NHL Rumor Mill – August 30, 2022

by | Aug 30, 2022 | Rumors | 17 comments

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill, a look at some of the notable players still available in the unrestricted free agent market and some tryout candidates for the Golden Knights.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Evan Rodrigues, Sonny Milano and P.K. Subban top Steven Ellis’ list of the top unrestricted free agents entering September.

Rodrigues is a 28-year-old center coming off a career-best 43-point performance with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Milano, a 26-year-old winger, spent last season skating alongside promising Trevor Zegras on the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks. Subban is no longer the player he used to be but the 33-year-old defenseman could bring good value for the right price.

Former New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rodrigues has been linked to the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some other clubs interested in him. Milano could be a good cost-effective option as a playmaking winger.

Subban is the biggest name on this list. The former Norris Trophy winner could help a club seeking an experienced defenseman for their third defense pairing or a power-play specialist on the blue line. Oddsmakers have linked him to the Edmonton Oilers but there has been no media gossip tying him to the club.

Former Ducks winger Sam Steel, veteran forward Sam Gagner and winger Tyler Motte fill out spots four through six on Ellis’ list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Steel (24) is the youngest player on this list and could be an affordable reclamation project for a team willing to invest the time in his development. The versatile Gagner, 32, had a respectable 31 points with the rebuilding Red Wings last season and could be a good depth addition. Motte, 27, acquitted himself well as a checking-line winger with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers.

Defenseman Anton Stralman, center Tyler Ennis, winger Daniel Sprong and winger Zach Aston-Reese round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stralman could draw interest from teams seeking an experienced and reliable right-shot rearguard. Ennis and Sprong are well-traveled players who could be enticing to cap-strapped or cost-conscious clubs seeking decent depth forwards. The same applies to Aston-Reese.

Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on where these players could end up in the comments section below. 

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Rodrigues, Milano, Sprong, Steel and Aston-Reese also showed up on Owen Krepps’ list of proposed professional tryout offer candidates for the Golden Knights. Joe Thornton and Michael Stone were the other NHL players on his listing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of those players on Ellis’ list could end up accepting tryout offers with the Golden Knights or other NHL clubs next month hoping to earn jobs in training camp or through preseason play.

It will be interesting to find out what Thornton’s plans are. He played with the Florida Panthers last season on a one-year contract but saw action in just 34 regular-season games and one playoff contest. Now 43, Thornton is among the greatest playmakers in league history but his performance has steadily declined in recent years as age and the grind of 24 NHL seasons have caught up with him.


  1. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Jim Nill found a way to sign Subban…. for some reason he loves those D men that have had great careers but are barely serviceable at this point of their careers. Please Jim, NO!

  2. Subban to the oilers make no sense unless the oilers prefaced that with dealing 2 roster dmen (ex. barrie plus broberg as part of a pkg for a notable upgrade on D…which i think is unlikely) and then brought Subban to back fill on 3rd pairing.

    • IMO Subban makes sense for the Oilers.
      They could use more D depth.

      As it sits today they have 5 guys with proven NHL top 6 seasons.
      Obviously Broberg is getting his shot this season, as he should as he has been seasoned properly and all the tools are there. He will have struggles early, just the way it is, so the odd night off to watch from above is fine.

      After that the Oil’s 7 -9 D are Koekkoek who has the most experience and not great, Samorukov one game, and Niemelainen with 20 games. All 3 are left shot guys. Will have to add at the TDL if they go this route, which is workable plus they are young and get some reps which will help long term.

      But, teams need to fill dozens of games due to injury, maybe more. If Subban is fine with a #7 role when all are healthy, great, if he isn’t, move on. Also ain’t gonna get paid much.

      Oil have plenty of depth up front, what they need more of is D or they risk injuries derailing what should be a very promising season. No idea what Subban is looking for, but he will play somewhere and would think a contender makes the most sense in a reduced role.

  3. Grey beard should retire at 43.

    Quite shallow in the UFA pool . Rodriguez and Steel should land somewhere
    Motte will fill out a bottom 6 and I bet Gagne ends of back in Edmonton. Hard to believe he is only 32
    With the space crunch all will have to be PTO’s

  4. Subban to Ottawa
    Just the piece they were looking for to shore up their leaky Defense
    Great dessing room presence
    Go get em Dorion ,

    • Bite your tongue, Ken!

  5. I’m still holding out hope that Dorion offers Gagner a contract and gives him the 4th line C position, moving Gambrell somewhere.

    A few days ago Dorion was quoted in the Sun as saying he’s been contacted by the agents of several players asking for a PTO. No decisions have been made yet one way or another – but it’d sure be interesting to know what players are involved.

    • I love the idea of Ganger honestly. Just a solid presence and seems like a real team guy. Get rid of Gambrell for sure…and then our last sticking point…Zaitsev…

      • Any idea why Gagner was kicked out by Vancouver? Never understood that move but Green sure didnt like him somehow

      • Kent, I believe it had something to do with cap space. At the time, Gagner cost $3,150,000 off the cap and I think the Canucks were looking for ways to clear space. The placed him on waivers in the 2018-19n season and when he cleared they “loaned” him to the Toronto Marlies.

        He was recalled when the Canucks ran into injuries and, on Feb 16, 2019 was dealt to his old team, Edmonton, I think for Spooner,

        His cap hit held to 2019-20, and by the 2020-21 season he was toiling for $850,000.

  6. Habs should sign PK for 1 year. City loved him

    • no thanks

  7. Strange that Motte hasnt find a place, good energy guy on 4th line who can score and is great on PK. Did he overplay his hand in what he wanted on a new contract, kind of like Klingberg?

  8. Can’t believe E-Rod not signed yet

    Would absolutely love him back on Pens

    If he gets North of $2 M (worth it) Pens can’t afford him now; they could still juggle things at $1.5 M

    His speed on Oil would be a good fit… if Tre gets him cheap… Oil should not be happy

    Knights move re Hill …. Prudent IMHO

    • I don’t understand why Rodrigues has not been plucked by someone either, Pengy? I was hoping the Avalanche would sign him, I think they could fit him in cap wise? I think they have about 3.9 mil to 4 perhaps? He would seem to fit the Avalanche style because he can skate! At least that would make the loss of Kadri and Burakovsky a little less troublesome IMHO. GO AVS!!!

  9. Avs are going to miss Kadri and Burakovsky for a 100 % certain. Some goals to replace there
    It has to be Rodriguez looking to get paid. Had a nice season use-full player third liner P.K. . Maybe he is asking for $4m on a multi. He will sign for something somewhere at some point .