NHL Rumor Mill – September 19, 2020

by | Sep 19, 2020 | Rumors | 51 comments

A look at TSN’s list of 10 contracts potentially on the move in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, St. Louis Blues center Tyler Bozak, and Edmonton Oilers winger Andreas Athanasiou top Frank Seravalli’s list of 10 contracts potentially on the move in the offseason, based on the financial or salary-cap implications facing each club.

Kessel is owed just $5.95 million in total real dollars through 2021-22. Despite the drop in his production this season, a re-energized Kessel could be helpful to a Cup contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel’s $5-million signing bonus for 2020-21 has already been paid out, which explains why his actual salary will be so low. His full cap hit is $8 million but the Coyotes are only carrying $6.8 million because the Toronto Maple Leafs are picking up $1.2 million in retained salary as the condition for trading him to Pittsburgh in 2015.

That might make Kessel enticing for clubs seeking experienced scoring depth on right wing. However, he has a reputation as a high-maintenance player, which could hurt his trade value almost as much as this season’s sudden decline in his production.

Bozak could be a trade candidate in a retained salary transaction if the Blues decide to shed salary to re-sign defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s list was published before last night’s report indicating contract talks between the Blues and Pietrangelo had broken off. While they still could attempt to move Bozak to give them some additional wiggle room, there won’t be as much urgency to do so if Pietrangelo departs.

Seravalli reports the Oilers are trying to trade Athanasiou before he’s due a $3 million qualifying offer on Oct. 7. However, teams think GM Ken Holland could let him walk, which would hurt Athanasiou’s trade value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples believes Holland is in a bind given he parted with two second-round draft picks to acquire Athanasiou. He’s not worth $3 million, and Staples thinks Holland believes he can find a better winger than Athanasiou at a lower price. If so, he might have to let him walk and try to replace those two draft picks via the trade market.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher and center Brandon Sutter, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist, and Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop fill spots four through seven on Seravalli’s list.

Stecher is a restricted free agent who could become a UFA if the Canucks opt not to qualify his rights. The Canucks would like to keep him but their pipeline of promising blueliners and salary-cap constraints could rule out a long-term commitment. Sutter, meanwhile, could be easier to move than Loui Eriksson if the Canucks are willing to retain a bit of his $4.375-million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could re-sign Stecher if they part ways with pending UFA blueliner Chris Tanev. Given GM Jim Benning’s failed efforts last year to move Eriksson, I agree that Sutter could become a trade candidate. He carries a 15-team no-trade clause, which will hamper those efforts.

Seravalli considers Hornqvist the odd man out for the Penguins as a third-line winger with a $5.3 million AAV, but noted the remaining three years on his contract could be an issue. He feels they might have to retain salary to make that work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. I don’t see many clubs interested in picking up that full cap hit for the next three years. Another sticking point is Hornqvist’s full no-trade clause for 2020-21, though perhaps he might waive it for the right team.

Seravalli wonders where Bishop fits into the Stars’ plans, pointing out he seems to be injured when it matters most. He thinks they could find a taker for Bishop as he’s owed just $8 million in real cash over the remaining three years of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That low actual salary could be enticing, but Bishop’s injury history also screams, “Buyer beware!” He also has a 10-team no-trade list, plus a no-movement clause over the remainder of his contract, meaning he’d have to be protected in next year’s expansion draft unless he agrees to waive it.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson, Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad, and Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky round out Seravalli’s list.

Johnson could be shopped in a cost-cutting deal, though he has a full no-trade clause. Saad could also be a cost-cutting casualty as the Blackhawks need to re-sign Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome plus find a starting goalie. A chronic wrist injury has likely ended Dubinsky’s career but his $5.85-million cap hit for next season could be attractive for clubs looking to use long-term injury reserve to manipulate their salary cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson’s NTC could rule him out as a trade candidate. Most of the speculation surrounding the Lightning suggests it could be Alex Killorn (who has a modified no-trade) who could be on the moves.

Saad has a year remaining on his contract and a 10-team no-trade list. He’d be attractive to rival clubs seeking a top-six winger, but The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus said in a recent mailbag segment he’s not convinced the Blackhawks could trade him. He felt they could find extra cap room by trading or buying out Olli Maatta and Zack Smith.

The Jackets could indeed attempt to move Dubinsky’s contract to a club either looking to use LTIR to go over the cap to add another player or by a budget club looking to reach the cap floor. He’s got a 10-team no-trade list but that shouldn’t be an issue if his playing days are over.


  1. The problem trying to move all these anchor contracts is it takes two to tango. Trading almost any of the players mentioned is going to require retaining salary or adding extras via picks or prospects.

    Who is going to want to pay for a Sutter, Ericksson, Kessel or a Saad without added incentive to do so?

    There are far more horrid contracts to move than teams able to take them on.

    Its a buyers market. Teams like Ottawa or Detroit with plenty of cap space should collect a kings ransom if they decide to take one of the mentioned players in any deal.

    I think a lot of free agents are in for a rude suprise as well. Does anyone see a team giving Taylor Hall nine million? Eight? Seven?

    • Spot on Ron. Hall is going to be so interesting. I do not think anyone will through big bucks at an oft injured winger soon entering his thirties. Before last season he probably could have signed with the Devils for $10+ million. Devils dodged a bullet there and got some nice assets. I think Hall will be lucky to get between 8-9 million. And that story goes for all the free agents not named Pietrangelo. Best offseason ahead since Hall and Subban trades.

      • throw, not through. uggghhh!

      • Somebody is going to make a big mistake if they sign Taylor Hall to a $8-9M contract for 7 years. He’s shown to be a 50-60 point player on average except for one good year.
        He’s been injured quite a bit and is getting older.

      • The gamble on Hall is the injury history. People keep saying “except for one good year”, and proceed to average out his points while including the seasons he’s missed considerable time due to injuries. His points per game has been a consistent 0.898 for his career. That makes him over 70 points a season if he can ever stay healthy. That’s the big if. There’s no doubt he’s an elite player when on the ice.

      • The reality of Hall is that he IS always injured. You can’t throw out the hypothetical and what ifs for him being healthy.

        Nor can you stack his stats calling him a 70 point player…. he’s a 56 point player. Just twice in his career has he surpassed 65 points and 6 times in his career he’s come in under 50. And three consecutive under 40.

        You can’t ignore reality and his history. If we could add hypotheticals to stats, everyone would be McDavid….

      • 2010 draft
        Mark Stone: 449 games played- 385 pts. Signed last year for 9.5mAAV
        Jeff Skinner: 720 GP- 465 pts signed last year 9m AAV
        T Hall 627 games 563 pts. Signs this year for ????
        Stone played 5 seasons before signing and averaged 62 pts per season. During those same 5 seasons, Hall averaged 56 pts including year he hurt knee and only played 33 games. Hall also had an 80 point season the year before Stone even made it to nhl.

      • NY4. Lmao. Hall has had 3 seasons under 50 points. One was his rookie year when he was 18./19. Other 2 where his 2 injury shortened seasons. (The only 2 years he was under 40 points) you’re looking at his numbers for past season as being 2 seasons. But, they’re actually same season split between 2 teams. 25 points with Devils/27 with Coyotes. 52 points for season.

    • No doubt he gets 7 from someone. Or more.

      • Chrisms,

        Youre most likely right on that.

        “theres a sucker born every minute” – P.T. Barnum

    • HALL – BOZAK

      I am going to play devils advocate on Hall ..no pun intended …lol

      He will sign his deal ..its a proven history of the league and the GMs and to a lesser extent the owners…. they ALWAYS overpay when they want what they want …..lets not kid ourselves here
      so he will get his money and term !
      The team vying for him just needs to make a deal to clear the space with one of their top players that don’t fit in long term anymore, if anything this present cash flow scenario is the best scenario for the teams that were always at the top of the list and had serious intentions to sign him as now all the fringe ankle biters will fall off and look elsewhere …the team that wanted him most at years end last year will get Hall and pay him…


      I feel Bozak is an under the radar pick up for a real contending team …he is very high quality on the face off still…and teams that want to improve CORSI on starting with the puck especially in the D zone will love this guys stats for one more year ..while taking a serious run..he would be a good Swiss army knife responsible depth Center and can play both power play in Offensive zone face offs and penalty kill for d zone face offs..good pick up IMO …a team that is a bubble playoff team could be a playoff team by improving this stat with puck starts !


      I think that the Pens should keep this guy into next year and see how it goes in the first half of the season …I have faith in Horny that he picks up his game next year ..he is not a fringe player and gives you everything hes got …however if not he is more a in season trade next year ..IMO ..I still think he has great value to the Pens with Grit and scoring touch that they will need especially come the later part of a season if healthy.

      However if the pens go after a UFA player like a Hoffman ..Id then move out Hornqvist and replace him with Hoffman ..instead ..as that would be a upgrade ..if this is their direction ..don’t know ..speculation…to have both Kappinen and Hoffman on the wings in a 1 – 2 scenario with Syd and Gino ..would be a great 2 lines ..and at that point Id move Hornqvist !

      Have a good day

      • Jets should try and move wheeler now while his value is high…captain or no captain the jets need what he could return now

      • Re BOZAK

        He would be a good pick up for a team needing face off help but he’s not good defensively or at least he wasn’t in TOR. He’s too expensive for a 3C. How much would STL have to retain to facilitate a trade?

        Is STL capable of signing Pietrangelo and Dunn if they trade one of their older players (Steen, Bozak) and put Tarasenko on LTIR?
        Would a team like OTT take Bozak or Steen and a 1st round pick to take their salary similar to what TOR did with Marleau?

      • I also think Hall will get his money. I get the stance people have regarding covid , revenue and the cap. But what I believe will likely happen is teams will go the maple leaf route and pay for heir top 6 guys the majority percentage of their caps and the bottom guys will scrape up the rest.

        If a team views Hall as a solid price they only need to fear that another team may want him as well.

        A GM will feel pressure if he holds back refusing to sign players due to their contract demands. He will feel that he needs to take a chance to improve his team and that another GM may before he does. Pressuring him to move closer to the players demands.

      • you are out to lunch on blozak—has worst plus minus in 100 years in Toronto–actual stat–pure garbage

    • Could agree more Ron,
      The only plus for Ericsson is he’s only owed 5 mil over the next 2 years, maybe Detroit if you add a sweeter like Virtanen might have to even add a pick

      • I think Boeser would be a better sweetener, but Virtanen is intriguing…as long as Van takes Abdelkader in return!

      • Dyral, Bozak was the top 3 defensive forward in the NHL during their cup run.

    • Erickson is only owed 5 million over the next two years. His bonus already paid. 1 million this up coming season and 4 million the next. 2.5 million /year for two years is pretty acceptable to me for Loui. Perhaps a team like my sens could take him on and grab another prospect , veteran to help the youth in Ottawa and/or. Draft picks. Heck maybe peddle picks in an attempt to move up in the draft.

  2. When will all managers get on the same page and stop handing out NTC’s like candy? Bad for the game …

    • Ed,

      I agree. A NMC should be given by a GM for only true cornerstone franchise building blocks like a McDavid, MacKinnon, Matthews or Crosby in his prime. Handing them out to everyone who wants one handcuffs a GM or worse, the person hired to clean up the mess. Minnesota is one team that comes to mind. Suter and Parise have already surpassed their shelf life but are virtually untradeable due to age, salary, lack of production and NMCs.

      • Most players don’t get to sign those deals until their late 20’s, so it’s kind of inevitable. And by then they have young families. I don’t see a problem with guys not wanting to bounce around every year. Also, look at Tampa. No state tax allows them to pay players less. That’s why most of their players have ntc protection. Not every team hands out full ntc’s to everybody.

      • It’s a method for clubs like mini to compete against richer clubs or clubs in more attractive markets. The same with signing bonuses. Though I want the bonus heaven contract gone more.

  3. With the announcement yesterday that Bill Guerin is not bringing Miko Koivu back; I have to wonder will Marc Bergevin pursue that player? A centre with size albeit on the downside of his career but can easily slot upwards much like Danault if Suzuki or Kotkaniemi struggle. Habs have a long history of brothers playing for their club and it would be cool to see the name Koivu in the lineup again. Would Miko accept a 4th line role on a club that’s moving upwards? Would this move allow a solid return if Domi is traded and get another quality winger or defenceman to make their compete level that much stronger.

    • Andy, thanks , but no, thanks ! Jake Evans will do the job on the 4th, or may be Poehling. The only way I could picture Koivu with us, is if Danault made it clear he won’t sign, and was traded. Whiche would be unwise, IMHO

      • If Danault made it clear he won’t re-sign they will keep Domi and trade Danault.

        There is no scenario that sees Koivu coming to Montreal.

  4. Two players on that list I wouldn’t mind seeing in a Bruins uni; Saad and AA, would give the Bruins the needed size and grit up front and addiding the much needed depth.

    If AA can’t make the top 6, he be a good addition to the bottom six, as long as the price is right.

    Saad one year remaining could be good timing, show me contract and Bruins with a closing window.

  5. I hope AP goes to Toronto at a fair price. He has the right to act in his self interest, so he probably will not. I think he ends up in Vegas. I thought there D while big looked bad in the play offs.

    It would be interesting to read these 10 team no trade lists. I suspect all Canadian teams are on such a list Canadians keep watching and supporting the NHL no matter the NHL, individual players and the NHLPA do in terms of making it is easier and desirable to move south.

    They do not want to live in the fish bowl. They don’t want to pay the higher taxes. Who can blame them.

    But Canadians let themselves be the Golden Goose. We see ads on TV for Canadians playing on American teams while Canadian players on Canadian teams don’t get the ads because of our regional tribalism. Nobody in Calgary wants to see an Oiler promoting a product to them nor a Montreal player promoting things in Toronto.Etc etc…..

    Two Canadian icons are Tim Horton’s and Sportscheck ( owned by Canadian Tire). Next time you are in one of those stores or see their ads. Observe who they have selected to be their spokesmen.

    • OBD,

      I dont think neither of the Maple Leafs or Vegas have the cap room to sign Pieterangelo without moving out large chunks of money.

      • Easy cap room for AP per my post in news section.

        Hey Pengy the pens should offer Kappy and a first to Ariz for Kessel with 1.2M retained. It worked the first time!

      • It would be absolute folly for the Leafs to sign Pieterangelo. 4 players would take up 50% of their cap space, and I am not including Nylander in this, nor the 10 million that Muzzing and Reilly get paid.

        How, folks, does that make any sense at all?

      • read my post in news section. Easily done . It just takes non linear thinking.

      • I read your post in the news section, Wendel. I thought it was satire, but you persist.

        It doesn’t change the amount of money needed for Pieterangelo, (let’s put him down for 7.5 million): This would come out to 56.5 million +/- for 4 forwards and three D.

        All your suggestion does is trade two decent forwards for one (very good) D. This results in a weakened spotty bottom 6 forward group and leaves the Leafs with a weak 4 through 6 D.

        But hey, I don’t like the Leafs so I hope Dubas snaps up your idea.

      • NJ would be smart to give Subban away to TML for Andreas Johansson evening holding 25%

        Trade a 1st and 2nd to STL for Tarasenko if he would waive

        then go sign Alex Petriengelo to the 8 x 8 he wants.

        Instant turnaround for NJ

    • The nhl and nhlpa has no control over how a jurisdiction taxes its citizens and the fish bowl. I don’t quite understand how you conclude they have blame in this.

    • You must of missed igonla and scotia bank. Crosby and MacKinnon and tim hortons.

      • Jeff that is exactly my point Crosby and Mackinnon play for American teams while getting advertising revenue from Canadian TV ads….I am not sure about the timing of the BOM ads and if they coincided with him playing for Calgary or if they started after he left for Boston….and in either case I do not think it is universal….just common….like Burns playing for the Sharks on TV with chocolate bars every game…

        As to the NHL having no jurisdiction over taxes….that is true…..but they do have jurisdiction over the collective agreement…..I am not saying they will or want to …but they could adjust the Cap limit for local taxes and they could put a surcharge against the Cap if a team allows only Canadian teams on a no trade list….

        Again not saying they will do these things…..but they could….but of those parties do not care to even the playing field. The league as it needs for media reasons American success and the players as individual freedom is in their interests…

  6. I’m curious…Why can’t Phil Kessel get any respect?

    He’s a 6 time 30G scorer. He’s won 2 Stanley Cups and was instrumental in winning the first one.

    He was in the conversation to win the Conn Smythe that year…let’s face it…the opinions of Kessel swayed the decision not his play. He should have won it.

    He was just shy of a point per game in the playoffs the two years PIT won the Cup. He’s scored 81 points in 96 playoff games so he shows up when it matters.

    A team like MTL could do worse than offering PHX a 2nd round pick for Kessel with some salary retained.

    Who would you rather have Hall at $8M for 7 years or Kessel at $6M for 2 years? One of these guys is hurt all the time…

    • Montreal would be a good spot for Kessel. He’s still a good player and he can contribute in the playoffs, not just during the season.

    • Not sure Kessel would fit the Habs work ethic criteria or their desire for 2 way play. They sure could use a 30 goal scorer though.

      • MTL has a work ethic criteria? Ever watch Drouin play? Imagine how good Sergachev would look in MTL?

        The Habs biggest anchor is the fact that they want to cater to the French Canadian population. Would the MTL fan base prefer a winner or a team with French speaking players/coaches that can’t win?

        If MTL could get Kessel he would be their 1st line RW. He’s still faster than most, has a great wrist shot and is an underrated playmaker. If I’m Marc Bergevin I’m calling Bill Armstrong in PHX and seeing what they’re willing to do with Kessel. MTL has three 2nd round picks this year. Offer the lowest 2nd round pick for Kessel with $1M retained. If Kessel has a good left shot C feeding him the puck he’s almost a lock for 30G. He was a 30G player in TOR in his sleep

      • Daryl, you are cruelly correct that trading Drouin for Sergachev is shaping up to be a major bust for the Habs.

        But why would the Habs want to trade one player with a S*&% work ethic for another, and who is older. Kessel is a notoriously one dimensional player and a high maintenance diva. Yes he can score but the only way he sees both ends of the ice is because teams change at the end of each period.

        I’ll keep Drouin at at 25 and cross my fingers.

    • Daryl Look at those 24 cups. Mtl *never* won without having a team filled with local boys. We are still waiting for that to happen…

  7. Tarasenko is out 5 months . February at the earliest. Definitely LTIR. They will keep Bozak until then.

    Big mistake Holland for 2 seconds . Save face sign AA and move someone or buyout someone else.

    • NJ should come calling about Tarasenko if STL will listen.

      They have the space. STL may do it if they want to reap Schwartz and others.

      To NJ: Vancouver 1st rd 2020, Islander 2nd rd 2021 & Zacha or Woods

      • Kessel to Montréal I think not there are a lot of opportunities to be had in the trade market. It’s obvious Domi or Danault and Kulak or Mete or Chariot a couple drafr picks are being moved for offensive help. Kessel would be the last option if all other option are exhausted

  8. NY should see what Strome is worth out there.

    To VAN: ADA
    To NYR: Sutter & Stecher

    NYR trades off Strome for hopefully a 1st or at least some good picks.

    Move Chytil to 2C with Kakko on the right side and Bread on the Left.

    Move Howden to 3C bc he clearly is not a shutdown 4C. Howden centers Lafreniere and Gauthier

    Sutter becomes 4C (for 1 yr) to center Lemieux and then NYR can re-up Fast for 1 yr.

    Leaves long term room for Zib and all the ELCs. Also Stecher can sign a 2 yr deal and be moved in expansion draft with the depth the Rangers have.

    • IHC. So you’re basically giving away DeAngelo for a year of Strecher and Sutter?

      • oh sorry LOL….. thought i typed in Virtanen or multiple picks

        LOL thanks

        I am shot….long 3 weeks of no days off ….

  9. i would like to say I heard NHL network said the reason why no Canadian team as won the cup is because of team mismanagement which I disagree Its because of the taxes and Canadian players would rather go to USA team for less taxes and endorsements so its harder to get free agents and patial NTC is usually Canadian teams. They need a tax based salary cap that would help keep Canadian teams more competitive. Toronto has overpayed there star players but that’s an example they have to overpay to keep them in Toronto. you watch Matthews will bolt after his term is up. Just venting what is wrong with no Canadian teams winning the cup.

  10. If pietrangelo signs back in st Louis they need to clear money to sign him Blues trade Parayko to Leafs for 1st round pick and Lilligren and Dermott