NHL Rumor Mill – May 14, 2020

by | May 14, 2020 | Rumors | 39 comments

The latest Flames and Oilers speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Francis was asked if the Calgary Flames could sign Alex Pietrangelo if the St. Louis Blues captain hits the open market in the off-season.

While it’s not outside the realm of possibility, Francis believes it would be a hefty price tag to squeeze under a flat salary cap. It would also prevent the Flames from re-signing pending free agents such as T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Erik Gustafsson, and Derek Forbort.

Could the Calgary Flames afford to sign Alex Pietrangelo? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Could the Flames sign Pietrangelo? Sure, anything’s possible. Can they afford him? Naaah!

The 30-year-old defenseman is completing a seven-year, $45.5-million contract with an annual average value of $6.5 million. He could command around $9 million annually as a UFA. Even if he accepted considerably less (say, $7.5 million AAV), the Flames lack the cap space to sign him and still have enough to fill out the rest of their defense corps.

Signing Pietrangelo would push their payroll to between $71.5 million and $73.5 million invested in 14 players, leaving little to flesh out the blueline, re-sign RFA Andrew Mangiapane, and re-sign or replace goaltender Cam Talbot. 


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reported limited salary-cap space could hamper Oilers GM Ken Holland’s efforts to sign players.

Re-signing defenseman Ethan Bear could be tricky. The Oilers would prefer a team-friendly six-year deal comparable to Oscar Klefbom’s $4.1-million annual average value, but they don’t have that much available. Matheson suspects Bear will get a two-year bridge deal between $2.2 and $3 million annually. Matheson also wondered if Holland might consider replacing Matt Benning with a more affordable Evan Bouchard ($894K). 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, the Oilers have over $71.3 million committed to 16 players for 2020-21. Unless they make a significant salary dump, like trading or buying out James Neal, they won’t be making any major off-season additions. 

Bear is completing his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. He’s proven himself as a top-four NHL defenseman but lacks leverage to command a big payday. A cost-effective, short-term bridge deal with the promise of a significant raise down the road appears the likely option. 

Matheson thinks Holland, “in a perfect world”, would try to trade Jesse Puljujarvi’s rights to the Florida Panthers for another right-winger and first-round draft pick like Owen Tippett. “But, that’s a trade for the 2020-2021 season. And it’s unlikely Holland would deal Puljujarvi’s rights at the 2020 draft unless it’s for a first-rounder because he’s has played 139 NHL games and he was the fourth overall pick in 2016.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the real world, the Panthers won’t make that move. I don’t see many teams agreeing to part with a first-rounder for Puljujarvi. Maybe Holland calls a club with spare first-round picks in this year’s draft (hello there, Ottawa Senators), but I doubt they’ll be interested. 

He’d like to re-sign pending UFA forwards Riley Sheahan and Tyler Ennis to affordable short-term deals. His recent signing of Gaetan Haas could be insurance in case Sheahan decides to test the market. 


  1. Umm, Holland wants a first round pick AND a right winger for Jesse Puljujarvi. If that is his expectation time to look for a new GM.

    • @Kevon It’s a first round pick like Owen Tippet not a first rounder and Owen Tippet. Of a GM gives up a first or even second round pick for Jesse Puljujarvi then they’re nuts. Over 100 NHL games is a decent sample size. He may turn on to something but I’d rather take a chance that my scouting team will get a better NHL player in the draft regardless of the odds.

      • Look at the mess Holland left Red Wings. He’ll be lucky to get a 6th/7th rounder for him. (Jesse) Or maybe a “project” prospect.
        As a matter of fact, he’ll be a project.

    • Been suggesting for a while now that Holland, with his insistence on ridiculous returns for Puljujarvi, is figuratively cutting off his nose to spite his face. At some point the guy will become a UFA and if he continues to develop in Europe some team will take a flyer on him at which point Holland gets squat.

      Which will prove what? That’s he more stubborn than Puljujarvi?

      • Hello George O, exactly. At a certain point cut your losses a la Yakapov or however you spell it. Its a diminishing return so act sooner rather than later.

    • Fairest trade out there should be Jesse Puljujarvi to the Rangers for Lias Andersson. Both high first round picks, both on rookie deals, both not living up to their potential. A trade might help both players out.

      • Its doable but I think JP has proven more than LA, so a 3rd rounder to Edmonton as well should be fair

    • Puljujarvi is entering the bust zone. Take what you can before you end up getting little or nothing.

  2. Lyle,

    I LOVE your suggested 7.5 AAV for Pietrangelo! I would even bump it to $8 million to make him the highest paid Blue (ahead of Vlady and O’Reilly). I am still concerned about extending the term too far, but a 5 yr./$8 million is a “done deal”.

  3. Iowa boy….did Armstrong know or fear something when he signed that deal with Justin Faulk….. on the surface it seemed illogical

    • Dog,

      Hard to know/tell? Both sides have said all the right things as far as wanting to resign. I think Army just saw it as an opportunity to add another all-star d’man and cover himself if the Petro negotiations become a problem. Including Edmundson in the trade didn’t surprise me based on some difficult contract discussions and arbitration. The contract that Faulk was given really is a factor now. I’m just afraid that Petro will end up taking the same path that David Backes did—more years/more dollars. In hindsight that was the right decision by Armstrong to let him walk. Maybe the same thing is true for Petro, if it means having to completely gut your team in order to free up the necessary dollars.


      • iowa boy….

        I think many of these long term contracts that are given to approximately 30 year free agents will end up being mistakes if the team that signed these players do not realize their goals within 3 or 4 years of the signing a 7 or 8 year deal

        Not saying they are all bad….but I am saying most are dangerous to the team….

  4. JP is a bust right now until proven otherwise, he played decently in Europe this year but didn’t light up the league. Holland would be lucky to get anything more than a middle 6 forward or second pairing D for him. Alternatively, maybe a roster player hockey trade plus 3 round pick.

  5. So the comment was that Holland would want a right winger and a former first round pick like Tippet. But you are right – no one would give up even a second round pick for JP – and I even doubt that a third rounder would be offered. I think a fourth rounder is the best that KH might get for him.

  6. Maybe the Penguins should offer Bjugstad and a 3rd round pick for JP + Benning.

  7. The Flames would rather sign 3 of their 4 UFA than Pietrangelo roughly for the same dough .

    I like Bjugstad just too injury prone . I think every season but one. Salary would have to be held . Maybe as much as 50%. He is still on the younger side so they may be some interest

  8. I don’t know whether Holland knows what he is doing or not.But I do know I read in here continually how Joe Sakic had know clue if he thought he would receive what he was asking for Matt Duchenne.
    I think we know how that turned out. Their will be someone gullible to pay what he asks if he waits long enough

    • BIG effing difference between what Duchene had accomplished and Puljujarvi’s NHL record. But keep trying Vinnie – some day you’ll get something right with your trolling.

      • Actually George I think this was one of vinnies only non troll posts I’ve ever seen. Saying gms make foolish and dumb decisions is about as accurate as can be.

      • Not for non-entities that have shown nothing other than average stats at any level.

      • Erat for Forsberg? Bob for 10 mil a year? Etc etc etc.

      • That was then, Chrisms. This is a new era where the only sure thing about the future of professional sports is uncertainty.

        Sure, in hindsight the deal of Erat for Forsberg was a bad one as things turned out – but at the time he was dealt from Nashville to Washington he had played 723 games with the Predators scoring 183 goals 318 assists for 561 points. No comparison with Puljujarvi.

        As for Bobrovsky’s top-heavy contract, we won’t be seeing THAT happen again for quite some time – if ever. And even so, at the time his career stats of 2.54gaa and 0.917 save % weren’t matched by many goalies.

        As for Puljujarvi, although drafted 4th overall in 2016, he has yet to show anything in a league of any consequence. With all due respect to the SM-Liga, I would venture a guess that the vast majority of players in the 15-team league are Finns from a population of 5.5 million. Ontario, for example, has a population of 14.5 mil. Imagine an Ontario-only league with 15 teams made up of mainly of players not deemed good enough for the NHL or even the AHL.

        Was his draft a serious miscalculation by the then Edmonton brain-trust? Well, after he was picked here are a few that went later” Matthew Tkachuk, Olli Juolevi, Clayton Keller, Mikhail Sergachev, Charlie McAvoy, Alex deBrincat, Sam Girard.

        Kev, above, mentions Yakopov. He was a 1st overall and when they got tired of his act and dealt to St. Louis they got “prospect” Zach Pochiro (never played a game in the NHL) and a conditional 3rd round pick. And at the time Yakopov had at least played 252 games for Edmonton and contributed 50g 61s 111 pts. Dwarfing Puljujarvi’s stats at the NHL.

        As for his draft position, there were a host of far better players taken after him.

        Two bad choices by Edmonton – and at times when everything suggested their focus should have been on D.

        Any GM that gives up anything substantial for his “rights” is one step out the door.

      • All well and good George. But I’m not convinced at all covid will suddenly keep nhl gms from doing really dumb things. It’s kinda their thing. This vinnies point that gms do stupid stuff so why not is valid. Unlike the 99% of troll posts

      • Well , I guess I’m a troll if people don’t like what I say.
        That’s fine.
        Why should Holland give up Puljujarvi he is only 22 this year.
        For George’s sake Ottawa has
        Batherson – 22
        Abramov – 22
        Brown -22
        Balcers – 23
        Chlapik -23
        Lajoie -23
        Paul -25
        Maybe Ottawa should dump all these fella’s because they can’t play in the NHL
        No I think Holland is not making any rash decisions and that makes sense.

      • Nice try – as usual – Vinnie. The BIG difference is, all the players you list for Ottawa in that age group have at least shown they are capable of playing in the AHL – and a few in the NHL.

        What the hell does being 22 have anything to do with his performance? I imagine the SM-Liga is chock-a-block full of 22 year olds who will never play anywhere else. And at best it’s maybe a glorified ECHL. And I doubt that.

        Keep trying.

  9. I know it’s a free market in regard to salaries, and much of the over-payment problem rests with Gms eager to sign a good player long-term, but I have little sympathy for players seeking top dollar, thereby handicapping a team from obtaining a competent roster, especially when we’re talking multi-million dollar contracts. I’m tired of players, especially a captain like Pietrangelo expecting a huge payday. Who needs that much money???

    • Me

    • I get what you are saying, sort of, with regard to big money. You have to consider though that they base their value on comparable player contracts. Also consider that each contract may be their last, hockey is a violent sport. Yeah, they love the game but the hard work should be rewarded with market value. If you want to blame anyone blame the player’s union (just like all unions) for insisting that players seek top dollar for the good of all other player contracts.

      • Don’t forget that the union feeds off its young and that many of these players played for a little or a lot less than market value on elcs and due to rfa.

    • Why should they be paid less when it is evident that gms, owners and fans are willing to pay? Should your workplace’s best employee settle for the workplace average when that accomplish more? What is more fair- to be paid similar to lesser players or be paid more even though it is not needed to sustain a good living?

      • You said the key phrase 2.0 – What the fans are willing to pay ? I have yet to hear a good reason why the players need any more of my money in the cost of tickets, concessions, and parking. Or why they need more of my time because we now need more TV commercials to bring in the extra revenue to help pay the salaries. I realize that Detroit’s prices are nowhere near what they probably are in Toronto, New York, Boston, or Montreal, but I spent much more than I could really afford for my 11 game ticket package – I don’t wish to spend one nickel more so players can draw higher salaries.

  10. I think Holland should go after two 2nd round picks. Same thing it cost for Athanasioud. Maybe it could be done. I am fine with Holland letting JP sit until he is 27 and lose him for nothing than only getting a 3rd or worse.

    • One second round pick is an overpayment. If two of them is the cost, I guess JP will be in Finland until he is 27.

      • Succinctly and accurately put. The only thing Holland will have won in that event is a battles of wills. Big deal.

  11. The average schmo works maybe 50 years . Not sure of the NHL average 7 years ? Probably a lot less. They definitely sacrifice a lot during the season and prior to recent CBA contracts not a single day off during the season except Xmas. Life long injuries for a lot of them. If it was me “ get what you can get”. However I don’t agree if I want to take less for whatever the reason I don’t need union pressure telling me otherwise.

    • They have bye? By? Buy? Weeks now too…

  12. Holy moly George tomorrow maybe try getting up on other side of the bed I agree with Vinnie if I was Holland why get in a hurry now. Patience isn’t a bad word plus if Jess gets his way others will think they can do the same can’t have tail wagging the dog.

    • Fair enough Obe. Just that I happen to agree with Kevin, Roger Laurin, Vincois, Toronto St Pats, Marko and Iago.

  13. Lyle you are so right. They have big plans for Tippett and he’s going nowhere. They figure he replaces one of Dadanov or Hoffman. I hope they keep Hoffman but time will tell