NHL Rumor Mill – May 5, 2021

by | May 5, 2021 | Rumors | 26 comments

Could the Capitals shop Evgeny Kuznetsov in the offseason? Is Jets coach Paul Maurice in danger of losing his job? Will the Senators leave Matt Murray exposed in the expansion draft? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Washington Capitals could be willing to listen to trade offers this summer for Evgeny Kuznetsov. The 28-year-old center has four years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7.8 million, plus a modified no-trade clause.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).

LeBrun noted Kuznetsov and teammate Ilya Samsonov were scratched by the Capitals from Monday’s game against the New York Rangers for disciplinary reasons stemming from missing a team function. The center also missed time earlier this season when he ran afoul of COVID-19 protocols. Two years ago, he was suspended by the league for three games for “inappropriate conduct.”

Kuznetsov’s play over the last couple of years has been inconsistent. LeBrun said he’s hearing it’s starting to irritate some members of the Capitals’ organization.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also the Capitals could be running out of patience with Kuznetsov, pointing to head coach Peter Laviolette saying the club is “working through things inside the room.”

Kuznetsov is a talented player but his stats have tumbled since his career-best 83-point performance in 2017-18. His on-ice inconsistency, recent off-ice issues and a hefty contract could make him difficult to move, especially with the salary cap remaining around $81.5 million next season.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre suggests this season could be Paul Maurice’s last as head coach of the Jets if the club makes another early playoff exit. While the Jets are certain to clinch a postseason berth they’re mired in a seven-game losing skid.

McIntyre doesn’t expect Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will make an immediate move to replace Maurice. Nevertheless, the pundit noted the Jets’ bench boss has made some questionable choices lately.

Maurice keeps playing Tucker Poolman with Josh Morrissey when it’s clear that defense tandem isn’t working while keeping Dylan DeMelo stuck on the third pairing. He has also relied heavily on the struggling first line of Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler and hasn’t found a way to get Pierre-Luc Dubois going.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Winnipeg Sun’s Paul Friesen doesn’t see Maurice losing his job before the playoffs. He noted the loyalty Cheveldayoff and team chairman Mark Chipman have toward their head coach. Friesen also pointed out the players aren’t showing any sign of quitting on Maurice. Still, he doesn’t rule out Maurice losing his job if the Jets get bounced from the opening round.

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren believes the Senators won’t protect Matt Murray in this summer’s expansion draft. He doubts the Seattle Kraken will select a goaltender “with a 10-13-1 record, 3.38 average, .893 save percentage, injury question marks and with three years and $21 million remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. Even if Murray had better stats this season his injury history and remaining salary should scare off the Kraken.


  1. With Kuznetsov There is also the alleged cocaine issues. Which would explain a lot. I also surmise he is a bad influence with Samsonov as they have been disciplined twice now together. Now Kutz is on the Covid list again.

    If we start to wonder why coaches do anything they do , it will drive you
    Keeping Jarry is looking more like the right decision every day

    • How about Kuznetsov and Dillon for Burns and Karlsson?

      C’mon, help the Sharkies out!

  2. Sens couldn’t give Matt Murray away …

    Paul Maurice = scapegoat … while the GM gets a free pass year after year …

    • I don’t think so. Going back to the Vegas playoff collapse… our coaching staff has demonstrated inability to implement a system that takes advantage of our skills. Maurice has made a fast team play slow and a big team play small. Time to go PoMo.

      • I also think Chevy has done a good job as GM. Draft and develop is the way. He was in a bad position with Trouba but we got Pionk who is better. Picking up Dubois gives more balance. Trading in Winnipeg is hard but he has done a reasonable job. This team would benefit from a change now. Can PoMo and put in Lowry for rest of year. Then get someone who is a winner and a tactician. Maurice to Seattle or the booth (media loves him, that’s where he belongs)

    • Before the season, a few Pens fans were trying to shop Murray, touting him as a 25 yr. old 2 time cup winner, but buyers were concerned that they may instead get the goalie who has struggled a bit afterwards. On the surface, it looks like Ottawa got the latter. I haven’t seen many Sens games this year….Sens fans, has Murray been that bad, or is it the “D”, or a little of both ?

      • At the start, Iago, it was a combination of a lack of communication with his D and, for some of them, a simple lack of ability to get the puck out of their own end or even control the opposition’s moves (Gubranson, Cobourn). He also was having trouble with obvious beachballs!

        But then he had an injury that kept him out of the line-up for quite stretch and just before he cam back the Senators changed goalie coaches. And when Murray finally got back into action you could see subtle changes in the way he was performing, getting shut-outs in 2 of his 3 wins before going down with another non-related injury.

        It was too bad that had to happen because he had really started to fit in with the new D structure – and they with him.

        All they can hope for is a fresh, healthy start to the new season and at least now, knowing what Gustavsson is capable of, they’ll have a solid back-up (including Daccord too IF he’s not taken by Seattle who will likely start in the AHL with Sogaard). If Daccord is plucked, I can see Ottawa re-signing UFA Forsberg as insurance in Belleville. Hogberg, I think, could be dealt.

  3. Well of course the Senators won’t protect Murray in the expansion draft. That’s about a sure thing as you can get. They, unfortunately, are stuck with him for the duration.

    The ONLY way Seattle would take him – an aside to Chrisms here – is in a trade if Dorion withheld a large chunk of that cap hit AND threw in one helluva good prospect. And the chances of that are about equal to the chances of Parros starting to get very hard on repeated goonery.

  4. So a solid center may be on the trading block. We all know that whenever that happens, observers start to speculate about the Habs.
    So, my fellow Habs fans, do we inquire about him. There’s no doubting his talent. But his off-ice issues make him the type of player that Bergevin normally stays away from (assuming Bergevin will be the guy still making the decisions).
    More to the point, do the Habs make the move if Suzuki has to be part of the deal? Kuznetsov obviously has more history as a points producer and has a higher upside. He’s also taller, which is important for a center. Of course there’s the risk that his numbers are inflated somewhat playing with Ovechkin. Their points and goals per game numbers this year are quite similar. We must also consider that Suzuki is 7 years younger.
    Personally, I would not trade Suzuki for Kuznetsov even if the Habs don’t have to give anything else up. What say you, Habs fans?

    • As someone who is definitely not a habs fan, I think it would be crazy to include Suzuki in a trade for Kuz……so you guys should do it

    • Howard,
      Montreal has an interesting relationship with Russians, they are great or unable to deal with the city’s temptations.

      Kuznetsov clearly has issues if the Caps are willing to part ways with him and his $7.8 cap hit.

      I wouldn’t take him if he was on waivers.

    • Wait, what??? The Caps would need to retain half of Kuznetsov’s salary and add a sweetener for the Habs to take him… And you’re talking SUZUKI? Are you sure you’re a Habs fan?

    • I say:

      “Howard, either you’re on serious drugs to even think such a thing might happen, OR, this is click bait in the “Comments” section – an interesting concept.”

      Whichever it might be you should, you know, get real.


      • Thanks for everyone’s responses. As I indicated, I was not in favor of it either. I was just putting it out there. I see that everyone agrees with me that the Habs won’t/shouldn’t do it.
        Kuznetsov is still a useful player. He’s a big, offensive center, which is at a premium in the NHL. The Caps will not just give him away. They would likely want a good, young NHL forward in return. That’s why I put Suzuki out there. I wasn’t saying it should or would happen.

      • Howard puts out a proposal, one that he suggests the Caps might want in return for Kuznetsov.

        He explained why they might want it and why he wouldn’t go for it.

        You then jump all over him and HE’s the one on drugs or not a real fan????

        How about just replying to him instead of running him down.

      • Ok I wasn’t the only one to see that too. I guess Howard’s comment was too hard to understand.

  5. Rangers just fired Gorton and Davidson.

    Methinks Gorton gets hired real quick.

    • Dumb dumb move by the NYR – where Gorton is concerned anyway. And you’re right – he won’t be unemployed long.

      • Anyone else wondering if the statement released the other day has anything to do with the firings? Makes zero sense otherwise, to me anyway…

        I have to agree with the statement about the Department of Player Safety, but perhaps the way they went about it ….

        One of these days, Tom Wilson is going to get his, and probably in the aftermath the culprit will be suspended himself, causing further outcry about the Department.

      • George, I’m not really sure why Davidson was hired in 1st place, but the Gorton firing is a huge mistake. Fans not happy with Dolan at all. Supposedly there’s been a rift for awhile. I’ve always wondered what Dolan though about the DeAngelo decision.

  6. Interesting that Quinn was not fired also.

    • My take on this is,

      Dolan released the comments about firing Parros and JD & Gorton didnt agree with the way that was handled, so Dolan being the tool he is fired two very good hockey people.

  7. Maybe Kuznetsov should kneecap an opponant? Then he would be the perfect fit for the Capitals.

    • Ever since he signed that contract he has been half the player he should be. Typical play hard during contract year then coast until next contract year.

      Praying Kevin Hayes contract doesnt turn out to be the same. seems likely though

  8. The NHL dos not like to be criticized publicly . The professional approach would have been a private zoom call not a public statement by ownership
    I would guess that Gorton and Davidson said the same. A big contradiction to who signs their pay check

    Like I said the other day Panarin went at Wilson. He had no choice .
    You play with the bull you will get the horn.

    • That’s a bizarre statement. Panarin jumped on Wilson because of what Wilson was doing to Buchnevich. Which was the right response. It’s not uncommon at all. Defending yourself is one thing, trying to end a career or 2 is another.


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