NHL Rumor Mill – August 2, 2020

by | Aug 2, 2020 | Rumors | 25 comments

Latest on the Ducks and Rangers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Eric Stephens recently listed five players he thinks the Anaheim Ducks could add from cap-strapped teams in the off-season. They include Chicago Blackhawks center Dylan Strome, Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen, Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta, St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz, and Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen.

Could the Anaheim Ducks pursue Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen in the off-season? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stephens provides an excellent, detailed examination of those players and why they could be available. I’ll just add my two cents here.

Strome and Virtanen are restricted free agents, with the latter having arbitration rights. Of the two, Virtanen seems the most likely to be available. He was relegated to the press box during the Canucks tune-up game last week against the Jets. Virtanen has decent offensive skills but his consistency and poor defensive play are ongoing issues. The Canucks could be ready to move on from him following this season.

Raanta puts up solid numbers when healthy. Problem is, he’s been banged up a lot in recent years. He’d make a good backup for John Gibson but also carries a $4.25 million AAV for next season. That would make him a pricey understudy for Gibson. If the Coyotes move Raanta it would be to shed some cap payroll to make room to re-sign Taylor Hall. They won’t be keen to retain part of his salary. 

The Blues must dump some salary to clear space to re-sign Alex Pietrangelo and Vince Dunn. However, I don’t think they want to move Schwartz. Their leading trade candidate could be goaltender Jake Allen.

Kapanen would be a nice addition to the Ducks. He’s signed through 2021-22 with an affordable $3.2 million annual average value. The Leafs don’t want to part with him but could have little choice if management can’t find another way to shed salary for next season.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers could face a difficult decision with Jesper Fast. The popular winger won the club’s Player’s Player Award as voted by his teammates for a record fifth straight year.

Fast is due to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. Brooks believes the hardworking winger will seek much more than the $1.85 million annually that he’s currently earning. However, it could be difficulty squeezing that raise into the Rangers’ limited salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, the Rangers have over $68 million invested in 16 players for 2020-21. They must also re-sign restricted free agents such as Ryan Strome, Tony DeAngelo, Brendan Lemieux, and Alexandar Georgiev.

Unless they shed significant salary (contract buyout for Henrik Lundqvist, perhaps?), they won’t have enough to keep everyone. Fast could become the odd man out.


  1. Rangers should package their 2022 #1, Tony DeAngelo, Georgiev and Strome to Edmonton for Ryan Nugent Hopkins and Puljujarvi.

    Let Fast walk and bring up Kravtsov.

    • Dumb for Edm … why would Holland even consider that?

    • I think that trade is reasonable, the #1 pick and georgiev make this trade intriguing

    • Is it wise for Edmonton to pick up more draft picks and prospects. There are a lot of goalies available this summer. Is it not time for them to adjust the roster and move out/bring in veteran talent.

    • 2022 number 1? Why not their 2021 number 1?

  2. Brooks tends to overvalue Rangers players. Last week he gave his opinion that Strome could get 5.5m and they’ll have to pay Zibanejad 10m in his next contract. Neither are happening. I don’t see Lemieux getting more than 1-1.5m next year. Fast could get 2.5-3m. Could depend on what they do with Strome, who can also play RW if need be. I’m not a Strome fan. Yes, a lot has been made of how well he played with Panarin, but he looked terrible in their 1st playoff game yesterday. Piling up points during the regular season with Panarin (for a guy that averaged 35 points a year for the rest of his career) doesn’t merit a 5.5 m deal. IMO, Rangers could trade either him or DeAngelo, or both. If not, the only way they keep Fast is if they buyout Lundqvist and somehow get DeAngelo and Strome on cheaper, short term deals.

    • I thought panarin was invisible most of the game also, and they desperately need some defensive dmen the canes did what they wanted in the rangers zone

  3. Strome probably wants 5,5 but I can see the Rangers doing a 2 year deal at lower value since its the first season he has played well and that is with Panarin, 2X4m? I would also try and get a 1-2 year deal with DeAngelo at low cap, since after next season Staal, Smith and Lundqvist comes off the books. I can see Fast getting up to 3,5m since he can play up and down a lineup like few other and he is a good PK and has wheels

    • BBB. Losing Fast on 1st shift didn’t help Panarin. Agree they can use a defensive defenseman, and that’s a reason DeAngelo could get moved while his stock is high.
      Kent: I wouldn’t give Strome 4m.for 2 years. Rangers signed 2more centers out of college. They drafted a kid last year in 2nd round and still have Chytil, Howden, and Anderson. As far as trading for RNH, he’s been playing left wing, and is a ufa after next season when he’ll be 28. Rangers aren’t giving up a 1st and DeAngelo for him. And I doubt Edm wants Strome back after not producing when he was there. If Rangers do trade DeAngelo, it’ll probably be a package for a younger center that’s already established and would be an upgrade over Strome. Names mentioned here that I would trade for but long shot any are available. Eichel, Pointe, Monahan, Barkov, and Larkin. Yes, I know, keep dreaming!!

      • Hey Slick, I hear you. I dream the flames could some how land Point.

      • Flames fan, out of all the names I mentioned, I think Pointe might be best bet. I know everyone will say no way, but….He’s one of only 2 players on that roster ( other than rfa’s) that makes over 2m and lacks a ntc.

  4. A little off topic but I was very surprised how Tkachuk was in the head of Paul Maurice. Usually the players are the emotional ones and the most upset about game issues and the coach is the one calming everyone down and trying to get his team focused.
    With Scheifele going down Maurice was so flustered he admitted he could not even focus on coaching his team, then at the game ending interview he went off on Tkachuk saying it was intentional which is totally bogus.
    I find it odd that a well respected coach like Maurice would let Tkachuk get so deep into his head that he couldn’t even focus on coaching his team.

    • FlamesFan:

      Looked more like a freak accident than a dirty hit.

      • Ronald:
        Yah, I agree there was nothing dirty about it.

        I saw one angle where it looked like Tkachuk’s skate cut the back of scheifele leg. Hopefully it didn’t cut one of his ligaments. That could be a very serious injury that could knock him out for months

      • With you on the freak accident thing

        I just can’t fathom it as intentional

        That speed; and the way his keg twisted…. it just tragically happened

        Hoping injury not serious and that he recovers fully and quickly

    • It was gamesmanship by Maurice., he wasn’t thrown off

      • Maurice knows exactly what he’s saying and doing.
        He’s been around long enough to know what’s what.

        I thought the Flames looked better as the game progressed.

        Lowry vs Lucic would be something to see.

      • Um, no he doesn’t. He knows his team is done and he is as coach as well. He hands the GM his reason to fire him, saying he couldn’t concentrate on coaching afterwards and shows no composure to help his team going forward. GM would probably want to fire him before the next game except that would just add to the desperation. Book it. Maurice if fired the day after Flames eliminate Jets.

      • Yep! He’s trying to get his players to raise their nasty intensity levels & get the ref sympathy for the next game. Typical Maurice. 2nd period Flames dominated the Jets, 3rd period looked like more score effects & Jets were desperate. I have never seen Flames PK play that good in a long long time & 3rd line was hitting everything after Tkachuk lead the charge early. If Flames played the Avs with that intensity last year, that could have been a different series. Perhaps they learned something.

    • I suspect Maurice is trying to galvanize his team around that incident. Also put Tkachuk under the microscope. I do not think it was intentional myself. Perhaps reckless but it happened fast. It is hard to put blame on Tkachuk.

      • Meathead Tkachuk. I hope he won’t finish next game. This dude knows what he’s doing, that’s Marchand 2.0, skilled punk on the ice

  5. Agree. No way that was intentional and Maurice is totally out of line for remarks like that. Much was talked about playing in summer and dealing with bad ice. Very noticeable in all the games yesterday. A lot of bouncing pucks. And on that play, both players struggled with their stops.

  6. Every teams prep is to out muscle the Rangers, it never changes, no one touched Skjei after he knocked Fast out of game, game over.

  7. There is a rumour going around that Tkachuk will be sending Maurice rent cheque’s for taking Up so much space in his head.

    • If the jets go down 2-0 I can see chucky getting dirtied