NHL Rumor Mill – November 27, 2020

by | Nov 27, 2020 | Rumors | 29 comments

More speculation over which Lightning player could be moved in a cost-cutting trade plus the latest on the Ducks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen examined which players the Tampa Bay Lightning could shop in a cost-cutting move. They’re above the $81.5 million salary cap by $1.904 million after re-signing defenseman Mikhail Sergachev earlier in the week, with restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak in need of new contracts.

The Lightning put winger Tyler Johnson and his $5 million salary-cap hit on waivers last month but he went unclaimed. His no-trade clause gives him some say over where he could go but there might not be a market for a 30-year-old winger with declining stats and a high cap hit for the next four years.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn could become a cost-cutting trade candidate (NHL Images).

Alex Killorn is another candidate because of his modified no-trade clause whereas other Bolts with annual average values exceeding $4 million have full no-trades. Ondrej Palat and captain Steven Stamkos have also come up in speculation but both have full no-trade protection.

Whoever the Lightning trade they won’t get back a favorable return. However, the point is to free up cap room to keep as much of their roster intact as possible.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if Tyler Johnson was a legitimate trade target for the Anaheim Ducks. While acknowledging Johnson’s had a solid NHL career, he wonders how well the 30-year-old will perform away from a deep roster like the Lightning. Given the Ducks’ own salary-cap constraints, the Bolts would have to absorb half of Johnson’s cap hit while the Ducks made a separate cost-cutting move to balance out the $2.5 million.

Stephens also suggested moving Ryan Kesler’s contract and perhaps another cap-related asset for Johnson if the center stays on long-term injury reserve during 2020-21. However, Ducks general manager Bob Murray could prefer retaining Kesler’s contract for his own LTIR purposes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson would be a tough sell that could end up costing the Lightning more than they’d like to part with in terms of a sweetener since they can’t afford to take back salary. It’ll be a tricky bit of juggling for Lightning GM Julien BriseBois.

Perhaps BriseBois could attempt to move Johnson for a permanent LTIR contract from another club thus providing sufficient wiggle room to re-sign Cirelli and Cernak and remain cap compliant. Some readers have suggested swinging a deal with the Detroit Red Wings to acquire the contract of all-but-retired center Henrik Zetterberg and his $6.083 million cap hit.

Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is the Lightning’s former GM and BriseBois’ mentor so there could be a fit there. However, Yzerman might not be keen to take on Johnson’s contract when he’s still got Frans Nielsen on his books for two more years at $5.25 million per season.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Anaheim Ducks should embrace a rebuild rather than attempting to become a playoff contender in 2020-21. If David Backes ($4.5 million) ends up on LTIR it would provide the Ducks with more salary-cap wiggle room. That could allow them to take on another team’s problem contract along with some valuable pieces for their future.

Should they go the rebuild route, team captain Ryan Getzlaf could become a valuable trade chip if the 35-year-old center is willing to waive his no-movement clause to join a contender. Getzlaf is in the final season of his contract with an $8.25 million cap hit but earning only $3 million in actual salary.

O’Brien also suggested winger Rickard Rakell and defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson as trade options. They’re in the late-20s and their contracts will expire at the end of 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Bob Murray is convinced his club can compete for a playoff berth this season. His opinion could change if the Ducks are wallowing near the basement again by the trade deadline.

Getzlaf, Rakell, Lindholm and Manson would all have considerable trade value if Murray opts to tear things down and stage a full rebuild. Backes on LTIR for the season might also be enticing to cap-strapped contenders looking to free up space for other moves.


  1. TB is in a real pickle. My thought is a few teams with cap space are waiting it out for them to cave.

    Expecting something to give next month presuming a season is happening.

  2. Seems like everyone has been waiting on Tampa. Brisbois has said signing his rfa’s was priority. His problem now is not going over the extra 10% allowed for offseason cap space. If my math is correct, he’s got about 6.25m in off season space right now. He might be able to sign both Cernak and Cirelli with that, but then he needs to shed over 8M before start of season. Add to that is fact they don’t have a full roster. So even if you were able to get rid of Johnson and Killorn, you still have to pay their replacements. I think getting Cernak signed for as cheap as possible should be priority. Cirelli is a good player but stuck behind Stamkos and Point. If they sign Cernak 1st, then Cirelli could be open to an offer sheet they wouldn’t be able to match. As far as Johnson to Detroit, seems logical both GMs could work something out. But does Johnson really want to go from a cup winner in sunny SoFla to Detroit? Good luck.

    • Sorry. Florida. Not SoFla

      • Slick62, as I keep saying, LTIRs Zetterberg in Detroit ($6,083,333) and Gaborik in Ottawa ($4.875,000) are options, each with just one year to run and, unlike Kessler in Anaheim – whose LTIR might be needed there – neither Detroit nor Ottawa will have any need for the LTIR ploy this coming season.

        Unless Yzerman and Dorion intend to make Brisebois squirm by refusing to deal either, or ask for a ridiculous return, both could probably be had for a low draft pick. The $10 mil+ in guaranteed LTIR would be more than enough to sign both Cernal and Cirelli AND get under the cap.

        That it hasn’t happened yet tells me there’s more to the Stamkos injury than is being revealed publicly and, if so, his $8.5 mil cap hit going on LTIR will clear the way for the two RFAs with, perhaps, just one of Zetterberg or Gaborik.

        There are also 9 other teams needing cap space to varying degrees and a few of them could be considering Zetterberg and/or Gaborik. Here, however, and like Tampa Bay, there is no immediate pressure to make such a move as long as the start for the season itself remains in limbo. One of the 9, Arizona and Anaheim are well covered by the Hossa & Kessler LTIRs, while Vancouver, St. Louis, Edmonton & Winnipeg each have large cap its that may start a season on LTIR – IF there is one. That leaves Vegas, Washington and Toronto with not LTIRs either existent or possibly pending, although we keep hearing that the Leafs will solve their problem by constant roster shuffling.

  3. We will know in a couple of weeks, I believe camp was to open mid December for play in teams and a week earlier for the ones that have not played since March 12. So that puts around Pearl Harbour December 7
    Not sure what is going on with the World Juniors. Canada is in a lock down and not on the ice. With this tournament what happens in the playoff round if there is an outbreak ?

    • SS. What scares me is the ongoing money talks between owners and players. Vaccines are on track to start in early December. Between that and mitigation efforts, I think people will be surprised at how quickly numbers come down. Biggest problem for juniors seems to be team selection, now that training stopped. Guessing staff probably had a good idea going in what team would look like. Local media here in NY still not sure if Rangers will be letting Laf play.

    • Host Alberta, despite the smaller population, is running daily positives of Covid-19 in numbers seen in Ontario and Quebec, to the point where the premier is implementing tighter controls. Bringing in hockey players from all over the world without making them go through the same protocols as Joe & Judy Citizen would not go very well with the electorate – who, by all reports, are already royally pissed at the Kenny government.

      • Covid has spiked huge in AB George.
        Re: WJC – 2 players or staff tested positive so the entire team is in 14 day quarantine as per AB guidelines as they all are considered close contacts.
        Regarding Kenny, some are pissed some are not. AB is a conservative place so some will back him no matter what, but there is a healthy debate amongst the informed regardless of affiliation. I voted for him for as he promised to reel in spending as the previous conservative regime(s) were not actually fiscally conservative. They were the opposite and got punted for a term.
        Regarding Covid, IMO he waited too long and didn’t do enough this time. Now he has got himself into a position where the fix will be longer, more painful, and more expensive than if he acted a month ago when this became obvious.
        Our testing and tracing can’t keep up and our ICU’s are filling up. So will the death rate as we know how this works as that is when it get’s ugly. When people can’t get treated.
        He is threatening to do more and wagging his finger, but the bottom line is a significant amount of the public think it is no big deal so here we are and off we go.

      • George, most players do go through protocols when entering country. Testing testing testing. And yes. My son is a firefighter in Florida. He’s been told December they’ll have vaccine. I’m in NJ and my friends son works in ER and was told 1st week in December. Not everyone will be vaccinated right away. All I’m saying is with proper mitigation and vaccines you’ll see a steady reduction in cases. Won’t be overnight.

      • That’s in the U.S., Slick62 – not in Canada though as our government keeps avoiding the direct question “when will Canadians see the first vaccines” – because they don’t have the proverbial clue.

        There is NO capacity in Canada to manufacture a vaccine on any large scale so, while we have ordered millions of vaccines from several leading sources (Pfizer etc), we will only begin to see them as and when the citizens of those countries where the facilities are located have been treated.

        And forget about the 7 Canadian teams opening up in U.S. locales. That is NOT going to happen.

  4. What good is a vaccine at 98 percent survival rating when human immune system is 99.9 ? Especially for people below 75 who are most fans and all players unless the greats come back to play. Just asking for a friend

    • Obe. I have no idea what any of your comment means.

      • If you think you are confused by Obe’s comment, check out Shoreorrpark’s comment below.

        Better still, don’t, unless you have an appetite for disappearing down Alice’s Incoherent Conspiracy Rabbit Hole.

      • Party pooper.

    • I get where SOP is going with that.
      Kind of funny IMO.

  5. If Backes goes on LTIR, can the Bruins put his 1.5M on LTIR also?

    • That’s a heck of a good question.

  6. don’t get me wrong I think Stamkos is an elite player when healthy but what GM would trade for him at this point in his career? even if a good chunk of his 8.5 for the next 4 years is retained and he gets a clean bill of health.

  7. What would happen if Cirelli and Cernak remained unsigned after the season start date because TB can’t free up the space to sign them?

    Are they forced to sit out the season or would they become UFAs? Is it on them to accept whatever undervalued contract TB can afford while staying under cap? Who loses out, TB or the players?

    Alternatively, what are the repercussions if TB signed them both within the 10% overage but again can’t find a trade to get cap compliant? What does the league do?

    If anyone can help out with those scenarios. I haven’t really found anything specific to what the CBA would dictate.


    • Gilly. Tampa’s roster is at 19 currently and they’re over the cap. As far as Cirelli and Cernak,Tampa owns their rights. Their choices are sign or sit out. That’s it. Tampa still has to add players though, and they still need to move some salary to get cap compliant. Somebody else mentioned recently Stamkos injury. Is he healthy or is there a chance Tampa can put him on ltir for start of season? That would help until he’s ready to play. Tampa should hope they get those 2 rfa’s to do a Lebanc and and take a cheap 1 year deal with promise of a bigger contract next year.

      • Thanks for the info.

        Now that I read your answer it does make sense. It’s not really that much different than a team not thinking their RFA w/o arbitration rights is worth a raise.

        It just seems to really suck for Cirelli because I don’t think there’s any real argument he’s earned at least a decent bump that TB can’t currently afford. I think TB would probably agree.

        Wrong place wrong time for his contract to need re-upping.

      • That should be “no real argument that he HASN’T earned…”

      • Gilly, I agree. Cirelli probably a 2C on any other team. Should add that if another team wants to present him an offer sheet, that would an option for him if he wants to get paid. Would also put Tampa in a tough position.

  8. Isnt Stamkos on LTIR? If so there is less panic until he returns?

    • He isn’t – yet – the question no one seems to be answering is “what is the state of his recurring injury and will it cause him to start a season on LTIR” – simply because no one yet has a firm idea as to When the season will go or even IF there’ll be a season. So, in effect, no rush.

  9. Obe thinks latterly. We can’t say he’s wrong or discount his comments, cause we really don’t know any better ourselves.

    Just might be The great Reset, Obe.

  10. Test post again

    • Hey, Pengy.