NHL Rumor Mill – June 20, 2022

by | Jun 20, 2022 | Rumors | 33 comments

The Panthers’ offseason cap crunch, a look at possible moves by the Sabres and the latest Ville Husso speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli and Mike McKenna recently examined the difficulties facing the Florida Panthers as they attempt to navigate their salary-cap crunch. They have just $3 million in cap space for 2022-23 and sacrificed a lot of draft capital acquiring Claude Giroux and Ben Chiarot at the trade deadline.

General manager Bill Zito has to pare down some payroll. McKenna suggested winger Patric Hornqvist and his $5.3 million cap hit for next season as a trade candidate.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

Seravalli wondered if Zito would consider trading goaltender Spencer Knight with Sergei Bobrovsky carrying a hefty long-term contract making him difficult to move. McKenna didn’t think so, pointing out no one’s won a Stanley Cup without homegrown talent. He suggested the Panthers GM might have to find a way to get creative with Bobrovsky down the road.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos recently said the Panthers are shopping Bobrovsky aggressively, so much so they’re willing to retain 50 percent of his $10 million annual cap hit. That might not be enough to ship him out if he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause. Zito could be squeezed to add a good young player or a quality prospect into the deal, further depleting his prospect pipeline.

Hornqvist has an eight-team no-trade list but his age (35) and declining performance are the biggest stumbling blocks on the path to a trade. He’s not impossible to move but Zito could be pressed to add a sweetener or take back a player with a comparable salary.


THE ATHLETIC: Matthew Fairburn speculated on how the Buffalo Sabres will address their goaltending depth for next season. Craig Anderson was a strong presence on the club’s last season but remains undecided if he’ll return or retire. Promising Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen should be ready to step into a larger role but remains unproven at the NHL level and has been plagued by injuries.

Free-agent goalie candidates could include Marc-Andre Fleury, Darcy Kuemper, Ville Husso, Jack Campbell and Braden Holtby. Trade options could include the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson or the Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres stand a better chance of signing one of those free-agent goalies than acquiring Gibson or prying Hellebuyck out of Winnipeg. Gibson last week denied reports he’s open to being traded. The Jets still see themselves as a playoff team next season, something they definitely won’t be if they trade Hellebuyck.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski recently reported the Sabres don’t expect some of the higher-tiered UFA goalies will be available to them. Going the cheaper route might be their best option again this summer.

Lysowski also speculated that Victor Olofsson could be a trade candidate. He had 20 goals and 49 points this season but is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who needs to produce more. He completed a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $3.050 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have $35 million in cap space and must spend to reach the $61 million cap minimum. Fleury, Kuemper and Campbell could be out of reach but Husso could be a possibility. Holtby is past his prime but could be a good mentor in a backup role to Luukkonen. Olofsson could also be a decent bargaining chip if the Sabres want to pursue a goalie through the trade market.


NHL WATCHER: tweeted on June 14 that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was wondering if the Edmonton Oilers might revisit their rumored interest in Ville Husso from earlier this season. He believes they’re planning for a future without starting goalie Mike Smith via retirement or LTIR.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Oilers with $7.1 million in cap space for 2022-23 with 15 players under contract. They can get $4.16 million in cap relief if necessary by placing Oscar Klefbom on long-term injury reserve and an additional $2.2 million if Smith retires or also hits LTIR.

That could free up enough to sign Husso if they’re still interested. However, it might not leave enough to suitably fill out the remainder of the roster. They could face parting ways with an RFA like Kailer Yamamoto or Jesse Puljujarvi or attempting to move out another salaried player like Zack Kassian.


  1. Maybe Giroux goes to Washington now that Backstrom is out. Not a bad option.

    • Buffalo has 3 1st round picks. Nashville has Saros signed for next 3 years at 5m. They also inked highly touted Russian Askarov to elc. Was 11th overall in 2000 draft. Could they shop 1 of those 2 to Buffalo for the 16th pick?

      • Ask Askorov to Buffalo makes a lot of sense… for Buffalo. Wonder if the 16th would get it done.

    • Not so simple Johnny. Backstrom may very well miss the whole season and be placed on LTIR. But after that, he and his $9.2m. cap hit (through 2024-25) may very well be back on the books. He won’t be easy to move with a recent injury and a modified no-trade clause. If Giroux would agree to a 1 year contract, it could work. But that’s not happening.

      • I think Giroux sees an opportunity to finish his career “at home” with a rising young complement of excellent players and would be quite prepared to play RW on a line with Stutzle and Formenton, ready to take face-offs when necessary. And I also think Dorion is preparing a deal he will take as a UFA.

        Not that I think this is the right way to go for that 2nd line RW position … just a feeling that that is what’s brewing. And, of course, there’s also the fact D. J. Smith has a “thing” for veteran presence.

        If that is indeed what transpires, then Dorion will go all gung-ho on acquiring a top 4 D from one of the cap-strapped teams using the 7th overall + a choice between Bernard-Docker and Thompson.

      • Hey George! That all sounds like all the hype and optimism when the Wings signed Mike Modano a few years back. Whoopee!

      • Aspirational, George? Would not a greater pull be Giroux finishing his career with a Cup?

      • You’d think so LJ … but I’ve always felt that players know instinctively – and far more accurately than any of us – when another team is on the verge of becoming a factor, so perhaps he sees that within the confines of the rest of his career when it comes to Ottawa.

        Like I say, I personally hope that doesn’t transpire … but from comments heard on local radio I get the feeling it could happen. I’d much rather see Colin White get a decent chance at that 2nd line RW position … but it seems Smith doesn’t see it that way.

        We’ll soon see which way it all goes.

    • @Johnny Z

      Claude Giroux wants to remain in Florida, That’s why Bill Zito is trying to move out Sergi Bobrovsky and other players. And he’s been playing Wing not center.

  2. Deal George!!

    Provorov for 7th, lowest 2nd you have, and Docker.

    • I’d jump at that one mp.

  3. G will either resign to chase a cup in Florida(no tax) or do exactly what you said George and go to Ottawa to help them to the next level.

    Personally if i am the Sens i can spend that money on a younger player who will grow with the team.

    • Just a thought: Giroux signs a 1 year deal with Detroit….or another non-contender with the express condition of being traded at the TDL to the contender of his choice. It would be easier to pick someone that has the one of the best chances to win at the TDL and withhold the necessary salary to make that happen.

      • JZ: and if the contender of Giroux’s choice doesn’t want him?

        And the benefit to Detroit is uncertainty in a return if a trade happens?

      • LJ, you ever think that Claude might have a second choice? Besides, he could start a new trend in this cap-strapped era of being a regular season rental than a play-off rental!

      • Heh. Johnny Z – I think his wife might have other ideas about being a hockey gypsy

  4. 🍁The Edmonton Oilers do still have interest in
    Ville Husso from mid season,
    he would be the starter and young Stuart Skinner would be the full time back up he played very well in the 10-12 game he played this year
    The Oilers have $7.4M in Cap space

    With Oscar Klefbom on long-term injury reserve @$4.16M He is not coming back.

    Additional $2.2M if or When Smith Anounces his Retirement Very Soon We Hope…❓
    Smith cant seam to put more the 7-8 game together with a very High GA averag, the thought in Edmonton is He is Done.
    That would add $6.3M to cap space for $$13.7M…..

    There is also lots of chatter about Trading Zack Kassian out & his $3M Salary for 2 more years &
    There is also talk about moving a Right Winger like Big Jesse Puljujarvi, possibly as a package deal….?

    There is also interest in Tyson Barrie $4.5M as there are a shortage of offencive d/men at pressent…..
    that are not going to cost you $7-$9M PA, Both Seattle and Vancouver, out west, and all six of these teams NYI, Habs, Sen, Pens,Philly,CBJ,

    They still have intrest in bringing Evander Kane back but its a bit of a mess and may not be cleaned up by the NHL till Mid to late July Regarding Kane contract Mess in San Jose, the NHL really Dropped the ball on this one and are really draging there feet on it….

    GM, Ken Holland and assistant GM Gretzky are very busy working on all of this….

    • Tyson Barrie and the Flyers, HARD PASS!!!!

      We had to deal with a DMan last year who couldn’t play Defense(Yandle), no way we go after this guy.

      Imagine torts having to deal with barries constant defense lapses.

      Flyers are looking to drop salary just like every other team, I truly wonder where all these guys are getting traded to.

      Det, Ott, Ari, Sea arent taking anyones trash without sweetners.

      • Well said mp. It is always amusing to read that those teams will gladly take on anyone’s overpaid and underperforming players, sometimes the proposals involve Detroit, Ottawa, and Arizona actually giving up valuable assets to do so. I guess we should just allow folks to fantasize about the teams with cap space assisting others in solving their salary cap issues. I’m sure that Dorian, Yzerman, and Armstrong put themselves in this position to be able to facilitate other teams rebuilds.

      • LOL Iago … well put … it certainly seems that way with the frequency of suggested salary dumps, sometimes including “sweeteners” that, upon close analysis, are about as sweet as raw rhubarb.

        And sometimes, when you point out that your team of choice doesn’t need any more 4th to 7th round picks, the comeback is usually “it’s good to add assets (aset management is a favourite) …” But they never seem to check first and see that teams like Ottawa, Detroit, Arizona and Seattle are up to their necks in assets and simply don’t have any more room within the limits.

    • I think the Oilers will buyout Kassian, his contract will be tough to trade.

  5. I believe Zito’s first move to free up space should via Horny…. Can be traded to 23 trams w/o his consent

    Who will take him? Sweetener? Cats retention?

    Cash and Cap @ $5.3 M…1 year… 35 years old…. Last yr 11-17-28 in 65 GP

    Buyout? Saves $3.5 M in 22/23 with $1.8 M dead cap 23/24

    Right now dead cap…Yandle/Darling

    22/23 $6.6 M
    23/24 and 24/25…$1.2M

  6. I don’t see Bobrovsky getting traded, more so because of his nmc and I think he loves SoFla. He’s still their #1. How about Knight as sweetener for taking Hornqvist? Buffalo gives Florida back their 1st they gave up for Reinhart.

  7. Kuzmenko signs with the Canucks , 1 year max ELC

  8. “They can get $4.16 million in cap relief if necessary by placing Oscar Klefbom on long-term injury reserve and an additional $2.2 million if Smith retires or also hits LTIR.”

    I thought Smith’s cap hit would stay on the books if he retired, because he has an over-35 contract. Did Spector overlook this, or am I mistaken about how this works?

    • The way his contract was setup it will not count againt the cap if he retires.

      I originally thought it would also but because its not front loaded there is no penalty for him retiring.

      He would prob make a decent goalie coach moving forward.

      • Hi mp

        Sorry, I must have been typing mine at the same time. Didn’t see your post when I started

        Sorry for the duplication of info

      • Thanks (and also thanks to Pengy), I did not know that. I guess all options are on the table.

    • Hi EVF

      Under new CBA… 35+ contracts when a player retires still under contract do not count in future years Cap if (1) no SBs after 1st year; and (2) Contract is NOT front end loaded

      Smith’s contract is Back-end loaded, with no SB.

      He can also be bought out for same reasons

      If he is bought out… 22/23 … cap hit of $0.5 M (savings of $1.7 M); 23/24 dead cap of $0.8 M

      Might be the route to take…. Probably viewed as not “morally” nice…. But is an option

    • EVF

      do n’t forget the possibility of Keith retiring…. $5.5 M cap savings PLUS a further potential $3.4 M

      Is Keith (who already has career earning over $73 M, and has 3 Cups) going to want to go through another gruelling 82 game season plus playoffs; at 39 years of age, just to get a take home amount of only ~ $800 K???

      Were it me… I’d retire

      Yammo and Ryan to Krakken for Soucy ….. just sayin’

      • Pengy

        I would do Big Jesse Puljujarvi, possibly as a package dead with Zack Kassian to Krakken for d/man Carson Soucy…..⁉️

        Krakken also like Barrie to help the back end…

      • Hi Williew

        That might also work… gets rid of Kassian contract burden

        I keep throwing Yammo/Ryan together to Krakken… Yammo young and good hands; but more packaging them as they are both from Spokane … a pseudo “home town” (at least home state) for Krakken

  9. I think I’m in the minority, but I would still wish the Blues would sign Husso for their future and trade Binnington. (although the 6 million salary is probably untradeable)