NHL Rumor Mill – May 26, 2020

by | May 26, 2020 | Rumors | 16 comments

In today’s NHL rumor mill, we look at the latest Oilers speculation and some suggested backup goaltender options for the Ducks.

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Mark Spector was asked if the Edmonton Oilers would be able to trade Kris Russell, and if Matt Benning would be retained and traded or let go.

Russell’s annual average value is $4 million through 2020-21. The 33-year-old defenseman is seeing third-pairing minutes on the Oilers’ blueline. Benning, 26, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Spector feels general manager Ken Holland’s ability to move Russell will impinge on what he’ll offer Benning. He doesn’t see much sense in cutting Benning loose but expects he or Russell is likely to be moved to make way for a younger rearguard like Caleb Jones or Evan Bouchard.

Speculation persists linking Jesse Puljujarvi to the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

Asked if the Oilers could buy out Russell or winger James Neal, Spector doesn’t expect that to happen unless the NHL offers up compliance buyouts in the off-season.

(NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Russell’s play and his cap hit will make him difficult enough to move. It gets tougher when his 10-team no-trade list climbs to 15 teams for 2020-21. They also can’t bury him in the minors because he has no-movement protection. Maybe they find a taker in the off-season, but I doubt it. I also agree with “Cousin Mark” about the buyout option.

Benning, meanwhile, could end up on the trade block if his contract talks become contentious. With Cap Friendly indicating the Oilers carry over $71 million invested in 16 players for next season, Holland can only offer Benning at best a modest raise over his current $1.9 million salary-cap hit.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports the New York Rangers would potentially part with a high draft pick to facilitate a swap of Lias Andersson to Edmonton for Jesse Puljujarvi. However, he’s been told the Rangers have more interest in Puljujarvi than the Oilers have in the slow-footed Andersson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Andersson-for-Puljujarvi rumor has floated around for a while, but I’m not convinced this is going to take place. Stranger things have happened but I don’t see the Rangers giving up a high draft pick to make this happen.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Eric Stephens recently examined several possible backup goalie options for the Anaheim Ducks if Ryan Miller isn’t re-signed or retires. Among them are Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, Calgary’s Cam Talbot, Edmonton’s Mike Smith, the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, and Ottawa’s Craig Anderson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stephens does a good job breaking down the pros and cons of each netminder. Khudobin and Greiss could prove too expensive as both will be in demand. Smith and Anderson are coming to the end of their respective careers. Talbot could seek a starter’s job after regaining his form this season with the Flames.

The Ducks could be forced to consider more affordable short-term options to spell off John Gibson, but that might not be suitable to ease his heavy workload.


  1. Albeit with the limited sample size that I have see I would not want Lias Andersson . Definitely not for Puljularvi straight up. With other pieces maybe . Chytl would hold my attention for further conversation

  2. Depending on what the Oilers give up, I could see the Devils taking on Russell’s contract. It won’t come cheap, but not crazy expensive either.

    • Kevin,
      I could see NJD doing that, as long as NJD are getting back a good pick(s) or prospect, coming back as well.

  3. Anderson has played half as many games as Puljujarvi. Getting on ice as a 19 year old is in itself an accomplishment. Nice the way writers have slapped the “slow footed” tag on him. Does Edmonton press think that somehow changes value? This is a snippet from a draft preview: “A shifty, elusive player with good acceleration who is quick on his feet and a has knack for making something out of nothing, Andersson has a ton of upside considering how well he fared as a teenager on a good team in an adult league“
    Maybe Oilers don’t trade him straight up, but there’s no way Rangers add a 1st rd pick. Anderson and Gorgiev for JP and a 2nd.

    • I agree. Neither one of these players have accomplished squat in the NHL. This is two players that have struggled on the ice, and have issues with their respective clubs off the ice.

      Puljujarvi Has already had double hip surgery/ issues. Both of these players are questionable NHL’ers.

      With NY already having Kakko, Panarin, Kreider , Buchnevich , Fast and Chytl (plays wing and center) plus a couple of other wingers on the way….why would NY offer anything more for Puljujarvi? He more than likely isn’t unseating any players listed above next year.

      Maybe Fast (ufa) Certainly not on line #2

      • Being on the west coast don’t know much about Anderson. Read nothing positive about him. Rangers drafted him in first round #7 so someone with the NYR must have been impressed with something he does ? Why did NYR draft him at #7, what did they see at that time that WOW’d them ?

      • Sad thing is, the same question can be applied to just about every draft going right back to the beginning where there have been monumental busts. In recent years what did Edmonton see in Yakopov (1st overall) and Puljujarvi (4th overall), or Montreal in Galchenyuk (3rd overall) that wowed them?

        Scouts and GMs make mistakes – in hindsight. But at the time I’m sure Gorton – or his scouts – saw enough in Anderson to take him fairly high. You can also look at the other end of the scale when a Zetterberg went 210th overall. Pure luck of the draw. They can’t all be Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid.

        It ain’t an exact science 🙂

    • I like your trade proposal slick Gives the Oilers a good backup goalie with upside to maybe even being a number 1 and a project in Anderson. JP is getting way overvalued because of his draft position.

    • Rangers blew his development playing him so soon let alone they moved up to pick him. 3C top ceiling doesn’t fetch much

      • They didn’t move up, that pick was part of the Stepan deal. He’s played a total of 66 nhl games. Hardly “blew his development .

        He’s 21 years old. No he’s not the next Mcdavid , but he wasn’t supposed to be that the day he was picked either.

        He is supposed to be a 2 way 2nd line center. They can’t all be superstars. But a little too young to add those type of labels .

        If Andersson is all washed up at 21, JP must be completely done at 22? So why not make that deal? Lmao

  4. Scratch the Gorgiev part. I confused the Ducks part of article with Oilers.

    • Slick62,
      I think the whole Andersson/JP trade was concocted by the NY press ie Brooks.
      I don’t see a fit for either guy, on the teams. NYR are plenty deep on the wings, and Edm is looking for a player who plays with pace and better possession numbers.
      Maybe teams like Detroit or Ottawa would be better trade partners with either team.
      Getting a greasy start for both guys, on young rebuilding clubs, could be the best fit.

  5. I would love to see a JP/ Andersson swap but no way should we give up a high pick to get it done. Neither player has been successful nor is success guaranteed for wither player.

    Silverseven’s suggestion of Chytil is ridiculous as that would be 2 #1 picks for a player that has failed to prove that he belongs in the NHL.

    Slick62 suggested trade is almost as bad and the Rangers have no reason to move Giorgiev. A good back-up goalie, who has proven that he can play in the NHL, is worth much more than a failed first rounder with potential.

    JP is a project and so is Andersson. Either one could surprise and live up to their potential or either one could continue their path to failure.

    I, for one, would only do this as a one for one trade or possible add a late round pick at best.

    • 1 – 2 – 3

      • LOL, thanks George. We’ve been doing maintenance on the site since yesterday evening. Wanted to ensure everything’s good to go.