NHL Rumor Mill – December 20, 2022

by | Dec 20, 2022 | Rumors | 34 comments

The holiday roster freeze is in effect until Dec. 27 but the NHL rumor mill hasn’t stopped churning. Check out the latest on the Flyers and Canadiens.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wondering if the Flyers and Kevin Hayes could be headed toward a buyout. Friedman mentioned what appears to be growing tension between Hayes and head coach John Tortorella, who has complained about the 30-year-old forward’s defensive play and benched him three times already this season.

Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes (NHL Images).

Hayes is the Flyers’ most productive offensive player with 29 points in 31 games. Nevertheless, Friedman observed most of the $14 million of bonus money in Hayes’ contract is almost paid off. If bought out at the end of this season, he’ll earn on average $2 million annually.

Carchidi notes Hayes is making $7.1 million per season. If he’s bought out in June, it’ll cost the Flyers $2.25 million against their cap for 2023-24, followed by $4.75 million annually for the next two seasons before dropping to $1.6 million annually for the final three seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wonder if the Flyers might attempt to trade Hayes rather than buy him out. He now carries a 12-team no-trade list giving management 20 potential destinations. His cap hit, of course, is a big sticking point but that could be alleviated if the Flyers agree to retain half of it.

That’s over $3.5 million of dead cap space annually over the next three seasons but that’s better than carrying six years from a buyout. It’s also more affordable than having $4.75 million annually counting against their cap for 2024-25 and 2025-26 from the buyout.

The Flyers might not get much back from trading Hayes. Still, they could get a draft pick, a prospect, or a struggling young player in need of a change of scenery.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Flyers, Marco D’Amico cited Friedman saying the Flyers attempted last summer to trade James van Riemsdyk with the goal of dumping his full $7 million cap hit for this season. The 33-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

The Flyers wanted to shed van Riemsdyk’s cap hit in hope of clearing enough cap space to sign Johnny Gaudreau in last summer’s free-agent market. The Canadiens, Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks were among those the Flyers spoke to but the asking price was for their 2023 first-round pick to be included in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I mention this because Friedman’s colleague Jeff Marek reported on Saturday that the Flyers have made “JvR” available in the trade market. The Flyers are said to be willing to retain salary to facilitate a deal.

Such a move probably won’t occur until the weeks leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. And no, the Flyers won’t be bundling him with their 2023 first-rounder. Given how their season is going, it could become the first-overall pick if the draft lottery balls fall their way.

D’Amico also wondered if the Canadiens and Washington Capitals might rekindle trade discussions now that Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom could be ready to return from offseason hip surgery in the next several weeks.

The Capitals will have to clear some cap space to make room for Backstrom. With Carey Price on LTIR for the season, the Habs have the cap flexibility to take on an expiring contract or by targeting a slumping forward like Anthony Mantha in exchange for one of their veteran forwards at 50 percent salary retained.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this season, the Canadiens were believed to have spoken to the Capitals. It was said they offered the Capitals one of their veteran forwards (Mike Hoffman, Joel Armia or Jonathan Drouin) but nothing came of it.

Maybe the Canadiens could get involved to take on a contract (bundled with a draft pick, of course) from the Capitals. However, the Habs won’t be the only team the Caps will speak to and they could get a better deal elsewhere.


  1. Mike Hoffman, Joel Armia or Jonathan Drouin!! Hardly surprising that nothing came of that offer by the Habs, even with 5% retained. Mantha has a better chance of breaking out of his slump than any one of those three.

    • Hey you have to try at least, right? The Habs GM is doing his job, he’s gotta to move off these players, it will benefit the team just as much or more as trading for a guy that has the goods to be an impactful and/or important piece.
      I think no one thinks any of those players bringing in something of value which would be a long shot at best but rather hoping it won’t cost the Habs much to move off of these players…it might even be best to ride them out until either their deal expires or whenever they become of some value to an other team or GMs eyes.

      • Basic reason I made the comment is that, collectively, those 3 are costing Montreal $13,400,000 off the cap, and have played a combined 59 games, contributing 7 goals 10 assists 17 pts and a combined -9.

        Of the three, Hoffman has contributed the most with all 7 goals and 3 of the assists for 10 pts and is a +4 in 22gp, and so might be the most enticing of the three. But he did turn 33 in November and his cap hit of $4.5 mil has one more year to run after this. Drouin (16gp 0g 5a 5ts -6), with all his problems on and off the ice will sadly just fade away when this season ends and he becomes a UFA. Armia (21gp 0g 2a 2 pts -7) could become a buy-out candidate with his $3.4 mil cap hit having 2 years to run after this.

        Clearly, Washington did not see any rebound potential that would entice them.

  2. “I wonder if the Flyers might attempt to trade Hayes rather than buy him out.”

    I wonder if Torts will still be the coach by the time it comes for the Flyers to consider buying out their most productive player.

    • Hayes can go to bruins 1/2 retained. Smith and Reilly or Gryz

    • The issue with Hayes is his defensive game. If at the end you are costing more goals than the offence you are producing then you need to hear about it.

    • Hi Garth,
      I think your right.. they would want to move Hayes in a Trade, maybe a salary retained for this year ?
      Hayes has $7.M for the next 3.5 yrs

      Hayes is a big Centre, 30 yr old with 29 point in 31 games this season … It Looks like Torts dose not like him…..❗️

      Philly is a Big Mess think its time for a new GM in Philly to get things sorted out….🤔

    • My thoughts exactly, Garth.

    • If Torts will still be coaching by next summer? Their paying 9M combined between Vigneault and Torts until 2023-2024. He’s not going anywhere.

      Vigneault has been coaching since 97-98 and has only had more L than W 3 times in his career ( yes i had look it up lol) T and OTL still give you a point and het got fired all 3 times.
      The flyer’s behaved like a bunch of entitled, unengaged and ungrateful brats last year. Vigneault lost clearly lost the room and the owner’s clearly were.t having it so brought the big boss man lol.
      Remember the last time we thought Torts was crazy with PLD. It was only a matter of time until his true colors showed up. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the same with Haye’s. When your best player is a cancer it gives the 2021-2022 Philadelphia Flyers or Winnipeg Jets.
      Jets aren’t rebuilding so the new coach seems to be working out. With Philly, you got to make sure your building around the right guy or else it’s gonna be a disaster to have kid’s looking up to him.
      Torts exaggerates but he doesn’t react for no reason. Something set’s him off.

  3. Revealing that a player like Mantha has already been traded once, and seems again on the chopping block.
    Yzerman, once again, seems to have been bright, getting Vrana in return. If he could stay healthy…

  4. @ Ray Bark and Joe from yesterday

    Ray i feel the Bruins first priority is to fix the defense, a player like Chychrun 6’2″ 210lbs brings the size and scoring.

    Lindholm McAvoy
    Chychrun Carlo
    Forbort Clifton

    Still ok with adding a middle six forward or bottom

    Joe i’m not convince Boston needs a player Deslauries. Boston doesn’t have any true fighters on the team but i believe they have team toughness and they have size.


    Zacha 6’4″
    Coyle, Frederic, Greer, Nosek 6’3″

    Foligno who maybe the toughest Bruin is 6’0″ and 210lbs

    I may sound like a broken record but the two player i’m most concern over come playoffs is Reilly and Grzelcyk.

    Reilly is in the minors

    Grzelcyk can’t handle the heavy hitting and constantly rushes the play, moves out of the way, turns over the puck or makes a bad pass.

    I think Grizz sound like a nice name for the desert.

    • Caper

      Can’t see bruins trading for Chychrun. They would have to add their 1st. A top prospect like Lysell and a player or players making same salary Gryz is soft small puck mover and would have no issue trading him. If bruins go all in they need a player like Kane. Would make 1st 3 lines almost un matchable

      • Ya, tough to say what is the best course of action for the B’s. Only thing I would say for sure is, wait.

        They are #1 in GA/GM and 2nd in GF/GM, so how much are you gonna improve with the assets they have? PP is near the top so who do you take off of that? And so is the PK.

        Not trying to jinx anything, but we will get an injuries in the playoffs and maybe sooner, wait until the TDL to make the call as it might become obvious. Lately seems like the D gets bit more than the F, so would add there if forced to make a decision today.

        Don’t think we have what ARI needs, which is 1st RD picks and young prospects, to get Chychrun.

        Gavrikov is interesting, and maybe CLB wants another puck mover and would take Grz as as one piece as he has another year left, and is an asset for next season. The guy is a decent player after all. Can wheel and plays smart. But again, I think CLB wants young assets/picks back.

        I see a depth move or 2. Not that exciting, just my opinion.

      • GG I would offer Grizz, 1st and Mason Lohrei

    • Right now the Bruins are too small on the back end. Grez is absolutely the guy I would try trading in any deal frankly just to get his cap hit off the books.

      Depending on what the Yotes want for Chychrun, anything the Bruins send would include Loheri back as a prospect. Getting Chychrun makes him expendable.

      Caper what did you see the Bruins sending back to the Yotes.

  5. Hayes to the desert?
    Good playmaker but he is missing 4th and 5th gears

  6. Would love to have Stevie get Hayes for 2C as Copp is not quite working out (but getting better as the season goes on)
    Hayes ($3.1+M retained) for Rasmussen
    Hayes at $4M is very tradable if it does not work out, or retain a little more and take an increased return. I realize the guy is a PP specialist, but Philly needs to get some cap relief as they only have 13 signed at a $75.5 cap hit for next season. There will be many teams trying to clear cap next summer, so getting a head start on it might be prudent!

    • For a team that struggles defensively, why in the world would you want Hayes? He does not come close to the type of player Yzerman wants on the team. Defense wins cups.

  7. Top point getter, 2nd in scoring on his team ; 6’5”; almost 220 ; a centre; on pace for his best year ever (BTW while on the 27th placed team)…. Yeah…. It’s Hayes as the problem…. Not Torts….WT Fuddle Duddle?

    Trading is tough with the Cap hit

    But if they are considering a buyout (again… he’s not the problem…. Torts is)…. Retaining 50% and trading is much better

    Not a chance Flyers trade him to Pens…. But Hayes as 3C at 1/2 Cap would absolutely be great for the Pens

    Hayes at 50% would have interest from a few teams

    • If Hayes isn’t a problem why retain cap? Shouldn’t you think before you write?lets not even go into why a team would want to carry dead cap.

  8. I wonder is Boston would be intrested in Haynes❓
    to take over the 2nd line centre position from David Krejci or put haynes in the 3rd line to build it up with
    Pavel Zacha’ and co….🤔

  9. Kevin Hayes this season even strength on ice: 26 goals for Flyers, 36 against. That is a bad ratio. The other team has 50% more high danger chances at even strength than the Flyers do when Hayes is skating.

    • Correction: more like 35% more high danger chances at even strength, not 50%.

      Also should add he started 62% of his even strength shifts in the offensive zone, so it’s not like he’s being crushed by some massive defensive deployment.

      • Agree Brock. Teams that compete for cups, do not have players like Hayes as their 1 or 2 C’s. He is the opposite of how the B’s play the game.

  10. Torts has trouble with players on every team he has coached. Picks a good player whipping boy. Wanted a fist fight with Vinny Lecavalierre . I think I would have taken him up on that one. Dubois doing just fine. Can’t stand his treatment of others including the media. One cup in a fluke. Every time I see an interview I want to rhyme with fluke

    • S7, I’m fine with Torts benching players, or any coach who does it.
      To Torts credit he doesn’t do it just to some young kid who is a borderline guy, he does it to his best guys, who he expects to lead the group. I get that, and agree with it. Takes balls. Depends how many times he has spoken to Hayes about the issue(s) in his play I suppose. Guessing a few.

      What I don’t like about Torts is the other part of your post. He snaps like a twig and will scream in players faces on the bench in a game. With ya on the Vinny thing, a player would never take him up on it (which Torts knows and why it makes him look like a goof), but fun to think about it.

      Same when he went ape sh*t chasing Flames guys down the hall when there was a line brawl. Whatever dude.

      Not sure if he still plays that act, hopefully he has learned.

  11. Just read the line-up (the morning puck.com) for Pens v Rangers (tonight)

    Still showing Ruhweedel in; Freidman press box

    After his recent brutal showings; with CR in line-up….A loss tonight would be on Sully

    Rangers fast; Rangers on fire now; riding a 7 game winning streak; Pens need to dress the best available line up.

    Freidman in stands while Ruhweedel plays…. Is NOT (by a longshot) dressing the best roster available

    Looks like O’Connor in…. So Sully willing to change the roster…. Just not willing to make the obvious (and absolutely necessary) roster move

  12. I never propose trades, or at least until now. I would like to propose the following and see what your thoughts are, could be fun:

    JVR 7mm (Retain 3.5 mm)
    Hayes 7mm x 3 (Retain 3.5 mm)

    JP 3mm
    Campbell 5mm
    Foegele 2.5mm

    2022 Cap Phi 10.5mm Cap Edm 10.75mm
    2023 Cap Phi 7.75mm (or 5mm if they flip Foegele) or 5 mm. So assuming they do flip Forgele for a pick, they pay a net 9.5 million above Hayes contract, but Campbell but ride themselves $19.55mm in buyout costs. For Edmonton, I believe these players match their window. I could be way off, but if I make the offer, I do not need to add a pick; if I do, it’s Edmonton’s 2024 second-round pick.

    • Sorry correction Phi rid themselves of 16.55mm, not 19.55mm. Campbell’s total cost will be 3.45mm (with his total of 20mm x 4 less 16.5mm of buy-out costs) or $860k per season, assuming again Foegele is also flipped by the start of 2023, above the buyout amount. In summary, I would rather have a backup goalie, who is known for sprints of good starts (and bad), for an additional $900, than dead money for a player to play on another team.

      • Why does Philly make that trade?

        What’s in it for us?

        JP= 4th maybe 3rd at deadline
        Foegle=see above
        Campbell contract wont age well already have enough of those.

        Campbell contract is exactly the kind of contracts we want to avoid. Goalie isnt our issue scoring goals is.

        So why does philly make this trade?

      • Can’t see EDM doing it either. Their issue isn’t scoring goals it’s about preventing them. Neither of these guys help achieve that.
        Not really a fit IMO.
        If Philly will eat half of those salaries I can see them being moved, just not EDM.

  13. I always though Sean Couturier should be captain of the Flyers? He brings it all the time; however, I know he’s out and career threatening injuries. Hayes, I wonder if he’s the problem in the room. Even before Torts, I couldn’t understand how they weren’t getting better with some of the talent they have on that team? When they were “in the bubble”, they were headed in the right direction, I thought but then after, they went flat? No Bobby Clarke’s or Paul Holmgren’s out there. Didn’t care for Giroux or Vorachek. Don’t really understand the Flyers, they still love those penalties but can’t keep the puck out of there net for many years even despite some good offensive teams? I always respected their tenacity, it’s in their DNA from Clarke!!!!! Interesting news Lyle about the Flyers. GO AVS!!!!!

  14. When are the owners of the Flyers going to wise up and get rid of Fletcher? The longer he’s around the more he is going to ruin the team,. I’m a Mn. Wild fan and we are still seeing the damage he has done to the Wild, and he has not been here in about 4 or 5 years!

  15. Whoever signed Hayes to that contract should be fired immediately!7million a year for a borderline 2-3 line center!Terrible and a soft playeralso!