NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2020

by | Jun 30, 2020 | Rumors | 27 comments

Updates on the Blues and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill

STLTODAY.COM: In a recent live chat with Blues fans, Tom Timmermann was asked how the club could afford to keep Justin Faulk if they re-sign Alex Pietrangelo. Doing so would involve freeing up some salary-cap space by trading two well-paid players. Timmermann also suggested Faulk could be exposed in the 2021 NHL expansion draft.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have over $79.4 million invested in 20 players (stick tap to Cap Friendly) with Pietrangelo and blueliner Vince Dunn as their notable free agents to re-sign. There’s been speculation for weeks over which players the Blues could trade (or buy out) to free up cap room for those two, with Tyler Bozak ($5 million annually through 2020-21) and Alexander Steen ($5.75 million through ’20-’21) considered the likely candidates. Bozak has a 10-team no-trade list while Steen’s no-trade expires on Feb. 1.

Maybe Blues general manager Doug Armstrong surprises us by trading Faulk at season’s end after re-signing him last fall to a long-term extension, but that would mean he waives his no-trade clause. It’s assumed Faulk was acquired and re-signed as insurance in case Pietrangelo departs via free agency later this year.

Speaking of Pietrangelo, Timmermann thinks the odds of the Blues captain staying put have slightly increased because he’s unlikely to get a lot of lucrative contract offers if the salary cap remains flat for next season. If Pietrangelo agrees to a short-term deal, the Blues have a better chance of re-signing him. Nevertheless, Timmermann reminds us it only takes one team with lots of cap space to put an end to that.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch expects Senators GM Pierre Dorion will be working the phones between now and whenever the 2020 NHL Draft is held. With 13 selections, including potentially three in the first round and seven in the first two rounds, Garrioch expects Dorion will use some of those picks to move up or down in the draft order or to acquire NHL players.

TSN analyst Craig Button points out the Senators also have lots of salary-cap space for next season. That will work to their advantage as there will be teams looking to shed salary to become cap compliant.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Dorion could use some of those picks and his cap room to bring in one or two good, young NHL players. The Senators have only $41.9 million invested in nine players. 

Much of that cap space will be invested in re-signing RFAs like Connor Brown, Chris Tierney, and Anthony Duclair, and perhaps one or two UFAs like Ron Hainsey or Mark Borowiecki. I doubt they’ll be a cap team, but I do believe they’ll be willing to invest in some NHL talent if it will help them over the long term.


  1. I’ve always been skeptical of being a “cap team” (i.e. spending to the limit), thereby hamstringing any attempt to bring in a rental as playoff time approaches. Only one team wins the cup – how many “cap teams” fell by the wayside perhaps because they were smack up against the cap and missed a golden opportunity to bring in the one ingredient that could have made a difference because they were unable to find a dance partner willing to take a costly contract off their hands (f that was the case) to create cap room?

    To me (and this has NOTHING to do with Ottawa in particular), a smart GM will always find a way to have “wiggle room.”

  2. Sens should take and add one of their seconds and move up from their third first at 21 . Might as well go all in this draft.
    In that 12-16 range is still available a very good prospect. Holloway-Ghule-Mercer-Schneider

  3. All Dorion has to do is read this column. Offer Pietrangelo whatever he wants to come to the great white north to add instant credibility, stability and amazeballs to the defence. Blues get out of a jam, Sens get closer to the cap floor and a genuine #1D to mentor and guide the club.

    The nudge-nudge wink-wink could also be aimed at Bozak and/or Steen: come to us, get your full salary and free Canada Goose jacket on entry to the country and we’ll trade you at the deadline to a club that has a legit shot at the cup.

    Win-win-win-win-win all round!

    (of course, Dorion will have to use his powers of persuasion turned up to 11 to make any of this happen)

    • Amazballs. 😍

  4. I agree George. A GM should not have an option. Certain guidelines should be established by the Board. That would be one in my opinion. I think someone could calculate ( I’m too old), a money value in a hard cap on cap space.

    The Leafs ( not Dubas & I am not pro-Dubas) trapped themselves against the cap and in order to overpay Marner ( this one is on Dubas) gave a 1 st rounder to rid themselves of Marleau. I think someone could calculate ( I’m still too old) the money value of a is t rounder.

    Dubas is a young and a good man. BUT, he is too young to have learned how smart he isn’t. When he does he will be an extremely good GM.

    One of the things about errors is that they are a great learning opportunity for a wise person

    • Agree OBD. Way back when I worked in the federal government at Immigration I had one main rule for my staff – everyone is entitled to making mistakes – just don’t make the same mistake twice.

      • Hi OBD

        You and I agree on the KD’s “greeness” and the effect on cap that some of his moves has made

        Where we disagree is the genesis of the Cap issues

        JT was coming no matter what and at the time …. he got going rate or maybe $500 K (no more) high

        Here is where we differ on the start of Leafs problems; and I can’t believe I’m 100 % in sync with Brian Burke (ahhhhh!!) on this … although I posted my thoughts months and months before he said it live on HNIC…. downfall was the WW contract capitulation

        He sits that year… no change whatsoever in Leafs performance that year…. but then WW ‘s eventual contract and hence also MM’s & AM’s are much more favourable in term and Cap to Leafs

        I had posted that the capitulation then gave a negotiation power swing (from Leafs to AM & MM camps)…..allowing a high Cap walk away at 26 yrs contract to AM and a high contract to MM… I had posted that the capitulation by KD on WW and his dad; cost (amoung the 3 contracts)… an extra year of term and about $3M in Cap

        Burke also said if KD had said “sit’ to WW that each player would have been 6 or more years but he said Cap savings would have been $3M – $5M per year… very valuable space that could have been used on a top 4 D and Leafs would not have needed to make the Colorado trade

        We’re in Cap hell still ; and still need a better overall D and some grit for any hopes of a cup in their window… ‘22-‘25


    • Dubai also overpaid for JT, and the TML’s really didn’t need him. They scored enough before he got there.

    • Lou Lamoriello signed Marleau for two years. Dubas fixed Lou’s mistake.

    • That 1st for dumping Marleau is 100% on those 2 dinosaurs Lou and Babs.

      Dubas has made a couple of bad contract moves. The second worst was overpaying marner by 2M but the bidders was not getting AM34 to sign an 8 year deal even if it was for more than McDavid. That’s where the overpay should have been made.

  5. Connor Brown , give him a nice raise and 3-4 year term deal. He earned it.
    Chris Tierney, offer a 2 yr * 3 mil per deal or trade him to a team looking for a #3 center.
    Anthony Duclair, offer a 1 year show me ( again ) deal , great start but really did not earn a long term lucrative deal. I would also listen to offers.
    Ron Hainsey , pass
    Mark Borowiecki , Boro will sign a home town discount ( again ), he is a 6-7 dman. He brings a lot to the room and the community. His body has taken a beating over his career , I can see him playing 2 more years and then move into the coaching ranks within the organization.

  6. I’ll say it again…. with a little luck and a couple of prudent moves…. Sens will be very good in 3 years

    They have a young up and coming team with good prospects and 13 picks..

    2 of top 5
    3 of top 20
    4 of top 33
    7 of top 55!!!!

    Lots of Cap space this year

    My suggested moves (at least phone calls made) for Dorion

    Arz Cap strapped…. after SB paid ; Stephan owed only $2M (1yr left)….

    Stepan & Garland for a 2nd

    Blues need space (Petro)… if they can get Steen to waive (owed 1 more year at $3.5 M…

    Steen & Kostin for Abromov & 2nd

    Try to move up NYI pick…. likely 15-20…. that pick plus remaining 2 seconds…. to get to 10th or 11th…. pick Askarov

    Those moves…. Get…

    —-Stutzle or Byfield

    —-Drysdale or Rossi or Quinn




    ——6 more “gamble” picks… rounds 3-7

    —— current young roster with up and coming talent

    —— Plus already in Belleville —–Formenton, Bathurst, Brown, Norris, Chlapik, Braanstrom, Thomson, Jairo’s; Lajoie, Daccord, Gustavvsson

    Maybe Pinto rises????

    Those players above in 3 years … look out!!

    • Pengy

      As for trades I would like to trade for one of Josh Anderson or Jake Virtanen.

      • Pengy

        I meant to say I would like to see Dorion trade for one of Josh Anderson or Jake Virtanen.

      • Hi Al

        Like both. I think JA might end up being the better return on required trade investment

        No matter what; Sens setting up well (for down the road) as at now

  7. I don’t think Faulk gets a new deal with a ntc, and then agrees to waive it. I also can’t imagine Blues letting Pietrangelo walk for nothing. A better option; Parayko would bring back a good return. To Ottawa for a 1st and 2nd? He lacks trade protection.Allen has a reasonable cap hit that Blues should be able to move to a goalie needy team. Steen will be bought out. Plenty of options. Letting Pietrangelo walk shouldn’t be one of them.

    • Slickster,

      You just made me cry at the thought of losing Parayko and Pengy about killed me by giving away Kostin, but I guess somethings gotta give!?!

      Let’s start with Allen, Bozak and Steen, then see what more has to happen.

      • Iowa. Figuring Petro going to get at least 7/8 mil and Faulk is locked in at 6.5, doesn’t make much sense to have 20 mil invested on RD. IMO, I’d rather keep Petro and get assets for Parayko. Maybe they can keep both. Idk. There’s also the expansion draft to think about.

      • I’m still “getting to know” Faulk, and I don’t think he was at his best last year. The trade/transition was not an easy adjustment. Maybe the all-star Faulk will resurface in the upcoming season!? However, I think Parayko is a more dominant all around d’man than Faulk. I’d hate to lose him.

    • Slick,

      Good point on the ntc. Also, there may not be many teams interested in paying Faulk 18 mil over the next two years.

  8. I really like Askarov from what little I have seen and he might fall outside of the top 10. Didn’t show well in the 19 year old tournament. We’ll see next WJC.
    Deep draft or not I think unwise with so many in one draft class . I don’t recall ever as many as 7 in the first 55.

  9. Lou Lamoriello signed Marleau for two years. Dubas fixed Lou’s mistake.

    • I wonder if, as the heir apparent, he voiced his concern/objection at the time. Would have been nice to be a fly on the wall 🙂

    • It makes you wonder, had he not over paid all his RFAs, Dubas wouldn’t have been in the position to have to pay the first to get rid of one year of Marleau in the first place.

      So maybe it’s a little unfair to pin this entirely on Lou, no?

  10. Overall Dubas has been excellent so far

  11. I guess we will have to wait and see if Dubas overpaid or not.
    Losing to Boston in a 7 game series doesn’t really prove much.
    I think in 5 years we will have a better idea.