NHL Rumor Mill – October 26, 2020

by | Oct 26, 2020 | Rumors | 59 comments

A look at potential destinations for the top remaining UFAs in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz examines some possible landing spots for unrestricted free agent forwards Mike Hoffman, Anthony Duclair, Mikael Granlund, Dominik Kahun and Carl Soderberg.

Could Mike Hoffman sign with the Nashville Predators? (NHL Images)

Gretz suggests the Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets as two clubs that could use Hoffman’s offensive skills, but both clubs lack sufficient salary-cap space. The Bruins also have restricted free agent winger Jake DeBrusk to re-sign while the Blue Jackets need to sign first-line center Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Nashville Predators are a more likely candidate as they’ve shed considerable cap space and need a scoring forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators appear to be the best destination for Hoffman. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $12.9 million in cap space with restricted free agent Luke Kunin to re-sign, so they’ve got plenty of room. I think Predators general manager David Poile could be trying to out-wait Hoffman in the hope the winger will lower his rumored asking price of a $6 million contract for next season.

Other clubs with salary cap room (Detroit, New Jersey, Ottawa) could also use more scoring punch. However, they’re not playoff contenders like the Preds and could be unwilling to invest in a player they’ll only have for one season. Given Hoffman’s messy departure from the Senators, I doubt he’ll be returning to Ottawa except as a visiting player.

Gretz suggests two options for Duclair. He could sign a short-term deal with a rebuilding club like Detroit or New Jersey where he’ll get big minutes and could be moved to a contender by the trade deadline. Another is signing a short-term deal with a contender like the Dallas Stars, who could use a little more offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Hoffman, I wonder if the Red Wings and Devils would be keen to sign a player like Duclair to a one-year deal if they’re only going to move him for a draft pick or prospect at the trade deadline. The Wings are already well-stocked with draft picks for 2021 with six in the first three rounds, including three second-rounders.

The Stars could use a little more punch at left wing but they’ve only got $4.1 million in cap space with Roope Hintz to re-sign. Adding another forward, even one on an affordable deal, would be a tight fit.

Gretz suggests the Blues Jackets as a fit for Granlund. He also thinks Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has an opportunity to correct his mistake of trading away Kahun last season by bringing him back as a free agent to bolster his club’s bottom-six forwards.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund will have to accept a significant pay cut to sign with the Jackets. They’ve got $12.9 million in cap space but a big chunk of that will be taken up by Dubois’ next contract.

The Penguins have $1.3 million in cap space. They could squeeze in Kahen for under $1 million but that won’t leave much wiggle room for other moves as needed during the season. However, they could free up space by demoting one of the four forwards they currently have who are earning $750K or less for next season.

The Vancouver Canucks would be a good destination for Soderberg provided the Canucks could free up some salary by finding a way to dump Brandon Sutter or Jay Beagle. Teams that need depth at center like Minnesota or Nashville could also be landing spots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rule out the Canucks for Soderberg. They’re over the cap by $1.5 million. GM Jim Benning declined to buy out Sutter over the weekend, citing his leadership and defensive skills. Beagle carries a five-team no-trade list and a $3 million cap hit for the next two seasons. I don’t see him going anywhere.

The Wild have plenty of depth centers since acquiring Marcus Johansson, Nick Bjugstad and Nick Bonino. What they need is a true first-line center, which Soderberg isn’t. Maybe the Predators turn to him if they lose out on Hoffman.


  1. Boston has $6.6m in cap space with two players to sign Debrusk and Hoffman.

    Odd man out and what appear to be a strange signing when they made it, now complicates getting the two under contract and that was the extension of little used who got 24 games in last season.

    I know Sweeney likes having depth on defense but signing a guy for 5 years for $2.75 per doesn’t seem like the best way to use the cap space.

    Is Moore tradable i think so, personally i like the player but your not getting anything back.

    • Caper, I’ve got a thought/proposal: A swap of RFAs.

      To Boston: Vince Dunn
      To Blues: Jake DeBrusk

      Blues get some additional offense during Tarasenko recovery and Bruins get puck moving top 4 LD.

      I expect the Blues would add a little–MacEachern? DeLaRose? ???

      Any thoughts

      • Iowa Prince, i think that’s a good fair deal. Certainly helps Boston LD.

      • iowa prince , since you are the resident Blues fan …maybe I missed it but I just noticed Steen is on IR with Tarasenko. What’s up with Steen , and will this turn out to be a season ending LTIR injury?

      • Fergy,

        Undisclosed core injury (?) for Steen. He is now in Sweden, I think—I have even read discussion of possible retirement??

        I thought bringing him back as an Asst. Coach would be a good option.

      • iowa prince , next season is still months off but if he retires and the AAV goes against the cap then off to LTIR he goes. We may see him wait until closer to the start of the next season to have core surgery with 4 months rehab.

      • I do like Dunn’s game.

        The issue is do the Bruins need a puck moving defenseman more than they need secondary scoring? DeBrusk is a streaky but overall consistent 20+ goal-scorer. Even with him the B’s don’t have enough secondary scoring.

        If this deal setup the B’s to have the cap space to sign or trade for a solid second line winger I’d think it’s a net gain for them. Otherwise I’m not so sure.

  2. One side effect of the flat cap that appears to be becoming a bit more common is the possible demotion, only for the purpose of clearing space, of an ELC who, in other circumstances, is deemed good enough to be playing in the NHL. That has to be hard to swallow if you’re the one chosen to go down.

    • Hi George

      Apparently that is Dubas’ plan… he says he’ll send all 3 ELCs down to Marlies between each Leaf game to try and save some Cap dough

      • What about pandemic protocol?

        Maybe slingshotting players to minors isn’t going to be that easy to do

  3. Re

    “ Gretz ….thinks Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has an opportunity to correct his mistake of trading away Kahun last season by bringing him back as a free agent to bolster his club’s bottom-six forwards.”

    I’m good with that

    1 @ $1M… with of course one of the 23 already on roster having to be sent down to make room (that’s at worst , league min down)…. end result is 23 man roster with $1M to spare PLUS $1M on LTIR

    Ruhweedel down to WBS, sign Kahun 👍👍


    Ruhweedel down to WBS, sign Haula 👍👍

    Has Duclair come down in his expectations?

    Ruhweedel down to WBS, sign Duclair 👍👍👍👍

    3rd line of :

    McC Poulin Kahun 👍👍

    McC Poulin Haula 👍👍

    McC Poulin Duclair 👍👍👍👍

    • Man. Our number 7 d man. Our number 7 damn! You’re gonna nitpick the team to death!

      • Hi Chrisms

        CR is Pens number 16 D; but currently slotted 8th D (CapFreindly shows him on the big team)… ?????

        Carrying 8 D up is an option but not necessary IMHO…. 14-7-2 IMHO is better… that’s just my preference. It seems from the past about 2/3rds of teams carry 7, 1/3rd 8

        With 7….If they get an injury to 2 of the top 7 they can call someone up

        If they are short an LD… call up Joseph or Czuczman

        If short an RD… Reilly or Maniscalco or Trottman

        They are just a phone call and a flight away


  4. If I was Poile I would see what I could get from cap strapped teams.

    • Lined up ahead of him looking to do the same thing are Detroit, Ottawa, NJ – all with a lot more cap space to utilize – and L.A., with about $800,000 more. But, yes, Poile should certainly be in the mix somewhere.

  5. Granlund is getting a pay-cut wherever he signs.
    Duclair should have accepted the Sens offer.

    • And Duclair can’t fire his agent for screwing up.

      • Duclair will/is going to be kicking himself not accepting the Sens deal. Im sure he has gotton another offer from a different team but it is lower than what Ottawa offered and as George said…there’s no firing his agent!

      • Hi George and FD

        I would think that technically he could fire his “agent” …. but I would love to see that “mirror” discussion re pink slip on you-tube

        Is the agent or the player crying during the firing 😂

        Sybil is asking;
        and so is Sybil

      • Ha. He can, but then he’d be out of 2 jobs.

  6. One in here initially thought one of his teams of choice should gladly pay Duclair more than the $3 mil/2 year Ottawa offer if they could free up the space. When and if someone does pick him up, it will be for 1 year and not much more than $1 mil, thereby putting him in the position of again proving he can repeat his best stats.

    Anthony, I hope you’ve learned that a bird in hand is a helluva lot safer than one directly overhead.

    • That’s assuming Duclair didn’t take Ottawa’s offer due to term or dollars. Maybe he wants to play for a different organization?

      • Maybe. But I doubt that.

        And if that was, indeed, his position, it hasn’t exactly worked out for him, has it?

      • Everyone is a bit harsh on the guy for trying to capitalize on a career year in a profession that gives you limited time and opportunities to cash in. Not saying the guy needs pity but the tone of vindictiveness is a bit much.

        Or maybe I’m misreading the tone on this medium.

      • Not at all Chrisms. I believe Dorion was sincere in his offer of $3 mil each year for 2 years. Apparently Duclair wanted a bit more but, more importantly, over a longer term, and although he had the option of going to arbitration, he would only go that route if it was the Senators opting for arbitration.

        At that Dorion walked away from qualifying him because, had HE taken Duclair to arbitration, he then couldn’t walk away from the arbiter’s decision.

        So, Duclair said no to an increase of $1,350,000 each year for 2 years over his previous $1,650,000 after a 23g 17a 40 pts season. By comparison, Tierney just agreed to an increase of $562,500 over his previous $2,937,500 for each year over two years – and he’s a C.

        Does anyone realistically think any team is now going to offer him that 2 year $3 mil contract he turned down, never mind giving him that (or a bit more) over a longer term?

        He gambled and lost. As I say elsewhere, I will be very surprised if he gets more than a 1 year deal much higher than $1 mil.

      • George, I concur that the tactic of walking away from Ottawa’s offer, at least as of yet, has not been effective.

        Any chance Dorion leaves that offer on the table allowing Duclair to circle back and say “yes” at a later date?

      • Well, Randino, Duclair is a LW and since the recent signings the projected lines appear to be

        Tkachuk – Norris – Dadonov
        Tierney – White – Connor Brown
        Formenton – Logan Brown – Batherson
        Nick Paul – Anisimov – Watson

        I also think Dorion, still with around $13 mil to spend and at least 1 – perhaps 2 – roster spots open among the 23 – is now waiting to see which of the cap strapped teams comes to him first with a trade proposal which could involve a F or D coming in – maybe even both – so I doubt the original offer to Duclair still stands.

  7. Canucks don’t have 1.5 million in cap space they are over by 1.5 million

    • Fixed. Thanks, Hugh!

  8. Kahun can’t find a job, even with his original team, the Blackhawks, with all its cap space. On the other hand, the Penguins have re-signed Evan Rodrigues, a player they received for Kahun, evidently finding him preferable to Kahun. How did Rutherford make a mistake in trading Kahun? Certainly, Kahun isn’t a player to languish over if he’s no better than Rodrigues.

  9. Well George what do you think of your teams latest signing ?

  10. As I said the other day, Obe, if Tierney – coming off a $2,937,500 cap hit and, realistically, no better than a # 3 C – was looking for a substantial raise, the Sens would probably walk away if an arbiter gave him anything of that nature. So, not surprisingly, he settled “out of court” for a nominal increase of $562,500. A bit surprising was the 2 years – I thought 1 – but I guess that was the trade-off.

    All in all, a good deal for both.

    Right now CapFriendly shows them with 20 signed, but that includes Balcers. Unless he puts up outstanding stats in that Czech league, and continues that when training camp opens, he’ll likely start the year in Belleville. Two spots will be held open for LW Alex Formenton and RD Artem Zub, with the last 2 spots filled through trades with cap strapped teams – with almost $13 mil still left to do so.

    • George , don’t forget about Stuzle , he was a pretty good bet to make the team before his injury. Depending how the recovery goes, when the season starts and what kind of camp he has I could see him playing in the NHL next season.

      • Oh, I haven’t forgotten him Fergy ,,, I really hope he comes to camp and shows them he belongs in the NHL right from the get-go. The thing is, he isn’t shown anywhere on their roster yet in CapFriendly – and won’t be until they get his signature on an ELC.

  11. I’m not sure how the rules work. Could you sign a guy who’s been on ltir and his contract has expired. You know he’s not going to play but you then put him on ltir when season begins to get around the cap?
    I know it would cost bucks in a tight economy but can you skirt the cap that way?

    • I’m not sure if there’s an explicit rule against this.
      I have a feeling the league would block such a deal though, knowing that the signing was intended purely for the purpose of cap circumvention.

      • Didn’t the Leafs do just that? Twice?

      • Did they sign UFA’s who they knew were not physically capable of playing hockey?

        Not that I’m aware of…though I may have missed something.

      • Could Tampa move out Johnson and a 4th-5th pick as a sweetener retaining $2M and take back LTIR which might help them move a little closer to solving their issues?

      • Unless you were “tongue in cheek” talking about Thornton and Spezza?

      • GoHabsGo,

        Sure, but I expect it to cost a bit more than a 4th or 5th pick in this market…

      • They traded for those contracts.

        Those players were not signed as UFA’s with the player and the team knowing they would never actually play for the Leafs.

      • Oops, sorry DoubleMinor … I read that original post above by Habsfaninphx wrong – didn’t realize he was talking about an LTIR who was also a UFA – I was still thinking along the lines of my original Gaborik and Zetterberg idea, whose cont racts are owned by Ottawa and Detroit. A completely different kettle of fish.

        Next year both become UFAs and I agree – at that stage the league would frown on anyone picking up their contracts just to circumvent the cap. Or at least I HOPE they would.

      • I’m fairly certain the Philadelphia flyers traded Chris printers rights to the Phoenix Coyotes a few years back and that’s exactly what they did.

    • Hi Habsfaninphx

      The idea sounds great… and logical way to circumvent things….but if contract is expired… I can’t see any insurance co. insuring the player… they would be paying out 100%

      So team would pay all Sal just to have an LTIR… and that is if League allows it

      So with that in mind.. I’m not sure if it would be a go

      • Yeah an insurance company definitely would not insure that contract knowing the team had no intention of the player stepping on the ice. No pre-existing conditions if you will.

        Also, if this were allowed to take place, why sign an NHL player at all? Sign any person on the planet with a serious injury for $5,000,000 and stick them on LTIR…heck I’ve got a bad back, bad hip, bum knees and a concussion history. Where do I sign?

      • LOL. If only DoubleMinor. I’ll limp ahead of you in the line!

    • I don’t see how this helps. When you sign him his salary counts against the cap. When you put him on LTIR you cancel out the money he signed for. So you gain nothing. Trading for an existing LTIR contract allows you to circumvent the cap because you trade a player who counts against the cap for a player who doesn’t.

  12. I am curious about the LTIR.
    Who has the final say over whether a player is injured enough to play or not?

    For instance Andrew Ladd.

    It’s obvious that Ladd is no longer an NHL caliber player. He’s been injured for more game than he has played on the Island.

    At what point does the NHL (or whoever decides) that Ladd’s injuries have reduced him to a player who can no longer compete in the NHL.

    What is the standard?

    Who has the final say over placing a player on LTIR?

    • Good question nevinsrip … and if you ever find a direct, succinct. straightforward answer as to who determines whether a player will miss 10 games or more due to an injury and should therefore quality for LTIR, please post the source here.

    • I have never seen this in writing but I think it would be a combination of team doctor filing a claim that a player is unfit to play and then a doctor appointed by the insurance carrier who would confirm the health status.
      You never want to doubt that a player is incapable of playing but some declarations of LTIR eligibility seem to favor teams with older players who are past their best before dates.

  13. Rest in Peace, Joey Moss. God love him. He was the best.

  14. Absolutely was a very special hockey figure and had a pure love of the game.