Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 26, 2020

by | Jul 26, 2020 | Rumors | 29 comments

Check out the latest on the Sabres and Red Wings in today’s Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


THE ATHLETIC (Subscription required): John Vogl recently examined how a flat salary cap of $81.5 million for 2020-21 could affect the Buffalo Sabres. They have just over $47 million invested in 10 players for next season, with between 10 to 13 players to sign.

Their restricted free agents include Sam Reinhart, Brandon Montour, Linus Ullmark, Victor Olofsson, and Dominik Kahun. Re-signing all their RFAs could push their cap payroll to almost $73 million. The addition of top prospect Dylan Cozens will push that to $73.87 million.

Vogl believes the Sabres need one forward to reach the roster minimum. They could also want to add a left-handed defenseman and a spare forward. He suggested targeting several clubs with limited cap space looking to shed salary for next season.

Could the Buffalo Sabres make Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen an off-season trade target? (NHL Images)

Some realistic trade targets could include Chicago Blackhawks forwards Dylan Strome and Brandon Saad, San Jose Sharks winger Tomas Hertl, Toronto Maple Leafs forwards Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, Alex Kerfoot, and Ilya Mikheyev, Arizona Coyotes forwards Derek Stepan, Nick Schmaltz, and Christian Dvorak, Anaheim Ducks forwards Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique, and St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see which players become available once the playoffs are over and the trade market kicks into high gear.

The Blackhawks could listen to offers for Saad, who has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6 million. He also has a modified no-trade clause for 2020-21.  They could attempt to re-sign Strome to a short-term deal with a more affordable AAV.

The Leafs are expected to move one of those young forwards unless GM Kyle Dubas can come up with a more creative way to cut costs. He could be reluctant to ship one of them to a close division rival like the Sabres. I can see the Coyotes shopping Stepan or maybe Dvorak but not Schmaltz.

Given the Ducks popgun offense, it wouldn’t make sense to move Rakell or Henrique unless they’re getting a scorer in return or another deal. The Blues could part ways with Jake Allen to free up some cap room to re-sign Alex Pietrangelo and/or Vince Dunn.

I don’t think the Sharks are interested in moving Hertl, but GM Doug Wilson has a history of making bold moves.


DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James recently published her list of players the Detroit Red Wings could protect in next year’s expansion draft. She also looked at the possibility of general manager Steve Yzerman swinging a deal with the Kraken involving Frans Nielsen or Justin Abdelkader.

Nielsen ($5.25 million annual average value) and Abdelkader ($4.25 million) currently carry the second- and third-highest cap hits on the Wings. Convincing the Kraken to take either guy would involve adding a draft pick or a prospect in the deal. St. James doesn’t believe that makes sense for the rebuilding Wings.


  1. The Sabres big trade chip is likely Montour an RFA and solid top 4 RD. Toronto will need to add a RD if they let Barrie and Ceci walk as UFA’s. Kerfoot fits the need of a potential 2C. A real hockey trade that wouldn’t add to either team’s cap. Buffalo could also take either Kapenan or Johnsson if Toronto needs more space perhaps for a future pick.

    If AZ decides to make room for Hall, moving Stepan seems logical as he has a one year $6.5 M cap hit but only $2M in actual salary. Sabres would have the cap space to take him. While he is not the player he was, he would bring a veteran presence to help model the center position for Cozens and Mittelstadt. Sabres might even get a sweetener for taking him.

    • G man. Even if Arizona doesn’t sign Hall, they most likely will look to trade Stepan. For a team with cap space, I can see them getting another pick or prospect out of Yotes. On top of that, as a pending ufa next year, he’ll be a likely deadline trade candidate.

  2. I continue to believe that a trade of Jake Allen for Carter Hutton makes sense for both teams, and would free up a few $s for the Blues.

    I wonder if Bozak would be of any interest to the Sabres as a veteran 3C ? The Blues could add in Jake Walman , a good young LD prospect too.

    • Iowa I love your enthusiasm and can see you’re a blues fan but nobody is going to take Allen for that package in today’s cap world. St Louis is stuck with him unless they want to overpay a team to take him. Remember that’s the goalie who couldn’t win the cup despite having one of the best teams in front of him. They literally called up a nobody who was nowhere on there depth chart to win the cup. Allen had them in last place and looking like there was no chance they would even make the playoffs. At best and I mean at best Allen will be an ok back up and you don’t pay over 4 million for that. Heck Halak doesn’t make that and given the option who would you take Halak or Allen.

    • That looks more like a salary dump for the blues than a good deal for Buffalo.

      Deals involving that much salary / players never happen.

      There will be much better deals on the table to move contracts this offseason. I can’t see Two contracts like that moving from one team, and certainly not in one deal.

      • Sabres need forward prospects, like one of the Blues’ guys should should have tried to acquire when the gave away O’Rielly. Sorry for the open wound Sabres’ fans.

  3. You can tell there is little hockey news in Detroit to write about. With all the cap space Detroit has and where they are at in tgeir rebuild, if Yzerman traded draft picks to unload an expensive contract he should be fired on the spot. No way he would even consider it.

  4. When John Vogl suggests that Buffalo targets “several clubs with limited cap space looking to shed salary for next season” he’s echoing what some of us have been saying in these pages for days now.

    Like myself, Roger Laurin and Canadian King are two others who feel that, if any of the teams with loads of cap space (Ottawa, LA, Detroit, NJ) were to agree to take an albatross contract in order for a cap-strapped team to free up necessary space to sign their key RFAs and UFAs the cost, as Roger put it, would need to be “astronomical for them to even consider it.”

    Naturally, all of these teams, considered right up against the cap, would love to unload one of their albatrosses, but since it’s a fact that such teams far outnumber those with space, there is simply going to have to be trades involving better options for the cap-rich teams, in exchange for picks and/or prospects that won’t immediately impact the selling team’s delicate balance. These are just suggestions of the types of players I’m talking about who each could help the receiving teams for years to come and whose cap hits would go a long way to alleviating the problems of the cap-strapped clubs – and yes, some have NM/NT clauses which would need to be waived:

    Christian Dvorak C/LW 24y/o $4,450,000 to 2024-25 RFA
    Jakob Chychrun D 22y/o $4,600,000 to 2024-25 UFA

    Kasperi Kapanen RW 24 y/o $3,200,000 to 2021-22 RFA
    Alex Kerfoot C/LW 25y/o $3,500,000 tp 2022-23 UFA

    Essa Lindell LD 26 $5,800,000 to 2024-25 UFA
    John Klingberg RD 27y/o $4,250,000 to 2021-22 UFA – and not much else as they’re either too old or don’t cost enough to benefit Dallas’ cap needs

    St. Louis
    Colton Parayko D 27y/o $5,500,000 2021-22 UFA
    Oskar Sundqvist C/RW 27y/o $2,750,000 to 2022-23 UFA

    Brock Boeser RW 23y/o $5,875,000 2021-22 RFA
    J.T. Miller C/LW/RW 27y/o $5,250,000 2022-23 UFA

    Sean Couturier C 27y/o $4,333,333 2021-22 UFA
    Shayne Ghostisbehere D 27y/o $4,500,000 2022-23 UFA

    Alex deBrincat LW/RW 22y/o $6,400,000 2022/23 RFA – and not much else worth considering

    Dmitry Orlov LD 29y/o $5,100,000 2022-23 UFA
    Lars Eller C 31y/o $3,500,000 2022-23 UFA

    Alex Tuch RW 24y/o $4,750,000 2025-26 UFA
    William Karlsson C 27y/o $5,900,000 2025-26 UFA
    Shea Theodore LD 24y/o $5,200,000 2024-25 UFA

    Brett Connolly RW/LW 28y/o $3,500,000 2022-23 UFA
    Michael Matheson LD 26y/o $4,875,000 2025-26 UFA

    San Jose
    Timo Meier LW/RW 23y/o $6,000,000 2022-23 RFA
    Radim Simek LD 27y/o $2,250,000 2023-24 UFA

    There doesn’t appear to be anything outside their top F and McEvoy who would a) free up enough cap and b) be attractive to a cap-rich team

    Now, before anyone goes into apoplectic spasms and screams “ridiculous” and other epithets, this is only to show the KIND of players who would interest the cap-rich teams since, outside of astronomical sweeteners, they are simply NOT going to – nor do they need to – help out the above teams by accepting costly crap.

    • George…

      I’d hardly call Couturiers contract an albatross. 70 pt 2 way Selke nominated center. It would take a huge deal for Philly to move him.

      Gostisbehere on the other hand….


      • Ron, the ones I listed I do not deem as albatross – just those kinds of players the cap-rich teams would WANT to dicker for and are the good players those cap-strapped teams might be forced to relinquish.

        Ghost, I agree, COULD be construed as such … but I do think he’d be valuable to a team with a defensive-minded D-man (or two) who could play alongside him and cover for his defensive short-comings.

        Other than him, I don’t really see ANY Flyer who could be categorized as an albatross.

    • Boston doesn’t need to get rid of any contracts, they’re actually in a good spot.

    • Hi George

      If Parayko leaves the Blues… he can only go to one of two places…. one is the Eastern Hub City and the other is in Mario town….. I insist

      • LOL. Sure Pengy – all they need to do is shed around $6 mil.

        I included Parayko as one of the types of players the cap-strapped teams might need to move in order to free cap space – in their case they have $79,452,499 committed to 21 leaving them with $2,047,500 to sign 2.

        Unless they clear a LOT of space they can forget about re-signing Pietrangelo. Hell, their two RFAs (De La Rose – $900,000 and Dunn – $722,500 ) who accounted for $1,622,500 this season will eat up that available space even with modest increases.

        So, who else besides Parayko and Sundqvist (and it will need to be both to barely free up enough to retain Pietrangelo alone) would fill the bill? I know one thing, it won’t be the wishful-thinking that someone takes Jake Allen and his $4,350,000 hit.

        Maybe Scandella? Bozak and Steen are just too old and costly for this exercise – as Roger says, anything accompanying either would need to be “astronomical.” Maybe it’s the Blues’ turn to get fleeced over O’Reilly?

        Iowa Boy, you got some real pain headed your way I’m afraid.

    • I would say that 2/3 of the names on your list are players moved in hockey trades, not players you move to clear CAP, those are lower tier players you move with a sweetener or for nothing. Like the players frpm the Leafs you suggest. The player is moved for basically nothing but a low draft pick since the other team has to move them. but a player like Boeser or Meier are not moved to clear Cap.

      If the teams with cap space are smart they only take players with one year left so they can flip them at trade deadline. Example, from Vancouver you take Baertchi + 2nd+5th for a low level prospect and a 7th pick

      • We’ll see Kent when, as I say, push comes to shove and it becomes obvious to all that there are far too many team with cap problems that must be resolved to keep RFAs/UFAs they want and not enough cap rich teams to take their crap. Even with “sweeteners.” And they begin to squirm.

        In normal times, perhaps we’d see the sorts of deals you cite – but these are not normal times, nor do they appear to be getting any better. Anywhere.

  5. George thank God Boston is in fine shape with the cap the easiest fix for them is to just pass on Krug or have Krug take a team friendly deal. Two years from now Krech and Rask come of the books Chara will be gone and it will be time for a partial rebuild. Bruins will be set on D and Pasta will be in his prime but will need help. Studnicka will be key if he turns into Bergeron two or close second that would help a lot.

    • Obe. Boston isn’t really against the cap. They have 18 players under contract. Chara most likely returns on similar deal he has now. I think people over estimate what DeBrusk will get. I’m guessing Boston plays hardball. He doesn’t have arbitration rights, so chances are he only gets a 1 or 2 year deal with not much of a raise. They can afford to give Krug 7-8 mil if they choose. I don’t think he’s worth more than that.

      • Slick62 agee. Debrusk will sign for 3.5 max 4 on a two year term.

        The only players coming up that will cost is McAvoy and Carlo.

        Carlo won’t be expensive just because he doesn’t have the offensive upside.

        McAvoy will be the interesting one to watch, he is not worth $5m today let alone the $7.5m will demand. Question is will we live up to the hype.

        Then contracts are not up this year and with Krejci and Rask both have one season remaining on their contracts.

        Krejci will drop a few mill per season if resigned and Rask will take a slight haircut or stay the same.

  6. The cap rich teams and the cap poor teams. It seems to me that whichever cap rich team moves first might be the biggest loser as they set the market floor. The GM with patience will be the big winner here. And I am sure they all know it. So that first trade will be real interesting.

    • Unless they wait too long and they are left standing.

      • Chrisms, that can’t happen logistically – there are at least 18-20 teams that must clear cap space and only about 4 or 5 who can accommodate them. Any cap-strapped GM who DOESN’T make such a move (or two in some cases) stands the risk of seeing their RFAs sit out (or become UFAs) because they simply cannot offer them a contract or qualifying offer, or any UFAs they really want to keep just get tired of waiting and sign elsewhere for the best deal possible. And THEY won’t be signing with any cap-strapped teams that don’t clear sufficient space. Vicious circle in the waiting.

      • Sorry George. Pronoun kerfluffle. The they I was talking about was the sellers.

      • Ahh. Gotcha!

    • Agree Kevin – but the longer this goes on without a move once the wheeling and dealing time arrives I think the cap-strapped teams will be the first to blink since any of those GMs know they are one of many and the cap-rich teams are few and, realistically, since they will only look to take on no more than two such deals, I believe some cap-strapped GM will trade someone who will open many eyes in surprise when the return will be seen as something that simply would never happen in normal times.

      As you say, that first deal is going to be real interesting if the cap-rich guys let the others squirm for a while. They have NO need to panic and rush things.

  7. Hard to believe those two players are 2 and 3 for payroll on the team. What’s Larkin and Martha worth ? Pecking order all messed up.

  8. RIP Eddie!

    • Just saw that FD – one of my all-time favourite characters in the game. Even though he played for the hated Leafs this was a guy you just could not dislike. For any reason. He played hell-bent-for-election all the time and did a lot of hitting – but I doubt there was a mean bone in his body.

      One of my favourite stories about Eddie Shack was when, after one of his rambunctious shifts during which he hit anything that moved, back on the bench Bert Olmstead grabbed him and snarled “what colour is this jersey, Eddie?” To which Eddie replied “blue.” Olmstead roared back “same as YOU Eddie.”

      • FD

        just saw that.

        Loved him as a kid; met him once at an opening of a Pop Shoppe store

        He was one of my Dad’s favourite players

        Open the gates St. Peter, as Clear the Track is in his way

  9. Re

    “ Vogl believes the Sabres need one forward to reach the roster minimum. They could also want to add a left-handed defenseman and a spare forward. He suggested targeting several clubs with limited cap space looking to shed salary for next season.”

    Look no further Vogl

    Pens will generously send #3 and #27 and #2 with a

    sweeteners of #37 and #57…. for the low low price of either “future considerations” or 7th rounder in ‘23…. Buffalo’s choice