NHL Rumor Mill – September 5, 2020

by | Sep 5, 2020 | Rumors | 57 comments

Looking ahead at the offseason for the Avalanche and Canucks plus updates on the Bruins, Blues and Leafs and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan noted the Colorado Avalanche are in a good position where they’re ready to become a championship contender but also have a decent amount of salary-cap space. She wondered if Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic will revisit his interest in Arizona Coyotes left wing Taylor Hall or make a pitch for St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo via free agency. Sakic must ensure he maintains sufficient long-term cap room to re-sign Cale Makar and Gabriel Landeskog to new contracts next summer.

THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla disagrees with Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon’s belief his club doesn’t need to make changes. Kiszla feels they need a goaltending upgrade over Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz. He suggests Vegas’ Robin Lehner or Chicago’s Corey Crawford could be available via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now recently reported hearing the Avs linked to Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray. Goaltending is considered the Avs’ Achilles heel. That’s likely the issue Sakic addresses if he takes the plunge into the offseason free-agent or trade markets.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski wonders what the Vancouver Canucks will do with starting goaltender Jacob Markstrom. He’s an unrestricted free agent coming off the best season of his career. However, Wyshynski asks if it’s worthwhile keeping him when his best work came in a contract year and points to promising Thatcher Demko’s strong performance in the playoffs.

Management must also bear in mind young stars Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes will be due for new contracts after next season. Wyshynski advocates augmenting the young core by getting players with championship experience, but doing so within their salary-cap constraints won’t be easy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Demko’s performance against the Golden Knights could give GM Jim Benning something to think about in his negotiations with Markstrom’s representatives. Does he invest in a lucrative long-term deal for Markstrom or bet the future on Demko? Once that’s sorted out, Benning will have to find sufficient cap space to re-sign or replace pending UFAs Tyler Toffoli and Chris Tanev.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports it sounds like Torey Krug won’t be re-signing with the Boston Bruins. An unrestricted free agent at season’s end, Krug said contract talks with the Bruins have been few and far between. He also rejected the notion of signing a one-year contract, seeking instead to maximize his value with a big-money, long-term deal.

Krug didn’t rule out re-signing with the Bruins, but Haggerty observes they have limited cap space with $15 million and several other players (including Zdeno Chara, Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk) to re-sign. He feels Krug will find his lucrative new deal with a club seeking an elite offensive blueliner to quarterback their power play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can’t blame Krug for wanting to take advantage of his best shot at a big, long-term deal. He might not get as many offers as he would’ve in a normal year, but he should find some worthwhile options. The Bruins must decide if he’s worth keeping or consider cheaper alternatives.


STLTODAY.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Tom Timmermann was asked about recent rumors linking the Toronto Maple Leafs to St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko. He feels the Blues intend to keep Parayko (even if they re-sign Alex Pietrangelo), considering him one of the NHL’s best young defensemen.

Timmermann also feels the Blues will do all they can to re-sign Vince Dunn, a restricted free agent who recently appeared on TSN’s trade-bait list. Moving him and not re-signing Pietrangelo would mean an almost total overhaul of the Blues’ defense corps.

Asked which member of the Blues becomes a cost-cutting trade candidate, Timmermann suggested winger Jaden Schwartz. He feels Alex Steen, Tyler Bozak, and Carl Gunnarsson would have limited value to other clubs. Schwartz is a year away from UFA eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parayko is also signed through 2021-22, which is another good reason to hang onto him. We don’t know if the Blues would move Schwartz but if push comes to shove they might not have much choice in order to free up more cap space for Pietrangelo.

The Blues could still make one or two smaller cost-cutting moves like trading Gunnarson and buying out Steen. They could then re-sign Pietrangelo, sit at 10 percent over the cap and perhaps start the season with Vladimir Tarasenko on LTIR. They would have to be cap compliant when Tarasenko returned but it would buy them more time if necessary.


SPORTSNET: Alex Pietrangelo, Vancouver’s Chris Tanev and Calgary’s T.J. Brodie are the top-three options on Luke Fox’s list of unrestricted free agent defense options for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Calgary’s Travis Hamonic, Philadelphia’s Radko Gudas, Tampa Bay’s Zach Bogosian, Carolina’s Joel Edmundson, Winnipeg’s Dylan DeMelo, the New York Islanders’ Andy Greene, and Carolina’s Sami Vatanen round out his list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo is the best of this bunch but the Leafs would have to clear considerable cap space to sign him. The rest would be much more affordable but won’t have the same impact.

Brodie and Vatanen might be the best of the bunch. Bogosian has been terrific in the playoffs with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he’s got a long history of injuries and could struggle on another club to replicate his success with the Bolts.


  1. Gudas plays for Washington….

  2. Demko is Vancouver’s goalie of the future. I would say the future is now.
    He was terrific against Vegas.
    Plus Vancouver has two superstars they have to sign going forward and of course the expansion draft.

    Markstrom would be a nice to have option but his fate has been sealed by the cap and the expansion draft.

    Now the conversation should move to where will he go

    • Canucks

      Not so sure the Canucks will move out Markstrom as if it wasn’t for him they would not of even been in the playoffs ..he is arguably one of the top 5 goalies in the league right now …if you can get him at the right number for the next few years as Demko is a RFA and you can sign him for cheaper you can keep that tandem in line for the next 5 years if Benning plays it right and Markstrom is not asking for $7 million plus for term ..

      Its seems as if all the talk wit goalies is that it takes a tandem to win it all ..so you have 2 legit good goalies ..work hard to try and sign both …IMO


      NO to Murray …YES to Fleury !!

      Leafs D Right side ..

      Also if there was ever a time that Leafs could pry away Ristolainen ..it would be this year ..Buffalo has A LOT of work to do this year to sign players and are going to need money and a new way forward ..they need secondary scoring BIG TIME on the bottom 6 and help on the power play and penalty kill ..and they really want to make changes..

      Id try and use Andreas Johnson and possibly Kerffoot to try and get Risto out of Buffalo to play the Leafs right side ..IMO ..this is exactly the guy they need…


      Need to find a way to keep Dunn Parayko and Petro together …that is a legit force on the top 4 D moving forward …they need to move older players out ..and start to rejuvenate the 2nd and 3rd line and let the BIG D help in that journey and cover up in that transition..


      This is the team that needs to trade for Freddie Anderson …or if Markstrom hits the open Market they need to chase him down as well.. …IMO

      Take care …Cheers

      • No you won’t be able to keep that Canuck tandem for 5 years Kal. I can’t see Seattle passing on Demko.

        That’s what makes this such an important decision for Benning. Who ever he chooses moving forward, will be their guy for years. It’s one or the other.

      • Ristoleinen has awful numbers on D for Buffalo.

        The Leafs need to target a RHD but Ristoleinen is not the answer. Better options on the UFA market that won’t cost an asset.

        STL doesn’t have the cap space to have Pietrangelo, Parayko, and Faulk on RD. You can’t have a 3rd pairing D making $6.5M (Faulk) STL will need an offensive player now that Tarasenko is out with a serious shoulder injury.
        They just signed Faulk so if Pietrangelo signs for $8M look for Parayko to be moved for offensive help and a low cost RD returning.

      • One issue of course is the Canuck’s cup window. I’m guessing it’s 2-3 years before they are legit contenders and by that point Marky might be on the downward slide. Its a risk some teams might take, but given the Eriksson signing is still fresh and painful in Van city, combined with the recapture penalty they are carrying, and the youngsters they have to sign, and Demko, I would say the possibility of Marky moving on is legitimate. He’s a great guy and a wonderful team mate, not sure the Canucks can afford to keep him.

      • Nucks need to be in win now mode next season. As soon as Pettersson and Hughes and likely Demko need new deals it will become a cap struggle. Teams need good young players on elc’s to challenge for cup in most cases. This was Toronto’s mistake. They over shot the shaniplan and missed their best window.

    • Demko has always been a solid prospect but a short stint should not be evidence of being starter ready. Demko still needs to prove he can maintain consistent play of a high quality over 50+ games of an NHL regular season.

    • Flames fan…..Couldn’t agree more watching Demko was awesome. He pushes the expensive 30 year old UFA Markstrom out the door…

      It depends on what Markstrom wants where he ends up. Maybe Toronto or Calgary ??

      He isn’t as established as Lehner, Holtby or Crawford….but I also think Lehner stays in Vegas and Crawford stays in Chicago..

      Thomas Griess will get a real good deal and i think it will be from the Islanders as they move on from Varmarlov…

    • Demko had 3 games and you would bet the future on that? He was really good but two things to consider, he did give up a lot of rebounds and to handle those the Vancouver offence was shot. There was a clear correlation between Demko and the Vancouver offence drying up. During regular season he didnt look that good even if he was ok. Im not saying he wont be a really good goalie but I wouldnt bet on it at this stage since average goaltending put Canucks out of the playoffs the next +3 years.

  3. Henrik to Avs…..please

    • Why would the Avs want a past-his-prime goaltender at over $8 mil? How is that an upgrade?

  4. Are all these d men available to other teams, or do they need to wait until Leafs pick who they want? I think Boston is in a better position cap wise to bring back Krug than Blues are to bring back Petro. If Boston let’s Krug walk, they also have to deal with possibly replacing Chara. Depending on what they give other players, Boston should still have enough to pay Krug, unless another team makes an insane offer. Blues have already traded Allen, and need to dump another player. They have Parayko and Faulk on right side. Had to figure giving Faulk extension they felt like they could let Pietrangelo go. Add to that they’ve also given contracts to others and fact that Pietrangelo hasn’t already got an extension, doesn’t look good.

    • Yes, correct. The other teams need to wait until the Leafs pick who they want first. That’s the way it works.

      • Thank you Wendel for that clarification. Guess my team will have to wait and hope there’s some decent leftovers.

      • Actually you’re missed Bettmans memo. First choice belongs to Rangers, then to Maple Leafs

    • I have a similar feeling to yours that somebody on the Blues RHD has to go. You can’t have a guy making $6.5M or $5.5M playing 3rd pair minutes. Since Pietrangelo isn’t signed but it’s rumoured that both sides want to make a deal I’d say one of Faulk or Parayko must go. Parayko has more trade value.

      Could the Blues find enough space with Bouwmeester and Tarasenko on LTIR to sign Pietrangelo? Rumours that Tarasenko’s shoulder injury is quite serious and won’t even be evaluated for 5 months.

      • MTL has room 🙂

        and a Domi that can go back

  5. Pay attention, Greg Wyshynski. You suggest the Canucks add players with championship experience? They have: Beagle, Toffoli and Pearson.

  6. interesting how 3-4 weeks ago there was a lot of talk about Vancouver must re-sign Markstrom. As noted above, Benning will be paying big to re-sign Petterson and Hughes in 2021. I would consider giving the number one to Demko , sign a veteran #2 tender on a 1-2 year deal. I realize that we saw a small sample size of Demko but if the Canucks sign Markstrom long term Demko will be locked into the #2 slot.
    They also have 5 pretty decent RFA’s who need to be signed. I would also consider resigning Tanev , lets say offer 2 yrs @ 4.5-5, not sure if that offer gets it done. Tanev gets mixed reviews on this site and I don’t get to see him play a lot but when I do he is steady, reliable and allows Hughes to play his game. His game kinda reminds me of Marc Methot who played with Karlsson a few years back. Defence first.
    Toffoli would be a nice signing but I am not sure there will be enough cap space left for him to be re-signed. Perhaps they find a taker for Myers , I never liked that signing, he looks slow out there.

    Both the Canucks and Avanche had nice runs , they play an exciting brand of hockey and they should be contenders for several years to come.

    • Tanev has been really good, best Ive seen him in years but he is slowing down due to a lot of injuries and I wouldnt sign longer than 2 years. Toffoli is interesting since he wasnt very good after coming back but I dont know how much the injury slowed him down. Myers was fine but the cap is 1-2m to high. I wouldnt trust the no1 job to Demko unless Markstrom wants to much money and or term. Sample size for Demko is just to little and his regular season was only ok, also to protect him in these three games vs VGK they had to sacrifice the offence that really dried up after Demko took over.

  7. Ottawa should help Vancouver with some cap space to sign Toffoli and Markstrom and work deal to get Demko , Virtanen and one of there high contracts Sutter, Beagle etc. Instead of look at Murray.

    • I like that idea!

    • might have to be Eriksson lol

  8. This wasn’t a topic mentioned by Lyle, but I was wondering what it’s going to cost Lou to sign his two stud RFAS, Barzal and Pulok?

    Both are having monster playoffs.

    • I have faith in Lou. He’ll get it done.
      More than likely that Ladd, Leddy and Boychuck all go.

      Lou always has an “out”.

      • Freddy Andersen to the Avs for the #24 first round pick. That gives the Leafs two first round picks and Nylander to dangle for a top D. One of the big four has to go and we all know who it is.

  9. Murray in Colorado could make sense. I like a Murray Mcann package .
    Canucks cannot break the bank with Markstrom .

    • Silverscreen

      Murray & Mccann& Rikola to Colorado

      Zadorov & Nichuskin to Pittsburgh

  10. some rumors of Buffalo trading with Pittsburgh, with Buffalo targeting Murray and McCann. Likely a RD like Montour or Risto with Hutton going back. Could also see Buffalo interested in getting Bozak if St Louis included a sweetener.

    • Not sure pens take Hutton when they have a solid number 2 already much cheaper.

      Since gmjr has a deal for Murray on the table but hasn’t moved yet.. is that cause he was waiting out Colorado?

      • Chrimis..what is Huttons salary?

    • G

      The Bozak move would be of interest! How much sweetener is necessary? MacEachern? Walman? de la Rose? 3rd round pick?

    • G-man good god no….. Risto sucks and has a $5.4 million salary..

      Montour & Hutton maybe/ ok

    • Freddy Andersen to the Avs for the #24 first round pick. That gives the Leafs two first round picks and Nylander to dangle for a top D. One of the big four has to go and we all know who it is.

  11. Murray in Colorado? No thanks. That would be, at best, a lateral move from Grubauer in terms of quality and durability. I’d rather they look at Anderson or Markstrom. Lehner is good but might be too expensive considering Landy and Makar come up for big contracts in a year then Nate in 3 years.

    It was also clear that they need more depth at D – I don’t know that Byram is ready to compete for a spot yet, Timmins still needs work if his health holds up. Not sure if Graves really earned a long contract given his lackluster performance in the playoffs and Cole is no better than a 3rd pair guy at this point.

    They also need to make some coaching changes as their PK and PP were pretty weak all season and it cost them everything against Dallas.

    There will be changes in Denver but we’ll see what they turn out to be. This is a team that is ready to make some runs but they do still have some obstacles to hurdle.

    • NMAvsFan….. Murray is only 26, his salary is cheaper and he will be motivated.. Grubauer isn’t that great and his is injury prone too. Andersen has a $5 million dollar salary.

      My propsed deal gave you
      Matt Murray 26 Goalie
      Jared Mccann 24 LW/C
      Jusso Rikola a smooth skater 3rd pairing depth defender

      Penguis get

  12. One more thing about what Colorado does this summer. They should NOT, under any circumstances, sign Taylor Hall. He is not the player they need and he will be overpriced. Signing him would be a mistake of Tavares proportions. Avs need to address goaltending and defensive issues.

    • NMAvsFan, you seem to know the Avs, and guessing follow them closely. I think they can get Murray for next to nothing if they wait Rutherford out. Let him go to arbitration, if crazy walk. I don’t think it will be much more than he makes now as he hasn’t played well lately. Sign for year see how it goes, the upside is there and low risk.
      Has there been reports that Francouz was playing hurt before he went on IR? That might explain how poorly he played.
      IMO opinion the window is open right now for them, they have space, find another tender short term. Murray is an upside bet that might be cheap.

      • Thanks, Ray. I do think Francouz was playing tweaked but we aren’t privy to the details. Maybe we’ll find out more later.

        Your case for Murray is somewhat intriguing because of the low financial risk but the Avs window is wide open right now so you want someone without that sort of injury history.

        That being said, if he and grubauer were to split time and stay healthy plus save money to spend on defense, it could work. Something like that would be a gamble so sakic is going to have to pick his poison: spend more on a goalie or more on defense.

  13. Can the Bruins start their winger rebuild by signing T Hall while losing Krug & DeBrusk …..a Bergeron,Marchand,Pasta,Hall,
    Krejci would be a nice roll out each game

    • Joe, why not keep deBrusk and get Hall.
      I’d like to see BostDn let Krug, Chara and Miller walk. Sign Edmundson and Hall. Trade a young d-man (Zboril or Lauzon) and a pick to NYR for DeAngelo.


      • I think McAvoy & Grzelcyk can cover Krug loss with a year more experience rather see them bring in another bigger Dman to cover the Chara loss …. you think Rask retires or plays one more year in Boston I doubt they extend him

      • I think Rask will finish his contract. I’m just wondering if there is more to the story than we are hearing.

        I think DeAngelo could really help on the PP and be that extra first outlet pass guy.

        We definitely need a big body to replace Chara.

  14. Add size and toughness on the 3rd & 4th lines along with a Dman or two

  15. If I am Benning I am calling Buffalo and picking this

    To VAN: Ullmark, Risto & Tage Thompson
    To BUF: Markstrom

    Gives buffalo their true # 1 goalie
    Give Van backup goalie to push Demo, a young RD that has size and a prospect that plays center.

    • Then calling Bergevin and offering

      To MTL: Sutter & Virtanen
      To VAN: 2nd 2021 & 7th 2020

      MTL gets another young winger while VAN gets more cap space to resign Tiffoli.

      • That deal doesn’t work. Vancouver isn’t given Virtanan for a second.

    • Markstrom is a UFA. I know Buffalo is incompetent, but that’s a lot to trade for negotiating rights.

      • This is Pegula we are talking bout AND they NEE to solidify that position and not take a chance on losing “their guy”.

        Ullmark destinied to just be a backup for them.

        Risto has value but Markstrom more to BUFF

        Sign & trade?

      • Sign and trade hasn’t come around in the NHL like other leagues and a player like Markstrom will probably be looking at NTC or more likely a NMC through at least the expansion draft to avoid ending up in places like Buffalo because the Nucks can probably sign Markstrom a lower rate than market. If Markstrom was going to take the Buffalo bullet, it would probably have to be on the open market taking a higher pay rate with a longer term to go to a less desirable location and team.

  16. To me Lundqvist with 50% to AVS makes sense lol but seriously


    Sakic should try for Lehner…..

  17. Agree, but they could sign him if he is bought out or if NY picks 50% and adds a sweetener

    • Agree about Lehner, or Markstrom since all Vancouver fans now wants Demko instead, funny what 3 games can do for a fanbase. Honestly, if I was Markstrom and read all the comments by Vancouver fans, I would leave

      • As a Canucks fan, I can appreciate what Markstrom brings to the table, but you have to figure he’s going to end up on the $6 million range. If we sign him, we might as well trade Demko now, rather than lose him to Seattle in the expansion draft. But it makes sense, cap wise, to let Markstrom walk. Gotta resign Tanev, and keeping Toffoli would be nice, but maybe not possible. Most importantly, they’re going to have to deal with Pettersson and Hughes, and unless those two sign team friendly bridge deals (possible, but less than likely), they’re going to have to leave cap space open for that. That’s why fans are open to moving on from Markstrom…as good as he’s been for us the last couple of seasons. It’s not that we want him to go, it just may be necessary.

      • Well said Bobby T