NHL Rumor Mill – May 2, 2020

by | May 2, 2020 | Rumors | 44 comments

Check out recent speculation on the Canadiens, Sharks, and Devils in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie suggested Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha would be an intriguing offer-sheet target for the Montreal Canadiens. He feels they would benefit from having a sniper such as Mantha at right wing. He also pointed to the winger’s tumultuous relationship with Detroit coach Jeff Blashill. While Lajoie feels Blashill might not be back behind the Wings’ bench next season, Mantha might be willing to entertain an offer sheet.

Could the Montreal Canadiens try to sign Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha to an offer sheet? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Mantha would listen to an offer from the Canadiens, but it’ll have to be a significant one to pry him away from the Wings. They have over $46 million invested in 11 players. Unless it’s a mind-blowing offer, they can easily match it. 

Lajoie also noted Columbus’ Pierre-Luc Dubois and the New York Islanders’ Mathew Barzal could be interesting options. He thinks the Blue Jackets would match almost any offer for Dubois, but the Isles might be less inclined to do so for Barzal because their GM is Lou Lamoriello.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets will match an offer for Dubois. As for Lamoriello, he’s already bluntly stated he’ll do the same for Barzal. Don’t expect to see either guy wearing a Habs sweater next season. 


NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Brian Witt believes the San Jose Sharks could benefit if the salary cap remains around $81.5 million for 2020-21. Several teams will enter the off-season with less than $1 million in cap space, while half the league will have more than $3 million. The Sharks could have between $8 million and $15 million available.

Some of that will be used to re-sign some pending free agents, but Witt feels their notable ones (Joe Thornton, Kevin Labanc) could be affordable re-signings. That would leave sufficient room for some prominent free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Sharks have over $66 million invested in 13 players. All of their core players except for Thornton are under contract for next season. As Witt indicated, Thornton and Labanc should be affordable signings.

General manager Doug Wilson has a history of pulling off surprising moves, so we shouldn’t dismiss the possibility he’ll land a noteworthy free agent, especially if a flat cap makes other clubs reluctant to invest in the UFA market. However, he might be reluctant to pursue a big-ticket player when he’s already got over $41 million tied up in just six players. 


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak was asked if there was any chance the New Jersey Devils could make a move for St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn following their re-signing of Marco Scandella. While Dunn could be a good fit, Masisak is skeptical about the Blues moving him. He also speculated they could ask for Kyle Palmieri or Nikita Gusev, or perhaps a promising player like Ty Smith or Nolan Foote in return. 

Masisak doubts the Devils could entice whoever wins this year’s draft lottery to part with the first-overall pick by offering up their three first-rounders. 


  1. Offer sheet only works if the incumbent team has no salary room at all or the offer itself is ridiculous AND the players agrees to sign one . That’s why they are tough

    I think the Habs should “deal” for Mantha. Make a hockey trade . It would have to involve a Domi or Petry with exchange of picks

    • Hi SilverSeven

      Like the idea of trying for a trade but re offer sheet…. from Mantha’s perspective …. why not listen , negotiate and sign offer sheet?

      He’ll get more than if he only negotiated with Detroit…. and then he just sits back to see it’s matched to determine if he’s moving residences or staying put

      Worked for Aho

      • Ya worked for Aho, how did it work for CAR or MTL?

    • It’s also an important tool to make other teams pay more for their players than they want to. If they match great, more cap room they can’t use against you. I wish more teams would use it.

      • Careful what you wish for Darryl sounds great to screw over other teams, until it happens to yours. I don’t buy that it helps your team by hurting others. MTL is now open season if they ever draft/develop a player worth pursuing that way.
        It hurts all GM’s as now there is another comparable an agent can use for bargaining power for a guy coming out of ELC or a player in arbitration. All Bergevin accomplished was screwing over Carolina and taking away their leverage. Well done.
        No different then any market when you have an irresponsible sales person driving down margins. Screws the entire market over trying to get a quick sale. The guy eventually gets fired because he can’t do the hard work required to earn it profitably. Desperation move by a guy whose team is stuck in purgatory IMO

    • Jean-Charles Lajoie is proof that a consequence of the pandemic is sportswriters with way too much time on their hands.

    • Yes, a hockey trade might interest Stevie Y – but I doubt he would have any interest in either Domi or Petry. In fact, I just don’t see what kind of hockey trade Montreal could offer that would interest Detroit. The only players that might are the kind of players Bergevin cannot afford to give up. I think it would take some combination of Gallagher, Armia, Caulfield, or Suzuki in a trade.

  2. I just do not see alot of offer sheets in the future. Teams need the cheap young players to stay under the cap. Giving away three top picks equals three young players on reasonable contracts.

    • Have to agree. In fact, the ONLY way an offer sheet makes sense is if the GM sees that one player as the key to putting them on a sure path to the cup final. If Bergevin visioned that with Aho last year he was dreaming in technicolor.

      Mantha, while a solid F, would not do that either this year or next or the one after that with the way that Montreal roster is top-heavy structured.

      • I disagree George. I top line center is one of the few assets worth the risk. But Montreal just played right into ahos hands with that one.

      • I’ve said it before: The Habs were not an Aho away from the Cup but an Aho away from the playoffs. A bigger offer to Aho would have meant drastic roster losses going forward (Domi,Gallagher, Petry, Mete etc) because of players needing contracts in future years. The offer would improve the team and give them a legitimate shot at continuing improving the team in future.

        I get the point about needing young players for cap reason. Remember their is a contract limit and the Habs have a large number of picks. Offer sheets can be useful, if the the team is setup for them AND the offer is made in a fiscally responsible way. Bergevin has not fiscally screwed the Habs. He has been able to manage all his contracts,even the bad ones.

        Mantha is an interesting offer sheet target for MB but I think Sergachev is at the top of the list. That said, Molson/Coors is hurting lots from Covid-19, so no sure there is an appetite to spend like there was before……

      • Respectfully disagree. Aho is on the way to be a top ten center in the league. A better offer should have come from
        Bergivan if he was serious. Kockamemi proves drafting one is hit and miss. It was the right move but half assedly done.

      • Chism: Fully agree about Aho’s talent. Do you really think the Habs had the depth to be a Cup contender with just him? I strongly disagree with that idea. The pens have been so strong for so long because, in part, key players (Malkin/Crosby) took less cap money to keep/get other players. That was hat MB was shooting for

    • Hi TSP

      Fully agree that *successful OS very likely to continue being a rarity

      From a fan perspective ; I would like to see more OS finalized with assets moving … more interesting/entertaining to me

      *successful meaning both parties sign (Aho); I’m confident that there are a few OS every year; maybe even multiple to a single player…. just not agreed upon/signed by player…. so not reported publicly

      On top of that ; prior to a formal written OS (that doesn’t get signed, so not reported) ; there are likely even more verbal offers (negotiations)

      I suspect that the next successful OS is likely happening in July ‘21

  3. Interesting thought re:

    “ Masisak doubts the Devils could entice whoever wins this year’s draft lottery to part with the first-overall pick by offering up their three first-rounders. ”

    Let’s say the draft goes under one of the most recent scenarios…. all teams in; one winner … max move up is 4 spots, with Ottw winning…. so picking 1st and 3rd

    For all Ottw fans….. I’m asking

    Would you rather have Lafrenniere (who will likely get $11 M or more after ELC) and say Byfield (based on Button saying Stulze is going second)

    Or Byfield (3rd) AND Askarov (@6th) AND Lapierre (10th) ; Sanderson (12th)

    Byfield is in both equations so (setting aside that these are all prospects and nothing is guaranteed)…. the trade would realistically be looking at 4-5 years from now … the difference between having probably one of the top 5-10 wingers in the league or for about the same Cap hit (maybe a tad more)….

    A reasonable 3C (with longershot at 2C) in Lapierre (Note assumes Byfield 1C); and

    A very good young starting goalie; and

    Solid bottom pairing D (with 2nd pairing potential)

    George et al …. would you take that swap?

      • Hi George

        Yes I agree Byfield should go 2nd but Button seems to be consistently stating Stulze at 2

        Lafrennier and Byfield on Sens would look really sharp in 3 years (top line for many years)

        Agree Sens loaded with D prospects…. do they pass on Drysedale for their 2nd call to the microphone if he’s still available? That’s a tough one to turn down

        Looks like great signing on Zub… almost a “can’t lose” contract in that if he doesn’t make the club he’s guaranteed to go to Europe …. so Sens are only paying if he plays in Ottw with a pretty fair upside 👍

      • As for trying to project what Lafreniere will command after his ELC, any GM who spends any significant amount of time trying to predict the future in order to cushion any financial blow is embarking upon a classic Fool’s Errand.

        As we’re discovering now, the future is always changing unexpectedly. It’s the home of both our deepest fears and wildest hopes. But one thing is certain – when it finally reveals itself it’s seldom the way we imagined.

        Ottawa has a classic example of that in their own history with Daigle – a 1st overall who turned out to be just barely OK. Edmonton also likely thought Yakopov would turn out to be a star NHLer. He’s even worse than Daigle.

        No, they’ll take Lafreniere if they get the 1st pick and worry about how that will unfold in terms of cap hit when the time comes. If they fall to 2nd they’d take the big C Byfield. Both no brainers.

      • Yup. They will pass on Drysedale simply because what they need most as things now stand is offense. As for trades at the draft, with so many teams potentially between the proverbial rock and a hard place when it comes to the cap and therefore obliged to relinquish a good solid F with term and cap hit in the range of $3.5 to $5 mil – depending on the depth of their bind – and therefore unable to take any salary back, so therefore looking for good pick position/prospects, you can bet Dorion will be shopping that 3rd 1st rounder they own from the NYI and, likely, 2 of the 4 2nd round picks they hold.

      • I highly doubt that any Canadian team will get 1st or 2nd overall pick this year.
        Again it will be first 2 for teams from USA, Det and prob Devils

      • Gnnnyaeaaanooooo – don’t hold with conspiracy theories of any sort. Would involve way too many and there’d bound to be a leak. That’s like saying the Cup hasn’t come home in 27 years because there’s a plot in place to make sure it stays in the U.S.

  4. I have wondered about the Blues moving Vince Dunn as well. They have a couple other young puck moving LD as prospects that could replace (Perunovich, Mikkola, Walman,…). I thought New Jersey could be a potential landing spot for Jake Allen too. I don’t agree that the Blues would want a “big name/big contract” as a return. I think a draft pick or prospect would be desired.

    • The Devils could take on the one year cap hit for Allen, but not sure they would want to give up much of anything to do so. They are not giving up any of their firsts in that scenario, and have no second or third round picks this year, so I do not see a fit.

  5. We are gone from every player signing in Toronto to Montreal offer sheeting every one possible. Which neither is realistic or possible.

    • Thankfully too. Maybe it’s finally sunk in to those who engaged in such thoughts that wishful-thinking is one thing – reality quite something else.

      • Also gone from Sens taking everyone’s garbage to get to cap floor, to wondering should they take best player in draft because you might not be able to squeeze his cap hit in 3-4 years from now! Lol

      • Heh. Yeah – glad you said that and not me LOL

  6. So is Marc Bergevin going to offer sheet Anthony Mantha for either $8 million per or $9 million per, Because that’s pretty much what it would take for Yzerman to take the picks. Reportedly some have suggested that Mantha could be offered the Larkin deal 5 years $30.5 million. As of right now with his injury history he hasn’t proven enough to be worth a whole lot of money. Could he possibly look at a one year prove me deal and then look at cashing in big next season. That could be a possibility though it sounds like Yzerman doesn’t want to go one or two years because it puts him closer to UFA status. Bergevin can do all that he wants but doing an offer sheet on a player on a team that has over $40 million to spend this summer is crazy and not wise.

    • Lajoie is having the usual ethnic nationalist pipe dreams.

      Mantha should be traded for, if anything, and I agree that Domi is the piece to go.

      Sergachev should be the offer sheet guy, if any, for the Habs.

      George O, I bow to your analysis, you know the team, but do you realize that Byfield is a lot younger than Laffie?

      • Yeah, I realize that, but since BIG (6′ 4″ 215 and doesn’t turn 18 until August) legitimate Cs with all kinds of upside are few and far between, you can’t worry about that. Not from where they stand in terms of the re-build. Almost too good to pass up – except that Lafrenière sits there and you just don’t look elsewhere if you the first pick.

      • But would Detroit want Domi ? I doubt it.

  7. Bout options will be big for the Sharks to do some real good. Getting rid of Jone’s contract is the first key. Then taking advantage of teams like Tampa Bay to gain some strength on wing will be next, along with possibly picking up their old dman from the Caps.

    • Buyout options….

  8. I would be happy with Perfetti in this draft. Can’t believe he didn’t make last years u20 team Canada. A pure scorer.

    • Very true SilverSeven. We tend to talk as if, after Lafreniere, Byfield, Stutzle and Drysedale, the picks fall off a cliff. While they’re clearly the consensus Top 4, It hasn’t been described as a deep draft for nothing and whoever gets Perfetti sure isn’t getting a slug. In fact, anyone in the Top 10 certainly has the potential to be a gem and, for the first time in a long time, that potential reaches down into the 15th to 20th picks.

      • Very true you two, others aren’t getting the proper attention.

        I heard someone refer to this draft as the “Great Eight”, I think it’s a great slogan cause there truly is eight great players.

      • Hmmmm…..interesting. The only analysis of this year’s draft from an independent scout / analyst called it a weak draft after the top 4.

  9. I think I’m the last 25-30 years the offer sheet has worked 2-3 times. Yet we talk about it like it happens or could happen at any time?

    Out of the 2-3 Dustin Penner was one of the “success stories”. Raise your hand if you think Edmonton takes a mulligan on that one today if possible.

    • Too true. I suppose, to some fans, it’s a convenient formula to instantly improve their favorite team without taking into account the effect down the line when they sit at the draft table with their thumbs up their bums in the first round of several drafts.

      As for Chrisms thought that a top # 1 C would be a juicy target regardless, they just don’t hit the market that way – no GM in his right mind would let one slip away in that fashion. They might not like being shafted that way … but they’d match and worry about how to handle what it does to their cap later. After all, they have several months after that exercise to make the necessary adjustments. Top C just don’t get away like that.

      • Why would you try to offer sheet a top young center when you can get rid of an average center for one.
        Brassard for Zibanejad.
        An evaluator of talent. lol

      • Yawn.

  10. Offer sheet penalties are too severe imo and that’s why they are virtually pointless.
    Just a reminder, Aho signed that offer sheet so he was willing to go to Montreal. Players aren’t forced to sign them. They choose to sign.

    • There’s the other side of that coin as well … by signing it they know it’s then up to the team he’s with to show that they really want him by matching. Takes long drawn-out negotiations out of the equation.

  11. How about next year, Habs OS Pettersson if he isnt signed?