NHL Rumor Mill – August 9, 2022

by | Aug 9, 2022 | Rumors | 23 comments

Why hasn’t a club attempted to sign Stars goalie Jake Oettinger to an offer sheet? Should P.K. Subban or Phil Kessel try to sign with the Oilers? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons wonders why an NHL club with money to spend hasn’t taken a run at signing Jake Oettinger. The Dallas Stars goaltender is a restricted free agent. Simmons believes he could be a starter for the next 10 years.

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oettinger, 23, quietly blossomed into the Stars’ starting goalie last season after a promising rookie performance during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign. His impressive performance against the Calgary Flames in the opening round of the 2022 postseason (1.81 goals-against average, a .954 save percentage with one shutout) pushed that series to the full seven games before the underdog Stars finally bowed out.

The Stars have $10.3 million in cap space for 2022-23 with Oettinger and fellow rising star Jason Robertson to re-sign. Both are coming off entry-level contracts and lack arbitration rights, giving Stars management the hammer in negotiations. They could end up with bridge deals with the promise of a larger payday down the road.

A team could throw a monkey wrench into that plan by offering Oettinger something between $6.5 million and $8 million for the coming season. It would cost a first, a second and a third-round pick if the Stars didn’t match but a goalie of his caliber could be worth it.

There are a few reasons why I believe no one’s signed Oettinger to an offer sheet. He might not be interested in one. Another is most general managers still prefer to avoid that route and risk a retaliatory strike down the road. The Montreal Canadiens’ ill-fated attempt to sign Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho in 2019 and the Hurricanes’ signing away Jesperi Kotkaniemi two years later remain fresh in everyone’s memory.

The biggest reason, however, is the teams with the cap space have factors preventing them from doing so.

Six teams – Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Islanders, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes – have the cap space to approach Oettinger with an offer sheet.

The Wings, however, already have two goalies in Alex Nedeljkovic and the recently-acquired Ville Husso at an affordable combined amount of $7.75 million for 2022-23. The New York Islanders are set in goal for this season with Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov. Anaheim Ducks netminder John Gibson is signed through 2026-27 with an annual cap hit of $6.4 million and a full no-movement clause.

The Blackhawks acquired Petr Mrazek from the Leafs and signed Alex Stalock. They’re also in the middle of a major roster rebuild and probably have an eye on next year’s draft lottery and the opportunity to select promising prospect Connor Bedard.

The Sabres have the cap space and a need for an improvement in goal with aging Craig Anderson and career backup Eric Comrie signed for this season. However, they lack their third-rounder in 2023 to make the type of offer that might successfully pry Oettinger away from the Stars. They also still believe in promising Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who could take on a larger role this season.

That leaves the Coyotes, who have the cap room and the draft picks to make a successful offer-sheet bid. However, they’ve committed a three-year deal to Karel Vejmelka as their starter. I suspect they could also have an eye on next year’s draft lottery and the chance of landing Bedard.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins recently reported the Oilers are still linked to free agents P.K. Subban and Phil Kessel. Both players have already made a lot of money at this stage of their careers.

Leavins believes they still want to win after losing years in New Jersey and Arizona. He wondered if their agents might put in a call with a “Final 4 team” to see if there’s a fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: “If there’s a fit” is the key phrase here. Perhaps one of them would be willing to come to Edmonton for a season on an affordable contract if they believe the Oilers could give them a shot at winning the Cup. Whether the Oilers can squeeze them into their limited payroll is another matter. So too is whether their skills and personalities would assimilate well into the Oilers’ dressing room.


  1. It must be nice to be paid to throw out idiotic ideas and force your readership to do the ACTUAL research, isn’t it Steve? Ugh.

    • He’s no worse than a slew of others who never shy away from tossing out unlikely ideas in their columns.

      It seems to me, from reading his columns over the years, that the main reason he rubs Leafs fans the wrong way is that he has a habit of writing what they SHOULD hear as opposed to what they WANT to hear.

      • Sorry George, he does not write things Leafs fans need to hear. He is truly incapable of an intelligent thought or have any reasoning to his takes. He’s a showman, straw man, and a hack.
        He has a knack of labeling a problem then have some far out BS reason or solution to it. Usually a really small minded one. Makes for good entertainment and as Burke once said, and I 100% agree with Burke on that, the sun papers, in particular Simmons, I wouldn’t even use that paper to line my bird cages with.

        Was he suggesting $6.5-$8m for a 23yr old goalie who again, one good year?

        However, I can see the appeal he has to other fans that are not Leafs fans.

      • I rest my case!

      • George,

        Much better to spend your 8 million dollars on an injury prone washed up has been and a never was for your goaltending duo.

    • Nice work if you can get it, isn’t it Garth. Summer is obviously slow time. The scribes have to do what they can to get noticed.

    • Could be worse. Luke Fox at LeafsNet literally cut and pasted his “top 10 fa’s” article not once but twice. Minor adjustments but bulk of article is exactly the same, verbatim.

  2. I feel the reason why nobody wants to sign Ottinger to an offer sheet, is because nobody wants to risk the draft capital.

    In a day in age where teams are so hard against the cap, it makes more sense to have a player for 3years on a rookie deal. Building through the draft is important now more than ever.

    Plus, everyone saw the s**t show that went down between Carolina and Montreal over offer sheets. I have no doubt it’s made people gun shy.

  3. as a Devils fan, if Subban will continue to accept playing on the 3rd pairing, with less minutes, he’s not a bad pickup. He really struggled when NJ played him in the top 4. buyer beware.

  4. Of the 6 teams cited above as having the required cap space to offer-sheet Oettinger. 3 also have RFAs still to re-up which will eat into that space (Detroit – Zadina, Walman), Chicago (Kurashev, Jones), NYI (Bellows, Dobson, Romanov).

    Only Buffalo and Anaheim have no RFAs left to re-up, but as Lyle points out, Anaheim is pretty well set in goal.

    So, Buffalo remains a viable possibility along with, of course, Arizona who have, by far, the largest amount left in the kitty.

    • George,

      Cap Friendly has an offer sheet calculator that does a good job of keeping track of what teams have the necessary draft picks to sign an offer sheet. 20 teams including Buffalo do not have the draft picks required for an offer from 6.3 million to 10.5. Buffalo can’t sign an offer requiring a 2023 third round pick. Turns out third round picks are pretty valuable when it comes to offer sheets.

      • Thanks GP – overlooked that aspect. Good point, and no doubt one of the reasons we seldom see offer-sheets.

    • I think Arizona & Chicago can be ruled out unless it’s for less than the $6.5M+ cited. Zero chance the Coyotes or Hawks are giving up next year’s first in any deal.

      And I’m not sure any of the other teams mentioned, none of whom are even close to playoff locks, even if they add a good goalie, would do it, either.

      • Oh I agree Paddy. Wasn’t suggesting Arizona WOULD do it – just pointing out that, among the teams cited as examples of having enough cap space, Arizona and Buffalo are realistically the only two that COULD given a combination of what they have in cap space and RFAs still to re-up.

  5. I always say if Kessel is motivated and cares he would still be a handy 3rd liner and 2nd powerplay unit guy
    Give him some speedier linemates who he can spring and setup.

    • Kessel has value ds, agreed, just not in Edmonton as Leavins suggested above. They have plenty, and don’t need any help on the best PP in the NHL over the last 3 years.

      Not sure Kessel fits the mold of what most 3rd lines are tasked with doing in today’s NHL. Definitely not EDM’s. Maybe if they move Foegele or JP, but they have other options that are younger, faster and bigger and can play a more defensive role.

      4th line with PP minutes? Sure, but again, no room at the inn in EDM.

    • DS.. I completely agree and playing with the Oliers Kessel will be motivated…this guy can still shoot, pass and play.

      He has been on a s**t team the last bunch of years still put up 53 points last season which will go up in Edmonton.

      He made the Penguins power play strong. Yes it isn’t 2017 but he is only 34 and third line minutes and power play time…he will score and not cost the team much..

      You put him on the power play with Mc David and Draisital all three can score (who do you cover) and the price will be minimum for Kessel.

      Look two years ago he scored 20 for freaking crap Arizona team there is no reason he cant score 25 with this skilled group he will be motivated.

      Bank on this if he signs there.. or wherever he signs.. if it is a decent team.

  6. One of the other reason why there maybe no offer sheet for Oettinger might simply be because he is a goalie and his track record is ok and his playoff numbers are better then is regular season numbers.

    Goalie can have a good, bad or great year, there are more unpredictable then other positions.

  7. Lyle, agree with all of that on Oettinger. From what I’ve seen in interviews and such with him, he comes off very loyal to the organization that traded up to take him higher in the draft. But that being said, $$$ is king, and he’s probably in line for something close to what Carter Hart got, 3.5-4 million on a bridge deal. So if another team were to offer 6.5 or higher, who knows.
    Also, I believe that the Stars would match whatever comes that way, and then have to trade one or both Radek Faksa & Denis Gurianov…(which would be fine with me anyway) They could both use new scenery.

  8. Edmonton is not a final four team in 2022-23! There d core is so so, bottom 6 is fair at best and Campbell is still a big question mark in my books. So if PK and Kessel want a chance on winning the cup they should look else were.

  9. I don’t think you’ll see a offer sheet for Star’s goalie. I think teams rosters are pretty much set. GM’s imo don’t do offer sheets because it makes enemies. I personally would love Oettinger. We all know he’ll resign with Dallas.

    • Agree 100% Vincois. Look at what Carolina did and also Burkes reaction when Lowe did it for Justin Penner.

      If you want a player that bad, make a deal to get him. If your only plan is to overpay in salary to get him, you simply drive up salaries for all teams, and that will piss off your fellow GM’s.

  10. The Sabres won’t sign an offer sheet because that would send a bad signal to Portillo and Levi, who might refuse to sign an entry level contract if the position appears to be taken.