NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2020

by | Dec 10, 2020 | Rumors | 37 comments

Reaction to reports of the Golden Knights shopping Max Pacioretty in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz took note of TSN’s reporting the Vegas Golden Knights could consider trading Max Pacioretty. He points out only seven teams – “Florida, Columbus, Detroit, Ottawa, Nashville, Los Angeles, and New Jersey” – have sufficient salary-cap space to absorb the winger’s $7 million annual cap hit.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

Gretz scratched the Blue Jackets from that list because re-signing Pierre-Luc Dubois will take up most of their $9.2 million cap space. Ottawa, Detroit and Los Angeles are rebuilding and probably unwilling to take on an expensive 32-year-old forward.

The Predators could be the best fit because they need a finisher. The Devils need a scoring winger alongside centers Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. The Panthers need someone to replace departed winger Mike Hoffman.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty suggests the Bruins should take a run at Pacioretty. It could cost them winger Jake DeBrusk and perhaps defense prospect Urho Vaakanainen but Haggerty feels it would be a fair price for a big, skilled second-line scorer.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports multiple sources are claiming the Penguins are among the clubs expressing interest in Pacioretty, with one saying general manager Jim Rutherford circled back on Wednesday and is awaiting a response. Kingerski considered the talks exploratory.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger reports his sources said Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon is simply testing the trade market regarding the value of Pacioretty, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and winger Jonathan Marchessault following a period without much player movement around the league.

Granger acknowledged the Golden Knights must become cap compliant before the season begins but believes they would be making a mistake trading Pacioretty. The club is built to win now and trading their leading goal scorer wouldn’t put them closer to the Stanley Cup. He also indicates the trade market isn’t strong right now, making it difficult to move high-salaried players like Pacioretty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: ESPN.com’s Greg Wyshynski tweeted a report out of Las Vegas in which Golden Knights owner claimed his club is “not shopping Patches.” He admits they have cap issues that must be addressed before the season begins but moving Pacioretty isn’t among the options.

Granger believes McCrimmon could be looking at available options if he goes the trade route to shed salary. While they could easily get under the cap by demoting a player, McCrimmon could also be looking at freeing up enough salary to target a UFA forward like Mike Hoffman or former Golden Knights center Erik Haula.

I said yesterday that Pacioretty’s age, $7 million AAV and 10-team no-trade clause makes it difficult to move him given the current economic situation. Fleury ($7 million AAV, 10-team no-trade) and Marchessault ($5 million AAV, eight-team NTC) would also be tough to trade. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but the sticking points are significant.

The Bruins can’t afford Pacioretty’s salary. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $2.9 million in cap space. Moving DeBrusk’s $3.675 million won’t free up enough for the veteran winger. Yes, they could get some short-term cap relief by placing Brad Marchand or David Pastrnak on LTIR, but both could return to the lineup by February, forcing the Bruins to shed salary. Besides, I think their focus is on shoring up the left side of their blueline.

With just $1.3 million in cap space, the Penguins have less money to work with than the Bruins. Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford has a well-earned reputation for wheeling-and-dealing but I don’t see how he can pull off acquiring Pacioretty.

If McCrimmon doesn’t shop one of his expensive players, The Score’s Josh Wegman suggested perhaps moving a couple of depth players such as “Tomas Nosek ($1.25 million AAV), William Carrier ($1.4 million), Nick Holden ($1.7 million) and Ryan Reaves ($1.75 million). It could come to that if demoting a lower-salaried player doesn’t free up sufficient wiggle room under the cap.


  1. With that porous blue line that Jim Rutherford has put together he is delusional even thinking about Pacioretty. Not to mention that every single year the Pens are right up against the cap. Pens are old, have no depth and are injury prone. Too bad the Pens let Tom Fitzgerald go, he would have been an ideal replacement for JR.

    • It can always be done…Pens are 1.3 M under and VGK are 1 M over then cap. That is a difference of 2.3 M to wiggle and work with. VGK retains half of Pacioretty’s salary and Pens send McCann to VGK retaining whatever it takes to for both to squeeze under the cap. Also.. pens have a player or two on LTIR I think.

      • Marko, Vegas can’t retain salary on Pacioretty as it defeats the purpose of trading him in the first place. The Pens have one player on IR (Aston-Reese) but not on LTIR because they’re under the cap by $1.3 million.

      • It’ll take a third team for Oitts and Vegas to make this work. A team willing to take on salaries from these two and be rewarded with prospects and picks.

  2. The Bruins could fit Pacioretty under the cap if they trade Debrusk and if Vegas retains a small part of the cap hit, like 500K. The problem then is that the Bruins won’t have the space to add a much needed D-man. So it’s not happening.

    • And I can’t see Pacioretty being all aglow sitting next to Chara.

    • nope. the problem is that BOSTON ALREADY TOOK A RUN AT PACIORETTY, 0 chances hell go buddy up to chara and the gang of goons

      • I have no idea how Pacioretty feels about it, but it wasn’t a dirty hit.
        Which is why Chara wasn’t suspended.
        It was interference I would say, but if that hit happened anywhere else on the ice, he doesn’t get hurt and nobody would even be talking about it.
        It just happened to be where the glass came out after the bench, it’s not like Chara did anything intentionally.
        Unfortunate accident.
        If you want to blame someone, try the Bell center for putting the box there. Does any other rink do that?

  3. Vegas should have bit the bullet and bought out MAF when they could. it makes absolutely no sense to tie up $12M on your goalies, especially when DeBoer proved he has no confidence in MAF

    Vegas should just find a way to convince MAF to waive his NTC to go to Chicago, who has no NHL goalies on their roster (sorry Subban). maybe a MAF for Malcolm Subban trade will work (bad trade but works for the cap space)

    makes no sense for Vegas to gut their offensive depth

    • Wasn’t Subban in the Vegas organization at one point already?

    • Lmao!!!

  4. Lyle…VGK only needs to shed a portion of Pacioretty’s salary to be cap compliant. I don’t see anyone taking all of his salary. I don’t understand why you would reply with such a generic dismissive response that takes no account of how creative GM’s can be to make deals. I don’t think Pitt acquiring him makes sense or that it is likely but I don’t think it is impossible otherwise GMJR would be asking

    • Marko: I wasn’t making a “generic dismissive response”. It was based on the recent reports. TSN’s Frank Seravalli’s initial report claimed the Golden Knights were attempting to move Pacioretty to become cap compliant as well as enabling them to take a run at any number of unsigned high-profile UFAs such as Hoffman or Haula. If that’s the purpose, why absorb any portion of his salary? Now, if the plan is to acquire someone like Jake DeBrusk as part of the return, perhaps they could consider doing so, but the Bruins probably aren’t going to entertain that trade anyway.

      Based on owner Bill Foley’s claim that they’re not shopping Pacioretty, it’s a moot point. The Athletic’s Jesse Granger makes a good point that Vegas can easily become cap compliant by demoting a lesser-salaried player. The Score’s Josh Wegman suggests trading a lower-salaried player.

      • Lyle is looking for membership in the Linear Thinkers Club, lol.

        Craig, easy on the hazing!

      • Easy James, don’t let mom see you poking fun at the hazing situation , you know she will cut the internet feeding your leaf shrine and computer in the basement

    • At the moment the Knights are over the cap with a roster of just 21 players, as per Cap Friendly. The need to be cap compliant plus add 2 more players to their roster to have a full roster.

      • I don’t think they need a roster of 23. I think the minimal is 21. So they could play as is. Perhaps one of you other posters can verify this

      • They can – but since 2 must be goalies that gives them 19 skaters – if they go 12F 7D and don’t run into a string of nagging injuries which, while keeping the players out for a game or three, are not sufficient to place them on LTIR, they can’t call any players up from the minors if those players put them back over the cap.

        Of course, all the talk about “taxi squads” due to the possibility of Covid-19 infections could resolve that issue – unless the league decides to differentiate between such infections and other types of injuries.

        Lyle, can you shed any light on that aspect?

      • That’s still TBD, George. Hopefully, we’ll learn more about that in the coming days.

  5. Didn’t we just do this yesterday? I saw quote from owner saying they weren’t shopping Pacioretty. With what they gave up for him, it makes no sense to dump him just to get cap compliant. He was their leading goal scorer and they’re not rebuilding. I said yesterday, Martinez might be a better option. He’ll be ufa at end of season, maybe send him back to LA? Best bet is trying to move Fleury. Take back a goalie and either another roster player or retain salary. Maybe Hutton from Buffalo or Reimer in Carolina? Would Fleury be an upgrade for either of those teams?

    • I’ll argue that Fleury is an upgrade over Reimer, but I’m not convinced he’s a $3.6M upgrade. With an extra year tacked on, no less.


      Unless you want to throw in a sweetener, or maybe take another contract back. But that would defeat VGK’s purpose in making the trade in the first place.

  6. Don’t hold your breath on that scenario.

  7. Perhaps, Rutherford sees Pacioretty standing where Horqvist once stood–in front of the net. If so, there’s only a $1.5 million difference between his salary and Zucker’s.

    • Francis S, considering that it is well known that Pacioretty is a perimeter player who doesn’t go to the net, Rutherford can’t consider him to be another Hornqvist.

      Pacioretty is a sniper.

  8. This most likely wouldn’t happen mainly because Fleury probably has the Oilers on his no trade list, but as an Oilers fan it would be great if it could happen.
    IF, and that is a huge IF, by some way Fleury can be talked into waving his no trade clause to go to the Oilers, would a Smith for Fleury work for the Knights? The Oilers will be put Klefbom on LTIR plus Smith’s $1.5 million would free up $5.667 million on the Oilers cap. They would still need to clear another $1.4 million to fit Fleury under the cap, but that is doable.

    • And sign Bear KevJam.
      I would prefer The Oil had a better #2 than Smith as well, but the tenders got more $$ than many expected and the Oilers couldn’t afford them.
      I would have liked Allen in Edmonton, especially for what he signed his extension for.
      I think Koskinen is better than he gets credit for. He isn’t elite, but he doesn’t suck either.
      Mid range starter IMO.

      • Oh yeah, I forgot about Bear. Yeah he is a must.

  9. Nashville is the ideal home for Pacioretty, they need a finisher, a regular 30+ goal scorer.

    He’s a fine fellow with an amazing family who just couldn’t handle the pressure in Montreal.

    The knocks on him regarding playoffs and defensive game are outright false and if Vegas wasn’t in a cap crunch they wouldn’t think of trading him.

    Preds have the draft picks to deal and Pacioretty gives them even more goals in the pressure free conditions of theirs.

  10. Patches on Pens…. no thanks

    Love Patches … but to make it work…. as Knights won’t be retaining any…. two Pens have to go

    Pens are better off adding somebody from UFA

    $1.3 M now plus min of $700 K (for whoever is sent down of 23 , to allow addition to come in)…. that’s $2M; and of course that $2M doesn’t account for ZAR on LTIR…. if a miracle happens and he would be able to start game 1 (he won’t) …. another of the 23 currently listed (so again Min of $700 K) has to go down

    They certainly could afford Haula

    If Duclair wakes up to reality; and with the Dubas up (game day) / down(between games) formulae (of depth forwards) to save Cap…. the Duclair could be had

    Would live McC Duclair Poulin as the 3rd line

    Re Vegas and Patches… as I said yesterday…. WTF…. why go through all the challenges and likely assets (sweeteners) expenses , to move Patches…. his output would need to be replaced…. yes Hoffman close to that output, and younger, and would only be 1 year…. but why all the effort

    1 move and they are done…. move Martinez; bring up Hague…. leaves $2.2 M for two depth forwards (from within or UFA)

    • @pengy..yes Duclair or Anthansiou would make a solid affordable bottom six forward addition…for the penguins..

      Pacioretty hell no our top 6 is set, he is 32 at what $5. 6 million no no no no no no..

      I wouldnt mind Granlund on our third line..he is only 27 had 17 goals last year..he McCann jankowski sid third line all three can play center or wing..

  11. Patch is too expensive for the bruins. Other than that he’d be a great fit. The b’s will probably end up with someone like Jimmy Hayes or Matt Belesky. Sweeney always blows any kind of upgrade. Sweeney’s very good at signing roster players, his drafting maybe the worst in the league and his signing big name players is downright catastrophic. He might need to sit down with someone like Scotty Bowman to actually see how it’s done/ I don’t care if he was inducted into the Harvard Phi Beta chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambada. He not a very good gm.

  12. I find it interesting and somewhat suspect, that the Bruins official site still hasn’t added Debrusk to their list of roster players.
    Maybe I’m looking to far into it, but they generally update their list within a couple of days. It’s been a couple of weeks now.
    Maybe young Jake is in limbo and a deal is pending.
    Wait and see, I guess.

  13. If Boston moves Jake it will be involving
    Patrick Laine deal not to make room for Patch that would be a big mistake. Bruins are fine on defense let the kids play and Charlie and
    Carlo will make huge strides this year.

    • I tend to agree with that assumption, Obe.

    • No chance Bruins get Laine without sending MacAvoy west. Don’t even bother suggesting anything else.

    • Debrusk + macAvoy for Laine. Thats the deal. Take it or leave it.

      • So, a #1 Defenseman + a top 6 winger for a top 6 winger?
        Yeah, who’s doing the linear thinking now, Wendel?