NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2020

by | Nov 26, 2020 | Rumors | 22 comments

What next for the Lightning after re-signing Mikhail Sergachev? What effect will the end of Johnny Boychuk’s career have upon the Islanders’ cap space? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois remains confident he’ll get restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak under contract after re-signing defenseman Mikhail Sergachev yesterday.

Does Mikhail Sergachev’s new deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning signal a trade of Tyler Johnson is coming? (NHL Images)

Sergachev’s new contract puts the Lightning above the $81.5 million salary cap by $1.9 million. BriseBois acknowledged he’ll have to move players to free up sufficient cap space to sign Cirelli and Cernak. “There’s a lot of progress being made,” he said. “We’re working on a bunch of different fronts, there’s a lot of balls up in the air. Nothing has materialized yet.”

Smith believes the Sergachev signing suggests the Lightning GM has a move in place or in the works to clear cap space. Winger Tyler Johnson is the top trade candidate. He’s provided BriseBois with a list of eight or nine preferred trade destinations but Smith said things are quiet on the Johnson front.

Winger Alex Killorn could be another trade candidate. He’s got three years left on his contract with a $4.45 million annual average value and a modified no-trade clause.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz also listed Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat as Lightning trade options. They’ll have more trade value than Johnson and Killorn but they’re also better players. He also wonders if they’d consider moving Cirelli or another player with a big contract though neither option seems ideal.

SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy speculates BriseBois will likely have to package Johnson with another asset to move him and his $5 million AAV off their books.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBois didn’t need to rush to sign Sergachev. Perhaps he got wind of another club thinking about signing the young blueliner to an offer sheet. That doesn’t seem to be the case if Sergachev’s comments about wanting to retire in Tampa are anything to go by.

The Lightning GM could indeed have a deal in the works to move Johnson or someone else like Killorn. I doubt he trades Gourde or Palat. He won’t want to take on additional salary in return so a sweetener like a high draft pick and/or top prospect will have to be packaged with Johnson.

It’s been a while since a notable trade was made. The last occurred on Oct. 12 when the Vegas Golden Knights shipped Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks. BriseBois could wait until confirmation for the start of this season is finally released by the league.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz looked at what’s ahead for the New York Islanders’ offseason after Johnny Boychuk announced his playing career is over because of an eye injury.

His decision clears the way for the Isles to signed restricted free agent center Mathew Barzal. The Isles have $3.9 million in cap space but can exceed the $81.5 million cap by the equivalent of Boychuk’s $6 million annual average value. It could also provide room for their rumored pending deals with winger Matt Martin, defenseman Andy Greene and goaltender Cory Schneider.

The end of Boychuk’s career is a further blow to the Islanders defense corps after trading away Devon Toews to the Colorado Avalanche several weeks ago in a cost-cutting move. Gretz wonders if Isles GM Lou Lamoriello would’ve made that move had he known what would happen to Boychuk.

Bringing back Greene could help their blueline and promising Noah Dobson is waiting in the wings. UFA options include Zdeno Chara, Sami Vatanen, Ben Hutton or Slater Koekkoek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The priority is signing Barzal. As Gretz points out, however, his new contract will bite deeply into that additional cap space.

Lamoriello will try to keep that as low as possible. Gretz suggests $7 million annually for Barzal would be the low end but the Isles GM could try to push that down to $6 million on a short-term deal with the promise of a bigger payday down the road.

He’ll need to keep it at the low end if he’s already got contracts lined up for Martin, Greene and Schneider. Failing that, he’ll have to consider a cost-cutting trade or burying someone like Andrew Ladd in the minors.


  1. Absolute steal for Sergachev and should also help them keep the values down on Cirelli and Cernak.

    • Anthony Cirelli probably gets something in the neighborhood of $4,500,000 for 3 years and Erik cernak probably $1,700,000 for 3 years give or take.

    • I’d imagine Anthony Cirelli comes in around $4,500,000 for 3 years and Erik Cernak around $1,799,000 for 3 years give or take.

  2. I can almost picture Moe (why I audda) Lamierello giving Boychuk the patented finger pokes to free up the cap space.

    Making slugs disappear to Robidas Island is Lou’s superpower.

    • Wendel, are you Q?
      Let me guess, the moon landing was fake.

    • I don’t doubt that LL has pulled some fast ones on the NHL. But in Boychuck’s case, he got 90 stitches in his eyelid.

      Think about that for a minute.

      You don’t think that his vision is now impaired?

  3. As an Islander fan it is sad to see Johnny Boychuk have to leave under these circumstances. For the good of the team Ladd should either be in the minors or LTIR.

  4. Could the Islanders have a interest in pursuing Claude Giroux from the Flyers? I would expect Lou to at least kick the tires on that one.

    • Why would Lamoriello do that? Giroux has an $8.275 million AAV through 2021-22. He also has a full no-movement clause.

      • And they’re in the same division

  5. Seems about right for Sergachev SCJ. Almost identical to McAvoy’s deal the way it is structured.

  6. It will be interesting to see what the bolts do. They’re going to need to clear out about $10M in cap space to sign their RFAs and have enough cap space to fill out their roster with young/cheap players.

    • Yeah Julien BriseBois would need to move out Killorn and Johnson and Coburn and Paquette and that would roughly open up the $10 million they’d need for Sergachev, Cernak and Cirelli. Actually that’s pretty close to $13 million right there.

  7. Guess I should have read Rumours (and posted) before doing so on the Morning Coffee side

    I covered my thoughts re Bolts; TJ, Serg there

    Cut and pasted now below to be part of the more appropriate Rumours’ threads:

    “ As I mentioned before, if they are keeping Serg, first move for Brisboise for sure is TJ

    Yes his list is small but if he can be convinced that he will be a Kraken (he grew up [and played for] in nearby Spokane) come next fall; (note … no state tax also in Wash)….

    He’d play one reduced season and then go “home” so to speak, and have same tax advantages as in Bolts City

    So a team receiving him is going to get sweetener(s) and only have to pay max (if no more deferrals, escrow, or pro-ration) $3.75M * 72%….$2.7 M

    Say the sweetener is a first and Kachouk….
    One of those they give to Kraken for taking TJ (while protecting all other potentially exposable players); they keep the other asset

    So… protect all current players, gain an asset , get a mid 9 forward for 1 year…. for $2.7 M

    Bolts ….. give up Kachouk and first, and bring up Raddysh (replacing Johnson) and Foote for D (more than enough replacing Bogo)

    That’s 20 players… with $1.4 M in space…. still needing to sign Cernak and Cerelli….. at a cost of a first and Kachouk

    That’s waaaaaay better than being at current status….19 players; over by $1.9 M, still having to sign Cernak and Cerelli and still having to bring up Foote and Raddysh

    The next target would be an LTIR

    They also have the unlikely option of moving TJ AND Serg to same team…. since this is more than the sweeteners above; probably a *2nd coming back

    Foote and Kachouk up….. after all that…. $6M left …. for 4 spots

    Bridge Cerelli, Cernak, sign Vats 1 year, one more depth forward at League min

    Then prob just about at the same (possibly $500 K more) Cap situation as Leafs… if Dubas has a plan (still doubting it works) for sending down his ELCs between games to fully eat up the overage; then BrisBoise can do the same with Foote and Raddysh (and with that final depth forward, if coming from within Bolts org)

    *could use that 2nd received and Kachouk to “buy” an LTIR and gain a bucket more in space
    Call Stevie Y…. a 2nd and Kachouk for just signing the paperwork… Wings won’t need the Cap space this year, and Zetterberg only on for this year; then officially retires


    One stop trade

    Serg, TJ, Kachouk for Zetterberg and 2nd (Oil or NYR)

    Stevie Y then (pre expansion draft) gives other 2nd (Oil or NYR) and Katchouk to Kraken next year, to protect all his other players and Kraken takes TJ

    Stevie Y effectively paying TJ $2.5 M (72% of his Sal less 20% of Zett’s Sal , that Wings would have paid) to play top 9 for 1 year; and get a top Pair DMan (Serg) for next year for only 650 K (72% of $900 K Sal); and have him locked for two more years at a $4.8 M Cap…. all for Oil’s 2nd and Ranger’s 2nd

    Bolts effectively would have ~$8M in space (with the Zetterberg LTIR) …. and be at 17…

    Raddysh up (replaces TJ); Foote up (replacing Bogo); sign Vats (replacing Serg); bridge Cerelli and Cernak; bring up or sign Depth league min forward (replacing Verhague)

    That roster fits; gained a 2nd; and that Roster is still at very good odds for a repeat“

  8. In 10 lines or less didn’t I mention weeks ago Zetterberg (or Gaborik from Ottawa) as LTIR options for Brisebois to free up significant cap for his RFAs?

    • Good to see another team think outside the box and use every loophole or whatever for your team’s advantage. We never stop learnin’.

  9. Brisebois sounds really confident he can make the cap issue work. I wonder if Stamkos is more injured than we know. If his he is on LTIR, with Sergachev now signed, the others (rfas) will be easy. Still need to be mindful of the cap if stamkos is coming back but gives wiggle room.
    I’m sure Lou had a clear notion that Boychuk was in serious doubt of returning ages ago. He did not say or act on t until it was official as a matter of respect and consideration, but I’m sure he knew. My guess too is that the Barzal camp knew as well and were quiet out of respect. My guess is the heavy lifting on a new contract is done ad only details remain…..new contract after US thanksgiving……

  10. I’m thankful for Lyle and all you bozos! Can’t remember last time I didn’t read through at least once a day.

    • Awe! Thanks Chrisms.
      More good news – Santa tested negative yesterday.
      Still a go.

  11. Kraken, Jesus Christ, Bettman and his ideas….This guy should be kept far away from hockey.

  12. To all South of the Border

    Happy Thanksgiving

  13. Had a nice career Johnny Rocket ….thanks for the memories in a Bruin uniform