NHL Rumor Mill – August 12, 2022

by | Aug 12, 2022 | Rumors | 30 comments

How will the Golden Knights replace sidelined goalie Robin Lehner? What’s the latest on Coyotes’ defenseman Jakob Chychrun? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: With Robin Lehner sidelined for the upcoming season by hip surgery, Jesse Granger examined the Vegas Golden Knights’ options to replace the 31-year-old goaltender. If Lehner goes on long-term injury reserve, they’ll have roughly $7 million in usable cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights are already above the $82.5 million salary cap for 2022-23 by over $5.7 million with Shea Weber on long-term injury reserve. Most of Lehner’s $5 million cap hit is expected to be used to sign their remaining restricted free agents.

The Golden Knights could promote promising Logan Thompson as their starter backed up by Laurent Brossoit or Michael Hutchinson. That would provide them with the cap space to add a free agent such as Paul Stastny, Sonny Milano or Phil Kessel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They would have to be careful in how much of that cap wiggle room they invest in other players. Spend too much and they won’t have enough room to address their goaltending if Thompson, Brossoit and Hutchinson can’t get the job done.

If they decide to seek a replacement for Lehner outside the organization the pickings are slim. Braden Holtby remains unsigned but his career may be over due to injuries. Granger noted Cory Schneider is still available. He spent the past two years in the AHL.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forget about free agency. Holtby’s done and Schneider’s last decent NHL season was 2017-18.

Granger suggested New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov as a trade option.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps included Varlamov among his list of suggested trade options. He also mentioned the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo, the San Jose Sharks James Reimer, and the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello reportedly prefers to keep his goalie tandem intact for the coming season. As Krepps pointed out, however, there are rumors that he’s looking to clear cap space to sign free agent center Nazem Kadri officially. Lamoriello could change his mind provided the Golden Knights aren’t on Varlamov’s 16-team no-trade list.

The Blue Jackets signed Korpisalo to a one-year deal where he’ll be serving as Elvis Merzlikins’ backup so he’s probably unavailable. There is talk the Sharks could trade Reimer for the “right price”. Earlier this summer, Gibson denied rumors claiming he’d welcome a trade out of Anaheim. He carries a 10-team no-trade list.

What hurts the Golden Knights is their lack of trade capital. Since 2018, they’ve mortgaged their future by acquiring stars such as Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Jack Eichel. Investing big money in those players (plus free agent signings like Alex Pietrangelo) also forced them to make cost-cutting deals such as practically giving away Pacioretty last month to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Perhaps they could get Varlamov if the Isles are only looking to shed salary but I don’t think Lamoriello wants to move him. The Sharks will want something decent for Reimer while the Ducks’ asking price for Gibson could start with a first-round pick. Given he’s carrying a $6.4 million annual cap hit through 2026-27, they probably can’t afford him over the long term.

Granger also mentioned the possibility of signing Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger to an offer sheet. He points out that the Golden Knights lack their own second-round pick in 2023. That means an offer sheet would have to be between $4.2 million and $6.3 million to meet the compensation requirement of a first and third-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forget it. The Stars have $10.3 million in cap space. I estimate it’ll take between $6.5 million and $8 million to sign Oettinger to an unmatchable offer sheet. The compensation there is a first, a second and a third-round pick. As Granger observed, they lack their own second-rounder next year.

Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal recommends the Golden Knights avoid over-reacting, especially when the trade and free-agent markets won’t be kind. He suggests seeing how things play out with Thompson as their starter before exploring other options. I daresay that’s how management will handle this for now.


TSN’s Shawn Simpson recently took to Twitter reporting the feeling around the league is the Arizona Coyotes could trade Jakob Chychrun before training camp opens next month. He said the Ottawa Senators were among the teams in the mix but the Coyotes’ asking price for the 24-year-old defenseman is “ridiculously high”. He credits Senators GM Pierre Dorion for being patient.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes beat writer Craig Morgan of GOPHNX.com expects Chychrun will be in Arizona’s lineup when the season begins in October. He’s acknowledged that could change but feels the next best opportunity to trade the blueliner could be the 2023 trade deadline.

Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong tried moving Chychrun last season and during last month’s NHL draft. There’s plenty of interest in the blueliner but little in meeting Armstrong’s price, which is believed to be heavy on futures, including a first-round pick, a top prospect and a promising NHL-ready player.

It’s possible Chychrun gets moved before training camp or before the regular season begins. Unless Armstrong lowers his price, however, I wouldn’t hold my breath, especially with the rearguard under contract through 2024-25.


  1. VGK will have to make a trade if the twine is costing them a playoff spot Forget Hutchinson . A lot of pressure on Thompson and I hope he is the guy. He is 25 so not a kid anymore . My personal observation is that Through minor to major and up he has always stepped up for playoffs . Not sure he can be the 55 start guy during a long regular season
    I would definitely look to the Sharks for goaltending help

    I would be Leary on offering a boat load for Chychrun . Proven to be injury prone at least so far. Good salary and my belief is he is not going anywhere until is next contract negotiations

    • I agree SilverSeven. Chychrun played 47 games last year. It cost Arizona $112,765 per game. He has never played more than 68 games in his 6 seasons in the NHL. His contract is back end loaded paying him 4 mill, 5.4 mill and 7 mill for the next three seasons. No doubt he is a very talented defenseman but he is not worth the return Arizona wants.

  2. Viva Las Vegas with you neon flashin’
    And your one arm bandits crashin’
    All those hopes down the drain
    Viva Las Vegas turnin’ day into nighttime

    Viva Vivahhhhhhhhhhhhhh Las Vegaaaaaasssssss!

  3. Lou are you awake yet? Come on Lou trade Varly for picks we don’t need a 5 million a year backup. Bring in Kincaide as a backup for 1 million he grew up an Isles fan and is part of my family. He would be pumped to finally play for the team he rooted for. Yes we are related but I can tell you he works hard and would be great for 30 games. Lou is in Boca playing Mahjong today with young 60 year old women.

    • Kincaide is part of your family? Sounds fishy. My second cousin twice removed Keith kinkaid might be a good fit.

      • Lou has 3 Cups and 2 GM of the Year Awards on his resume.

        What do you have on yours?

        Proud member of the over 70 club!!

    • Get off the “age” kick buddy, and endless implication that age = senility. It isn’t the least bit appreciated and is about as funny as a toothache. At 84 I have no problem with statements made in fun … and have had fun responding … in jest. But yours comes across as anything but.

      You’ll get there someday … IF you’re lucky.

      • Bravo ! Enough already! Let’s wait & see what Lou has done when he takes his time! I’m sure it’ll be interesting. As long as the team PLAYS this year (from beginning to end) we’ll be more than competitive. Any tweaks, additions & system changes are welcome.

  4. I think an INEXPENSIVE back-up option for Vegas would be Garret Sparks. He’s had a few sneaky good seasons at NHL and AHL level (also a previous short stint with Vegas). Definitely a warm body for way under 1 million.

    As for Chychrun, my Blues offer is still on the table and meets all of Bill Armstrong’s criteria:

    Neighbors, Hofer, Kostin, and a 1st in 2024

  5. Dorion IS being patient because he can see that, beyond Chychrun as one option for that elusive RD, there are a number of other possibilities from teams that will simply HAVE to clear cap space one way or another once training camp starts IF they don’t have the LTIR options to bail them out. And there are at least 10 in that category.

    The driving factor for those teams will be the realisation that there aren’t 10 teams with the kind of cap space needed to relieve more than 3 or 4 of them. Who blinks first?

    • I like Cam Talbot + for Shea Theodore. Sens have more goalies in the pipe.

  6. Vegas is hooped and if they have to do a trade judt to stay happening (but this offer may not be happening haha)

    Offer Theodore to Jersey for Blackwood and try to get Subban on a 1 year 1 million dollar deal.

    Or Go after Smith -haha

    I thought last year Lehner was disgruntled with Vegas and was going to ask out anyways.

    • “Offer Theodore to Jersey for Blackwood and try to get Subban on a 1 year 1 million dollar deal.”

      As a Devil’s fan, Fitz could not say yes fast enough. LV would never consider this….

      • I like it to but moving a top defensemen for a problem that should have not last one season is quite stupid. Could you imagine if Vegas did move the Theodore to solve a goalie issue for one season.

  7. Forget Korpisalo. The Jackets have exactly four goalies in their system: Elvis Merzlikens, Jonas Korpisalo, Daniil Tarasov and Jet Greaves. Tarasov is the goalie of the future but, due to injury and Covid, has yet to play a full season in the AHL. Greaves shows some promise, but is still developing and will only be playing in Cleveland for the next couple of years. The only way Kekalainen trades Korpisalo is if he gets a proven NHL level back up goalie and, probably, another asset. Maybe Vegas will become desperate enough to make such a trade, but I doubt it.

  8. Reading yesterday by a media type, Boston should trade Ullmark to Vegas.

    Ullmark has a no move clause, which wouldn’t be an issue as he clearly would be the starting goaltender.

    This is a trade i be in full favor of, if the bruins were doing a rebuild or re-tool.

    We knew now Sweeney is once again taking a final swing at the cup. There is no way Boston goes into the season with Swayman and Keith Kinkaid as their goalie tandem.

  9. Perhaps Ottawa should sign a guy like Subban for a year. Assuming Subban would be willing. A stop gap while the search for better.

    • Yeah, right. I’d rather see them hand the job to play alongside Chabot to Zub and elevate one of Bernard-Docker or Thompson than see that locker room disruption anywhere near the kids.

  10. Dipietro to VGK.
    Cheap & young

    Take a 2023 2nd

    • LOL. And the wolves circle! Looks good on Vegas.

      • They sure are & tis a beautiful thing at that lol

        Really despise how the expansion draft rules were & also them not having to lose a player to the Kraken topped it off.

      • Why dispose expansion rules. I mean half a billion dollars gotta buy you something right? Seattle had the same rules and the chirps are quiet about how unfair their draft was.

        GM’s around the league handed Vegas a good team. It wasn’t the drafting rules. Florida for example. Pleas take this guy, if you do I will give you this guy. Vegas, oh thanks, we were hoping to land a bonifide top line. Blame the GM’s around the league for being short sighted .

      • Many expansion teams before them had no such grandiose “rules.” Ottawa, for example, wound up with an AHL team – didn’t cost them half a billion … but in terms of the dollar’s value then compared to today it wasn’t far off. And they weren’t the only one to have severe limitations on who they could pick, by any means.

        I feel NO pity for Vegas because, after a draft unlike any other, they then set out to spend like a drunken sailor on UFAs while callously firing the coach that guided them to immediate glory and followed that by treating Fleury like dog s&^t.

        I hope they sink like a rock.

  11. Chychrun news again …
    Oh My , When is this coming fruition ?
    Ottawa has genuine interest , A deal that should be DONE !
    Too IF’s in the fire , as per cap issues , from other interested teams , holding everything to come to conclusion

    1 Chychrun
    2. Lawson
    3. Kessel ——- To Toronto ….

    Who goes back … very doable deal IMO , , I am not going to offer my opinion – going to Arizona just yet, I don’t want to spill the apple cart !

  12. What do you suppose is the lowest the Stars could get away with re-signing 41-goal scorer Jason Robertson? He doesn’t have arbitration rights, but their own regularly complains about under-performing forwards. It’d be a risky move to match a big offer sheet for Otter and then play hardball with Robertson.

    • He’s gotta be thinking something like 8/8.5m or more. Not his problem Stars are stuck with Seguin & Benn contracts. Play hard ball & he’ll leverage his importance & not sign for as many UFA years is what I believe he’d do.

      • Yeouch. I was thinking he’d cost at least $6.5 million to get him to arbitration. I suppose I’d rather have a good starting goalie, but I’d rather have both.

  13. Arizona currently showing a roster of 22 players. They still have Hayton to sign. Currently, they are only about 1.1 mil above floor. I can’t see Hayton getting any more than 2 mil per. So if they trade Chychrun, they’ll need to take back a salaried deal layer that gets them back over the floor. They also have a guys like Ghost and Ladd who will be ufa’s at end of season. If they’re barely above the floor, how do they deal those guys at deadline?

    • In pointing that out the other day, Slick62 I mentioned that, to offset the loss of Chychrun’s cap hit Dorion could put together a package that included Zaitsev, whose cap hit is almost identical, but has just 2 years to run, It would need to be a nice, attractive package that could include Formenton – rather than see him bumped to 3rd line duty in Ottawa if Stutzle shifts back to LW with Giroux at C on the 2nd line. They could also include one of Bernard-Docker or Thompson (both D prospects) along with a 2nd round pick.

      I would NOT relinquish a 1st round pick, however.

    • I take it you are referring to capfriendly. Cardone and Dineen ( both at minimum) will not be on the opening day roster. Also they need another goalie. There is no concern to make it to the floor. It is ridiculous to think otherwise. Also Ladd will not be traded, and Gostisbehere will be retained.