NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2020

by | Jul 13, 2020 | Rumors | 57 comments

Check out the latest on the Canucks and Bruins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

A FLAT SALARY CAP WILL SQUEEZE THE CANUCKS

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports the salary cap remaining at $81.5 million exacerbates the Vancouver Canucks’ already difficult cap payroll issues. They have over $65 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21, leaving $16.3 million for another seven or eight players. Their unrestricted free agents include Jacob Markstrom, Tyler Toffoli, Chris Tanev, and Josh Leivo, while Troy Stecher, Jake Virtanen, Adam Gaudette, and Tyler Motte are restricted.

The Vancouver Canucks face difficult decisions with free agents such as Jacob Markstrom (Photo via NHL Images).

Unless general manager Jim Benning convinces veteran winger Loui Eriksson to terminate his contract, MacIntyre believes it could be impossible for the Canucks to retain their important players. He suggests at least two-thirds of their cap space could go toward re-signing Markstrom and Toffoli. They could get some cap relief if Micheal Ferland (concussion) starts next season on long-term injury reserve, but he’s in training camp attempting to come back.

The NHL’s financial landscape makes it almost impossible to trade contracts like Eriksson’s or Brandon Sutter’s, but Benning might find a taker for Jordie Benn’s $2 million cap hit. The Canucks could be forced to choose between Markstrom or Toffoli, letting Tanev depart via free agency, make Stecher a UFA by not qualifying his rights, or trading Virtanen. The nuclear option would be trading winger Brock Boeser ($5.875 million annual average value), but MacIntyre is skeptical about that move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Thomas Drance recently suggested the Canucks attempt to re-sign Markstrom and Toffoli to matching $5.5 million AAVs and letting Tanev depart as a free agent. He acknowledged that would only leave over $6 million for the remainder.

It’s been suggested Benning attach a sweetener like a high draft pick or top prospect in a package deal to Eriksson once his signing bonus is paid out by mid-month to make him enticing in the trade market. That would leave only $5 million in actual salary over the remaining two years of his contract. Finding a club with the cap space to take on that cap hit was going to be difficult under normal circumstances. It will be more challenging now.

Boeser’s name surfaced over the weekend as one of the many options the Canucks were reportedly exploring. Just because Benning and his staff may have kicked that one around doesn’t mean they’re going to go that route. Trading Boeser is probably the last resort. 

They could also buy out the final season of Sutter’s contract. Cap Friendly indicates that would provide them with over $2.33 million in savings for next season.

UPDATE ON THE BRUINS

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports Bruins GM Don Sweeney admits facing some difficult decisions with his free agents under a flat salary cap. Pending UFA Torey Krug and RFA Jake DeBrusk could command a combined $10 million to re-sign. The Bruins must also find new contracts for Zdeno Chara, Anders Bjork, Matt Grzelcyk, and others.

Sweeney isn’t ruling out negotiating with his free agents during Phase 3 and Phase 4 of the return-to-play plan. However, he won’t be overly aggressive given the uncertainty over how player contracts will be affected going forward.

Haggerty points out the Bruins will see cap space opening over the next two seasons as David Krejci and Tuukka Rask become unrestricted free agents. For now, however, Sweeney could be forced to choose between Krug or DeBrusk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haggerty also wonders if Krug might be willing to accept less on a short-term deal to stay in Boston and wait out the financial fallout for all pro sports over the next couple of years. It would provide the Bruins ($63.5 million invested in 18 players for ’20-’21) with some invaluable wiggle room. Krug hinted about accepting a hometown discount last fall. He might give it serious consideration if he doesn’t find offers to his liking in the UFA market. 







57 Comments

  1. Re Loui …. didn’t realize only owed $5M (after SB) total for final 2 years

    To Ottawa ….

    Loui + Lind + Gadjovich for a 2nd?

    George??

    • Pengy, clearly you put a lot of thought into these various trade scenarios, and they do often generate some spirited exchanges. But why on earth would Ottawa want a soon-to-be 35 y/o making $6 mil off the cap for two more years and who, really, hasn’t shown any offense to speak of since his last year in Boston – and that was 5 year ago? MAYBE a team might be enticed if what was accompanying him REALLY sweetened the deal – but Lind and Godjovich? Where the heck would they fit in the Ottawa prospect pecking order when mixed with the likes of Batherson, Brown Norris, Formenton, Abramov, Chlapik and Balcers – all of whom have shown a heck of a lot more at the minor pro level than those two. And we’re not even considering what they’re about to pick up with their 3 1st round draft picks this year – 2 in the top 5.

      I’m sure Dorion is looking at possibly trading one and perhaps two of those, along with one or two from his 2nd round picks to shore up his roster at a faster pace than would have normally been the case and, thanks to the flat cap and the need of a number of teams to shed salary in order to sign their own key RFAs and even UFAs in some cases, that what he gets back likely will have term and fairly high cap hits. Getting to the cap floor is not a factor where Eriksson is concerned. Whoever he can wrangle, as stated, combined with increases due to their own RFAs like Duclair, Connor Brown, Tierney, Paul. Balcers and UFA Borowiecki will go a long way to achieving that.

      • How about Brock and Loui to ott got isles 1st a 2nd and brown?

      • Nope. I like Boeser – but a 1st (the Islanders pick) and a 2nd is more than enough without giving up Brown and besides, combined that’s taking on close to $12 mil and you’re still stuck with Eriksson for two more years.

      • Besides, they have Bobby Ryan’s $7,250,000 for two more years.

        Eriksson, over his last 245 games with the Canucks, has 38g 51a 89 pts. Ryan, over his past 226 games with Ottawa, has 44g 64a 108 pts.

        One of those types of contracts for the production it provides is one too many.

      • With that you g of a team the sens could absorb that cap hit. Eugene doesn’t actually have to pay Eriksson all that much. You’d need to clear some roster space hence brown. It is essentially giving two 1sts a second and a middle six winger. A lot for sure. But cover is giving up the best player

      • Hi George

        Good points

        I certainly wasn’t saying they would want Loui; just an opportunity to “buy” assets

        I own my own firm and what we do is negotiate/manage small/medium sized companies; so I always think in terms of big picture and long term

        I truly believe Sens sitting in great position to get assets and or prospects that will turn into quality NHL playerS in 3-4 years

        I honestly think Dorians best move is with Coyotes … take on Stepan …$2M cash 1 year … get Garland in the deal… give up one of the four 2nds they have

      • negotiate/manage acquisitions/ mergers of…

      • Pengy and Chrisms, I totally agree with that philosophy – by all means – just that Lind and Godjovich are hardly “assets” that couldn’t be vastly improved upon – both in terms of cost and potential – either by keeping all their 1st and 2nd round picks, or dealing with the many other clubs up tight against a flat cap who will have no choice but to relinquish tried and true NHLers with term and some significant cap costs to clear the decks for key RFA/UFA (their own) signings. And, by taking that approach, they have absolutely no need to take on an Eriksson. In a different era, perhaps, but not now. Hell, there are far better UFAs available who won’t be able to demand much more than Eriksson is owed thanks to the new cap reality.

      • Hi George

        Thoughts on my suggested Arz deal to gain Garland?

      • Pengy, Garland would fall into the same category as those two from the Canucks in terms of where would fit in Ottawa’s cache of prospects? He didn’t do too badly in 68 games with the Coyotes but, looking at his less-than-eye opening stats in the AHL, that alone doesn’t make him a can’t miss prospect.

        Ottawa has far greater prospects who have produced well in the AHL and are a helluva lot bigger than a 5′ 10″ 165 lbs winger taken in the 5th round.

        NOT saying Garland won’t continue to get better … but a guy making $775,000 and not an RFA until 2021-22 is not what I had in mind when I say Dorion will be targeting proven NHLers with term and much higher cap costs as a short-cut to becoming a competitive team simply because a number of teams will have NO choice but to make such players available.

        And, a 30 year old Stepan, who is a UFA after next season and hasn’t scored more than 17 goals in any one season the past 4 years, is not in that category. They already have two C like that in Tierney (if they wish to retain him) and Anisimov.

      • Hi George

        I have been impressed with what I’ve seen of Garland at NHL level…. granted small sample size .. maybe say 10-12 games… to me … player on the rise … 2nd year NHLer… full season pace 27 G’s ; 47 Pts … quick… good hands

        The deal certainly is not to evaluate Stepan… He won’t be an offensive threat …. but only for a year … and brings mentor ship to young team… he is also just what the penalty you get to acquire Garland…. who I’m bullish on his future… feeling mid 6 C is likely…. so getting him (Garland) and his rights for the next few years ; and Stepan’s mentor ship for one year…. for the relatively low cash hit… to me … good

        For Sens sake… I’m hoping LA takes Stutzle… so Sens get Byfield

      • Don’t get me wrong Pengy – I see where you’re coming from, but one arm-chair observer’s analysis of a player’s potential – yours, mine or anyone else’s in our “removed” position – is insufficient to suggest a GM and his scouting staff see it the same way.

        Besides, the current cap position faced by those teams with absolutely NO cap room thanks to the stagnant limit provides a golden opportunity for teams in Ottawa’s position with all kinds of cap space to take advantage of them – without doing them any favours. Why should they?

  2. How much in actual cash is 5 million over two years when you subtract agent fees & 10% pay cut and up to 20% escrow and Cnd TAXES, Ericksson might terminate the contract and go back to Sweden and play there

    • Hi Bill

      $1M next year in s bonus … Gets that all

      The 10 % is a diferal only

      Most he could lose in gross is 20 % of the $4M Sal …. so he’s netting $4.2 M ($3.2 M Sal plus SB) gross by staying …. even with higher taxes in BC than in Sweden; I’m not sure he could get a contract in Sweden now that would net him more after taxes

      I’m thinking that the highest paid players in the Swedish Elite League might max at 600,000 Euros… and he won’t get the max

      • Swedish league tops out at 275K, USD, according to this website:

        https://www.icehockeyjobs.com/salary-expectations/

        I doubt Eriksson falls on his sword for the Canucks’ sake. These last two years are almost assuredly his last two big earning years before his retirement. There is also NHL pension contributions to consider.

  3. Re Cannuck possibly moving Benn….

    Pens could take Benn ; buyout JJ… massively improve D; and actually save some Cap room (very small amount but some)

    How about Loui (50 % retained) and Benn for JJ …. Canucks free up $1.75 M in Cap space

    Worst case for Pens…. bury Loui in WBS…. and transaction effectively replaced the far far inferior JJ with Benn at the expense of an extra Cap hit if $675 K👍👍👍👍 and Benn has 1 year left; Loui 2….. and JJ 3…. bonus 😁

  4. With Markstrom I’ve heard that it’s more about term then money and the NMC which would mean losing Demko to Seattle

    • Might be worth it if they felt markstrom was their guy for 5+ more seasons. Plenty of time to draft another goalie and develop. Saves another player from being picked

  5. Read recently into Boeser rumors. His contract is actually back loaded and that seems to be what is driving the rumors. He has a 3 mil SB for upcoming season and his total salary is over 6 mil and 7.5 the following season. It seems it’s the actual money owed that has become a problem more than cap space.

    • All the more reason to say “nope” to Chrisms suggestion above re Ottawa. Thanks Slick62. With his production and that kind of financial payout he’s getting uncomfortably into Nylander territory.

  6. Benn was a healthy scratch since Xmas not a lot of value. Ericksson is still at $6m cap hit regardless of real money owed. The Canucks would have to retain 50% minimum plus add something like Vrtanen or Gaudette . They do not have a first or second in this year’s draft. Player signings like Sutter Rousell and Beagle are killing them

    • Hi SS

      See My Pens/Canucks proposal above

  7. With the right sweeteners, Eriksson is totally moveable. Question is does Benning want to do that or pay the salary.

    • Hi Kevin

      See my suggestions above re Loui to Sens and another with Loui to Pens

      • And see my opinion right after that – LOL.

      • Lol, George, too funny!

  8. Eriksson falling of a cliff was hard to see in JB defence, but signing Beagle, Roussel and Sutter was stupid, partly for the dollars but mainly for the term. Beagle was and is a 4th line center, you pay those 1-1,75m not 3. Dont see any other way than to buy out Sutter. Also, if they sign Toffoli they should trade JV, makes no sense in having both. Making the playoffs this year would be good since then they dont have to make PO next year so can make a restart next year, as in not sign Toffoli

  9. I have a question for Canucks fans.

    Who who is more valuable to remain with the Canucks Boeser or Virtanen?

    It makes allot of sense for Dorion to make a trade for
    Virtanen.
    Virtanen would fit in very well into the Senators rebuild.
    What would Doruion have to trade to get Virtanen?

    • Not a Canuck fan, but mired in Canuckland.

      Virtanen had just enough of a season last year to make the Canucks hope he’s not a bust. The previous seasons saw him perform below expectations, and the media reported Canuck management were frustrated with his attitude and conditioning.

      Boeser has had injury issues in all of the past three seasons but is a proven scorer.

      So there is little reason for the Sens to trade for Virtanen and less reason for the Canucks to choose him over Boeser.

      • Weisbrod was instrumental on his scouting & high on him when the Flames drafted Jankowski. I always thought a Janko for Virtanen might have been a good fit for both kids needing a change. Canucks & Flames have done these deals in the past.

  10. Boston has $17,959,409 in cap space (according to cap friendly) Bjork with 9 goals won’t be getting much of an increase.

    Boston main players to resign are Krug, Debrusk and Grzelcyk.

    Grzelcyk made $1.4m last season and i don’t see him demanding or receiving much more maybe a 2yr deal at $2m

    Debrusk coming out of his elc, we read rumors where some thinks his value is at $6m per; some have compared his contract to Brock Boeser who making $5.875, Brock signed his extention after scoring 29 and 26 goal seasons; Debrusk has 19 goals this season and has taken a step back.

    I said a few times Debrusk has not been the same player since being concuss by Kadri. Maybe with this extended time off he was able to clear his head. The covid cup will be an important tournament for Debrusk to show his worth. It might be in Sweeney interest to sign him now on a 2 or 3 year deal around $3.5 to $4m per.

    Krug is interesting, I’ve said previously i’m not giving Krug over $6m and feeling $6.5 is a bit much and now we add these new uncertain times. I don’t know, i know i don’t rate his value as high as others he’s an excellent pp quarterback but to often fire shots off the defender shin pads and a breakaway going the other way. His defense was and won’t be his strength but no way i pay this player close to $7m per season.

    Bjork $1m, Grzelcyk $2m, Debrusk $4 Krug $6.5
    that $13.5m leaving Boston with roughly $4m in cap space.

    If Boston doesn’t resign Krug add another $6.5m to the cap space for a total of $10.5 enough to sign Hall or take on a bad contract with a 1st round pick coming back. Second visit from Loui? no thanks but hmmm

    • Caper

      How would you feel if the Bruins traded Matt Grzelcyk? he seems to get a ton of praise and I watch a lot of Bruins games and I just don’t see why personally.

      if it were me I would trade him prior to not being able to protect him come expansion time.

      Saem with Debrusk. If he wants anything north of 5, time to go, he is not that much of an impact player IMO.

  11. There is one trade i would like to see happen just for sheer giggles

    announcement would be :Pittsburgh trade Jack Johnson to …………………. Toronto!

    that would be so funny.

    • Are you trying to give Pengy a stroke, Caper? 😉

      • Mrs. Pengy here

        My beloved husband collapsed….is on route to hospital… he was mumbling something that sounded like “mofo Caper” … “Dubas… don’t answer the phone”

        …. “ I am the Walrus”

        …”goo goo Kachoo “

    • I can just imagine the trades that Pengy would offer up after that. JJ and one of Marner, Mathews, Nylander or Tavares for a second round pick just to get rid of JJ.

  12. Does anyone know if the 8 losing teams from play in round will be able to immediately make trades? Like the current 7 non playoff teams? Would make for more interesting rumors knowing who gets 1st pick and also how draft order shakes out with conditional picks.

    • They should be able to, Slick, though there might be a stipulation suggesting they wait until following the second phase of the draft lottery.

      • Thanks Lyle. I’m curious to see who gets the Lafreniere. Could immediately impact someone’s roster and allow them to possibly move another player.

  13. Montreal will get Lafreniere

    • If we’re gonna have a pool, I’ll go with Chicago.

      • My gut feel is Habs

        2nd in my mind … loser of the Isles/Panthers series

      • Hell, I’ll say Ottawa. Simply on the distinct possibility that this whole play-in and playoff strategy is going to collapse and everything – the Cup included – will be scrapped, whereupon the draft will then be based upon every team getting a shot at # 1. 🙂

        When you see stats like 15,000 + positives in one day in Florida and 28,000 in one day in India, that’s a clear indication that this sucker hasn’t faded in any way, shape or form and that, all it takes is one mistake in any environment and all bets are off.

        It’s fine to say the players will be tested as will anyone who needs to penetrate the “bubble” for whatever reason, but are they going to be testing everyone constantly, day after day? Because getting a negative result is no guarantee that you then can’t pick it up by turning a doorknob on the way out of your hotel, or touching a faucet.

      • Three Habs tested positive today, and I think as you do, George.

        I’ve said before, house of cards in a room full of sneezing people. Given that the virus ‘ impact is so unpredictable and can be debilitating if not fatal it borders on irrresponsible to try and finish the season. Yes, there are all sorts of protocols but they aren’t working, are they?

      • Now TSN is reporting 7 new cases amongst players. Getting hard to keep up.

        Maybe the PA should insist that that unctuous weasel Bettman has to stay with the players in one of the bubbles. Think that would end this?

      • Just a couple things.
        George, yes they are going to test constantly. Like every 2 days? And we are learning that the disease transmits through the air, person to person.
        Old thinking was it was just droplets from talking, sneezing etc. Now they are talking even smaller aerosol size that can circulate longer.
        Indoors for longer periods, more than 5 minutes, without wearing masks is the issue. The more people in a room, the worse it is.
        Surfaces are not thought to be an issue anymore.
        IE – If you are in a poorly ventilated dressing room with an infected person, problem.

        I think once they are in the “bubble” they can pull this off. IMO opinion it is the integrity of that bubble that matters. Strict discipline required.

        I think the point was made that they are likely safer in the bubble than just about anywhere else. I agree with that, so why not give it a go?

      • Hell, even Trump is wearing a mask!

      • Sure, Ray, fair comment, maybe they are safer in the bubble, if they can pull it off, why not? But surely if they can’t get through stage 3 without cases popping up stage 4 is dicey.

        But my suggestion about the weasel was a good one, not backing off of that.

      • Uh Oh…. from TSN….

        “ The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Monday that the team will be voluntarily sidelining nine players from their training camp roster due to potential secondary exposure to an individual who had contact with a person that has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
        The team learned of the possible secondary exposure on Sunday and added the decision was made to sideline the players out of abundance of caution in an effort to avoid exposure to anyone else within the organization.

        The nine players will re-join the team when it is deemed safe to do so in accordance with NHL protocol and further test results.”

        🤬😡😭

      • LJ, I don’t like assuming to know someones motivations although you win word of the day with unctuous.
        These infections had to be expected, especially in the US cities, as the players arrive from all over. If they were surprised by this then ya, a problem.
        They are identifying and separating from the rest like they should.
        I don’t pretend to know how this ends, but the protocols laid out were detailed and made sense to me.
        I hope they get it done.

  14. Conferance call today GM Benning says there’s no way he’s trading Boeser. Doesn’t know where those rumors come from!

  15. Phase 3 has all players at their teams practice facility. I’m sure there’s no way anyone testing positive will be allowed in bubble once phase 4 begins. Players will be pretty much quarantined when they arrive in hub cities. Not 100% guarantee that somehow somebody tests positive, but I like the odds.
    On other note, I’m rooting for Rangers to get #1 pick! BUT, if not NY, then hopefully Winnipeg. They held the spot that was actually picked in 1st go round. If it works out that way then everyone can just stop complaining about the way it was handled.

  16. I’m pulling for Columbus to get the 1st overall….
    What if the league pulls the plug on the postseason?
    As for Van city, wouldn’t Markstrom be priority #1?
    I’d keep Boeser and consider a trade for Virtanen.

  17. I still say Arizona gets first pick as for Bruins no way they should pay Krug big dollars Grizzzz and Charlie can take over QB ing the power play. Jake in my opinion isn’t worth 4 million yet but people here think Nico is worth 7.5 and Debrusk has his numbers so who knows. If Boston some how wins cup Chara retires if not he will still want another year and he has earned it. Not sure about Hall great skater very fast but doesn’t think the game that well. Studnicka has to be ready in two years to take over for Krech .

  18. I predict a Canadian team takes the one hole in the draft.

    “Get to the bubble healthy “ will be the mantra for the 2020 Covid Cup. If the players make it to Edmonton and Toronto the NHL pulls this off.

  19. One thought to help the Canucks and the Sabres. Trade Mittlestadt to the Canucks for Gaudette and Baertschi. Mitts has talent but he was Botterill’s pick. Gaudette could give Sabres a middle six center and Baertschi would get a fresh start with his old coach Krueger. Would save Canucks at least $3M in cap space. Sabres could offer a defense prospect like Pilut to sweeten.