NHL Rumor Mill – September 8, 2022

by | Sep 8, 2022 | Rumors | 10 comments

The Penguins may have received an offer from the Flyers for Jason Zucker earlier this summer, the Canadiens might not be done making moves, and an update on Jake Virtanen in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dave Molinari reports a league source claims the Penguins got a trade offer for Jason Zucker this summer. The move would’ve allowed them to shed the 30-year-old’s $5.5 million average annual value from their salary-cap payroll for the coming season.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker (NHL Images).

The trade proposal reportedly came from a Metropolitan Division rival. It would’ve involved packaging Zucker with a first-round draft pick for “well, basically nothing” in return.

Penguins general manager Ron Hextall is believed to have rejected the offer because he didn’t want to part with a first-rounder. The Penguins also aren’t prepared to give up on the oft-injured Zucker as a significant contributor.

Molinari indicates Hextall declined to respond to a request to confirm or dispute the information.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi speculates the Flyers could be the team that had the interest in Zucker. He points out that general manager Chuck Fletcher is very familiar with the winger going back to their days with the Minnesota Wild. The first-rounder they would’ve gotten in the deal is much-needed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wonder when that pitch might’ve been made. Perhaps it would’ve been leading up to the opening round of the 2022 NHL Draft in July when the Penguins would’ve been looking to shed salary after re-signing Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports Canadiens GM Kent Hughes could turn to the trade market to help his club gain more salary-cap flexibility for the coming season. He acknowledged there hasn’t been much trade activity of late but could turn to waivers or “different things that we have forthcoming.”

It’s rumored the Canadiens were looking to make a cost-cutting trade before officially announcing Kirby Dach’s new contract. “We’ll revisit and we’re comfortable we can conclude a deal,” said Hughes. He indicated if they could’ve done another transaction they might not have had to go into offseason long-term injury reserve (LTIR), giving them more flexibility during the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes also observed that he’s continuing to work the phones and remains confident that something could get done. Murphy noted that the Habs GM was looking to move some salary for a defenseman or a package of draft picks and prospects.

While the Canadiens placed Carey Price and his $10.5 million cap hit on LTIR, Murphy indicates their limited cap wiggle room could hamper efforts to make in-season moves. Hughes could attempt to shed salary with a trade leading up to the start of the season next month.

The Canadiens GM could deal from his depth at forward. Recent rumors claim Mike Hoffman, Christian Dvorak and Joel Armia have been mentioned as trade candidates.

TVA SPORTS: cited ESPN’s Kevin Weekes yesterday saying the Canadiens are talking contract with Jake Allen. The 32-year-old goaltender is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The goal of those discussions is to reach an agreement for more than one year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could add more fuel to the fire over Price’s long-term future. If his career is over, the Habs will want some veteran stability between the pipes.


OILERS NATION: Zach Laing cites Vancouver Canucks insider Rick Dhaliwal claiming the Edmonton Oilers are among several teams believed to have an interest in Jake Virtanen, who spent last season in the KHL.

Virtanen, 26, played six seasons with the Canucks until 2021 but was placed on leave by the club in May 2021 after the right winger become the subject of a sexual assault investigation. His contract was bought out later that year. He was charged in January with one count of sexual assault but was found not guilty by a jury in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers might no longer be among those interested clubs. They recently signed Justin Bailey to a professional tryout offer.


  1. The Habs still need to bring in another NHL ready RD. If a Lundkvist trade doesn’t happen, Anton Stralman would likely be their best bet. Byron will likely start the year on LTIR and even if not, he can be sent to the AHL. About $1.1m. of his salary would be cap exempt and at this point, signing Stralman may not cost more than that.

    As to the goalie situation, Primeau signed a 3 year one way deal a short while ago. He needs to spend the year in the minors getting a lot of playing time. Extending Allen would be nice, but he’s not a clear #1 at this point. Someone other than Montembeault will have to share the load in 2023-24. Hopefully that would be Primeau. If he’s not up to it, someone else will have to be brought in.

    • I appreciate what Allen has done for the Habs, Howard, but he enters the season at 34, and as we have seen gets injured a lot, I can’t see an extension.

      Maybe this year we are stuck with him and Montembeault. But it would be folly to start year 2 of the rebuild with a rookie starter in Primeau and a questionable back up in Montembeault.

      Part of a rebuild is not merely players and picks, but surely developing a winning attitude. The current tandem, or 1/2 of it, leaves me deflated. Imagine how the players who saw their goaltending last year feel now.

      I live in hope for a trade that brings back a goalie that can allow Primeau to be a back up who is eased into a starter’s role.

      • Trade for DiPietro. He is waiver exemt and stay in Laval for a year…..maybe 2.

    • Price has spoiled the Habs for a decade, relying on him to make the team respectable and those days are obviously over.

      Allen and Montembeault can carry the load during rebuilding and realistically Allen outplayed Price when he was first signed.

      The team this year has an interesting mix of kids and veterans and its hard to believe they won’t collectively be better.

      Is Primeau the future? Who knows, like other teams there have been “next ones” who just didn’t pan out. There are goalies in the pipeline and maybe one will make it.

      It’s the overall cohesiveness and growth of the young bucks over the next couple of years that will set the franchise back on course.

      It’s the development of Barron, Guhle, Harris, Norlinder, Matheson, Mailloux, Xhekaj , Dach, Caufield, Suzuki, Ylonen, Slafkosvky and more that should and will be the focus this year.

      A lot of UFA space will be cleared by TDL and/or the off season depending on how this season shakes out.

  2. in regards to Virtanen
    A one is never done. He was also first overall in the bantam draft

    • Once upon a time I had high hopes for Virtanen, but a combination of poor work ethic and seemingly very low “hockey IQ” was all I ever saw from him. Maybe with a better coach than Travis Green he could still become a player?

      • While I am happy that after his acquittal Virtanen might get another chance, I agree with your assessment of him, Orland.

        With one exception: Travis Green was not a bad coach. If a player needs a coach to instil an NHL level work ethic, what the player needs is another line of work.

      • Travis Green wasn’t a bad coach? Beg to differ. just look at what happened after he left… with the same roster.
        My guess is Boudreau’s success nailed his coffin shut for future head coaching jobs for a long time.
        Where does Jake go to get his reputation back?

  3. Rangers lack right shot wingers. Gauthier is another young player who has requested a trade. Virtanen would be a low risk/cost addition to bottom 6 depth. Big kid who has shown promise coming up. Having just turned 26, maybe he’s grown up a bit.

    • mtl has 42 right handed forwards, im sure we could find a couple warm bodies for the rangers.