NHL Rumor Mill – March 17, 2023

by | Mar 17, 2023 | Rumors | 11 comments

A look at some of this summer’s notable restricted free agents in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently examined where things stand for this summer’s noteworthy NHL restricted free agents. Here’s a look at some of the more interesting cases:

Pierre-Luc Dubois, Winnipeg Jets: Fox noted the “grand suspicion” that the 25-year-old Winnipeg Jets center is biding his time until his eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agent status when it’s believed he’ll sign with the Montreal Canadiens.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Fox felt Dubois’ future in Winnipeg would’ve been the subject of more speculation by the trade deadline had the Jets not been enjoying a bounce-back performance this season. Head coach Rick Bowness recently praised Dubois’ performance while expressing the hope that he’ll sign a long-term extension this summer with the Jets.

Dubois’ kept quiet on the matter. Fox believes he could get an average annual salary of $9 million on a long-term pact.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Dubois trade rumors died down after he signed his current one-year, $6 million deal last summer. However, the speculation never fully went away.

Given his strong performance this season, you can bet those rumors will ramp up again in the offseason unless he puts pen to paper and signs a lengthy extension with the Jets.

Timo Meier, New Jersey Devils: It’ll cost the Devils $10 million to qualify the 26-year-old winger’s right unless the two sides agree to a new contract before June 30. Fox indicates that Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald is making a long-term extension for Meier a priority, pointing out that the Devils have sufficient cap space next season to extend him.

Jesper Bratt, New Jersey Devils: Fox also observed that the 24-year-old winger is about to make the Devils pay after agreeing to a one-year, $5.45 million contract last summer. Like Dubois and Meier, he’s a year away from UFA eligibility. After tallying a career-high 73 points in 2021-22, he had 60 points in 68 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Devils have $35.6 million in cap space for 2023-24 with 11 players under contract. There’s enough to re-sign Meier and Bratt though it could eat up over $18 million combined. Fitzgerald must also decide if he’s willing to pay Meier and Bratt each more than Jack Hughes’ $8 million AAV. If he’s not, things could get very interesting in New Jersey this summer.

Alex DeBrincat, Ottawa Senators: Fox believes the 26-year-old winger holds all the leverage in contract negotiations with the Senators this summer. His AAV is $6.4 million but in actual salary, he’s earned $9 million this season. He’s also a year away from UFA eligibility. Contract talks will begin following the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox also noted that Senators GM Pierre Dorion is happy with DeBrincat’s performance this season. Nevertheless, the winger’s name surfaced occasionally in the rumor mill.

Considering the high price that Dorion paid to pry DeBrincat away from the Chicago Blackhawks last summer, a long-term extension worth around $9 million annually seems likely.

Others on Fox’s list included Montreal’s Cole Caufield, Anaheim’s Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras, Seattle’s Vince Dunn, the New York Rangers’ K’Andre Miller and Filip Chytil, Edmonton’s Evan Bouchard and Toronto’s Ilya Samsonov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players rarely (if ever) appear regularly in media trade chatter during this season. There’s a chance that contract negotiation for some of them could become more contentious than expected. Nevertheless, I expect those in this group will all be re-signed by their current clubs before training camps open in September.


  1. I think DeBrincat Will Sign a team friendly Deal in Ottawa
    around $8.3 to $8.5M contract tops, So Dorion keeps all has stars in that same pay scale area so there is no Discontent and he has his core set up front for 7-8 year’s ✅

    My guess’ are some BD bridge deals hear 2-3 years and a couple of LTD, long term deals 🤔

    -Habs Caufield—–LT, 8X $8-$9 M Range

    -Anaheim’sTroy Terry–LT 8X $7.5-$8 Mil Range
    -Anaheim Trevor Zegras, A BD 2-3 yrs .$5-$6 Mil…❓

    -Seattle’s Vince Dunn, 8 yrs @ $7.5 to $8M

    -New York Rangers’ K’Andre Miller 8 yr 7.5- $8 Mil
    -NYR Filip Chytil, Bridge deal 2 yrs $4.-$5M

    -Edmonton’s Evan Bouchard, BD 2 yrs X $2.5-$2.9M show me deal….❓

    -Toronto’s Ilya Samsonov. 2 yr BD $4.5- $5 mil then he is a UFA…..🤔

    • K’Andre would spit on the offer.

      Too soon…?

  2. So, I’m confused…. anyone understand the Meier’s deal?

    If NJ can get him under contract, they don’t have to pay the $10 million quailying offer?

    Maybe I have no clue, but don’t they have to pay that in order for him to sign?

    • If they sign him as an RFA, then they have to give him a $10M. This is an option that is available for the team to decide upon. If the player agrees to a new deal, the new deal negates the RFA status.

      • Makes sense. Wouldnt Meier just hold out? Or am i thinking about that wrong?

      • Hi Dov

        Power is with Meier’s camp….. he’s guaranteed (if he wants) : (A) $10 M QO (1 year guaranteed) ; or if no QO…. Free agency… highest bidder (but max 7 year contract)

        He’s under contract now with Devils and can sign ANY extension (up to 8 years) he likes (if offered by Devils)

        “Bird in the hand” v “two in the bush”

        He won’t get a multi-year contract for $10 M or more from Devils…. Maybe they offer him 8 @ $8.5 M AAV with first year paying him the $10 M he would have got with QO

        Perhaps he feels as a UFA he can get 7 @ $9 M …. $5 M total less than above but with an opportunity to get that as an 8th year extension (in last year of contract) with that other team ?

        Perhaps he feels he has a great shot at signing with one of the tax havens (Krakken, Knights; Stars; Predz; Bolts; Cats; maybe the Houston Yotes (LOL))

        I’d assume any offer; Devils or another team; will give him $10 M in his first year (23/24)…. Why not force Devils to QO (where they just might not… he’ll then be UFA 1/7/24) …. If they don’t give him his QO…. He can always circle back at UFA time and see what Devils 7 year offer is

        If I’m his agent…. Force the issue (don’t re-up now)

      • And if Timo gets a career ending injury during his one year ten mil contract he’s screwed. He doesn’t hold all the power.

    • If Meier likes it there, he may elect to sign for less. If not, he can sign his Q.O., play out the year, and become a UFA like Dubois👍

  3. Vince Dunn is a quality defender both offensively and defensively.

    • Think St .
      Louis wishes they held on to him now?