NHL Rumor Mill – September 16, 2022

by | Sep 16, 2022 | Rumors | 37 comments

Will the Blues attempt to sign Ryan O’Reilly to a contract extension? What’s the latest on MacKenzie Weegar’s extension talks with the Flames? What’s going on with the Rangers’ Nil Lundkvist? Could Jake Virtanen sign a PTO with the Oilers? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: During his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast with Jeff Marek, Elliotte Friedman speculated the St. Louis Blues could shift their focus toward signing team captain Ryan O’Reilly to a contract extension. This comes after the club made re-signing Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou their offseason priority, with the duo inking identical eight-year contracts.

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images).

O’Reilly is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Term could be an issue for the 31-year-old center. Marek suggested the Calgary Flames’ Nazem Kadri as a comparable. He signed a seven-year, $49 million contract last month but Friedman doesn’t know if he sees the Blues doing that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Reilly is in the final year of a seven-year, $52.5 million contract with an AAV of $7.5 million. He’s still among the league’s best two-way players but, as Friedman observed, he turns 32 in February. That could make Blues general manager Doug Armstrong leery about investing too much for too long in an aging asset.


SPORTSNET: During the same podcast, Friedman reports MacKenzie Weegar said during the Flames’ recent golf tournament that they’re “working on something” and hope to get it done. Friedman believes it could be comparable to Hampus Lindholm’s contract with the Boston Bruins. Lindholm inked an eight-year deal at $6.5 million per season soon after joining the Bruins in a trade from the Anaheim Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would double Weegar’s current AAV of $3.25 million. The Flames have shown a willingness to be generous with their talent, inking Jonathan Huberdeau to an eight-year, $84 million contract and Nazem Kadri to seven years and $49 million. It wouldn’t be shocking if Weegar gets a deal similar to Lindholm’s.

Those hefty contracts, however, could become burdensome for the Flames down the road. Weegar will turn 29 in January, Huberdeau will be 30 next June and Kadri turns 32 in October. Nevertheless, general manager Brad Treliving is willing to pay now in the hope these players can turn his Flames into Cup contenders over the next four or five seasons.

Another factor is the potential for significant increases in the salary cap perhaps starting as early as next season if revenue projections are higher than expected. New broadcasting deals with ESPN and Turner and new revenue streams such as online gambling are pouring more money into the league’s coffers. That could result in a big jump in the cap over the next several years which could help offset those expensive contracts for the Flames when Weegar, Huberdeau and Kadri inevitably decline.


NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker reports Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury remains uncertain over the status of Nils Lundkvist. The 22-year-old defenseman reportedly won’t report to training camp next week unless the Rangers trade him to a club where he has a better opportunity at a top-four role.

I really don’t have any update on it,” said Drury. He hopes Lundkvist will be in camp next week but said he doesn’t have a definitive answer yet regarding the blueliner’s plans. Walker indicated the belief that he’ll be traded but Drury wouldn’t confirm if he’s requested a trade.


THE ATHLETIC’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman tweeted the Edmonton Oilers appear to be out on Jake Virtanen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They were reportedly among several teams interested in signing the former Vancouver Canucks winger to a professional tryout offer. Nugent-Bowman reported they’re considering offering a PTO for former Flames winger Brett Ritchie.


  1. Well looks like the bruins are a little more than interested in Jake V

    • Ya the providence bruins. Lol

      • Mrbruin4 if he has to start there, that’s perfectly fine.

        Absolutely nothing to lose by bringing this player in to have a look.

        Wasn’t that long ago some fans and pundits were suggesting a Jake for Jake trade.

      • Caper

        Bruins have no cap space. So they cannot add anything. Doubt Jake wants to play in AHL. He supposedly is looking at a few teams offers Oil supposedly offered him a PTO. true or not your guess as good as mine

      • Mrbruin4 cap space is an issue for another day.

        3 players they can place on ltir and I dont think his contract would be a 1yr show me contract.

        He would be just replacing an existing contract and Sweeney would move out a player or 2

      • Caper

        Sweeney moves out who? The person would be better then Jake? Would be Smith and or Reilly. Both better then Jake. No one taking Foligno

      • Foligno will pot 15+ goals this season, if he can remain healthy.

      • Sop

        From your mouth to gods ears

      • MrBruin4 Reilly is a dman and does not play forward.

        Sweeney job is to make the team better and to bring Jake Virtanen in on a pto is a no brainer.

        moving the money is simple.

        would you rather Jake Virtanen on your 4th line rm or Chris Wagner?

        Virtanen has upside and yes potentially replace Smith on the third line.

      • Caper
        Jake will not be on bruins he pretty much a career under achiever. Someone will give him a shot but won’t be bruins. If they had space they might offer a 1 year prove it deal a league minimum but they have no spot for him they already have too many players at nhl level that is why someone like Wagner will get waived even though he is nhl caliber player Who is Jake replacing on bruins. Water boy ? All players on team are better based on his career so far

  2. It will be interesting to dee how the Blues fit O’Rielly in with only 13 players signed at $67.5M next year.

  3. Perhaps the news of Weegar and the Flames closing in on a new deal will put to rest any speculation that Dorion is still trying to bring him to Ottawa.

    There are some out there who, while acknowledging their improvement on offense with DeBrincat and Giroux joining Tkachuk, Norris, Batherson and Stutzle, each of whom should continue to improve, their “weak link” appears to be on D and that they NEED a veteran RD to play alongside Chabot.

    They could have that on the roster in the form of heavy-hitting 6′ 2″ 200lb Artem Zub. Top pick Jake Sanderson – unless there’s a complete breakdown in his game which, judging by comments from across the hockey spectrum, is highly doubtful – will be the LD on the 2nd pairing, possibly paired with 6′ 4″ 215lb Nick Holden who is a veteran steadying influence, leaving Brannstrom, Zaitsev and Hamonic to for the 3rd pairing. And recent comments by Smith suggest Zaitsev, who struggled with a broken heel and played through it although it impaired his game, is in the best shape of his career and determined to have a better season all around.

    NOT saying Dorion isn’t still discussing possible deals for a veteran RD – just that it isn’t the end of the world if he doesn’t land one. And there’s also the improvement in goalie consistency with the replacement of Murray with the durable – and quite capable – veteran Cam Talbot to share the load with Anton Forsberg.

    But enough with the Weegar talk. That door is closed as is the Chychrun to Ottawa chatter.

    • I tend to agree with you there George. I feel like Dorion making moves to beef up the 3rd and 4th line and pretty much stick with what he’s got on D means he and Smith have far more faith in them than the pundits do. That said, he has over 5M in cap space that he can use to obtain a solid player later (keeping in mind that Timmy’s new contract kicks in next year so we will see how he juggles the numbers there)

      • How he Juggles the numbers is going to be interesting to watch next off season, theSaint, especially if the cap goes up another paltry $1 mil. How long has it been that we can say, from an Ottawa perspective, the bigger the cap increase, the better?

        For starters, Dorion doesn’t have access to just over $5 mil due to $3,458,333 in buy-outs and $1,562,500 retained of Murray’s cap hit.

        Then he has RFAs DeBrincat, Pinto, Gambrell and Brannstrom. Who he re-negotiates with and who he deals/lets walk away depends, of course, on what transpires this season.

        He also has 7 UFAs to consider – Watson, Motte, Hawryluk, Hamonic, Holden, Zub, Talbot who, collectively, currently cost $14,067,667 off the cap.

        Again, much depends on his this season goes – but I would hope Zub has a good year and is offered a new deal – along with, maybe, Holden. The rest can be replaced. Talbot’s future in Ottawa will depend upon, of course, how he plays this season and also the development of the giant Sogaard in Belleville.

        There is also the unexpected when it comes to deals down the line, including trade deadline day and how they’re doing when that rolls around.

    • Agree as well George. Who do you see as pairings?

      I am thinking:

      Chabot – Zub
      Sanderson – Hamonic
      Brannstrom – Holden

      Zaitsev as 7th

      Pairs a young guy with veteran on 2’nd and 3rd pairings.

      Send JBD and Thomson down for more seasoning. Though I would love to see Thomson make the team, I can’t see Dorion/Smith keeping three “younger” players on the backend. I also see Thomson’s development is ahead of Docker-Bernard.

      Also their goaltending has improved this year and that will help a lot.

      • Peter, your pairings are as good a guess as any at this stage.

        But I wouldn’t count out Zaitsev, just yet, though. According to Smith, he gutted out the season playing most of it with a cracked heel, rather than go on IR. That speaks a lot to the player’s commitment. As Smith says, it affected his pivoting and sudden stops and, consequently, made him look bad frequently .

        Smith also says he has seen him this summer and he’s completely recovered and anxious to show what he can do with a balanced F – D contingent. We might be surprised.

  4. Is Weegar really worth that much? I mean, yes, he’s good, but is he really *that* good? I would have thought he’d get 5 or 5.25. Oh well, not my money.

    • He isnt worth Linddholm money but maybe slightly higher than 5,25 like 6 times 5,75

    • I want my curtains back, the question “is he worth it?” applies to a lot of concluded contracts – but when it comes to the C, RD and goalie positions you’ll generally see the better ones get solid deals.

      After being selected 206th overall in the 7th round, the 6′ 200lb Weegar has improved to become a solid, dependable D who has accumulated 306 NHL games, contributing 27h 93a 121 pts and 259 PIM – which lends credence to the observation that he’s no shrinking violet.

      And with the exception of 2018-19 when he was a -3 over 64gp, he has been a consistent + player including a whopping +40 this past season.

      He turns 29 in January so, if and when he gets a long-term deal at $6.5 per, there will be some who see it as another solid move by Calgary to strengthen their roster for a big push over the next 4 or 5 seasons and worry about the fall-off in play after that by any of those signed if and when it transpires.

      Of course, there will also be some who say it’s too much and for too long. C’est la vie.

  5. The lengthy terms that Calgary hands out to players this age makes me even more impressed by Dorion locking up these young Senators stars for so long at their ages. Same commitment, less chance of major cap headaches later.

  6. Does it make sense for the Rangers to trade Lunquist (RD) to Toronto for Sandin (LD)? Both are 22 years old and drafted 2 spots apart in the first round. Sandin may be squeezed down the line up on the left side and the same thing appears to be happening to Lunquist on the right.

    • I like this idea. I feel Sandin is a good prospect but his lack of speed has gotten exposed too often in only a few NHL games.
      I’m not familiar with Lundqvist but if his foot-speed is better than Sandin’s I’d like to give it a try.

    • Why would the Rangers want Sandin when he’s the same position and he’d just be buried on the depth chart too? Doesn’t make sense.
      If Rangers trade Lundqvist, it would have to be for a different position of need.

    • I should have elaborated a bit more. Lundqvist is projected to be a top 4 guy. The top 4 in NY is set and he’s not breaking in (barring injuries). Swapping for Sandin does not add any upside for the Rangers and leaves them in the same position (with a young D with upside who can’t break into the top 4 where their skills are best suited).
      Better to hold onto Lundqvist in case of injury or trade him for better depth on offense.

    • Why would the Leafs trade a kid who showed last year he can play a regular shift in the NHL?
      Didn’t really get sheltered with o-zone starts either, only slightly.

      The guy is calm with the puck and generally makes good decisions, which is what you want to see with a young D like him.

      What has Lundquist done at the NHL level?
      I get the narrative that he is blocked, fair enough, but it doesn’t change the fact that we don’t know what he will be in the NHL or even if he will become a regular NHL D man. Probably doesn’t get you a proven.

      Rangers would need to add IMO, and besides the Leafs need D who can play a regular shift today, not maybe in the future, so I don’t see the fit.

  7. Rangers aren’t trading Lundkvist straight up for Sandin. Last year was Nils 1st year on North American ice and he faired well considering he was paired mostly with train wreck Nemeth. The guy was top D man in SHL season before. Still one of their top prospects but as mentioned, there’s no room for him. Sandin probably wouldn’t crack Rangers top 6 either. Rangers aren’t giving him away.

    • Slick, not sure what you are saying regarding his season in the SHL do you mean he was THE top D man in the SHL or did you mean A top d man in the SHL?
      He for sure wasn’t the top d-man that year, not even compared to the other young guys and where they are today. Like Seider.

      Not saying they should simply trade him to make him happy and get a crappy return. But if he was really all that, NHL ready, and on his ELC, methinks there would be plenty of teams willing to give a decent return. Teams kill for young NHL ready D with upside on an ELC. Even more when RD.

      Which would suggest he isn’t quite there yet, or there is something they aren’t thrilled with.

      Sandin is no slouch, he played well for the Leafs IMO.

      The situation simply suggests Lundquist isn’t ready for prime time, just thinks he is, other wise he would have gotten a good return by now. And the Rags have surplus RD so have every reason to move him for a position of need.

      Just an outside observation but seems counter intuitive.

      • I’m confused? Is Sandin “a kings ransom”, another guy who can’t crack Toronto’s lineup?

        Who has said anything about or close to “a kings ransom”?

        A solid rd prospect that a lot had winning a Calder prior to last season should get ? A 5th rounder in 2027?

      • Ray Bark:
        He was named the winner of the Salming Trophy in 2020-21, which is awarded annually to the best Swedish-born defenseman in the SHL.

    • Amazing how fans always think that their prospects who can’t make the team are suddenly worth a kings ransom to someone else.

      • lago,
        Doesn’t it all depend on the teams?

        Not being able to fit into a strong NYR D for example is different from not being able to fit into a weak TML D.

      • Yes it does ha scan….to a point. But my take is that NY’s D, though with many good prospects, was not all that strong last year, and were often bailed out by Igor. We really don’t yet know how Nils will do in the NHL, so I would not go overboard in a trade to get him. He might be a future top four guy….might be.

      • Habsfan you should check your numbers before making a bad comment re, Leafs defense. Both teams were well above average defensively so, yes, both teams have good young players that would otherwise potentially be in a top 4 position on other teams that are not the NYR or Leafs.

  8. Sop ..for anyone on here to dislike you would be a hard thing to do. I’m not trying to be crass this is not a put down, but you are the Mr. Rogers of posters. Listen Foligno couldn’t score 15 goals if he played for three seasons. The sooner they get this ancient relic out of beantown the better. You could pour a vat of quick cement on the ice and that would move quicker than he can.

    • Wow, a new passive aggressive Rick.

    • Er….thanks, Rick……….I think?

  9. O’Reilly’s agent is a tough one Overhartburn or whatever his name

    Virtanen played junior in Calgary . Not saying I am Justin saying