NHL Rumor Mill – June 21, 2022

by | Jun 21, 2022 | Rumors | 21 comments

Could Devils winger Jesper Bratt become an offer-sheet target? Could the Canucks sign P.K. Subban? What’s the latest on James van Riemsdyk and Ethan Bear? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NHL WATCHER: recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussing the contract negotiations between the New Jersey Devils and restricted free agent winger Jesper Bratt. His talks on his last contract were “really tough” and both sides are gearing up for another difficult round of negotiations.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

Marek raised the possibility of Bratt being targeted by a rival club with an offer sheet. Friedman doubted that will happen, pointing to the Devils carrying $25 million in cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  NJ.com’s Ryan Novozinsky has reported both sides are engaged in ongoing contract talks. Bratt has arbitration rights this summer giving him the leverage he didn’t have in his previous negotiations.

The Devils could listen to trade offers for Bratt if those talks stall or appear headed to arbitration to resolve. I don’t doubt recent reports claiming there are several teams interested in the 23-year-old winger following his career-high 73 points this season. Nevertheless, I think both sides want to get a deal done here.

Friedman’s right when he said an offer sheet wouldn’t make any sense here. The Devils can easily match, making it a pointless exercise. Since the salary-cap era began in 2005, only 10 players have signed offer sheets. Of those, only two (Dustin Penner and Jesperi Kotkaniemi) were successfully signed away.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson addressed the notion raised by some Canucks fans of New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban signing with the club as an unrestricted free agent next month.

Simpson noted Subban is a skilled right-handed shot who could be motivated with a new club and could be had at an extreme discount. However, he doubted the Canucks will be interested, pointing out the decline in the 33-year-old’s performance. His acquisition would also go against management’s intention of building up a youthful core of talent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how free agency unfolds for Subban. He’s not expected to be re-signed by the Devils and could find his market options limited because of his declining skills. I think a team in need of some experienced blueline depth will sign him to an affordable one-year contract.


NHL WATCHER: recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussing potential moves by the Philadelphia Flyers. Friedman believes they could shop winger James van Riemsdyk to free up salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million but an actual salary of $5 million. The 6’3”, 217-pound winger also lacks no-trade protection, giving the Flyers a wide range of potential trade partners.

Now 33, van Riemsdyk is in decline. Nevertheless, he still managed to score 24 goals on the offensively anemic Flyers, marking the seventh time in his 13 NHL seasons he’s reached or exceeded the 20-goal plateau.

A playoff contender could be interested in a big veteran scorer such as van Riemsdyk. However, that contract could be difficult to move given his age and cap hit. The Flyers might have to retain salary, include a sweetener like a draft pick or prospect, or take back a comparable contract.


SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman tweeted on Monday that the Carolina Hurricanes have given Ethan Bear permission to speak to other clubs. They still wish to sign the restricted free agent defenseman but they’re not close to an agreement. Friedman also noted nothing can take place before July 13 with the Hurricanes’ permission.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear struggled this season with the Hurricanes and seemed to fall out of favor with head coach Rod Brind’Amour. He was a healthy scratch during the Canes’ playoff run. The 24-year-old is completing a two-year, $4 million contract and has arbitration rights.


  1. Looks like today’s rumors are non-rumors….

  2. I could see Holland bringing PK to Edmonton on a cheap (but still probably an overpayment) contract.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if the Habs bring back P.K. on an affordable one year deal if Petry is traded and no other options work out.

      • Howard, I would be shocked if the Habs bring in P.K. I will go so far as to say I will bet you $20.00 they will not.

        Firstly, the Habs have a substantial # of promising defensive prospects:

        Harris, Norlinder, Guhle, Brook, Barron, Fairbrother and Xhekaj, and the often forgotten Mallioux. The Habs will give opportunities for them to show their stuff, and develop. Remember Gorton’s intention to better develop their prospects. Other D that are options include Schueneman, Niku and Wideman.

        Secondly, P.K. is clearly in decline. Check his stats, and see it in both games played and in points. And remember, while it was under a different regime, he left Montreal under a cloud. Part of that cloud was his refusal to change his style of play.

        Bad idea.

      • I agree, Howard. I don’t think the Habs would sign him for more than one year, but if he signs an affordable 1-yr deal, he fills a roster spot (if Petry goes) and would potentially move for a draft pick at the deadline if he plays at all well.

      • LJ, it’s true that PK is a shadow of himself. One thing about the Habs’ D prospects that are even potentially ready is that they’re almost all LD. A veteran RD who is aware that their playing time might be taken by a youngster – as is the case with Wideman, who just re-signed with the Habs – could still fill a role, if making not much, IMO

      • Yes Paddy, fair point, a lot of left D. Nonetheless, I am concerned about bringing in a veteran who has marched to his own drummer his entire career. Not a good role model in that sense.

        But, not my decision.

      • Paddy,
        Barron and Mailloux are both RHD.

        Romanov and Norlinder are L shooters but payed RHD until coming to NHL.

        Brooks is a RHD though no longer seen as a top prospect.

        Karma says PK should go to Vegas 🙂

      • LJ & Habsfan, good points, all! I don’t count Mailloux as he may stay in the Habs system but I think zero chance he’s in the NHL next year, so someone filling in for a year may make sense. And I wonder if age and declining play has made PK more humble, as was reported to be a locker room issue when first in MTL

        But Barron and Romanov/Norlinder fit the rebuild timeline better. Good points.

        All that said, I don’t know if PK still has much in the tank or is the right fit, but I can see it as a possibility. But it would definitely be funny to see him and Patches back together in Vegas 😀

  3. PK is no where near his playing days in MTL. Last couple with the Devils borderline awful . If he was a rookie would not have even made the team. Nothing more than a #7 on most squads but Someone will sign him short term for a couple mil.

    JVR only moves with half retained and some form of sweetener . Very Surprised he scored 24 last year. I would bet that doesn’t happen again in his career

    • Jvr at 3.5 mil cap hit is movable without a sweetener. Not for much but definitely would be a tradable asset.

      • I figured we hold 3mil, and make him a 4mil player that gets 20+ goals and can play net front on PP.

        To me that’s worth a 4th or 5th, and I definitely don’t want to have to add a sweetner. (withholding 3 mil is the sweetner).

        Sadly thats probably the move our challenged GM gets worked again, kind of like the Ras deal or the Ghost deal. Not being able to properly assemble a team over and over but this moron still has a job. I dont get it.

    • KevJam: His bout with COVID was earlier in the season. While he may be suffering from the effects of “long COVID”, that was not indicated anywhere as the reason why he didn’t play in this year’s postseason. He’s listed as “did not dress”, which is often the description for a healthy scratch.

      • Think he was what there 8th or 9th dman.

        He didn’t play because they had better players to play.

        I like the kid alot and his story is a good one, but at the end of the day he is only a 7th or 8th dman.

      • Thanks Lyle.
        Hope he comes back next season and shows what type of player he really is.

      • Bear stated he was having a hard time catching his breath while skating after his covid bout which hurt his conditioning. He also had foot surgery immediately after the playoffs. He stated he had an ongoing foot injury that hampered his ability to skate with unrestricted movement, but he could have played if it was absolutely necessary because of other injuries. So technically he wasn’t a “healthy scratch”. He was held out because of injury but the team did not want to state that.

  4. It would cost Carolina 2.4 million to qualify Bear. Chatfield is expected to make the team next year at cost of 750k on a two way contract. Deangelo’s new contract probably means Cole and Bear will not be on the team next year.

  5. PK should just go into broadcasting at this point. I’d love to hear him instead of Anson Carter, or Bissonett. And definitely he could take the place of most of the homers on the NHL network.

    • I think every network will be lining up to sign PK after his playing career.

  6. Agreed Stars Fan..can’t stand Bisonette, Carter, Messier’s consistent stumbling with words, Chelios stupid tan comments and he looks haggard…
    P.K would b better Liam has slipped too since he kou ed tnt coverage its like a frat party..dont think gretsky and tocchet add much either..