Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 3, 2020

by | May 3, 2020 | Rumors | 19 comments

Check out recent Blues and Sabres speculation in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


STLTODAY.COM: During a recent live chat with his readers, Tom Timmermann was asked if Blues fans should be worried about Alex Pietrangelo departing via free agency after this season. He didn’t rule out it, suggesting the 30-year-old defenseman will take a business-like approach to the situation. If Pietrangelo gets a better offer from a rival club, Timmermann thinks he’ll take it.

Blues fans remain concerned over Alex Pietrangelo’s future in St. Louis (Photo via NHL Images).

Given the possibility of the salary cap remaining at $81.5 million, most clubs won’t have the cap space to make Pietrangelo a lavish offer. Nashville Predators blueliner Roman Josi’s annual average value of $9 million is considered the yardstick. Nevertheless, Timmermann feels the Blues will fight hard to keep their captain.

Timmermann’s colleague Benjamin Hochman shares this view, pointing to the Blues’ lack of salary-cap space next season. It could mean shedding one or two players to free up sufficient room. They could trade goaltender Jake Allen and buy out the final season of Alex Steen’s contract, though the Blues rarely do contract buyouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo’s status will remain a hot topic for conjecture until this season is finally over. With $79.4 million tied up in 20 players and restricted free agent Vince Dunn also to be signed, the Blues must shed salary if they hope to re-sign Pietrangelo.

There’s lots of talk among fans and pundits suggesting compliance buyouts could return this off-season to help cap-strapped clubs as a result of the pandemic’s effect upon league revenue. However, if the league and the NHL Players Association agree to maintain the cap at $81.5 million, that could rule out compliance buyouts. If so, the Blues would have to go the conventional route to buy out Steen, which would only free up $2.33 million of his current $5.75 million cap hit for 2020-21.

Speaking of Allen, Timmermann was asked about bundling the goalie with Ivan Barbashev as a cost-cutting move. He feels Allen would be enticing to clubs seeking help between the pipes, but that move would only free up $5.8 million, not enough to re-sign Pietrangelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Timmermann points out, that’s why folks keep turning to trading or buying out Steen.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Joe Yerdon recently examined the salary-cap issues facing the Buffalo Sabres next season. They’re currently around $1.25 million over the $81.5 million salary cap because of bonuses owed to Rasmus Dahlin and Henri Jokiharju.

Should Dahlin finish in the top-10 among defensemen in assists, he’ll be owed another $2 million. It would push the Sabres’ overage to $3.275 million, leaving them with $78.225 million available next season.

Yerdon observes the Sabres have over $47 million committed to next season’s cap payroll, but those potential bonus overages make that cap space a bit of a mirage. They could make low-ball offers to their restricted free agents or trade one or two players (like Rasmus Ristolaninen) to loosen the salary cap pressure.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres’ RFAs include Sam Reinhart, Victor Olofsson, Brandon Montour, Dominik Kahun, and Linus Ullmark. Their UFAs include Wayne Simmonds, who was acquired from New Jersey at the trade deadline.

Re-signing them will take up a sizable chunk of their cap space, leaving less to replace the others or to address their ongoing roster needs. A $3.2 million overage penalty will complicate things.

Ristolainen frequently surfaced as a trade candidate this season, as did Montour whenever pundits discussed the Sabres’ need for another scoring forward. One or both could get moved before next season.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Travis Jost suggests Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli could be an intriguing fit for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cirelli would be an intriguing fit for any NHL club. However, I don’t believe the Lightning intend to move him. He’s a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract without arbitration rights.

With over $76 million invested in 15 players, the Bolts don’t have enough cap space to re-sign him and their other free agents. However, media speculation suggests they could look at moving one or two veterans (like Alex Killorn) to clear space to re-sign Cirelli and Sergachev to affordable bridge contracts.


  1. With Steen and Bozak each @ $5 milliom +, and Allen @ over $4 million, and Gunnarsson/Bortuzzo at a combined $3 million, and de la Rose @ 1 million, I continue to remain hopeful that Armstrong can free up necessary dollars to sign Pietrangelo and Dunn. Although this would impact the “veteran presence” of the team and each of these guys have played key roles, losing them would not affect the main core of the Blues and would allow some prospects an increased opportunity.

    • This is the outcome I believe will happen. Blues, adverse to buyouts, will try and trade out of it. Its gonna cost them some futures though, that a number of bottom-feeders will be happy to assist with.

      • Agreed regarding trades vs. buyouts considering Armstrong’s history. I’m not convinced that someone like Vince Dunn or Justin Faulk might be packaged as well. Dunn better not put up a fight over his contract, because I think that may have played a part in Edmundson’s ticket out.

    • I actually do not see a problem with St Louis resigning Pietrangelo unless someone goes nuts and offers 10 yrs at 11 Mil a year. Maple Leafs showed the way last year by offering a #1 pick if you take Marleau. Think of it this way, on July 1 (or whenever UFA’s can be signed), Pietrangelo no longer belongs to St Louis, so would you trade for him a #1 pick, Steen OR Bozak or a prospect for him ? That’s a cheap price for his talent. St Louis waited 50 years to win a cup, and this this is their window, they are not going to let a late #1 pick and an aging player + maybe a prospect get in their way. Same goes for Krug in Boston, he stays there unless someone offers the world to him.
      As for Jersey, NYR, Islanders, Detroit and a few other places. Take a look at what is going on in these cities right now, I can just see Pietgangelo going home one night and say to his wife, goods news honey we are moving to NYC or Jersey, don’t worry you will only will be isolated for the next 10 years. Just do what Bill DeBlasio tells you to do and it will be ok.

  2. If the highest bidder gets Pietrangelo then I would imagine the Devils would win. I still don’t see that happening. Just like Panarin last year, the highest bidder does not always win.

    • Somebody offered Panarin more? Columbus?

      • The Islanders offered more.

      • Not trying to be difficult, but Columbus actually offered the most total $ to Panarin at 8 years $96 million. Brooks from NYP reported that it was believed that NYI offered 7 years at $12.7 million/season but that was never verified. I suppose us hard core CBJ fans take solace in the face that we offered Bread the highest $.

      • Deacon, you should’ve ended that with “we offered Bread the highest dough”.

      • Ha

  3. How is that Skinner deal looking now ? He would be my choice for an league wide compliance buyout . Okposo right behind him .

    • Hi SilverSeven

      If it were me as Sabres decision maker and CBO was enacted… I’d buyout Okposo instead of Skinner

      From a bus perspective.,,,

      Cash cost total of buyout (Okposo) is $11 M ; saves $6M off Cap for next 3 years; Okposo has had two consecutive rough years; is 32 ; no apparent indication of re-surgance

      Skinner; one bad year; could be a blip; still 27; cash total on buyout is $47 M ; and saving $3M in Cap (over Okposo buyout) for next three years

      If they really want to rid Skinner; trade him after 1/7 with 50% retained

      Cash savings (With trade @ 50 % for Skinner) to Sabres vs CBO …. $20 M ; AND will get an asset(s) back in trade ; and free up $4.5 M Cap space for 7 years

      • Skinner’s contract – another brilliant move by Sabres’ management. Punch Imlach must be looking down shaking his head almost to the point of giving himself a concussion.

        That said, Okposo would be the one to go – he’s also had a number of injuring the past few seasons.

  4. I guess Okposo is the logical choice if healthy. And that has been a big IF throughout his career.

    • Granted the Sabres over paid on Skinner but he scored 40 playing with Eichel the year before and very rarely saw playing time with him this year. He did not have a legitimate center to play with in Johansson. Buying him out makes no sense at this time as the Sabres need a 2nd line center and a top 6 winger for starters and that just creates another hole.
      Best bet is one of Ristolainen/Montour goes and my bet is Ristolainen. I think Cozens either plays junior or the NHL next year but putting him at 2nd line center may be rushing him like they did with Mittelstadt who wasn’t ready for the NHL coming out of high school.
      Botterill has his work cut out and he has to start by ditching Okposo who is past his prime. Just spit balling here but if Ana is going to a rebuild maybe they part with Henrique for Risto as the main parts of a trade.

  5. What’s the deal with Ristolainen always rumored to be traded? I see he is a career -145. Is he bad or is this the result or playing on the Sabres – whom I don’t watch.

    • Time for Sabres to trade or cut just about anybody that has been there the past few seasons, other and Eichel and 1 or 2 others.

      The big flush.

    • He`s bad along the lines of Tyson Barrie.

    • He constantly puts himself out of position so he can make a big hit.
      The other issue last year was goaltending. It was average at best last year with Ullmark and Hutton, who was the original starter, lost the job to a kid from the AHL.
      It was absolutely brutal.