NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2020

by | Jul 3, 2020 | Rumors | 9 comments

Could a flat salary cap force the San Jose Sharks to make some roster changes? Could it affect the Boston Bruins’ efforts to re-sign Tuukka Rask next year? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz wonders if it might make sense for the San Jose Sharks to take a planned step backward next season. A salary cap frozen at $81.5 million will hamper efforts to stage a quick turnaround after missing this year’s playoffs.

Should the San Jose Sharks attempt to trade Brent Burns in the off-season? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Sharks have over $66 million invested in 13 players for 2020-21, with six of those carrying full or partial no-trade clauses. Periphery changes likely mean they’ll once again finish near the bottom of next season’s standings.

Kurz believes Brent Burns would still have value in the trade market. The 35-year-old has a three-team trade list but Kurz thinks he could expand it if he doesn’t want to be part of a club that doesn’t intend to contend next season. He feels the Sharks could get a first-round pick or a pick and prospect for Burns, suggesting heir apparent Ryan Merkley could be NHL-ready in 2021. Winger Evander Kane also has a three-team trade list but could also fetch a similar return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Wilson has in store for his roster during what will be a very long off-season for his club. The earliest sign of his plans could come leading up to the NHL Draft as that’s usually when some of the biggest moves involving established players take place.

He could follow Kurz’s suggestion, or he could try to move a player like Burns or Kane for a return that would have a more immediate impact. One or both might be willing to move on if they feel the Sharks are getting ready to rebuild. Finding suitable trade partners could be difficult. Both carry hefty cap hits and hold control over where they could be moved.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty recently pondered Tuukka Rask’s future. The 33-year-old goaltender can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.

Rask has posted solid numbers in recent years and could be in line to win the Vezina Trophy this season. However, he came up short in two attempts (2013 and last year) to backstop the Bruins to the Stanley Cup. A flat salary cap will also make things interesting.

Haggerty notes the Bruins have around $35 million currently invested in their 2021-22 payroll and won’t be on the hook for more than $52 million once they’ve sorted out this year’s free agents. He wonders how much Rask will seek to re-sign or he might consider retirement, something he’s hinted at several times. Haggerty suggests a two-year, $10-million deal ($5 million annually) might do the trick if Rask decides to stay.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask’s status could be worth watching in the off-season. We can’t rule out the possibility the Bruins re-sign Rask following this season since there won’t be any uncertainty over what next season’s cap will be. However, they could decide to wait and see how he performs in 2020-21 before opening contract discussions.


  1. So, Kevin Kurz wonders if the Sharks could find a taker still considered a contender (apparently he won’t agree to go anywhere else) willing to give up a 1st round pick or a pick and a prospect – in an uncertain cap world – for a D-man (Burns) noted mainly for his offense, which has been declining since 2016-17, who is costing $8 mil off the cap for another 5 years after this, and who will be pushing 41 when it expires.

    Good luck with that.

    • Hi George

      For Ships ‘N Giggles I will throw out an insanity trade to further your point….

      Burns, Kane , Sorrensen


      Statsny, Schmidt, Tuch ; Schuldt ; Bischoff; 2nd

      Small Cap savings (650 K) to Sharks in 20/21; but long term Cap reduced; Burns moved (to a contender [and note to a tax savings haven])

      Multi player swaps like this just don’t happen…. proving your point


      Statsny plus 1st plus Schuldt

      for Burns (18 % retained to make Cap even in 20/21)

    • You are spot on George – no way does SJ move Burns without eating a significant part of his long term cap hit. Kurz is out in left field on his wonderings.

      • No team is taking burns without money retained! With the cap staying pretty much flat for the next 3 years the UFa’s that thought this was their big year are going to risk taking a short term contract or a few less million a year. IMO I would take the guaranteed money instead of the risk of injuries on a short term contract

  2. I don’t know if it happens at draft, but maybe a team looks at Burns to solidify PP for playoff push. Or Vlasic to shore up own zone D. Both carry heavy, longer term contracts which will be hard to move. Figure one of them lands in Seattle, probably Burns. He’s got that “it” factor that can sell jerseys.

    • dpf, in these uncertain and therefore ultra-careful days where even top UFAs and RFAs are going to find it hard to land what they’d likely be worth in ordinary times, it’s going to take a GM with huge gonads to take on $40 million worth of contract which has all the earmarks of becoming a classic albatross if his offensive game continues to decline as he approaches 40.

      As for any multiple-player deals, it may be fun to toss them about in here for, as Pengy says, “ships & giggles” – or even carry them out in fantasy leagues – but when was the last time we saw a trade of that nature?

      With no one having any idea what the landscape will be next season, let alone 2, 3, 4 years from now if science can’t pin down a working vaccine – and potential new flu killers lurking – I’m sure GMs in ALL major sports are on short leashes when it comes to the stupid spending seen prior to this mess. With exceptions here and there those millionaire owners are business people first and foremost, and ALL businesses are suffering – a situation that will only get worse if we don’t soon see a vaccine.

      Just today it was announced that passengers on a flight into B.C. are being advised to soon get tested as the result of a positive case identified, and all over we see spikes


  3. I don’t see SJ blowing it up. Last time they missed playoffs they bounced back and went to finals the following season. Too much talent there to not be a playoff team.A lot of injuries this year and Jones had a terrible year in net. Merkley coming up will save money no matter who he replaces. IMO, they should cut ties with Thornton. Leblanc is only player who needs a raise, but won’t break their bank. Possible trade: Leblanc to NYR for Howden and Gorgiev? Leblanc a NY kid replaces Fast, who is ufa. Howden fills 3c for SJ and Gorgiev replaces Dell and competes for starting job.

  4. I like Labanc for Georgiev and Howden (who has not planned out to date)

    Burns is a tough one. Has the Sharks as a whole declined in goals for since 2016 ? One thing I noticed about him is a big body who shoots from anywhere and generally gets pucks on net. Has been healthy so who knows but Father Time catches up with all hockey players even for Chelios and Jagr.

  5. Rask was talking retirement but if I’m Boston and he is healthy I offer a couple more years at a discount. Rask was arguably the best player in last years playoffs if he plays same way this year there will be no discount so he may need to find a new home.