NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2020

by | Jul 1, 2020 | Rumors | 47 comments

Which players could the Devils pursue in the off-season? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak was asked if he saw the New Jersey Devils signing any big-name free agents or try to pull off any offer sheets in the off-season. He doesn’t see them going the offer-sheet route because they don’t have their second-round pick in 2021.

Masisak doesn’t rule out anything regarding free agent signings because we don’t know what the market will look like. If prices remain the same for a typical year, he doesn’t expect the Devils to be a factor with stars like St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo, Boston’s Torey Krug, Washington’s Braden Holtby, or Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom. He also doesn’t see them bringing back winger Taylor Hall.

Could the New Jersey Devils pursue Florida Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov via free agency? (Photo via NHL Images)

Regarding their potential UFAs in 2021, Masisak expects they’ll try to re-sign Kyle Palmieri, Nikita Gusev, and Travis Zajac.

NJ.COM: Randy Miller cites Devils TV analyst Steve Cangialosi suggesting Florida Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov could be a fit. He’s averaged 27 goals and 61 points over the past three seasons and would be reunited with former KHL teammate Nikita Gusev. Dadonov won’t be cheap, as Miller speculates Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes (seven years, $50 million) could be comparable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanging over all of this is the uncertainty over who will be the Devils general manager when the off-season finally begins. They could remove the interim label from Tom Fitzgerald, or hire a more experienced replacement.

Whoever is sitting in the GM’s chair probably won’t pursue any big-ticket talent regardless of the market. Those players cited by Masisak could prefer signing with playoff contenders. The Devils would have to overpay for their services.

That doesn’t mean the Devils won’t be active in the UFA market. With $55.2 million invested in 13 players for 2020-21 (stick tap to Cap Friendly), they have room to re-sign RFAs like Mackenzie Blackwood and Jesper Bratt and sign a UFA or two, but I expect they’ll seek affordable second-tier talent.

Masisak also recently examined the risky trade options to improve the Devils’ defense. They included Anaheim’s Cam Fowler, Boston’s Brandon Carlo, Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen, and Colorado’s Nikita Zadorov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Masisak has also looked at solid blueline targets for the Devils, including Anaheim’s Josh Manson, Calgary’s T.J. Brodie, Columbus’ David Savard, Tampa Bay’s Mikhail Sergachev, and St. Louis’ Vince Dunn.

Considering the difficulty the Devils could face landing one of those rearguards, they could be forced to consider riskier options. I doubt Fowler or Carlo will be available, and Ristolainen no longer seems a trade candidate for the Sabres. Zadorov is a possibility, though it wouldn’t surprise me if the Avs decide to keep him.

That’s not to say the Devils can’t acquire any one of those players. However, the asking prices could be more than they’re willing to spend.


  1. That paints a bleak picture for next year as a Devil’s fan. And with so much uncertainty regarding their conditional first round picks the future is really cloudy. Better days have to be ahead. And someday a good free agent will sign here and the youngsters will develop. Hopefully the new GM will at least weaponize their cap room and get some talent. Palms and Gusev need to be the priority – either they sign or you determine the best time to trade them for assets.

  2. Lyle,

    I wish you would have included “I doubt that Vince Dunn will be available” too. Worried in Iowa.

    • I also doubt Dunn will be available…;)

      • Feeling better now! Thanks

        The gospel according to Lyle…..

  3. Not sure what you do with Subban he is no 9 million dollar man. Hugh’s and Nico have talent but little small easily get pushed around and off puck. Carlo not going anywhere most underrated D man in league Boston better hold on to him.

  4. Dadonov could cost 50 million over 7 years? yowza , at 31 I would not give him more than a 3 year deal. Not to mention he has played with past 3 years with Barkov and Huberdeau and can’t see him putting up similar or better numbers with the Devils.

    • I agree. I really like Dadonov and I hope the Habs try to sign him but at 31 years of age, no one will be giving him a 7 year deal. Especially not in this uncertain climate. And a $7m. AAV is unlikely unless he accepts no longer than a 3 year deal.

      • Georgie+Howard Agree there’s no way someone offers Dadinov 7m. With late start next year he’ll be pushing 32. I think he’s most likely to stay in Florida or go back to KHL.

  5. Didn’t the Devils just give up a bunch for Gusev. A couple of seconds for sure. So what turn that around and maybe get a couple of seconds back ? Makes no sense. Good passer but also slight . Needs someone to play with. Some good players available where they are currently slotted in the draft.if they only had a GM

    • I would also say that Ty Smith ,Bahl on D coupled with Foote up front have some decent depth on the way. No second or third this year so those 3 firsts better count

    • Gusev was acquired for a second and third – he was still an unknown NHL commodity at that time, KHL players have failed in the past. After a slow beginning he was fantastic in the second half. Demonstrated both passing and scoring ability when he got paired with decent players. I would love to sign him long term and certainly would not trade him now for a second and a third.

  6. Another day of hearing about Hughes size. He played this year as an 18 year old. He’ll get stronger. Gudreau small and was 21 his 1st season. Pointe was 20 his rookie year. Give this kid a couple seasons. Devils should try to bring back Vatanen. Seemed to be a good fit.

    • Slick62, totally agree. Devils are set at C, especially Hughes, who is a potential star. Maybe one defensive dman away from a surprise playoff push.

    • Nothing wrong with being short but at a buck sixty that’s pretty slight. Small players can play during regular season but most can’t play in playoffs when going gets tuff. Not saying Jack can’t gain muscle and weight but I am saying he needs too. Johnny hockey looked pretty average against Colorado in playoffs.

  7. Devils could offer sheet someone for a contract between 4.2 and 6.3 million. Compensation would be their 1st and 3rd round picks, which they have. Would Sergachev sign a 6M offer sheet? Would Tampa match when they are already locked into high cost contracts for their top left dmen: Hedman and Mac?

    • You’re assuming Sergachev is open to signing an offer sheet. I doubt he is.

      • Lyle, that’s why I put it out there in the form of a question.
        Also, Wonder if maybe Devils would try and offer sheet DeAngelo. That would heat up rivalry.

      • Depends on whether DeAngelo’s open to an offer sheet and if whoever the Devils GM is at the time is willing to go down that road.

      • Hi Lyle,

        re Sergachev – just curious, why do you say “I doubt he is” (willing to sign an offer sheet)?

        I agree for $6mill, I don’t think $6mill is doing it and I think TB matches there.

        A $8 mill offer x 5 years would cost a team a 1st, 2nd, 3rd.
        That, I believe, would do it.

        Is he worth it?

        Well, you’re paying a bonus just for getting him.
        Take that off the top and I think yes, for his young age and skill set, over 5 years, it is worth it.

      • Because offer sheets remain a rarity. Most players don’t even entertain the notion, especially when they skate for a potential Cup contender. Most GMs avoid going that route.

        Could he sign one? Sure, it’s possible. Will he? Doubtful, especially given the current economic uncertainties and the Devils’ current struggles.

      • Somebody is gone either him or Cernak. Also I don’t assume Sergachev will take a discount. Bridge deal seems likely.

      • I thought it made the Habs look silly last year sending an offer sheet that was easily matched. That’s why nobody does offer sheets Makes enemies.Dadanov @ 7 mil? is as far fetched as Krug for 9 mil. No GM is that stupid. 9especially in this $$ climate”

    • There’s no way that Mikhail Sergachev is signing an offer sheet in the 4.2 to 6.3m range. For Sergachev to sign an offer sheet with the devils it would probably need to be in the $7m to $7.5m range at the very least. He’s not leaving a cup contending team in Tampa for the likes of New Jersey.

      • Gary, Sergachev just turned 22. I think older free agents think more about playing for a contender. Who’s to say Devils can’t be a contender in a few years? Or Tampa will still be? ( disclaimer: I’m not a Devils fan) I don’t think He’s getting a 7 mil deal. Tampa has 76.2mil tied up to 15 contracts next year. With a flat cap, that’s only 5 mil left to fill out roster. They need to move salary to keep both Sergachev and Cirelli. If Devils offer him a 6.2M for 7 years, I don’t think Tampa could match. They have 2 left handed dmen, Mac and Hedman , already in big contracts with ntc’s.

      • Unlikely to leave a Tampa at all. Low taxes, sunny weather, and a team that will be a contender for the foreseeable future. Hard combination to beat, and harder still for NJ, no one’s idea of Miami beach.

        Same applies to those who have fantasized about Sergachev signing in Montreal.

    • TB no choice to match & it would press them even harder to move contracts out.

      • Gordie, who are they moving? Kucherov and Pointe are their only big contracts that lack a ntc. Killorn and Palat have partial no trade. Tampa would still need to get Sergachev to do a cheaper bridge deal.

  8. Happy Canada Day to all the Canucks here

    • same to you Pengy

      • Dunka Fergy22

    • And a Happy Canada Day to all from your southern neighbors!

      • Cheers Kevin

      • What’s Canada day?

      • Hi Chrisms

        Canada day is akin to the US 4th of July

        Canada’s “birth” was July 1st, 1867

        In “non covid” years, we do picnics ; parades; family get-togethers; fireworks

        National holiday

      • Neat! I always thought Canada day was deadline day.

        No joke.

        Congrats to yin’s all. 💥

  9. That Kevin Hayes deal lol, brutal

  10. Just a question if we have no fans in arenas say for 2-3 years and the hockey players want their money. I feel the owners should just say no. Than hockey will be no longer and also all other sports will be gone. We are going into a different world which is scary.

    • Far too many are willing to whistle past the graveyard for my liking Robo. It is indeed scary.

    • Can you say pay per view

      • Those without jobs may find it tough to come up with the necessary “pay” to “view” – or want to.

      • Pay-per-view won’t happen. Existing TV contracts remain in place. More long-term money.

  11. NJD & Sabres are in the same boat other than having 3-1sts.

    Both need solid vets to stabilize their ups & downs. Plenty of vets to be had in cheap trades.

  12. @Slick

    Idk but cap gymnastics needed no matter what gives is still to come.

    TBL gotta win sooner than later or they will keep facing the same problem.

    If they didn’t have the tax advantage or if the new cba deals with levelling the playing field they won’t be sitting pretty forever.

    • Gordie, I amassed up. Palat has a full ntc next year too. Becomes a partial year after. They’re screwed.

  13. Lyle, I disagree that Zadorov will remaining an Av. He is their sixth D-man behind Johnson, Cole, Makar, Girard & Graves. Being a RFA looking to get a raise on his $3.2 million cap hit, I believe Sakic maybe open to trading him. Graves big body has pretty much taken Zadorov minutes on the Avs blueline.

  14. To NJD: Georgiev
    To NYR: 2020 1st (Via Arizona) + Bratt

    Then go about signing UFA’s.

    • LeafsAdvocate,
      If I’m the NYR I jump on that deal. But if I’m the NJD I say no every time and twice on Sunday.
      No way I
      They trade a 1st(9,10, or 11) and Bratt for a G who has played 35 or so NHL games.
      Sorry, but that offer 1st(Arz) + Bratt could get a lot more than Georgiev.