NHL Rumor Mill – November 9, 2020

by | Nov 9, 2020 | Rumors | 30 comments

The latest update on the notable unrestricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Emily Sadler provided an updated list of the best remaining NHL unrestricted free agents.

Mike Hoffman remains the best player available in the 2020 UFA market (NHL Images).

Mike Hoffman remains atop the list, with Sadler reporting his agent recently indicated 13 clubs expressed an interest in his client since the market opened a month ago. The winger also isn’t opposed to accepting a one-year contract. The Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators are seeking scoring.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not really much new here on Hoffman or the others on this list. Nevertheless, I’ll point out some of the more noteworthy tidbits.

Nothing new to report on winger Mikael Granlund. He could be another candidate for a short-term deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund struggled during his brief tenure with the Nashville Predators but he had five seasons with 41-or-more points in six seasons with the Minnesota Wild. The 28-year-old could be a good addition for a club seeking an affordable playmaker.

Defenseman Travis Hamonic would prefer to remain in the Western Conference. Talks with the Vancouver Canucks broke off once they acquired Nate Schmidt. Sadler suggests Hamonic’s former team, the Calgary Flames, could really use a right-side stay-at-home blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Cap Friendly indicates the Flames have just over $1 million in cap space. I doubt Hamonic returns to Calgary unless he accepts a substantial pay cut.

Sadler believes it’s still possible Ilya Kovalchuk could return with the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Never say never but the Canadiens’ recent acquisitions of wingers Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffolli makes Kovalchuk’s return to Montreal unlikely.

Early speculation had center Erik Haula reuniting with the Vegas Golden Knights, but they’re now above the cap ceiling after signing Alex Pietrangelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haula won’t be returning to Vegas unless the Golden Knights make a cost-cutting trade.

Clubs that lost out on signing T.J. Brodie and Tyson Barrie could have an interest in blueliner Sami Vatanen. Sadler suggested the Vancouver Canucks as a destination.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $1.5 million. They could get some wiggle room if winger Micheal Ferland ($3.5 million annual average value) goes on long-term injury reserve next season. That would give them room for Vatanen if he’s willing to accept a cost-effective one-year deal.

Gritty winger Matt Martin is still available but there are reports he and the New York Islanders were working on a new contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed Martin and the Isles have an agreement in place but the club is waiting until they’ve signed Mathew Barzal and shed another salary or two to officially announce the deal. The same goes for blueliner Andy Greene and goaltender Cory Schneider.


  1. For what’s it’s worth as a quick reference – and hopefully to promote exchanges – here’s the latest CapFriendly cap situation (which changes almost daily) for all 31 teams showing their Current Cap Space

    In order are the # to reach 23 signed (assuming they all intend to have the full 23-man complement) – LTIRs (if any) – RFAs Still To Sign (arbitration period has expired)

    Over the cap by the amounts shown
    Ariz $2,770,284 – 1 – $5,275,000 (Hossa) – 0
    Van $1,501,878 – 0 – $3,500,000 (possibly Ferland – concussion issues) – 0
    StL $1,175,515 – 2 – $13,250,000 (Tarasenko & Steen possibly) – 1 (Dunn – no arb)
    Tor $1,049,325 – 0 – 0 – 0 (roster shuffling?? Be interesting to see how they pull that off!)
    Wash $1,024,877 – 2 – $2.5 mil (Michael Kempny – achilles) – 0
    Veg $974,104 – 2 – 0 – 0 (either go with 21 or make some move)
    Ana $929,999 – 1 – $6,875,000 (Kessler) – 0 (showing 14F 7D but 1 G – some movement needed)
    Wpg $697,856 – 1 – $5,291,667 (Little -Oct 9 – doctors recommend he not play) – 1 (Roslovic)
    Edm $242,491 – 1 – showing 15F 7D 2G – 1 over the 23 limit – 3 of those F are headed to the AHL at which point their ELCs become available – 1 ($4,167,000 – Klefbom if surgery is necessary) – 1 (Bear)

    under the cap by less than $1 mil
    Mtl $383,691 – 2 – 0 – 1 (Hudon – apparently signed for the year in Switzerland)
    Car – $932,261 – 1 – 0 – 0

    under the cap by less than $1.5 mil
    Cgy – $1,010,834 – 2 – 0 – 1 (Kylington)
    Pit – $1,318,158 – 0 – $1 mil (Aston-Reese) – 0

    under by $1.5 to $3.5 mil
    Col – $1,823,614 – 3 – 0 – 1 (Kamenev)
    SJ – $2,353,333 – 0 – 0 – 0
    Minn – $2,700,579 – 1 – 0 – 0
    TB – $2,895,834 – 5 – 0 – 3 (Cirelli, Cernak, Sergachev)
    Dal – $3,407,969 – 1 – $2,350,000 (Johns possibly – concussion issues) – 1 (Hintz)
    Buff – $3,395,833 – 2 – 0 – 1 (Pilut)
    Under by $3.6 to $4.9 mil
    NYI – $3,905,833 – 2 – 0 – 1 (Barzal)
    NYR – $4,829,367 – 0 – 0 – 0
    Pha – $4,811,148 – 4 – $1,574,125 (possibly Patrick – migraines) – 1 (Myers)

    under by $5 to $7 mil
    Chi – $5,283.617 – 3 – 0 – 1 (Strome) (both Seabrook & Shaw are said to be “ready to go”)
    Bos – $6,657,686 – 3 – $14,041,667 (possibly Pastrnak, Marchand, Miller) – 1 (DeBrusk)

    under by $8 to $10 mil
    Fla – $8,313,712 – 4 – 0 – 1 (Saarela)
    Clb – $9,225,875 – 1 – 0 – 1 (Dubois)
    Det – $9,538,611 – 1 – $6,683,333 (Zetterberg) -1 (Timashov)

    under by $12 to $17 mil
    Ott – $12,501,501 – 1 – $4,875,000 (Gaborik) – 0
    Nash – $12,942,190 – 4 – ($5,500,000 – Gustav Nyqvist) – 1 (Kunin)
    L.A. – $13,620,715 – 4 – 0 – 0
    NJ – $17,195,001 – 7 – 0 – 2 (Bratt & Blackwood)

    • Under the cap George just where Melynk wants to be…..about a decade ago in baseball the Pittsburgh Pirates were making money on selling players, income splitting and empty stadiums….

      That is the risk for Ottawa…not what Dorian has done which is extremely impressive….but what are Melynk’s real thoughts when he is looking at the ceiling before falling asleep.

      I want Ottawa to be good enough to beat Montreal every time out and bad enough to lose in close games every time out….

      Is that too much to ask?

      Probably just a Leaf pipedream…

      • OldBlueDog – he’s said repeatedly over the past few months that Dorion has carte-blanche in the re-build and can spend within the cap to whatever level he feels comfortable leading into some key RFAs the next couple of years.

        Next year he has $18,575,000 coming off the cap (Anisomov $4,550,000; Galchenyuk $1,050,000; Gudbranson $4,000,000; Reilly $1,500,000; Nilsson $2,600,000; Gaborik $4,875,000) – all UFAs and likely all gone with the possible exception of Galchenyuk and that depends entirely on how he responds this year to what could very well be his last chance.

        Being well under the cap at this stage – just like Florida, Detroit, Nashville, L.A. & N.J. – who are all sitting in the weeds waiting to see what cap-strapped team acts first with a trade offer (or two) to get within the upper limits. I’d include Columbus there as well except you know Dubois is going to take a healthy chunk of what Columbus has on hand.

        If the right offer comes along, Dorion has the green light to pounce. Who and what he relinquishes is entirely up to him and his staff, according to Melnyk.

    • Hi George

      See below re Knights

      Re Leafs $1.05 M… Dubas claims he’ll go 20 between games (sending Robertson , Lehtonen, Sandin down to Marlies each time)

      For the math to work and Leafs stay under Cap… Leafs other players have to stay under 55-60 (non LTIR) man games lost

      That’s for a full 82 game season…. but if it goes to a 60 or 48 game season…. all above (Cap hit, Sals, number of man games lost ) would come out mathematically pro-rated….

      It is possible for Dubas to do it ….. but highly highly improbable

      He needs to make another move IMHO

      • Pengy, that’s going to be some juggling indeed by Dubas. I can’t see how he pulls it off, but if he does it will certainly cast him in a new light among his doubters.

    • George, I don’t know why cap friendly shows Rangers having 4.8m while simultaneously showing they’re over bonus cushion by 3.9m
      From what I understand, the overage counts against cap during season. This makes their cap space closer to 1 mil.
      What all of this shows is we’ll probably see some trades before any teams sign remaining top FA’s.

      • Slick62, I don’t profess to understand the almost daily fluctuation of the cap as reflected by Cap Friendly – which is why I zero in on what they show as Current Cap Space for each team. Thet describe that this way: “The current cap space is the total sum of full cap hit values that can be added to the teams roster to remain compliant below the cap ceiling at seasons end.”

        To me, that’s as clear as mud – but barring some other source, the amount shown there is what I go by.

  2. Can certainly see Hoffman as a Bruin… Cap manipulation with the 2 (possibly 3 ) on LTIR for day one of season (if Season starts 1/2 or before; if it’s 1/3 + they should be back)

    Re Knights and Haula… they still have a move to make and it is very likely Martinez

    Martinez out… gets them $3M under with 3 to sign

    If they could get Vats at $2M for 1…. would be the better move than Haula IMHO…



    Whitecloud/ Dahlstrom

    That’s a dang fine D

    Whitecloud on the move for sure, but it may be rushing him for 2RD next season… that’s why I suggest Vats

    • Pengy, I said it before and I’ll say it again – I just can’t see hard-working 2-way players like Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand, McAvoy and others putting up with Hoffman’s approach to defense – which is non-existent. Goals be damned. There’s a reason no one – and I mean no one (don’t believe that agent-generated crap about 13 teams vying for his service) is clamoring for his services. The problems run a LOT deeper than the offense.

      • George, Right on, brother. Hoffman is left because he’s not the ideal team player.

        He’s a selfish, one trick pony who has a poor reputation throughout the league.

        Even if somehow he ends up on the Island, I won’t be joining his fan club.
        I can’t see Trotz or LL putting up with him.

        They want hard nosed players (Hello JG), not one dimensional floaters.

        I doubt that Hoffman gets anything more than 5 million for a one year “prove it”deal.

        It painfully obvious that the teams with Cap room don’t want him.

        Am I going to have to look at and hear about this guy all off season?

        Man, this year sucks!

  3. Watch the CBJ. Portzline reported sources told him last week they are out on Hoffman (true or just posturing?). They have to sign Dubois but now have the opportunity to place Dubinsky ($5.85) and Nyquist ($5.5) on LTIR. Assuming they do not have an internal cap, which granted is not clear, they have space to add but prefer to do so via trade. Portzline’s sources shared they believe CBJ are waiting the cap strapped teams that have to make moves to sign their RFAs or become compliant. May turn out to be much ado about nothing but bears watching.

  4. I think a lot of teams if not all would at least look at Hoffman on a one year. Even if to confirm the ask

    Hamonic will be a Flame or Jet by early season start.

    Basketball dates are published. NHL has to go January in my opinion. Even if not fans to start and the Canadian teams play each other to start. Buy a couple of weeks to a month. Now that the USA is going to follow medical advice and not a political agenda there will be improvement on the Covid front in the coming months down south..

    • Each of Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba set records yesterday for single day Covid-19 positives – it’s going throiugh the roof in the U.S. – hospitals are experiencing unprecedented volumes – deaths as a result are rising … no politician is going to dare relax measures for the sake of professional sports – the Blue Jays had to play “home” games in Buffalo and the Raptors had better seek out a home-away-from-home as well.

      And you can bet, with Biden taking over in January, that the border will remain closed to all but essential traffic until such time as a vaccine is approved, distributed and universally administered. If there are sports “casualties” – so be it. There have been thousands upon thousands of restaurant and boutique casualties already throughout North America – as just one example – and there will be more.

      Singling out pro sports for special consideration is political suicide.

      • I don’t know about helping pro sports being political suicide George.
        Here is a sample argument a responsible leader could make:

        It gives us something to do while we are being responsible, which improves the odds of being responsible for many sports fans.
        The younger folk especially, many have had enough and more will get cabin fever.

        Or something like that but more eloquent.

        Could that sell? I think it could for a significant portion of the population.

        On a positive note Pfizer is claiming a 90% efficacy from their vaccine trials. The study needs to be picked apart and peer reviewed, but a good step forward if accurate as it is higher than most expected at this stage.

      • You said the nhl returning for the playoffs was political suicide George. What politicians lost their jobs due to that? Any?

        That sounds antagonistic but it’s a serious question

      • Chris, I believe George said that relaxing measures at the border for a professional sports league was political suicide, not the NHL returning for the playoffs.

        And he’s right it would and should be.

      • With how ingrained hockey is up north I’m not so sure it would be.

        I’ll compare it to football down here. I think there would be as much political fallout, if not more, if politicians tried to kibosh the nfl.

      • Some read what they want to read Canadian King.

        I think some are over-estimating the appeal of spectator sports over practicality, but if others want to view it differently, so be it.

        Chrisms, Boris Johnson is down in the polls – drastically – in the U.K., the Republicans just lost the presidency and, depending upon what happens in Georgia, perhaps the Senate as well, Trudeau is hanging onto power here through the grace of the NDP – has any of this to do solely with the approach to handling Covid-19? I can’t say that – but neither can anyone say it’s had no effect.

        But you continue to look at it your way and I will continue to believe my views. Only time and lenient policies will tell.

      • George, I agrre again with you. Check out the TV ratings for all the Major Sports.

        NBA Finals ….totally ignored. Worst ratings ever
        NHL Finals…. Worst ratings since the Bruins -Flyers finals were broadcast on Public TV here in the States (1970’s)
        NFL….Even the MONSTER NFL is flat lining
        MLB…..Lowest rated WS in????????

        I think that people are fed up with spoiled athletes, overpriced tickets, political bs and have found better ways to spend their time and money.

        I know that I have.
        I’m a guy who will watch Calgary play Winnipeg at 1 am in the morning where I live. I’ll never give up on Hockey. It’s in my blood.

        As for the NFL, MLB and NBA, I could not care less anymore.
        Sunday was Football day here. On the couch from 1 pm till almost midnight remote in hand.

        Yesterday, I saw a 5 minute recap show.

      • You’ve got more faith in humanity than I do George. I’ll give you that.

      • I believe even the most dense among them will weigh the loss of jobs by thousands upon thousands of minimum-wage/near minimum-wage workers due to forced collapse of service industries (happening now in Canada to the extent that the government is doling out billions of dollars to try and lessen the blow) against that of pro athletes pulling in annual salaries in the millions – and if they perceive any sort of special leniency in policies for the athletes not accorded Joe Average they better start looking for new jobs.

        It’s not so much faith in humanity as it is a feeling that even the most die-hard of sports fans will react adversely to blatant hypocricy. If they don’t, God help us all.

  5. Just tossing this out there to see what bounce I get ….would like to see the Bruins sign Anthony Duclair and sign a veteran winger to to take the place of Chara (clubhouse and on ice ) then trade DeBrusk and friends for a LD with size who can also get job done on the offense

    • Would you sign Duclair at $3 mil per for 2 years? That’s what he thumbed his nose at in Ottawa, and the fact no one has yet picked him up as a UFA suggests he’s holding firm to that stance.

      Maybe, when he wakes up to reality, some team will get him for $1 mil – 1 year

  6. Kovalchuk was a breath of fresh air in Montreal which is quite a feat considering his age (37).He was an infectious in his short period of time but he wasn’t missed in the playoffs.

    Nate Thompson was solid 4th liner who took defensive zone faceoffs and was a mentor to Suzuki Had uncle Nate remained a Hab instead of becoming a Flyer things may have been different, he was missed.

    I think the Habs need a Brian Boyle to anchor the young centres and fill that “old man” Bergevin likes on his team

    • HF30

      I sure wish that Kovy would bring his “breath of fresh air” to the Blues for a season. I think he could still contribute some goal scoring, help a power play, and impact a locker room. Do you think he would consider a Midwest destination to continue a career?


      • IP, the blues have to manufacture space to sign Vince Dunn, Kovalchuk is too much of a gamble for that limited space.

        He’ll help any team in shootout situations and most in power play.His training and ice in his veins make all young players better.

  7. Would think AZ would move a goalie before the season. Hill is becoming a strong candidate to step up. Ranta could net them a prospect and a pick, or maybe a better RD. I would think the Sabres could be interested.

    • G-man, if they were going to move Ranta and his $4,250,000 cap hit you’d think it would have happened weeks ago before the glut of UFA goalies was diminished. Right now, I don’t see one team where you can say they absolutely need a # 1 goalie – and there’s no way anyone is taking him on as a back-up making that kind of coin while giving up a prospect AND a pick.

      Besides, didn’t they already announce that, for this season anyway, they’re pretty much “standing pat?” This despite being over the cap by over $2.5 mil – because they have 1 more year of Hossa’s $5,275,000 LTIR.

    • Does Hill need to clear waivers?

  8. We’ll probably end up with someone like Jimmy Hayes. Better scratch off Hoffman from your list Sweenik usually goes for retreads.