NHL Rumor Mill – May 7, 2020

by | May 7, 2020 | Rumors | 33 comments

Next season’s salary cap could affect the Golden Knights’ roster, Jesse Puljujarvi could become a more attractive trade candidate, and an early draft will affect the Canadiens’ efforts to rebuild. Check out the details in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Jesse Granger recently examined how the salary cap remaining around $81.5 million for 2020-21 could affect the Vegas Golden Knights roster. They have over $72 million already invested in 17 players, with over $46 million committed to 10 forwards, over $20 million in six defensemen, and $7 million invested in goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

A flat salary cap could hamper the Vegas Golden Knights’ potential effort to re-sign goalie Robin Lehner (Photo via NHL Images).

If the Golden Knights hope to re-sign free-agent goalie Robin Lehner, they’ll have to shed salary unless he agrees to a significant hometown discount. If the NHL implements compliance buyouts this off-season, Granger doesn’t think they’d use it on key players like Fleury, Paul Stastny, or Max Pacioretty. If worst came to worst, they still have significant trade value. Should the cap decline, the Knights would have to let Lehner walk or shed a top-six forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most reports I’ve read and heard indicate the NHL and NHL Players’ Association don’t intend to let the cap decline. It’s believed they’ll maintain it at $81.5 million and see what next season’s revenue looks like. Under that scenario, we might not see compliance buyouts. 

I don’t see how the Golden Knights can afford Lehner under a flat cap. After getting one-year contracts from the New York Islanders and Chicago Blackhawks, he’ll want a lucrative long-term deal this time around. They’ll have to shed one of their forwards in a cost-cutting deal or attempt to move Fleury if they intend to re-sign Lehner.  


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer and Sportsnet’s Mark Spector speculating Jesse Puljujarvi’s trade value could increase if the NHL stages an early draft next month. Under that proposed scenario, the league could allow draft picks, prospects, and players outside the league whose rights remain owned by NHL clubs (like Puljujarvi) to be traded during the draft.

Puljujarvi spent this season in Finland after requesting a trade from the Oilers. He remains a restricted free agent without arbitration rights. With no NHL veterans available as trade bait during the draft, the young winger could be more valuable to clubs seeking a second- or third-line winger next season, especially those with a surplus of draft picks in this year’s draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t dismiss that possibility. Interested teams might prefer seeing Puljujarvi play next season before taking a chance on him. Nevertheless, a club with lots of picks in this year’s draft, like the Ottawa Senators or Montreal Canadiens, might be willing to take the gamble if they can sign him to an affordable one-year deal. 


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Arpon Basu believes holding the draft before resuming the season throws a monkey wrench into Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin’s efforts to retool his roster. Under a normal draft, Bergevin could peddle those picks to cap-strapped clubs looking to shed salary.

The Canadiens have 14 picks in this year’s draft and had 21 in the last two years. They face having 35 prospects enter their system, pushing them very close to the league maximum of 50 players under contract in a given season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like most observers, I believe Bergevin loaded up with draft picks in this year’s draft to use some of them as trade bait to bolster his roster for next season. Those deals won’t be possible if the draft is held before the season resumes in July unless the league allows for a second trade deadline. Bergevin could use the prospects he selects as trade candidates, but draft picks tend to be more attractive than prospects in the trade market. 


  1. Euros have done well in Montreal in the past. Puljularvi might rebound on that team. They could certainly use some size up front . A good prospect -not Kotkaniemi or Caufield Maybe Juulseen or Poehling and and a second would do it for me.

    • Anything more than a 4th round pick is an overpayment for JP. He couldn’t cut it with McDavid, so why would anyone think he will succeed without him ? I don’t believe he has the brass to play in the NHL, and I would only offer a 5th for him.

      • Yeah that was my thought with Jesse Puljularvi too. Sure there will be interest. but it will be for a 2nd rounder and possible an add of rostered player discard. And the idea the he crosses back over and does not expect more than the low numbers his restricted free agent status he is entitled? He wants a roster spot, and $ so he doesn’t feel on the outs (like he was with the Oilers), but valued beyond what is reasonable. Sure teams would want to talk to him, mull over his addition, and even though you get a kid who maybe closer to helping you, why would a club look past this new crop (who have NO demands) and subtract a pick even in the 2nd round unless they are absolutely sure the match is a good one?

      • He didn’t really play with McDavid very much. He played quite a bit with RNH, but his most common linemate the last two years was Lucic.
        I would definitely take him on the Sabres, especially with all the other Swedes and Finns we have on the team and in the system.

    • Hi SilverSeven


      JP on the Habs just might work!

      I remember TSN repeatedly saying that he was not only having trouble with the NA type game but also English

      If on Habs he’d join several fellow Finns …. Lehtko; Kotka; and Armia which should certainly raise his comfort level and help him acclimatize much more easily

      Perhaps pairing Kotka with JP could instigate a “surge” in each of their levels of production ????

      Juulsen and a pick? for JP not an outlandish idea

      • Agreed. Maybe Juulsen and a 3rd? The Canadiens certainly have enough picks…

      • I’ve already stated my opinion as to why holding the draft before the season is played out or cancelled is an exceedingly bad idea; I don’t feel the need to do so again.
        Even a second trade deadline wouldn’t help the Habs or other similarly situated teams. Contending teams, even those in cap trouble, will not give up a roster player for futures while the season is being played. They’d obviously wait till after the season is done. Unless the league permits “player to be named” trades where the teams commit to the traded player but keep it under wraps (if possible). The problem is, that would not work with players that have no-move/no-trade protection.
        I think JP to the Habs might not be a bad idea. He has talent and I think a second rounder would be a worthwhile risk. Remember, the odds of a second rounder becoming more than a fringe player are about one in four and the team has two others this year. Worth it for a player with JPs talent.

  2. Fully acknowledge that Knights in Cap trouble….

    But comparing their situation to the Leafs’….

    From above …. Knights 10 Fwds $46 M….. TEN!!!!

    Leafs …. only 4 (FOUR) ….. $40.5 M

    …. and even as a die-hard Leafs fan; I believe that Knights current roster has them with a better chance at the cup than Leafs right now

    Re Knights and IF (big if) there is a CBO…. I disagree with Granger who includes Statsny in unlikely to be axed through CBO (again big IF it happens)

    Statsny would be my first choice …..

    35 this year; production to Cap cost is declining ; big Cap hit ; Knights have replacements in the pipeline

    $6.5 M Cap freed up at a cash cost of $3.6 M (spread over 2 years)…. I’d do it

    As an aside; we’re it a reg buyout….same Cash outlay; $3.7 M in Cap savings 20/21; dead Cap $1.8 M in 21/22

  3. Bergevin has a plan?

    Thats new, lol.

  4. Puljularvi couldn’t cut it as a18 and 19 year old. A lot can’t at that age especially as an import. Also a bigger body who generally take more time. I would let me rot before giving him away.

    • So far it appears Ken Holland agree with you.

      I don’t think you can trade JP on his draft status, you have to consider what he has or hasn’t done.

    • I just keep seeing him more as a Nail Yakupov than a future top 6 NHL forward. I think the same things were said about Y as they are saying about JP – big body…….needs time…..put him with the right folks to spark him….if he needs that, then you are saying he doesn’t have the inner drive to succeed. I think the only place where someone gives KH a 2nd and an A prospect are in KH’s dreams.

      • Have to agree there Iago. It’s beginning to look more like Holland is cutting off his own nose to spite his face by letting him sit in Europe rather than take the best offer and move on. At some point, if he continues to play in Europe and does well enough to attract attention down the line (didn’t the Leafs just take on a 26 y/o D from the KHL? – so it’s never too late) he becomes a UFA at which point Holland gets zilch – and if he does come to the NHL that way and does well all Holland will have left is to say he “stuck to his guns.” That and a couple of bucks will get you a bland Tim Horton’s.

  5. Puljujarvi turned 22 today, which means he played parts of 3 seasons as an 18,19,+20 year old. Most kids drafted don’t come into league at that age. I’m not an Oilers fan, but that team seemed a mess during those years . Did he play strictly with McDavid? Kakko went through same thing this year. I think people shouldn’t write these kids off after being thrown into these situations. Luckily for NY fans, they don’t expect kid to be scoring 30 goals a year already. Hopefully for JPP he gets a fresh start somewhere and he’s a little more mature coming back into league. IMO,Florida could be a good landing spot. Having a team captain that’s also a Fin and playing in a not so big hockey town.

    • All great points. There is obvious intrigue surrounding his talent. Put JP in the right situation to succeed and let see what happens.

    • Valid argument Slick. He shouldn’t have been in the NHL until at least a year in he AHL. That was the old Oil MGT. Hitchcock came out and said he had no problem throwing JP over the boards in a bottom 6 role. Had issues many young players have; too many circles vs stops and starts, some poor decisions with the puck, but not a write off or liability when on the ice.
      Also not speaking English hurt him and his ability to fit in. By most accounts a good guy, who struggled adjusting and was immature.
      The Oil have different MGT and coaching staffs. Respected and respectful people. They need wingers and have great young centers. In fact Edmonton probably provides the best opportunity for him to succeed in the entire NHL.
      Plus they have the most invested in him and would have every reason to want him to succeed.
      Should be able to get past whatever issues they had. He ain’t worth much now so if he plays well in EDM for a year and still wants to be traded, he may actually get his wish.

    • While I think your comment about young players is generally sound Slick,
      JP was in the league long enough for teams to assess him at the NHL level. So their assessment is based on substantially more than projections and on his play in a lower league.

      Not one team met Holland’s asking price. Surely that says a lot.

      And Montreal doesn’t need another project, long shot, or player with potential upside. As noted, they are awash with picks and developing players. They need a proven player who can contribute now.

      • IMO JP wasn’t ready for the NHL at 18 or 19. Some reporting said the Oiler played him because JP and his agent pushed them and they needed skilled players.
        He had a 3rd line role coming into camp this year, decided to go home instead. Wanted top 6 without earning it.
        Not the first guy who went through this.
        Might never be a top 6 guy, but should be a regular NHL player if he decides to do what he needs to do. He isn’t Yakupov IMO. Maybe another season in Europe is best for him, then come back.

        This clip is classic JP.

      • Holland has his rights. In all likelihood his asking price is too high. Once he wasn’t eligible to play this season, there really wasn’t many teams willing to part with their own roster players. I’m sure somebody will take a chance on him. Rangers in same boat with Anderson. Might be mutual interest between those 2 teams.

      • Holland actually talked about that here. Didn’t like his feet. AKA skating.

  6. Holland has already shown that he will not just give Puljujarvi away. He wants a 2nd and a player so until he gets what he wants he sits over seas.

  7. Juulsen’s name seems to come up every now and then. Yes he is a former late 1st round pick but he has diminished value right now. Too much time missed over the past 2 seasons because of a broken foot, facial fractures and subsequent headaches.

  8. Seems to be a good bit of goaltender talk recently. So, for fun, I’ve put together a 20/21 team by team tandem prediction.

    ANA Gibson/Stolarz
    ARI Kuemper/Raanta
    BOS Rask/Halak
    BUF Allen/Ulmark
    CAL Rittich/Talbot
    CAR Mrazek/Reimer
    CHI Lehner/Delia or Subban
    COL Holtby/Francouz
    CBJ Merzlikins/Korpisalo
    DAL Bishop/Hutchinson
    DET Murray/Bernier
    EDM Koskinen/Smith or maybe Brossoit
    FLA Bobrovsky/Driedger
    LAK Quick/Peterson
    MIN Dubnyk/Stalock
    MON Price/Domingue
    NAS Saros/Rinne
    NJD Blackwood/Schneider
    NYI Varlamov/Khudobin
    NYR Shesterkin/Lundqvist
    OTT Hogberg/Nilsson
    PHI Hart/Elliott
    PIT Jarry/DeSmith
    SJS Jones/Dell
    STL Binnington/Hutton
    TBL Vasilevskiy/McIlhinney
    TOR Andersen/Campbell
    VAN Markstrom/Demko
    VGK Fleury/Georgiev
    WAS Samsonov/Grubauer
    WIN Hellybuyck/Crawford

    Holtby for Grubauer plus conditional 2021 pick
    Allen for Hutton straight up
    Murray for 2021 2nd and 3rd round picks
    Georgiev for 2021 2nd round pick

    Anderson, Miller and Howard all call it a career.

    Have fun with it.

    • scratch Smith and Brossoit from EDM and add Greiss.

    • Why trade for Holtby? Isn’t he FA?

      • To get rid of Grubauer’s salary.

      • You make a good point, though. So, change it to Grubauer for a 2021 2nd round pick.

  9. OK

    after 7 Covid cocktails …. I have a 3 way trade proposal that uncles JP

    to Ed—- ZAR + lowest of Habs two 3rd rounders (‘21)

    To Habs — JP & JJ; plus a very nice thank you card from Pengy

    To Pens – Juulsen


    • Let me just ad that the Pengy thank you card will be hand crafted by me and will include an original poem (No it won’t start with “There was a man from Nantucket”)

      • Oh dear, what can the matter be?
        Seven old ladies locked in the lavatory…

      • Hi BCLeafsFan

        You must have a parent from the UK as do I; am I right?

    • If the Habs are taking JJ off Pittsburgh’s hands, they will have to get a sweetener aside for JP.