NHL Rumor Mill – March 20, 2023

by | Mar 20, 2023 | Rumors | 28 comments

Can the Bruins afford to re-sign Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway or Tyler Bertuzzi? Did the Maple Leafs make a mistake trading Rasmus Sandin to the Capitals? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: That’s the question Fluto Shinzawa recently set out to answer. While the Boston Bruins have re-signed trade-deadline acquisitions such as Taylor Hall and Hampus Lindholm, their limited cap space for 2023-24 will make it difficult to retain Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway or Tyler Bertuzzi.

Boston Bruins defenseman Dmitry Orlov (NHL Images)

Shinzawa noted that the Bruins have under $75 million for 2023-24 invested in 15 players as of March 17. They’re also facing up to $4.5 million in bonus overages due to performance bonuses for Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

Re-signing Orlov or Bertuzzi would mean trading away Matt Grzelcyk or Derek Forbort or perhaps both to free up sufficient cap room. They’d also have to find a way to resolve their dilemma with Mike Reilly ($3 million), who’s currently in the minors for cap purposes. Unless Hathaway is willing to accept “small term and dough”, he’ll find better offers in the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins can’t afford to keep all three without first shedding some contracts. These three are UFA-eligible for the first time. This is their best opportunity to land lucrative long-term contracts.

I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of retaining Orlov if they can make the dollars fit. However, he’ll likely get better offers elsewhere.


TORONTO STAR: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin McGran replied to a reader who felt the Maple Leafs made a mistake trading Rasmus Sandin to the Washington Capitals.

McGran disagreed, believing Sandin would’ve been a healthy scratch for the remainder of this season with the Leafs. He believes it was a worthwhile move to add a veteran defenseman like Erik Gustafsson as well as add a first-round draft pick. McGran’s happy for the young defenseman, who’ll get the chance in Washington that he wasn’t getting in Toronto. He also observed the Leafs are already flush with smallish but skilled defensemen such as Mac Hollowell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granted, this isn’t a trade rumor but since media trade chatter has largely dried up following the deadline, I felt this was worth noting.

Sandin, 23, has played well offensively for the Capitals with 11 points in his first eight games. There remains some concern about his defensive play but that could be in part attributed to the Capitals’ depleted, banged-up lineup. I’d like to see how he does during a full season with a healthier Caps roster.

Leafs management felt this move was necessary to add a more experienced puck-moving defenseman in Erik Gustafsson plus they got the first-round pick that originally belonged to the Bruins. Granted, it could end up being 32nd overall but it replaced the first-rounder they traded away in the Ryan O’Reilly deal.

This deal could backfire on the Leafs if they suffer yet another early playoff exit and Sandin goes on to become a star in Washington. On the other hand, most denizens of Leafs Nation will feel it was a price worth paying if this move could help them win their first Stanley Cup since 1967.


  1. Orlov would be a good keeper for bruins. But both Reilly and Gryz would have to be moved
    Hathaway. Would have to take a hometown discount Time will tell with them If Sweeney can manage to keep Orlov it would be pretty sweet move

    • mrbruin4 have to move more then Grzelcyk. I think alot depends on what Boston does in the playoffs.

      If Boston wins the cup then there is headway for Sweeney to do what he needs.

      If no cup i think the strategy changes.

      Both Swayman and Frederick are going to want an increase.

      Maybe sign Bertuzzi to a show me deal.

      If krejci retires look at bringing in Monahan as a 2nd line C. I believe Bergeron return no matter what.

      Moving out Grzelcyk and Hall and including Reilly in a deal would be beneficial.

      Not sure how many taker there would be for Hall and 2 more seasons at $6m and his actual salary next season is $7,250,000

      Can we move Pastrnak before his next contract kicks in? Did you know he leads the league in giveaways.

      Do you trade Swayman and bring up Bussi?

      It will be one interesting off season for the Boston Bruins

      • Personally I think the Bruins can clear up a bunch of space.

        Grez has to go if they are signing Orlov just under 4 mill there

        Hopefully for Reilly they can find someone to take his 3 mill

        And to me if they believe Swayman is the guy I would trade Ullmark to save 5 mill there.

        I personally believe that based on Bettmans comments about the cap that the NHL is open to increasing it more that will also happen.

      • Giveaways are a bad stat to measure a player, especially an offensive player. The reason why Pastrnak has so many giveaways is that when he’s on the ice the puck is on his stick the majority of the time. If you have possession of the puck majority of the time you will have more giveaways than a player like DeBrusk. If you look at the top forwards in giveaways you will see names like McDavid, Marner, and Kucherov. Are those teams looking to get rid of those players because of their giveaways?

      • Caper

        It will be interesting off season for bruins. Hall won’t get traded Reilly. Gryz. Maybe Forbert. If trying to keep Orlov. If Krechi retires Zacha will slide to 2nd line ctr that is the plan from Sweeney Frederick will get small raise as under team control. Same for Swayman
        Pasta turns pucks over because he is not afraid to dangle He will retire a Bruin I could see Foligno coming back on bargain basement deal if bruins want to keep him As long as 37 stays for another year. Bruins will be fine

      • I agree with Ray. Look at the players leading the stat sheet on giveaways.


        Elite of the elite players top this list.

        Are you trading away Mcdavid because he’s high on this list?

      • Ooops, I meant I agree with Kevjam.

      • I like to look at takeaways/60 minutes vs giveaways/60 minutes. Marner and McDavid look at lot better when you also consider takeways. Especially if you consider their puck possession time as Kevjam mentioned.

        Marner is the only player with more takeaways than giveaways on the Captain Obvious list of players.

        Jacob Slavin typically leads all defenseman in takeaways/60.

      • Actually Fox also has more takeaways than giveaways.

        But I still thinks it’s a pretty meaningless stat. Being out worked 2 on one in a corner, a pass not well received etc. constitutes a giveaway.

        The higher possession players will always top this list. And everyone on that list I provided is not a player I’m trading away because of it.

      • Mrbruin4 that was the Coyle plan for a second line center it didn’t work.

        Can’t keep everyone. Not sure why you think Hall wouldn’t be moved? Other then no one taking the contract.

        I move Hall and try to sign Bertuzzi to slot on the third line.

        Team may have control over Frederick and Swayman however recent history has shown that doesn’t mean much.

        Wouldn’t be surprised to see a goalie trade.

    • If B’s lose Bergeron and or Krejci they cannot replace for anywhere close to what those guys took this season

      Be interesting if the Bruins dont have another parade

    • grzelcyk right now is the Bruins fifth best defenseman . Not a question that he is expendable if they can resign Orlov. Bertuzzi gives the Bruins incredible depth but Orlov has to be the priority.

    • Keep Orlov. Dump Grz who is their fifth best defenseman and is easily pushed around. Bertuzzi gives the Bruins great depth but resigning Orlov has to be their priority.

  2. I can’t remember who it was but on TDL day one of the hockey guys on TSN said that the Leafs could afford to trade Sandin because his style of play is very similar to Reilly’s.

    • Agreed. Puck moving d are not what they need. They need actual defensive d to go deep.

  3. Edmonton Oilers should have a look at LD man Dmitry Orlov, if he becomes a UFA on July 1st….🤔

    No Convinced about Daniel Nures and his New $9.M Contract that starts July 1st,⁉️
    He is not on the 1st PP & has looked shacky this year especaly over the past couple of months.

    Elkhom is now our #1 d/man….100%👌

    • Oilers fans need to get off of that Nurse contract. Yeah, it’s not the best, but it’s far from one of the worst contracts. What the Oilers are overpaying in Nurse, they are saving on Ekholm. Since acquiring Elkholm, Nurse has been pretty steady. Ekholm has been able to take minutes off of Nurse, especially in situations where Nurse was over his head. One of the issues with Nurse was Ceci pulling him down.
      If the Oilers do anything on defence, they need an upgrade on Ceci. Hopefully, either Broberg and/or Desharnais can continue their development path and be that next season.

      • Hey KevJam,
        I dont agree with the nurse thing, he cant put a shot on Target ( Net) He had 2 shots on the PP they were Well Wide of the net the other day Oilers & Kraken Game..❗️🙈
        For A
        $9.M dollar player should be able to hit the Net,
        He was olso on for a couple of bad goals & give aways.😳

        I Agree with your Cody Ceci coment we need a upgrade there on RD for sure.
        lots of good UFA avalable
        Brent Kulak & Desharnais make a good 3rd pair,
        Bouchard looks like his old self from last year now playing with Elkholm… They are our best pairing.

        when i was at the Avs game last month my observation of Young Broberg just needs more time like A Full season in the AHL…. ❓to master his game, he shows flashes of his skill then it dispapers….. and he looks like a Fish out of waters!
        Im going to the Sharks game tonight so well will see whats going on they may play 12&6…🤔

  4. Garrioch pretty much sums up the root cause of the Senators falling off the rails over their past 5 games (sort of like the city’s multi-million dollar Light Rail boondoggle which can’t stay on track either) in the following article – which also hastens to add that NO blame is being put on the shoulders of rookies Sogaard and Mandolese:


    This excerpt brings up the decision to call up Dylan Ferguson who, an original 7th round pick by Dallas in 2017 and who has bounced around ever since, was obtained from the Leafs organization in a minor-league swap:

    “The Ottawa Senators made one change Sunday by sending goaltender Kevin Mandolese back to their AHL affiliate in Belleville and bringing up Dylan Ferguson to join the club in Pittsburgh.

    Ferguson was solid in Belleville’s 4-1 win on the road in Cleveland Saturday and the expectation is the 24-year-old will start Tuesday in Boston. He has a 5-1-0 record with Belleville with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .935 save-percentage since he was acquired by assistant GM Ryan Bowness from the Toronto Marlies.

    The club has used 13 goaltenders throughout the organization and Ferguson will be the sixth goalie to suit up for Ottawa this season.”

    Any Leafs followers have some insight on this guy?

    • George O, you guys have a really good team in Ottawa. I can see why your a fan of that team. They have a lot to offer, many good young players with some good veterans sprinkled in. They are going to be interesting to follow going forward. GO AVS!!!!

  5. Sandin is a -11 since being moved to Washington.

    For me, I don’t care if you score 300 goals in one season if you are also allowing 300 goals against in that same season. No positive gains.

    Side note: This is my criticism with McDavid. Obviously McDavid is a great player, but when it comes to who is the greatest player in the world, this knocks him down a peg or two.

    • +/- is a very poor stat. There are so many situations that are uncontrollable by the single player. Bad line changes, giveaways, and poor goals given up by a goalie just to name a few. Power play points aren’t counted towards a player’s +/-.
      I know Leafs fans love to compare Matthews +/- to McDavid’s +/- all the time. The big difference between the two is their 5on5 defensive zone starts. Mathews this season has 69 5on5 defensive zone starts compared to McDavid’s 127 5on5 defensive zone starts. That will have an effect on a player’s +/-.

  6. I don’t know about that WestBrantKid … seems to me he’s simply keeping company with some of the recognized best to have ever played the game, signaling that the underlying factor for “giveaways” is directly related to the amount of ice time accorded – the greater the talent the more ice time he gets and, as a consequence, not only do offensive stats far exceed most others but also the number of times he’s charged with a “giveaway”

    Just check this graphic


    Now, before you point out that Wayne Gretzky’s name does not appear on the list, you have to remember that the “giveaway” stat was not something chronicled during most of his career – same with greats like Beliveau, Howe, Rocket and Henri Richard, Bobby Orr etc., etc.

    • That’s an interesting stat, but that’s only giveaways. Giveaways aren’t the only correlation to +/-.
      Regardless, if you are a truly great player, your team will be scoring more, as opposed to allow more, while your skates are on the ice, assuming you aren’t playing with chumps for teammates, including the goalie, which will negatively impact the +/-.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying McDavid is not great, just that while his offence might be the best we’ve ever seen, his defence, which is also good, could be much better. And if it was, then I would be on board with crowning him the best player in the world. Likely even the best ever, although it would be hard to knock Orr of that thrown, imo.

      As for the giveaway stat you shared, I wondered if Thornton leading that might be because of his pass-first, setup guy style. A lot of thread-the-needle passes getting picked off? But than I would expect Adam Oates to be high on that list too since him and Thornton played a very similar style, and both were the top playmakers of there day. Than again, as you pointed out, they wouldn’t have been tracking giveaways in Oates’ day.

      • Not about to knock any of the greats – especially Orr – but in one of the greatest single-game playoff comebacks ever in April of 1971 when the Habs, down 5-1, scored 6 straight goals to win 7-5, count how many times # 4 was on the ice – even the very best can be victimized (note in particular the goals by Lemaire and Ferguson)


      • WBK,
        I don’t know if you are familiar with the advanced stat EV Defence, but it’s the wins a player provides to his team through his isolated impact on scoring chances against when he’s on the ice at even strength. McDavid’s EV Defence right now is 65%. FYI, right now Matthews EV Defence is 36%. I used Matthews because of he is currently +31 compared to McDavid’s +14.

      • Kevjam, you seem to pick the stat that suits your pov. Every single stat has it flaws. To say +/- isn’t a good stat. That simply incorrect, yes it like all stats has it flaw however it the larger sample size a full season it shows consistency. Meaning this player is either on the ice when his team scores or gets scored against.

        The most important stat that drive almost any chances is faceoff wins. If your center is winning the draws at a higher % then your more likely to have more opportunities.

      • Caper,
        You’re right, a large sample size is needed and that is exactly what EV Defence does. All stats taken individually is a poor way to measure an individual.
        To your point of faceoffs being connected to a player’s +/- is only good if you add where the player is taking those faceoffs. At 5on5 Matthews has taken a total of 471 faceoffs and has a 63% at faceoffs. However, he has only taken 69 faceoffs in the defensive zone. That is less than a defensive faceoff per game.
        McDavid at 5on5 has taken a total of 606 faceoffs and is 55% at faceoff, and he has taken 129 defensive zone faceoffs 5on5.
        EV Defence takes into account all the stats in which situation those stats are gathered and measures the frequency of them.
        I don’t pick and choose stats, I just came across this EV Defence a couple of weeks ago. You have to pay to get access to them on the website. I have better things to spend my money on than getting access to hockey stats. Especially to stats that are sometimes available for free. Those who just pick individual stats are the ones who cherry-pick stats.