Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 1, 2020

by | Nov 1, 2020 | Rumors | 25 comments

A look at seven teams that could weaponize their cap space plus an update on Mike Hoffman in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon recently listed the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, and Los Angeles Kings as seven teams that could use their cap space to target cap-strapped clubs looking to shed salary.

Could the New Jersey Devils attempt to move P.K. Subban? (NHL Images)

All have $11.5 million or more in cap room. Some have already put that available cash to good use, as the Wings acquired defenseman Marc Staal while the Senators landed goaltender Matt Murray.

Dixon noted the rumors linking the Predators to unrestricted free agent winger Mike Hoffman but felt if they were going to sign him it would’ve happened by now. He also wondered if the Devils would use their cap room to absorb a healthy chunk of P.K. Subban’s salary if it would land them a decent draft pick or prospect.

The Blue Jackets must re-sign Pierre-Luc Dubois, who’s a restricted free agent lacking arbitration rights. However, Dixon feels there could be enough space after he signs to perhaps make a bold move.

THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan mused over whether the Predators would weaponize their cap space. An obvious target is the Tampa Bay Lightning, who must shed salary to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev, and Erik Cernak. Trade options could include Alex Killorn or Yanni Gourde. Vingan also suggested trying to sign one of those RFAs to an offer sheet.

Vingan also suggested the Predators target Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault. He also proposed taking a bad contract from the New York Islanders (such as Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ladd or Leo Komarov) for picks and prospects, then burying the veteran in the minors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those seven teams may have the cap space but that doesn’t mean they will target a club looking to dump salary. The Wings and Senators could wait until training camp to see if any teams get desperate to become cap compliant. For now, however, it seems like they’ve made their big moves.

Dixon made an interesting suggestion about the Devils picking up part of Subban’s $9 million annual salary-cap hit to facilitate a deal. At this stage, however, I believe they would prefer acquiring a player that can help them now rather than stocking up further on futures. That’s a move I can see them doing, provided they can drum up interest in Subban, whose stock has declined over the last couple of seasons.

The Jackets could go after another forward once they re-sign Dubois but I think shipping Josh Anderson to Montreal for Max Domi has addressed that issue. GM Jarmo Kekalainen might prefer leaving some cap space available for later in the season.

Panthers GM Bill Zito could also be operating under a cap ceiling lower than the league’s $81.5 million, which would explain why he hasn’t made a big splash yet. Kings GM Rob Blake could make another move or two but so far seems content building up his roster from within.

The Predators reportedly have a serious interest in Hoffman. Maybe general manager David Poile is considering other options, but he could be playing the waiting game in the hope the veteran winger lowers his asking price. And speaking of Hoffman…

THE SCORE: Brandon Maron cited The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reporting the offers Hoffman has received thus far are “bargain city.” However, his agent claims his client is willing to wait for the deal he believes he deserves.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty reports the Boston Bruins are among a half-dozen teams interested in Hoffman. He also cited LeBrun’s report, noting the winger’s received one-year offers between $3.5 million and $4.5 million. Haggerty said it sounds like the Predators, Panthers, St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers are also interested in Hoffman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t expect Hoffman will put pen to paper with one of those clubs until around the start of training camp. Time will tell if he gets a one-year, $6 million deal or settles for less.


  1. I still believe Hoffman’s market value is at 5 something million. No higher than 6. Like Dadonov in Ottawa who it seems the masses think took a discount. I’m going to guess end up in Boston.

    • The problem with the “masses” is that, by and large, they don’t think. There’s enough evidence of that surfacing every day.

      Dadanaov and his agent were simply more adept at reading the immediate future writing on the wall than Hoffman and his agent. So too was Hutchinson who, in settling for a basic $700,000 at the NHL level, managed to get the Leafs to fork over $350,000 per at the AHL level – where he’s going to play almost exclusively, barring devastating injuries.

      Duclair – without an agent – completely missed that writing when he turned down $3 mil per over 2 years.

  2. Nobody knows when or how the season will play out, how many games, how many fans if any in the arenas.

    This year may shape as a huge loss of money and may jeopardize the future of some franchises.

    It makes sense for teams that have cap to just wait it out at this point till there’s some certainty and either drive the costs down or cut their losses during a season.

    • Exactly habfan30. There is absolutely NO pressure on those teams with loads of cap space to spend it any time soon. It’s not like signing a Hoffman will suddenly generate fan interest and increase ticket sales. Tickets to what?

    • Let’s hope it actually sinks some franchises… too many teams in markets that don’t want hockey!

  3. It’s November 1st and i miss NHL HOCKEY!

    • Me too Caper!

      The cornhole world championship was recently televised…

      • Haha! I watched a cornhole tournament in April ! They can really throw that bean bag!

  4. Hoffman since becoming a full time player: 6 seasons has averaged 77.3 games, 28 goals, and close to 59 points per season. Based on those numbers, 6 mil for a year is totally reasonable. I’m guessing the wait is over teams he wants to go to that have to create the space as opposed to teams that have the space now , but not high on his list. If you’re a billionaire owner, I don’t think you’re squabbling over a million per year for him.

    • Slick62, his teammate for the past 2 seasons in Florida, Dadonov, has averaged 75gp – 27g 34a 61pts over 3 years and, except for a few months difference, is basically the same age (31) – and he signed for 3 years at $5 mil per. At another, normal time, he would have commanded – and received – more than that.

      Do you really think there’s a team out there that will give Hoffman $6 mil in this uncertain environment for anything more than 2 or 3 years?

      • And, I should add, over his past 3 seasons Hoffman has been a cumulative -49 while for Dadonov over the same span it’s -3

  5. The term “weaponize cap space” reminds me of the discussion held here a few days ago about the righteousness of offer sheets. I think an offer sheet is simply an example of weaponizing cap space, and should be considered no more or less pilfering or stigmatizing than any other. Any difference in exploitation is in the mechanism, not the ethics.

    • All this makes click bate so effective. As with any transaction you need two willing partners who feel any interaction between them will be a direct benefit for them.

    • Weaponize Cap Space may just be a saying to most of these teams who supposedly have this space. There owners may not wish to use any of it for any reason with the environment as it is and owners are not as deep pocketed as they were. As long as they have met the cap floor that is all they have to do. Also most of these teams are not at the stages of going all in for the cup. With probably at least 2 or 3 years before any kind of normalcy comes about you may very well see a lot of teams stay below the cap for a few years. Also interesting tidbit there are 169 UFA not signed yet, there are 48 RFA not signed yet for total of 217 players available yet. Between all the teams there are 215 open slots for maxing out NHL contracts (most teams do not use all 50 available slots)

    • I agree Francis, if it is in the CBA, teams should be able to use it. Teams have to know what goes around comes around.

  6. AS of this morning, the Rangers, Islanders, and Sabres are travel bound by new New York rules (if they are constitutional) If the rest of New England follows, as it has earlier in the pandemic, they will either have to relocate to less draconian locales, or we’ll have bubble hockey, or no hockey.
    FLorida, Texas, maybe Carolina, maybe Las Vegas can provide US sites where a semi-bubble league could run; with sufficient testing & control for safety, and sufficient freedom to accomodate players with families and avoiding stir-crazyness.
    Are there likely Canadian sites? Otherwise, no play, no revenue, no cap, no trades, and a league in limbo. Now, maybe Cuomo is just grabbing a headline, as travel restrictions are hard to enforce, but the thought is there and certainly mitigates against sports travel. We’ll see if they clamp down on football in the next week or so.

    • I personally would have no problem getting tested everyday for a multi-million dollar contract. I don’t think that the players would object if this was the only thing to having a season next year

  7. As we all know the NHL is a gate driven league and simply put I do no see the NHL starting up unless some capacity of fans are allowed in the building.

    Are the NHL owners willing to take millions and millions of loss dollars to stage and NHL season. No i don’t think so.

    Owners are already taking losses in their main business and are not going to subsidy the NHL.

    The NHL already has a TV agreement, so what sort of out of the box thinking can be done to generate dollars from an empty seated arena?

    Now i’m not a betting person and don’t know enough about it or what the NHL does now.

    How much would online gambling help. total goals, how many saves, who scores, how many penalty minutes any thing and everything bet on.

    Would it work? would there be enough dollar generated? Legalities etc.

    just spit balling and typing out loud.

    • Ya they can Caper, but it’s complicated.
      The states each have their own rules in the US, and you can gamble on sports today in Canada legally. You can buy a sports select ticket in your local convenience store.
      The issue is what incentive is there for the states or Canada to let the teams in on the revenue?
      They get by the copy right laws by not using teams names and simply identify by city name.
      There is fantasy sports, and in game prop bets that can take place all game like next goal etc. That might be where they go.
      Or set up their own sports book and compete.

    • If the NHL does not play they will lose all the TV revenue plus the gate revenues. So not playing will cost the teams a lot more than a partial season as the players will still be paid a percentage of their contracts. However the damage to the VALUE of the team will be much greater if the teams don’t play. This is why all of the major sports are still trying to have some semblance of a season, even if it is only 40-60 games.

  8. Richard, without opening link I can see “must get tested”. Pretty basic for sports teams. It’s what nfl has been doing. Testing. We’re probably 3 months from a realistic start, so let’s see where we’re at then.

  9. I think a lot of agents and players are operating under the misconception thats its business as usual.

  10. Haggerty has no pulse on what the Bruins will or will not do he’s just filling print space the guy is never right about anything concerning the Bruins…..BTW from afar the Bruins closed up shop after the Smith signing and went home …..

    • You are so right Joe. Mr. Haggerty speaks volumes of nothing!