NHL Rumor Mill – October 30, 2020

by | Oct 30, 2020 | Rumors | 49 comments

Updates on Mike Hoffman and Ilya Kovalchuk plus the latest on the Flames in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports free-agent winger Mike Hoffman and his camp intend to remain patient in search of a suitable deal. They could be keeping an eye on several clubs, such as the Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues that could have long-term injury situations freeing up potential cap space. If a team like his former club, the Florida Panthers, or the Nashville Predators step up and make better offers then perhaps a deal can be made.

Free-agent winger Mike Hoffman is still waiting for a new contract (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman is reportedly willing to accept a one-year deal worth $6 million. The Bruins could have Brad Marchand and/or David Pastrnak on LTIR to start the season. Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom could be gone for the season with a shoulder injury, while the Blues’ Vladimir Taransenko could be out for months following yet another shoulder surgery.

LeBrun noted the Predators have “called a bunch” about Hoffman. They have $12.9 million in cap space if they’re willing to spend toward the ceiling with Luke Kunin left to re-sign. Maybe they circle back with an offer to Hoffman’s liking.

THE SCORE: cited LeBrun reporting earlier this week Ilya Kovalchuk is also staying patient as he searches for a new NHL home. With his career winding down, the 37-year-old winger is hoping to join a contender.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien listed the Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, New York Islanders, Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes as possible free-agent destinations for Kovalchuk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk earlier this year of the Canadiens bringing back Kovalchuk but their recent acquisitions of Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli suggest otherwise. The Predators might consider it if they lose out on Mike Hoffman but they probably prefer younger options.

I think the Stars intend to bring back Corey Perry. The Islanders’ limited cap space will be used to re-sign Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock.

The Panthers or Hurricanes could consider Kovalchuk as a cost-effective option if they feel the need to add depth on the wing. Like the Predators, however, I suspect their priority would be on finding younger alternatives.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving is in the market for an experienced right-side defenseman. He expects Treliving will address that need via trade but doesn’t rule out another dip into the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have just over $1 million remaining in cap space with defenseman Oliver Kylington to re-sign. Dreger didn’t indicate what Treliving would offer up as trade bait. Unless Kylington is getting moved, dipping into the UFA market again seems unlikely.


  1. It seems the predicted explosive offseason has ground to a halt as teams try and come to grips with the new cap freeze. But it still seems incredible that and additional $2 million increase would be so binding. I think the cap freeze plays its part, and conservative GMing is still in fashion. Also, with the unpredictable start of the season in question teams are taking their time. As a Devil’s fan I remember the words said almost every year by Lou, “When there is time, you use it. When there isn’t, you make a decision.”

  2. According to CapFriendly, the teams with the most to sign in order to reach 23 are New Jersey (7), Tampa Bay (5) and Philadelphia, Nashville and L.A. (4 each), so it follows that these are the teams we should expect to hear about more frequently in the coming days – weeks – months?

    Tampa, of course, is in the most difficult position with just $2,895,834 in cap space with which to accommodate those 5, and 3 spots are represented by key RFAs Sergachev, Cirelli and Cernak. But as Richard pointed out, the longer the actual season opener is delayed, the less pressure there is for BriseBois to get something done immediately.

    Philadelphia doesn’t quite have the dilemma faced in TB, but while $4,811,148 would normally be seen as more than enough to accommodate 3 ELCs from their system, most of that will disappear when 6′ 5″ 210 lbs RFA D Philippe Myers (4g 12a 16pts +17 in 50gp and coming off an ELC of $678,889) is settled. So, it seems, even if they are sure Patrick & Morin will start the season on LTIR, some other move seems necessary as they only combine for $1,574,125 potential LTIR.

    Nashville has one RFA to finalize, Kunin, who potted 15g 16a 31pts in 63gp and added 2 goals in the playoffs and is coming off an ELC of $925,000. Once he’s settled using the $12,942,190 available to Poile, look for the Predators to be in the news, either signing a UFA (like Hoffman?) or involved in a trade or two.

    But unless both are planning to fill their available spots with ELCs, the two busiest should be L.A. and NJ. Yes, Fitzgerald has 2 pretty good RFAs to finalize (Bratt – 16g 16a 32 pts in 60gp and coming off $749,167) and Blackwood (2.77gaa – 0.915 save % in 47gp and coming off $697,500) – but he also has $17,195,001 with which to do it, and while both can expect healthy raises, they’ll still have a huge chunk to use on those 5 available spots.

    Blake is also in a great position with $13,620,715 to cover 4 spots, and while I doubt he uses any of it for what’s left among the UFAs, expect him to be involved in a trade or two as well.

    • George, my understanding of the CBA is that teams can sign up to 23 players but at a minimum they must have 18 skaters and 2 goalies. Obviously starting the season with only 20 players is very risky but some teams may opt to start with 22.

      • Gored – see my response below to a similar observation by Old Blue Dog. I agree – it’s very risky

  3. Not sure why the Flames have not signed Kylington . Can’t be asking for more than $1m. I am sure once cost controlled could be packaged. Highly ranked junior second round pick great skater. Not sure what the problem might be. Unless he is asking for a lot more.

  4. Kris LeTurnover to Calgary for … a skate blade sharpener to be named later …

    • Kris LeTurnover to anywhere…..for anything….please.


      Jim Rutherford.

  5. Coming off an ELC of $730,833, 2g 5a 7pts and a -6 in 48gp, if Kylington is asking for a lot more than the nominal $1 mil he should grab – quickly – he could be asking for trouble.

    The Flames have 2 to sign to reach 23 – including Kylington – and just $1,344,194 with which to do it. An even $1 mil to Kylington wouldn’t leave them with even ELC room. He doesn’t have arbitration rights so maybe Treveling is simply busier working out a deal involving one of the bigger cap hits on his roster before settling with the D-man.

  6. George I have noticed that you have refered a couple of times about getting to 23 players. I wonder if teams are going to go into a bubble where they may play for a week. Thereafter having a 2 week non game period if the teams are assuming they won’t need 23. Same if behind the scenes the league is talking about a 50 games schedule.

    • Could very well be the case Old Blue Dog. Game-time line-ups must consist of 18 skaters and 2 goalies, with teams almost always going with 12 F 6D. Every now and then, depending upon a multitude of factors such as nagging injuries, the opposition that game, how much time there’s been between games, a team will opt to dress 11F and 7 D. The 3 extras normally carried can vary widely as to position.

      I agree that the severely reduced schedule being contemplated could lead to some teams cutting NHL salary costs by going with anywhere from just the 20 dressed to 21 or 22, even if squeezing games into a shorter time frame results in a lot more back-to-backs – especially in a bubble scenario.

      What you’d wind up with, though, is a tricky form of “shuttle” involving 1 or 2 of those 3 extras moving onto a roster to replace 1 or 2 dropped – which would be severely limited by waiver requirements.

      That’s a nightmare that I think most teams will avoid by simply utilizing the full 23-man complement allowed.

      Anyway, that’s the way I “read” it – maybe someone sees some flaws in that reasoning – if so, let us know.

      • Yes the max players allowed is 23 but I can see teams icing a roster of 20 or 21 players leaving them with either a 7th d or 13th forward at min. I can see paper transactions to gain cap space throughout the year, using LTIR to gain space. No team bumping up against the cap is in an ideal spot but as long as you’re cup contenders that’s expected but other teams who are not and in cap hell its gonna be a long and bumpy ride.

      • It seems like the emergency recall rules would eliminate some of the risk. Seems like another risk would be available players in the AHL. I suspect there will be Covid specific rules to allow teams to postpone games to prevent Covid transmission.

        George, Have you noticed a significant change in team total salary vs cap hit this year. I have been surprised that some teams that are near a complete roster have 10 mil less in Actual Salary vs Cap hit. I didn’t pay attention to that difference last year so was wondering if it normal.

      • I think if juggling players up and down to make it work is what they have to do it’s what they’ll do. The management team are in jobs that are high pressure, good money and many people would give anything for that role, and overall you have to assume they are pretty competent. If you were running a team and they guy managing your cap said wow, it’s a real pain in the butt to shuffle players around every game, how about we justkeep people up to make my life easier? I think what they’d find out is that they can be replaced by someone willing to do the job the way that advantages the team the most, not just the easiest way to do it. I find that in my regular job anyway. As a specific if a cap guy went to a guy like Lou and said I’d rather just dress 23 and you can get rid of a contract Lou would say sounds good? I don’t.

      • I haven’t been following that aspect GP – looking around to see if there have been comparisons listed anywhere.

      • well, yes, fci – what you say. But who requires waivers to be shuffled back and forth will differ considerably from team to team, and if some remain at or very near the cap limit, and the juggling intended is due to short-term injuries that preclude LTIR use, and all they have left are those who require waivers, aren’t they SOL?

        In that instance it isn’t about having some schmuck who says “wow, wouldn’t it be easier to just keep the full 23 …”

      • I still think it is 50-50 that thing could get serious enough that the teams and players sit down and do something pretty radical, like stopping the clock on everything for a year. COnsider the prospects who have to be playing and coached, how you get playing time if you have a zero revenue AHL, what a bubble might do to revenues, what the bubble did to families, the need to put something resembling professional hockey on TV in the US and Canada, the possible cross border issues, the possibility that you could be half normal in some of your markets and unplayable in others……we are still conversing as if COVID was a phase and we are headed back to normal. Maybe that will be true on a decade long view. But consider : here’s a restaurant, in NYC which has been draconian. It tried but its broke. Five years from now it’s still a restaurant. But a whole set of owners and their capital went broke; a whole set of employees saw a serious discontinuity in their careers. This may be OK for a waiter, but for a hockey player who may only have 3-4 years at the top level??? IF there isn’t a lot of pressure to figure thing our thinking outside the box, there should be. We are close the the time when all see Jan 1 as a fantasy, 82 games as a wet dream, and a significant number of owners under water on cash. Survival of our game at all levels through another couple of years of recovery & the current CBA are hard to contemplate as the governing rules in this environment.

      • Hey George, when it comes to cap and injuries the emergency callups do come into play, I’m not saying it’s the easiest way but it’s how some teams are approacing the cap over the past few seasons, and with all of the debating among fans and reporters there haven’t been any teams not in cap compliance, I just think it’s something that gets discussed and debated more than it being an actual issue. They’ll do the juggling they need to, and they’ll get it worked out. It’s an interesting discussion, don’t get me wrong, but in the end I can’t think of a team where it’s been a significant issue though I’m far from an expert and would be the first to admit it.

      • I agree 100% Richard. In here we tend to more or less toss ideas around as we always have (me included) and I think that’s to do more with playing ostrich to try to preserve our sanity.

        Deep down, I just don’t see any formula that is going to work that will enable even a 50% “normal” schedule until a vaccine is developed, manufactured in the hundreds of millions, distributed and administered.

        And now we see the U.K. saying their studies have shown that any antibodies built up as a result of having Covid-19 begin to disappear from the system within a few short weeks and that, as a result, it may be necessary to administer a vaccine twice a year to everyone. Around the globe, that’s over 15 BILLION doses. Each year if the damned thing mutates.


  7. I think the longer Hoffman waits the smaller the Check, most teams are pretty much set on their lineup.

    • Could be go move for STL if they leave Tarasenko on the Ir as long as possible and sign Hoffman to a one year deal(if he would…)

      • ds, the latest prognosis for Tarasenko:

        “Tarasenko is on the road to recovery, but Armstrong admitted that the first month is expected to be a challenge. However, he is confident that Tarasenko will get through it. “Vladi is a tireless worker when it comes to rehab,” said Armstrong. Tarasenko left the postseason because he needed to get his surgically-repaired shoulder looked at again. He underwent reconstructive surgery on his left shoulder back in April of 2018 and he had a procedure on the same shoulder in late October. The Blues announced on Aug. 26 that Tarasenko would have surgery and he wasn’t going to be re-evaluated for five months.

        5 months from his August 26 surgery date would be Jan 26 – since I think a Jan 1 – and even a Feb 1 – start-up date is highly unlikely (more and more like March 1) – he wouldn’t be on any LTIR for very long – unless there are unforeseen complications or setbacks (let’s hope not)

      • thanks George…
        he in the states or russia?

      • Couldn’t find those details anywhere ds. One did say he left the Edmonton bubble on August 18 to be evaluated, and since the surgery took place 8 days later I’d guess it was done in or near St. Louis somewhere. Where he’s recovering I have no idea.

  8. Will Kylington even be on opening roster? He’s listed as left D. They have 4 other LD, and if they’re looking to add a RD, he’ll be 8th defenseman. Maybe his signing just isn’t much of a priority. He’s not going anywhere.
    Calgary trades Monahan to NYR for Buchnevich(50% retained) DeAngelo, and a 4th. Lindholm moves to center, Buchnevich to RW. Calgary gains a player for only 50K. Rangers get their 2C.

    • As a Flames fan, not interested in De Angelo at all. Especially at 4.8 million aav.

  9. I would think that the Blues would have a MUCH greater interest in signing Kovalchuk to a cheap 1 year deal than Hoffman @ 6million, as is suggested. They have had previous interest in him, and he could provide a bit of scoring while Vladi heals (I hope)!

    • @iowa
      good point
      depends if Ilya wants to be in StLouis

      • “hoping to join a contender”…..

      • I mean he might still be eying the coasts

    • I suppose Kovy would be a low risk signing. Rumours last year had him re-signing with Montreal for 700K and bonus targets.

      As we know the market is worse now, but even then the spark that Kovy started with in Montreal disappeared in Philly. He will be 38 in April. I wish him well but you have to wonder what he has left even at 700K.

  10. Hoff makes the most sense in Boston. But the Bruins who are quietly going to enter a rebuild or even a just a re-tool might think twice about wasting money on a one year wonder. Swallow the pill and suck with class Boston.

    • @ DARK – G

      Id say the Blue Jackets could really use a Hoffman …especially to play off the wing of Dubois …
      Jackets could really use a perennial 25 – 30 goal scorer with high end skill and hands as a finisher…

      They have plenty of room to sign him ..and need a winger like him….he would both replace a traded Anderson and upgrade a Dubinsky who will be on LTIR ..and as I say compliment Dubois !

      they need a scoring winger badly !


      A second tier team id say ..

      • CBJ definitely need a scoring LW and Hoffman would certainly fit. The buzz here has been they reached out to Hoffman but right now it doesn’t seem to be a fit. Jarmo frequently states publicly he won’t overspend in UFA (for better or worse sometimes) so current speculation is CBJ aren’t willing to offer what Hoffman is looking for and worth quite honestly.

    • He makes equally as much sense in Nashville, Dark G. They have the cap space and the need on offense.

  11. Great news in Leafland!

    They signed Hutchison to a 2 year contract…so they have a goalie to expose other than Jack Campbell. This means Dubas has made the decision Andersen is not long for the organization. Wahooo!


    • I must say I respectfully disagree on your feelings on # 31. He is the best goalie the leafs have had since Belfour. He would look better with an actual blue line.

  12. If Sweeney plays the waiting like he does every year, a good many fans will stop watching. They are sick of Sweeney’s antics. Every year it’s the same tactics. I think he spreads the rumors’ himself. Here’s the scenario ” Sweeney goes after the big names never securing them instead we end up with retreads like John Moore or Matt Belesky or clunkers like David Backes.” I’m beginning to think Sweeney is unable to land the big deal Hall. Tavares …OEL was practically in his lap he still couldn’t do the deal. GM of the year?!?! I think GM of the year should be based on playoff performance if that was case Sweeney wouldn’t even get a mention! Please Fire this guy and take Seabass with you both completely useless. The 2015 draft should have been enough to get any GM fired!

  13. Last night I was reading aot of comments on different feed about why Hoffman hasn’t signed.

    The overwhelming majority of the comments went back to Ottawa and Hoffman girlfriend, stating this is why he hasn’t sign because some teams don’t want the baggage.

    Personally I haven’t given it any thought. But who knows.

    • Caper, where there’s smoke there’s fire. For a player with his offensive capability, even considering his disdain for defense you’d think teams would have been elbowing each other out of the way to sign him. But since that Karlsson flare-up, he’s been dealt twice – once within 3 hours of being obtained – and now the team for which he scored 65g 64a 129pts in 151gp (albeit with a cumulative -29) show no sign of even tryinfg to bring him back.

      I don’t know if they even tried seriously to recoup something at the trade deadline, and I doubt we’ll ever know all the details behind the Karlsson episode, but something just doesn’t pass the smell test with this guy.

      Caveat emptor written all over him.

  14. There is so much we don’t know about dressing rooms, player’s attitudes etc.

    As a long time Habs fan I never that Patrick Roy was about to be traded toColorado in the summer of ’95 for Stephane Fiset and Owan Nolan but fell through as Savard (GM) was fired 4 days before the season.

    That puts the Houle/Tremblay blame game in a different perspective. Savard doesn’t say why he wanted the trade but clearly there was a problem.

    • And of course he was traded after throwing a nutty about Mario Tremblay leaving him in net during an ugly loss to Detroit.

      There was just a day or two ago a story (sorry, can’t remember where I read it) about Roy being pulled by Hartley so the team could get a time out late in the game. The result was the back up got the win and Roy reportedly went in to Hartly’s office and smashed things.

      If this seems unlikely remember Roy was arrested on criminal mischief charges arising from a “domestic incident.” Though the charges were dismissed there was physical damage to the house, and he and his wife later divorced. Draw your own conclusions, but there are enough documented incidents that his nick name “Saint Patrick” is ironic. Great goalie, dubious human being.

      • LJ “And of course he was traded after throwing a nutty about Mario Tremblay leaving him in net during an ugly loss to Detroit.”

        That’s the point, Savard was moving him before the season was going to start.

        I always preferred the character of the “bleuet bionic”

  15. There is no longer cap Kovalchuk. I can see him being brought in as a PTO so he can showcase himself if he is still looking for work whenever training camp starts…..

  16. I see the Leafs have signed Hutchinson again. My Leafs buddy is going to throw up on himself.

    • Difference Maker…… rejoice!!!

      • See my earlier quote, Ron. All part of the Master Plan.

  17. It looks like Hoffman and his camp will have to be patient for a long time if they’re looking for a “suitable” deal. What’s suitable for them doesn’t seem to be suitable to any NHL team. They’re brash and clueless to think they can declare the conditions under which they’ll “accept” a deal. A deal for $6 million would bring Hoffman a pay raise over his last three seasons, during which he was minus 49. Heck, Athanasiou might be a better deal. He’s minus-55 for the last two seasons, but he, like Hoffman, can score goals. And he’ll probably find himself groveling to get a deal this season that pays him $5 million less than what Hoffman will “accept.”

  18. Bruins are done spending $$$ on UFA one & done if the do anything they either resign DeBrusk or Trade him for a LD

    • See my earlier quote, Ron. All part of the Master Plan.