NHL Rumor Mill – April 25, 2020

by | Apr 25, 2020 | Rumors | 45 comments

More Alex Pietrangelo conjecture plus some recent Devils speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.


STLTODAY.COM: In his latest Q&A live chat with his readers, Jim Thomas was asked how the St. Louis Blues could free up sufficient salary-cap room to re-sign team captain Alex Pietrangelo, who becomes an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. He feels the most likely scenario is trading goaltender Jake Allen and buying out the final season of veteran forward Alexander Steen’s contract.

What can the St. Louis Blues do to free up salary-cap space to re-sign Alex Pietrangelo? (Photo via NHL Images)

Thomas doesn’t consider buying out Justin Faulk as an option, in part because it would be more costly to the Blues for much longer than buying out Steen or Tyler Bozak. He also speculated the re-signing of Marco Scandella means at least two players must come off the current roster to re-sign Pietrangelo and doesn’t see Jaden Schwartz being moved in a cost-cutting deal.

If Pietrangelo wants the biggest possible deal, Thomas speculates the blueliner could move on. Despite the possibility of a flat cap next season, he feels there will be enough teams willing to pay big bucks for Pietrangelo. Thomas doubts the Toronto Maple Leafs will be among them, as they have over $76.9 million invested in next season’s cap payroll.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo wants to stay in St. Louis and the Blues want to keep him, but he also wants to be paid what he considers fair market value. Reports throughout this season suggest that’s over $9 million annually.

If he’s unwilling to come down from that or the Blues can’t free up sufficient cap room, he’ll be playing elsewhere next season. Unless the Leafs shed a considerable amount of salary, he won’t be coming to Toronto.


NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco believes the New Jersey Devils could attempt to bring in a short-term veteran winger or two to bridge the gap until those in their farm system are ready to join the roster.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak suggested the Devils could attempt to add an impact defenseman in the off-season. He thinks they’ll try to do that via the trade route, like the New York Rangers last summer when they acquired Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets. If they shop one of their first-round picks, Masisak felt it could be for that impact blueliner or a first-line winger.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs are two cap-strapped clubs the Devils could target in the trade market. The Lightning might be forced to part with winger Alex Killorn or Ondrej Palat to re-sign Mikhail Sergachev. Leafs wingers Kaspari Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson could be available, but Toronto would have to include something else if they want the Devils’ third first-rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Killorn and Palat have no-trade protection and probably won’t waive it to join a rebuilding club. Kapanen and Johnsson lack such protection and would be more viable trade options.




  1. Just saying, no way does a first rounder get spent on Kapanen or Johnsson, that would be silly. And i don’t know what sweetener could make it attractive.

    • What if the Sweetener was Nylander or Mitch?

      Kerfoot, Kappy and Andersen aren’t impact players. They’re throw ins or add ons.

      • Uh yeah that would work, but I see no chance in he11 that Leafs would do that.

    • Maybe Kapanen AND Johnson?

      • Yes one first round pick (no mention of where) is totally worth trading away two twenty goal scorers. I’m sure we have a lot of examples of that too.

      • Actually, I thought I was being facetious 🙂

      • It’s just as tough as sarcasm in text.

    • A 1st rounder for Kapanen or Johnsson? Sounds like something the Toronto media created.

    • Kapanen was a first round pick (#22)
      He’s had a 20 goal season. He plays mostly 3rd line minutes because the Leafs are strong at RW.
      You don’t think a 20G scoring, penalty killing 23 year old 6’1” RW is worth a late first round pick?

      Come on now…

    • Strange Kappy Johsson and Kerfoot probably are just as good or better than what Boston has for second line wingers. I guess that doesn`t say much about Boston`s depth then

      • Lol cmon now, that’s jibberish

  2. I gotta think that odds of Petro staying a Blue are relatively high…. they’ll find a way…. both sides want this

    Space freed up?

    CBO (if allowed) for Steen…. $5.75M; if reg buyout they only save $2.3 M in 20/21 and then hit with $1.2 M extra 21/22

    Reg buyout of BOTH Steen and Allen …. $4.9 M savings in 20/21 but $2.5 M extra hit 21/22

    On the contract side…. many media outlets say he’d seeking $9 M * 6 ….. that’s $54 M…. let’s say he’d take home-town discount at $8.5 M….. $51M total

    My suggestion …… give him $54 M over 8 …. front end loaded ….. final 3 years at $1M (Sal no SB in final 3 years) …. Cap hit $6.75M

    After 5 years …. Petro already has his $51M…. then has to weigh continuing to play starting the year he turns 36; for 3 more gruelling years; for just over League min…. likely retirement; Cap wiped off books for final 3 years👍

    If he’s firm on $getting 6 @ $9 M…. $54…. then do as above ….$57 M (8 years) …. final 3 years as above…$1 M sal per … no SB…. he’s collected his $54M in 5 years; then likely retires (see above)…. Cap hit for those 5 years pre retirement …. $7.13 M…. then he retires ….. Cap gone

    ….. Just a thought

    • Hi Pengy,

      As we’ve discussed previously, I like the way you structure the Petro contract to deal with his “later years”.

      I’m thinking the best way to free up the necessary cap space is to trade Allen (signing a much cheaper backup), Bozak, and Gunnarsson/Bortuzzo. I realize the Blues would get very little in return considering the circumstances, but the $$s would keep Petro a Blue. Regarding Steen, Armstrong has always been opposed to buyouts (I don’t think he’s ever used one), but times are different now.

      • Hi Iowa Boy

        Yeah, I’ve no idea if Blues have ever done a buyout …. but as you’ve said…. times are different…. Covid world is the new world

        I’d think if CBO is allowed…. 90% chance Steen (after heart to hear with Army) is bought out freeing up the who $5.75

        Steen’s after tax loss from buyout is <$600 K…. to play a full gruelling season at 36 (start) and 37 (season end and playoffs)

        “Nudge Nudge Wink Wink”… Army says…. I’ll bring you back as a “consultant”…. $200 K for a 3 year contract …. now his after tax loss is <$300 K…. hmmmm

        ….. all pending this mysteriously bandied about re-opening of the CBO

        ….. if the CBO does re-open… I have already typed up the paperwork for Pens # 3 (I actually prepared that paperwork on 2/7/18)…. 🤞🙏

      • Thanks George—I thought that was the case. I think Armstrong would use a buyout as a LAST resort, not as his first option. I suspect trading Allen, Bozak, Bortuzzo, Gunnarsson, Bortuzzo and maybe even someone like Faulk or Dunn would be explored. I hope the list doesn’t include prospects like Kyrou, Kostin,….

      • The only problem is that St. Louis can only buy out one contract unless another player takes St. Louis to arbitration and wins. Then the blues would get a chance for a second buyout. Another thing is you can no longer structure a contract where the final years only pay league minimum or slightly above to bring the cap average down. Toronto would worked Tavares`s contract that way in a heartbeat, if it was allowed

      • Bob, my understanding of non-agreement with an arbitration award is that, if a team chooses to walk away from one they don’t need to buy out any portion of the player’s previous cap hit. But all they gain in terms of cap money is that previous hit.

        In their case their only RFA with arbitration rights is Jacob de la Rose, a C who they got from Detroit for Fabbri, and who’s coming of a $900,000 deal. He didn’t have much of a year in the 50 gp combined (2 goals I think) so if chose to go to arbitration he likely wouldn’t get much more than that anyway.

      • Hi Bob

        Re contracts with final years low; teams can structure it that way. The restriction is relative drop off in Sal in final years.

        If all years were $1M Sal ; the rest in SB (and all in first 5 years); then there is no contravention

        JT’s Sal this year and for balance of contract is only $910 K per…. the rest is SB

        Leafs could have; if they wanted and JT agreed; to have the same total for the contract; same Sal every year ; and instead of the $7M SB (last year) or even the $14M in SB over the last two; had those SBamounts spread over/on top of the SBs for the first 5 years

    • Pengy,
      The final 3 years at 1m isn’t possible anymore after the last CBO. Vancouver has Luongo’s cap recapture hit on them next season from him retiring from a severely declining salary contract. Nashville would face the same if Weber retired, even though it wasn’t even Nashville’s contract, it was a Flyers offer sheet that they matched.

      The structure now is the lowest salary owed in a given year cannot be less than half of the cap hit. So on 9m per year he can’t have a season where he’s owed less that 4.5m. Signing bonus included.

      I think the best avenue for the Blues would be to trade Schwartz, he has value. Then trade Allen, and either buyout or trade Bozak to a team that can take on the salary with a draft pick or prospect attached. It’s so tight though, they have Dunn to sign too

      • Hi CMAC

        I belive it can’t be less than 1/2 the Sal of the previous or average Sal of the contract

        Luonho’s conteact was different because it was pre last CBA

        See my comments above as to how HT’s contract is structured

  3. Aj no….Kapanen yes if it is a late…just one opinion

    As to the Leafs and the cap trap….just trade Marner for draft picks and low cost players….go after Pietrangelo or other pricey D men….Leafs it is obvious to everyone but Dubas are not structured to win…another opinion

    I have read in other sites the idea of PK Subban at 5 million for some combo of AJ, Kerfoot and drafts picks….not sure how destructive if at all in the room he has been….certainly it has been written so….not sure how bad he played last year or if was a team effort…..Leafs could find our both those things…certainly a high risk endeavour….but so was Marner’s pay and Matthew’s short duration….

    • I am a Devs fan in NYC, I have not heard a peep about trading PK. And happy to keep him. His game was improving greatly after the coaching change. I am confident he will improve dramatically with a new coaching staff next year and hopefully a better line-mate. He was not allowed to play his game for most of the year, which granted is risky offensive slant, but has worked well for him in the past.

      • Kevin,
        Fellow Devil fan here, I agree he played better later in the year. NJD are not in win now mode, and if PK can bring back younger pieces, and picks, even if we agree to retain $4M, I think we must do that.
        Also, not sure who said trade Mitch, but if the Leafs want to do that, I think NJD should absolutely look into the cost and make a proposal.

      • Re Subban, talent doesn’t disappear. Motivation does; I think he needs to be challenged to play his best. That’s where the coach can make all the difference.

    • One thing for sure, OBG, he’d glory in the increased media attention.

  4. PK was-not even on the number one PP on that team . Granted I only saw him a handful of times but he looked awful. Maybe a little better before the stoppage but not 9.5 or even 4.75 better.
    I agree Pete will stay a blue. The question. I have is what is the market. I think with Covid that has changed.

  5. Hi OBD & Kevin

    I’d not heard any PK to Leafs talk ….. but…. since I’m stir crazy from Covid seclusion…..

    1) WW for PK (50 % retained) and latest NJ first rounder (Van’s or Arz’s)

    2) Flip the first, Holl, Goat to Ducks for Manson

    I believe that’s Cap neutral for Leafs and then basically converts:

    WW , Holl, Goat into PK and Manson….. something I would do in a heartbeat

    Sign Soucy as UFA and play either him or Dermott on their “off” side for the bottom pairing

    …. Now that top 4 D …. wow; and bottom pairing ….👍👍👍

    ….. told you I was stir crazy

    • I know your WW is code for someone, but I forgot who? Also, the sad thing is Devs need PK’s salary to help reach the floor – I do not see other free agents lining up to play in NJ….

      • Hi Kevin

        Joe Bowen (Leafs play by play) coined William Nylander as “Wee Willy” (WW) and it has stuck with the media ; and as well with me

        Re NJ needing PK’s hit to reach the floor… the trade actually increases their Cap hit by about $2.5 M ($4.5 M going out (in retained 50 %) and a smidge under $7.0 (WW) coming in )

        Again … crazy time ; but I’d flip WW+ Goat + Holl for PK and Manson …. any and every day; no question; no hesitation

        Leafs can score ; no question ; with or without WW

        Leafs IMHO can’t win a Cup with 1/2 of all Cap in 4 fwds; and need massive improvement on D

        This farfetched double trade answers those main concerns IMHO

    • Nylander…..for Subban (50% retained) aaaaaand a 1st round pick?

      Somebody drank the TSN/Sportsnet koolaid.

      This trade gets the Devils GM fired and puts Dumbass in the HOF.

  6. Pengy,
    Regarding NJD needing PK to reach the floor, if they move him out, and retain salary, even with a roster playing coming back, they should be fine. But if not, NJD can target a team who needs to move a bad contract, and get a sweetener in that deal, to help with the retool and cap related issues.

  7. Hello Pengy,
    Thanks for the WW info! Had not had coffee yet and did not consider salary coming back…Duh. Devs need a scoring winger (particularly RW, but not picky), and have, as Francois pointed out above, would be aggressive to get a decent one

    • WW is a Leftie , but at times has flipped to RW….

      68 GP… 31-28-59

      82 G pace:


      So those offensive numbers plus a net INCREASE in Cap of $2.5 M ; for PK and the latest of the 3 1st rounders….

      Is that fair from your end?

      For the second flip:

      Holl/Goat/1st for Manson …. I’d think Ducks would listen for sure

      • Hello Pengy, I think we would bite on that, but was thinking we might be more interested in Marner, RW thing. What are your thoughts on that potential? I, personally, like to keep players where they are most comfortable, so moving WW or some other current LW to right side is slightly problematic.

        Alas, if they would only let us run their teams…..

      • Daryl, the Leafs would never trade Nylander – who plays RW and shoot right (Pengy) for Subban as the principal asset coming back at any contract rate, NEVER

      • @Kevin Mitch Marner and Freddie Andersen for all 3 of N’J.`s 1st round picks Damon Severson and Mackenzie Blackwood

  8. one Leaf fan’s opinion….Value to contract the worst of the big 4 Leafs is Marner…..probably one of the worst 30 contracts per dollar in the NHL….

    • Hi OBD

      Not going to argue on that … ur logic sound; but MM toughest of 4 to move…. and I don’t see… really tough to fathom … Leafs cup with those 4 taking up 1/2 of Cap

      AM won’t be moved …. even if done the big haul in return would be assets that are productive Leafs in 4-6 years…. out if Leafs’ window

      JT completely in control of any trade

      MM …. return (if a buyer is found) will not net favourably for Leafs

      WW…. after SB paid 1/7/20; is only owed $2.5 M for 20/21 and effective cash AAV for balance of contract after 1/7 is about $5M per…. with his numbers and those finances ; WW is truly the most viable/valuable (in trade return) asset that Leafs have; and as I said above….

      if I was to wave a magic wand and instantly convert WW/Holl/ Goat into PK and Manson with neutral Cap in the exchange ; I’d do it in a heartbeat. 💓

      • If the Leafs are so bad on D why would you trade a 30G scoring first line RW in WW for an aging defensive liability in PK?

        Wouldn’t the Leafs be better off keeping Barrie instead? Is PK considerably better?

        Holl has proven to be a reliable #4 RD…he’s on a reasonable contract too. Why trade him?

        MM is not getting traded. I think there would be quite a few takers if he was made available. How many 90 point players are in the league? They don’t come cheap.

        The Goat has little to no trade value. Doubtful ANA wants him.

      • Hi Daryl

        Cede your concerns re moving WW and production; I’m just talking the overall suggested moves

        Re MM …. yes many many teams would want him …. but its the Cap hit that I believe would massively limit the suitors; and therefore the return in assets

        My rationale for trading WW is that one of the 4 MUST go IMHO for Leafs to win; and Leafs won’t move AM and JT has an NTC.

        So between MM and WW ; absolutely the most tradable is WW; I’ve said this for almost a year

        I’m not as huge on Holl as you are; I’ve not missed a Leaf game in two years ; so I’ve seen all his games . I also Saw many games when he was with the Marlies

        Just my opinion; but I see him as a depth quality /bottom pairing D ; so to me (again just my opinion) he’s a little high on contract to value

        Yes ; for me , PK over Barrie. PK’s recent play was coming around and I do believe that he would thrive with Leafs. PK at $4.5 M Cap (due to NJ 50 % retained) vs Barrie (who will get more and will be for more than 2 years) to me is a much better scenario

        Yes tough to give up WW’s production ; but one of the 4 must go

        Yes Goat not huge value but Ducks would certainly not nix receiving him (RFA) in the deal; and I do think that 1st/Goat/Holl is very close to Manson in value …. not saying Ducks would definitely make the trade; but to me fair value

        I stick with my opinion that

        WW/Goat/Holl through two trades for netting PK and Manson with neutral Cap exchange ; moves the needle much much much more towards Leafs chances at a Cup than keeping all 4 at 1/2 Leafs’ Cap

    • OBD, imo you’re wrong, dead wrong. Pengy, you have WW’s position bass ackwards. Don’t agree with you either on the trade front. Draft and develop, find prospects overseas, build the goaltending depth and trade a wing to Anaheim for one of their d-men.

      • Hi BCLeafFan

        Sorry was typing single fingered and didn’t type correctly …. yes he plays his off wing most (rightie shot playing on the LHS) but does at times get popped to the other wing…. my point was in a pinch he can play both sides

        I’d agree with you on the draft/develop if the window was open longer but I firmly believe that AM walks on 2/7/24 (who knows; if WW is not traded maybe he flies the coup as well the same day; but definitely AM) and developing a D core from within for June of ‘21 or ‘22 is a stretch; leaving the window only in ‘23 or ‘24

        With the moves I was suggesting (again it was just Covid Stir crazy trade fodder) would have Leafs viable for a Cup starting next year…. the D would be absolutely sound (very very good D core) ; we’re good between the pipes; and Leafs can score bunches with or without WW

        The trades of course won’t happen as it is two trades with several players; but if it could be negotiated I absolutely belive it to be way better than status quo (4 fwds @ 1/2 if Cap; weak D core that would be developed internally)

        Re Leaf forward for a Duck D-man ….. Kappy or JohNnsson or Kerfoot will not get Manson or Lindholm; Fowlers Cap can’t be absorbed by Leafs; the balance of Ducks D not worth it

        Now if it’s say Manson and Rakell for WW + Holl…. net $1 M Cap savings for Leafs …. that kind of move is not unreasonable

        Regardless of trade partners; best Leaf move in my opinion is flipping WW and netting top 3 D and Cap space


        Go Leafs Go

      • Bcleaffan kerfoot,kapanen or johansson aren’t getting a good d back they’re not as valuable as leaf fans think

  9. Playoff Proposal:

    Round One:
    1st place teams gets 1st round bye.
    Remaining teams play one game elimination game (2 vs 31, 3 vs 30 etc)

    Round 2: Remaining teams play best of 3 series

    Round 3: Remaining teams play best of 5

    Round 4: Two remaining teams play best of 7 for Stanley Cup.

    Not the best option but reduces games and 8ncreases ability to fit playoffs into the small window available. Also gives all 31 teams a chance, no “bubble” teams would miss out.