NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2020

by | May 27, 2020 | Rumors | 27 comments

In today’s NHL rumor mill, we look at the potential off-season plans for the seven non-playoff clubs.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): The beat writers for the seven non-playoff teams – the Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, and San Jose Sharks – examined those clubs’ possible off-season plans.

Eric Stephens reports the Ducks must determine if Ryan Miller will return as their backup goaltender. They could also discuss if they’ll stick with winger Rickard Rakell and defenseman Josh Manson or test their value in the trade market. Adding an affordable right-shooting defenseman could be an option.

Could the Anaheim Ducks shop defenseman Josh Manson? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rakell and Manson popped up frequently in the rumor mill before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. While they could fetch good returns via trade, moving either guy will also weaken the Ducks’ roster. Unless general manager Bob Murray intends to tear things down, I don’t see either guy being shopped. 

Joe Yerdon believes the biggest task facing Sabres general manager Jason Botterill is re-signing winger Sam Reinhart. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and is due for a lucrative, long-term deal. They could also use an experienced second-line center to ease the workload of promising youngsters Dylan Cozens and Casey Mittelstadt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $47 million committed to 10 players next season, the Sabres have the cap room to re-sign Reinhart to a long-term deal. How much, and for how long, could take some time to sort out, but I expect it’ll get done. 

Max Bultman believes Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman must decide if he’ll retain or replace head coach Jeff Blashill. He must also re-sign restricted free agents such as Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. Both are RFAs with arbitration rights in need of long-term deals. Yzerman must also find a backup goalie for Jonathan Bernier and a veteran defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings have over $46.2 million invested in 11 players next season. Yzerman has plenty of cap space to re-sign his key free agents and address his other needs. Who he might pursue via trade or free agency are questions for whenever the off-season finally rolls around. 

Lisa Dillman observed the Kings have sufficient salary-cap space to make a big splash or perhaps a strategic addition to their roster. GM Rob Blake has indicated he’d like to bolster the left side of his blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake has lots of cap space (around $20 million) to make a big acquisition, but I doubt he’ll go that route this year. He could instead seek an affordable, short-term addition or two to ensure he’s got sufficient room for a significant move next year. 

Corey Masisak reports the Devils must determine if interim GM Tom Fitzgerald and interim head coach Alain Nasreddine will return or be replaced. Whoever becomes the GM must decide if they’ll stick with Cory Schneider as part of their goalie tandem, bring in a third goalie to compete with Schneider, or buy out his contract. The Devils also need one or two top-four defensemen and multiple top-six wingers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have lots of issues to be addressed this off-season. Most of them cannot be done until they’ve sorted out who the general manager will be. 

Hailey Salvian believes free-agent goalie Craig Anderson’s tenure with the Senators has come to an end. RFA winger Anthony Duclair seems to have found a home in Ottawa, but contract term and money remains unclear. RFAs Chris Tierney and Connor Brown also earned raises. Pending UFA blueliners Ron Hainsey and Mark Borowiecki could be brought back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Pierre Dorion has only $41.9 million committed to nine players next season. He’s also got 13 picks in this year’s draft, some of which are likely to be used as off-season trade bait. I expect he’ll be busy trying to add some experienced depth to his rebuilding roster. 

Kevin Kurz believes the Sharks’ first order of business is deciding if interim coach Bob Boughner returns full-time behind the bench. Backup goalie Aaron Dell has likely played his final game as a Shark. GM Doug Wilson must do more than just make periphery changes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $66 million committed to 13 players, Wilson will have to get creative if he intends to improve his roster for next season. It’s been suggested he shop one of his high-priced stars, but they all carry hefty salaries and most of them have no-trade protection. 


  1. Looking at the problems of these teams collectively, it just seems to me that the sharks are just starting their decay and have a long way to go as those stars age out – which will take some time. The expansion draft is not going to be friendly to any of them, but that should be a consideration for all as well. As for the Devils I think if Schneider does not respond they will park him in the AHL to meet cap floor.

    • Kevin,

      Agree with you that things in San Jose are going to get much worse before they get better.

      • Agree about San Jose and philly is following in their footsteps, good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to contend. A lot of the flyers prospects were well hyped but haven’t turned out and fletcher is one of the worst gm’s in the league I don’t if I’d want him rebuilding a team?

      • Disagree on Philly BBB. I think they will be a contender, if not this year, then over the next few. I wouldn’t have wanted to play them before this break, they were rolling.
        I think their picks have panned out.
        Provorov as a #1 D at 23. Plays close to 25 minutes a night. Great skater with poise who plays in all situations.
        Hart a #1 goalie at 21, might be the best young tender in the league.
        Konecny is close to a point/game at 22.
        Couturier is up there with Bergeron as a 2 way center.
        Sanheim another good young D.
        Plus quality vets like Giroux and Voracek.
        The rebuild is pretty much done, time to go for it IMO. Really good team.

      • Seriously ray? I think you’re just arguing for the sake of arguing, think about all the prospects that have been hyped up and just haven’t panned out. They’re still a lot away from being a contender and fletcher IS one of the worst gm’s

      • BBB, I think this is the part where you back up your argument with something tangible and logical.
        Like these prospects haven’t worked out, or they are not a contender because of ….

      • Go check out pronam’s article on the flyers prospectS……but you probably know more than him right? Not cup contender is pretty easy watch them you said about their streak they were on well didn’t buffalo win 8 or 9 in a row at the start of the season? Hart had looked ok but so did raycroft, Look at their lineup compared to real contenders like the bruins,Washington,pens and Tampa and that’s just in the east. They might be a playoff team but they’re headed just like sj like I compared them at the start

    • NYR should be the blueprint for a re-build. They had sold off everything they could at the trade deadline to create cap-space and get prospects, re-tooled at the draft and signed a known/proven free-agent star in the off-season. Granted, they were probably going to miss the playoffs were it not for COVID but they could make a run in this format. They are solid in goaltending, scoring and D is not too bad. BTW…NOT a Ranger’s fan but impressed nevertheless. What NJ did should have worked also but didn’t. Such a fickle game!

      • Not meant to poop on your statement about ny just for the sake of it but some of what they did was only doable because they are the rangers. How many other teams could get panarin to sign for less to play for them? That ny mystic played a part. On top of some slick moves.

      • Ray Bark, great summary of the Flyers, a definite contender.

  2. I am a broken record on this….as I just don’t understand the reluctance of GMs to make change. I have no feelings on San Jose ( or the other 7 teams) but can you see a plan that is being acted on ( other than Ottawa who has the most underestimated GM in the League or the LA Kings).

    Just to look at San Jose…

    If they are going to slide….what point is it resigning anyone over 33….if they are going to slide for 3 to 4 years…what good is Kane? when the turn up begins to show Who is the young goalie that will be mature in 4 years….why does ownership let the same GM stay in place….surely Wilson likes last year’s milk is past his best use date…

    What do losers have to fear that they won’t make changes?

    • Teams still have an obligation to put bums in the seats.
      A star player or two can assist with that.
      SJ won’t be long turning their ship around and adding additional firepower however they can.
      Might take 3 or 4 seasons though.

      These 3 had the best “rebuild/reload”
      In the last 10 years, imo.
      Who was at the helm for each club?


      Apparently Chia knew how to surround himself with smart hockey men.
      Gotta love that dirty water in Beantown.

    • That’s a fair question OBD.
      With regards to SJ, they were pot committed when they signed Burns and Vlasic to those long term deals. Then went all in on Karlsson.
      Rebuilding isn’t really an option as how can they even tear it down by moving their veteran players? None of the 3 guys I mentioned could be moved without eating substantial portions of their contracts or adding an asset or 2. Kind of the opposite of building for the future.
      They will hope they get more saves from the same guy who hasn’t been making enough of them.
      Hope isn’t a plan, so we agree, but this might be a case of simply waiting for these contracts to end, keep sucking and get good picks.
      Or maybe Jones comes around and they go on a run next year. Goal tending is their biggest problem and I have no idea how to predict tender play.

    • OBD
      GM’s are frozen in their “old” ways.
      I do think that the pandemic will cause a lot of GM’s to take chances. I live in Orange County, Ca and watching the Kings and Ducks, both started to retool a couple of years ago but haven’t gone “strip down” and start over yet. The world has changed and the next few years will be almost impossible for most if not all teams to generate revenues they have the past few years. I think you will see heavy trading between the “serious rebuilding teams” and the “oh so close to winning the cup teams” starting at the draft. For teams like Anaheim & LA it will be difficult, they are rebuilding and they share the southern cal TV market. Radio market is tiny and I am not even sure Kings have a radio outlet. With empty or near empty stands and having to complete with 2 Major League Baseball teams, 2 NFL teams and 2 NBA teams the fight for finding sponsors to by up TV commercial time will be a blood bath.
      My guess is LA / Anaheim / SJ / plus others will strip down and rebuild with draft picks and prospects as best they can.

  3. The Kings have had a couple of decent drafts last few years.They’ll be picking high again this year. Villardi showed well in his 10 games (7 pts) he played with big club. Turcotte and Madden both left school and signed. Brown and Carter will both be gone in next couple years. Kopitar and Doughty are studs and will be there awhile. If I’m Kings, I might consider signing Hall.

  4. Lyle, can we assume that, with the new draft protocol announced, that trades can now happen “on the draft floor” so to speak?

      • Great. That’ll be THE most interesting part of the procedures if only because teams like Montreal and Ottawa have a boatload of picks (this year AND next) will be looking to shore up their line-ups with experienced players having some term from cap-strapped teams who will simply have to deal in order to make room for key RFAs and even some of their own UFAs they wish to retain.

        There’s no way, for example, that Dorion drafts all 13 of this picks this year and the same applies to Bergevin.

        Those with multiple picks in the 1st round are Ottawa and NJ (3 each), Anaheim, Minnesota and NYR (2 each).

        Teams with no 1st round picks and who may wish to get one back. either due to cap problems or simply to get a crack at a decent pick, are Arizona, Vancouver, NYI, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Boston.

  5. The common denominator with 3 of the non-playoff teams – they have won the cup in recent memory.
    Sharks all were so close for so long . Too bad. The long and winding road.

    Agreed on league revenues . It is a business and business is not and will not be booming

    • George, this crazy play-in deal, believe it or not, gives the Leafs a (slim) chance to win the lottery; all they need to do is lose to Columbus. Tampa Bay can show them how to do that.
      If I were a Sens fan and one of the teams that loses in the play-in round wins the draft lottery, I’d go bonkers. What a ridiculous system.

      • Yeah – as I said the other day, those with a chance to advance not only get their cake but they get to eat it too – asinine – eerily I get this feeling it could be Pittsburgh … again

      • The lottery is confusing as heck. What I can make of it though, is odds this year of those lower teams(8-15) don’t look as good as previous years. I might be wrong, but it looks like the 7 non playoff teams have a big advantage of landing the top 3 picks. As a Ranger fan, I need Leafs to lose play in, but not end up in top 10 picks.

      • George, how About Edmonton winning the lottery!
        They could use a top winger.
        Imagine Lafreniere on McDavid’s wing and the outrage.

      • Anyone who has outrage after anything resulting from this season needs to be seriously melvined!

      • Agree 100% Chrisms, but you know its coming if it happened.

      • I hope it’s Pittsburgh just so the collective population of Philadelphia has their heads explode in unison.


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