NHL Rumor Mill – October 13, 2020

by | Oct 13, 2020 | Rumors | 118 comments

A look at the top remaining unrestricted free agents, three potential Canadiens’ trade candidates, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Winger Mike Hoffman, Evgenii Dadonov, Mikael Granlund and Ilya Kovalchuk, along with defenseman Travis Hamonic top Emily Sadler’s list of the best remaining players in this year’s NHL unrestricted free agent market.

Winger Mike Hoffman is among the best remaining players in this year’s NHL UFA market (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman and Dadonov are the best of the bunch but they could end up signing for considerably less than they hoped given the current economic climate. I wouldn’t be surprised if interested clubs are using the market against both wingers to drive down their asking prices.

The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger reported yesterday Granlund was in discussions with multiple teams and is whittling down his list to find the best fit. He doesn’t know if the Blue Jackets are among them.

Centers Erik Haula and Carl Soderberg, left-wingers Anthony Duclair and Andreas Athanasiou, and defenseman Sami Vatanen fill out the top-10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All four are on my recent listing of possible bargain signings.

The rest include centers Alex Galchenyuk, Derick Brassard and Joe Thornton, wingers Corey Perry, Colin Wilson, Matt Martin, Patrick Marleau and Conor Sheary and defenseman Zdeno Chara.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Stars bringing back Perry on another affordable one-year deal. A recent report claimed the San Jose Sharks could bring back Marleau. Thornton could also be back with the Sharks while Chara is expected to return with the Boston Bruins.


TVA SPORTS: The Montreal Canadiens’ signing of winger Tyler Toffoli yesterday leaves the club sitting above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $353K. They’ll have to offload over $1 million to become cap compliant before the start of next season. Trade options could include Jordan Weal ($1.4 million), Paul Byron ($3.4 million) and Joel Armia ($2.6 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byron has three seasons left on his contract. TVA Sports noted he has two 20-goal seasons on his resume but his production declined due to injuries over the last two seasons. His cap hit could make him the most difficult to move.

Armia or Weal are more affordable but they probably won’t have as much value as Byron in the trade market. The Canadiens have 14 picks in next year’s draft so perhaps one of those selections could be packaged with one of those players as a sweetener.

The Canadiens also have eight defensemen under NHL contract for next season. Brett Kulak surfaced in recent trade chatter so perhaps there might be a market for him. Kukak is signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $1.85 million.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites three sources claiming the Bruins have shown interest in MacKenzie Weegar. The rugged 26-year-old defenseman recently filed for salary arbitration. Word around the league is the Panthers have been shopping Weegar for some time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy points out Weegar’s a right-hand shot while the Bruins’ biggest need is a left-shot defenseman. He also wonders how the Bruins will address the departure of Torey Krug.


  1. And the blue light specials have arrived…a couple of teams over the cap already and still need to fill out a roster. Could get interesting. Ottawa still needs to get to the floor.

    • Hi redmonsters

      Sens still have RFAs Brown, Tierny, Balcers and Paul to sign… that will move something towards the basement

    • Good morning

      really weird that Benning and the Nucks sign Schmidt ..for almost 6 million for a 3rd rounder …but let go of Tanev for nothing and he signs for almost $2 million less …??

      What is up with that …why not just keep it internal ?

      This s a really weird move unless Benning is going to package something or flip the player ?

      • Cause Schmidt is twice the d man Tanev is at this point.

      • @ Chrisms

        Not so sure about that kind of increase …that would warrant that for quality is Schmidt $1.5 million AAV and a 3rd round pick better than Tanev for 6 years ??

        He justy acquired Schmidt for Markstrom money …and gave up a 3rd doing so //he then could have had Tanev and Markstrom at that price he just paid for Holtbly and Scmidt ??

        Just saying !

      • The plan I’m sure is to be handing the reins to demko. Paying markstrom for term and more money would have been foolish. Gamble? Maybe. But a good one. Holtby at two years and cheaper isn’t a huge downgrade and fits the timeline. And Tanev at best is a bottom pair guy at this point. Schmidt is a legit top 4.

      • I don’t get the Tanev hate on these boards. I agree that Schmidt is a better player than Tanev at this point, but calling him a bottom pair Dman at best is a stretch. He was just playing on the top pairing with Hughes in Vancouver, though I think the middle pairing he’s slotted at in Calgary makes most sense.

      • But Kal El, was he prepared to give a soon-to-be 31 y/o goalie a SIX year contract at $36 million? Was anyone else but Treviling?

      • Chad, please, there is NO “hate” here … please drop that 21st Century InterNet buzzword … there are differences of opinion on his ability and durability … but there is absolutely no “hate”

        hate (verb): feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone). Equally misplaced synonyms would be despise, detest, loathe

        Does anyone know how that creeped into everyday mundane use?

      • George O. My apologies. Why is there such a strong dislike for his game? Forsooth, it’s as though he is a pedantic message board user to be so detested.

      • LOL. Much better … but too long – why not simply “overrated?”

    • Boychuck + 2 nd to Ottawa?

      For? Melted ice?

  2. Penguins would like Duclair please and thanks

    3rd line of McC Duclair Poulin would be very nice 👍

    Re Marleau…. if every players value due to Covid has diminished …. then mapping that formulae onto Marleau is going to have him over paid… as he (by CBA) has to receive league min

    The only reason he’s coming back is to get the record off of Howe

    • Would love Duclair and AA to head to LA. They have cap room, roster spaces and can use the talent.

      Carter/Kopitar/Brown (down low line)
      Duclair/Byfield/AA (fast line)
      Iafallo/Kempe/Wagner (forget who plays c but versatile line)

      • Hi IHC

        Don’t see it happening but that Duclair, Byfield , AA line would be speedy

      • Pengy I do not see it happening either, but as you and I agree, would be a fun speedy line to watch.

    • I imagine he would rather not go down in history as the player to play the most games without ever winning a Stanley Cup, a record he currently hold by a fair margin. Only Joe Thornton, among active players, is within 100 games of him and also hasn’t won!

      That’s certainly a motive to try one more time as well. I’d like to see both Joe and Marleau win a cup but it seems unlikely at this point for both of them.

    • If poulin makes team where is there room for duclair? The bottom six has

      Zar- our to start season

      Add another name you get crowded.

      • ZAR had surgery in August I believe. Minimum six month recovery at least, so he’s not expected back until mid to late February. I’m quite certain GMJR would not hold back signing a DuClair or Martin or anyone because of ZAR. At that point, ZAR could be moved. For all his grit and defensive work, his offensive game has really taken a serious hit.

      • Hi Chrisms

        Pens at 23 now; $2.6 in space… Poulin up dropping any other player down at most drops them to $2.4M (he’s at $0.9 M … so at least $0.7 M goes down … they can’t go over 23 man roster to start)

        If it’s say Sceviour … and Poulin up… Pens at $2.9 M…. someone else has to go down to make room IF (big if) they try for Duclair … so that’s $3.6 M to $3.7 M ….. enough to try an offer on Duclair

        Tight but doable

        My preference though for sure is sign say Bowey for 3RD and send CR to WBS…. that’s wiser

        Not sure how long ZAR will be on the LTIR

        I posted earlier a tongue n cheek (but not really LOL) trade with Bruins

        Rusty and CR for DeBrusk and Lauzon

        Sid Guentz Kappy

        Gino Zuck DeBrusk

        McC Poulin Duclair

        Blueger Turbo ZAR (Jankowski until ZAR is back)

        Jankowski, Rodrigues



        Lauzon/ Matheson


        TJ/ DeSmith (Lagace if one gets injured)

        That line up can fit in the cap… and IMHO … is fav for winning Metro

        If the only move is Bowey:

        Sid Guentz Kappy

        Gino Zuck Rusty

        McC Poulin Jankowski

        Blueger Turbo ZAR (Rodrigues until ZAR is back)

        Rodrigues, Sceviour



        Bowey/ Matheson


      • Forgot about sceivior. That’s 7 bottom six to start with. 8 when zar comes back. One more d man then good to go.

      • Zar if you are an advanced stats guy was among the best d forwards in the league. I wouldn’t move him. If only he could stay healthy.

      • Hi Chrisms

        No I certainly wasn’t thinking move ZAR… It’s only putting his replacement in until he returns from LTIR

        3RD is the key move..l can’t believe Stetcher blew by Jimbo at 2 @ $1.7 M 🤬😡😭

        At the very least Jimbo should be calling Bowey’s agent and Duclair’s dad

      • Man. I also forgot laff. 9 bottom 6ers in Pittsburgh currently.

    • Pens fans would rather have Martin … this team is SOFF …

    • Pengy…..what if Tampa bay retains 50% of Tyler Johnson’s salary..he comes in a $2.5 million.

      .or even if they retain just $2 million he comes in at $3 million
      Tampa has to move him and retain salary

      He would b a perfect third line center for us jankowski McCann can also play wing..

      We have about $2 million in cap space.. you can move DeSmith. $1.25 million you can.move rudwhedel $700,000. You can move rikola $1 million. Thats $2.95 million…

      We drafted two goalies we have good young defensemen coming..

      The metropolitan division is strong and teams are getting better..

      We could sign codi ceci cheap to play with matheson..

      • How could you move desmith?

  3. George hope you are ok since today I hear the #3 pick Stutzle is going in for surgery…. hope he recovers well buddy….

    • Yeah, saw that ihateCrosby

      “The team said Stutzle, who the Senators selected third overall in last week’s draft, sustained the injury on Monday is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks after surgery on Wednesday.”

      6 to 8 weeks takes him to about Dec 7 – the start of the season is very tentatively scheduled for Jan 1 – but more likely Feb 1 or, as Lyle has surmised, realistically March 1, Plenty of time for recovery and whatever re-hab is necessary.

      I have a feeling we’ll be hearing more such injuries as most drafted players will be working out in situations not controlled by their NHL teams, including quite a few assigned to various teams throughout Europe.

      Let’s hope not.

      • Ya….. was hoping he had “warm up time” with some of his new team mates to get some acclimation going before the season start for us fans to get a glimpse…but all in due time.

        Work out injuries bc no spotters due to 6 ft social distance in gyms perhaps…like ya said…might see more reports incoming on draftees and other players around the league

  4. Bruins….. LD…. scoring winger with some size & and toughness on the bottom 6

    Good Luck

    • Craig Smith counts as a scoring winger with size and he does play a physical game. I’m not sure he’s the perfect fit on Krejci’s wing but an improvement over the revolving door they’ve had there in recent years.

      I suspect they will come away with either Dadonov or Hoffman this offseason, and have Smith on the 3rd line. Or perhaps Duclair if neither of those 2 pan out.

      I would have thought Boston would have been in on Schmidt if he were offered to them. It seems like VGK were in such a rush to sign Petro (when no one else was going to) that they gave Schmidt away for next to nothing.

      • I agree that Smith was a solid and underrated signing, but I don’t see the Bruins signing either Hoffman or Dadanov. Re-signing Debrusk will eat up a fair amount of space and they have to sign a solid D-man, be it Chara or someone new.

      • I agree about the VGK giving Schmidt away.

        I can’t understand why Dubas wasn’t in on this player? Cost controlled, RHD was what they were looking for. That he was acquired for a 3rd rounder is like trading Schmidt for a lottery ticket.

        Looks like they’ll still have to move out some salary…who goes next?

      • Daryl, I can’t understand why most of the other 29 teams weren’t in on Schmidt. Not like RD of that quality and reasonable cap hit grow on trees. I’m sure, had Dubas known of his availability THAT cheap he would have moved on it before signing Simmonds and Bogosian.

        I can’t believe his availability at that price wasn’t known to the rest as I’m sure the return for Vegas would have been much better – not cap better, of course, but certainly a pick and a prospect – and whether some like it or not, I still would have offered Brannstrom with at least a 4th.

    • Hey DM and Howard, agree on the Smith signing. I like it as he can play on either line and gets his goals 5 vs 5. They don’t need help on the PP based on the last few years.
      A 3rd for Schmidt seems like a steal to me, and agree the B’s need a LD more than anything.
      I think they can get DeBrusk and Grezlyk for $6M or less, unless they look to do longer term, which means Schmidt would have made it tough. Chara? they could use him and delegate Moore to 7th D-man, but he will eat up more space.
      Weegar seems like a nice add, but doesn’t that leave a hole in FLA’s lineup?
      Not sure what Sweeney is up to.

    • I agree guys, I am not sure what Sweeny’s plan is here. I thought it was time to get rid of Moore/Ritchie and there contracts, and bring in a scorer, but knows.

      If they could sign hoffman to play second line with Krejci and Kase and slide studnicka to wing with smith and Coyle we have a solid set of lines and scoring. Posisbly Debrusk would help bring in a solid LD via trade.

      On a side note, I really don’t understand the Miller signing on D . we already have a log jam on the right side.

      • I still wouldn’t count out OEL to Boston. I know he had deadline, but you never know.

      • I think they like Miller’s toughness Greatgonzo. The guy plays hard, is physical and will step up when required.
        Character guy who is cheap, and if you have to send him down no biggie vs the cap.
        His injuries were kind of a freak thing.
        I think he broke the same kneecap twice in different spots, blocking shots. Some better shin pads and should be fine!
        I think the B’s carry 8 d men and rotate the bottom guys.
        Miller was a pretty good player before the kneecaps got him. Good low risk move IMO.

  5. redmonsters, Dorion currently sits at $53,712,499 with $27,787,501 to sign 7.

    Four of those will be RFAs Connor Brown ($2.1 mil), Chris Tierney ($2,937,000) Rudolfs Balcers ($759,167) and Nicholas Paul ($650,000), and when that signings are done we’re probably looking at around $10 mil combined, so right there they are over the floor of $60.2, and still with around $17 mil to sign 3.

    RD Jaros is also an RFA but it’s doubtful that whatever he re-ups for will be part of the 23-man roster – remaining in the AHL.

    But Formenton ($747,500 ELC) is a good bet to make it as is one of the either Zub ($925,000) or Brannstrom ($863,333) as the 7th D-man. My bet is Zub, so his cap hit combined with Formenton’s brings them up another $1,672,500 to be well beyond the cap floor. And they’ll still have about $15 mil to sign 1. And on that possibility, Dorion will remain patient because there are still over 12 needing to shed space to re-up their free agents.

    What he doesn’t need to do – and won’t do – is get involved in albatross contracts or iffy players whose only attraction is the fact their take-home pay is well below their cap hit.

    • George What’s you feeling on Boychuck? Would you take a 2 nd rounder for him?
      He has less actual cash left on his contract which is up in 2 years.

      Maybe a good influence on a young team and is a well loved player in the locker room.
      As long as they don’t wear him out, by playing him 82 games, he might be a good fit.

      • Nevinsrip, If there wasn’t 2 years to go at $6 mil per …. but the guy also turns 37 right around the projected start of the season. Also, not sure what you mean when you say “Would you take a 2 nd rounder for him?”

        Would I, if Ottawa, take him and a 2nd rounder … or would that be the cost to Ottawa? I’m sure Lou would jump all over that … but with the way their D is shaping up, I don’t see Ottawa taking him on for 2 years regardless of which way that pick was going.

        Now Leddy at 2 years at $5.5 per is a horse of a different colour.

      • Thanks George, I meant Boychuck PLUS a 2 nd rounder for a 7 th round pick in 2035.
        Something akin to Stall’s trade.

        Bouychuck deal was front loaded so he is only owed 5 million a season.
        Leddy was backloaded, so he is owed 7 million per year.

        It’s a straight dump. But Ottawa seems like a perfect fit.

        I don’t know what they paid Hainsy, but it would seem to be similar fit.

      • As I said, maybe at 1 year but not two at $6 mil per because in that 2nd year they likely have to make room for D-men Thomson, Sanderson and Bernard-Docker and re-up RFAs Tkachuk, Logan Brown, Batherson, D-man Wolanin & Hogberg and in 2 years RFA Norris and UFA D Joshua Brown. All still likely with a flat cap.

        Dorion won’t get locked into that problem again, and a contract with less cash pay out than cap hit is not something he’s ever targeted. Contrary to what some think of Melnyk, he’s never dictated that approach as team policy.

        If someone overwhelmed him with a “sweetener” that was a can’t miss, sure Dorion would look at it – but a 2nd that figures to be well down the picking order anyway isn’t one of those.

  6. Duclair reportedly released his agent , represented himself and turned down a two year 3 million per offer from Ottawa ( this is what I have heard ) . He is going to be hard pressed to get better than that at this point.
    Schmidt to Vancouver was a steal at only a third round pick in return.

    • Anyone who gives him more than $3 mil and more than 2 years is an idiot. He still has a LOT to prove

      I thought that was more than a generous offer from Dorion, given the fact this guy has bounced around 5 teams since joining the league 6 years ago.

      Formenton says “thank you very much Anthony.”

      • Says the guy who wanted to give up Brannstrom and a sweetener for Nate Schmidt … who fetched a very pedestrian 3rd rounder … bwa ha ha

      • No need to repeat yourself Denis – big yuk – I answered your mocking guffaw in the other thread.

        And don’t even TRY and tell us that you thought Schmidt would go for a 3rd round pick. Period.

      • Is Duclair a younger Michael Grabner…all wheels and no finish?

        If he’s offered anything near $1M on a multi year contract he should jump at it.

    • Hi Pengy, I would be happy to see Duclair on JGP’s wing this season.
      We don’t see Ottawa as much as you guys do in Canada. But I do see them play the 3 NY/NJ teams and I’m up late at night, so I watch them play the late games when they are on the NHL network.

      I’m very excited to see what JGP brings to the table for the next 6 years.
      Lou stole him from the rest of the League. The Sens got great value in the deal, but the Isles got him locked up for basically the rest of his prime years. Excellent trade for both teams.

      Duclair had his best moments riding shotgun with JGP. And I think that if anyone can straighten this kid’s head out, it will be LL and Trotz.

      I wonder of LL and/or Trotz have asked JGP about Duclair.
      He’s my sleeper pick up in this years FA pool.
      I would rather take a chance on him than either of the two toothless Panther FA’s

  7. George, I am not sure if you saw my comment to you late yesterday, so I will repeat it:

    Please do not feed the troll. You know who. He rarely has anything worthwhile to say and when he does say something it is far too often sarcastic or mean spirited.

    You have stature here, don’t let him draw upon your credibility. I won’t respond to him anymore, neither with rattus. If others join us then maybe he will get the message and the content and tone on this site will improve.

    • LJ, is that dip-s*&t using more than one monicker?

      • If you mean a combination of names and numbers that would clearly be the perp.

        Book him, Danno.

      • You find it so shocking that there are others who disagree with you or like to point out times you were wrong much like you do, kettle?

      • And there’s Mr. Thin Skin. No Ron I do NOT mind when someone disagrees with me – never have – never will. I might argue my point but one thing I won’t do is tolerate a’holes who think they have to couch every response/opinion with juvenile guffaws and mocking “bwaaa ha has” – leave that in the schoolyard.

        What I find, with people like you, is that YOU can’t tolerate any criticism of the team you follow from anyone who is not a devoted fan and that, in response, the best you can come up with is crap like “oh yeah?? well we beat your Sens in three straight playoffs ….” as if that settles matters once and for all – even when the Sens were not part of the topics of the day and that that actually occurred in antediluvian times.

        It seems the only time you add anything substantial to these discussions is when you insert one of your imagined “zingers” to something I post.

        Actually – in retrospect and now that I think of it – I’m starting to take some perverse delight in the fact that I can repeatedly get under that cellophane layer of skin.

    • Hi LJ.

      Did you mean you won’t respond to me anymore or that you’re with me in not responding anymore to trolls?

      I sure hope it’s the latter.

      George, that was good advice regardless of whether I am also to be sent to Coventry.

      There are people who need you far, far more than you need them.


      • Rich: I meant that I won’t respond to the same troll you said you wouldn’t respond to. You are not a troll. Indeed, we have very few problematic posters here.

      • Thanks rattus rattus & LJ – appreciate that – I don’t mind good-natured ribbing on things we say in here or about the teams we follow – Hell, I can take as good as I give – but when some think they need to embellish with mocking superiority and the school-yard “bwaa ha ha” that’s where I draw the line.

        I got Denis Herron’s point that he felt a combination of Brannstrom and a mid- to low pick was overboard – that’s his opinion and fine – he’s entitled – but not in a way that suggests he knew all along that a 3rd – 2 years away 3rd by the way – was the best Schmidt would get. Because then that just borders on blatant BS.

        As far as I’m concerned Vegas got fleeced on that one as there is no way a little more dickering would have brought back a lot more. And also as far as I’m concerned, the 5′ 8″ and slight Brannstrom has dropped well down the pecking order in Ottawa’s D depth and isn’t even a lock to make the roster this coming season.

        As for Wendel – I get what you say –

        Again, that’s just my opinion. If he comes to camp and blows everyone away and shows he can be a factor back there despite his size, believe me, no one will be happier than me.

      • ” … dickering would not have brought back a lot more …”

  8. “With great sadness, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday announced the passing of an NHL legend. Mr. Free Agents Won’t Sign in Montreal was found dead at approximately 2:00PM yesterday. Foul play is suspected and authorities have targeted two suspected, whom reports identify as Marc Bergevin and Tyler Toffoli. Funeral arrangements are pending.”
    In all seriousness, this is a great signing by the Habs. Toffoli is certainly not Taylor Hall, but he’s a solid and consistent goal scorer, which is what the Habs need. TSN had him ranked as the No. 3 UFA forward.
    It is certainly true that the top UFAs over the years, such as Tavares, Panarin, Hall, etc. have not seriously considered Montreal – and I’m certainly not suggesting that’ll change. But how many teams in the NHL have signed top level free agents over the years. Those type of players usually do not hit the market. But the Habs have certainly signed their share of players that were the next level. Mike Cammalleri coming off a 39 goal season. Brian Gionta and Erik Cole, two solid scorers. Jeff Petry decided to re-sign rather than hit the market after being acquired as a rental. Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson (who should definitely be considered a UFA pickup) were solid adds as well. Even Karl Alzner, who turned out to be a terrible signing, was one of the top rated free agents that year and had many suitors. Maybe the aforementioned legend should now be permitted to Rest In Peace.

    • Montreal still has the issues of high taxes and overt fan/media scrutiny, Howard, and it did take the unexpected reversal of the cap to help make Montreal more appealing. But hey, we’ll take it, right!

      • My point is that they had signed several second tier guys even before the pandemic. Obviously I don’t expect the top guys to sign with the Habs but they can be competitive with the B listers. Don’t get me started on taxes – I really think it’s overrated as a factor for numerous reasons, several of which have been the subject of articles. Basically, those in the income stratosphere don’t pay like us regular guys. There are many ways to keep the bill lower than expected. Taxes are complicated especially for athletes. The teams in NY and California, two high tax states, never seem to have a problem signing the top free agents.

      • I think Montreal is potentially a desired place to sign. I think more than anything, management and where the team is now is more the issue… I mean when you offer sheet and it want a great one honestly, to a young star and he signs it means there’s a desire to play there. They just need to get there (a cup contender) first.

      • I think Montreal is a great city, and I am from Alberta!
        If you are a Canadian you get the joke.
        Great place to visit and I would imagine a great place to live.
        I also think the tax thing get’s over played on here sometimes. It matters but isn’t everything.
        Sure, we would all prefer to take home more $$ and I am guessing players are the same to varying degrees.
        But if we are discussing the top couple tiers of UFA’s they are most likely financially secure and consider multiple things when making this decision. The financial portion is just a part of it.
        To me it would be the living under a micro scope from fans and media that would get annoying. But if you have a good team, all good.
        MTL is a better team now IMO.

      • Love Montreal. Back in the day (younger days that is) we made frequent trips down old H-way 17 – and later 417 when we could cut the time from 2 hours to 1 1/2 – for multiple purposes, Habs at the Forum, football games at Delormier, later, baseball at Jarry and, of course, the night spots. Most cosmopolitan city in North America – pre “Quiet Revolution” anyway.

    • Bettman did his best aka nothing. How dare anyonr sign a contract in Canada, especially if you’re decent player. Poor Gary didn’t do anything, so all dollars with have similar value, in Canada, Arizona, Florida etc…why not?

  9. I really hoping that the Sens stay out of the Free Agent market and unless a really sweet offer comes along to utilize our cap space for one, two seasons MAX with a good asset, I hope they don’t get into trading either. Stay with the plan as we really just need some depth on the Right Wing (Top 6 RW) in the long term and if development goes well and ownership doesn’t mess it up, we have a good window coming.

    • The plan should be to start competing this year! Get to the playoffs this year cup competitor next year. Got to weaponize young stars on elcs cap space etc now. Especially during COVID times. Don’t make the same mistake Toronto did!

  10. At this point in the off season, the award for:

    Most Immediately Improved Canadian team: Habs. No elaboration needed, surely.

    Honorable Mention: Flames. Tanev doesn’t make up for the loss of Brodie but Markstrom a big improvement in goal.

    Team to Be Feared in Three Years: Ottawa. Again, no elaboration needed.

    Team that Went Sideways: Toronto: Improved D, at the cost of good bottom 6 players. Travis Boyd for Andersson, Simmons for Kappanen? Still out of balance, just in a different place.

    Honorable mention: Edmonton. Barrie a help, but not enough. Turris is unlikely to be a difference maker.

    Team That Has Backed Up: Vancouver. Recent addition of Schmidt doesn’t change the fact that Holtby is not equal to the value of Markstrom, and they lost scoring in Toffoli. D still rickety.

    Honorable mention: Winnipeg. To date have kept Laine, but Stastny hasn’t done much in the last several years and is 34. D still a patchwork of “who’s he.”

    As a Habs fan I am walking around with my thumbs in my suspenders, but I am trying not to be too cocky. There is likely to be more gifts provided to teams from Tampa and Vegas that could help any team not named Montreal on this list.

    And sadly for us all, who knows when, or if, there will be a next season.

    Am I sinner,or saint with this list?

    • Lj,

      Gonna have to pretty much entirely agree with your assessments.

    • LJ, the Habs were flirting with being a legitimate playoff team this past season, then shocked the hell out of Pittsburgh in the play-in. Since then they have added Anderson, Toffoli, Edmundson and Allen and if anyone thinks this, coupled with a partial season of added experience for the likes of Kotkaniemi and Suzuki, doesn’t makes them significantly better – especially facing a severely condensed schedule with two quality goalies – has blinders in place.

    • LJ I’m not sure the Leafs haven’t regressed. As much difficulty as Barrie had with them I don’t see Brodie as much of an upgrade. And we know Bogosisn will miss half the season with injury. Overall I see the Habs D as being better and with more depth. Reilly is likely better than any of the Habs D-men but after that, the Habs are noticeably stronger. Also the Leafs have basically traded away all of their secondary scoring. After the top 4, there’s not much there.

      • Howard, you might be right about the Leafs. But I have a friend who is a Leafs fan and we enjoy giving each other the gears over our teams.

        But even at my worst I don’t want to pile it on to the Leafs fans any more than Dubas is doing in real life. With one exception the Leaf fans here seem to be pretty decent sorts with a clear eyed view of their team.

      • Howard you are obviously entitled to your opinion but Brodie is much more responsible defensively than Barrie. I think you are viewing his problems when playing on the left side with Hamonic and Stone as partners under Gulutzan. He since regained his confidence being out back on the rt. side. Even without Gio he gas been quite good. As I mentioned to George a while ago I wonder how he will hold up to the media circus and extra scrutiny playing in Toronto

      • THAT is always the underlying question Ttutoine – especially when a veteran set in his ways goes there. Only veteran I know of who came in and gave the virtual finger to the media was Ed Belfour. Had a couple of really good seasons there before fading in the 3rd one.

    • Agree 100%

    • Sorry lj. Habs have improved but that Anderson trade is a bomb waiting to go off. I definitely wouldn’t get to cocky as most mont moves were not needle movers. Props to Toffoli though.

      What should get you excited as opposed to the weird and inconsequential comparison to the other Canadian teams is how little most of the Atlantic did. Tampa in a bind. Florida losing depth and gonna rely on lots of rookies. Biston no major move yet though smith was a smart move. Buff? Hall for one year but does anyone think he is it without goalie help? Toronto treading water. Sens need some marinating and Detroit needs more than that. Mont put themselves into contention with Boston and Tampa as team to beat in that division

      Now that is thumb hookin material

      • Chrisms, odd and inconsequential? That’s your privilege to say so. But Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto play in the eastern conference together, and in the West so do the Jets, Canucks, Oilers and Flames so I struggle to see your point about inconsequential when comparing them.

        I also struggle with your comment that Anderson is a bomb waiting to go off. He has yet to play a shift for the Habs. You won’t give him a season to show up?

      • I think it’s inconsequential insofar as all the Canadian teams don’t play in same division or even conference as all the rest. It would be like me comparing the pens offseason to every us team. Not really relevant.

        And I think acquiring Anderson for a player who fell out of favor was a good move. But that contract? Woof.

    • LJ…

      I don’t mind the list at all.

      I’d say EDM didn’t solve their #1 issue which is their goaltending. The loss of Klefbom will not be fixed by signing Barrie. I liked the Turris signing.

      I was shocked that VGK gave away Schmidt! There are plenty of teams looking for help on D, especially RHD.

      Really not sure what is going on in VAN? They had a surprising playoff run and Benning seems to have been asleep at the wheel. Great pick up of Schmidt but nobody saw that coming. I bet McCrimmon’s phone is lighting up today.

      Not too sure how I feel about the Leafs moves? Sideways is a good description.

    • Is this an all Canadian list or can anybody play?

  11. Kyle Dubas, NHL GM of the year….

    Said no one…..


  12. Vancouver Province has FA winners and losers article today.

    Loser-Montreal, overpaid for Anderson and Toffili
    Loser-Calgary, overpaid Markstrom and Tanev

    Winner-Canucks, great deal for Holtby and Schmidt

    Holtby is far from an upgrade in goal over Markstrom. Schmidt is an improvement over Tanev but costs 2 million more per season. No replacement for Stecher, no replacement for Toffili. Vancouver still has to resign Virtanen and has next to zero dollars to do so. Benning has weakened the overall team dynamic while pushing the cap to the limit.
    Its all in and win this coming season or the Canucks are screwed. Both Pettersson and Hughes will require new contracts after next season. Even if they sign bridge deals it will be at least 12 million more on their cap.

    Eriksson, Sutter, Beagle, Roussel contracts are the Canucks downfall. Heinously over paid, zero return on money spent and virtually untradeable.

    Well done Jimmy, well done.

    • I saw that column too Ron, and shook my head. The writer must be the Canucks’ press agent. I think you nailed it.

      • Wow! I knew that print media has been going through hard times but the Province must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel in their search for columnists. Brendan Kelly’s twin brother must be their sports editor.
        Any suggestion that the Habs overpaid for Toffoli is just ridiculous. Arguing that they overpaid for Anderson is a valid point but it cannot be overlooked that he had been a solid power forward prior to his injury plagued year last season and that he is the type of player the Habs needed.

      • Howard, I would have been tickled pink had the Sens acquired him. The ONLY thing that might give me cause for concern is that 7-year term – but not enough to say no to a deal.

    • We can all hope jimmy looks to the amazing moves philly made this offseason so he can learn the tools of the trade.

    • Never really paid much attention to the financial details, Ron, but looking at it now you see

      Eriksson $6,000,000 per for 2 more years
      Sutter $4,375,000 for 1 year
      Roussel $3,000,000 for 2 more years
      Beagle – $3,000,000 for 2 more years

      That’s $16,375,000 being spent on – to be charitable – questionable contracts in terms of comparable contributions to go along with $1,033,333 lost this coming season to Spooner buyout and $3,035,217 for 2 years for the Luongo “recapture penalty” (not sure if all are attributable to Benning).

      That’s over $20 million in a flat cap that is doing either not much or nothing at all for the franchise. At least Sutter comes off the books next year


      • That is pretty ugo for sure. That makes me wonder why the nucks are on such an upswing? Are their young players so strong that they overcome that level of mismanagement? And if so wow does that look good in a year or two when all that dead weight goes away. So long as Vancouver doesn’t replace it with more junk. Van is a team really looking up right now. I’m glad they are out west.

      • I just wish they had been able to keep Markstrom a bit longer. But yeah, good point about the rest of the team being eye-opening able to overcome the dead-weight.

      • I am not a chess player but I do play Bridge. Anticipating several moves in advance is what all the good players do (I am not claiming to be one). I agree that Ott and Van are in a good position for the ‘Next’ franchise moniker if they do not lose focus on where they are going. I am sure Vancouver thought it prudent to get Holtby for 2 years while Demko materializes into their starter. Signing Markstrom to a multi-year deal may straddle them with another Unicorn contract for an eventual backup goaltender.

      • GoHabsGo. C’mon you are criticizing Markstrom’s deal when your team has Carey Price “s albatross of a contract. Give your head a shake.

      • Oh, I agree with what you say on long-term for Markstrom GoHabsGo … looking back I see where I should have elaborated more when I said “I just wish they had been able to keep Markstrom a bit longer.” – by which I meant, it’s too bad he became a UFA now and not, say, a year or two later at $3,666,667 per.

        As it is, the guy turns 31 in January and will be pushing 38 when his $6 mil cap hit expires in Calgary in 6 years.

      • You’re likely right, Gohabsgo, I am sure without Demko things might have played out differently but Markstrom deserves to be paid now and Van doesn’t need to be paying him later.

      • George, Markstrom was the #1 goalie available on the ufa market. He came in cheaper than Matt Murray

      • He did Ttutone … but he’s also 5 years older. And although Murray cost $250,000 more his deal is for 4 years while Markstrom got 6.

        Over the life of the deals Murray will cost $25 mil – Markstrom $36 mil.

        At the end of his deal Murray will be 30 – Markstrom will be pushing 37

  13. I do not understand both the Avs and Canes going forth with the same goalie tandems

    • Reimer and Mrazek are both under one-year-left deals. Both are adequate. No need to make a panic move this year. They do, however, have to make a decision on G’s for the following year, including both roster spots and Kraken-fodder.

      I wouldn’t rule out CAR for getting Kuemper’s services soon. Especially now that ARZ has to honor OEL’s contract.

    • Perhaps they tried to change it up, ds, but it could be they simply found it to be a question of no viable dance partners. Besides none of Grubaur, Francouz, Reimer or Mrazek were sieves in the net – in fact, all had pretty good stats season and playoffs (well, maybe not Francouz in the playoffs)

      • I agree the goalies did not lose the series for either team but both rosters are so good and ready now.

      • Francouz tried to play hurt, didn’t go well.
        IMO COL is the best team in the NHL outside TB, and their lineup is better other than in net.
        Maybe at the deadline he makes a move.

      • Didn’t know that about Francouz Ray – would certainly explain the dip in performance.

      • Hi Ray

        I don’t challenge on how good Avs are; they are tops in Central for sure; but I think as of this very minute… Knights overall are a tad better… certainly not much, but better

        That’s this minute… they have to make a move to get under… and it’s likely Martinez…. so we’ll see who replaces him

        This current team was one Khudobin away from 2nd SC appearance in 3 years

        The changes as at now

        Petro in Schmidt out….big big uptick

        Statsny replaced by Glass.. bigger, faster, 14 years younger

        Merrill replaced by Dhalstrom… big uptick

        The only down is Cousins replaced by unknown depth forward… so TBD on that

        Just my opinion.. but as at right now… if Knights were to meet Avs in WCF.. I’d have to give the edge to Knights

  14. Oh sh!t, Gallagher’s agent just went to the press about contract negotiations with the Habs!!!!!

    That never ends well for either party!!!

    • Went public on Twitter, not to the press, who did pick up on it immediately in Montreal!!

  15. Don’t know about Bergevin – but God help anyone who ever did anything that with Pollock in Montreal or Imlach in Toronto and, I imagine, Lou Lamoriello today

    • A definite no-no in Habsville!!!!

      Strange that the agent would do that with a full year left to negotiate????

      Just hope I don’t have to move that jersey over to the side of the closet with the Koivu, Subban, Chelios & Richer jerseys!!!

      The #12 Cournoyer jersey has it’s own place in the closet.

  16. CapFreindly says Marleau signed a 2-way contract with Sharks… good on Sharks… forces Marleau to prove himself enough to stay in line-up to take Howe’s record

    • Pengy, I think Marleau can handle the pressure.
      C’mon, man!

  17. re: season start. Florida may be unique in that our governor has authorized 100% for outdoor stadia, and per our rep anticipates same for indoors by Jan 1. Lightning have plans for fan loads of 10% to 66% in the works but are not internally planning for 100%. Interestingly, have informally notified this STM who asked that there will be lotteries for games, and that single game opportunities will be included in any required lotteries, it won’t be just STM’s. They are doing season ticket sales and seat selection as if normal full 82 game season. Internally they have some schedules that overlap planned summer Olympics…will NBC be only national outlet? Maybe they aren’t calling shot. All customer service staff have been called back.

    I hope like heck that we can have a full season and that all the service people who make the games possible for us can get back to earning a living; it takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes to put on a professional hockey game.

    We’re talking here about players and their salaries, but sometimes it’s good to remember that the zamboni driver has a family to. I reupped an kept up my payments the day the team announced it was keeping everyone on the payroll on some basis. The players are taking a hit under escrow; and have short careers. Sometimes they are called things like “slugs” here. They aren’t hunks of meat, and many top out in the minors or with one small deal yet for every guy one the ice there are ten in the organization also getting paid.

    The worst player in the NHL is a heck of a hockey player.

    • So true, Richard. And it’s not like the Zamboni driver and all the other support employees have even a minimum NHL contract – hell, even an AHL contract – with which to have built up a nest egg – never mind the multi-millionares.

      Applies right through all professional sports right now

  18. Bruins making news .. Marchand
    sports hernia 4 month recovery time Pasta knee surgery 5 months recovery time if season starts January 1st neither will be ready ……someone wake Sweeney up

    • Relax Joe – as with the Stutzle surgery requiring 6 to 8 weeks – there is no need to worry since I doubt very, very much the NHL gets under way Jan 1 – OR Feb 1. I agree with Lyle’s contention that a more logical date, given the dramatic rise in Covid-19 all over the globe, and the need for a viable vaccine to be manufactured, distributed AND administered all over the globe, and a return to team travel and live crowds, that March 1 looks like a more realistic start date. And I’m sure the teams know that very well despite all the misleading optimism spouted by Bettman and Daly.

      • George, there is no need for a viable Covid-19 vaccine. The WHO has already stated there should be no more lockdowns. After Nov 3rd, I expect a dramatic shift in the narrative. The coronavirus has been blown way out of proportion for political reasons.

        Yes, it is extremely serious if you become infected and have underlying health issues. But for the young and the healthy, the virus is not lethal – not even in the same ballpark as the Spanish Flu. We are smart enough to manage the virus by protecting the vulnerable and allowing everyone else to live their lives.

        End of opinion – a preamble to say that I expect the NHL to start up back up in January.

      • H-O-G: Head line in today’s Vancouver Sun:

        More than75% of patients admitted to hospital reported abnormal symptoms later.

        And this is not just the old folks. So you may have plenty of room around you and good seat selection if you choose to attend a hockey game before a vaccine is found.

  19. All this Bruin talk didn’t they win the league this year weren’t they in final 2 years ago. Bruins will be fine take a chill pill and we’ll talk in 6 months. Pretty sure Sweeney won like GM of the year or something.

  20. Still waiting for the Leafs to add their difference maker….

    • Ron, Leafs just signed Aaron Dell. Is that good enough for you? — lol

      At least Dubas finally learned the lesson on the necessity of depth in goal. I thought that was covered in the first day of Lou’s class.