NHL Rumor Mill – October 24, 2020

by | Oct 24, 2020 | Rumors | 33 comments

Another look at the top remaining UFAs, including suggested destinations for Mike Hoffman, plus the latest on the Islanders and Jets in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE SCORE: listed a roundup of the best available players by position. The top wingers include Mike Hoffman, Anthony Duclair, Mikael Granlund, and Andreas Athanasiou. Sami Vatanen, Travis Hamonic, Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene top the listing of defensemen, while Erik Haula and Carl Soderberg are among the best remaining centers. Goaltenders include Craig Anderson, Jimmy Howard, and Ryan Miller.

Unrestricted free agent winger Mike Hoffman (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some decent depth remains among the wingers and defensemen, but not so much among the centers. All the goaltenders are past their best-before dates.

SPORTSNET: listed the Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes as potential destinations for Mike Hoffman. Those clubs are in need of scoring depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Hoffman the best player remaining in the market and activity in the free-agent market slowed to a crawl by the flattened salary cap, the latest guessing game among fans and pundits is figuring out where the 30-year-old winger could go. He reportedly seeks a one-year deal worth $6 million.

Hoffman’s agent recently said up to 13 teams have expressed an interest in his client, with five or six of those serious. The Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings have also been suggested, plus there’s been the odd speculation about Hoffman rejoining the Florida Panthers or Ottawa Senators.


THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple listed Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ladd, Thomas Hickey and perhaps Leo Komarov as potential cost-cutting trade candidates for the New York Islanders. A sticking point is teams could be asking for the Isles 2021 first-round pick. Staple wondered if general manager Lou Lamoriello could be comfortable including that pick. He has an extra second-round pick in 2022, or he could use his second-round picks to trade for a first-round pick.

Trade partners would be clubs with plenty of salary-cap space such as the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, or New Jersey Devils. What complicates things is there are a half-dozen clubs over the cap that must shed salary, plus four others (including the Islanders) that are close to the ceiling.

Staple isn’t concerned about Isles center Mathew Barzal becoming an offer-sheet target as there aren’t many clubs with sufficient cap space to blow him away with a big offer. He considers it unlikely Barzal would sign with Detroit or New Jersey. Nashville would be squeezed for cap space in 2021-22 with two goalies to sign while joining the New York Rangers would “ignite a true war”. Staple also points out it’s difficult to see teams making big offer sheets when they’re furloughing or laying off employees.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello’s biggest concern is freeing up cap space to re-sign Barzal and Ryan Pulock. Barzal could sign an offer sheet but I have my doubts. Lamoriello has indicated he’d match any offer. With Cap Friendly indicating the Isles have $8.9 million in cap space plus they can exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason, it’s unlikely Barzal will be signed away.

A rival club could do it just to complicate matters for the Isles by matching but that doesn’t seem likely, especially given the tight economic situation everyone is facing right now.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe speculates it’s still possible Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could package restricted free agents like Sami Niku and Jack Roslovic that brings in someone like the Florida Panthers’ MacKenzie Weegar or one of the left-shot defensemen the Carolina Hurricanes have in abundance. They could also circle back on a UFA like Ben Hutton to see if their asking price is more reasonable.

With 21 players already under contract for next season, the Jets will have limited salary cap space even after they place Bryan Little on LTIR. Wiebe doesn’t expect a big-name move by the Jets to address their defense unless they make a blockbuster trade involving winger Patrik Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll have to be one helluva defenseman coming to the Jets to make Cheveldayoff part with Laine. The Jets GM could be comfortable starting the season with his current blueline and see how things develop leading up to the trade deadline.


  1. Cheveldayoff has ruined the Jets … at least Brad Treliving finally realized his hole in net and addressed it … the Jets blueline is a farce .. Chevy watched Myers, Byfuglien, Chiarot & Trouba exit and did nothing. Only worse defense is Pittsburgh’s.

    • Ed, was Buff quitting his fault? Trouba forced his hand and is getting 8 mil a year. His return on that trade: Pionk, who finished tied for 11th in scoring for dmen…. and Heinola who was taken with draft pick obtained in that trade. Also dealt for, and extended Demelo. All 3 combined make less than Trouba.

      • Slick Winnipeg gave up a third round pick for Demelo and they had to make that trade because their d is that bad.

        The reason all 3 don’t combine to Trouba total is because all 3 together are not as good as Trouba.
        Heinola we will wait and see, he may not be on the open day roster.

        Chevy knew Trouba was leaving and should’ve traded him a year earlier.

        Buff situation hurt because if he knew Dustin wasn’t going to play he would’ve resigned Chariot.

      • The only fair criticism is losing Chiarot, but I’ve heard rumours he didn’t fit in the lockwe room (who knows). Other three guys either wanted to much money or quit on the team (or both – Trouba).

    • I don’t see an alarming issue with the Jets D. The more glaring concern was the need for a 2nd line centre. Which they solved. Jets have some potential at D in their prospects who may solve their problem at D.

      Having a more rounded roster will benefit the team as a whole especially when an injury occurs to a guy like Schiefele who due to the lack of another quality centre the jets really couldn’t afford losing.

      Jets D is very very underrated from my perspective.

      • Jeff Noel, I respect your pov, but curious of why you feel they are underated?

        The Winnipeg D is the biggest reason why Hellebuyck won the Vezina.

        They gave up more shots in high danger zone then any other team in the NHL.

        In part Hellebuyck performance shelter how bad the D really was.

        To me Winnipeg doesn’t have a top 2 dman.

        Morrissey is a good dman but wasn’t ready to be the number 1 dman. Maybe this season will be better.

      • We shall see how it goes this season but I think the injuries they endured and not having a number 2 centre really hurt their overall defensive game.

        I like Morriissey and think he is a top pairing D. Reminds of Petry when Edmonton moved him. DeMelo was solid on my Sens and he seemed to solidified their D. I also think they have young guys like Heinola who are waiting to take the next step.

        But don’t get me wrong. I agree it’s the week part of the team. I just don’t think it is horrible.

    • So are the flames better then the jets on paper
      Answer No
      Jets only need a couple twiks on defense and there good

      • Well Flames did just beat Jets in the play in round quite handily & Jets started that series healthy. So based on recent sample, I would say yes Flames are better than Jets.

      • Easily so. The two teams’ top 6 forwards are comparable with slight edge to Winnipeg picking up Statsny.

        Goaltending has to be considered a win for Winnipeg, though the Flames got hetter goalkeeping in the series in August. Also much closer now with the Flames signing Markstrom.

        So the question boils down to whether Calgary’s D is that mich better than Winnipeg’s to make up for slight losses in F and G. Frankly Morrissey is comparable to Hanifin for me. Calgary has 3 legit top-4 defenders with Tanev on the fringe. Giordano and Andersson are both better than any defender on the Jets, and that’s the big difference.

  2. Zero chance Rangers offer sheet Barzal. They sent their 2nd round pick to Detroit in Staal trade, so any offer would have to be less than 6.5, which Lou would easily match. Or, over 10.9, which would be a huge overpayment. Even if anyone thought he was worth that much, you’re also giving up your next 4- 1st round picks

    • I doubt Rangers would do that just for the very fact that “what goes around comes around” & Rangers have some pretty high end guys coming off ELC’s in the near future. Problem with so many top young guys is that they will want to get paid or opportunity so they can get paid.

  3. I remember hearing alarms about Barzal during his draft year. Where he was the one asking the questions to teams during the interview, it was suggested that he had a certain attitude about him. He was benched at times as recently as these past playoffs by no nonsense Barry Trotz. I would consider swapping him for Laine if I was Lou Lamoriello.

    • So you would swap a center with an attitude for a winger who may (or maybe doesn’t) want to be traded because he isn’t on the top line? Definitely getting a top team player….

    • jack, when you are poor you are crazy, when rich they call you eccentric

      • I that was a great reply, thanks, I’m done

  4. Speculation about where the last of the UFAs may wind up, and which teams will probably be making more roster moves before the start of a new season, should be looked at in context with the actual cap situations of each team. Right now these 9 teams are either over the cap, or under by less than the lowest ELC

    Over The Cap showing amt over – # to reach 23 signed – LTIR – RFAs Still To Sign
    Ariz $2,770,280 – 1 – $5,275,000 (Hossa) – 0
    Van $1,501,878 – 0 – 0 – 0
    StL $1,175,515 – 2 – $13,250,000 (Tarasenko & Steen) – 1 (Dunn)
    Tor $1,049,325 – 0 – 0 – 0
    Wash $1,024,877 – 2 – 0 – 0
    Veg $974,104 – 2 – 0 – 0
    Ana $929,999 – 1 (a back-up goalie?) – $6,875,000 (Kessler) – 0

    Under by Less Than $750,000
    Wpg $27,144 – 2 – $5,291,667 (Little) – 3 (Harkins, Roslovic, Niku)
    Mtl $383,691 – 2 – 0 – 1(Hudon)

  5. These 3 have Less Than $2 mil – # to reach 23 signed – LTIR – RFAs Still To Sign

    Edm – $732,509 – 1 – 0 – 1 (Bear)
    Pit – $1,318,158 – 0 – $1 mil (Aston-Reese) – 1 (Aston-Reese)
    Cgy – $1,885,834 – 3 – 0 – 1 (Kylington)

    These 3 have $2 to 3 mil – # to reach 23 signed – LTIR – RFAs Still To Sign
    SJ – $2,353,333 – 0 – 0 – 0
    Minn – $2,700,000 – 1 – 0 – 0
    TB – $2,895,834 – 5 – 0 – 3 (Cirelli, Cernak, Sergachev)

    • These 6 have $4 to 7 mil – # to reach 23 signed – LTIR – RFAs Still To Sign
      Dal – $4,107,969 – 2 – 0 – 1 (Hintz)
      Car – $4,382,261 – 3 – 0 – 2 (Fiegele, Fleury)
      Pha – $4,811,148 – 4 – $1,574,125 (Patrick & Morin) – 1 (Myers)
      Chi – $5,213.687 – 3 – $10,775,000 (Seabrook & Shaw) – 1 (Strome)
      Col – $5,923,614 – 4 – 0 – 2 (Kamenev & Toews)
      Bos – $6,657,686 – 3 – $14,041,667 (Pastrnak, Marchand, Miller) – 1 (DeBrusk)

      These 3 have $8 to 12 mil – # to reach 23 signed – LTIR – RFAs Still To Sign
      NYI – $8,905,833 – 3 – 0 – 2 (Barzal & Pulock)
      NYR – $10,879,369 – 2 – 0 – 2 (Strome & Lemieux)
      Fla – $11,563,712 – 5 – 0 – 2 (Saarela & Weegar)

      These 7 have $12 to 19 mil – # to reach 23 signed – LTIR – RFAs Still To Sign
      Clb – $12,900,00 – 3 – 0 – 3 (Stenlund, Dubois, Gavrikov)
      Nash – $12,942,190 – 4 – 0 – 1 (Kunin)
      L.A. – $13,620,715 – 4 – 0 – 0
      Buff – $13,645,833 – 4 – 0 – 4 (Olofsson, Reinhart, Pilut, Ullmark)
      NJ – $17,195,001 – 7 – 0 – 2 (Bratt & Blackwood)
      Ott – $17,802,501 – 4 – $4,875,000 (Gaborik) 1 (Tierney)
      Det – $18,738,611 – 3 – $6,683,333 (Zetterberg) – 3 (Bertuzzi, Mantha, Timashov)

      • Thanks George that is great information. I have noticed that since Dundon has taken over in Carolina they do not typically carry the full 23 man roster (NHL minimum is 20 and maximum 23) and they are substantially less than the 50 contract limit. With all of the unknowns this season maybe other teams will have smaller rosters.

      • I bet most will function well below the 50 max, GP, especially with all the doubt surrounding the AHL and ECHL having any semblance of a season. Even the 23 NHL max may see a number try and function with fewer although there – as Pengy points out regarding the Leafs who would be doing so only because they are over the cap – could be flirting with disaster since, without LTIR being involved, on game night if they have 1 or 2 out with short-term injuries, they cannot insert AHL call-ups if their NHL salaries put them over the cap. Using 20, for example, with 2 needing to be goalies, means going with 18 skaters. In a condensed schedule that would be tough.

  6. Look for Ottawa and Detroit to move their LTIRs – which both expire at the end of next season – to a couple of the teams in the first grouping above

  7. The Bruins shouldn’t be attached to any UFA with maybe the exception of Chara and that seems like a reach ….. Sweeney & Neely have closed up shop and left town they were last seen up on Cape Cod Gazing at the beautiful fall foliage…they are going to go with the younger players that are now in the minors and bring them up to big club and get ready for next year mass player exodus from their team .. UFA & RFA … in two years with the exception of a handful of players this Bruin team will be totally different than it is now ….

  8. Hoffman would be a fit for the Oilers but not money wise. They can go over 10% and when the season starts put Kleffbom on LTR. They must have looked at him though.

    • Yeah, wondered why CapFriendly hasn’t shown Klefbom and his $4,167,000 cap hit among the LTIRs given his prognosis – which is all dismal. I realize he hasn’t yet had surgery again (or has he?) like the trio of Bruins … but still ….

      Ray? You hear anything?

  9. Athanasiou or Duclair would be interesting for San Jose. Both have speed, but not sure where either would fit in line-up. Granlund also intriguing if he could accept a second six role.

    • Athanasiou and Duclair both show flashes that garner interest but neither has shown any kind of consistency or a desire of their clubs to keep them.

      Hoffman on the other hand makes you wonder what do all the clubs know that fans can only guess about.

      I recall Pierre McGuire being asked if the Habs should look into Dadonov (emphatic yes) or Hoffman (emphatic no)

    • dpf, these guys – assuming they are aware of what’s going on all around them and all over the world – have reached the point where, if offered a contract, they play wherever the team wants them to play and for a lot less and far less term than they may originally have been offered – or expected.

  10. I agree Jets need more depth at Center. I think trading a prospect like Roslovic would make sense as it seems Maurice has stunted his development. Would love to see the Jets get Liam Foudy out of Columbus. Jets should add Hamonic.

  11. A pure guess mind you but I think Hamonic would have signed by now if he wasn’t thinking about his career. The Jets and Calgary are ideal spots for him. He can’t be asking for a large number $3.5-for 2 years something like that.
    He could play on my team anytime. In the third pair and second Pk only.

  12. Laine, Roslovic and Niku for Pulock and Barzal.

    • You are living in a dream world with that trade offer.

  13. Hoffman returning to Ottawa doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yes, currently only Stueztle, Tkachuk, & Dadonov are a lock for top 6 positions.

    The Sens have to give Forementon, Batherson, Norris, & L.Brown a very series look. Then they also have to see where C. Brown, White, & Tierney will fit into the picture this hear.

    To me the only question in Dorion’s mind right no is who can handle the 1st & 2nd line center roles. If the Sens make anymore roster adds, I believe it will be via trade and getting a future asset in return.

    With the question mark around who is ready for big center minutes, the Sens aren’t going to make what would look like a contender move.