NHL Rumor Mill – November 3, 2020

by | Nov 3, 2020 | Rumors | 41 comments

A look at the latest list of notable unrestricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: updated their list of noteworthy unrestricted free agents as the calendar flipped to November. Winger Mike Hoffman, center Erik Haula, and wingers Corey Perry, Mikael Granlund, and Anthony Duclair fill out the top five.

Could Corey Perry sign with the Ottawa Senators? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been widely reported Hoffman seeks a one-year, $6 million contract and is willing to be patient to get the deal he wants. The Nashville Predators are rumored to be among his suitors.

There’s some recent speculation linking Haula to the Pittsburgh Penguins but they’ve got $80.1 million invested in 23 players. Unless they shed salary there’s no room for another UFA addition.

Perry’s been linked to the Ottawa Senators but I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns to the Dallas Stars on a one-year deal. Nothing new on Granlund and Duclair, though that doesn’t mean there’s no interest in either winger.

Defensemen Sami Vatanen and Zdeno Chara, winger Andreas Athanasiou, center Carl Soderberg and blueliner Travis Hamonic round out the top ten.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing of note regarding Vatanen, Athanasiou, Soderberg and Hamonic but Chara’s future remains a topic of interest. It was assumed the long-time Bruins captain would return for another season in Boston. However, that’s no longer a certainty as he intends to take his time before reaching a decision.

Wingers Ilya Kovalchuk, Matt Martin, Conor Sheary, Michael Frolik and Colin Wilson fill spots 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk is reportedly hoping to sign with a contender and is waiting for the right offer. There was talk earlier this year that the Montreal Canadiens might try to bring him back but their offseason acquisitions of Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli make that unlikely.

The New York Islanders are working to bring back Martin. It’s rumored the San Jose Sharks have spoken with Sheary. Nothing new about Frolik while hip surgeries may have ended Wilson’s playing career.

Other notables on the list include Andy Greene and Karl Alzner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There speculation the Islanders could bring back Greene. Alzner, meanwhile, was recently linked to the Boston Bruins as insurance if Chara doesn’t return.


  1. Re “ There’s some recent speculation linking Haula to the Pittsburgh Penguins but they’ve got $80.1 million invested in 23 players. Unless they shed salary there’s no room for another UFA addition.”

    Yes please

    Pens at 23… one down to make room for Haula … gives them > $2M in room… #2 down, Haula , 1 year @ COVID $1.25 M 👍👍👍👍

    They also start the season with ZAR on LTIR

    3rd line of Haula , McC, Poulin 👍👍👍

    • In the headlines thread you figure – and probably correctly – that and new season is likely to be 48 games starting in March. I agree that that is the EARLIEST likely date but even there I truly believe any season is a pipe-dream (as are the Olympics).

      There’s a report this morning that, all across Canada, they have run out of flu shots due to more than normal deciding to get it this year because of the rising concern of the consequences of a dual whack. I don’t know if that also applies in the U.S. and other parts of the world, buy I would bet it does.

      So, if they can’t even meet the demand for a flu shot how the hell are they going to manufacture over 15 BILLION Covid-19 shots – which would be necessary if, according to U.K. studies, it will have to be administered twice a year?

      Anyway, on a more mundane note, that scenario, I think, will negate any chance of Aston-Reese starting on LTIR, His recovery time from surgery – which took place on August 17 – is 6 months – that would be mid February. So don’t count on that.

      • Not out in Alberta George.
        Some Pharmacies are, others aren’t.
        I got mine a couple weeks ago and had to wait a week for the appointment.
        My wife phoned around and got in the next day at a small local St Albert pharmacy on the weekend. Other chains had them as well.
        I am assuming that you have to book your orders well in advance, and they knew we would need lots.

        These have a shelf life and specific storage/shipping requirements from what I understand, so likely staggered deliveries.

        Is this a can’t produce or bad supply chain management by some retailers?

      • Hi George

        Not out in T.O.

        Some places maybe, certainly not all

        The ZAR LTIR I cited was a bonus if it happened

        #2 down, sign Haula…. under the cap, good to go👍👍

        If we get to a 48 gamer… I think fair possibility… those $700 K contracts for the “aged” become take home pay of $180 K to $255 K (depending on where you play… different taxes)… worth it??

        Does Kovalchuk sign under that possibility

        If 48 games… Marleau will stay… he’s only there for the record… 11 more gets him 3rd, 24 more… 2nd…. he ties Howe at 44; gets 1st alone with 45

        Does Jumbo Joe come back in March (after playing good chunk of season for his Swiss team) in the hopes that Dubas will trade him to a contender at TDL? (He wants a cup… he said so… is he likely to return in ‘21?)

        I think there will be a season George…. just no way 82 games; no way 1/1 start

      • Sorry Pengy,

        I have already booked a ticket for Kovalchuk to St. Lou.—an inexpensive veteran 1 year option “who is waiting for the right offer from a contender”.

      • The ticket might not put you in a seat

      • Hi Iowa Prince

        Noted..l Kovalchuk a Blue

        Won’t have to wait for the right offer… they’ll all be the same IMHO… 1 @ $700 K… same deal he just came off of

  2. Carolina should sign Vatanen. Package Hamilton (w/Bokk and Bean?)in a deal for Laine. This is last week of schedule for arbitration’s with just 5 rfa’s remaining. Maybe things get moving as these issues get settled. Rangers have 2 players that are still without deals. Strome will be interesting as GM already admitted they had trade talks on him. I learned something new recently on arbitration settlements. Already knew about walk away number, but learned there’s a walk back number. So, let’s say Rangers offer Strome 3.5 mil and he gets an award more than the 4.5m walk away number. They can decline and then player has 4 days to decide on a new offer from interested teams or accept Rangers low ball offer of 3.5m. The Isles Pullock has hearing this week too. Will be interesting to see if they sign him before hearing or go the distance. Will know how much they have left for Barzal by weekend.

    • Hamilton AND arguably their 2 best prospects for 1 year of Laine. Pass. Hard Pass.

      • Isn’t it one year of Hamilton as well?

      • It is indeed, Chrisms.

        Still if you rate (as I do) Hamilton and Laine as roughly equivalent, (and on similar contracts) then how would someone justify adding in 2 top prospects?

        And anyway, a first pair D generally is worth more than a first line winger.

        Hamilton for Laine straight up, I suppose, is reasonable. But I wouldn’t even do that. This proposed deal was ridiculous.

      • Whaler came, I pretty much had Hamilton and Laine as primary components, and give edge to Laine in value. Carolina would need to add something. Maybe not those 2 prospects, but Winnepeg can get more than just Hamilton.

      • That would be three years of my Laine. His next contract will be as an RFA giving the team control for another two years

      • Laine is still an RFA next year, Dougie is a UFA. Big difference.

      • Fair enough, 2.0 and Sparky. That’s a key component that I seem to have dismissed.

      • If the contracts were the same I would take Hamilton over Laine though.
        If WPG could get an extension in advance I would definitely do it if it was somewhat reasonable.

        WPG has plenty of forward depth, and CAR has plenty of D depth. It is the type of Laine deal that makes sense from that perspective.

  3. I hope Alzner lands somewhere. In his last call up with the Habs I thought he played well. Had the Habs not wanted to give ice time to younger players at 5/6 he would have stuck. By all accounts he was extremely professional when sent down to Laval, and he is to be admired for that.

  4. For Hoffman it has to be disconcerting – and perhaps also in the nature of a wake-up call – to see himself lumped in with the likes of Haula, Perry, Granlund and Duclair at this late stage of free agency.

    As for that Perry to Ottawa “rumor” I’d sure like to know who Seravilli’s contact is with the Senators because I find that one hard to fathom.

    Perry is a RW and the projected 4 are Dadonov, Connor Brown, Batherson and Watson. If he was signed, the only place he’d fit in is on the 4th line, replacing Watson, and that raises the question “why trade for Watson in the first place?”

    An aging Perry is NOT what a rebuilding team needs at this stage of the process. I agree with Lyle. If he’s going to play again it will most likely be with the Stars once more.

  5. I understand Alzner is on the slow side but there has to be something more to it for a player signed to that much $ to be banished to the minors for 2 years. Folin , Schlemko , Ouellet + others ahead of him on the depth chart ? I recently listened to a JJ Daineault interview and there is some bad blood there, JJ refused to talk about him.

    • He played with john Carlson for years, and a very good pairing indeed. He’s always been a stay at home D man. I had no idea what Habs were thinking when they signed him.

      • Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil
        ’cause I’m the meanest SOB in the valley

      • That would be uncool from anyone younger than 70.

        From you George?


  6. George O
    I’ve been having trouble getting on the site so this comment is a few days late.
    Thanks for your in depth cap reports across the league. I like the format and it saves me a lot of time.

    • You’re very welcome Hud – I just figure it fits in with the general direction of chat during these bits-and-pieces days and hopefully generates more exchanges.

  7. Imagine a hockey world in which the rules somehow allowed an arbitrator to decide Hoffman’s salary.

    Hoffman pleads, “I’m worth $6 million because I scored 87 goals during my last 3-year contract.” The team representative rejoins, “Yes, but when you were on the ice, the other team scored 49 times more than your team.” The arbitrator tells Hoffman and the team representative, “I will make my decision based on comparables.”

    Which players would be comparable to Hoffman, and what are they paid?

    • the first comparable that comes to me is Jeff Skinner, but good luck with that.

    • Would be interesting to see comparisons Francis S. However, in Hoffman’s case I think the lack of interest (and, so far, the only one saying there’s been interest is his agent) it goes way beyond comparing offense with defense.

      That issue in Ottawa with the Karlssons runs a lot deeper than we think, and although we’ll likely never learn all the true details, you can bet a lot of “he said … she said” among players has followed Hoffman around.

      Just the fact Florida, sitting with over $11.5 mil in cap space, has made no apparent move to bring him back, speaks volumes.

      • George, what’s with Jarros? I don’t know much about him, but curious as to why he’s not signed yet. Are they really going to go to arbitration with a guy who isn’t even an nhl regular?

      • Slick62, I think he’s like a number of other RFAs around the league who see the handwriting on the wall insofar as an NHL spot is concerned, as he has fallen well down the pecking order among Ottawa’s D prospects back of Wolanin, Joshua Brown, Zub, Thomson and Bransstrom – and with Sanderson and Bernard-Docker looming at North Dakota.

        Apparently players in his position are choosing arbitration in the hope that the arbiter will give them a higher AHL salary. As things now stand his AHL salary is $70,000 – recently there have been a few settlements where that has been upped to $130,000 to $250,000. Dorion may yet give him a boost there and, if not, the arbiter likely will.

        Although not an arbitration case, the goalie Hutchinson got Dubas to give him $350,000 at the AHL level as he knows that’s where he’s likely to be all season.

  8. Martha signed with Detroit. 5.7 per x 4 years

    • Martha Stewart? 🙂 – just kidding Slick62 – that’s a hefty raise for a player who could be a real force IF he can stay healthy. As I mentioned yesterday in relation to a post suggesting an offer sheet in his case, the past two seasons he’s missed 28% of Detroit’s games. I’m not suggesting that that implies he’s injury prone – but if it turns out he is ….

      • Then insurance pays the bills.

      • Does the team absolutely no good though – IF – and again I stress IF – it turns out he is injury prone. We’ve seen them before

  9. Lauzon & DeBrusk for Nurse …… I’m bored & I can take it

    • That is an overpayment for Nurse.
      Besides, GM Don Sweeney is way too incompetent to ever put a meaningful deal together.
      Sweeney would offer Debrusk, Lauzon, a first round pick, perhaps even throw in Marchand for Nurse
      Don Sweeney is a MORON!

    • What I can’t understand is, why does everyone think Holland wants to move Nurse?

      • He doesn’t want to move him George.
        The concern is how much $$ he will want on his next deal. Pretty early to worry about that IMO.
        Oiler fan likes to pint to what he doesn’t do well. He isn’t going to be a 50-60 point Dman.
        He’ll get you 35-40 and at the same time is big, nasty at times and skates really good for a big guy.
        Can lug the puck and defend.
        What’s that worth? I dunno, he makes $5.6 this year and next. He stays put for a while I think.

  10. Not that anyone here cares, but according to a reliable source (a relative, who works for the Isles)
    both Matt Martin and Andy Greene have agreed to deals, but are not announcing them due to Agent Lamoriello’s obsession with secrecy.
    Something to do with not letting out his true cap numbers.

    Big secret that everyone knows, here on the Isle of Long.

    George, Pengy, et al, whats you number for Pulock?

    5, 5.5, 6 million or more?
    That’s for 2 years.

    How about the max of 8 years?

    I am curious to see how other hockey fans view him and his value?

    • Hoo-boy – he is the poster boy for what EVERY frikken team is seeking on D – big 6’2″ 220lbs RD just turned 26 who was a 1st round pick – 15th overall in 2013, has a 105mph cannon, with 234 NHL seasonal games under his belt and who, except for a -4 in 2017-18 in 68gp, has been a constant +, adding 3g 11a 14pts in 36 playoff games.

      He was also the second youngest D to ever score a goal and an assist in a playoff game (the other one was some guy named Denis Potvin).

      If there’s one RFA out there who has to be signed long-term and for at least $6.5 mil per, he is it. The whole package here. Don’t blow it Lou.