NHL Rumor Mill – April 7, 2020

by | Apr 7, 2020 | Rumors | 12 comments

Some recent Metropolitan Division speculation in the NHL rumor mill.

THE SCORE: Josh Wegman recently looked at a pressing offseason question for each NHL Metropolitan Division team. Among them:

Wegman wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes might attempt to sign Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner via free agency. The Hurricanes’ current goalie tandem of James Reimer and Petr Mrazek is under contract for one more season, but garnered mixed reviews in 2019-20.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner would be an upgrade between the pipes for the Hurricanes, but signing him could be difficult. Wegman suggested Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell had salary-cap space at his disposal. With over $72 million invested in 15 players, he’ll have around $9 million to work with if the cap remains at $81.5 million next season.

Restricted free agents Warren Foegele and Haydn Fleury are affordable re-signings, but Waddell must re-sign or replace unrestricted free agents like Justin Williams, Sami Vatanen, Joel Edmundson, and Trevor van Riemsdyk. He’ll also have to dump one of his current goalies to make room for Lehner.

Wegman also mused over Josh Anderson‘s future with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The 25-year-old winger struggled before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. Nevertheless, he frequently surfaced in the rumor mill before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun has suggested Anderson could be moved in the offseason. Wegman believes the Jackets would be selling low. Anderson has arbitration rights and is a year away from UFA eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $68 million invested in 17 players and Pierre-Luc Dubois, Elvis Merzlikins, and Joonas Korpisalo also slated to become restricted free agents, the Jackets might be forced to move Anderson for salary-cap purposes. On the other hand, if they re-sign those three to affordable deals, perhaps they ink Anderson to a one-year deal and see how next season unfolds.

What to do with Henrik Lundqvist is a significant offseason question for the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

How the New York Rangers goaltending situation plays out is another intriguing question. Igor Shesterkin has taken over as their starter, while long-time Ranger Henrik Lundqvist has a year left on his contract. Alexandar Georgiev, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent. Wegman pondered the possibility of buying out Lundqvist or trading Georgiev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lundqvist could spare the Rangers the trouble and retire. If he doesn’t, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes he’ll be bought out. It would be a painful decision, but one that makes the most sense.

Wegman speculated over Shayne Gostisbehere‘s future with the Philadelphia Flyers. The 26-year-old defenseman has fallen out of favor and he could benefit from a fresh start. The Flyers would be selling low, but moving him would give the Flyers flexibility to re-sign Justin Braun, Robert Hagg, and Philippe Myers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in “Ghost Bear’s” performance and his $4.5-million annual average value through 2022-23 could make him a tough sell.

The Pittsburgh Penguins could face a tough choice with goaltenders Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry. Both are restricted free agents with arbitration rights. If they re-sign both, they risk losing one of them to the 2021 Seattle expansion draft. The Penguins are tight against the cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Pens have over $68 million committed to 15 players. Jarry has put up better numbers this season, but Murray has more experience and two Stanley Cup championships on his resume. GM Jim Rutherford faced a difficult decision before the 2017 Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft between Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury. He opted for Murray back then but could stick with Jarry this time around.

If the Washington Capitals are comfortable with Ilya Samsonov taking over as their full-time starting goalie from Braden Holtby, Wegman speculates they could sign an inexpensive backup. They could then use the saving to make a bit of a splash in the free-agent market on a one-year contract.



  1. TVR and Edmundson should be reasonable to re-up and are depth. The Canes only brought in Vatanen because of the Hamilton injury. Lehner could put them as One of Cup favourites. Lehner will get his money.

    Ghostisbehere to the Habs with a little money held for a conditional pick.

    • the Canes have Slavin, Skjei, and Gardiner on the left side, with Bean ready for a slot, and Fleury in the mix. As much as I like Edmundson, I just don’t see a fit there. Unless you find a taker for Gardiner, which I just can’t see happening. And even then there’s likely no room for Edmundson.

      On the right they have Hamilton and Pesce and TVR, with (likely?) Keane next in line. I think one of TVR or Vatanen could make sense here.

      armchair GM-ing, I’d go
      LD Slavin, Skjei, Fleury/Bean
      RD Hamilton, Pesce, Keane.

      try to save the Vatanen/Gardiner/Edmundson/TVR $ for other purposes. Of those 4, I’d probably want Vatanen back the most if reasonably affordable

      • Whalercane, I agree with who you think they may keep. I’m concerned about how long it may take Hamilton and Pesce to regain their high level of play next year. I’m also concerned about the group you listed being physical enough.

        Waddell made too many changes on D in the off season. The chemistry was never right. He realized his mistake and started trying to fix it but couldn’t find the right deal and then lost Hamilton. Signing Gardiner and not keeping Faulk, at least until the trade deadline, was a mistake. Edmundson was a pleasant surprise but is bottom 4. I think Gardiner can still play 2nd pairing minutes with the right partner and the right team. His contract isn’t out of line if he plays top 4. He is bottom pairing at best with Carolina. I think Fleury’s current level of play and upside are better than Edmundson and Gardiner. Bean has earned his shot and will be more affordable. It hurt the team and player development by not having a defenseman waiver exempt for most of the season. They wont be able to afford both Vatenen and Hamilton’s new contract so I don’t think he is an option.

      • good point, GP, I hadn’t thought about the damage done by having to sit someone in the press box every night. At times, you just need someone serviceable, cheap, and waiver exempt.

        In hindsight you might be right about the Faulk deal, though I liked it at the time. Effectively traded Faulk for Gardiner, a year of Edmundson, and got Bokk who they really like. In fact, I guess I still like it, since we couldn’t afford Faulk at his current rate anyway.

        I hope I didn’t come across as ragging on Edmundson – I think he’s been excellent at what he was asked to do. I just don’t see any way they keep him. There just isn’t a slot available. Especially if he’s looking for something in the $3M range he’s already getting. He’ll be a 2nd pair somewhere, but he’s maybe 3rd and probably 4th pair here. All things being equal, I’d probably rather have Edmundson and find a way to jettison Gardiner. Alas, all things are not equal.

  2. Hi Lyle…thanks for continuing the great coverage and providing a much needed distraction during the pandemic! I am a Columbus resident and avid CBJ fan. I feel compelled to say multiple aspects of Wegman’s take on Josh Anderson aren’t particularly accurate. First, the narrative that his production was poor and then he got injured is misleading if not simply incorrect. Portzline reported Anderson was playing through a shoulder injury the entire season which was confirmed by Jarmo when the team reported on the decision for Anderson to have season-ending surgery. The existing injury was exacerbated during the fight in Ottawa in Dec after which he never resumed playing. He underperformed while trying to play through an injury in a major contract year rather than he underperformed then got injured. With regard to selling low, Wegman is certainly welcome to his opinion. However, LeBrun reported in the Athletic there is at least 12 teams with significant interest in Anderson. Additionally, multiple legitimate reports indicated there was dialogue on acquiring Anderson with Colorado, Calgary, Boston, Toronto, and Buffalo leading up the trade deadline and the cost/assets being discussed were significant. The final report prior to the deadline was Buffalo-CBJ were in deep discussion but couldn’t finalize the deal. Come draft time we may see how much of this was true vs smoke and mirrors. However, after 18 years in CBus, I frequently find quick hit national takes of CBJ is somewhat superficial and/or misinformed. Thanks again for your great coverage and hop everyone is safe, healthy, and well during the pandemic.

    • Solid post!
      Anderson has the goods.

    • Agreed, that was a solid post DeaconFrost. Portzline is a very good reporter on CLB, he does spots on Edmonton radio, TSN 1260, when they are in the news or are playing the Oilers. Knows the team and I think he was the leader on the Jack Johnston story back in the day.
      Anderson would look great in Boston, but since the got Kase, that ship likely sailed. Would have preferred Anderson if healthy but they needed a RW for the playoffs this year.
      Oilers seem like a good fit, but they then got AA. I would prefer Anderson over him too.
      AA and JP for Anderson?
      Or CLB just keeps him, but they could use more assets up front.

      • Hey Ray
        It is likely CBJ will be moving assets (Anderson, a DMan or 2…Savard?, Korpisalo, select prospects) for upgrades to the forwards if they are available. Not sure if the fit is there w EDM as the assets they have that are of interest (RNH for example) are either unavailable or likely too valuable for the pieces CBJ are willing to part with. Wold be very interesting to see if CBJ and EDM could be trade partners this off season

      • Well if your gonna suggest Savard, a team that could really use a guy like him is the Leafs.
        I watched every minute of the Bruins Jackets playoff series last year and that guy would be no fun to play against. He drew tough assignments constantly, was poised, blocked shots and was relentlessly physical. That dude battles hard.
        What goes back and how do the Leafs make the #’s work? I have no idea, but they have plenty of depth up front.

      • Good call Ray! Savard to TOR makes sense in many ways. I think the challenge is getting the value right for both sides. I don’t think Savard’s value as a sole trade asset brings back the type of player CBJ are ideally targeting this offseason, particularly from TOR. So Savard may be more valuable to CBJ than he is in most sensible trades. Does Savard alone bring back Kapanen….I’m not sure TOR does that. Is Johnson or Kerfoot enough value or interest to CBJ to trade Savard…most likely not (though I know TOR fans may disagree with that assessment). I think any CBJ-TOR trade involves a package from CBJ in which the best asset, a high end forward (Nylander…big maybe???), gets moved to CBJ which is why it honestly may never happen without significant, unanticipated cap pressure for TOR.

  3. I think Lehner wants to stay put wherever he signs.(or resigns w/ LV) I think he sick of 1 year contracts & moving his family so often. Devils can’t afford to give C. Schneider another shot to regain his form. Goaltending sunk that ship early on. Blackwood looks like he’ll be just fine. I’d love to see Lehner with Devils.

    • Good fit for Lehner, and an upgrade for the Devils. A shame that Schneider had the best part of his career wasted sitting on the bench watching Luongo choke year after year.


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