NHL Rumor Mill – May 3, 2021

by | May 3, 2021 | Rumors | 18 comments

Check out the recent rumblings about the Canucks, Flyers and Kraken in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston wondered if a rival club will attempt to sign Elias Pettersson to an offer sheet. The 22-year-old Vancouver Canucks center becomes a restricted free agent this summer.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Petterssen (NHL Images).

Johnston acknowledged the unlikelihood of that happening. Nevertheless, he pondered the possibility of the Seattle Kraken or Montreal Canadiens taking advantage of the Canucks’ limited cap space to make an offer that might be difficult to match.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnston brought up the Canadiens in part because they signed Sebastian Aho to a deal two years ago that was easily matched by the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Canadiens could try again but I doubt they’ll go that route. Cap Friendly shows them with $67.7 million invested in 15 players. Attempting to sign Petterssen will likely cost at least $8 million annually, leaving little room to re-sign or replace free agents such as Tomas Tatar, Phillip Danault and Joel Armia.

I don’t see Kraken GM Ron Francis giving it a try. He didn’t make such a bold move during his tenure as the Hurricanes general manager so it seems doubtful he’ll use the offer sheet gambit to build his club.

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Sam Carchidi speculates the Flyers’ bad season could show GM Chuck Fletcher he must make major changes to his roster. Promising goaltender Carter Hart was among the league’s worst, the special teams were a disaster and poor starts were the norm.

The most mystifying was how much the Flyers collapsed following the offseason retirement of defenseman Matt Niskanen. Fletcher failed to replace him with a more defensive-minded option. Erik Gustafsson and Philippe Myers both flopped with Gustafsson traded away for next to nothing.

Carchidi felt the club had too many passers and not enough shooters. He wondered if the Flyers who contracted COVID-19 earlier this season suffered any lingering side-effects. He also pondered if the constant line changes prevented the players from building on-ice chemistry or if the players began tuning out head coach Alain Vigneault.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher has little choice but to make changes this summer via trades and free agency. He can’t return with the same roster next season and expect improvement. Backup Brian Elliott should be replaced with a younger goaltender to help Hart share the workload while the struggling starter regains his form. They must add an experienced shutdown defenseman and scoring forward.

With over $70 million invested in 18 players, however, those changes could prove easier said than done. Fletcher tried and failed to find anyone to take struggling blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere off his hand.

Some observers suggest trading Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and/or James van Riemsdyk but it won’t be easy moving those high-salaried players with the cap remaining at $81.5 million. Giroux has a year left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $8.275 million ($5 million in actual salary) and a no-movement clause.

THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle recently reported sources claiming the Seattle Kraken could target Florida Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger as one of their netminders for next season. Driedger becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Driedger’s played well this season for the Panthers but they’re likely to promote promising Spencer Knight as Sergei Bobrovsky’s full-time backup. The Kraken have a three-day window before the expansion draft (July 18-21) to interview free agents. Perhaps they can convince Driedger to join them.


  1. Giroux has been inconsistent. In fact a few games non existent . Can’t have that at $8.2m . Voracek -same same.
    I thought JVR was better than expected. A little rich in the wallet though.
    That club needs an overhaul. Carter Hart will bounce back but still not enough

    • I still think there best option is adding a sweetener to take Vorachek off our hands at expasion draft. Weak defensive play and horrible cross ice passes to opposing teams and yes slow starts.

      The team starts slow because G & Jake dont start playing until the 2nd period, usually once we are behind.

      I like G but he never shouldve been given the C hes not a captain. COOTS shouldve been captain of this team for 4 seasons now.

    • Giroux has been inconsistent
      In fact a few games non existent
      His prime is geting distant
      so these issues might be persistent.

      Silver seven, seemed like your post started as some sort of poem.

  2. I guess that because the Habs signed Aho to an offer sheet it means that everyone thinks that they’ll do it again. At the time they had lots of cap space and no one of significance to re-sign. Now, they spent to the cap and they have several UFAs and RFAs to re-sign or replace. It was a one-time gamble that didn’t work out. Won’t happen again anytime soon.

    • The Habs still desperately need a #1 centre …

      • They do Ed, but it won’t be Pettersson. The guy has legit talent but he is slim to the point of being frail. He’s not built to withstand a full season and then a playoff run.

        The Habs are in a hard place with Suzuki and KK. They probably let Danault walk unless his salary expectations come down as 4 goals don’t equal 5 million.

        I would love them to use the cap space from Danault and Tatar to go after Eichel but they don’t have the roster depth to tempt the Sabres with players they can afford to let go. So the Suzuki – KK tandem remains in place and they hope they finally blossom next year.

      • Re LJ

        Yes he is thin but I wouldnt say frail, give a couple of more seasons and he will gain 10 lbs and be fine. In fact I think he is positively mindful of putting on to much weight since thats isnt good either

    • Agree Howard. Every year at this time, when Trade Deadline Day passes and there’s little to fill columns other than game details of a waning season, and RFA signings are looming for teams up against the cap, the “offer sheet” starts to be bandied about. It’ll crop up again. And again.

      • True George O, but one thing we did find out last year and who know how often; something that Lyle himself has said many of times. Which is the player also has to be willing to sign the offer sheet and that doesn’t get reported unless the player himself or a team makes it known.

  3. The offer sheet is typically a thing of great rumors, but no one actually uses them (or rarely). The conditions have to be perfect: 1) Acquiring team has to have the cap space; 2) other team has to be salary cap constrained in one way or another; 3) acquiring team needs to have their own draft picks to satisfy deal; and, 4) the player wants to sign the offer sheet (most important part). The teams with salary cap room might not be the most attractive to UFAs. I just don’t see it happening. Though Vancouver seems primed for an offer sheet with Petterson and Hughes both due at the same time.

    • RFA, not UFA….

    • Hughes is a 10.2c RFA so he can’t receive an offer sheet. Both Hughes and Pettersson will likely sign bridge deals as there isn’t cap space to sign them long term to proper contracts. Thank you JIm.

  4. Wow, the Canucks have a Cap problem?
    More importantly who knew that teams like Montreal don’t have Cap constraints?

    One of the reasons I like this place is that Lyle tends to douse the outlandish suggestions with some reality.

    Unfortunately there will be an avalanche of nonsensical demands or hopes of dumping players as if they had their previous value and tons of buyers were out there.

  5. I am surprised to hear the summary results of Columbus players. I would have thought players would have been harder on Torts. Mayhaps I have been too hard on Torts?

    Also surprised that the ownership (a compendium of businessmen, if I recall, never conducive to good decision making) is cheap with player signings. Guess that goes a long way to explaining their lack of success. Wonder if anyone on the team has done the math and factored in the revenue from a season full of full houses against player salary.

    • LJ,

      Hockey players are known to be conservative, need discipline, are superstitious and slavishly creatures of habit.

      I’m generalizing of course but it’s what makes the free spirits outliers.
      We hear the stories of stars and their repetitive drills, taping, lacing, so the Torts style works, everything is defined and set to the letter.

      Hockey is a sport loaded with discipline, the one sport where its not only legal for the players to exact justice on the ice, its expected by fans, teammates and coaches.

      I think that it isn’t Tortorella’s message that gets lost but the players ability to play such a high octane game effectively for so many consecutive years.

  6. Habfan30: The average life span of an NHLer is 4.5 – 5 years. We tend to not think of it because we have guys like Thornton, Marleau and others but for the average NHL player it is not just the wear and tear of pro sports, it’s that every year there are a dozen young noses pressed against one’s dining room window watching you eat.

    • LJ, I actually though it was shorter, closer to 3 years, but ya you’re right.
      Not sure if it has gone up or if I was wrong the whole time!

    • That average is skewed and not reliable at all as a baseline.

      The study was based on players drafted between 1998-2007

      25% of the players average 12 years.

      75% of the players average 2 years.

      In other words each team has 12 guys on contract who will last 12 years and 38 who be flipped after 2 years.

      The list doesn’t include Goalies or UFA’s