NHL Rumor Mill – August 4, 2022

by | Aug 4, 2022 | Rumors | 17 comments

A look at some cost-cutting trade candidates for the Oilers plus the latest on the Kings in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples wonders how the Oilers will become cap compliant for the coming season after signing Kailer Yamamoto to a two-year contract with an annual cap hit of $3.1 million.

Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi (NHL Images).

Staples points out Puck Pedia indicates the Yamamoto signing puts the Oilers over the $82.5 million salary cap by $6.8 million. By putting the combined salaries ($6.38 million) of sidelined players Oscar Klefbom and Mike Smith on long-term injury reserve, they’ll still exceed the cap by over $400K with restricted free agent Ryan McLeod to re-sign.

That could involve making a cost-cutting trade before the season begins. Staples suggested forwards Jesse Puljujarvi and Warren Foegele as the top-two candidates with defenseman Tyson Barrie a distant third.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation over which player the Oilers could shop to shed salary was kicking around the rumor mill before the Yamamoto signing.

Staples colleague Kurt Leavins suggested Puljujarvi’s new one-year, $3 million contract could be advantageous if the Oilers decide to peddle him. He said there were “rumblings” that the Montreal Canadiens were interested in the 24-year-old winger during the draft last month.

However, the Canadiens are pressed against the cap with center Kirby Dach to re-sign. However, they can’t afford Puljujarvi’s contract unless Carey Price and his $10.5 million cap hit return to LTIR for the coming season or the Habs dump some salary via trade or waivers.

The Athletic’s Allan Mitchell raised the possibility of the Oilers trading Puljujarvi and then signing someone like Phil Kessel to a bargain contract. He thinks that’s risky given Puljujarvi’s youth, higher shooting percentage and two-way play.

Mitchell doesn’t see Foegele or Barrie being moved, especially the latter after Duncan Keith’s retirement. Staples shared that view, with both suggesting Puljujarvi as the more likely trade candidate.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens reports the Los Angeles Kings have nine defensemen, not including promising Brandt Clarke and Helge Grans. Two of them (Mikey Anderson and Sean Durzi) are restricted free agents.

The Kings have just $1.5 million in cap space. Stephens suggested Durzi, Sean Walker and Tobias Bjornfot as trade candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Walker seems the most likely candidate given his $2.65 million cap hit for the coming season. However, his trade value could be diminished by the knee injury that ended his 2021-22 season. Another could be Matt Roy, who carries a $3.15 million cap hit through 2023-24.


  1. EDM will probably trade Foegele to ANA or ARZ, resign McLeod for $1M, and put Smith/Klefbom on LTIR. that should give them sufficient space. After resigning Barrie, I doubt they’ll dump him – otherwise why resign him?

    • McLeod worth more than a million in my opinion but time will tell they need to get him playing exciting young player.

  2. Where the Oilers are concerned, among the cap-strapped, not only do they need to move a player off the roster, it needs to be one of some considerable cap hit in order to allow them to at least add an ELC or two. That’s because, right now, they have just 20 signed and since two of those must be goalies, it’s risky to go into the season with only 18 skaters,

    Yes, it provides for 12Fs and 6D, but in that scenario they simply can’t afford to have a player or 2 (or more) miss games here and there with nagging 1-2 or 3 game type injuries since that doesn’t allow for LTIR placement, and there’s no way they can elevate someone from the minors since their NHL cap hit would have them exceed the limit.

    I doubt even moving Puljujarvi’s $3 mil cap hit would be sufficient.

    • Foegele hopefully traded for a 4th rounder. Clears $2.75M. Should be enough to add a few 2way contracts. Need the 2ways for cap flexibility durng the season.

      • Ballywally, they’re $6,031,333 over the cap with 20 signed. Their two LTIRs (one not certain) – Klefbom and Smith – add up to $6,367,000, so that barely covers the over. Dealing Foegele for a pick won’t be enough to add more than 1 ELC since they still have to deal with RFA McLeod, coming off an ELC of $894,167, and who will likely eat up around $1.2 mil of that on a bridge deal.

        That would only leave about $1.5 mil of Foegele’s freed-up cap – good for 1 ELC – and they’re still stuck at 21 man roster with NO wiggle room.

        A bigger contract will have to go.

  3. Someone has to go in Edmonton they need to clear cap space 3 to sign to get to 23 man roster and even with ltir. They have no space

  4. PJ to Det for Zadina?

    • Not sure I see how that helps with Edmonton’s cap problem in any way.

      Zadina is an RFA coming off a cap hit of $894,167 after a season of 10g 14a 24 pts and a glaring -24 but who, nevertheless, is likely going to come in at around $1.2 mil on a bridge deal. Subtract that from Puljujarvi’s $3 mil cap hit and most of the difference of $1,750,000 will be eaten up when RFA McLeod is re-upped – and they are STILL stuck at 20 players with nothing left in the kitty with which to bring up any other worthy ELCs – assuming they have any.

    • Why does everyone in Edm think PJ is such an asset? Everyone outside Edm thinks he’s hugely underachieved. Even if you added a 1st Det would laugh you off the phone.

      • I dont know anyone that thinks JP is going to get a huge return. Level headed oiler fans know as much. That said he is a legit 3rd liner who has shown ability and promise to be more, but definately has question marks. He is fairly compensated by league standards. Teams will take a chance on him, but the return today is likely a similar player, or a 2nd, or a combo of a lesser player later picks.

        Add in Holland doing the trading and i am leaning toward a fringe prospect and a 4th rd pick

      • 1oilerfan, it isn’t so much of a question as to Puljujarvi’s worth to an interested team – he could be a solid 3rd line F on a number of teams – but what they can actually take back in return – which can’t be a salaried term “similar” player since the whole idea of dealing him away would be to free up cap space.

        I agree, they won’t get a lot back simply because every other team knows the cap bind they are in and won’t be bending over t do Holland any favours – but if several teams become interested, he could get a pick as high as a 3rd rounder and/or a decent prospect that could develop further at their AHL franchise.

  5. The Oil D is suspect. Any injuries back there and they are in trouble. Have to keep Barrie who I would say is #3 on the depth chart.
    Someone will take Puljularvi . Unfortunately not for a big return. 3rd rounder and a Defence prospect ?? Likely before the regular season

  6. Oilers in same position as more then 1/2 the league. No cap space to fill out a roster and the teams with the space are charging a stiff premium to use their space. They won’t be getting anything close to value when moving a player or 2. When it is for cap. Will be more like a Vegas return for Patches zippo. If you are lucky. No added sweetners

  7. The blind faith these GMs have that they will indeed be able to get under that cap in a few weeks is mindboggling. How much cap did they REALLY think Keith’s departure was giving them?

    This will be interesting. Thinking now that the only reason they signed JP to that one year was to make him a more lucrative trade chip.

    • That’s why I have to chuckle when I see posts that suggests everything Dorion has done to strengthen the Senators will be for nought if he doesn’t add that so-far elusive Top 4 RD to play alongside Chabot.

      Fact is, he doesn’t have to be anxious. Somewhere down the line – before training camp – he will probably get what he’s after in one form or another when those that haven’t made a move to clear space – and who don’t have an LTIR to utilize – must act.

      But even if that doesn’t happen, his team finished with 73 pts – about 20 out of a playoff range. To close that gaps, he’s added 60+ goals in the form of DeBrincat, Giroux, a healthy Pinto and a full year with a set line for Joseph. Defensively, a more consistent (than was Murray) Talbot, combined with Forsberg, will make the goaltending more reliable.

      As for the D, Chabot – Zub, Holden-Zaitsev, Brannstrom-Hamonic – often in front of the inconsistent Murray – gave them a goal differential of -39 which, among the bottom 3rd, was that same as that of Anaheim, and much better than the rest – Buff (-58), Det (-82), Chi (-72), NJ (-59), Pha (-87), Sea (-69_, Ariz (-106) and Mtl (-98) – and so much easier to turn around with improvements.

      And, on D, the as yet unknown factor will be the highly-touted # 3 overall pick Jake Sanderson and where he winds up in the pairings.

      • Not that i look at advanced stats or know too much about them but Travis Yost did have an article on TSN about advanced stats and goalies. Talbot was ranked right below Murray on his chart and both were towards the bottom of the list. I was surprised to see that but then again i don’t watch the Wild unless the Wings are playing them.

        By the way Sanderson was 5th overall not 3rd…Stutzle was taken 3rd overall in that draft.

      • Yeah, thanks. One of those “dammit I meant 5th but typed 3rd and then hit “send” – unfortunately, there’s no correcting afterwards.

        The only problem with Murray during his stint in Ottawa is that the coaches never knew when or if he’d be available. It seemed as if he ever ran out of “usual” type injuries, he’d simply invent another. He did usually play very well when in there – but “in there” was a constant ?

        Talbot, at least, has shown durability and reliability and that alone will make Forsberg much more effective since he starts to show cracks in his game if over-used. He is the archetypal back-up.