NHL Rumor Mill – June 7, 2022

by | Jun 7, 2022 | Rumors | 49 comments

What’s facing the Oilers in the offseason and a look at whether the Blackhawks should take Petr Mrazek off the Leafs’ hands in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Steven Ellis believes the warning signs were there for the Edmonton Oilers’ collapse in the Western Conference Finals. Captain Connor McDavid couldn’t do it all while fellow superstar Leon Draisaitl played that series hampered by a leg injury.

Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane (NHL.com).

Goaltending was inconsistent as 40-year-old starter Mike Smith was brilliant in some games and struggled in others. They also didn’t get much secondary scoring against the Avalanche. Ellis wondered who else apart from McDavid and Draisaitl would’ve scored for the Oilers in this postseason if they hadn’t signed Evander Kane at midseason.

Ellis believes general manager Ken Holland must take a serious look at his roster and decide what he wants them to look like. They’ll need a goaltender with Mikko Koskinen expected to depart as an unrestricted free agent and there aren’t many options in the UFA market. Kane’s situation will be an interesting one as he’s also slated for UFA status while the defense corps needs help.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski also wondered what the Oilers will do with Kane. He meshed well with McDavid but do they sign him to a much higher cap number on a long-term contract? Forwards Kailer Yamamoto, Ryan McLeod and Jesse Puljujarvi are restricted free agents while defensemen Brett Kulak and Kris Russell are UFAs.

Wyshynski pondered what they’ll do about Smith. “He’s under contract for one more season and turns 41 in March. What do they do? What can they do?”

Until the Oilers improve the supporting cast, Wyshynski doesn’t expect much of a change in the club’s fortunes. McDavid and Draisaitl are good enough to carry this team into the playoffs and make them competitive but they need help to become a true contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ struggled to eliminate the underdog Los Angeles Kings in a tight-checking first-round series, blew away one of the best teams in the league in the Calgary Flames, only to have their flaws exposed by a very deep and talented Avalanche club.

It would be a mistake for Holland to point to this season’s playoffs as proof that the Oilers need only minor adjustments to become a Stanley Cup contender. McDavid and Draisaitl are outstanding players but, as has been mentioned, they can’t do it all themselves.

Cap Friendly shows the Oilers with $7.1 million in cap space for 2022-23 with 15 players under contract. They’ll get $4.167 million in cap relief if necessary by placing the permanently sidelined Oscar Klefbom on long-term injury reserve.

Holland will have to get creative to find enough cap room. Even if they could get Kane signed to a discount, he’d take up a big chunk of those remaining cap dollars, leaving little to add a goaltender or address those blueline needs.


THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel and Scott Powers believe it might be a good idea for the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maples Leafs to discuss a trade involving Leafs goalie Petr Mrazek.

The Leafs need to shed salary and moving Mrazek’s $3.8 million would enable them to upgrade the roster, including signing or replacing pending UFA netminder Jack Campbell. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are in full rebuild mode and would seek creative ways to utilize their cap space if it’ll help them in the long term.

Powers believes the Blackhawks would want a draft pick or prospect bundled with Mrazek. Seigel suggested the Leafs could add a second-round pick with a B-level prospect or maybe add Justin Holl to the deal to free up more cap room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Siegel and Powers are spitballing here. We have no indication whether the Blackhawks would be interested in discussing any deal with the Leafs, let alone if Mrazek would be part of it.

Still, as they point out, the Hawks are rebuilding and Mrazek could at least provide some depth in their crease for a couple of seasons while whatever else is packaged in the return could turn into long-term assets. This proposal also gives us some idea of what it might take for the Leafs to find a club willing to take Mrazek off their hands.


  1. I think it takes more than a second rounder and a B prospect to convince the Hawks to take both Mrazek and Holl off the Leafs hands at full cap hit.

    • I am thinking that the Hawks would be more willing to trade for Matt Murray than Mrazek. Johnson and Kubalik going the other way.

      • Johnny Z, why would Ottawa deal Murray, who costs $6,250,000 off the cap for 2 more years, for a guy (Kubalik) coming off a cap hit of $3.7 mil and is an RFA with arbitration rights – meaning he’ll likely cost around $4.7 in the long run – and a fading Johnson who has 2 years to go at $5 mil per?

        In the end, they’d see their cap go up by $3,450,000 (at least) for the next two years with no legitimate slot for Johnson.

        They’d be far better off going into the season with Murray and hope he’s past the nagging injury syndrome and gives them solid goaltending behind an improving D. If he doesn’t, and things continue as in recent seasons, they can then buy him out in his final year.

    • Holl makes 2 mill lol and plays a tonne- thats not a salary dump thats a serviceable RHD that will be a valauble trade chip come deadline next year should the hawks take that type of deal.

      hawks are in a rebuild and dont have a goalie- you arent going to find much cheaper with more experience that Mrazek and you get assets to use your unused capsapce. Thats how you gets assets without giving up players. No brainer if it was a 2nd round pick and Holl

      • Holl is a third paid D’man, at best, and, if Chicago gets Mrazek, they still need a goalie.

      • Disagree, Holl is a serviceable player but as a 3rd pairing guy has a little to high a salary, but is a RD, worth a 4-5th rounder. As for Mrazek at 3,8, Im not touching that for a 2nd and a B prospect. The reason is simple, he can be good but also terrible sometimes, which equals the worst trait in a goalie, inconsistency

      • Agree with the take that Holl is a serviceable 3rd pair D man. The Hawks only have 5 d-men signed and that is counting Jones who was the 7-8 Dman while in Edmonton.

        Holl will help them, they need somebody to play.

        Mrazek struggled last year, but his career overall is OK, not great. His only suck season was last year. Tenders are up and down all the time other than a few elite guys.

        Will need a sweetener but a 1st rd pick ain’t happening.
        Kind of like their D, are they gonna roll with ?? both current guys are UFA’s without much success in their careers.

      • I read yesterday on this site a Leaf’s fan write that Holl, Mrazek, Simmonds, and Kerfoot could all be replaced with league minimum salary players, and that the team would not notice the difference in either the regular season, or the playoffs. I agree with him, and think the rest of the GM’s in the league know it too.

    • Yeah Powers casually throws in Holl and an additional 2 mil in cap hit. If cicago is going to take on nearly 6 million in cap space, they need to get Toronto’s 1st in the 22 draft. Toronto doesn’t have a 2nd in the next 2 drafts.

    • I thought the Kyles had a falling out over some leakage?

  2. Busy off season for Ken Holland, need to get Kane resigned and extend Mike Smith, lol.

    9.25 million for 8 years. That Nurse contract isnt going to age well and it hasnt even kicked in yet.

    Classic example of the Scooby Dubas cap Management course Holland took at Shanascam U.

    • Your thoughts on the pandemic and the salary cap, Ron? Any at all?

      • Pandemic – bad
        Salary Cap – Also bad

    • Nurse was playing injured. The cap will rise over the next few years. It doesn’t look pretty and I am not a nurse fan but it isn’t as bad as people claim.

      • Nurse’s contract never made sense to me. I like him alot, but 9.25…seems at least $1m/yr too much.

      • Nurse and Makar are scheduled to make very similar salaries going forward.

        Which one would you take if you had a choice?

      • As an Avs fan, I seem to like Nurse more than Edmonton fans. He and Draisaitl were obviously playing hurt. Is $9.25M per year a bit high? Yes, but ask again in 3 or 4 years. At $9M per, Makar is probably underpaid, so he’s not a good comp.

        Edmonton didn’t belong in the conference finals, but that was a quirk of the current playoff format. They should re-seed after the first round, but I get the rationale behind shorter travel.

        Edmonton has a good, young team and a lot of talent. They’ll need more defensive depth behind Nurse and Bouchard, better goaltending, and a better bottom-6, but the high end talent is there.

      • Nurse is a very good D-man and a unique player.
        He is big/long and can fly, also contributes offensively but not elite. Can pass it out or skate it out. Eats minutes, is physical and will go with anybody.

        I heard on the radio in Edmonton the other day that no D-man played more minutes against elite competition that Darnell Nurse in the regular season. Elite meaning top line guys. Still had solid possession #’s and a good +/-.

        He was playing hurt and trying to play the same role in the playoffs, it was a problem and it was obvious at times, but he sucked it up and kept going. He is a better player than he showed in the playoffs, but also showed he can suck it up and play. With a torn hip flexor, which would effect every stride you take.

        Nurse bet on himself with shorter deals to get to 1 year away from UFA and it paid off. He also signed after Makar, Weresnski, Jones etc signed their deals. If EDM didn’t pay him, somebody else would have.

        Makar is starting to look underpaid fikshun, have to agree with ya on that. I knew he was good, didn’t know he is this good. That series was an eye opener.

  3. Goals scored by Oilers without McDavid & Draisaitl involvement:
    RNH x 5
    R. McLeod x 3
    Kane x 7
    D. Ryan x 1
    Puljujarvi x 1
    E. Bouchard x 1
    Hyman x 3
    Yamamoto x 1
    34% of the Oilers scoring came from no involvement with McDavid & Draisaitl. Unsure how that compares to other historical playoff teams… Agree they need better depth but the smell test shows the sweep was due to defensive play/goal-tending.

    • Agreed. Oilers scored enough to win but leaky defence and sub par goaltending was their downfall.

  4. One line NHL teams with beer league goaltending and an AHL calibre defence very rarely win.

    Is it possible to buy out a contract before it even kicks in?

    9.25 million for 8 years. That Nurse contract isnt going to age well.

    Classic example of the Scooby Dubas Cap Management course Holland took at Shanascam U. 

    • Edmonton needs to cut Keith so slow to start with
      Dump Barrie at any cost terrible Bouchard was better on the power play
      Sign Kane for a decent contract with an increase over the next three years
      Trade your first round draft pick get your goalie once and for all
      Last you need to sign the Montreal defensemen thats a stable defensemen for this team. sign long term deals to you players that want to stay. And you might look at trade Nurse it cant hirt before his contract goes to 9 million what do you need cap space he didnt play well all year. Hes a stud but a lot of teams need him. You have a great talent pool use it instead of over paying
      Sign the coach this guy did amazing job. Send a msg to Tippit this is how hockey is played. This team was out skated out goal tendered period if they had better net minder it might be different series

  5. Worse contract?

    Johnny its not about the money Tavares ( 7 yrs 77 million) or

    Darnell Nurse ( 8 yrs at 9.25 million).

    Asking for a friend.

    • Johnny T now but in a few years when Nurse is playing 2nd and 3rd pairing mins making that cash his will evolve his contract above Johnny T’s for one of the worst singings ever.

    • Seth Jones has entered the chat

  6. Siegel forgets that the Leafs can’t offer the Hawks a 2nd round pick….they’ve traded their 2nd round picks for the next two Drafts.

  7. Oilers season came to an end due to play where Duncan Keith lost a key DZ battle, let his man walk to the net unchallenged, and Mike Smith threw a yard sale. I know a lot of people are calling for them both to retire.

    If Keith were to retire Chicago would have a $5.5M cap hit in 22-23 & a $2M cap hit 23-24. Edmonton would lose his $5.5M actual cap hit in 22-23 & instead have a $3.4M negative cap hit (cap savings), for a swing of $8.9M. (Source: Puckpedia)

    Smith enters final year of his deal. +35 contract, but exempt from +35 buyout rules because it’s not front-loaded and there’s no signing bonus after Year 1. Oilers save $1.67M against the cap, have a $533K cap hit next yr. Following yr would be $833K against the cap. (Source: Capfriendly)

    So if Keith retires and Smith gets bought out, Edmonton finds an additional $5.07M in cap space for next season.

    • The only problem with that scenario. Shane, is why would Keith walk away from $5 and a half million? Would you?

      • Keith was a good player for the Oilers all year and losing him would leave a big hole on the blue line IMO. Plus he has a NMC, so not getting traded and he wants to be in Western Canada.

        Barrie is a right shot, but is also kind of redundant with Bouchard able to run the PP at a high level. He is also very tradeable. Maybe they move him?

        Broberg gets a shot next year full time and can play off side, as can Keith. I would play the 2 together and move Bouchard up with Nurse, or a least give it a go to start. Both young guys get a vet and both need real minutes.

        I would like to keep Kulak as he is a good player, and from the area, but not many rooms at the inn, so not sure he goes for it.

        Tender, not many options out there. Easy to say replace him, but with who and how much you gonna pay? Say problem as last year. We know Skinner will stick as he has to clear waivers and will get claimed.

      • Why he would walk away George O, is because it’s the cap hit that is five million. Actual salary is one million. And if he doesn’t retire, a cap floor team can buy out that deal quite favourably.

  8. Nurse is more of a Hedman type than a Makar type. Still, who would you rather? And if Nurse WAS healthy, would McKinnon still walked around him? Probably. Tough to say what the Oil should do. Lots of questions.

    • When he’s flying, McKinnon can walk around any player in the league, including Makar.

      • Zero arguement on that point. Mackinnons a speed merchant.

    • Nurse and Hedman comparison:

      They both play pro hockey, breathe air, have 2 eyeballs, 2 legs and 2 arms.

      End of comparison.

      This would be like comparing Mcdavid to Strome.

  9. I see a lot of Toronto fans wanting Tavares dealt. As a Bruins fan I still see him as a Point-per-game type center. Hypothetically, if Bergeron does choose to retire, could this be a rare time when Boston and Toronto would help each other out?

    Assuming Tavares would waive to go to Boston.

    To Boston: Tavares

    To Toronto: Debrusk and Reilly or Forbort or Grz

    Send whatever picks either way to balance if needed.

    Boston gains a proven 1st line center for 3 more years.

    Toronto gains a versatile, goal-scoring forward and decent 2nd or 3rd pair defenseman along with $4M in cap-space toward a goaltender.

    • Boston does not have the cap to do this and JT has a better chance at a cup right where he is! (But many Leafs fans will argue that JT is what is preventing the Lafs from gaining a cup!)

      • Well Boston would be shipping out $7M and I prefaced this with Bergeron retiring. That would leave plenty of cap.

      • NO, Boston’s cap hit is $80,116,667 w/o Bergeron right now. However, they will have 3 major contract’s on LTIR when the season starts.

      • So unless Bergeron comes back at the league minimum they can’t afford him either…

  10. 22 goals against in 4 play off games. Likely gets you swept . The Oilers defence needs an overall . That includes goal . Skinner will have a bigger role next year. Low cost.

    Smith let in some weak ones. One from a132 feet ! You are paid to stop the one you should not the ones you shouldn’t . Too many poor goals for NHL standards

    Puljularvi Yamamoto first rounders get something for them
    Nurse number 7 paid defence-man. Ouch

  11. SilverSeven. Puljujarvi should have been jettisoned a couple of seasons back. As a 4th overall (2016) he’s been a dud compared to just about every 4th overall dating back to 2010:

    2010 -Johansen – Columbus; 2011 – Larsson NJ; 2012 – Reinhart NYI (a dud); 2013 Seth Jones Nash; 2014 Bennett Calgart; 2015 Marner Toronto; 2016 – Puljujarvi Edm; 2017 Makar Col; 2018 Brady Tkachuk Ott; 2019 Byram Col; 2020 Raymond Det;
    2021 Hughes NJ

    His career average 82 game stats over 259 gp works out to 15g 17a 32 pts – same as another Edmonton dud (1st overall), Nail Yakopov who did it over 350gp and not as good as another ridiculed # 1 Alex Daigle who works out to 17g 26a 43 pts per 82gp over 616 games.

    Coming off a $1,175,000 deal and having RFA arbitration rights, his totals this year of 14g 22a in 65gp works out to (over 82 games) – 17g 28a 45pts.

    He isn’t going to get anything back commensurate with his being a 1st round pick.

    • It was good scouting that had Jarmo passing him up by picking Dubois at 3 OA .

    • Flyers selected Nolan Patrick over Makar.

      Uhm, yah…yer fired.


    • I keep JP if I am the Oil. Doesn’t produce offense like a 4th OA pick, no argument, but he is an effective player. Holland didn’t draft him so who cares where he was picked.

      Big, skates, creates TO’s. Basically a shift disturber.
      No matter who he plays with, their stats improve as he does the dirty work down low. Literally every player. Gets a whack of chances, but can’t finish.

      If I was him I take a short term deal, hire a skills coach in the off season and spend 2 months with a guy like Oates.

      You don’t dump a guy like him, who could still turn into a 20 goal guy for upside, and at very least a solid 3rd line player who ain’t gonna cost much which he already is. Foegle, Macleod and Puljujarvi will be their 3rd line next year. Young, fast, physical on the wings.

      Dumping him doesn’t make much sense to me because he was picked higher than he should have been. JP is a quality NHL player on a good deal today and likely next year. My guess is 2 years at $2.25M.

  12. I’d be good with that, the Mrazek trade…maybe include DeBrincat.

    To TOR: DeBrincat
    To CHI: Holl + Mrazek + Robertson + Steeves

    Leafs unload Mrazek, get rid of Holl, unfortunately lose Robertson and Steeves…but that’s the price you pay for Chicago helping you out.

    • If … and that’s a big IF – Chicago ever decided to market Debrincat, the offers would be plenty and most would bury that collection of non-entities.

  13. Classic comments here regarding players worth and ability. It really blows my mind, it seems like if you have a young super star or multiple ones, these are guys that regularly put up points which are needed to win. Guys that score, drive plays, whatever… are gonna cost you more like an exotic sports car cost more than the civic you drive. There’s a reason for that you know.

    I don’t know, maybe you a fan that believes you can steal another teams ufa to land your star players because if you don’t, what do you have against paying top dollar for your own top young players that you’re lucky to have? Seriously?

    • I doubt anyone would argue that point Ron – the problem is, most teams don’t have (nor can afford under current cap restrictions) more than 5 or 6 such players and since they can’t be on the ice for a full 60 minutes, that’s when the lack of depth starts to show. The league almost has to develop a new formula that allows teams to develop – and keep – their top picks – a combination of the cap and baseball’s luxury tax? I dunno … but the status quo is just not working.

  14. I could see Detroit taking on Mrazek’s contract if a pick or prospect was added to the deal. They’re already familiar with him, and they need a back up. Right now they lack anyone behind Ned. Even Grand Rapids lacks a quality starter and back up until Cossa makes his way up. Mrazek is better than nothing, and maybe he can rekindle some of his play in his old uniforms.