Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 6, 2020

by | Dec 6, 2020 | Rumors | 9 comments

An update on Mathew Barzal and some recent Sabres speculation in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

NEWSDAY: Andrew Gross reports New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello’s efforts to re-sign Mathew Barzal got easier with defenseman Johnny Boychuk’s playing career coming to an end. Boychuk will be placed on long-term injury reserve for the final two years of his contract, giving the Isles $6 million in potential salary-cap relief per season.

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (NHL Images).

That cap flexibility will be placed toward signing Barzal. The 23-year-old center is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract. Gross doubts he’ll receive an offer sheet from a rival club. Industry expectations suggest he’ll sign a two- or three-year bridge deal from the Islanders worth an annual average value of around $7 million.

The Islanders still have to announce its deals with unrestricted free agents Matt Martin, Andy Greene and Cory Schneider. Gross expects Schneider will most likely try to resurrect his career with the Isles AHL farm team in Bridgeport.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Islanders have $3.9 million in cap space. Placing Boychuk on LTIR allows them to exceed the cap by the equivalent of his $6 million AAV. Lamoriello could be waiting to find out when the season will begin before finalizing the Barzal contract and formally announcing the deals for Martin, Greene and Schneider.

An offer sheet for Barzal is possible but unlikely given the few teams with sufficient salary-cap space to make a significant offer. Lamoriello informed his rivals he would match any offer. I don’t see any of them trying to call his bluff.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently examined potential trade options for the Buffalo Sabres if they once again find themselves outside the playoff picture during 2020-21.

Winger Taylor Hall could be a valuable trade chip if the Sabres are out of contention by the trade deadline. He has a no-movement clause in his one-year contract but could approve a deal if the Sabres sink in the standings. Veteran center Eric Staal is also under contract for the coming season. His affordable $3.25 million cap hit could make him enticing in the trade market.

If things go south for the Sabres, O’Brien wondered if this could be the season they trade defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. He also doesn’t rule out moving winger Sam Reinhart but considers it unlikely.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sabres are a contender this season those players won’t be going anywhere even at the risk of losing Hall to free agency next summer. Another disappointing performance, however, will see them become sellers at the trade deadline.


  1. A shortened season is more a sprint. I can see the Sabres doing ok in this scenario.

    Scoring will help & it will fall onto goalies to make me right.

    That all said any team slow out of the gate it will have a huge impact & surprises will happen. This season will be entertaining to say the least.

    Keep up the good work LR & chime in more often pls. Thx

    • Gordie, to your point on starting out of the gate , the Sabres have started strong the last 2 seasons only to fade so if they start out strong again and with the added leadership of Hall and Staal and if the youngsters like Cozens and Thompson come through then I can see them challenging for a spot. But like you said it will come down to the goaltenders which they did not upgrade. Guess they are banking on that Hutton’s vision problems have been corrected.
      Time will tell!

  2. Gordie. Good point. I think we’ll see a flurry of trades and signings once league finalizes a hard start date. Too many teams over the cap and many without full rosters. A slow start could hamper playoff chances. Wonder if we’ll see extra playoff teams.
    Curious to see how Buffalo does. If they don’t have a good year and Hall bolts, we will be talking Eichel trades again next off season.

  3. remember Boychuk, or any other injured player, can’t be placed on LTIR until the season starts. so even if the Isles re-sign Barzal, they have to be under the cap by the first day of the season.

    sure, they could be 10% over the cap by signing Barzal, and if Greene’s contract is low. but they would have to do some fancy cap maneuvering for the day before the season starts, when rosters have to be finalized, and teams have to be at/under the cap.

    Lou has always been able to get around these rules in the past

    • Incorrect. A doctors note saying misses 10 games & he can go LTIR anytime before day 1.

      Yes Sabres had quick starts & will bank on it again.

      Also I expect min 20 team PO

    • Does anyone here really think that Andrew Ladd will be playing for the isles this year?

      Once Barzal signs LL will announce deals with Martin, Greene, Schneider and perhaps Brassard.

      Ladd has proven that he is no longer an NHL player and will be on LTIR for the next couple of years.

  4. Once a start date is given, they’ll be rush to sign or get signed.

    Maybe a round or two of musical chairs.

    Will be interesting to watch and see how much they sign for.

    Still hoping Boston signs AA

    • Caper, with what we’ve seen from him so far in his career, Boston would be looking at Andreas Athana-see-you by the 20 game mark.

      ……… bah-dum-chh!

  5. @ Pengy….looking at the structure of Mike Matheson’s contract his pay day for this year is only $3.5 million….it does go up evety year for the next 5 years..that’s not great.

    But I’m sure we will leave him exposed next year for former penguins great krachen gm ron francis.

    Look for this year, 26 year old Matheson who can skate, has a cannon shot,, and will be working with defensive guru coach returning Todd Reiden he will b good.

    Jack Johnson 33 $3.25

    Mike Matheson 26 $3.5 [this year] no brainer..