NHL Rumor Mill – August 21, 2020

by | Aug 21, 2020 | Rumors | 61 comments

What next for the Flames, Capitals and Blue Jackets now that their postseason is over? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski wondered about the future of Johnny Gaudreau following yet another disappointing early playoff exit by the Calgary Flames. The 27-year-old winger’s been the subject of trade speculation throughout this season as he put up his lowest offensive output since his rookie season.

Could the Calgary Flames shop Johnny Gaudreau in the offseason? (NHL Images)

It’s been speculated Gaudreau, a New Jersey native, could be peddled to an East Coast team. There’s also a theory the Flames could trade away “Johnny Hockey” to make room for Arizona Coyotes winger (and Calgary native) Taylor Hall.

With notable coaches such as Bruce Boudreau, Peter Laviolette, and Mike Babcock available, Wyshynski pondered the future of Flames interim bench boss Geoff Ward. He also wondered which of their notable UFAs (goalie Cam Talbot, blueliners T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic) will be back.

CALGARY SUN: Kristen Anderson and Wes Gilbertson wondered if changes could be coming to the Flames’ core forwards like Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, and Sam Bennett. Gilbertson also mused over whether it’s time for general manager Brad Treliving to test Gaudreau’s trade value or make a change at center by trading Sean Monahan or dropping him to the second line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think a shakeup is coming and it could be Gaudreau on the move. A year ago, I considered that unthinkable. Not now. He seemed off-kilter until midseason and wasn’t much of a force in this postseason. As Gilbertson pointed out, he didn’t have an even-strength goal during the series with the Stars.

Despite Gaudreau’s struggles this season, he’s the Flames’ best trade chip. They aren’t moving Monahan because first-line centers are difficult to find. Spark plug Matthew Tkachuk isn’t going anywhere. I expect they’ll hang onto Bennett. He’s a versatile checking-line forward who elevates his play in the postseason. Backlund could be shopped but won’t fetch as strong a return as Gaudreau.

Dump Gaudreau to sign Hall? Stranger things have happened but Hall did little to raise his UFA stock this season. Maybe he’d regain his 2018 Hart Trophy form in Calgary but he would be an expensive gamble.


ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan examined some possible off-season moves by the Washington Capitals. It appears long-time starting goaltender and pending UFA Braden Holtby has played his final game for the Caps. Their blueline could use some help but they have limited salary-cap space. Kaplan also wondered about the fate of head coach Todd Reirden.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Barry Svrluga wondered if the Capitals’ early playoff departure suggests a team in decline or perhaps the interruption of the season by COVID-19 skewed the results. He points out most of their core players are now in their thirties, took note of Holtby’s expected departure and wondered about Reirden’s fate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Replacing the coach is easier than replacing the roster, and there’s some justification for a change behind the Capitals bench after Reirden got schooled in the Isles series by former Washington coach Barry Trotz. The Caps remain a talented team but most of their stars don’t have many good years left. 

Holtby’s departure is a foregone conclusion. His performance declined over the last couple of years. Ilya Samsonov had a promising debut season and will be their starter for the foreseeable future.

Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have over $71.1 million invested in 16 players. There’s a chance they’ll re-sign Brenden Dillon but he could cost over $4 million annually. RFA Jonas Siegenthaler will get an affordable bridge deal coming off his entry-level deal. That won’t leave much to bolster their blueline depth.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Aaron Portzline reports of rumors Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen could be preparing for some big off-season moves to bolster his forward lines.

Portzline believes their priority should be adding a top-six center. He feels the Jackets’ GM could draw from his blue-line depth for trade bait, suggesting David Savard as a candidate. RFA winger Josh Anderson could be another. With Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins as bonafide starters, the Jackets could get calls from clubs seeking help in goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen showed a willingness to make significant moves leading up to the 2019 trade deadline. With his club in dire need of scoring punch, I expect he’ll swing a trade or two to address that need. Several clubs with limited salary-cap space could be looking to shed a high-salaried talent for a more affordable option.

As per Cap Friendly, the Jackets have over $76 million invested in 23 players, with center Pierre-Luc Dubois due for a raise coming off his entry-level contract. He lacks arbitration rights so Kekalainen could ink him to an affordable short-term bridge deal with the promise of a more lucrative contract afterward.

If Kekalainen seeks impact forwards, he’ll have to move salaried players too. He could get $5.85-million in cap flexibility if sidelined forward Brandon Dubinsky starts the season on long-term injury reserve.


  1. Johnny Vanish is the classic example of the little guy who simply can’t flit about in the vastly different game known as playoff hockey the same way he does in more wide open October to mid-December hockey or on nights in other parts of the regular season where a weary opposition is mailing in the 2 points.

    He’s just not in the same gritty class of other small players like Marchand or Konecny.

    • Johnny plays pond hockey. Which is great for the regular season but not so much come playoff time.
      The Charmin Soft Ice Capades approach just wont cut it when the games that matter start.

      Right Toronto?

      • @ George! Well Andersson played well & Hanafin played way better with Andersson than he did with Hamonic. He just has to find his identity, offensive D or a defensive D. He’s 22 yet so lots of time for Hanifin. Gio needs less responsibility & ice time. Valamaki could of played but if he did he would have had to be protected in the expansion draft. This kid is a stud & expect him to come back in a big way. This Mackay kid they signed came to the camp & raised some eyebrows. Kyllington should have seen some action as I think he would have been more effective than Forbort. Gus, maybe we re-sign but the price will have to be right. Not such a glaring hole at D as you may think.

        As for net, if Talbot doesnt get greedy & want a ridiculous term at age 33, I can see the Flames reupping him otherwise we have Riitch for another year & he’s young enough to see what he brings or we walk away. There’s a kid by the name of Dustin Wolf that looks like a stud & is about 2-3 years away.
        Monahan is a perennial 30 goal scorer. GM’s pay the price for guys like him. If he had a nasty streak in him he would be the most valuable player on the team. It would have to be a pretty nice offer to pry him out of Calgary. The culture change will be probably trading Gaudreau & I think Gio should hand over the C to Tkachuk.

    • Agree, if its a penalty in November it should be a penalty in the playoffs as well.

      Call everything or call nothing just be consistent.

    • Agree a penalty is a penalty regardless of time of season or time of the game.

      Nhl playoff hockey is much different then the regular season in which the style of game is played.

      Teams play more physical and more structured in the playoffs. There is more attention to details. The heavy teams will not miss an opportunity to make a hit. One line teams will have a tough time as teams will play a defensive mindset on that line and try to eliminate that line.

      It not just the calls that change but so does the style of game.

    • Hey George,

      Yes, I am hoping Treliving trades Johnny this off season.

      He has had 4 playoffs to show people he can elevate his game, and in all 4 playoff seasons he has failed or even lowered his play.

      I am sure the Flames could get a good return for him. He is on a reasonable contract for two more years and I always point to NJ only because Johnny would flourish there and he would be a big hit with the fan base, plus I think he would resign there as it is very close to home for him.
      I know people always say Philly but I think he would be very happy in NJ.

      NJ have the draft picks this year to get a deal done.

      • It’s strep when a post starts out ripping a player’s performance then says trade him for a good return. You’d be selling Johnny at his lowest right now in a market where buyers are at a premium. Don’t expect a solid return for mr hockey.

      • Fair point Chrisms, I am in the trade him camp accepting that you won’t get equal offensive production back.
        If you either don’t plan on resigning him long term, or don’t think he will sign with you long term, I’m not sure the return will be any better next season as the cap won’t be going up after next season either IMO.
        If nothing is out there that makes any sense, sure wait I suppose, but I’m definitely working the phones.
        Trading a guy like him is almost always a loss on paper, but might make you a better team long term.

      • @ Chisms Pretty simple, Johnny is point per game forward & teams covet that. If you need a player like that you pay the price. Otherwise, Flames keep him for the next 2 years & trade him as a rental for a late 1st & prospect. More of a market for Johnny than many on these threads think.

      • Sorry kev. It’s not that simple. Flat cap has created a hard buyers market. You hope they trade that in a year. If he doesn’t sink his value lower. And the cap will probably stay same It’s pretty simple champ.

      • I agree with Chrisms. Hard to find a 80 pt player for $6.75 these days. I think he has value and would thrive in a team where he is the 3rd or 4th weapon playing with a legit 1C. He also will only make $10 over the next two seasons as his $3.5 mill bonus will be paid by Calgary. There’s going to be more interest than people think.

    • George, I feel that’s an unfair assumption. Knowing he’s small seems to make him an easy target. In 10 playoff games, he had 4 goals and 3 helpers. Guessing if he was a few inches taller he’d have Gretzky numbers? Playoffs are a different animal in that competition is better. It’s not that teams are mailing in the 2 points, it’s just that you’re not playing crappy teams. In fact, for his career, I think Goudreau’s playoff history has been against teams that were better than Calgary in standings except for 2 series. Too easy to just label players like that. 19 points in 30 career playoff games. I wouldn’t call that disappearing. Would add he’s only missed 17 games in his 6 year career. Pretty durable for a smaller player. Wheres Tcachuk?

    • Ray, every team could use a guy whose biggest contribution is getting you TO the playoffs … the trick is to surround him with just the right combination of players, some of them the type who will take care of anyone who tries to take liberties with him on the ice without hurting the team in other aspects – in other words, not simply a goon. NOT an easy task.

      Is that worth $6,750,000 a year?? Apparently, if all the chatter we hear about dealing him is accurate, Calgary doesn’t think so – or doesn’t believe they can juggle the roster enough to surround him with the right type of players without a complete overhaul.

      What could they get for him? The more you look at their cap situation ($16,910,834 to sign 10) the more it looks like Gaudreau could be one of those I frequently mention as a pure cap-clearing deal for picks/prospects which won’t impact their cap for a couple of seasons anyway.

      They only have 3 RFAs to sign – Jankiowski, Mangiapane (who both have arbitration rights) and Kylington – who collectively accounted for $3,120,833 off the cap this season. When settled that should be closer to $4.5 which would leave them $12,410,834 to sign 7.

      Now here’s where it gets dicey since they also have 8 UFAs to either re-sign or say bye bye – Reider, Rinaldo, Brodie, Hamonic, Forbort, Gustafsson, Stone and Talbot.

      Reider, Rinaldo and Stone are likely gone for sure, but if they don’t move to keep Brodie, Hamonic, Forbort and Gustafsson – all D – and Talbot, what do they do to replace them?

      Collectively, they cost $14,351,293 off the cap this year so, after dealing with the RFAs they won’t have enough to retain probably three of them. And don’t forget, they’ve just given up a 2021 4th round (conditional) pick to L.A. for Forbort, and a 2020 3rd round pick to Chicago for Gustafsson.

      Dealing Gaudreau, and freeing up his $6,750,000 would go a long way to keeping most – IF that’s the way they want to go. Otherwise, they’d need to find a bunch of cheaper replacements – either from within, trades or off a limited UFA heap. Is that not then a mini-rebuild?

    • The games are being called quite different than they were in the qualifying round. When they do make a call it makes you wonder why they let the same play go all game. I don’t like to watch a penalty filled game without flow but at the same time watching some of the stuff Johnny G was playing through just didn’t seem right.

    • Mats Naslund syndrome

    • Patrick Kane says hi.

    • George O. I agree with most of your ideas with a couple of exceptions:
      1. They will not be tagging Janikowski. That would put his salary in the 1.7 mill range and I think they walk from a player who has looked disinterested this year. They likely spend that money on resigning Reider, Mangiapane and Kylington.

      2. Barring a trade, I think they resign Brodie, then allow Yelesin and Vailmaki make up their third pairing on the cheap next year. It shelters them a bit and let’s them ease into the NHL while still allowing Valimaki some PP and PK time to round out his skill sets. It also frees up the Gustafson/Forbert salaries and let’s them use that money to resign Brodie. Or maybe Anderson moves to the top line and Valimaki tries his hand with Hanifin. There are options even if we don’t keep Brodie (perhaps we keep Forbert for the third pairing in this scenario).

      3. Side note, I think management should ask Tre to put the phone down until day 2 of free agency. He doesn’t have a great track record (Neal, Brouwer, etc.).

  2. Konecny has done exactly what in his playoff career. 1 point last time in the post season and 1 point this year.
    Not even close to the same class as Gaudreau . Who at 6m is a superstar ? The other point is he is making it to the post season. A lot of players and teams can’t say that. I would rather vanish in April than February March. Having a yap doesn’t make you tough. Ask Gallagher

    • OK, so Konecny isn’t lighting it up in the playoffs – he’s not alone there on the Flyers – but it isn’t from a lack of fiestiness and some nastiness – more a question of a wall known as Price. Perhaps, if Gaudreau had a little snarl, like Marchand, the opposition wouldn’t be taking so many liberties with him and force him to do everything from the perimeter once playoff hockey rolls around.

      Hey, I’m not the one suggesting they get rid of him – that’s been a topic brought up the past couple of seasons by reporters who follow the team closely. Just Google “should Johnny Gaudreau be traded?”

      • George , you have to realize that a lot of the garbage opinions on the Flames are posted by Oilers trolls. And of course vice versa.

    • A shame theres no room for Johnny on the Superstar Line in Toronto…

      Johnny for Marner…..lol

  3. CBJ will be active this offseason. Portzline also mentioned in the article that there was buzz that Jarmo had set the foundation for multiple trades at the deadline. Reputable sources then mentioned they were in deep conversations w CAL, COL, BUF, & TOR….interesting possibilities there. My hope is they will be able to use trade assets to acquire a center (I respect Lyle’s view that he’s not available but could Monahan be a target?) and possibly land scoring W (Hoffman) as a UFA. CBJ have a surplus of strong D, select F (Anderson, maybe Wennberg if team’s believe a change of scenery bounce back is possible for him), and G (It may surprise people after these playoffs but Korpisalo may be available in the right deal. Exciting times may lie ahead in the flat cap era.

    • Anderson is a gamble. Yes, he had shoulder surgery this year but who is the real Josh: the one who had one goal this year, or the one who had 27 the year before? I wonder, who did he play with last year?

      Whatever the answer, buyer beware.

      • LJ…It is a great question. I can say I have watched Anderson consistently since he was drafted in 2012. He has steadily improved and was developing into a force in 2019 season and playoffs. He was a true difference maker in the TB sweep series. That Anderson is a unique power F. He tried to play through injuries in his contract year and it sabotaged this season. He was not consistently injured prior to 19-20 and the surgery was successful. He is a risk but one many GMs will take given he is still an RFA w/ that upside

  4. kapinen and dermott for savard and anderson.

    • I don’t believe that would be sufficient value for CBJ. There may be interest in Kapanen but it’s doubtful that both assets you mentioned would be included in that deal. Nylander? Maybe. I think TOR-CBJ are difficult to predict due to the values of the available assets not quite aligning w/ Nylander too valuable & Kapanen not quite vauable enough for CBJ’s available assets…we’ll see.

      • Really? Why not? Anderson missed quite a bit of time this season due to injuries. That lowers his value. He’s scored 115 pts in his career. Kapanen has scored 90 pts. Their pts/gm are nearly identical. Savard is a good D man. He’s 29 years old. Dermott is a young developing D man that should have a low cap hit on his next contract.

        It’s a decent trade for both teams.

    • A steal for Toronto … Jarkko says nyet …

    • Horrible trade for Toronto. No chance Dubas is that dumb.

  5. So, Gallagher bites Niskanens stick and Niskanen gets suspended?!?

    Fake heart attack, fake broken jaw…..

    the Canadiens will do aaaanything to win…



    • Daryl simply saying if CBJ move both Anderson and Savard in a single deal the centerpiece is unlikely to be Kapanen and less likely to involve any D man as part of the return given the surplus of D they currently have on 1 way contracts and/or waivers eligible. We likely have different perspectives on the value of the players involved which is always understandable.

    • You sir are a jackass. As far as Johnny Hockey goes, look for BUF to make a positive pitch for him. If MIN wants a 1c, they’re simply going to have to try and draft and develop one.

  6. Johnny Hockey should scare any potential suitors. He only has 2 years left under contract, and has consistently mentioned his love for Philly (good for them). Do you want to give a haul for a 2 year rental that does not help in the playoffs? Hard pass.

    • Kevin…well said. That is my concern for CBJ exploring a trade. While he fits a dire need for skilled LW it could be a Panarin situation all over again where he won’t discuss extending, becomes a year long distraction during his final contract year, and bolts for his ‘dream destination” Considerable risk if you are not in your “go for it cup window” in the next 2 years

    • The Flyers say hard pass.

      • Really, that interests me. Why not? I believe the Flyers have some aging vets rotating out around the same time, seems like a fit.

      • Agreed Ronald. If PHI wants Gaudreau they can wait to sign him as a UFA. No need for them to give up assets if the buzz about his preferred location is accurate.

      • Yes DeaconFrost that was what I was envsioning, perhaps my post could be read otherwise. I am just saying I see Johnny in a Flyers uniform in 2 years.

      • Wasn’t Philly the “desired location” for Bobby Ryan as well when he was leaving Anaheim? Instead he went to Ottawa and once there, re-signed. Now, if Philly wants him now ….

  7. It’s hard to win and play in playoffs unless your playing Washington can’t believe most players showed little interest. I think there is room in playoffs for smaller players but their line mates must make room for them. Johnny hockey is a skilled player not sure Calgary has their lines set up to succeed. Calgary missed Tkachuk and Travis refusing to play didn’t help. Marchand and Gallagher are not your average small players they do yap a lot but are not scared to mix it up a bit. Both are better off on the ice than in penalty box or suspended or hurt. Can’t see Gallagher resigning in Montreal I think a few teams would love his services.

    • True that Obe, exactly the type of top 6 winger the Oil could use.

      • Ray what do ya think.. Marchand on LW and Gallagher on the RW, that be an interesting line, top it off bring in Kadri to play C. Would there be a more disliked line in the NHL.

        Maybe this says more about me but i would like that line on my team. Not so much on other teams.

      • Actually, luv the idea Caper.
        Krecji only has a year left on his deal after this one. Timing is about right too.

      • Hoo boy … that would be a classic line that would irritate the crap out of every opponent!

    • They could use him but they aren’t going to get him. Can we interest Edmonton in Byron?

    • My son played against Gallagher in pee wee in Sherwood park he was best player on the ice and half the size of most. Was body contact but couldn’t hit what couldn’t catch they moved out west his dad was a scout or Giants and they picked him with last pick ended up leading them in scoring and playing for team Canada the kid has more heart and grit than most teams combined I would take him as a Bruin any day.

    • Gally to the B’s.

  8. I do think teams looking for retooling could be good trade partners this year. For CBJ, CAL, FLA (depending on the GM hire) BUF, MTL, ANA. Teams disproportionately impacted by the flat cap or an internal cap TB, TOR, VGK, VAN all could be active as well. Makes for an intriguing off season.

  9. I think Gaudreau would also like NJD. Lots of choices and scenarios there for a deal. Can’t wait until the draft . I would be shocked if not multiple deals made.

    • Hello SilverSeven, agreed the NJD would like to have Johnny on their team, but they cannot go through a Hall drama scenario again, it cost Shero dearly and Fitz is a pretty smart guy not to repeat an error. I believe the Devils will be very active this offseason, they have the cap room, draft capital and a desire to keep pace with NYR.

  10. Treliving has a lot of work to do in the off season.
    First of all he has to make a decision on who will coach the team. Will he stick with Ward or will he go after some of the high profile coaches out there.

    Then he has to make some roster changes.
    Personally I think Gaudreau has to go. He is an excellent regular season player that will bring people out of their seats. A great draw for a market like NJ and there is no question he will help a team get into the playoffs and put people in the stands. Unfortunately he does not drive play or elevate his game when the playoffs start.

    I don’t think the Flames have to start an overhaul but I do feel very strong that they have to trade Johnny.

    I saw improvement in Monahan during these playoffs, he played a tougher more physical game which I think if he had a bigger more physical winger he would flourish.

    Goaltending always get the spotlight in the playoffs. Talbot was great EXCEPT for last night. Unfortunately goaltenders have bad games, but moving forward I think they should keep Talbot and Rittich.

    Defense is ok, Treliving has some decisions to make on Brody and Hamonic.
    I hope he signs them both and let Forbert and Gustafson walk.

  11. Sorry, Wendel, I agree with Ed. Would love to have both those guys though.

  12. @ Chisms Pretty simple, Johnny is point per game forward & teams covet that. If you need a player like that you pay the price. Otherwise, Flames keep him for the next 2 years & trade him as a rental for a late 1st & prospect. More of a market for Johnny than many on these threads think.

    • Kevin, I agree with your assessment of Johnnny’s value.
      Even a team like Florida he would be a valued player because he is exciting to watch in the regular season and would draw fans to the building which Florida needs desperately.

      Not sure what Calgary would get in return
      But I bet if Calgary held some salary that would be a big motivator for the Florida ownership to make a deal

  13. Johnny is the same type of player as Marner for 4 million less per year. When refs don’t call slashing to the face of Gaudreau and then make a critical call on Lucic for dive assisted slash in front of the Dallas net you know what you are up against. Johnny was more noticeable last game and seldom gets mentioned for his defensive play. I wonder if a lot of the eastern posters actually stay up to watch the western teams

    • Patrick Kane says hi.

      • Hi Patrick

  14. Tuukka Rask and Jake Debrusk to Calgary for Johnny hockey and David Rittich money works change for players works Calgary gets young forward to go along with Tkachuk and Boston gets win now player just a thought.

    • Sorry for the double post. I didn’t think it went thru the 1st time. I was just trying to express Pat Kane is a prime example of a smaller non physical skilled forward who has excelled in both the regular and post season

  15. Vancouver with Pettersson and Hugh’s both due huge raises the same year I could see Hugh’s being targeted don’t make them like that very often wow what a player. If I’m. An outer I focus on him first than Elias.

  16. Vancouver is absolutely pumping them past one and done, Binnington.