NHL Rumor Mill – July 31, 2020

by | Jul 31, 2020 | Rumors | 49 comments

Check out recent Flames and Canucks speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): During a recent mailbag segment, Scott Cruickshank was asked about recent trade rumors swirling around Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau. The 26-year-old has two years left on his contract with an annual average value of $6.75 million.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

There was some speculation suggesting Gaudreau won’t re-sign with the Flames but Cruickshank believes he’s not necessarily gone once his contract is up. He doesn’t think general manager Brad Treliving is actively shopping the winger but believes he’d be nuts not to entertain all offers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Gaudreau’s production this season combined with last spring’s poor playoff performance (a lone assist in five games) gave rise to the trade whispers. A better effort in the upcoming playoff tournament could put some of that talk to rest. Still, the Gaudreau trade chatter could ramp up if the Flames make another early playoff exit.

Cruickshank was asked what it would take for the Flames to acquire Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour, as well as Casey Mittelstadt and/or Sam Reinhart. All three are restricted free agents with Montour and Reinhart carrying arbitration rights.

Citing Evolving-Hockey.com, Cruickshank indicates Reinhart could get over $8.7 million annually on an eight-year deal, Montour $4.8 million annually for three years, and Mittelstadt $1.17 annually on a two-year deal. Prying those players from the Sabres would mean parting with some core Flames players, high-level youngsters, and draft picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Sabres moving Reinhart unless he wants out. So far, there’s no indication he’s unhappy in Buffalo or wants a trade.

Montour’s supplanted Rasmus Ristolainen as the most likely Sabres trade candidate because he reportedly doesn’t fit well into coach Ralph Krueger’s system. Perhaps there’s a fit in Calgary if the Flames lose T.J. Brodie and/or Travis Hamonic to free agency at season’s end.

Mittelstadt is a former first-round pick (eighth overall, 2017) whose slow development has frustrated Sabres followers. I don’t think the Flames would be interested unless he’s part of a package involving a much better player coming to Calgary.

Asked which player he’d try to add if he were Flames GM, Cruickshank suggested Josh Anderson of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s a big, 26-year-old right-winger who tallied 27 goals in 2018-19, but he also missed most of 2019-20 to a shoulder injury and he’s an RFA with arbitration rights at the end of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cruickshank feels Anderson would be worth pursuing depending on the Blue Jackets’ asking price and the cost of his new contract. Anderson popped up frequently in media-generated rumors before the February trade deadline. The Flames could have plenty of competition if they attempt to acquire him.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnson reports the Vancouver Canucks patience with Jake Virtanen may be running thin. The 23-year-old winger wasn’t part of their lineup for their exhibition game loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

Virtanen’s fitness levels and consistency have been questioned in the past. He was also surpassed by more defensively-responsible forwards like Micheal Ferland, Brandon Sutter, and Zack MacEwen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Virtanen was enjoying a career-best performance before the pandemic. He was on pace to finish with 20 goals and 40 points (18 goals, 36 points) when the schedule was interrupted. Nevertheless, his fitness, inconsistency, and seeming unwillingness to improve his defensive play knocked him out of the Canucks lineup against the Jets and could relegate him to the press box for their upcoming series against the Minnesota Wild. 

Virtanen’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, but it remains to be seen if he has a future in Vancouver after this season. His name could pop up in the rumor mill if he remains on the sidelines during the playoff tournament.


  1. “Cruickshank indicates Reinhart could get over $8.7 million annually on an eight-year deal, Montour $4.8 million annually for three years, and Mittelstadt $1.17 annually on a two-year deal.”

    I wish pundits/journalists like Cruickshank would impart to us their reasons for obviously believing that this pandemic will either conveniently blow over or be defeated by a viable vaccine and that contract cap hits and terms will carry on as before.

    I mean, why else would they toss out things like 8 years and $8.7 per for a Reinhart?

    I understand the desperate longing for things “to get back to normal” – only an idiot wouldn’t hold out that hope – but at what point do these guys start postulating based on current reality rather than the happily-ever-after fairy tale approach? At least bring into the equation the very real possibility of fundamental changes, not only in hockey. but ALL sports when it comes to fat contracts and lengthy terms.

    • You’re 100% correct. But Reinhart, even under the best of times @ 8 mil per season? A 3rd liner on most decent teams. Does anyone agree Jeff Skinner worth 9? Talk about contracts that come back to bite you. Saying this makes the author (Cruickshank) far more less believable.
      I think Gaudreau is talented, but hope there is no effort on my teams part to get him.

      • So Pheonix would offer 7mill to Tayler Hall, who won the hart trophy, while Reinhart is worth 8.7 for 8 years… ? get out of here

      • I was floored when I saw Reinhart “could get” $8.7 for 8 years, too. Floored. Who’s going to give that much cash to a middle 6 player during the pandemic? I assume the Sabres may, because they have made questionable contractual decisions before…

      • markmws, those kinds of signings may have been the norm under Tim Murray and Jason Botterill, but the Pegulas are apparently among those prudent owners – in light of uncertain financial times – about which I have been trying to get across for a few weeks now.

        They want a voice in any and all major transactions and have stated as much. I don’t thin\k they’re alone either.

    • George O

      What do you think about Dorion trying t squire Jake Virtanen?

      • A guy who’s so chronically out of shape and never seems to come prepared that’s he scratched by a team with D problems? No thanks AI.

        The patient GM who has lots of cap space will get far better players when the cap-strapped teams start to squirm after discovering no one wants their unwanted and they need to space to re-sign their key RFAs or UFAs they’d like to keep. They are under absolutely NO pressure to take problematic and costly crap just to get some maybe prospects who have yet to prove anything at the NHL level, or mid- to late range picks.

      • I think Jake Virtanen will be out of the press box and along with Ferland be expected to make an impact from series one on. Whatever happens after that determines where he plays. Can someone explain to me what Reinhart has done except being drafted low to warrant those crazy numbers?
        I dont think Chicago and Dylan Strome are in the same conversations…

      • Wrong guy to bring in to a room of young players…… poor example of what being a pro is…or supposed to be.

    • George, don’t forget the “citing Evolving-Hockey” part; Cruickshank didn’t try to make any comment asserting Reinhart will get that, just used that $ amount estimated by another site.

      • I don’t know about Cruickshank, but if I were in his position the ONLY reference I’d make to that other site is that they don’t know their butt from their elbow.

    • First mz getting ten. The sr getting 8.7. Is the entire world going mad!?!

  2. Why not?

    To NYR: Gaudreau + Rittich
    To CGY: Georgiev + Andersson + Kravtsov

    Rangers get better on Forward and don’t have to worry about their goaltending situation. They go from a rebuild to contender in a jiffy. Calgary gets a young #1 goaltender, a misused Andersson and a potential great young prospect in Kravstov.

    • That’s a horrible deal for Calgary.

      They’d get much better offers elsewhere for Gaudreau. I’m sorry but back up goalies, no matter how promising, never bring back significant returns, never!

      And Andersson at this point has zero value.

      So essentially your saying a back up goalie and Kravtsov for Gaudreau and Rittich. Not happening.

      • Where are they going to get a #1 young goaltender? Kravstov is a big 6’3″ power forward and was selected 9th overall for a reason. Andersson is pretty good to, just that his ego got the best of him. A change of scenery and maybe a different organization will help that, he too wasn’t drafted 7th overall for a reason!

      • There’s a reason Kravstov was drafted in the top 10, same as Andersson. Mind you, yes, Andersson has had ego problems with the Rangers and mainly so because they misused him. Also, Georgiev is going to be a #1 goaltender, he is no backup.

      • Georgiev right now is a backup, I don’t give a crap what he might turn into. Look at every other goalie that was in this exact same position from Bernier to Jones etc etc, none of them brought back big returns cause they might turn into a number some day.

    • It’s always overlooked that Rangers have Panarin+Kreider+Kakko on LW already. Johnny makes no sense for the Rangers

      • Kakko has played exclusively at RW. But agree…with Panarin and Kreider , there’s no need for Gaudreau. Unless he can play center. Of course there’s also no cap space for him considering you’re proposing trading 3 guys on their elc’s. Would need to trade Strome and DeAngelo in separate deals. Nothing in this trade proposal makes any sense. Monaghan is a different story.

      • Kreider shoots left, Panarin shoots right. One of them can easily transfer to RW.

      • @ Leafs
        You dont move Panarin over to make space for JG… salary too…. Rangers could use a 2-3Center and a young physical D prospect. nothing more. their system is best it has ever been.
        If Howden or Andersson turn into anything that would help.

      • Gaudreau – Zibanijad – Panarin
        Krieder – Strome – Kakko
        Lemieux – Chytil – Buchnevich
        Di Giuseppe – Howden – Gauthier
        Smith – Trouba
        Staal – Fox
        Lindgren – DeAngelo

      • @LeafsAdvocate
        Seems you havent watched the Rangers .
        Zib and Panarin do not skate together.

      • Leafs advocate. Just a reminder. League cap is 81.5 mil. Gaudreau and Rittich are a combined 9.5 mil cap hit. Rangers can’t fit, nor do they need, either.

      • Where will Calgary get a young #1 tender?
        How about their system, might want to google Dustin Wolf, you’ll know his name soon enough.

    • Georgiev isn’t a starter yet that trade is horrible for the flames

  3. Reinhart is not going anywhere. I do like a Montour Mittelstadt package but not sure if enough for Gaudreau but the right idea . You might get more from another team (like Jersey). His compensation is decent and should not be “the guy” anyway and will average somewhere between the last two seasons. Not last year. Entertaining player . In fact the highest cap hit for the Flames team is only 7m.

    • A deal with Buffalo for Gaudreau will start with the #8 pick, Risto & maybe Middlestat but Tre would also want an extra 3rd preferably this year or in 2021. Let Hamonic & Brodie walk.

  4. Not because I’m a Leafs fan, nor do I think/believe my lousy Arm-Chair GM ideas are legitimate…but I think the Leafs and Blue Jackets should work out a deal. Well obviously once the Round Robin type first round playoffs is over. Something like:

    To TOR: Anderson + Foudy
    To CBJ: Johnsson + Kerfoot + Liljegren

    Leafs get a big bodied forward that is physical and can score…injury-proneness maybe an issue, who knows. Foudy is obviously a high end prospect. With the Leafs cap issues, they’ll need someone like him in the farm that’ll be ready very soon and don’t have to worry about his re-signing just yet. Columbus gets a speedy good young forward in Johnsson, a good player in Kerfoot and maybe still a possible high end prospect in Liljegren who still has to find his way.

    • Sorry LeafsAdvocate….not to be harsh but that package isn’t in the ballpark for Anderson and Foudy. Anderson is definitely available but will be part of a package, likely w a D and/or G for a high skill F. Foudy is not going anywhere except straight into the CBJ top 6 F. I think ther are deals to be made with TOR-CBJ just not for Johnson and Kerfoot as the center pieces.

    • Typical Leafs fanboy package … our trash for your treasure …

      • Couldn’t have said that any better Ed just a terrible trade for the jackets

      • Excuse me. Wouldn’t St. Louis would be the expert on “our trash for your treasure.” Ask Buffalo and Ryan O’Reilly as he holds the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe and Frank J. Selke?
        Wait – he can’t physically hold all three of those at the same time, can he?

      • For a 1st round pick (17th overall), Liljegren hasn’t been given much of a look at the NHL level (11 games) and, except for the 2017-18 season with the Marlies, has been a career -.

        It would appear, from the efforts to deal him cited in these pages anyway, he’s now falling into the Jeremy Bracco category – (a 2nd round pick in 2015 who has yet to get even the proverbial cup of coffee in the NHL).

        By Jeremy Bracco category I mean someone who is frequently mentioned as part of a trade package as if the name alone would excite the other GM.

    • Leads fan, there is no way my Jackets are going to trade Fouty. Forget it. Here’s a more likely deal:
      Savard & Anderson to Toronto
      Kerfoot, Johnsson & a pick to the CNN

      Toronto gets the good, dependable right side defenseman they’ve needed force and middle six winger. Columbus gets some scoring they need.
      Toronto ‘s desperate need for blueline help will, once again, be exposed next week.

  5. I am a Leaf fan too, but I don’t think Colombus comes close to doing that. I saw the highlights of the Boston loss to Colombus and cringed at what the Leafs will have to face Sunday.

    Apparently, Colombus wanted to offer sheet Marner. Maybe something like that would work.

    Tell you straight up Leaf Advocate I like our individual talent per player but I don’t like our “team”. To this old guy with old hockey values….the Leafs are not a good “team”.

    I would give Dubas only one more year to fix that.

    • OBD, the young guys on the Leafs need to show up against Columbus. Their time as prospects is over – they need to become playoff pros.
      Still comes down to goaltending though.

  6. The flames need to upgrade their centre ice position and not get slower on the wings (Anderson, Reinhart, etc.). They could package someone like Monahan or a big D for a young, high potential centre (if you can think of one available, giver) or for a veteran (Getzlaf). I can’t think of a stanley cup winner that didn’t have a gritty and/or elite top centre. Montreal might be the only team that needs the lottery pick more. Well, maybe Minnesota.

  7. Blue Jackets vs Leafs should be the most entertaining and highly contested series of the 1st round.

    It’s a coin flip, for me.

    • Going to be great! Interesting that all the Columbus media focus is on Torts, not their NHL BEST D. One of the best Os vs one of the best Ds.

      • Just the way Torts drew it up.
        He’s the master of that little ploy. (Honorable mention to Brian Burke).

    • As long as the BlueJackets stay out of the box it could be interesting.

      As a Ranger fan its not going to be fun vs the Canes with their 4 lines and puck possession. But why did they make all those moves and not upgrade in the net?

      • As long as the Leafs stay out of the box, that game vs Montreal the other night, they had like 4 straight penalties. But agreed, Columbus’ Defense is going to test the Leafs’ Offense for sure and their forwards are a more physical and they don’t give you much room to do anything as they’re always running and gunning for the opposition to turnover the puck. That’s where they get their main scoring chances, especially if the likes of PLD, Wennberg and Atkinson gets a scoring chance. The Leafs’ D is going to have to dig into another level to handle Columbus and Freddy is going to have to steal games.

  8. As long as the BlueJackets stay out of the box it could be interesting.

    As a Ranger fan its not going to be fun vs the Canes with their 4 lines and puck possession. But why did they make all those moves and not upgrade in the net?

  9. Don’t think Georgiev will ever be a true be nr 1, maybe a 1b

  10. Virtanen = Bust

    • Hi Ronald

      JJ also = Bust

      Can we swap busts 🤞🙏

  11. I think the Flames will loose to the Jets,
    Win the draft lottery, trade the 1st overall pick to Ottawa for their 3 first round picks.
    Hopefully Byfield is still available to draft.
    Trade Gaudreau to Philly for Konecky and sign Hall for 3 years 7m per

    • No way Philly moves Konecny for Gaudreau…..zero chance