NHL Rumor Mill – June 24, 2022

by | Jun 24, 2022 | Rumors | 63 comments

Could the Rangers shop Artemi Panarin? What’s the latest on Filip Forsberg, Blake Wheeler and Pierre-Luc Dubois? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple raised some eyebrows in his roundup of offseason decisions facing the New York Rangers. What drew considerable attention was his report citing two league sources claiming general manager Chris Drury was “vocally unhappy” with Artemi Panarin’s performance in the 2022 playoffs.

New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

Panarin had 16 points in 20 playoff games but wasn’t as consistent as hoped for. Despite the 30-year-old winger’s hefty contract Staple speculated he could request a trade if there’s a rift developing with Drury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what the reaction will be to this report. Panarin and/or Drury could ignore the story or issue public denials. I’m curious as to what other Rangers and NHL insiders have to say about this story.

A number of NHL clubs would be interested in Panarin if he became available in the trade market. As Staple pointed out, his contract is near impossible to move. He’s signed through 2025-26 with an annual average value of over $11.6 million and a full no-movement clause.

It was Drury’s predecessor who signed Panarin. He doesn’t have to feel any loyalty toward players that were brought in before he took over as general manager.

Drury also clashed last fall with Vitali Kravtsov after the winger declined demotion to the minors. He spent this season in the KHL and become the subject of trade speculation. The two sides seemed to bury the hatchet when Kravtsov agreed to a one-year, $875K contract but that hasn’t kept him out of the rumor mill.


NHL.COM: John Glennon reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile confirmed his club offered an eight-year contract to Filip Forsberg. The 27-year-old left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

Poile indicated Forsberg won’t be signing with the Predators for anything less than eight years. He said the two sides are speaking regularly to bridge the gap and he intends to keep working to get a deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It seems like the dollars are the issue here. Forsberg will be seeking a substantial raise over the $6 million annual cap hit of his current contract after tallying a career-best 84 points in 69 games this season.

The most Forsberg will get on the open market is seven years. The Predators could be offering up a raise that’s less than market value in the hope that he’ll be tempted by the extra year of contract security if he signs with them before July 13.


WINNIPEG SUN/SPORTSNET: Scott Billeck and Ken Wiebe weighed in on recent reports indicating the Jets are gauging Blake Wheeler’s value in the trade market and Pierre-Luc Dubois’ intent to test the 2024 UFA market.

Both believe it will be difficult to move Wheeler’s contract, which carries an $8.25 million annual average value through 2023-24. Though his no-movement clause becomes a five-team trade list on July 1, the number of teams that can afford to take on the full remaining value of his contract could be less than his list of preferred trade destinations.

They believe the Jets will have to retain up to half of Wheeler’s cap hit to facilitate a deal. If they don’t want to do that, they’ll have to offer up significant sweeteners or take back a sizeable contract from one of Wheeler’s suitors.

Wiebe also suggested a three-team deal to spread the cap hit around. A contract buyout is another option though a rarely-used one by the Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I made the same suggestions a couple of days ago. There will be playoff contenders interested in Wheeler. I don’t see many of them taking on his full cap hit. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 35-year-old winger is back with the Jets next season.

Dubois’ revelation was more troubling for Billeck and Wiebe. He’s a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. The Jets have two years to convince the 23-year-old center to remain in Winnipeg beyond 2024 and intend to work on doing so.

Billeck suggested dangling the captaincy if Wheeler is traded. He also speculated perhaps the Dubois camp is merely angling for a better deal in their current negotiations.

Wiebe speculated the Jets could trade Dubois before 2024. He also wondered if hiring Barry Trotz as head coach might change his mind. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff met with Trotz this weekend and is awaiting his decision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landing Trotz as their new head coach could go a long way toward providing some stability and improvement to the Jets roster going forward. As Billeck suggested, he could help to convince Dubois to stick around beyond 2024 if he enjoyed playing for the well-respected bench boss.


  1. Problem solved. Panarin to peg. For wheeler and Dubois. Then peg signs Strome.


    • Somehow I see Panarin saying no to that with his NM clause….just a hunch.

      • yeah I would say IF Panarin wants to leave NYC his list would include NJD(imagine Drury trades him to a rival), LA, Anaheim, back to Chicago, Florida and ?

      • I would think so redmonsters😎. The rumour rift is probably fake news

    • Well, partly solved anyway.

      Right now NYR have$11,933,531 with which to sign 9. Detracting Panarin’s $11,642,857 cap hit jumps that up to $23,576,388 to sign 10. But of course, now you add in Wheeler’s $8,250,000 hit and if Dubois, an RFA with arbitration rights coming off a $5 mil cap hit, is indeed seeking $8 to $9 mil – let’s split the difference and say $8,500,000 – now they have just $6,828,388 to sign 8.

      Their own 3 RFAs (Kakko, Gauthier and Georgiev) are collectively coming off a cumulative $4,125,000 cap hit so when those are settled you’re looking at something closer to $6 mil so there goes the rest of the cap and they still need to sign 5.

      And I would assume they’d like to keep Copp – a UFA coming off $3,640,000 – never mind adding in 4 more contracts which now becomes impossible. So for the Rangers the problems would just be beginning.

      • The Rangers have to resign Laf+Miller NEXT summer too. Both big pieces of the future and both came out this playoff run

        In someways trading Panarin would benefit the Rangers future while hurting the powerplay.
        It also instantly makes the kid line become the 2nd line.

    • You nuts. Winnipeg not making that move. I trade Wheeler for Panarin straight up. Maybe.

      Keep that invisible $11.2 caphit.

      • Wheeler for panarin???? That’s ridiculous

      • Yeah no one over values players like leafs fans, eh?

      • It’s not like Wheeler isn’t overpaid at 35 years old and an $8.25 million cap hit for 2 more seasons.

      • Lol, yes Wheeler for Panarin is ridiculous.

        Panarin was very disappointing in the playoffs, i had the Rangers pegged for the finals and found Panarin to be invisible most nights.

        I’m not trading a 24yr old (today his birthday) number 1 C for a soon to be 31yr player.

        The good thing about Wheeler is there is only 2yrs left on his contract.

        The bad thing about Wheeler it’s a caphit of $8.250

    • He has a No-Move Clause in his contract. No way he waives to move to Winnipeg.

  2. Leagues going to run out of teams capable of taking on these huge contracts. Panarin, Toewes, Burns, Karlsson, Bobvrosky etc are going to be difficult to move without boatloads of sweetners and salary retension.
    Not very many players are worth north of ten million. McDavid, Matthews, Mackinnon certainly merit their salaries.

    If a player is a gamebreaker then hes worth the extra money most however are not.

    These huge deals eventually become anchors that are beyond expensive not only in dollars but in picks, prospects and retention if a team tries to move them.

    Im pretty sure the Panthers would like to have the dollars used on Bobvrosky to add players with. Or the Leafs having the 11 million dollars of cap room taken up with the Tavares deal, let alone the achor deals in San Jose for Karlsson, Burns and Vlasic.

    • Could not agree more Ron. Yesterday, redmonsters raised much the same observation about increasing player/agent demands and in response I posted that this illustrates the basic flaw in a sport with a hard cap where those cap hits continue to rise but the cap limit does not keep pace.

      For the past few days we’ve seen speculation that there could be more teams than ever allowing some of their RFAs to join the UFA ranks solely because they don’t have the cap space to re-sign them.

      As a consequence of that, what they’ll then be offered by other teams will be tantamount to getting low-balled, putting some into a take-it-or-leave it situation and, if they take it, that will have a profound impact on the future of some UFAs who might have wanted to extend their careers in the NHL but who will now have to sign elsewhere if they wish to keep playing. And no doubt some of those would have made some teams better than the cheaper ELCs they had to include simply due to lack of cap space.

      For the fans paying top dollar for season’s tickets/game-day tickets for a professional enterprise that is unacceptable.

      • George, you lost me. If UFAs take low ball offers that would mean they get less, making more room for other UFAs, not less. That so, the result might be better quality hockey.

        To this discussion I would add there is a touch of hypocrisy when top flight players demand every penny they can get, and then talk about their desire to win the Cup.

        Not to single McDavid out in particular, but he makes 12.5 a season. If he had settled for 9, then there is more to add to a cash strapped Oiler roster to get them closer to the Cup. Yet he had to know the effect on the team by taking that much. His choice, but he effectively chose the $ over the Cup.

        I won’t mention the Leafs ongoing circus as I don’t want to set Ron off.

      • Colorado will face some big decisions as well this summer. It would be great to see them trade their biggest cap hit, Rantanen, so they could sign a very good goalie, re-sign Kadri, Nichushkin, maybe Burakovsky, Helm and all their UFA’s. Going for balance rather than the top-heavy model that the Leafs have.

      • No, I said those RFAs NOT qualified/walked away from will then be the targets of teams looking to add positional players as cheaply as possible and that SOME among them will be low-balled as much as possible – and when that happens some teams will run out of roster spots that might otherwise have gone to UFAs looking to extend their NHL careers. Sort of like a free agent musical chairs – thanks to cap inflexibility. And it won’t get much better in the foreseeable future.

    • I don’t like Panarins contract. However, the guy is 5th in scoring over the last 3 years.

      His contract would be very difficult to move, but not due to performance reasons. The NMC and cap restraints make it difficult.

      If NY offered Panarin on the market for say 1/2 restrained (probably wouldn’t need that extreme retained) not only are they not throwing in sweeteners, but they’d probably be looking at a nice return.

      Mathews sits just ahead of Panarin in points over the last 3 years, and Mackinnon is just behind.

      I again, not a fan of ANY player taking up that much cap, but Panarin is nowhere near Bobrovsky, Toews, Karlsson or Burns dead weight contracts.

      Panarin has gone up in production in NY. He’s probably plateaued, but no obvious or visible signs of decline.

      They wouldn’t have to load a deal with retention and sweeteners .

      • So you all agree that spending high dollar values on replacement or support players a bad move since great players will (rightfully) get paid.

        Ron you love affair with Tavares is something. Sorry you barely know what you do already ‘know’ so certainly you know less about a rival team and it’s players. Tavares scored close to a ppg pace while playing against top lines and defensive pairings. Is he worth the $11m cap hit? We know how you feel about that but let’s pretend JVR or acceptable sub if you can make one with your team, was a center, a line driver and basically a top player since his draft in the NHL. So when he reaches his 3 contract, like Tavares, and remember he took a haircut on that 2nd contract on the island, so wouldn’t he be due a nice contract in your eyes? Factor in the fact Tavares left money on the table shouldn’t account for much but playing in Canada sure does…taxes and cost of living especially in Toronto is higher than most cities and pat of the reason why you see higher contract figures coming out of Canadian teams who also pay the players in the standard $US greenbacks. Trust me, the exchange is nice but does not make up for the loss in wages through the factors I previously mentioned. I’m talking about the taxes you pay even when you buy stuff, for more than Americans pay, with more taxes! Perfect right?

        Any near point per game 200ft player is going to be north of $9m, like it or not, players who have been long standing and/truly exceptional will get more. So a smart GM signs and signs long term star players by backing up a brinks truck for them because they know, and so should you by now, know good players are hard to find and great players even harder and lucky if you have one. It’s always better to overpay talent than over pay based on recent success for what is basically a bottom roster option. Again, it really comes down to player evaluations which often differ from simple fans to actual hockey execs. As with any business or career, if you’ve been the best in your occupation and been so for years, you’re gonna get paid even if your performance declines, your still getting paid.

        So for you bromance with Tavares will be over in 2 seasons following the upcoming one where I expect him to slide to the wing where he’ll still be quite affective. $11m effective? I doubt it but I’d rather have him in decline at $11m than two bottom six players making a combined cap hit like some teams do. It’s always been the over payments of the scrubs that raises the price of the true stars of the league.

      • And Panarin’s contract makes more sense than Tavares’s does too.

      • Ron, simply answer this: is it reasonable to conclude that those teams that spend in excess of 50% of their cap on 5 players are going to have a) a more difficult time fleshing out a competitive 23-man roster and b) are those same teams going to find it increasingly difficult to re-sign their better RFAs – never mind keep their desirable UFAs?

        No Covid connection – no stagnant cap considerations – and for God’s sake no politician evasive answer – just yes or no just in relation to the existing reality.

      • Case in point: Tampa has reached the stage where 54% of their cap goes out to 5 players and now they’re on the verge of missing a 3-peat to a team that forks over 46% to their top 5. That difference of 8% works out to $6.6 mil more that TB to spend elsewhere on their roster.

      • George under those terms it would be without doubt but considering it’s been what seems forever this was brought up regarding the Leafs however during that time, they’ve been one of the best teams in the league! How on earth is that even possible according you people who constantly perpetuate this doom and gloom?
        I know all one needs to do and look at this teams post season record recently…a team who last made the playoffs how many years ago? Oh, and before this current record in the post season, their regular season would be defined as what? And teams drafting in the top 10 for a few years must mean they have it going on right? I think it’s a bit of a fallacious point regarding the expectations from this core of players I’ve pointed out in length before. You don’t agree? Great let’s move on. There’s way more teams with cap problems and many are not even good enough to make the playoffs let alone pass the first round, a real standard, because lose in the 1st round means something different than any other round…playoffs, only winning the cup matters not what round you made it to. Admit it, it’s just plain dumb to think otherwise.

      • George. Using a cup finalist to prove your point is counter productive to your argument

      • No it isn’t Chrisms. Yes, with their experience and goaltending they got to the final, with their only real test coming from Toronto. But now they’ve run into a team that is not only FAR better all-around but was able to spend close to $7 mil more on the rest of their roster after their top 5.

        Do you think this Tamp team can be a major factor again next season with just $1,983,333 with which to sign 4? Which means – barring major moves – that can’t re-sign Palat and Paul, two key elements in their march to the finals.

        And Ron, are you sure you’re not a politician with that abhorrence to providing a simple yes or no answer to a basic fundamental question?

        Hell, I didn’t even MENTION the Leafs in those questions. Just any team that spends over 50% of their cap on 5 players. Same question applies to them all.

      • Yes I think they can George. And their current salary structure got them further than 30 other teams.

    • Furthermore, no team has won a Cup with a 10M/year player. There’s currently 14 such players in the NHL. Karlsson’s contract is easily the ugliest.

      • Good point Pete – and if no team has won a cup with one $10 mil + player on the roster, what does that say for those with several?

      • Not really a good point. Tampa Bay has 2 players with a cap hit of $9.5 million and another with an $8.5 million.
        IMO the issue isn’t the top players cap hit amounts but the players with bad cap hit amounts. Neither the Avs nor the Lightning have players with a cap hit more than what they should. That is what you don’t see on championship teams.

      • Good point – bad point? – The point is, using that arbitrary number, it’s an undeniable fact. Those with one (or more) cap hits $10 mil and up have not only never won a cup (since setting/obtaining those contracts), they haven’t even come close

        Toronto with 3, L.A., Chicago and Florida 2 each, and 1 each for Vegas, San Jose, Edmonton, NYR. Seasonal success and making the playoffs, yes (except for Vegas, Chicago and San Jose) … but limited success once there.

      • That $10m point is pure BS. There’s been a lot of over $10m players that won the cup. You’re talking relative if you’re just talking about cap era which is less than a quarter of the leagues history. I don’t think that kind of statement hold much value, just like when the first million dollar player was signed and the overreaction when that happened.

        Someone has to be first and being first obviously sucks since there’s no precedence it’s easy to ridicule or be skeptical.

        Good players aren’t cheap. That’s my point. When your team gets a couple 100 pt guys and each are over 12 (inflation) let me know how you feel then. TB had to get rid of a very good third line to be cap complacent but still made it to the finals. It’s all about management and development. I’m not as concerned with my team as much as some here who don’t follow them.

      • But we ARE talking about the cap era. I don’t give a royal you-know-what what Mario Lemieux or any other player raked in before then. THAT was the primary reason the cap was introduced – to level the playing field. If anything is BS it’s your idiotic defense of a management team that built their team to the point where they can’t even afford a good goaltender without gutting themselves somewhere else.

      • So 7 teams had a player making $10M or more and 2 of them made it to the final 4.
        Not bad IMO.

        Bottom line is you need elite talent to win the cup, and get close to the final. That’s a fact. Another fact is they get paid the most.

        Will also add, many of those $10M players were signed pre pandemic, when the cap was expected to rise significantly with the new TV deal in the US.

        There isn’t a GM out there that doesn’t sign the young guys Matthews and McDAvid to long term extensions for what they were worth with a rising cap. That is simply just the way it is. You can argue JT, I did at the time because they had Kadri already. Can make same argument about Panarin. Not the young stars.

      • Ray, where did I ever say the McDavids, Matthews etc shouldn’t be paid what they are getting.

        My point is – and it appears to have escaped all the responders – if salaries/cap hits continue to rise at a rate far in excess of the annual cap increase, and some teams wind up paying in excess of 50% of their cap on 5 players, is it not reasonable to expect that they then have to start cutting costs on the rest of the 23-man roster, and that there will be rising young stars coming out of their ELCs that they simply cannot afford to re-sign unless they can move some of those high ticket players? And in that scenario – move them where? LTIRs can only work so far.

    • Not that the players union or Team Owners would ever vote to accept this, but…If there is a team “Cap” to make the league more competitive, why shouldn’t we have a player salary “Cap” and therefore a cap for what tickets cost to see a game? It seems like you can’t have one without the others falling into place or as George O says, ever team will be in trouble at some point and you’ll see a LOT of players heading to UFA that probably shouldn’t. Just sayin’

  3. Wasn’t Philip Forsberg seen in Ottawa a while back?

    Like a month ago?

  4. The nhl should just add a luxury tax to the cap. Similar to what MLB does. Or the exact opposite. And have NFL style contract guaranteed money and rest so player can get cut anytime. I prefer the 2nd option

    • The NFL treats it’s players like crap. I wouldn’t want that for hockey players.

      • No, they treat them just the same as the owners/management of any business – you don’t do your job commensurate with the contract/salary we gave you – buh-bye.

        No one twisted these guys arms to test the field of professional sports. They clearly chose that path for a myriad of reasons – so do the job or look elsewhere.

      • I’m not trying to pick on you today george. But management salaries for most sports teams are in guaranteed contracts. Certainly in the nhl. I’m almost certain nfl too. They are paid even if fired. When is the last time an owner was fired?

      • So you’d argue that players could be signed but released. They would be paid the entire amount owed but just have no cap ramifications?

      • I’m not arguing it – it’s in the article

  5. Bruins should be looking at a deal for PLD. Debrusk plus plus.
    Bergeron isn’t playing forever. He could be the top 6 Center for the future.

    • Well one sign of an apt GM and the team he manages heading/ trending in the right direction is resigning a guy, albeit an exceptional talent, who is on the verge of retirement as their top centerman. Sounds like an all-you-can-eat buffet for Rick.

    • Dave would love to see it. Don’t think bruins have what it would take to get him

  6. What were the Oilers thinking not bringing in Babcock.I know we need goaltending and to bring back Evander Kane but hook onto it Holland

  7. Panarin + Kakko for Marner!

    • Do you have the typing version of tourettes syndrom, JZ? Did you give any thought at all to the cap effect in Toronto by increasing their cap hit by adding Panarin, and then what it would cost for them to sign Kakko?

      Now that I am this far, I wish I hadn’t replied at all.

      • HA HA! That is the thought behind my proposing that Trono trade for him!

      • Sarcasm, Lil Joe, sarcasm….

    • Big win for leafs

  8. Wow…Panarin is #134 career in the regular season, and -14 and less than a ppg in the playoffs. This guy is hugely overpaid and can’t produce when the games mean most. Why hasn’t Toronto grabbed him yet???

  9. Drury probably expects more from a $11,642,857 cap hit. Since the 2018-19 season Panarin has averaged .37 regular season goals per game. There are 35 players that averaged more goals per game than he has, two of which are his teammates at 6.5Mill & 8.5Mill cap hits.

    Player GP G G/GP
    1 Matthews 263 185 0.70
    2 Ovechkin 271 173 0.64
    3 Draisaitl 289 179 0.62
    4 Pastrnak 256 146 0.57
    5 McDavid 278 152 0.55
    6 Stamkos 258 133 0.52
    7 Connor 288 145 0.50
    8 Kucherov 197 99 0.50
    9 Guentzel 253 123 0.49
    10 MacKinnon 264 128 0.48
    11 Rantanen 243 116 0.48
    12 DeBrincat 286 132 0.46
    13 Marchand 272 125 0.46
    14 Kreider 273 124 0.45
    15 Barkov 265 120 0.45
    16 Aho 285 129 0.45
    17 Landeskog 232 105 0.45
    18 Zibanejad 276 124 0.45
    19 Bergeron 253 111 0.44
    20 Forsberg 235 103 0.44
    21 Point 267 117 0.44
    22 Crosby 244 106 0.43
    23 Pacioretty 224 97 0.43
    24 Tavares 280 119 0.43
    25 Scheifele 276 117 0.42
    26 E. Kane 238 100 0.42
    27 P. Kane 285 118 0.41
    28 Lindholm 289 117 0.40
    29 Tkachuk 287 115 0.40
    30 Pettersson 245 97 0.40
    31 Ehlers 242 95 0.39
    32 Gaudreau 290 113 0.39
    33 Hertl 257 100 0.39
    34 Nelson 278 106 0.38
    35 Laine 252 96 0.38
    36 Perron 251 94 0.37
    37 Rust 243 91 0.37
    38 Panarin 265 99 0.37
    39 Pavelski 280 104 0.37
    40 Duchene 251 93 0.37

    • Thought provoking, GP. What jumps out is Tkachuk and Gaudreau’s stats, given they want to join the big buck club and score at a less than every second game pace.

      That and the fact that there are only 8 players who score at a rate of every second game.

    • Quite revealing GP. Thanks for the effort that went into calculating that.

    • Excellent analysis. Now do assists…

  10. Barry Trotz has informed the Winnipeg Jets organization that he wont coach this season.

    He wants to spend more time with his family, Plus he’s looking at a front job position with the Nashville Predators where he had coached 12 years prior.

  11. The whole issue, in my opinion, is that the league’s stars seem to think they are worth THAT much more to their team than the depth grinders, that they deserve 1/8th or more of their team’s cap just for them.

    I don’t see that changing, as it is a culture thing. If the cap were to go up to $100,000,000 – the star players of that time would seek $15-16m per year, and the McDavids of that time $20m.

    Digressing just a bit, yes Toronto is an expensive place to live, but a man doesn’t need $11m annually to make it there.. but I can see why he would ask for more to maintain a certain lifestyle he wants.

    • Sorry, that last paragraph obviously about Tavares, I had in mind a long post from earlier about why he sought the money he did.

      • I think you over looked him being consistently a top line driver/player since being drafted and the seniority and respect among the league, which is why established stars still get paid and I don’t think that’s wrong other than eventually that contract will age as poorly as that star will but that’s life.