NHL Rumor Mill – September 7, 2020

by | Sep 7, 2020 | Rumors | 88 comments

Will the Canucks re-sign Jacob Markstrom? Could the Predators pursue Taylor Hall? What could the Wild do during the offseason?


TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons mused over what the Vancouver Canucks will do with Jacob Markstrom. The 30-year-old goaltender is an unrestricted free agent this fall. Simmons points out they also have promising Thatcher Demko and must expose a goalie in next year’s expansion draft. He wonders if the Colorado Avalanche might pursue Markstrom if he hits the open market.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports the Canucks have $15 million in salary-cap space for next season to spend on six players to fill out their roster. They’ll have to find an experienced backup for Demko if they part ways with Markstrom. If they re-sign Markstrom, Demko could become a fascinating trade chip.

Johnston also wondered what Canucks general manager Jim Benning will do with Jake Virtanen. The 24-year-old winger is a fan favorite and a restricted free agent, but he has arbitration rights and struggled with consistency. Benning must also prioritize his other free agents, including UFAs like Tyler Toffoli and Chris Tanev and RFAs Troy Stecher and Tyler Motte.

Jim Benning could also look at a cost-cutting move or two to free up cap space to re-sign key players. Candidates could include Loui Eriksson, Brandon Sutter, Jay Beagle or Sven Baertschi.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Thomas Drance also examined the Canucks’ free agent and salary-cap issues for the offseason. If they can free up cap space, he feels they must bring in a top-four, right-handed defenseman and upgrade their third-line center position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will be an interesting offseason for the Canucks. How Benning addresses his club’s needs and cap issues will have far-reaching consequences. The goaltending is the priority. Simmons makes a good point about the risk of losing one of them in the expansion draft.

Some might argue passing on Markstrom after watching Demko’s playoff performance, but three outstanding games isn’t a large enough body of work to crown him as their starter going forward. On the other hand, this year’s goalie market is a deep one and they could bring in a quality veteran at a reasonable price to tutor Demko if they part ways with Markstrom.


THE ATHLETIC: (subscription required): Adam Vingan was asked in a recent mailbag segment about Scott Burnside suggesting the Nashville Predators as a destination for Taylor Hall because of his connection with coach John Hynes. The Arizona Coyotes left wing is this summer’s top UFA forward and played well for Hynes during their time with the New Jersey Devils.

Citing Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston suggesting Hall could a stable, winning situation where he fits in well over filling up his bank account, Vingan doesn’t see the Predators meeting that requirement. He cautions against signing an aging player at this stage.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Predators GM David Poile making a big splash in this year’s UFA market. His club has $72.2 million tied up in 17 players. Poile will try to shed center Kyle Turris’ $6 million per season cap hit through 2023-24 but that won’t be easy. He could be forced to absorb a big chunk of Turris’ cap hit or buy him out and carry $2 million in annual dead-cap space through 2027-28.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Michael Russo was asked if the Minnesota Wild will do any contract buyouts. He felt there’s a chance, suggesting if they did so for goalie Devan Dubnyk or center Victor Rask it would be to create roster spots rather than clear cap space. He also felt Alex Stalock would only fetch a mid-round draft pick if placed on the trade block. Russo doesn’t believe GM Bill Guerin will pursue Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom if he becomes available in the free-agent market.

In a second mailbag segment, Russo noted the Wild have to protect Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon in next year’s expansion draft because of their no-movement clauses. If they decide to protect just three defensemen, this is the offseason to move Matt Dumba or Jonas Brodin unless they intend to move one of them before the 2021 trade deadline. Brodin has a year left on his contract and could be the one to get traded if he proves too expensive to re-sign.

Russo is against trading Brodin to Montreal for Max Domi because he doesn’t feel Domi can address the Wild’s need for a first-line center. Asked if Guerin could pursue Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan, Russo feels the asking price would be steep. If Monahan is available, the Flames will want a first-line center to replace him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Guerin will be busy in the offseason. He indicated he wasn’t happy with his goaltending and pointed out his club’s need for a first-line center.

He could move Stalock or Dubnyk and promote promising goalie Kaapa Kahkonen. Russo said he could seek them signing Braden Holtby or Cam Talbot to buy Kahkonen some time if they part ways with Dubnyk, but those two could prove expensive signings, especially Holtby.

Some in the Montreal media suggested swapping Domi for Brodin or Dumba. I think Guerin shares Russo’s opinion of the Habs’ center. Domi could be a good second-line center but he’s not the proven No.1 the Wild need. Guerin also sought to tamp down the expectations of Wild fans calling for him to pursue a first-line center, pointing out teams typically don’t part with that type of player.


  1. I think Benning’s risk of signing Markstrom at 30 after an uptick season ; should easily be counterbalanced with signing a cheaper UFA goalie and starting TD and try to ride him; if he falters; you have that UFA goalie to rely on.

    It is possible that Markstrom is worth the dough; but we’ve seen issues lately with signing older goalies at high prices long term.

    Add to that, Van must expose a goalie to the Krakken

    Team has bright young stars…

    TD with UFA goalie

    Re Minn and moving and/or buying out Doobie and Rask…. there is a super easy answer

    Doobie, Rask, and prospect Beckman or Dewar


    MM; Bjug; JJ

    Problem children Rask and JJ offset

    Koivu almost assuredly retiring; they need another centre…. hometown Big boy Bjug

    MM better ; younger; than Doobie

    The balancing component in the trade is either Beckman or Dewar

    For Pens

    Doobie to push and mentor TJ. Doobie is on decline and not as good (IMHO) as MM; so goalie tandem is weaker than this year

    Pain in -Rask; for pain out JJ…. but less games lost; by far; due to Rask in rister vs JJ; all other Pens stats increase

    Net loss in Cap space

    Off-setting /balancing … Beckman (hopefully) or Dewar

    • I would think locking in Markstrom signs the fate of Demo to Seattle (in lieu of trading Demo first).

      Send Markstrom’s rights now to Buffalo for Ullmark plus. Ullmark can be left exposed for the draft. He is suitable to push Demko.

      Markstrom is the real deal but they will need more cap room to sign Tiffoli and will need room for their ELC’s next few years.

      I also suggest sending Sutter and Virtanen to MTL for a 2nd plus. Sutter’s contract comes of Van’s book now and they get draft capital. the 2nd should be higher for Jake but since MTL is taking Sutter it lower’s the pick value.

      Gives Benning more space now and in future moving both Sutter & Markstrom

      • Why do you hate Crosby? I asked before and you never answered.

      • Here is again to hoping Henrik to Canucks or Avs.
        Rangers could take back Sutter or Beagle as they need a bottom 6 center. would help Canucks afford Henrik and save the Rangers millions

      • Ihatecrosby
        That seems reasonable.
        The fact is, with the expansion draft coming up next year will alter a lot of decisions GM’s make this offseason. I think they all learnt a lot with the Vegas draft and will be better prepared.
        In my mind Benning has no alternative but to let Markstrom walk.
        With Petersson, Quinn coming up next year and Boeser the year after Vancouver could be in good shape to lock those guys in long term and still have money to surround them with good players.

      • @ FlameFan…. Benning and team have a lot to think about. Cap space & $$ will determine a lot considering the current worldwide economic status.

        I concur letting Markstrom leave is the better long term solution. If they can get assets for his rights before the FA period starts that would be great. That is why I suggest Buffalo and Ullmark.

        @ Steven… think i did answer a while back….I am hit or miss on this site. the “hate” is not vile but more of respect fo how darn good he is. Everyone talks about who the best player in the league is and yes individually players have athletically surpassed him in different ways but can they take 3rd liners and turn them ALL into 1st line studs like Crosby? He is still underrated. Just physically , as we all know, we all slow down but mentally he is “killing it” still. There are things he hs done on the ice I am not a fan as far as antics, crotch shots, etc..he hs done so I cam up with this moniker.

        Sorry to bore everyone.

      • I guarantee that the gms learned nothing from vegas. Seattle is gonna be a good team. On top of the fact nhl gms don’t learn the flat cap also means Seattle will be set up to cull.

      • Your not going to get more than a low pick for a players rights unless said player is guaranteed to sign with that team…

    • Thank God you aren’t the Penguins GM …

      • Ed vanimpe..who do you think becomes the Penguins third line center?

        I think possibly Max Domi

        I like ufa Eric. Haula a talented two way center 29 could come cheap at $ 2.5 $ 3 million who do the pens add on defense?

    • Agree with Pengy no brainer to go with Demko as he is in same age range as the core. Benning should sign Markstrom though and then trade him before new contract kicks in. That is asset management.

    • If JJ is half the detriment to his team as you make him out to be…. nothing offsets him!

      I think it’s time you just accept that deal. This same thing over and over for well over a year is a bit stale.

      Ny has 3 contracts I’d love to see disappear. But I realized they were about as unmovable as they come and came to terms with it.

      • Agree. Same with me and Bobby Ryan. Eff-all I can do about it – and the same with Dorion. Just ride it out. Pie-in-the-sky combinations of Ryan and picks and prospects is a non-starter, so what’s the point? Best thing to say about the contracts is that it gets them closer to the cap floor 🙂

      • cue the JJ & BJudstad for Bobby Ryan proposals 🙂

      • Gaaaaah – Bite – your – tongue

      • Hi IHC

        deal accepted; where do I sign


        Yep; he is that bad. In 18/19 alone he cost Pens a total of 11 game points; which would have put Pens second in the entire League; with home ice; and not just North of the playoff bubble line; opening in Isle’s arena

        He’s individually cost Pens 3 of their last 7 playoff/play-in games and shared the responsibility for the loss on one more

        Pens best playoff/play-in game in the last 17 months was the only game in the last 2 years that Sully sat JJ!!

        Every single Pen that has played a minimum of 5 games in the last 2 years; has massively better stats when JJ was on the bench. Massively better.

        MM save percentage v Habs…. 970 when JJ was on the bench

        Yes he JJ is that bad

        Would take ANY of the NYR contracts you are talking about in a swap for JJ. Any.

        Were it not for Cap ceiling; it actually would benefit Pens to take two of those NYR contracts in exchange for JJ

        JJ is not “untradeable”; it’s just what needs to be added as a sweetener or via a multiple player swap with another problem contract coming back (as Rask and Doobie above)

        JJ is not unmoveable at all…. he can be bought out

        Mario and Ronny have told Jimbo to cut costs…..

        BO JJ cuts costs, saves Cap; massively makes team better

        Replacing him with ANY (absolutely ANY) league minimum D man ; regardless of age or experience; saves (Net of BO and new player) …. $1.4 M in Cash & Cap for the next 2 years….. and team would be waaay better and assured of playoffs next year

        They just re-upped Riikola; if they keep him at that rate for 21/22 as well; and BO JJ….. net Cap and Cash savings in each year is $940 K; and Riikola in instead of JJ….. all Pens stats waaay better; Pens excellent shot at 1st in Metro; pretty fair shot at getting to ECF in ‘21

        JJ is that detrimental

        The problem is not JJ; it’s on Sully for playing him and mostly on Jimbo for keeping him

        After the nightmare ‘18/19 season he could have been bought out ; and then the 19/20 Cap would only then have been $270 K (not a typo) and for sure playoff streak alive as for sure Pens would have finished higher than Flyers; and just may have finished first in Metro

        Rather than admit he’s erred in the JJ thing; Jimbo fires 3 assistant coaches (note two of which repeatedly went to Sully to ask that JJ be sat for the entire playoffs) ; and then publicly praises JJ and blames every other Pen but JJ for Pen’ exodus in the Playins (again , reminder; MM 970 v Habs when JJ was on the bench)

        My repeated stabs at trades (and again he IS tradeable under proper “sweeteners” and/or Other crap contracts coming back) is because with Jimbo continually refusing to admit his mistakes; he is pushing Pens further down

        What scares me even more is that his (GMJR’s) recent extension of CR (no other team in past or future has or will be interested in his services) a year before UFA status and at a raise; hints at his positioning of viewing CR/JJ as bottom pairing for the next two years…. which then nullifies Pens in playoffs in both ‘20/‘21 AND ‘21/‘22


      • Pengy, you often explain these convoluted deals involving garbage contracts with sweetener as likening the “asset management” to your everyday business operations.

        But tell me, could you run your business with a limit on how much you could spend on employees – and for a possibly significant while with no change in the upper limit – if you had no options to can anyone without paying them FULL salary for x number of years, or provide raises or hire new employees because of that limit? I don’t think so.

      • Hi George

        I have my own internal budget ; and had to pay ~ $300 K /mnth in Sals during Covid with almost nil revs coming in in April and May… so certainly not in years but in relative terms and scale ; yes

        We’ve also divested divisions for companies that had initial costs as well as severance for substantial amounts ; as these divisions overall were affecting the profitability of the company…. this is highly similar to buyouts and even more so relatable to a JJ buyout

        So certainly not the same as in the NHL; but in effect ; similar; and in some cases; proportionately more in my case


        We’re all just coach GM ‘s , but I do believe my mindset on prposed trades and BO’s has logic/prudence

      • That’s “couch” GMs not “coach” GMs


    • Pengy..BnG here I agree TD is going to make signing MArkstrom difficult..I agree with you.

      What do the Penguins save if they buyout Bjugstad as opposed to putting him on long term Injury list..

      • Hi BnG

        LTIR for the year would be the best but that is the accredited Dr’s call ; not Pens

        While on LTIR…. no Cap hit

        Insurance pays tab but Premium for the insurance (typically in the 20% of Sal range) is covered by team and/or player…. differs player to player

        Bjug is owed $5.25 M this year ; so insurance premium is likely in the $1M range (not sure the split of those premium costs between JJ and Pens; could be all Pens)

        Likely he is not on LTIR for full year… but if he were,,, max cost to Pens ~ $1M ; and ZERO in Cap (saving $4.1 M in Cap)

        BO… saves net $1.75 M in cash (still pay him $3.5 M) and Cap savings this year is $3.5 M with dead Cap of $1.75M in 21/22

        If they BO anybody…. HAS to be JJ

        Bjug is highly unlikely to stay on LTIR whole season (he will start year on it) and it is his UFA year; so he will be doing everything possible to prove himself fir next contract with whatever team…… Billy G knows this and with Koivu all but retired; Wild down a Centre… hence the murmurs around about Wild’s (Billy G’s) interest in Bjug

        That’s why I think a deal with Wild that also moves JJ (who was going to Wild with Kessell until Phil nixed it) is feasible

  2. Everything I have heard coming out of Montreal, the first & foremost need is for a scoring winger, not a D-man.

    I would say Chariot has locked himself into being Weber’s partner, thus the talk about a left handed shooting D-man to play with Weber is no longer a huge need.

    I believe Juulsen & Fleury will get a shot as the third pairing D-man, while Kulak, Romanov & Mete round out the left side after Chariot. I believe MB is comfortable with the D moving forward.

    That said, several Habs players, including Drouin & Petry, made note of what the team needs at their season ending media talks, a big, scoring winger.

    • The Habs need a scoring winger AND an LD who can play big minutes alongside Weber. I would say their need on D is stronger. Chiarot is a solid defenseman, but he’s a 2nd pairing guy. Mete, at this point, is probably a 3rd pairing guy. Kulak, even if he builds upon his solid showing in the playoffs, is also a 3rd pairing guy. Romanov may eventually be the answer but certainly not yet. If Bergevin is truly comfortable with the D moving forward and does nothing to address it, it’ll be another subpar season coming up. And this time hopefully without a 24 team playoff to bail them out.

      • Howard, I agree that the Habs need help at both the wing and D positions.

        That said, they have more viable prospects at D then at forward. Further, in today’s style of play teams block shots and collapse in front of the net so playing team d can overcome some weakness on the D.

        Bergevin’s best efforts need to be getting wingers with size and scoring touch. Easier said than done, of course, and no to Taylor Hall as signing him will compromise a number of must sign UFAs.

      • Romanov has a clause that states he either plays in Montreal or goes back to Russia. Laval is not an option.

        I cannot see them signing & sitting him in the pressbox, so he will be their sixth D-man.

        I think the point you miss with the Chariot/Weber pairing, is how comfortable Weber is with Chariot as his D partner. Weber is not swift of foot by any means & paired with Chariot allows him to jump into the offense more often. Everyone sees Shea as a defensive style D-man when infact he prefers to play deep into O zone.

  3. My belief is that Benning should let Markstrom walk and go with Benning, it addresses so many different issues for them. Yes it was a small market size in the playoffs, but he has a body of promising work in his past, that was why he has a decent draft pedigree. Guerin should look to capitalize on his D strength, but only at a price he finds attractive. Hall, I just don’t know; is he declining already, recovering from injury? I just would not pay to find out.

    • Yep. Hall is a BIG $$ risk that most teams simply can’t make without clearing a ton of cap space – and where does all that go? – which will leave him with some serious decisions – does he try and make a “show-me” deal with a contender on a one-year deal at a much-reduced cap hit that they can accommodate, or does he go for the most term and money offered if it only comes from one of the bottom feeders who have plenty of cap space. And I just don’t see any of them going down that road in their re-builds.

      • Players are going to get as much money now as they can now, the cap is going to stay flay for a couple years but what if in that time something else goes sideways? Might not be the 7 year deals but more 4-5

      • I’m not sure about 4-5 either Bigbadbruins. After flattening a bit, Covid-19 is on the rise again in Ontario and Quebec (with schools just about to open on top of that) while in the U.S. it’s been running rampant since the spring, so the more this affects sports scheduling the more it has to affect committing to big ticket contracts for anything more than a year or two.

        Unless some just throw caution to the wind and go for broke based on hope with the underlying knowledge that, if things do indeed go to Hell in a hand basket, they can just declare bankruptcy. Then all contracts are in limbo.

        That has already started to happen on an increasing scale to some large operations


      • Hall is the most over rated player in the NHL. I saw plenty of him in his best year in NJ and in my opinion it was just a fluke year.

        How good has he been since then?

        Hall is a very good player.
        But he is not a top tier player.

        I’ll be shocked if he gets more than 8 to 8.5 million a season.

      • I’ll be shocked if he gets anywhere NEAR that

    • Why do you hate Crosby? I asked before and you never answered.

    • So Benning should replace Markstrom with himself?

      • He was a pretty good defenseman. An above average manager. Why not give netminding a whirl?

      • Good cap management as well.

    • It will put a smile on my face if Vancouver walks from Markstrom and fails to make the playoffs because of it, would serve all you Demko is god after three games good. I think it should be noted that TD was just average during the regular season and we all know what a flash in the goalie pan can result in, yes Im looking at you Binnington.

      • Fair enough Kent, but we have also seen big $ goalies suck too. So why wouldn’t you spend less right now when you have cap issues and your best players coming due for big raises?
        Demko’s sv% is worse this year, but his quality start % is quite a bit better than average over the last couple years. Compares well with Markstrom.
        I think you will see more teams going with tandems and the #1 guy getting fewer games. Look at the playoffs this year, you need 2. That should mean less $ for the #1 guy.
        Goaltending is unpredictable voodoo, you need multiple options IMO.

  4. What about Domi to the Rangers for a young forward and the late 1st round pick. The Rangers need a #2 C and Domi might be a good fit on a young Ranger team.

    • Interesting….

      Mindset is to keep cap room for Mika’s next contract and the ELC’s in the next few years. If NY is trading Howden, Smith & the Carolina 1st for Domi then I can see them doing that.

      However that package is NOT something I think MTL would even consider.

      If the mindset Domi is their#2 and trade Strome….. that is another possibility then…

      Lots to consider.

    • at this point, is Domi really an upgrade in NY over Strome, who showed good chemistry with Panarin ?

      • The problem is would he be an upgrade? and also the money Strome wants after a good year, finally, but after playing with Panarin, who makes everyone good.

      • Would Domi be an upgrade? He’s 2 years younger, and has played 116 less games. He has 3 less points for his career! Did Strome show chemistry with Panarin? Yes, but who hasn’t? Strome had 2 assists in the 3 playin games. Panarin ended being moved to Zibs line, which is an option for next year. I don’t think Domi will be asking any more than Strome will be looking for. Would Montreal want Strome? Probably not. I think Buchnevich could be a reasonable swap. Maybe adding a 3rd or 4th round pick. Maybe Strome moves to RW with Domi and Panarin? Considering nobody is sold on Chytil being a 2C, , at least not yet, Domi would make sense. Buchnevich will need new contract next year, so might make sense to move him. Kakko will be too 6 RW. Kravtsov could be in another year. All 3 are left shot RW.

    • Domi is not the answer for the Rangers @ 2C. He will want too much $$ for his role.

      • DS…I think your right dominance, young. Talented, but will want too much $$$$%%.

    • Which young forward do you have in mind? The Rangers forwards are a top heavy bunch. A few top flight forwards (and a few promising prospects) who they are very unlikely to trade and then several middling forwards who wouldn’t bring back much.

    • Domi ain’t getting a first.

      • I’d trade a late 1st for him.

      • For a disgruntled player off a bad playoffs. One who is looking like he will want significant money as a top 6 when not ever consistently playing good top 6? That’s a foolish trade.

      • Chrisms. Domi put up 72 points last year playing center. Was bounced around this year. Saying he’s disgruntled is your opinion but I’m sure he’s probably not happy with what happened. You’re also making assumptions on what he wants in next deal. He played as a 19 year old rookie and put up 52 points. Guessing he was injured next year and was 38 points in 59 games. He’s hasn’t missed a game the last 3 seasons. For a kid that is just hitting his prime, and who has averaged 50 points per season even with 2 shortened years, I don’t get why he wouldn’t get paid like a top 6. As I said in other comment here, I’d take him over Strome. He’s an rfa and I think with his current situation, he’d gladly sign a reasonable deal with Rangers knowing he would be 2C

  5. So Benning should replace Markstrom with himself?

    • Ok Ihatecrosby I get where you’re coming from and apologize for not reading the answer you gave me beforehand 😬. I am a fan of Crosby as he just keeps going and just keeps finding ways to win. Being a Leafs fan this is something to hope for.

    • If Rutherford was dumb enough to give the 15th for kapanen than domi is guaranteed to get a first

      • Good point .BBB , I think the win in the next two years mentality made him worse..lol

      • Your on bbb. A best smartest poster in the world endorsement is on the table. Domi gets traded for a first round pick you win. Domi gets less than that I win. He stays out or moves for a player for player swap then it’s a draw.

        Spit and shake?

      • Hi BBB

        as you have likely surmised… I’m the farthest thing from being a GMJR supporter

        But he neither won nor lost that trade

        Fair and even trade IMHO

        6 players in one deal are very rare; but the other 4 are a saw off as far as I’m concerned

        So basically ER & 1st for Kappy

        Kappy effectively replaces Sheary on roster at a Cap hit (with term BTW) of only ) $200 K more per.

        Kappy , much faster, much bigger; better production ; 4 years younger; cost certainty for 2 more years

        Sheary is UFA and would not have signed for less than current Cap

        Sheary and ER were acquired for Kahun (who had been shuttled up and down the Pens line up)

        Kappy bigger; faster; more productive AND younger than Kahhn

        The 15th …. is no guarantee to be an NHLer ; good chance but no guarantee; and will (if makes the NHL) likely be either a bottom 9 winger no earlier than 22/23 or bottom pairing D Man in 23/24…. outside of Pens window

        So fair from Pens side

        Leafs gain at least $1.2 M in space ;if they qualify ER) and gain a tradable pick

        They could move ER and pick in a trade; freeing up all $3.2 M and getting something back;

        Keep ER (who can play C) as a bottom 6 fwd and at very least 4C ; who can do 3C ; and move pick; and have extra $1.2 M in space

        Even trade IMHO

  6. I am pretty sure the Flames will trade Johnny. From all accounts it sounds like there is quite a bit of interest in him.
    If they do trade him, I think going after Hall would be a good option BUT only if they can sign him for 7m over 3 or 4 years. Anything longer or more than 7m could be disastrous.
    One of the fears I have is Treliving has a history of over paying free agents and could do it again on Hall. Hopefully he has learnt his lesson and uses restraint.

    • Johnny to OTT for Brady Tkachuk? I jest…though……

      • Not – A – Chance – In – Hell. And I don’t jest 🙂

      • Lol, I knew that would get a rise out of George

      • LOL

  7. If Vancouver can resign Markstrom to a reasonable contract they should; just dont give him a NMC and then at season end you can make a decision. Protect or don’t, he may or may not get selected.

  8. I guess Guerin is about to find out what Bergevin has over the past several years. That No. 1 centers are extremely difficult to acquire. The Wild are best off developing Kunin and Eriksson Ek, just as the Habs are better off developing Suzuki and Kotkaniemi.

    I believe that a Domi for Brodin trade would help both teams. Domi would not be a No. 1 center but he’d certainly provide solid depth up the middle. And they can’t expect Brodin to bring in a top flight center. He’s a solid D-man but rather limited offensively. Both of these teams need some change. Standing pat would keep them mired in mediocrity.

    As for the Predators, I don’t see them pursuing Hall or any other big ticket item. From Hall’s perspective, the Preds seem to be going in the wrong direction so I don’t see him taking less to sign with them. And the team lacks the cap space. They’d have to move out a big contract such as Turris. They won’t be able to do that without retaining salary and/or adding a sweetener, two things that Poile is loathe to do.

  9. LJ, sorry but I disagree as to the Habs. Right now, a solid left defenseman is their biggest need. Not just in terms of defense, but also a player who can drive possession and move the puck. That’s more than just collapsing in the defensive zone. A defenseman like that would help their forwards as well.

    As for prospects, hockey, unlike football, requires quality over quantity. Without question, Caufield is by far their best prospect at any position. Ylonen is also a good prospect at wing and, on the current roster, they have more youth up front than on D. On defense, Romanov is certainly a solid prospect, but the talk is that he’ll be more effective defensively than offensively. As to their other prospects, such as Harris, Struble, Norlinder, etc., there’s quantity but I’m not sure how much quality. Each of them is at least as likely to never play an NHL game than they are to make an impact.

    • It is ok to disagree, Howard. No fun if everyone agreed.

      Firstly, I said that team D compensates “somewhat” for a deep D corp.

      You do not mention Fleury, Brooks or Juulsen. Fleury will make the team next year. I agree that Romanov will make a defensive improvement but not drive the offense.

      I want to think you are right about Caulfield, but to me he is another small forward. And he hasn’t set the world on fire at the level is playing now. He was all but invisible at the world juniors. After that it gets pretty thin in terms of prospects and I don’t see Ylonen making an impact any time soon if at all. Remember that the Habs went nutty and drafted centers heavily the last several years. That is working, at the expense of wingers.

  10. Sign Markstrom and don’t protect him. There will be a ton of goalies to choose from and Seattle may go another way. Protect Demko.
    Hall is not an upgrade on left wing over Gaudreau. If Flames make that switch hey had better get a haul.

    • Hi SS
      That certainly is a way to go…. but Markstrom (well his agent) will push for $, term and for sure an NMC

      If he gets an NMC he must be protected

      Even if he doesn’t sign with an NMC (unlikely but possible) If the term and $’s too high and he has a down 20/21…. Kraken won’t take him; ‘Nucks stuck with $’s and term

      If possible; let him walk but at least try to negotiate something in trade (for his rights) pre UFA opening…. something better than nothing

      Yes TD could be a “1 hit wonder” but my gut says he’s definitely worth the gamble

      TD with a vet UFA back up to push him; mentor him ; to me is less risky in the long run and certainly cheaper (Cap and cash) in the short run

      • Pengy..what do you think of MM to Colorado?

        Think it’s a good fit? I do!
        Looks like gmjr is working on a possible deal with buffalo..uuggh

        Montour. Hutton rumored in the swap.. Murray mccann going other way??? Hope not

        Pettersson needs to anchor 3rd pair defense we need a lefthanded d like a Hayden fluery or a nikita Zadorov to play with Marino..

      • Hi BnG

        If it is MM/McC for Montour/Hutton …. the trade parts are probably fair

        Jimbo has already publicly inferred that it’s MM that is being moved; and Sully threw MM under the bus just before Game 4… that depresses MM’s contract and effectively also trade values

        I’m very keen on Montour ; but he is wasted at 3rd pairing RHD ; if they deem Marino better

        They key as always is JJ

        If they keep him and play him 15 mins/night; no trade will make up for it

        The maniacal extension and raise (1 year before he’s UFA) to CR hints at Jimbo envisioning JJ/CR as bottom pairing… if that happens… 100 % guarantee of no playoffs next year

        I know you and I disagree on Pettersson. That’s OK… just an opinion

        If this was the D



        Montour/Pettersson (moved him here just to show you)

        Riikola -7th

        With G’s

        TJ, CH

        Then Pens have excellent shot at 1st Metro

        Re MM on Avs… yep would be good fit for them ; however absolutely no chance MM gets Pens Zadorov

        HF also a nice add; but Canes not doing a MM for HF swap

        Had Sully sat JJ; Pens would have beat Habs; and I don’t know know how they would have faired against Bruins.

        No matter what… sit JJ… Pens beat Habs; MM value much much higher than now; if they had also beat Bruins; vastly higher value for MM

        I still say that with the low value for MM now; that they should keep him… and yes they can fit him in

        Pre Covid … TSN was hinting at $7 M per for MM; post Covid and with the Jimbo/Sully antics devaluing MM…. $5.5 M is not out of the question

        With Bjug starting season on LTIR ; or better still, moved…. that’s $12.1 M for the two goalies; McC; and 2 depth forwards

        BO JJ ; replaced by either Czuczman or PO-J…. now that’s $13.4 M for the Goalies; McC and two depth Fwds

        $5.5 M (MM); TJ 2 year bridge $3.5M; McC $2.5 M… leaving more than enough for 2 depth league min Fwds

  11. This Leaf fan enjoyed watching the Canucks ( with a little envy) and was cheering for them.

    To me this is a team at fulcrum point. I would gamble now. Keep Demko let the other guy go. Now is the time to move the contracts that give you cap space. Use the money to hire good UFAs. But don’t be desperate. You looked small out there.

    You have a leader who leads and appear to have unity in the room. Make some positive structural moves. Don’t be afraid of change, they way Dubas was with Marner and Nylander.

    • OBD, couldn’t agree more. The Canucks are just a tough guy or two away from being a contender.
      They’re ok but just not belligerent enough – Brian Burke for GM maybe? I know he’s a lousy skater and doesn’t know how to tie a tie but he talks tough – a good start?

  12. #1 Center
    Seems everybody wants or needs one except maybe for Oilers / Avs / Pitts (who really have two).
    Anyone trading for a #1 Center will over pay, ask Nashville and what they paid for Johansen .
    There are 31 teams in the NHL and I doubt that there are more than 20 or so #1 centers in the NHL.
    Now I am saying that some teams play a center on the top line and they call him a #1 center, he may be their best center but he may not be a true #1 center. Go ahead and list 31 centers that you would consider to be a true #1 center, it starts to get iffy once you get in the mid teens. There are not 31 true #1 centers in the NHL. You can also screw yourself by trying to plug that hole. Take a look at the dumpster fire in Nashville trying to fix the center spot – Turris owed 12 Million. Johansen owed 40 million – Duchene owed 48 million and Bonino owed 4 million ( he also can play wing).

    Vancouver goalies – I’d keep both and play them both. Anaheim did that with Andersen and Gibson for a couple of years before deciding on Gibson. Now if one of the Vancouver goalies has to be exposed in the expansion draft then pick one to trade by the trading deadline but at least you will have 3/4 of a season to determine who to keep.

    • I think you’re confusing #1 center with elite centers

      Most players are not McDavid, so you can’t use guys like that as the bar.

      To say guys like Stamkos, Point, Mathews , Tavares, Zibanejad, Eichel is flat out insanity. And if every team is on line for the next McDavid and passing on the above named guys plus…. we’ll good luck with that!

      • “ To say guys like – *** are not #1 type centers***

  13. If I were a betting man & I am, methinks unless the Nucks get Markstrom under contract before free agency opens, the Avs are going to make a hard run at him.

    They have all kinds of cap space & that seems to be the one position this young group of true contenders in an upgrade in.

    On the goaltender topic, has anyone speculated about what the Bruins would do in net if Rask actually does retire??? Do they have any young tenders ready to step in & share the crease with Halak during a condensed season???

    • I’m speculating that Rask retires…. Lundqvist gets bought out by NY…. then signs cheap deal with Bruins.

  14. Demko is still unproven. Markstrom has done stellar in a contract year.

    Solution seems to be sign both to reasonable contracts and make a deal with Seattle to protect both.

    • Benning is going to attempt to resign Markstrom. The Canucks have been very patient with his development, (though the raw talent was always there), but there is a price point and a term that if exceeded, means Markstrom no longer works for their team. My guess the point is above $6 million and a three yeat term. This was undoubtedly higher pre-Covid, but times are very different now with the flat cap.

      • Hi Its Raining (nice handle BTW)

        100% agree

        If they can get Markstrom 3 @ $6M w/o an NMC; keep him for sure

        I’ve got strong confidence that 3 year term won’t cut it; and that Markstrom’s agent will insist on an NMC and will ask for more than $6M

        If a miracle happens and they get a 3@6 NMC ; and he falters; they can expose him and protect TD

        If he stays strong; they can work a side deal with Krakken to effectively protect both

        If Markstrom’s camp is firm on 6 or more years @ $6M or more ; with an NMC…. foolish IMHO for GMJB to sign off in that

        If that is the case… TD; sign a vet UFA goalie to push and mentor TD…. much cheaper in short term ; downside risk long term is not profound

    • As for the expansion draft, don’t turn yourself into knots like so many teams did last time. The Canucks are going to lose a player. Right now that would be Demko, by the time of the draft it could be someone else. There maybe a better goalie or two left open on other teams. Canucks should protect who they need to/who they must by contract, and then stop worrying about it.

  15. Honest request for your opinion.

    I’m, begrudgingly, a Sabres fan. (full disclosure: after 50 years, this off-season will decide if I continue to be)

    Why is it that they are not figured into any discussion regarding trades for players of value?

    Are they perceived to be that incapable or undesirable?

    Please be honest.


    • Heh TheMan_oss

      I think it’s a combination of new GM and uncertainty of direction in the team in general that has limited “talk” from sports journalists re trades surrounding Sabres

      There have been some murmurs/posts re Eichel and future; and of course the continued blurbs re Risto and Montour and Okposo and Reinhardt

      So this together would have less speculation than usual re Sabres

      My honest opinion is that there would be some trepidation of trading for a regular (bottom 6 and or bottom pairing) player from a team that has been on the low end for a while ; perhaps GMs not having confidence in them

      Eichel is not moving IMHO; Skinner @ $9 M after a down year and Covid will have little to no interest. Okposo is certainly not JJ but a very tough contract to move

      The 5 UFA Fwds ; just like most UFAs have little value as a team can pick them up for “free” after UFA season starts

      Dahleen and Joki are not being moved

      So really that leaves Johanson (who I doubt they move) Reinhardt; Risto; Montour; Miller; McCabe

      Miller and McCabe have nice cap hits; likely not moving; not being shopped

      So basically the “true” tradeables from Buffalo IMHO are

      Reinhardt; Risto; Montour;

      I’m a huge Montour fan… great trade possibility I think; would love him on Pens or Leafs

      Same re Reinhardt

      Risto I’m not as firm on; and Cap a little high for a player that to me is a bit of a gamble

      That’s my honest take

      Hope this helps

  16. TheMan. Actually, if you come here often enough, there’s been plenty of Sabre’s discussed in past. Especially when the Eichel stories about not being happy came out. Risto has been in rumors forever and Montour also. Usually Lyle posts whatever current news is out there and the discussion Is on topic of the day.

    • Thanks Slick, I come here every day and have for years to read Lyle’s great site and read all your opinions.

      I think I am being misunderstood. I am not, for one second, calling out Lyle and his work here. I love this site.

      I am asking the contributors if they feel the Sabres are so bad that hockey fans don’t ever expect them to make a splash in trades or as UFA’s.
      I understand the Sabres are mentioned lots in trade rumours, but they always seem to be in the “also called about x, but couldn’t get it done” category”
      I wondered if I was the only one who saw it that way.

  17. Pengy

    to VAN: BJugstad, ZAR, & Ruhwedel
    to PIT: Eriksson & 7th

    does that work? Since George vetoed the Bobby Ryan proposal

    • Hi IHC

      Keep the 7th

      JJ MUST be in the deal

      Not a chance ‘Nucks’ Jimbo will accept; but on behalf of Pens’ Jimbo the offer (non negotiable) is

      Bjug (50 % retained) ; JJ; CR (50 % retained) ; ZAR (50% retained)

      for Loui (25 % retained)

      • if you had a 1st you could have given a team your 1st to take JJ….


      • Hi IHC

        15th overall wouldn’t have cut it alone

        Again; buyout meets Mario/Ronny request to cut costs; while simultaneously moving Pens from a pretty fair possibility of missing playoffs next year (with 82 games of JJ) to very fair shot at 1st in Metro (zero games JJ)

        MM & JJ for a 7th in ‘33 ain’t cutting it now; ironically it was JJ playing in the Habs series that helped to depress MM’s trade value… no JJ … Pens beat Habs; and who knows ; beat Bruins maybe

        If that happened then

        MM & JJ for a 2nd ‘21 would not have been unreasonable as MM’s value would (with a win over Habs and Bruins) have been waaay more than it is now

  18. Thanks Slick, I come here every day and have for years to read Lyle’s great site and read all your opinions.

    I think I am being misunderstood. I am not, for one second, calling out Lyle and his work here. I love this site.

    I am asking the contributors if they feel the Sabres are so bad that hockey fans don’t ever expect them to make a splash in trades or as UFA’s.
    I understand the Sabres are mentioned lots in trade rumours, but they always seem to be in the “also called about x, but couldn’t get it done” category”
    I wondered if I was the only one who saw it that way.