondered if the Penguins are due for yet another change of the goaltending guard. Three years after leaving long-time starter Marc-Andre Fleury unprotected in the expansion draft, the Pens could face another crucial goaltending decision.

Starter Matt Murray and backup Tristan Jarry are restricted free agents this off-season with arbitration rights. Murray won two Stanley Cup for the Penguins, but he’s been hampered by injuries and outplayed by Jarry for most of this season. Vensel believes they can afford to keep both in the short term, but he still mused about management perhaps trading one of them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have over $68.5 million invested in 15 players. They can re-sign both to one-year contracts and take another season evaluating their performances before making a long-term investment in one of them, but it could cost a combined $9 million to do so, leaving little room to re-sign or replace their other free agents. Unless they shed salary elsewhere, they could be forced to trade Murray or Jarry before next season.


NEW YORK POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Larry Brooks was asked about the possibility of the Florida Panthers trading Aleksander Barkov and what it might take for the Rangers to acquire him. Brooks points out Barkov is signed through 2022 with a no-move clause that kicks in following this season and a modified no-trade in 2021-22. However, if Barkov were willing to waive it and the Panthers shopped him, Brooks considers Adam Fox and Kaapo Kakko, along with players carrying no-trade clauses ( Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, and Chris Kreider) as untouchables for the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s media chatter suggesting Panthers ownership could implement cost-cutting measures if the club fails to reach the playoffs this season. That could be as simple as letting Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov depart via free agency following this season, or shopping defenseman Mike Matheson.

I doubt they’ll trade Barkov, but that could depend upon how much of a roster shake-up ownership wants if they don’t qualify for the playoffs. If they take a bolder step by moving Barkov, the asking price will be expensive. Barkov’s among the top two-way centers in the game. The Panthers would want at least a high-quality young NHL player, a first-round pick, and a top prospect in return.


  1. Homer Brooks can name Fox and Kakko all he wants but they will not get Barkov for a song like they when they got Bure

    • Brooks didn’t even remotely suggest Kakko and Fox as trade chips… he said he considered them “untouchables” along with Kreider, Panarin and Zibanejad.

      As a Ranger fan, I don’t think I’d be willing to part ways with either one of those players just yet, let alone both in one trade.

      I’m not overvaluing either player, or undervaluing Barkov.
      Fox played extremely well this year and given Deangelos uncertainty, and Troubas hefty contract, having Fox around is almost a necessity. And Kakko hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential just yet.
      I’m not going to take one year of an 18 year old kid , playing in NYC , far away from comfort, playing bottom 6 minutes on a young team as any sign of a bust. I believe this kid will be an amazing player in a couple of years.

    • And how was the Bure trade a good thing for NY? Lol. I think he played about 30 games for NY.

    • NYR4L, Cory is saying that homer Brooks can name all these players he wants as untouchables but your not going to get a guy like Barkov for nothing. Gotta add something of value and I agree 1000% with him.

      • I don’t think Florida would want Zibanejad, Kreider or Panarin in a cost cutting move.

        Ny has one of , if not top prospect pools in the NHL. There are other pieces that NY could use not named Kakko or Fox.

        If NY with one of the best pools can’t get Barkov…. I guess nobody can. Why are we even discussing it ?

  2. Can’t see as at now a move of Barkov.

    To me ; odds of moving Barkov are prob less than odds of a straight (non compliance) buyout of Bobo

    If Compliance buyout authorized (as has been bandied around the media as a possibility)…. rich VV may just spend the dough and buyout Bobo

    Re Pens goalies …. hoping for the compliance buyout to happen ….. you know who to be jettisoned post haste; re-up both Jarry and Murray…. and I’d love them to sign UFA Dman Soucy

  3. So what Larry Brooks is saying is that the Rangers can get Barkov without giving anything of value up. Wow.

    • Yeah, Kevin, that raised more than a few eyebrows I bet, even considering the source. With all due respect to the NYR, if Talon ever let it be known that Barkov was available, and with the names Brooks mentions off the table, they’d be well down a long list of suitors with a heck of a lot more to offer in terms of prospects/picks while at the same time having the cap space with which to take on his $5.9 mil cap hit.

      But the prospects of that happening are somewhere between slim and none – and Slim already left the building.

    • I think he is say8ng the rangers cant get barkov. He mused on the cost. Then stated that the Rangers wont pay jt.

  4. I don’t see Tatar play very often but it sure looks like he’s had 6 or 7 real consistent years of 20+ goals. He’s been moved 3 times during his career. Lyle and Lajoie say he wouldn’t bring a lot in trade value—why??

  5. I think it would take exactly Kakko and Fox- plus to land Barkov . Why is he a fit in NY ? What a Larry.

  6. Pengy on Florida and owner money

    Isn’t the Florida owner new money stock market rich as opposed to entrepreneurial rich like Jobs/Gates/ or old money rich like the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts…

    If so, that maybe motivating him more than we know…it may make him more impatient than other owners…

    I wonder where the owners money comes that bought these teams How steady it is may have big effects on roster decisions…the Florida, Carolina, Dallas, Arizona, Ottawa money perhaps others….may be more vulnerable and than other teams. The damage being done to the economy right now will show in all sorts of hockey decisions IMO.

    • Hi OBD

      Good point. I’m not sure of his overall asset portfolio but it is an excellent point to raise

      I know that pre Covid he was considered very well off

      Another thing that you’ve now spurred on (in my limited thoughts) is the long term outcomes of Covid 19 on these smaller/weaker markets and any potential necessary franchise relocations down the road….. we (as viewers/aficionados) are thinking in ‘20/21 and 21/22 terms and owners must plan for a much longer horizon …. perhaps QC will get a team ????

      • Pengy, forget about Quebec City ever getting another NHL franchise. The need to infuse everything with liberal doses of politics in terms of “la langue” poses far too many potential headaches – especially when a small market to begin with. If another Canadian franchise were to be awarded if would make far greater sense to put a second team in Toronto – or even Hamilton.

      • Hi George

        No need to sell me on the economics of a second team in the GTA…. this would be the biggest increase in revs over any other expansion/relo by a massive margin. Studies show that it would also increase revs (further) for the Leafs due to the same town rivalry

        You and I disagree (which is OK to do…. discussion is what this forum is all about) wrt QC

        Setting aside the current economy due to Covid 19; I firmly believe that a team in QC would bring much much higher rev return to the NHL than places like Glendale; Sunrise; Raleigh; Columbus

        I note your concerns re language and politics but firmly believe that these can and should be overcome…. assertive and prudent planning and persuasive and politically astute management can succeed

        I’ve actually been in the Videotron centre; it’s very nice.

        Transparency: I am biased to QC in that I think the city is beautiful and love visiting (even with my limited French) it

        Was originally planning on going to Festival D’Ete this summer but it (like everything else) has been canceled due to Covid-19

        My next jaunt there might not be until the Winter Carnival next Feb

      • Pengy, my thoughts on Quebec City as the location of another NHL franchise has nothing to do with the beauty and quaintness of the place or the attractions it has to offer to tourism.

        But it is the seat of a government – seemingly regardless of political stance (left, right or center) – that rigidly applies the provincial law effectively making English persona non grata when it comes to everyday life.

        That, in addition to severely watering down the pool of any qualified coaches or GMs, almost assures that it would be the last place an English-speaking UFA would want to move his family. Nor would too many francophone UFAs choose to go there anymore than they would Montreal for the same reason – THE most taxed province in the country.

        And you can bet that much the same approach would be taken by a lot of draftees – either refusing to go there (remember Lindros?). or seeking to get out at the first opportunity.

        I am fluently bilingual and also have spent a lot of time (a brother in law was an air force fighter pilot out of Bagotville and later a helicopter pilot at Val Cartier) in the region. Love it. It’s just looking at the reality because of the language issues which would put a severe crimp in building any kind of competitive team – certainly not on an even par with the other franchises.

        And the NHL knows that.

      • Hi George

        All valid points Re restrictions/barriers/hurdles etc. but IMHO it is workable and achievable… I’m generally an optimist by nature 🙂…. I can’t say at all that a team in QC is impossible ……“longer shot” , “lower probability” , “farther down the road than sooner” …. I’m willing to acknowledge

        I really hope it will come to fruition but cede that there are many things to address ; the greatest of course being Bettman has zero appetite for another Canadian franchise.

        Any franchise moves are 2 seasons away minimum now

    • So I did a little google research on Vinnie OBD, and it is a bit of both. He founded a company called Virtu Financial, which is actually doing well over the the last 3 months. They are a trading platform and much of their business is in institutional transactions. They also provide a platform for “Dark Pools”, where really large transactions occur with no real time transparency and away from the big exchanges. Learned what those are today! A bit of a WTF moment for me.The transactions become public later. You and I can’t go there. Think high speed traders, derivatives etc. They make money on the transactions so is getting a cut in whatever direction the market is going, and it is really active right now. Business is good.
      Did an IPO in 2015 so I am sure he is sitting just fine regardless of how many shares he kept.
      Looks to me like he just doesn’t like the direction the team is going. Fair enough.

      • Excellent update/insight Ray…. thanks

        Panthers seem to teeter Precariously on the edge of spurting up the standings and free-falling

        Pending any resumption of play…. 3 points behind Leafs; game in hand ; and a head-to-head on the sched…. winning the H2H and the game in hand (if those were the re-scheduled next two games would have Panthers 3rd in Atl and Leafs below the WC line)…. just sayin’

      • My take is still that (1) the economic problems will be felt long after the virus has been conquered. 2) The big picture is that Entertainment has been in a 40 year bull market and now it’s unwinding, the NHL is just a small part of the Entertainment business and each team even a smaller part 3) As jobs disappear so does money and the money left is more selective as to where it’s used.
        I was in Vegas last September for a show and it was huge, look at Vegas now EMPTY, It’s will take years for Vegas to put the pieces back together, that makes the Golden Knights revenue very suspect in the future. I see where West Texas oil is down to $ 11, so at what point does the Alberta Oil Companies stop drilling and lay off high priced labor and how much of that Oil money was going into Oiler and Flame tickets and advertising ?
        Saw over the weekend that Expedia expected to spend 5 billion in advertising this year and now say don’t expect to spend more that a billion. That’s an 80% drop in advertising as in commercials. We are just getting started, long way to go until this unwinds.

      • Boom/Bust, I wish AB Oil traded at West Texas prices. It actually trades between $10 and $15 less a barrel. So do the math. It actually hit a negative today. Basically they have to pay to get rid of it. The OPEC cut back did nothing in reality.
        If the bathtub is full turning down the faucet a little bit still causes it to over flow, and it costs $$ to store it.
        Not pretty here in AB right now.

  7. I guess, if the goal is cost cutting, Barkov might be in play but every team in the league would want to know the asking price. He’s a tremendous player – why in the world would Florida want to move him?
    Pengy’s right about the standings and Florida’s chance to pass the Leafs. Another reason, if the regular season is cancelled, to add teams to the playoff pool.

  8. Extending Danault and Gallagher are no-brainers. They’re still relatively young and they form a big part of the team’s core. As for Tatar, however, I’d wait and see how both he and the team do next season. Putting aside Lajoie’s “sources” (always a good idea), I believe there would be interest from other teams. He’s been a consistent 20+ goal scorer for 7 years now, certainly a valuable commodity. I think the Habs could get a 1st and a decent prospect for him.
    As for a Barkov trade, I don’t see that happening. Trading him would leave a gaping hole that Florida would not be able to fill and it’s not as if the team needs a tear-down. If they want to cut costs, replacing Hoffman and Dadonov with younger and cheaper players would be the way to go.
    If the Panthers were to trade Barkov, they would want a top-flight player who could help them now as well as a 1st rounder and a prospect. So if Fox, Kakko, Zibenijad, Panarin and Kreider are untouchable (as they should become), there’s no way he’s going to the Rangers.

    • Howard: right on about waiting on the season before even thinking about moving Tatar. Habs are starved for goal scorers – did they not lead the league in one goal losses last year – and they will be desperate to make the playoffs.

      In any event Tatar has stated he recognizes how important a good fit is for a player and he loves Montreal. And and 5.5 at 4 years as Lyle suggests would be a good deal for him and the Habs.

      Lavoie is just trying to fill content, at a time when sports writers will soon be posting about squirrels in their back yard.

      • Ya, wouldn’t want to be a sports talk radio guy right now and trying to fill hours of content every day.
        For Canadians who watch TSN, you know who Ryan Rishaug is.
        He does 2, 8 minute spots on TSN 1260 here in Edmonton every day. One is on the AM show.
        They rotate between regular Rishaug and civilian Rishaug. For civilian Rishaug he has been playing guitar and singing a name that tune game and the radio hosts try and guess the song.
        It is actually really funny, and for a sports reporter he isn’t as bad as you might think, but far from accomplished. Gotta give him credit for risking embarrassment on live radio in his home town.

  9. Wow I hope Barkov is available. He would be the perfect fit for Winnipeg as a 1b centre, playing with fellow fin and friend Laine. Jets have the pieces to make a strong offer, haven’t really found a center with chemistry with Laine and have cap space especially if an nhl ready player is offered. (Connor or Ehlers + Roslovic or Appleton or Berdin +1st). It’s a high price but that is a heck of a player.

    If Florida decides to keep Barkov I am curious what they might offer for Laine especially if losing Hoffman.

    • Surely Winnipeg’s greatest need is an improved D, 2.0. They have 5 – 20+ goal scorers in an abbreviated schedule and only Hellebuyck’s stellar .922 save percentage saved them from a d corp whose mothers might not recognize them.

      • They desperately need a 2c and have traded to get one in 3 consecutive years. It’s harder to get centers than d.

        D can be a work in progress. The truth is that their d has never been dominant in spite of recent personnel losses (buff, Myers, trouba, chiarot). They will be alright building again from here.

      • Yes, 2.0, you are right about the difficulty of their finding a # 2 center ever since Paul Stastny left. Fair enough.

        But you don’t want a team that has a top heavy O at the expense of D. Look to the Leafs …

  10. If it cost Ehlers or Connor + pick & prospect there wouldn’t be a substantial cap hit increase. Most of the buff money would remain available. Jets iced a 60m dollar team for much of the season and competed. D is serviceable especially if Demalo resigns.

  11. Bergevin will do everything he can to keep Gallagher, Tatar and Danault line intact; while looking at fact he has Domi coming up and still needs a large scoring centre, speedy two way right hand D and a reliable solid backup goalie.

    Québec city will not get a franchise anytime soon because of the language issue and many players unwillingness to go or stay there when you look at history of last franchise. If NHL wants more teams in Canada and small markets like Winnipeg are working; using that template maybe it’s time to look at Halifax or Moncton or (dare I say it?) both locations splitting the home games. Until Leafs really string together more than two great playoff runs can’t see them being willing to let another team come in and impact their revenue base.

    • One thing I have never understood, Andy, is how and why an NHL team has the authority to “refuse to allow” someone else to establish a team in the same area. Perhaps in the old pre-draft days when teams “owned” any potential NHLer born and living in that area – but those days are long gone.

      I doubt the NYR or LA Kings had much of a say with the introduction of the Islanders and Mighty Ducks, and there should be absolutely NO way for Leafs ownership to deny the establishment of a another franchise somewhere in the GTA. Not in one of North America’s bastions of free enterprise with a GTA population of close to 7 million. Same with Buffalo having ANY say in the appearance of a team in Hamilton, which has a metro population of close to 750,000 – on a par with Winnipeg.

      • It’s all about the local television rights and the ad revenues that go with them