NHL Rumor Mill – April 6, 2020

by | Apr 6, 2020 | Rumors | 10 comments

Some Central Division speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary recently posed one offseason question for each NHL Central Division team.

He wondered how far the Chicago Blackhawks can go with their current roster. Given his limited salary-cap space, general manager Stan Bowman doesn’t have many options to bolster the roster. He also doesn’t have a goalie under contract for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having recently received a vote of confidence from team owner Rocky Wirtz, I expect Bowman will continue retooling his roster by adding younger, affordable players. As for the goaltending, I suspect he’ll re-sign Corey Crawford to a cost-effective, short-term deal. He could also shop winger Brandon Saad if the return fetches a young, NHL-ready player.

Alex Pietrangelo’s future with the St. Louis Blues remains uncertain (Photo via NHL Images).

Noting the Colorado Avalanche’s plentiful salary-cap space, O’Leary wondered if GM Joe Sakic might pursue Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall via free agency. He acknowledged it’s probably a “pie-in-the-sky fantasy,” but felt it was feasible enough.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall was linked to the Avs in this season’s trade-rumor mill. Nevertheless, I don’t think they need to blow a lot of money on a big-ticket UFA winger when Gabriel Landeskog does a fine job filling the first-line left-wing role. It wouldn’t make sense to overpay for Hall to play a second-line role. Yes, they could move Landeskog down to the second line, but it’s not a good idea to break up his chemistry with Nathan MacKinnon and Miko Rantanen.

O’Leary wondered if Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill will get creative to find a goal scorer. Veterans Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov have had down performances this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill could address that issue by peddling a defenseman like Esa Lindell, John Klingberg, or Miro Heiskanen. However, I doubt he’ll make such a bold move. He could be forced to find more affordable options through free agency or within his system.

With the Minnesota Wild having replaced Bruce Boudreau as head coach with Dean Evason on an interim basis, O’Leary wondered if they’ll splurge on a new bench boss. Mike Babcock, Gerard Gallant, Peter Laviolette are all available, but GM Bill Guerin said he won’t interview candidates during the league’s hiatus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guerin didn’t rule out sticking with Evason as the full-time replacement. Nevertheless, we can’t rule the possibility he’ll speak with some of those more experienced coaches.

Could this season be Pekka Rinne’s last in goal for the Nashville Predators? He’s been outplayed by Juuse Saros this season. He also has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That depends on Rinne and GM David Poile. I suspect Rinne will be back. He’s carrying a plus-35 contract, meaning a buyout wouldn’t provide any cap relief. He also has a no-movement clause preventing his demotion to the minors and a 10-team trade list.

Rinne could be a compliance buyout candidate if the league and the PA implement that option for this offseason, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Poile kept him around for one more year.

O’Leary wonders if St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo will hit the open market. He’s the heart-and-soul of the club, but he’s also in a position to command between $8 million and $10 million annually. With limited salary-cap space, GM Doug Armstrong might have to shed salary to re-sign Pietrangelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Veteran forward Alexander Steen ($5.75 million annual average value) has come up in the rumor mill as a trade candidate, but he’s 36 and also carries a full no-trade clause through Feb. 1, 2021. They could have better luck shopping goaltender Jake Allen, who’s signed through next season with an AAV of $4.35 million.

Will the Dustin Byfuglien saga be resolved?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, a resolution could come soon. “Now the Players Association, the league, the player and the Winnipeg Jets are all aligned on the termination agreement but it hasn’t been executed yet and because of that the Winnipeg Jets aren’t in a position to announce but the detail work between the league and the Winnipeg Jets is expected to be ironed out in the near future.”


  1. If Buffalo is a willing partner, I think the Blues should consider bringing back Carter Hutton for Jake Allen in a cost saving move. To expand on the trade, I wouldn’t mind Vesey to the Blues for Blais and Bortuzzo.

    • Vesey is a ufa

      • And Blais is five times the player that Vesey is

    • I mentioned this previously. Hutton had his best season two years ago playing in St Louis and last year was his worst season. Buffalo started him 50 games that season and it is just too much for him I feel. He could however be a good, cheaper backup in St Louis.
      If Buffalo thinks Allen is better suited to play 40-50 games, I think it would be a reasonable idea to make the deal.
      Everyone says how great of a teammate and locker room guy Hutton is, so I don’t know if they would want to lose that.

  2. To add to Des Moines Boy,
    Vesey would also cost more in cap space for the Blues to retain than just keeping Blais. He’s also younger, with a much higher ceiling than Vesey.

    • I REALLY like Sammy and the role he plays–he’s a “banger”. But you guys are giving a lot of love to a 6th round, 6 goal scorer. I think the Blues have other options for that role, and have to create opportunity for Kostin, Kyrou, and others, as well.

  3. It’s going to be a tough market to sell Allen in. Unless the other gm is convinced he is the starter they want. He is an expensive back up. A bit pricey for a 1b. And there will be a ton of ufa and trade options. At Louis would likely have to pay a team to take Allen.

    • I think it’s a tough call for STL. Allen has been better than Binnington this year but has been inconsistent most of his career. Binnington isn’t a sure thing IMO, far from it. Plenty of 1 year wonders out there.
      If you’re trying to win a cup, like STL is, it would be nice to have a 1B you trust.
      They need space to keep Pietrangelo, perhaps moving Steen is better way to go if you’re going to hold salary.
      Plenty of goalies out there and easy to say you shouldn’t pay too much, unless you don’t have one and have cup aspirations.

  4. Heiskanen has to be as close to untouchable as there is. The kid is an outstanding skater -elite. What 20 years old ?

    Hall might be line for a haircut . Bad timing . He can thank his agent for that and the waiting game.

    • Agreed on all points.