NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2020

by | Jun 3, 2020 | Rumors | 31 comments

In today’s NHL rumor mill, we look at the one question facing each non-playoff club

SPORTSNET: Josh Beneteau recently looked at the most important question facing the NHL’s seven non-playoff clubs.

Kicking off with the Detroit Red Wings, Beneteau wondered how many of their free agents will be brought back. RFAs Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha are the priorities. UFAs like Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Ericsson won’t be back, while RFAs Brendan Perlini and Adam Erne aren’t expected to return. Some, like Robby Fabbri and Alex Biega, probably earned themselves contract extensions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi, Mantha, Fabbri, and Biega will be back with the Wings next season.

Looking at the Ottawa Senators’ 13 potential picks in the 2020 draft, Beneteau wondered what general manager Pierre Dorion will do with all of them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dorion will likely use most of those picks in the draft, but I expect he’ll use a few as trade bait, perhaps targeting a cap-strapped club looking to shed salary. He’ll probably consider that option if he can land a young, affordable NHL-ready player who can help the Sens’ rebuild.

Beneteau wondered if this is the end of an era for the current San Jose Sharks roster. GM Doug Wilson seems intent for now on keeping the group intact and trying to figure out what went wrong this season. Nevertheless, he has a history of making blockbuster moves.

Could Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick become an off-season trade candidate? (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We certainly can’t rule out the possibility of Wilson surprising us with a big move or two. Trying to move one or two of his veteran core, however, will be difficult. All of them carry expensive contracts with varying degrees of no-trade protection.

Turning to the Los Angeles Kings, Beneteau noted they shipped out Tyler Toffoli before the trade deadline and wondered if long-time Kings like Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, and Jonathan Quick will return. Beneteau acknowledged the trio are declining and have at least two years remaining on their contracts with annual cap hits of $5.2-million or more. Moving one of them, however, could fetch some sort of future asset while opening a spot for a younger player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings could be forced to pick up part of the salary-cap hit to move Brown, Carter, or Quick. Otherwise, they might have to include a good young asset in the deal, which this rebuilding club will be unwilling to part with.

Looking at the Anaheim Ducks’ anemic offense, Beneteau wonders who’s going to score next season. He speculates they could move one of their two first-round picks in this year’s draft to land a scoring forward through the draft or via trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay teams will be more interested in the Ducks’ pick than the one they got from the Boston Bruins. I don’t see GM Bob Murray moving his pick, especially if the Ducks win the draft lottery.

With the New Jersey Devils still undecided over whether to retain interim GM Tom Fitzgerald and head coach Alain Nasreddine, Beneteau wonders who’s going to make the roster decisions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the unusually long off-season facing the Devils, they have plenty of time to address that issue. They reportedly interviewed former Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis, while Gerard Gallant, Peter Laviolette, and John Stevens are said to be among their coaching candidates.

Beneteau closes by wondering which players will be part of the solution for the Buffalo Sabres. He thinks upgrades in goal and on the forward lines are coming and won’t rule out big trades involving defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and RFA winger Sam Reinhart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres GM Jason Botterill and head coach Ralph Krueger expressed support for Ristolainen. It appears they’re also keen to keep Reinhart in the fold. Then again, we can’t rule out the possibility of one or both being moved before next season.


  1. What have the Sabres to lose? They have pissed off their most valuable player and seem to have disheartened more than a few others. Yet, they want to keep Ristolen & Rienhart in the fold and feel Eichel is sacred ground ( this one I agree with….Eichel you build around). The other 2 especially the D man you trade for as close to equal value..

    Of course the Sabres are willing to trade their bad contracts Skinner & Osposko….but who wants them…

    I know it is my pet peeve….but how are going to cast off being a loser without trading at least one player of value….

    • They need to let Mittelstadt play. He’s 21 now. Why did he split time this year between AHL and NHL after playing most of previous year with big club? They’re stuck with Okposo unless they buy him out. They’d be crazy to trade Reinhardt.

    • I wonder if Reinhart could be part of a package to get Monahan from Calgary. Some think Lindholm could move to center and Reinhart could be a fit at RW. Sabres need a 2nd line center and also could send Calgary a RD (Miller, Risto, Borgen even Montour) to even the package.

      • G man. Monaghan is a guy I’d love Rangers to target also. Curious to see what we do with Strome. Hard to imagine Calgary would part with him.

      • G-Man It makes sense from the Sabres side, 2nd line center is a must for the Sabres and drafting around 8th the Sabres can get a replacement for Reinhart, maybe Holtz???

        My concern is more that Botterill is still at the helm making these trades. The ROR trade will haunt him forever but I still think that was ownership that forced that trade and Stl was the benefactor of it. Botterill was forced to take the garbage return he received.

        OBD…Skinners contract isn’t as bad as it seems. The man scores 40 goals with Eichel as his center and then the next year gets stuck with a bunch of different centers who were worthless as a 2nd line center. Put him back with Eichel or a Monahan and he is back to a 30+ goal scorer.

        Slick62…Mittelstadt should have stayed in college an extra year or two. He didn’t/doesn’t have NHL stength yet and the year in the AHL will hopefully have done him some good.

        Sabres will also get Cozens this year bc he can’t go to the AHL and there’s nothing he can do in juniors at this point that he hasn’t already done. He can play the wing or break in at center on the 3rd line.

        Finally if Botterill brings back most of this years team then he shouldn’t last the year as GM.

  2. Dorion has the picks and cap room to be very creative. If the cap stays flat or dips teams like the Sens should be able to sign some decent FAs to fill out the roster.

    • I am just wondering are the Columbus Blue Jackets one of the teams are going to need the shed some help or one of the teams right up against the cap?

      • Hi Al,

        I hope you are well. there cap situation is pretty favorable and won’t need to make deals solely for cap reasons like select teams may have to (TBL, STL, VAN). That said they have RFAs that will be intriguing negotiations to watch. Dubois, Anderson, Gavrikov, Stenlund. They also have D men Savard and Murray a year away from UFA. The buzz from local and national insiders is Jarmo is looking to be active in the trade market and the target is adding high skill F. I suspect the offseason (whenever that might be) will be active one for CBJ.

    • SilverSeven

      Who is Loch Ness?

    • Hi Ronald
      Would be interested to see if OTT is in the market for an experienced C as their prospects develop. CBJ is also apparently listening on Wennberg. Through overpaid for his offensive production (at 4.9 AAV) the last few years, he is an elite defensive center and still highly skilled playmaker….hasn’t jelled in Torts system and has been the same driver of offensive production since a few big hits (Wilson in the 2018 playoffs for one). I am curious if a deal around 2nd 3rd round picks is in the realm of possibility there.

      • Morning Deacon Frost. While I have no doubt Dorion will be active on the trade front with some of the 13 picks (including the 1st rounder from the NYI), I really doubt Wennberg would be among his targets.

        The guy makes $4.9 million off the cap for 3 more years and, in 415 gp, has all of 40 goals and 161 assists. That’s pretty anaemic for that kind of money. And Ottawa already has one C under contract (Anisimov) in the much the same vein plus an RFA (Tierney) who is an excellent defensive type who they’ll likely re-sign. Then there are Nick Paul, Josh Norris, Logan Brown and Filip Chlapik in their own system, all with more offensive potential than Wennberg has ever shown.

  3. So six of seven teams are planning improvements for their teams, but the Devils are debating their management structure. While critically important, its already been since January/December this issue popped up. Need to finalize that decision and get back to the rebuild before more teams pass us. Frustrating.

    • Kevin, i honestly don’t think the Devils are that far off. It does need more than a ‘tweaking” for sure, but there’s a good nucleus. Goaltending needs to be addressed 1st imo. We have enough cap space if Schneids isn’t up to snuff, we can send him down. Having Blackie & 1A will do the trick. If they’re going to make a change, (GM wise) it would’ve been done by now (well ahead of the draft)

    • Hi George…good to hear from you. Good observation…thanks for sharing. Anisimov and Tierney do provide the kind of veteran presence that I was thinking Wennberg could add to OTT (for relatively cheap assets but higher cap cost) but for less cost & term. Wenny’s lack of offense and cap hit for 3 yrs is likely to be a sticking point for many teams particularly in the post-pandemic cap area. He is the target of a lot of fan wrath for his drop in offensive productivity, but I am still hopeful he’l regain his form whether in CBus or in the classic change of scenery trade scenario.

      • Hope everything is good with you and yours in these trying times Deacon Frost and that things have settled down in Columbus.

        As to Wennberg, it’s been repeated many times over the years that you can’t teach scoring, and he is a classic example of that. His best season in the NHL came 4 years ago when, in 80 games, he scored 13 goals and had 46 assists for 59 points, In fact, he’s never scored 20 anywhere in his career.

        A classic example of that philosophy about the inability to teach scoring came in the 1977 draft as detailed in this excerpt from the book The Art Of Scouting: “So Bill (Torrey) went back to Al Arbour (then coach of the NYI who were picking 15th) and said ‘we have a choice here, Al. We have a guy who doesn’t check very well and doesn’t play defence at this time. We have this other guy who doesn’t have the high offensive skills, but he works really hard and has a pretty good defensive awareness.’ Al said “give me the goal scorer and I will teach him how to play defence.”

        So Torrey chose Mike Bossy and the rest, as they, is history.

        By the way the first 14 picks in that draft were Dale McCourt (Det), Barry Beck (Col), Robert Picard (Wash), Jere Gillis (Vanc), Mike Crombeen (Cleveland), Doug Wilson (Chic), Brad Maxwell (Minn), Lucien DeBlois (NYR), Scott Campbell (StL), Mark Napier (Mtl), John Anderson (Tor), Trevor Johansen (Tor), Ron Duguay (NYR), Ric Seiling (Buf).

      • “We have a guy who could score 50 goals in the NHL. Now, he doesn’t check …..”

  4. Two teams that need big time help with their cap situation are the Vancouver Canucks and the St Louis Blues.

    I wonder if Dorion would make a trade offer for
    Jake Virtanen.

    I know I am dreaming but if the St. Louis Blues want resign pietrangelo if Doug Armstrong would be willing to trade Cotton Parayko.

    If Doug Armstrong is willing to trade Colton Parayko and I know it would cost alot to get Parayko but I would like to see Dorion make a trade offer Colton Parayko.

    • Sorry Al

      I called Parayko on Pens or Leafs s year ago …. first dibs 👍😀

      Joking aside , I can’t see Army moving CP

      If there is a CBO …. Steen …. frees up a ton

  5. Buyout Loch Ness. He will land somewhere probably for $1m. Not if but when will he be hurt and out of the lineup anyway. Maybe The Wild. Appropriate nickname these days.
    They also have to hope Skinner bounces back. Sabres are close to turning the corner. Can’t get into making a bad deal to make up for a bad deal and trade your way to the bottom

    • SilverSeven

      Who is Loch Ness?

      • I’m assuming okposo? Al

  6. Kevin: a for fun proposal as NJ has yet to finalize the management team and Dubas is too young for the job while Old Blue Dog if nothing else is old enough to be management…the proposal is:

    Pavel Zacha & Subban at 50% for kapanen & Kerfoot

    A mere trial balloon….

    • Try johnsson and dermott for subban 50% retained

    • OBD, interesting balloon – but gotta pass on Kerfoot as he spurned us once before. Perhaps some from your AHL team and Kapanen would get that done.

  7. Kings would not have to add a young player if they wanted to move Quick. They would have no problem moving him if they wanted too. Quick played out standing towards the end of the season.

    • Dave, while Quick did have some good starts towards the end, he turns 35 in January and still has 3 years to go at $5.8 mil per. At any other time they might be able to deal him with the addition of a good young prospect, in these uncertain financial times, and with the glut of free-agent goalies floating about, I’d say finding a team to take that on is slim at best


    • Dave/George, Quick had a god awful first month if the season, along with everyone else on the team. The rest of the season Quicks numbers were actually quite good and he stole a bunch of games, unfortunately, going down the stretch on their 7 game win streak.

      A team looking to find that last price would be moronic not to trade for Quick. And Dave is absolutely correct, no way LA gives up a prospect to move him.

      • Then they don’t move him. Not cause the case you made is wrong but cause the goalie market is saturated.

        You be stuck la. Unless you pay to play.

    • I wouldn’t mind the Wings acquiring Quick.

  8. Sharks are in interesting position. So much money tied up in aging stars. As Lyle said, doubtful they can be moved either. Even though they’re out of playoffs, there window is still now. Last time they missed playoffs, they where in finals the following season. There’s too much talent on that team to be that bad. Injuries where a problem. I think if Lundqvist gets bought out, he’ll end up in SJ. He was always a better player when getting the bulk of the work. Unfortunately for him, Rangers couldn’t hold back on Shesterkin. I don’t think he’s done. He’s still an upgrade over Jones. Also can’t see Thornton back. Will be harder to return with this long of a lay off. He’s 40 and has become a liability on the ice.

    • Yeah, but he has to be 20 lbs lighter after shaving off that forest