NHL Rumor Mill – June 20, 2020

by | Jun 20, 2020 | Rumors | 22 comments

In today’s NHL rumor mill, we look at several possible buyout candidates plus some recent Blues speculation.


NBC SPORTS: Sean Leahy recently listed Montreal Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner, Anaheim Ducks winger David Backes, New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris, and Vancouver Canucks winger Loui Eriksson as five prime off-season contract buyout candidates.

Alzner, 31, spent most of the past three seasons buried in the minors. He has two years left on his contract with an annual average value of $4.625 million, plus he’s owed a $1.5 million signing bonus this off-season.

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (Photo via NHL Images).

Backes, 36, has battled injuries as his ice time and production declined in recent years. A buyout won’t free up much cap room for the Ducks but would open up a roster spot for a younger player.

The emergence of young goalies Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev put the 38-year-old Lundqvist’s future with the Rangers into doubt. He has a year left at an AAV of $8.5 million. The Rangers could try to trade him but Lundqvist would have to waive his no-movement clause.

Turris was a health scratch at times this season. He’s earning $6 million annually for the next four years.

Eriksson is another veteran forward whose production and ice time have dropped. He has two years left with an AAV of $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have just over $63 million invested in 16 players, with Max Domi and Victor Mete as their notable free agents. Depending on the cost of re-signing those two, the Habs could have sufficient space under a projected $81.5 million cap next season to add to their roster without buying out Alzner. They could retain him for one more season to work with their minor leaguers and buy out his final season.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ducks bought out Backes. The years of physical play have caught up with him. Given his concussion history, retirement would be the best option, but that’s not something he seems to be considering.

Most of the speculation about Lundqvist points to a buyout unless he agrees to be traded or they move Georgiev instead.

Turris was frequently mentioned as a buyout candidate, but that’s something Predators GM David Poile could be reluctant to do. He doesn’t like carrying dead cap space but might not have much choice if he can’t move Turris in a cost-cutting trade.

There’s talk of trading Eriksson to a budget team after he’s paid his signing bonus for next season, as his actual salary will be lower than his $6 million AAV. If that’s not possible, the Canucks might have to go the buyout route.


STLTODAY.COM: In a recent chat with Blues fans, Jim Thomas said he doesn’t see them going shopping in the free-agent market even if Alex Pietrangelo departs after this season. General manager Doug Armstrong would only have enough cap space to re-sign RFA defenseman Vince Dunn.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Jeremy Rutherford said he doesn’t see former Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk as a possible replacement for Pietrangelo. Currently with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Shattenkirk is 31 and the Blues don’t need him on the right side when they’ve already got Colton Parayko and Justin Faulk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues (as per Cap Friendly) have over $79.4 million invested in 20 players next season. If Pietrangelo walks they’ll still have to shed some salary to re-sign Dunn. They won’t have enough to jump into the UFA market.


  1. Even if Rangers retain 50% of Lundqvist salary, it’s hard to see a trade. I think buyout is inevitable. Even if Gorgiev is traded.

  2. Although Armstrong has no history of buyouts, in light of the cap crunch I wonder if Steen or maybe Bozak should be on the list of potential buyout options??

    I also don’t have any idea of what a reasonable contract is for Dunn (both $s and term) with the current economic factors?? 3 million for 3 years, then hope for better times??

    Lyle, do you still put Petro resigning at 50% or are things deteriorating?

    • Still 50-50. Nothing new has been heard regarding his contract talks and I doubt we’ll hear anything further until the season is completed one way or the other.

  3. Lyle, it is my understanding that with Alzner assigned to the AHL his salary is not a cap hit. If that is so, does a buyout count as one of the two available for NHL roster players?

    I am trying to see the point of buying an AHLer out.

    • LJ, the Canadiens only see over $1 million in cap relief by burying Alzner in the minors. The rest of his $4.625 million AAV counts against their cap.

    • You can save about $900K of a players AAV by burying them in the AHL. But the balance still counts toward the salary cap.

      • Hi G-Man

        Per CF; the “bury” bonus savings is $1.075M (obviously as long as a player makes at least that)

        Weird formulae to get there but the net is $1.075M

  4. You can buy out a player and sign him back for less dollars and term. Do that both with Steen and Bozak . Win win

    • No, you can’t, SilverSeven. They have to wait one year from the date of the buyout.

      • Hi Lyle

        See my scenario question below re Hank

        Isn’t there a possibility of trade by team A to team B; team B then dies buyout; then immediate re-sign by team A?

    • Update to my previous response, SilverSeven. According to Cap Friendly, you’re right, a team can buy out a player’s contract and re-sign him. The one-year wait period applied only to compliance buyouts.

      The Blues could buy out Steen and Bozak and re-sign each to more affordable, short-term contracts. However, as the good folks at Cap Friendly also noted in a recent DM on Twitter, that depends upon the club’s salary-cap circumstances, including the cap hit of the buyout, and what the player will be seeking in his new contract. Remember, Steen and Bozak would be unrestricted free agents and could opt to sign elsewhere if they got better offers.

  5. Ducks / Backes
    At this point don’t see Backes as buy out. Ducks won’t save much and they are rather thin at RW. Perry gone, Kase gone, Terry had a terrible year so I think they keep Backes, he may be a 4th liner or spare part that sits in the stands on many nights but it’s only for one season and he then goes home.
    Buyout may be Kessler but only if he gets stupid and wants to play again and forces the issue, other wise it’s IR and insurance picks up most of the tab.

  6. Kyle Turris is owed 6M/year x 4 more years. Not 4M/year.

    Ottawa dodged a bullet.

  7. Re Hank and buyout

    Wasn’t there a move 2 or 3 years ago where a player was traded to a team ; then bought out by that team; then he signed back with his original team? Washington?? Maybe?? Perhaps I’m dreaming ; but if so….

    Rangers pay his SB; trade him @ 50 % ; new team buys Hank out; Rangers sign him as UFA @$1.5M

    Net…. Hank …. stays and retires as a Ranger; no loss in $’s

    Rangers…. cash …. they have tons; save $3.25 M in cap; less trade incentive given up (see below)

    Receiving team …. $1.5 M cash ; $2.75 M then $0.75M Cap to “buy” the above mentioned trade incentive

    What is that trade incentive ??? Prospect??? Pick(s)??

    Generally re NHL buyouts…..

    Most important NHL buyout not mentioned here… saves that team $2.1 M, $2.1 M, $1.3 M in Cap; only has total cost of $5.5M (over 6 years); and most importantly….

    Massively improves team play; points; performance; rank; Cup chances

    Massively improves stats for ALL teammates

    Massively improves team morale

    Massively improves coaching; ownership and fans’ feelings about the team and enjoyment of the teams play

    To me…. should be #1 buyout in entire league

    • Pengy. You’ve outdone yourself. This scenario is craziest. Pretty sure if Rangers retain salary for Hank and he gets bought out by another team, Rangers are still paying a portion of the buy out. If you’re team B, why are you trading assets to acquire a player you’re buying out? If you say Rangers somehow sweeten pot, why would they?

      • Hi Slick

        The numbers in my scenario already include the amounts retained and buyout amounts for Rangers

        The net effect to Rangers is trading something (pick(s) or prospect) to save Cap ($3.25M) and about $2.5 M cash

        Receiving team (with Cap space) is “buying” that asset for $1.5M…. assets can be bought …. cite Canes buying Leafs 1st for $3.8 M (amount Canes ended up shelling out to Marleau)

        Yes a long shot…. but doable

        From Lyle earlier…. if CF says buyout and then re-sign is viable/allowed … I’d thought another team had to be in between…. but if so….

        With a Hank buyout then re-sign @$1.5 M (buyout loss) .. Hank loses zip; and Rangers Cap…. save $1.5 M in Cap 20/21; which then shows up as a $1.5 M hit in 21/22…. just a Cap deferral in other words

    • Pengy: You’re thinking of Brooks Orpik. To refresh the memory, Orpik was packaged with Philipp Grubauer to the Avs for a second-round pick at the 2018 NHL Draft. Orpik was the throw-in in that deal as the Avs wanted Grubauer but the Caps would only make the swap if Orpik was included.

      The Avs had no intention of keeping him and gave him the option of a trade to a preferred destination or a buyout. He opted for the latter and was bought out 3 days later after clearing unconditional waivers. A month later, the Caps signed him to a one-year deal.

      • I’m guessing there was no salary retention by Washington? Would Rangers be allowed to sign Hank if they’re already retaining salary? And would league even allow a deal Like this when it’ would be clearly circumventing cba?

      • Thanks Lyle

        Had the right team; couldn’t remember player


    • Absolutely crazy but I love it !!! Hank deserves to retire as a Ranger. Also helps both teams involved.

      • Rangers have 3 goalies on roster. 3 more on AHL roster. Shesterkin will be #1 goalie. I don’t see Lundqvist being on roster next year unless Gorgiev is traded. Even then, cap space will be really tight next year. A buyout will save 3 mil

  8. Ummmm, if your trading for Lundquist at 50% retention, why not just trade for Quick, who at full price is only a million or so more than Hank at 50% retained, except he’s actually won something in his career.

    Or Quick at 50% retention is just shy of $3 mill per. Again you get two Stanley cups and a Conn Smythe