NHL Rumor Mill – May 18, 2020

by | May 18, 2020 | Rumors | 19 comments

Check out the recent Blues speculation plus the latest on Max Domi in today’s NHL rumor mill.


STLTODAY.COM: In a recent live chat with Blues fans, Jim Thomas was asked about the possibility of team captain Alex Pietrangelo accepting a one-year bridge deal with the Blues in hopes of securing a better deal next season if NHL revenues improve.

Could Alex Pietrangelo accept a one-year deal with the St. Louis Blues? (Photo via NHL Images)

Thomas didn’t dismiss the possibility but pointed out it could take longer for league revenue to improve in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. He also indicated other clubs possess sufficient salary-cap space under a flat cap to take a run at signing Pietrangelo in the off-season.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Jeremy Rutherford was asked about the possibility of compliance buyouts of Alexander Steen or Tyler Bozak to free up salary-cap space to re-sign Pietrangelo. He doubts that’s an option, citing there’s a belief the league has no plans to implement compliance buyouts in the off-season. The Blues would have to go the normal buyout route, which won’t free up sufficient cap room for Pietrangelo’s new deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo’s status is going to dominate the rumor mill as we get closer to whenever this season officially comes to an end. The Blues have over $79.4 million invested in 20 players, with Pietrangelo and Vince Dunn as their notable free agents.

Pietrangelo will be an expensive re-signing. Assuming he accepts a “hometown discount” of between $7.5 million to $8 million on a one-year deal, general manager Doug Armstrong must shed salary to accommodate his new contract. If contract buyouts aren’t on the table, they’ll have to shed two or three players to find sufficient room for Pietrangelo and Dunn. That won’t be easy and could weaken their depth elsewhere in the lineup.

Last fall’s acquisition of Justin Faulk and the recent re-signing of Marco Scandella suggests Armstrong is preparing for Pietrangelo’s departure. Nevertheless, I’m not ruling out the possibility the Blues GM will find a way to keep his captain in the fold.

Rutherford was also asked if Blues defenseman Vince Dunn could become expendable given the left-side defensemen (such as Scott Perunovich) coming up in their system. He was also asked if Dunn could become targeted for an offer sheet.

Rutherford doesn’t consider Dunn expendable, citing his skating ability, top-four potential, youth (23), defensive skills, and affordability. He doesn’t reject the possibility of an offer sheet. However, he pointed out a flat cap for next season means teams will have less money to spend, making an offer sheet less likely.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Pietrangelo walks, re-signing Dunn is a no-brainer. Armstrong will still have to cut some salary elsewhere, but nowhere near as much as he would for Pietrangelo. If the captain is re-signed, finding sufficient room for Dunn’s new contract could be challenging. 


SPORTSNET: Eric Engels recently acknowledged recent rumors suggesting Max Domi could be a trade candidate. Nevertheless, he feels there are plenty of reasons why the Montreal Canadiens will retain the 25-year-old forward.

The trade rumblings about Domi arose from his restricted free agent status (with arbitration rights) and the decline in his production this season. Engels said he never heard from anyone that the Canadiens were considering trading him.

Engels cited Domi’s love of playing in Montreal, his speed and offensive skills, and what he could do in the playoffs. With the NHL considering a return to play with a 24-team format, the Canadiens could get a chance to evaluate Domi under playoff conditions this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even without the possibility of the Canadiens being in a 24-team playoff format this summer, I still feel the Canadiens will re-sign Domi. While his stats are down this season, he’s not the only Hab to struggle a bit this season.

Much of that trade chatter seemed to come from some in the Montreal media dreaming of Domi being used as a trade chip to acquire a top-pairing, left-side defenseman. If the league returns with that enlarged postseason format and Domi performs well, I expect he and the Canadiens will work out a new contract later this summer. 


  1. fanboy Engels cites how Domi wants to play in Montreal….a few months ago Montreal media were showing videos of Scandella’s family cheering him on…a few weeks ago ( Engles I think) was saying how the Russian kid they just signed reminded him of Doughty …2 years ago the GM jumped up to pick KK out of order as he was a center….then played him as a thin shouldered rookie….

    I know this appears as an anti Montreal rant….but it isn’t…this is a fan base that absolutely loves their team..it is a part of their culture their history in a way no other team is.. they want it to succeed so badly They love their team so much…

    I think this seeps into the press’s writing judgement, into the management decisions that builds up so much pressure that it is not good at all for the product on the ice

    I am a Leaf fan and God knows we have our systemic issues….sometimes I feel too much attention…too much desire….hurts Canadian teams…these kids are 18 when they start….the fishbowl was not designed for young people

    • Sorry OBD. Engels is a fine journalist and very much respected. You can obviously disagree with him, and I often do, but there’s no reason to believe that he writes as a fan rather than a journalist.

      • Howard :

        I think he does write more as a fan than a professional journalist should. I have been involved in the profession and I think there is some naturalness to this as in his case his readers are more Habs fans than hockey fans. This also happens to certain Leaf writers. But I don’t like in either case.

        I have also watched Engles when he is a guest on Hockey Inside Out. I think he is too much a fan there as well. And I think, it happens to Leaf journalists as well.

        This is just my opinion. Does not make it right.

    • I agree, OBD, KK was played too young (thin shouldered rookie – nice).

      But the biggest reason the Habs will sign Domi is that both KK and Poehling are in the early stages of development. The Habs need Domi to play at least one more year at center. If KK and Poehling make big steps next season then Domi can either accept playing on the wing or being traded — two seasons from now.

      • Sorry LJ could resist the shoulder line when it popped into my head….it gave me a quick chuckle and after that had to use it

        I do think Habs fans are great in their love/fanaticism for their team…but love does tinker with judgement….we tend to give our love ones the benefit of the doubt

  2. I don’t pretend to understand all the math. Pietrangelo current deal is 6.5 Boumiester is done and at 3.2 . Why do they have to move all those pieces just to resign just Pietrangelo . I get something else has to give for a raise for Dunn
    24 team playoff this July is the word on the street. Not sure when the entry draft will take place

    • S S

      I’m no expert either, but as I look at Capfriendly I can see that the Blues have already spent $79 million for next year, and that figure DOES NOT include Boumeister’s salary. I expect he has already informed them that he will not return, even though it has not been officially announced. The Blues still need $$$s for Pietrangelo, Dunn, and de La Rose and if the cap remains the same that only leaves a couple million. That is why other pieces will be involved.

      • Blues have a few extensions kicking in next year. Faulk, Schenn, and Scandella all have salaries going up next season. Even with that, I still think Blues keep Petro. They’re all in right now to win. Allen most likely to get traded. Steen will get bought out. They’ll work it out.

    • They already spent the Bowmeester savings and more on extending Faulk.

  3. Pietrangelo is not signing a one year deal.
    Why leave millions on the table on a multi-year deal for a one year deal and risk being one serious injury away from not playing again?
    He’s the top UFA this year at a position that’s difficult to find. He’ll get paid somewhere.

    • Agree he will get his money somewhere, I don’t think there will be any compliance buyouts the owners don’t want them it’s just more money at a bad time. If the blues really want to sign him I think it will be a Marleau type deal to move money,give up a pick/prospect for no return

    • Daryl, well said!

      I was saying on here a month ago or so, that the stars aren’t going to be affected by the flat cap. It’s going to be the complimentary players that will feel the pinch. Your bottom six forwards, bottom pair d, etc. Guys like Pietrangelo won’t have to take a pay cut

      • I don’t see Pietrangelo with the Blues next year but I also don’t see him signing for the salary and term he would have been targeting before the pandemic. From this point forward to the time when fans are back in the stands and the schedule is back to normal, players will be expected to sign for less money and shorter terms. Teams should, and will, be super cautious.
        Timing is everything and for Pietrangelo the timing couldn’t be worse.

      • You only have to look at toronto to see proof in that Canadian King. You are correct.

    • Along with the possibility of getting hurt with no commitment beyond next season. No 1 year deal

  4. I would love a hometown discount @8 million for Petro. Even with that “discount”, it would make the captain the highest paid Blue. The sticking point is that I would only go as far as 5 yrs.

  5. There is a piece missing from most of these conjectures… many teams will be in the same boat as St. Louis. I’d wager more teams will be in a cap crunch than won’t be with player’s to sign. Who is taking on these salary dumps? And the few that can or will… they will be licking their chops. It will be a buffet. And one they likely will get paid to eat at. And there will be lots of leftovers when they are done. Who gets caught holding the bag?

  6. On the first point about the revenues rebounding. I don’t think it will take long to see a rebound. Especially taking into account the introduction of Seattle which will only generate more revenues. The only thing that will prevent a rebound in revenues is if society never approves full capacity at games again. We have had numerous stopages displaying evidence that once the league returns after an absence that revenues return strong.

    But I have always been the one who rebutted talk of the cap going down every year. Though I can see it flattening out and dipping a bit this year it will rebound ounce things get back to relative normal and the new expansion team is introduced.

    Though I think the league should look into a way that allows them to use the revenue numbers from a year earlier to predict the cap for the up coming season so that it is well known what it will be and their is no wait to see what it will be.

  7. On the signing of 1 year deals. Lebanc has shown the rest of the league the risk of betting on yourself. Sure Pietreangelo has many more years of playing time behind him to insure his productivity Yet injuries are unpredictable.