NHL Rumor Mill – July 16, 2020

by | Jul 16, 2020 | Rumors | 19 comments

Some potential Red Wings trade targets, the Predators’ cap crunch, and the latest on Ilya Kovalchuk in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan lists several potential trade options for the Detroit Red Wings. With only $46.2 million invested in 11 players next season, they have enough room to re-sign their key free agents and target cap-strapped clubs looking to shed salary.

Could Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson became a trade target for the Detroit Red Wings? (Photo via NHL Images)

Kulfan suggests Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, and Alex Killorn could interest the Wings. They could also set their sights on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltenders Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry, St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen and winger Jaden Schwartz, and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson and Gourde each have a full no-trade clause while Killorn carries a modified no-trade. They all know Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman from his days as Lightning GM. That could sway one of them to approve a move to Detroit, but it’s not a certainty.

Schwartz also has a modified no-trade clause. He could be reluctant to include the rebuilding Wings on his list of preferred destinations.

Murray, Jarry, Allen, Kapanen, and Johnsson would be easier targets because they lack no-trade protection.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Adam Vingan recently explored how the Nashville Predators could fill multiple holes on their roster with limited cap space next season. They have 17 players under contract for next season with roughly $9.3 million in cap room.

Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith are their notable unrestricted free agents. Vingan speculated the 28-year-old Granlund might be receptive to a two-year deal while the 31-year-old Smith could seek term, though the latter might be open to accepting less money.

Buying out center Kyle Turris could also free up some cap room. He has four years left on his contract worth $6 million annually. A buyout would see the Predators carry $2 million in dead-cap space through 2028. Vingan considered it difficult to believe GM David Poile will pull off a big trade to clear cap space, noting he’s never retained salary in a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Poile is willing to retain part of Turris’ salary in a trade, buying him out could be his only option to free up valuable cap space for next season. A rival club could take on Turris if some salary was retained, but Poile could be squeezed to add a draft pick or a quality prospect in the deal. The remaining four years on his contract, however, could be a deal-breaker.


TVA SPORTS: Washington Capitals winger Ilya Kovalchuk said he’s stayed in contact with several of his former Montreal Canadiens teammates. Kovalchuk enjoyed a solid bounce-back performance with the Habs after they acquired him from the Los Angeles Kings. He was shipped to the Capitals before the February trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk enjoyed his brief time in Montreal. Speculation persists suggesting Kovalchuk could return to the Canadiens next season on a one-year, bonus-laden contract.


  1. You would think Yzerman has the ear of the Lighting and a deal could be arranged. Gourde is an over pay and would be tough to move.
    I believe Detroit will build through the draft and stockpile young assets . The rebuild will take a few years. Probably not the time for big trades but they could take on salary with picks to help build that organizational depth.

    • Silver7,
      Teams like Detroit, NJD and Ottawa will be the teams who can take on salary this offseason. The difference this year, is many teams have cap issues, and they will be in the drivers seat, when it comes to making potential trades.
      Could be a real active offseason, with these teams, getting multiple sweeteners.
      The offseason, could be wild. (Fingers crossed)

    • Yzerman has been very up front with the Detroit fans since his hire. The focus will be on the long term and not quick fixes. It looks as though ownership is behind this process. Would suspect that any move Stevie Y makes will be strategic. Taking favorites or just because he knows them doesn’t sound like the Yzer-plan (and yes, there is even a t-shirt out there; kids got me one for Father’s Day 😉

  2. Turris, like Karlsson, was cited as a trade where Ottawa got “jobbed.” It’s looking more and more like they escaped two bullets.

    • George, Turris back to Ottawa with a sweetener? Maybe Fabbro? For some draft picks? Turris had 31 points in 62 games. Not bad numbers if not for that salary.

      • Don’t think so Slick62. As I kept saying re the Erikisson and Stepan suggestions with “sweeteners” – Dorion doesn’t need any more picks or prospects – unless the latter are clearly heads and shoulders above what he already has and is about to get with 2 in the top 5 this year.

        Instead, he can zero in on those teams needing to shed salary in order to re-sign key RFAs and even some of their own UFAs they wish to keep and simply don’t have the cap space to do. That way he can get young established NHLers with term but with cap hits that, by being dealt, would make it possible for those teams to re-sign their free agents. And there are a lot of teams in that boat thanks to the flat cap.

        Besides, Turris burned any bridges he may have had when he was dealt in that 3-way deal. Fabbro is enticing – but not at the cost of having Turris for 4 more years at $6 mil per and pushing 36 years of age

      • @ Slick; can’t see them taking Turris back. 0.5ppg for 6mill and mediocre effect without the puck is not good and Melnyk doesn’t like spending money.

        As George keeps saying, there will be a lot of decent guys getting traded for peanuts to free up room: Tyler Johnson (averages mid-high 40’s for points at a 5mill hit); Killorn had 49 points this season and makes less than 5.

        Not to mention that there will be fewer bidders for the UFA’s this year so a guy like Stevie Y could easily make some shrewd upgrades without taking bad contracts.

      • Fabro is not a throw in. Number one pick that will be a mainstay with the Preds backend. He is developing quite well and I doubt added as a sweetener on any deal to get rid of salary unless it is a hockey trade and a very good asset coming back ala Jones for Johansen .

  3. Any Tampa player waving their ntc to go to Detroit would also be taking a pay cut due to state taxes. Killorn has a 16 team ntc, so I think Tampa has no choice but to move him to one of those 14 teams he agrees to. Detroit with 5 picks between #32 and #65. (2nd and 3rd round).
    Another possibility, is maybe McDonaugh would waive ntc to go to Minnesota. Hometown boy. If signing Sergachev long term is priority, then this would be a prudent move. Pointe lacks trade protection. I’m rooting for Tampa to go out in 1st round again! Will be interesting to see what they do.

    • Slick62,
      While moving McDonagh is enticing to TB,if he waives his NMC, I doubt Guerin will saddle Minnesota with another aging veteran with 6 more years to go on him contract. Add Souter and Parise in there for an additional 5 years, that’s a lot of older bodies.
      Minnesota would be better served, working out extension for Brodin.

      • Francois. Guerin played until he was almost 40, so he might have a different opinion of “old”.

  4. Didn’t Poile retain some salary in trading Subban to NJ?

    • No. The Devils took the entire cap hit.

  5. I think I’m starting to weaken—Jake Allen and Jaden Schwartz to Detroit for Calvin Pickard and a 2nd!?!?

    • That’s pretty weak. You swerved quite into the opposite lane on that one. You could get better for that package.

    • Detroit isn’t going to just take salary and give away picks, this is a definite no. It would be close to those two a prospect and a pick going to Detroit for Picard and a 3rd if you want the Wings to bail you out of a cap crunch

      • That’s Ridiculous….Schwartz, Allen, a Prospect, and a Pick, for Pickard who is flat terrible and a 3rd…Good Lord.

  6. I can see the Wings acquiring one of those goalies. I am not sure sure of the Tampa forwards as term is an issue. There would have to be a sweetener in there.

  7. I can definitely see Kovalchuk willing to resign with Habs not just because of his bounce back but because they gave him the opportunity to have that last chance and it landed him in Washington where he has a chance to win a cup, yup back to Montreal if they reach out, especially if Caps don’t win the cup. His ability to become a mentor and solid component of second power play unit still makes him compelling for Montreal as they have a lot of young forwards still learning the big game.