NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2020

by | Jul 21, 2020 | Rumors | 26 comments

Updates on Taylor Hall and Loui Eriksson plus the latest on the Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Matt Layman cites reports indicating winger Taylor Hall had a dinner meeting last week with Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo, his son Alex Jr., and new CEO Xavier Gutierrez. The two sides reportedly re-engaged in contract talks, with Gutierrez taking over discussions.

Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall (Photo via NHL Images).

Hall, 28, is due to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. His agent, Darren Ferris, said the two sides still intend to wait until the season is over to negotiate a contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Coyotes general manager John Chayka was not at that meeting. Perhaps ownership was trying to gauge Hall’s willingness to stay in Arizona beyond this season.

Before COVID-19, it was assumed the Hall camp could seek over $9 million annually on a long-term deal. With the salary cap remaining flat for next season, he could find that type of deal difficult to come by.

Assuming Hall is keen to remain a Coyote, the club must free up considerable cap room to re-sign him. Cap Friendly indicates they have nearly $80 million invested in next season’s payroll. That’s prompted speculation over which Coyotes could become cost-cutting candidates in the off-season, with such notables as Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta, Alex Goligoski, and Jason Demers among the possibilities.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports Loui Eriksson has no intention of retiring and walking away from the two years and $5 million in actual salary remaining on his contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

Eriksson’s $6-million annual average value is creating a potential salary-cap headache for the Canucks. Kuzma points out his contract is front-loaded with bonuses that count toward a buyout while demoting him to the minors would leave them with a $4.9 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Canucks GM Jim Benning can find a trade partner willing to take Eriksson’s contract off his hands, he will have to consider other options to free up cap space 

Eriksson’s full no-trade clause becomes a modified, 15-team no-trade list next season, providing Benning with a little flexibility. With a flat cap, however, Benning might have to absorb part of Eriksson’s cap hit or include a sweetener (high draft pick and/or quality prospect) to make it work.

SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan recently examined how the Ottawa Senators can improve their roster in the off-season. With $41.9 million invested in next season’s payroll, they have sufficient cap space to re-sign their key free agents and target cap-strapped clubs looking to shed salary.

Given the Senators’ commitment to rebuilding with youth, Scanlan expects they’ll let their youngsters develop while making a few judicious UFA signings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators only have nine players under contract for next season. They must spend to fill out the roster and reach the $60.2 million cap minimum.

RFAs such as Connor Brown, Chris Tierney, and Anthony Duclair will be re-signed, along with UFA Mark Borowiecki and perhaps Ron Hainsey. They could also promote a few promising youngsters into their ranks for next season.

The Senators won’t make a big splash in the UFA market. They’ll likely pursue one or two affordable veterans on short-term deals to provide experience and leadership.

I expect the Sens will also attempt to add a good young player via trade. They have 13 picks in this year’s draft, including three first-rounders and four second-rounders. I’ll be surprised if they keep all of them. A couple of those picks could be used as trade bait targeting clubs looking to shed salary.

They could use their cap space to take on a bad contract in exchange for futures but that seems unlikely. Given how much youth they’ve already got in their system and their plethora of picks this year and the three second-rounders they have next year, I think they’re more likely to target a young player who can immediately step into the lineup and contribute.


  1. Why would Ericksson walk away from that money. I wouldn’t . Considering he is done and has been done for a couple of years now. Even with 50% retained and adding pick and a prospect not convinced he can be moved. Canucks don’t have a first or second this year as well.

    • Canucks might have a first this year if they lose play in round, NJ then get next year’s unprotected first. Eriksson can be dealt, it just take the right amount of sweeteners.

    • Am big buff

  2. I can’t see anyone taking on Ericksons contract. Even with sweeteners, They’d have to retain salary. Either way, whoever has him should stick him in AHL and hope he retires. Sens don’t need anymore “sweeteners” Maybe Detroit. Maybe Buffalo. I can see Hall getting 9m in Arizona. Before he hits market and finds out nobody else offers that much. Again, I don’t see him extended until after phase 2 of lottery.

    • That’s a NO Stick62, the Sabres have Okposo’s 6M for another 3 years.

  3. Agree with Kevin

    Loui can be dealt…. any deal “is” possible…. seller has to give the right amount of sweeteners for the buyer to sign off on the deal

    I’m suggesting

    Loui (45% retained) for JJ…. no Cap change for either team

    Is this a lose-lose deal; or a win-win deal??

    To be a fly on the wall when the two Jims hash this one out


    • …. another

      Loui (10% retained)/Jordie


      JJ/ Bjug

      Again… no change in Cap for either team

    • Sorry Pengy….

      Vancouver is already maxed out on trash defencemen… Tanev, Stecher, Myers….Edler…. Benn… no room for JJ….

      • Hi Ron

        That’s why I was suggesting Benn comes over in the deal

  4. Arz must rid the Stepan contract

    Still think odds low on Hall return to Arz

    • Pengy, I think Arizona needs to keep him after making trade. He at least met with them. I think they’ll make it worth it for him. If they end up in lottery and win top pick, I think it would be a huge mistake signing him. Moving Stepan shouldn’t be too hard. He’s only owed 2 mil next year after signing bonus paid out. Stepan, Golgosk(2mil retainedi) and next years 1st Rounder to Buffalo for Montour.

  5. I think Taylor Hall should really consider staying put if Yotes really want him. Under the circumstances, I don’t think many (perennial playoff) teams can afford him. At least Ariz. is decent enough they have shot to make playoffs annually.

  6. When it comes to Taylor Hall it could be between money or playoff opportunities.

    There nothing in Arizona history that says they are perennial playoff contenders.

    To sign Hall they must move out assets to accommodate Hall signing, this will weaken what is already there and will make Arizona a playoff bubble team.

    Arizona appears to want Hall and maybe they said once FA markets open this number goes down from there.

    Hall isn’t worth $9m and if Arizona is pushing that type of number maybe Hall will take it. Hard not to, i don’t see out there on the open market, maybe Buffalo? Same situation but you got Eichel to play with.

    • suppose claiming perennial contendera stretch. Arizona has guys like Hayton (Remember TeamCanada’s captain who refused to remove his helmet During the anthem at the world juniors). Haytonwill move up the ranks soon. Adding Hall and other prospects may turn that team good pretty quick. I think it may be a safer bet to bet on Arizona Tehran against.

    • 9 million for a player who has 10 years in the league and 5 total playoff games played ? sorry but I am going to pass.
      He puts up numbers in the regular season but not a player I want to build my team around for post season success.

  7. Nobody is going to do the Canucks any favors by taking Louies contract on. Nucks foolishly spent their way into a cap crunch (Eriksson, Sutter, Beagle, Roussel).
    Unloading bad contracts will cost picks and or prospects which will leave Vancouver with Hughes, Pettersson, Horvat, Boeser and no picks or prospects.
    Just like during the height of the Sedin era the Nucks will have a good core but no ability to add to their roster.

    Only going to get worse next season capwise when Dim Jim needs to find the dollars to resign Hughes and Pettersson.

    • I’ve heard it many times that a contract won’t be moved. No favours to be had. To expensive to move. Time and time again the contracts get moved.

      • But you keep missing the point, Jeff, that these are NOT anywhere near like past times.

        Covid-19 is on the increase almost everywhere again. And until a vaccine is developed, NO professional sport is “returning to normal.”

      • George O, At least 3 vaccines appear to be headed to final stage of testing. Very promising that there could be one by end of year. Fingers crossed…. I think for sure by end of next winter at the least. Even before covid, cap was only predicted to go up about 3 million. I think we’ll probably see a slow market for FA and more buyouts than usual. But realistically, that 3 million per team shouldn’t be a major setback.

      • George. The nhl gm… not an individual one but the collective group, has never learned. Maybe covid is the magic that makes that happen. I won’t believe it till I see it.

      • Chrisms, the only reason I cling to this opinion is my belief that there has to be considerable downturn in the profits of the many owners who have businesses – other than their sports franchises – that have taken big financial hits. Then there’s the prospect of realizing any profits made from playing in front of large crowds will be non-existent for the foreseeable future, and with TV sponsors – again big businesses – also suffering from the economic stagnation, coupled with total uncertainty as to what the future holds – it only stands to reason that GMs will be told to be ultra-cautious when it comes to spending.

        Any other approach is totally insane with bankruptcies and massive downsizing of operations very much in play.

        Like Slick63 I too have my fingers crossed that a viable vaccine is on the horizon – but I’m not about to hold my breath at the same time.

        Wishful thinking has never been part of my psyche.

      • Well if anything tv advertising should go through the roof since tv viewership would be so vastly improved.

        I hear everything else you say but still won’t believe it till I see it. Gms ain’t playing with their own money. And history proves that to be the case.

      • Just watched the latest news where it’s reported that Covid-19 is up in all parts of Ontario and Quebec, and that Alberta is also rising in an alarming fashion. Ontario and Quebec have also seen temps in the 90s for two weeks, and in Ontario some 57% of all new cases are now reported to be under the age of 40.

        Remember back when it all began the hope – or wishful thinking – was that, like the flu, this would dissipate in the warmer summer months, and that the most affected by it and most apt to get it are those 60 and up. Well, this isn’t the flu – it’s a protein that has completely buffaloed official science.

        And even if they do develop a viable vaccine – how long will it be effective? Again, back at the beginning, we were assured by WHO and our various expert health authorities that, once you’ve had it and recovered you’d then be immune. As with the flu. Oops – now there is solid evidence being assembled that those who have had it are seeing the anti-bodies leaving their system 8 weeks after “recovery.” Will the same apply to a vaccine?

        It’s one thing to suggest that old habits will die hard when it comes to GMs spending in the face of all this uncertainty, but if I were an owner whose GM proved to be stupid enough to pursue glory over practicality I’d fire his sorry ass in a flash. Anyone that dumb should be eliminated from the gene pool.

      • Agree with both or you George and Chrisms. Gate revenue makes up 40% of league revenue as a whole. Varies by team I am sure but that is massive.
        I agree Chrisms that ad revenue will be up, but I don’t think that helps most teams. It will help the television companies that own the rights. Not 100% sure but they paid a fixed amount for those rights and they don’t pay more or less depending on the ratings, that # is set on the national deals until it expires.
        There may be local deals that are impacted, I just don’t know how those are structured.
        So ya, many teams will lose money this year, and I am guessing next. Also agree that we say this every year and it never happens. So I guess we will see in a few months.
        Vaccine – I get we all hope for one, but this process usually takes 4-5 years, at best, sometimes never. Yes we have made advances and the $$ being thrown at it is crazy, but it takes time to test this, which is good as we are injecting this into our bodies. If we have one in Q1 next year that will be a triumph of science, then it has to be produced on a massive scale and administered which will take months. It will be this time next year at best and likely much longer.

  8. Ericksson to be moved for cap reasons and not to take back garbage of equal dollars. Same S different pile makes no sense.
    Hall’s agent may want $9m. Not sure anyone whether they have the room or not will serve that up. Maybe a one year deal.

  9. I think i got to view a great concert there, nice building…