Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 5, 2020

by | Jul 5, 2020 | Rumors | 24 comments

​Check out the latest unrestricted free agent speculation in today’s NHL rumor roundup.

TSN: Craig Button was recently asked to determine which NHL teams would be the best fit for this year’s top unrestricted free agents.

Button believes defenseman Alex Pietrangelo would be better off staying put with the St. Louis Blues. He’s the captain of the defending Stanley Cup champions and should be a Norris Trophy contender for the next several years. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has managed his salary cap very well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The flat salary cap of $81.5 million for next season won’t make it easy for Armstrong to re-sign his captain. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $79 million invested in 20 players, with Pietrangelo and blueliner Vince Dunn to re-sign. Armstrong must shed some considerable salary to re-sign those two.

Should Taylor Hall sign a one-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche? (Photo via NHL Images).

Button also believes the Boston Bruins can re-sign rearguard Torey Krug. Like the Blues, the Bruins managed their cap well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins have more cap room than the Blues, with $63.5 million committed to 18 players. In addition to Krug, Zdeno Chara, Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Matt Grzelcyk, Kevan Miller and Joakim Nordstrom are also free agents, with Chara, Miller, and Nordstrom in the UFA category. Assuming they get Krug for around $7 million annually, it could complicate efforts to re-sign and replace the rest. Still, they’re in a better place cap-wise to re-sign their key players.

Asked about Taylor Hall, Button believes the Colorado Avalanche could be a good fit. If Hall wants to chase the Stanley Cup, Button recommends signing a one-year deal with the Avs. Given the ongoing uncertainty over the salary cap, a strong performance next season in Colorado would put Hall in a great spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s no secret Avs GM Joe Sakic attempted to acquire Hall before the New Jersey Devils shipped him to the Arizona Coyotes. He could be interested in the former Hart Trophy winner is willing to accept a one-year deal that doesn’t interfere with other signings this year.

Colorado has just over $59 million tied up in 10 players, with notables such as Andre Burakovsky, Ryan Graves, Nikita Zadorov, Vladislav Namestikov, and Valeri Nichushkin to re-sign or replace. Sakic could also be leery of making a long-term investment in a big-ticket free agent when Gabriel Landeskog, Cale Makar, and Philipp Grubauer are slated to become free agents next summer.

Button suggested Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner return to where his NHL career started by signing with the Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On paper, this looks like a reasonable idea. The rebuilding Senators need an established starting goaltender and they have the salary-cap space (only $41.9 million invested in just nine players) to make Lehner a very wealthy netminder.

However, we don’t know if cantankerous Senators owner Eugene Melnyk would approve such an expensive foray into the UFA market. Lehner could prefer signing with a contender rather than joining a rebuilding club, especially one with unpredictable ownership.


  1. Regarding “The Captain”: Craig Button AND Iowa Boy (and Lyle?) in COMPLETE agreement! 5 years @8 million. Get it done, Armstrong.

    • I don’t think Petro will re-sign with the Blues for $8 million. I think it will have to be a minimum of $9 million. Any other thoughts?

      • Any other time and I’d agree … but this ain’t any other time and he won’t be the only free agent – unrestricted or restricted – who is going to have to lower his expectations. Forget any teams with loads of cap space – not only are none among them are serious threats to contend but I doubt he’d want to go to a re-building club at this stage of his career. And what contender could afford that kind of cap hit without major changes to their rosters – which would then involve trying to find teams willing to take on the salaries they’re trying to dump. And around and around we go …

      • $8 million would make him the highest paid Blue for the foreseeable future. That is a good message to give to the Captain. I am much more concerned with the length of years becoming an issue (like Backes). Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think Petro wants to uproot family.

  2. My personal feeling is Sakic will be looking at a goaltending upgrade through free agency as opposed to help on the wings.

    Holtby, Markstrom, Crawford & Lehner are all prominent UFAs.

    As for Nikita Zadorov and Vladislav Namestikov, I suspect these two will not be on the Avs roster next season.

    Shane Bowers is ready to take the next step so I suspect his $9.25 grand will replace, likely replacing Namestikov who was likely only a rental for this seasons playoffs, so that would free up around $2.5 mill.

    Then you have Nikita Zadorov, who was the Avs #6 D-man this season. He will be looking for a raise on his $3.2 mill per. I cannot see Sakic giving Niki a raise avering less than 17 per game, when he will need to resign Graves, who by far played more of role of the Avs D. Graves will likely command between $3 mill & $4 mill per. The Avs have a great D core pushing Zadorov down the list. I believe there is a market out there for him, so Sakic shouldn’t have big problem moving him.

    • Pavel Francouz has played very well this year and has unseated Grubauer as #1.

      He deserves to have the opportunity to be the #1 Goalie in Colorado again next season.

      I personally feel right now he’s better than all the UFA Goalies out there, except for Lehner.

      Currently under Contract for 2 more years at $2 mil AAV. Quite a bargain for the 30 year old who seems to have come into his own.

      Sakic is doing a great job in Colorado. I am quite confident he knows that goaltending is currently not an issue of concern that needs to be immediately addressed.

    • They could also go after Georgiev, as Shesterkin looks to be their future #1 goaltender. They could keep Lundqvist to teach the young fellow and to have a depth goaltender for needed games.

  3. Craig Button makes a better fantasy dealer than he ever did as a GM. I agree, Lyle, that Ottawa and Lehner are not a good fit, and not just for the valid reasons you cite.

    The Sens are in the early stages of the re-build, and while many of those kids in their system (plus whoever they pick up in this draft) will hopefully be the core of a contending team one day, that’s still at least another full season away as they gain NHL experience.

    So, while I believe they’ll steadily improve over the next season or two, they won’t be a serious threat to any of the top contenders, so they’ll likely go with Nilsson and Hogberg next season for sure, with Daccord – if he continues to play well at the AHL level, the first call-up, and perhaps Gustavsson as well here and there, while Mendolese works his way up through the system.

    Meanwhile, there’s nothing to be gained by forking over big dollars to a Lehner – even assuming he’d be willing to sign here or that Melnyk would approve.

  4. Why not trade Tarasenko at this year’s Draft to free up money to keep the Captain?

    If Tarasenko proves that he is healthy during this summer’s Playoffs, he sure would bring back quite a haul. Possible back to back years of 1st Round Draft Picks and even a Prospect or two.

    His current Contract is $7.5 AAV and expires at the end of 2022/23 Season.

    If Armstrong can find any takers, he should be proactive and make this happen. It’s a win win situation. You keep the Captain on board (pun intended) and rid yourself of another potential Cap squeeze situation that is less than 3 calendar years away.

    • The kind of guy Buffalo needs and they will be shopping their 1st round pick.

      • I think you’re right about that. I think they might very well trade their no.8 for a quality D man or fw. I don’t know where their priorities are? (need help all around). They could get a younger vet, and great prospect.

      • Only way that the Sabres trade 8OA is for a proven 2C, that is their 1st move. Need a 2RW and an upgrade in goal. These moves are imperative. Will still need to fill out the bottom 6 and get a LHD. I don’t see Risto getting traded, Krueger has steadfastly said he wants to coach Risto and me thinks he has acquired more power in the organization to have his way on whether Risto stays or goes. Risto did improve under Krueger’s system.
        My thoughts are trading for Bonino from Nash who I don’t think would require trading 8OA. Maybe Montour and mid-level prospect

    • V.

      Although Vladdy’s should is a worry, I want to keep a 30+ goal scorer around for as long as possible! I hope Armstrong will find other options to free up the necessary dollars—Steen, Bozak, Allen, Gunnarson….


      ps. A pretty sneaky ploy on the part of “Chicago” to suggest the Blues get rid of Tarasenko 🙂

      • iowa boy,

        Chicago is my nickname.

        It was given to me as a child.

        I’m not from Chicago, nor am I a Blackhawks fan.

        But you are not that far off in what you’re thinking and I actually do have a hidden agenda.

        I’m a Rangers fan and I would love to take Lundqvist’s salary and give it to Tarasenko. The thought of the Vlady and Artemi show on Broadway gives me chills!

  5. I mentioned other day I thought Hall to Av’s made sense. Can’t see a 1 year deal though. Knock on him has been health, but if he plays full season and puts up 80+ points, then what? You let him walk to sign Landeskog? On defense Avs have Timmons and last years 4th overall pick Byram in wings.
    Also, Lyle wrote in morn coffee how extended cba might do away with front loaded contracts. Something to think about for everyone that talks about signing 1 year deals and hope to cash in next year. Teams and older ufa’s might want to do these deals now.

    • Slick62,

      Landeskog brings grit, that willingness to get his nose dirty along with offense & leadership. I do not believe Taylor Hall could fill the void on the Avs that letting Landeskog walk would create.

  6. Krug at $7m I hope Sweeney does NOT do that.

    Boston doesn’t really have any big ticket signings coming up other then Rask and Krejci coming up. Krejci will come in around $4m and Rask may stay the same as he is or a slight hair cut.

    Debrusk is up but he has not been the same player since the Kadri cross check to the face. I dont know if he thru an actual hit this season. I still like the player but he needs to get out of his head and play his game. What I’m saying is I don’t expect a big dollar contract for Debrusk maybe $2.5 to $3m bridge.

  7. Lehner is going to get jobbed . Signed two one year deals and won’t do that again. Agree not going to the Avs.
    I have seen him live and he is an absolute mammoth.
    I have seen Hall live and he is truly stand out fast. He should not sign a one year deal with his injury history and will have to take the new market rate

    • “New Market Rate” is very astute on your part SS.

      Not only do the Players need to adjust, but the GM’s need to as well.

      And I totally agree with you that injury prone players will be signing multi year deals as opposed to one year deals for the immediate future.

      • GM’s won’t adjust agents and fans and greed won’t allow them to

  8. Vin I believe they could be also but also believe the best way to rebuild would be to draft draft draft and in two years sign sign and than they may be good for the long haul.

  9. Send would be smart to stick with Nilsson and Anderson and continue grooming Nilsson into a starter with Anderson backing him up. Anderson’s compete factor, poise and class are intangibles another goalie might not bring to the table. Additionally he’s loved in Ottawa and loves playing there; it’s also a next natural step into grooming Anderson into a coaching role with the Sens once he retires. An established relationship with the club and the management can make it an easy transition.

    • I could see that Andy – except that Hogberg, based on his play this past shortened season, has earned a promotion I think. A 0.904 save% and 3.12 gaa in 24 gp for a 2nd-last place team is nothing to shrug off by sending him back to Belleville where they already have Gustavssn and Daccord. Now, if they think Nilsson remains a question mark with those concussion issues, then I can see them bringing Anderson back for one more season to share the load with Hogberg – but the last I heard was that Nilsson has shown every sign of recovery.

      But even if he doesn’t come back to Ottawa as a player and decides to retire (to date I haven’t seen any indication that that is his intention), I would hope they’d find a job for him somewhere in the organization.

  10. I was just browsing Detroit’s roster on “CapFriendly” & it seems they have a fair amount of salary cap available this season & huge need for a couple of NHL experienced D men.

    Both Daley & Ericsson are 36 tears of age & UFAs. I am wondering if with many other teams with very tight to the cap rosters, if Detroit may be able to land a couple of UFA D-men at less than market valve with so many on the market???