NHL Rumor Mill – October 21, 2020

by | Oct 21, 2020 | Rumors | 26 comments

The latest on the notable remaining unrestricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Mike Hoffman remains atop the list of players still available in the 2020 unrestricted free agent market. The 30-year-old winger tallied 29 goals and 59 points in 69 games last season with the Florida Panthers.

Mike Hoffman remains atop the list of the best remaining NHL unrestricted free agents (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Adam Vingan reports Hoffman’s agent claims 13 teams are interested in his client, with five or six that he considers serious. However, he feels those clubs are paralyzed a bit by the flattened salary cap. He also said the winger has no issue signing a one-year contract.

Vingan speculates the Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators could be among those suitors. He thinks Hoffman could draw a salary between $5 million and $8 million on a one-year deal.

NBC Sports’ James O’Brien, however, lists Hoffman among his “buyer beware” players. He suggests his offensive impact is overstated while he contributes little defensively.

Center Erik Haula and wingers Corey Perry, Mikael Granlund and Anthony Duclair round out the top five. Defensemen Sami Vatanen and Zdeno Chara, winger Andreas Athanasiou, center Carl Soderberg and defenseman Travis Hamonic complete the top-10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Brien also includes Duclair and Athanasiou in his “buyer beware” category, saying teams will be getting some offense at the expense of abysmal defense from those players. Granlund, however, is considered a safe free-agent bet.

Chara was expected to return for another season with the Bruins, but GM Don Sweeney seems to be leaving that up to the big blueliner, whose agent claims other clubs have expressed an interest in his client. No word on what’s going on with Perry but I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns for another season with the Stars.

The Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators have been suggested as destinations for Vatanen but there’s no indication he’s in discussions with those teams. Nothing of note regarding Hamonic, though the speculation linking him to the Winnipeg Jets hasn’t gone away.

Other notables still available include Ilya Kovalchuk, Matt Martin, Conor Sheary, Michael Frolik, Colin Wilson, Alex Galchenyuk, Andy Greene and Drake Caggiula.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation the Montreal Canadiens would bring back Kovalchuk but their acquisitions of Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli probably puts an end to that idea. Martin is reportedly in talks with the New York Islanders, who’ve indicated Greene could also return next season.

Sheary, Wilson and Caggiula should land somewhere on inexpensive one-year deals. Frolik and Galchenyuk have declined in recent years and could have difficulty drumming up interest in their services around the NHL.


  1. “Notables???” In what respect other than the fact they all have appeared in the NHL. Kovalchuk is a relic. The others just fill a roster spot better suited to an ELC prospect.

    They’ll be knocked further down the list once a few more RFAs join the ranks of the UFAs when they can’t reach agreements either suitable to them or the team.

    • Musical chairs and the seats are filling out.

  2. Hoffman at $8m to quote Tool Time ,
    “ I don’t think so Tim A lot loser to $5m
    I think that list will sit for quite a while. At least until there is a firm return to play.
    Glad to see World Juniors going ahead (without fans and in a bubble) . At least something to look forward to . All the eligible stars will be available .

    • Id think if anyone offered anything remotely close to 8 million Hoffman would already be signed sealed and delivered.

      • You got it.

        “Hoffman’s agent claims 13 teams are interested in his client, with five or six that he considers serious. However, he feels those clubs are paralyzed a bit by the flattened salary cap.”

        That’s agent ploy to suggest suitors are elbowing each other to get to the head of the line in the rapidly fading hope of getting a truly serious offer. The revealing comment was that his client has no issue with signing a one year contract.

        What struck me as hilarious, though, was his sage observation that the interested clubs “are paralyzed a bit” by the flat cap. A bit? Try “totally.”

      • Maybe Vegas is trying to find someone to take Pietrangelo for a 4th round pick so they have the space to toss 8 million at Hoffman.

        SOOOOOOO why is Montreal interested ?
        If they didn’t sign Andersen for 7 yrs @ 5.5 million a year they would have the space to sign Hoffman. I am still trying to figure out why Andersen and why had to be sooo much for soooo long and sooooo quickly.
        It’s not like they are playing next week and had to get the deal done.

  3. With regards to the expansion draft and the 2020 -2021 regular season.

    A player with less then 40 games played last season or less then 70 games over the last two season doesn’t have to be protected.

    It doesn’t appear the NHL will be able to do an 82 game regular season, for a variety of different reasons.

    If the regular season is 72 games will the games played be scaled down accordingly, so instead of 40 games it would be 35 games?

    • Hello Caper, the longer this delay goes the less games played I am starting to envision (as I believe others have suggested) that they play schedule similar to 2012–13 NHL lockout, 48 games, I believe February start and playoffs start in May. The other rumblings that could cause some pain is the issue of prorated salaries. No idea how that will be addressed.

    • Good and important question.
      My question is why Seattle is not asking NHL to postpone entering the league for at least a year.
      1) The city of Seattle is a dumpster fire and working class is trying to leave, ( Boeing has already announced they are leaving Washington)
      2) Kind of hard to plan a budget when there is a strong chance that there will be no fans in the stands. I would think at this point, why have a draft if you have no way of paying the players. They can cut their losses by a huge amount by just backing off a year.

      • Boom/Bust. Assuming this next season will also end later than normal, expansion draft will already be delayed. Seattle not starting play until 21/22 season. And who knows if they’ll be back on track schedule wise. By then, I’ll assume that vaccine has been widely administered and there will be at least partially filled arenas. They already stopped taking deposits on season tickets and have started a waiting list. As far as Seattle being a dumpster fire? Not sure what that means except maybe political bs pushed on cable news. Boeing isn’t moving out of Seattle. (They’re in Everett, not Seattle)They’re moving production of one of their planes to another facility in SC., as pandemic has slowed need for aircraft. Plant in Washington will still be open, but they’re losing jobs.

    • Caper,

      I think the rule is that each team must expose at least two forwards and one defenceman who has played in at least 40 NHL games the prior season, or a combined 70 games in the previous two. Teams still have to protect the players.

  4. Still would like to see Boston sign Andreas Athanasiou 26yrs old 6’2′ and can fly, Oiler didn’t qualify, he is certainly worth the gamble he knows by now no one is giving him the $$$ he wants but another 2yr deal at $3m. He’s an easy 20 goal scorer.

    • He can fly … but judging by his career +/- it’s only in one direction. Not much point in being a 20 goal scorer if you’re on the ice for an average of 21 against

      • Why is Hoffman still around?

        Locker room cancer.

        Yeah, I really wonder why…

      • George. That’s pretty funny. But,to be fair, he was -45 playing for a pretty bad Detroit team this past season. He’s actually scored more goals than his career +|-…

      • I’m not trying to diss the poor bugger, Slick62 – but since he figures to come pretty cheap for whoever he signs with, and if his vaunted speed wasn’t marred by other deficiencies, don’t you think he would have been snapped up by now – even by Detroit again? Or Ottawa? Or New Jersey? Or L.A.? Some team with lots of cap space and looking to improve!

        Galchenyuk was never accused of being slow – but he’s another who has fallen out of favour obviously. As, it’s beginning to seem, has Anthony Duclair.

        It seems their shortcomings have caught up to them.

    • I agree Caper. Safer bet than too much money with Hoffman! I’d also like to see the Bruins try and scoop up Madison Bowey. He is also 6’2, only 25years old and put up some respectable numbers with Detroit last year. I’d slide him in ahead of Clifton.

      • You don’t want Bowey, the kid is a turnover machine. Yes he might give you some points but no doubt he gives up twice as many or more than he gets, he is not a good investment.

      • AZWingsFan, I was wondering why he was still available. Thank you for the input.

  5. Defence and sacrifice . Has Hoffman or A.A ever blocked a shot ? Taken a hit to make a play ? Stood up for a teammate ?
    I will give the Hoff has a God-given finish. One year $5m if you have the room. A.A less than $3m. Maybe even less than $2m.

    • SilverSeven, they will if they sign in Columbus.

  6. Million dollar legs and a ten cent brain

    • Yep, there’s a reason a guy that has had that sort of offensive output can’t seem to find a permanent home. Ottawa dumps him in a trade with SJ who doesn’t even hold onto him for 3 hours before flipping him to Florida for picks who, in turn, seemed to be ready to deal him almost from the time he got there and who now, despite over $11 mil in cap space, still haven’t made overtures to re-sign him (at least, not according to any “rumours”).

  7. From afar it has the looks of lean times are ahead for the Bruins …. not what they lost this year thru UFA but next year WOW they will have 7 UFA and 4 RFA…. and it seems Jacobs has reeled in his cap $$$ as of now and it looks like the players in the Bruins system will get their shot very soon hope they are ready & able

    • With no fans in the arenas, means no ticket sales. I think a lot of teams are reeling in the cap right now. So many Bruins fans say Jacobs is cheap. He was years ago, but he does allow the team to go to the cap ceiling now. That’s not cheap! I also think the hesitation this year on Boston’s part is because of next year’s free agents. Add to that, they have quit a few prospects ready to make the next step. Does that mean on the team or for trade purposes.

      Vaakanienan, Zboril, Lauzon, Clifton, Bjork, Frederic, Studnicka and a few others need to get some big club time. Chara may be gone, or soon to be, Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand, Rask, and Halak can’t play forever.

      I think they need to resign Debrusk or trade him in a package for a top four dman!

      Next year they need to resign, Krejci, if he will take a little less, otherwise let him go. Same goes for Rask. Depending on how Kase plays this year, get him resigned and lock up Carlo long term. The rest are prospects on the buble that will easily be retained if needed since they have no arbitration rights.

  8. Fitzgerald should roll the dice and sign Hoffman, AA and Duclair, all to 1 years deals. Ruff could play them on a line together, a coach’s dream and nightmare all rolled into one. That line could be +12 one night and -12 the next.