NHL Rumor Mill – April 20, 2021

by | Apr 20, 2021 | Rumors | 26 comments

Musing over Nick Foligno’s next destination plus a look at some possible offseason moves by the Sharks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline expects Nick Foligno is only a rental player this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, pointing out their limited salary-cap space for next season. He said there was talk before the trade deadline of Foligno becoming the latest player to get moved at the deadline only to turn around in the offseason and sign with the club that traded him.

Could Nick Foligno return to the Columbus Blue Jackets this summer? (NHL Images)

The Minnesota Wild, however, could have an emotional pull for Foligno. His brother Marcus plays for the Wild, who were said to have an interest in Nick before the trade deadline. They could attempt to sign him this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foligno could return to Columbus, joins his brother in Minnesota or perhaps sign with a Stanley Cup contender. The Wild could be in a better position to offer him a better contract plus they appear closer to becoming a contender than the Blue Jackets right now.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently examined potential offseason moves by the San Jose Sharks. It’s possible most of their pending unrestricted free agents, including Patrick Marleau, won’t be back next season.

Marleau’s indicated he’d like to continue his NHL career but it might not make sense for the team or the 41-year-old forward, who still wants to chase the Stanley Cup. He could find it difficult signing with a contender. None were interested in his services at the trade deadline.

Most of the Sharks’ restricted free agents, including Ryan Donato, Noah Gregor, Rudolfs Balcers and Dylan Gambrell, could be re-signed.

Kurz believes it’s difficult to predict if the Sharks will protect all of their core high-salaried players in this summer’s expansion draft or if they’ll try to entice the Seattle Kraken to take one of them (Brent Burns? Evander Kane? Marc-Edouard Vlasic? Martin Jones?) off their current roster.

Don’t expect the Sharks to trade their first-round pick at the 2021 NHL Draft. They could, however, attempt to move up and acquire a second-round pick at the expense of moving down in the lower rounds.

It’ll be difficult for the Sharks to add via free agency with $63.6 million already invested in just nine players for 2021-22. Kurz anticipates they could target an established goaltender who can play No. 1 minutes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This NHL season could be Marleau’s last. While he deserves praise for breaking the NHL games-played record, he’s well past his prime. The fact no clubs made inquiries about him at the trade deadline speaks volumes about his value in this summer’s free-agent market.

General manager Doug Wilson could find it difficult enticing the Kraken into selecting one of his overpriced stars. Of those mentioned by Kurz, Vlasic is the only one with a no-movement clause. Kane’s well-documented financial troubles dampen his value as an expansion draft target.

Burns might be appealing if the Kraken wants to inject a bit of star power into their lineup. That’s assuming they’re comfortable with carrying the 36-year-old defenseman’s $8 million cap hit for the next four seasons.


  1. Congratulations Patrick! You’ve had a great career. But it’s time to hang ‘em up. Enjoy golfing and fishing.

  2. Whatever contract Nick Foligno secures will be an overpay and a regret …

    The Sharks are one of those teams who aren’t good enough to win it all and aren’t bad enough to qualify for the first pick … the worst place you can be these days …

  3. Marleau one of 3 in history to score 30 in the Western league as a 16 year old

    E. Karlsson salary and subsequent play will damper any hopes for some time in San Jose

    • I think the highest paid players can all share the blame

      • Or maybe, Kent, the GMs that paid them.

  4. The ebb and flow of life, cap and salary obligations totally change the expectations players, agents and teams.

    Many $3 miilion players are seen as worth half that.

    There is also the element of young players being better prepared, bigger, stronger, faster and more skilled and are cheaper.

    The entire landscape is changing and long term contracts are increasingly becoming anchors to teams with GM’s finding new ways to work around existing cap rules.

    • Case in point, Adam Lowry. Just re-signed for twice his value. I think only Dubas gets it, but the copycats will follow when Clark Kent hoists the zcup in a few months.


    • Too true habfan30. Out of curiosity I took a survey of today’s CapFriendly and, counting the current rosters (including taxi squads), found that there will be a large number of UFAs coming on the market simply because teams will not have the wherewithal to re-sign the ones they might like to keep, along with some from among the RFAs who might not be qualified for much the same reason.

      Yes, as with every year, teams will find a way to keep the best from both groups (LTIRs, trades, buyouts, buried in the minors) – but there will be a lot of pseudo $3mil and up players crashing back down to Earth.

      These 10 teams have $0 projected cap space
      Tampa – 8 UFAs – 3 RFAs
      St. Louis – 6 UFAs – 8 RFAs
      NYI – 6 UFAs – 5 RFAs
      Vancouver – 9 UFAs – 8 RFAs
      Chicago – 4 UFAs – 7 RFAs
      Washington – 8 UFAs – 3 RFAs
      Anaheim – 5 UFAs – 6 RFAs
      Edmonton – 10 UFAs – 4 RFAs
      Dallas – 9 UFAs – 6 RFAs
      Winnipeg – 9 UFAs – 4 RFAs

      These 6 teams have less than $500,000 projected cap space
      Vegas – 6 UFAs – 2 RFAs
      Toronto – 10 UFAs – 3 RFAs
      Pittsburgh – 6 UFAs – 5 RFAs
      Montreal – 8 UFAs – 2 RFAs
      Boston – 11 UFAs – 5 RFAs
      Colorado – 12 UFAs – 5 RFAs

      These 5 teams have $500,000 to $ 1 mil projected cap space
      Minnesota – 10 UFAs – 4 RFAs
      Nashville – 8 UFAs – 9 RFAs
      Philadelphia – 6 UFAs – 4 RFAs
      Arizona – 11 UFAs – 6 RFAs
      Calgary – 9 UFAs – 5 RFAs

      These 6 teams have $1.3 to 2 mil projected cap space
      Buffalo – 9 UFAs – 6 RFAs
      San Jose – – 6 UFAs – 7 RFAs
      Florida – 7 UFAs – 6 RFAs
      Columbus – 8 UFAs – 7 RFAs
      Carolina – 10 UFAs – 5 RFAs
      NYR – 3 UFAs – 8 RFAs

      These 4 teams have $7.5 to 10.7 mil projected cap space
      Detroit – – 11 UFAs – 10 RFAs
      Ottawa – 7 UFAs – 8 RFAs
      Los Angeles – 1 UFA – 8 RFAs
      New Jersey – 6 UFAs – 6 RFAs

      In total, that’s 214 UFAs and 175 RFAs.

      • Rangers looking good next year. None of their 3 ufa’s are part of future and Brendan Smiths cap hit of 4.3m comes off books. Add to that 3 players not even on roster: Shattenkirk cap hit on his buyout comes down 4.6M. Lundquist’s drops 4M. And DeAngelo buyout saves another 4.4M.

      • They sure are Slick62. Gorton’s done a good job.
        Next season he has $53,899,801 committed to 15, leaving $27,600,199 to fill out the roster. I doubt he brings back any of the 3 UFAs (DiGiuseppe LW $700,000, Johnson LD $1,150,000 and Smith LD/RD $4,350,000).

        So all the available cap money goes towards re-upping which of his 8 RFAs he wants to keep, 7 of which (Chytil, Gauthier, Howden, Lindgren, Shesterkin, Hajek, Fontaine) accounted for $9,254,165 off the cap this season. Say he keeps all and they re-up collectively at somewhere between $12 and $14 mil, that still leaves $13 to $15 mil to re-sign Buchnevich who figures to get this biggest bump from his current $3,250,000 (19g 21a 40 pts in 44 gp dictates a healthy increase. Do you see a bridge deal at somewhere around $5 to $5.5 mil?

        That would still leave Gorton with $7 to $9.5 to spend elsewhere if he chooses to do so.

      • George, I can see Buch getting similar deal as Strome got last year. Will be interesting to see if they go hard after Eichel in the off season. Buchnevich could be part of trade. With Kakko, and now Kravtsov on roster, will have to see what it will take as far as players/prospects and what cap looks like if they’re adding Eichel and his 10m cap. I’m sure Gorton will want to send some salary back the other way. Curious to see if they bridge Shesterkin or lock him up long term.

    • Where are your projected cap numbers coming from? This years remaining space?

      Because I know the bruins right now have just under 30 mill open going into next season. I actually think that they are in a great spot leading into the expansion draft and that number could increase depending who gets picked.

      • Greatgonzo, that’s where they stand now with a full roster, according to CapFriendly. For next season they have $50,368,38,9 committed to 15 leaving $31,131,611 to fill out the rest of the roster. On the surface that appears to be “lots”

        Where the decisions come into play is who, from among their 11 UFAs, they wish to retain and, in the end, what the cap hit will be for each, while deciding how much more they’ll be on the books for those of their 5 RFAs they retain.

        The 11 UFAs are Krejci, Hall, Kuraly, Blidh, Reilley, Miller, Kumpfer, Tinordi, Rask, McKegg, Halak who currently account for roughly $27 mil while the 5 RFAs (Ritchie, Carlo, Kase, Frederic, Booth) account for roughly $7 mil.

        As I say, some teams will easily cover things through non-signings, trades, buyouts, reduced cap hits, LTIRs, non-qualification and Boston will probably be one of them. But the bottom line is, they still have to fill out that roster and unless every one of those players they sign over and above their 5 RFAs (who will get at least what they did before and probably a bit more) is an ELC, what’s left of the cap space will quickly dissipate if they intend to keep a Hall, Reilly, Kuraly, Krejci etc.

  5. Kurz forgot to mention Karlsson as a possibility as well…rather see him gone than the others, especially Kane.

  6. Seriously don’t know how Doug Wilson has his job. He’s beginning to look like Ken Holland 2.0. He gets to start all over again?
    Wow, thanks George for the UFA/RFA tally.

  7. Bruins Fans….UFA’s

    Hall 8 per
    Krejci 7.2 per
    Rask 7 per

    Halak 2.2 per ties into what Rask does

    all above want to come back to the Bruins but nobody wants a house discount & Bruins can’t fit them all into their Cap who do they sign back..


    Frederic 5000,000 per
    Carlo 2.8 per
    Ritchie 1.4 per
    Kase 2.6 per

    what do the Bruins do with these RFA

  8. I am still Boggled !
    You trade a first rounder for Foligno , with slim to NO chance of winning the cup …
    No intention , as per cap space, other … to resign him

  9. I am looking at the Kraken expansion draft & wondering if the Habs left Weber available if it Francis would see his salary/cap hit in a favorable light???

    His cap hit for the next 5 years is $39,285,715, while the money out of pocket would only be $12,000,000 over the same period.

    For an expansion team joining the league during some financially difficult times, it may create an option add cap money, while only paying out roughly only 30% of that cap hit in actual dollars.

    Another question I have is, Joe Drouin has a M-NTC that begins the in 21-22 season . Does this clause kick in on July 1, 2021 or is that postponed until July 28, 2021 when free agency starts in for NHL season??? The Kraken draft is on July 21. If it July 1 then the Habs must protect him, if it July 28, they can leave him open to the Kraken as well.

    • Unless it is a nmc he does not need protection

      • OH crap,

        Thanks Chrisms, I was thinking no movement, but it is indeed a no trade clause.

    • Nobody is taking those 2 players without a serious sweetner being added. You seem to think that the Kraken will have issues hitting the cap floor. More than half the league have shorter term contracts on better players that would gladly pay the Kraken to take them. Montreal should off a 1st rounder and top prospect and try and convince the Kraken to take Price. Despite what all of the numbers have shown over the last 4 years the Kraken might take him to be the face of the franchise. Pittsburgh had to give up a second rounder to get rid of Fleury and he was a way better goalie with a much lower cap hit with a shorter term contract. Seattle will need a face for there franchise so maybe you can sucker them into taking that contract even though his last good year was over 4 years ago.

      • Wow..
        I did not know Pittsburgh had to give up a second right after Nader to get rid of Fleury
        Freekin gift !
        His market right now is through the roof , and very hood, at the time ..
        Please answer this question

        Toronto gives up a first rounder for Foligno , knowingly he’s a rental ..
        If the Leafs think they are going to win the cup , I want to know they are smoking !!!

        Only team outside of Tampa or Colorado , that is running on all cylinders is Boston ..
        Some will say Carolina , Vegas , whatever , Boston is a great Vegas bet in my opinion !!

      • Whether they win the cup or not is only opinion. They have just as good a chance as any playoff team. A very low first was the cost for Foligno plain and simple. If that’s the player they think will help them go further in the playoffs then you pay the cost. The leafs are in win now mode. Funny how you use the lightning as they made very similar moves las year and won it all. Dubas is literally following the same strategy the lightning used. Get players that have something to prove like Thornton, Spezza, Galchenyuk ect… Not to mention that Foligno like Spezza are uge Maple leaf fans growing up so I can guarantee you that it’s there dream to win it all with the leafs.

  10. Uwey,

    My guess is Seattle will keep their salary cap low (must be 60 mil) coming out of the expansion draft to use it as leverage later.

    An M-NTC does not have to be protected. I enjoy using the cap friendly expansion draft simulator because they have a lot of parameters accounted for, including the minimum exposure requirements.

    • GP that train of thought, they must reach the floor so they will need some larger contract, but may not want to pay out the actual dollars.

  11. After watching tonite leafs loss to Vancouver, Leafs chances of getting out of first round are slim and none.