NHL Rumor Mill – April 27, 2020

by | Apr 27, 2020 | Rumors | 38 comments

Recent speculation on the Leafs and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently examined the long-term needs of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Goaltender Frederik Andersen will be due for a new contract after 2020-21 and defenseman Morgan Rielly following 2021-22. The Leafs’ defense needs improvement but limited salary-cap space means they’ll need to get the most out of entry-level blueliners like Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren. Cap constraints could force them to part with players they like but don’t need, like winger Kyle Clifford.

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs consider replacing Frederik Andersen after this season? (Photo via NHL Images)

 THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel recently debated whether the Leafs should find an upgrade on Andersen between the pipes. Mirtle feels they should at least explore that option, especially if Andersen seeks a raise on his next contract. He pointed out Robin Lehner could be available in this summer’s UFA market. Siegel still thinks the Leafs can win the Stanley Cup with Andersen, but suggested trading for Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray as an option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersen’s future in Toronto will be determined by his performance this season (assuming it resumes this summer) and next, as well as the Leafs’ cap payroll. According to Cap Friendly, they have over $68 million tied up in just 12 players for 2021-22. That won’t leave much wiggle room to sign Andersen to a larger deal. And if the Leafs fail to advance beyond the first round this year and next, they could consider other goaltending options.

As for adding Lehner or Murray this off-season, the Leafs have nearly $77 million invested in 16 players for next season. With the salary cap expected to remain around $81.5 million, they can’t afford to add another netminder unless they intend to trade Andersen. I think they’ll hang onto him for another season and focus instead on improving the blueline.


THE ATHLETIC: Craig Morgan speculates Taylor Hall, Michael Grabner, and Brad Richardson stand a good chance of leaving the Arizona Coyotes in the off-season. Hall and Richardson are unrestricted free agents following this season. Hall and his agent want to sign with a playoff contender, and the Coyotes’ second-half swoon could hurt their chances of retaining him. They also have to shed some salary to re-sign him.

Grabner has a year left on his contract worth an annual average value of $3.35 million. However, he was a frequent healthy scratch late in this season,  making him a potential cost-cutting candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes GM John Chayka remains hopeful of having productive discussions with the Hall camp. Nevertheless, the Coyotes’ limited cap space will make it difficult to come up with suitable cap space to keep the former Hart Trophy winner in Arizona.


  1. Neither Lehner or Murray are an upgrade over Andersen.

    • Yeah, agree there for sure Ron. What the hell do Mirtle and Siegel expect from a G who’s had a suspect D in front of him his entire time in TO?

      • It doesn’t matter who you put in net with that defence! The number of high quality scoring chances they give up is always bottom 5 in the league

      • I am a Hab fan and cant agree more . I am pretty sure if the Leafs did not have Anderson they would be looking at a lottery pick . Look how bad they are when he was not in net granted there backups are not great but they have only won a few games without him.

      • To get a high quality “D” man or two will be costly and painful. The other GM’s see this and won’t be kind and gentle when the phone rings asking about …….
        First problem – creating cap space pay one or two of these guys.
        Second problem – who do you trade to get them, a third liner doesn’t do it. They also don’t have #1 pick this year.
        Third problem – signing someone as a UFA means overpaying and having no cap space to do it.
        They are going to have to do something bold and crazy such as give up maybe Austin M to LA for Drew D. Giving up a 22 year old for a 30 year old is a killer, you lose 8 years of asset life but the numbers work and it gets you the “D” man you need now. Another one AM to Arizona if they don’t sign Hall for Oliver E-L.
        You usually pay for your mistakes with a lot of pain.

    • Both Lehner and Murray are an upgrade. But it would just continue the goalie abundance on the market

      • Anderson edges both in gaa and wins (his wins are nearly as much as both combined) and is marginally behind Lehner in Sv% .917 vs .918.

        He plays on a team that gives up a lot of shots and chances. I’m confused as to where either guy is an upgrade?

    • Agreed, neither are an upgrade and frankly I wouldn’t want Murray because he’s just not that durable. I’d be looking at value alternatives. Because as we’ve seen, paying goalies can sometimes bite the team in the ass and they can’t really afford it.

      I’d look at Korpisalo after next season. Both him and Merzlikens signed a 2 year deal and they might be in a position to trade one of them after next season.

      Something like a Kapanen/Johnsson (if they are still on the team) for Korpisalo in a 4 or 5 piece package.

      • CMac
        I agree Korpisalo is a sensible target for TOR if they are looking to move on from Andersen. I think it would be interesting if TOR would want to move Kap in that deal. His speed, skill, and upside definitely fit a need. However, I don’t think Johnnson is sufficient to motivate CBJ though as he is redundant to what CBJ already has too much of. I have felt TOR-CBJ could make very interesting trade partners if Dubas needs to or is willing to trade select high skill F and Jarmo is willing to trade his most valuable available assets to an eastern team.

  2. One of these days I my reserve dam re: Dubas will break. His willful blindness or utter stupidity regarding roster construction is alarming. Since the Tavarres signing he has formed a team that cannot win. If I have time I might write an imaginary roster and contracts had Lamello would have done compared to the one Dubas has formed.

    The Kadri trade is a microcosm of Dubas’s thinking. A good , mean 30 goal center goes out and he could not even bring back a big mean D man back. What was he thinking.

    Being a Leaf fan with Dubas in charge is like having Shingles.

    • OBD

      As a TML fan, do you think the pandemic’s potential unexpected cap complications will force Dubas to trade a core player like Nylander or Marner for D (I don’t believe they will trade AM or JT)? Will a combination of compliance buyouts be enough and relying on their young D to develop be sufficient to prevent that? I doubt Marner ever comes available just curious what TML fans think may happen….thanks!

      • I am so in agreement with dealing Marner over Nylander. It’s not because I think Nylander is better. Frankly, his contract is very attractive – but, won’t haul in what we need and eats only 6.9M in cap. Marner’s cap hit is pricey and we can turn that into 2 D’s maybe not both all stars but one for sure.

        I just think Nylander won’t score you what you need and we need to make a change. Tavares will not be traded as the big deal for him was to come home and no chance in hell would they do that. Matthews is here at least for 4 more years so a non-starter.

        At least that is my take.

    • I wonder if the big mean d man would have been suspended when needed too potentially also costing the leafs a playoff round.

    • OBD

      except there is a very effective vaccine for shingles.

      So, in some sense with the disease you have your choice on whether you allow yourself to be abused or not.

      With the hockey team – not so much.

      Question for you – would you trade Dubas, straight up, for Bergevin?

      If not then back of the line for the Kleenex stores for you, my friend.


      • Except you can’t get that vaccine till you’re 50! I’m thirty seven and have shingles on my face and in my eye! It blows!

      • Hi OBD

        I fully see your concerns

        Yes I was against that ridiculous term for the AM contract ; but Dubas’ main/worst faux-pas preceded that (actually helped make the situation )

        However, I think Dubas will be extremely hard pressed to find a trade partner that not only wants MM; but can also validate his Cap hit AND at the same time is willing to provide Leafs a Defensive 3/4 Dman AND a rugged 20 G winger AND net Leafs Cap room. Right now I can’t think of a trade partner that fits that bill

        I think WW is valuable to the team; and I do not undervalue his current or future abilities; but I firmly believe that trading him brings the highest number of beneficial suitors and best bang for the buck trade value

        After his SB is paid, he’s owed $2.5 M in 20/21 and effective cash AAV for balance of contract of about $5M per… add to that his very good production this year!!!

        That trade value ; IMHO ; should easily be worth an early/mid 20’s D man (under contract) either at or trending to top 3D ; and with plenty of net Cap coming back Leafs way

        Regardless; I just can’t see a cup happening keeping those top 4 leaving 1/2 cap to cover 19 spots. JT and AM not going ; it has to be MM or WW; and to me ; WW is most logical

      • Hi Chrisms

        Just reading this now

        Sorry to hear about your Shingles; I didn’t know that the vaccine was limited to 50+

        …. but then I also thought the Chicken pox as a kid prevents Shingles as an adult until Mrs. Pengy got it at 52 (she had Chicken pox as a child)

      • Thanks pengy. I’ve had kidney stones. This is a close second on painful n my life ever.

      • Pengy, I think it is the other way around. You are susceptible to shingles if you had chicken pox, which I did too. I think the virus hangs around.
        My mother got shingles, and ya it’s brutal. If it’s near your eye Chrisms, that can get dangerous from what I hear, so hopefully it works out. I also thought it was only us older folks who got it.
        Efficacy on the vaccine isn’t great either, not a guarantee by any any stretch, but I think I should get it if it improves my chances of not getting it.

      • For all here! If you can get the shingles vaccine… the new one is supposed to be very effective…. do it! Tomorrow! My eye doctor is confident in won’t lose vision in my eye but the virus has taken up residence.

        And yes. If you had chicken pox you are susceptible. It hides out in your lower spine and a variety of things can let it loose. If you don’t want to lose 1-4 weeks of your life to horrible pain and oozing sores get the vaccine!

      • You probably are blowing your shingles out of proportion. It’s probably not that bad! You sound paranoid about it….

        You should have maintained 6 foot social distancing and washed your hands more to avoid that chicken pox! You’re way overblowing it.
        Life goes on….

      • I didn’t know there was a new one Chrisms. Good to hear, methinks I’ll check out.
        When I inquired is was like 50% improvement. Couple years ago.

      • Supposedly the newest one is about 90% effective. I hope I’m eligible due to personal history after this is done.

  3. BCLeaf fan I think strongly disagrees with me….but yes I would trade Marner and would not mind “losing ” the trade if I could a decent defensive D man ( not a number 1) an aggressive forward who is defensively responsible and might get close to 20 goals and significant cap room…I would not easily trade Nylander as I believe his upside is undervalued….He was at 31 goals when the season was suspended.

    IMO the single biggest mistake Dubas has made is the length of Matthews contract…it should have been at least one year longer….Dubas has now limited the Leaf window to 4 and a half years….

    Where is the dominant D man needed to win the Cup coming from without cap space and with Marner on the roster??

    And I think some teams are naturally in need of a Marner type and that some of them have a good D corp. Maybe Colombus, Minnesota, Islanders , Dallas….perhaps others….

    I suspect Dubas thinks he may have one more year to try his experiment in ice capades hockey…He might. He would not if I were on the Board.

    • Oops OBD

      Sorry meant to respond to this post but accidentally placed it above


    • Pengy

      I can suggest one but fully acknowledge the value isn’t likely there for TOR. TOR-CBJ for a deal centered on Savard (3-4 Defensive D) Anderson (Rugged 20 goal+ RW). There are problems as Anderson is an RFA w Arb rights and Savard is UFA after next year. I would love to get Marner for a deal centered on that but doubt it is at all realistic…maybe that gets conversation started on Nylander but I am only dreaming that cap problems get Dubas to consider that return for 90+ point MM.

      • I’ll throw this one out there for the Leafs.
        Wait til July so you can extend him and trade MM straight up for Ontario boy, Douggie Hamilton.
        Sign him for 8 yrs at $9.5M.
        Big RD whose production is outstanding and controls the play on the ice. Underrated IMO. Should be a Norris candidate.

        Save a mil and bit. Play him with Muzzin, Reilly with Holl. Sandin on 3rd pair with Dermott and Lilgeren rotating. Add depth at TDL.

      • Hi Deaconfrost

        I’d love Anderson as a Leaf (or Pen); I do see some trepidation from Dubas re Anderson and injury

        I certainly see the benefit to Savard + Anderson + Cap space freed up for MM; but Jarmo taking on $10.9 M in Cap; $50 M in cash (about $45 M of which is SB) is hard for me to believe

      • Hi Deaconfrost

        I’d love Anderson as a Leaf (or Pen); I do see some trepidation from Dubas re Anderson and injury

        I certainly see the benefit to Savard + Anderson + Cap space freed up for MM; but Jarmo taking on $10.9 M in Cap; $50 M in cash (about $45 M of which is SB) is hard for me to believe

      • Mr Ray

        Now you’re talking

        A flip of MM for DH with Cap savings 20/21 of $5.2 M and about $1.4 M (with your proposed extension) after that … if Waddel will bite on that AND DH will up at your proposed contract …. well .then in the words of a fellow from Omemee ….. “heh heh my my “


        Don’t forget that Leafs could have had DH & Seguin instead of the beleaguered years with Phil!

      • At least they had Kessell for a while Pengy.
        The B’s traded Hamilton for a 1st and 2 2nds.
        Those players are:
        1st – Zach Senyshyn
        2nd – Jokob Forsbacka Karlsson
        2nd – Jeremy Lauzon

  4. First off, I hope everyone here is in good health. If not, you’re in my thoughts for good health. Second….Lyle, you’re a godsend in this hockey-less wasteland. Now, I have an idea, so let me know what you all think. To finish the regular season, everyone plays to 71 games. In the West, San Jose plays the Kings 1 game, Chicago and Arizona 1 game, Vancouver and Nashville 2 games, Minnesota and Dallas 2 games, and Calgary and Colorado 1 game. In the East, Tampa and Toronto 1 game, Washington and Philly 2 games (broadcast those nationally because that’ll be for the Metropolitan title), Florida and Pittsburgh 2 games, Carolina and NYI 3 games, Columbus and NYR 1 game, and Buffalo and New Jersey 2 games. The only outlier would be Boston, but in a 71 game Schedule, they’re already the President’s Trophy winner, so award them an extra win and 2 points and call it a day. Once the playoffs begin, the first two rounds are best of 5, with the conference finals and the Stanley Cup final both best of 7. Thought?

    • Hi Bobby T

      Hope you and your family/friends are happy

      I’ve advocated a few times (much to the chagrin of NY4Life) a 74-76 game sched dropping the 8 teams that can’t mathematically get in at that point

      At 71 ; some teams only play one game then onto playoffs. I’m certain that if it was 71 games that Panther’s would insist that one of their 2 games be the remaining H2H with Leafs…. if Panthers win game 70 and 71 and one is with Leafs…. Panthers in Leafs out

      I abhor the idea of 68 rollback points percentage and I have logic/timing concerns with full/complete season for all (see my logic in morning coffee)

      I believe there is a hybrid solution to net 16 playoff teams fairly; draft fairly; with no change to current playoff format ; and mitigating as much as possible (as much as can be expected) Covid concerns and re-start if season as well as schedule/start of 20/21 while minimizing as much as can be expected; loss of revs/profits

    • Pengy
      great point on the total $. What make me think that would take it on is they offered more to Panarin (ultimately about $14 million more across the life of the contract than he took to sign in NYR) so they have indicated they would pay elite talent. I do think they would pay those $ to a MM player if that can acquire him.

    • Not bad. I like it. I agree with pengy. While a circumcised schedule would have an asterisk next to it… the asterisk would read “pandemic “. Don’t think it would be much of a stain.

      • It would be forever questioned …. no question.

        And the idea of teams sitting home while 23 teams go finish it out? How does that TV revenue, advertising $$$ get divided? Not to mention those 8 teams having to refund ticket and season ticket holders.

        I’m sure teams will have no issue taking all the risks and making sure the 8 teams that didn’t have any risk get their equal share. (Sarcasm)

        This season will be canceled or completely played out. 7 games (roughly 2 weeks ) isn’t going to change the world next year. 75… 82 seriously…. what’s the difference?

  5. OBD, you’re right more than I ever am. Anyway if the Leafs have goaltending depth behind Andersen, things would look a lot better. Campbell may be a solid backup, we’ll find out, but the competition in the minors needs to be much better. Joseph Woll is a solid prospect but Ian Scott, a terrific CHL product, has missed more than a year with a hip injury. If he comes back, stays healthy, that helps a lot.
    The odd forward showing up on the backcheck would help too – those guys should be forced to watch video clips of Bergeron and Marchand every day until they start playing the right way.
    If all that happens, then we can talk about the defence.

    • Yes you have to play team defence but everyone can see how poor the dmen are in their own zone! Muzzin is solid but not a shutdown guy, the rest of the d including the guys coming up are more offensive oriented