NHL Rumor Mill – March 23, 2023

by | Mar 23, 2023 | Rumors | 20 comments

Which teams would be good destinations for Ducks goalie John Gibson? Will the Canadiens delve into this summer’s free-agent market for a scorer? Should the Wild re-sign trade deadline pick-up Marcus Johansson? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NHL.COM: In his latest mailbag segment, Dan Rosen was asked if this is the summer when the Anaheim Ducks trade John Gibson and where the 29-year-old goaltender might end up.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

Rosen thinks the Ducks are weighing the value of keeping Gibson to help them stabilize their rebuild or trading him for a return that accelerates the process. He pointed out that his $6.4 million annual average value for the next four seasons isn’t an issue for the Ducks as they’re flush with cap space.

If the Ducks decide to shop Gibson this summer, Rosen believes he has value in the trade market. The Pittsburgh Penguins could use him as a replacement for pending free agent Tristan Jarry while the Buffalo Sabres need an upgrade between the pipes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Penguins have $19.4 million in projected cap space with 15 roster players under contract for 2023-24. They have sufficient cap room to take on Gibson, who could be open for a return to his hometown. The Pens could ask the Ducks to retain some salary or take back a salaried player as part of the deal.

The Sabres can easily afford Gibson’s cap hit with over $19 million in projected space and 20 players under contract, including their core talent. The Ducks could ask them to include a promising young roster player or one of their top prospects as part of the return.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, Marc Dumont was asked if he sees the Canadiens dipping into this summer’s UFA pool. He doubts they’ll make a big splash but thinks they’ll try to add a scorer as they did with Denis Gurianov.

Dumont suggests a winger such as Ottawa’s Alex DeBrincat or Carolina’s Max Pacioretty would fit the bill, though the former would be more expensive than the latter. He knows things ended poorly for Pacioretty in Montreal but that was with different teammates. Dumont believes he’d be worth bringing back on a reasonable contract if he’s healthy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect the Canadiens to pursue any expensive veteran talent via free agency this summer. The Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan cited general manager Kent Hughes telling TSN’s Pierre LeBrun and Ryan Rishaug that they’re not going to sign a 28 or 29-year-old to speed up their rebuild. His preference is to trade for good, young players like last summer’s acquisition of Kirby Dach.

If Pacioretty makes a full recovery from his torn Achilles I don’t see him returning to Montreal even if Hughes was open to signing a veteran UFA scorer. The 34-year-old winger will likely want to join a contender.


THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo observed the Minnesota Wild’s recent acquisition of Marcus Johansson has improved Matt Boldy’s performance. In their recent five games since Kirill Kaprizov was sidelined by an injury, Boldy has five goals and nine points while Johansson has two goals and seven points. The Wild were 3-1-1 during that stretch.

Russo believes the Wild should look at re-signing the 32-year-old Johansson if he and Boldy maintain that solid offensive chemistry together. The winger said he enjoys playing in Minnesota and hopes he can make a home there.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have $11.4 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with 14 players under contract and restricted free agents Filip Gustavsson and Calen Addison to re-sign. Johanson is on a one-year, $1.1 million contract. Perhaps a one-year deal with a slump bump to $1.5 million will interest him.


  1. Anyone think the Ducks front office is crazy enough to accept Merzlikins, a mid-round draft pick and one of the Jackets’ defenseman prospects for Gibson?
    I mean, a guy can dream, can’t I?

  2. Oh, Marc…

  3. Gibson in Buffalo Looks ideal on paper. What about Levi ? UPL has struggled but young and shouldn’t be even there . They signed Comrie
    Last off season . Don’t think the timing is right for Gibson with the Sabres

    There will be a shuffle of #1 in the off season.

    • Gibson is still just 29 and is under a decent contract for 4 more seasons. This gives the Sabers time to let Levi start in the AHL for a season or two and then back up Gibson for another season or two. I think Gibson in Buffalo would be a perfect fit.

      • Be a better fit in Ottawa

      • Kevjam

        It makes sense so that is probably why it doesn’t happen.

      • I don’t think teams want to spend $6.4M plus assets on a tender as the position is so volatile.

        He’s on a crappy team, so kinda tough to just look at his #’s, but also his #’s ain’t all that for a while now. Other tenders on crappy teams have looked better than him.

        He has also played a bunch of games and faced a bunch of rubber. Those knees and hips probably have some wear and tear on them.

        I guess what I’m saying is buyer beware. The big ticket means small return IMO.

      • Yeah, Gibson would look good in Ottawa. They also have a couple of good young goalies to fill in behind him.

      • Hey Ray,
        I looked at this season on Natural Stat Trick, and for goalies who have played 1500 minutes or more Gibson is 16th in HDSv% with 0.842. Samsonov leads the NHL with a 0.893. Gibson leads the NHL with the most HDSA with 476. Sorokin is second with 370. That is a big difference.
        I then when back further and from 2014/15 to 2018/19 seasons (Gibson’s good years) he had an HDSv% of .834 on 1434 HDSA. From 2019/20 to 2022/23 seasons he has an HDSv% of .829 on 1464 HDSA.
        In his first 5 seasons, he has faced less HDSA than he has in his last 4 and his save percentage dropped half of a percent in the last 4 seasons. This tells me that it’s not really his ability but his team that is affecting his numbers. The only question is his health. Although this season and last season he has been pretty healthy.

      • That’s a good point KevJam.
        That’s a good site for looking at goalies.

        I guess I am just wary of expensive tenders with lots of miles on them. Plus they never seem to get traded for a big return, so maybe GM’s feel the same? or maybe the GM’s that have a good tender never trade them? I dunno.

  4. George

    He would look good there to😎

  5. Here’s one to ponder:

    Gibson to the Blues for Binnington and a 1st


    • Iowa prince, that sounds a lot more like wishful-thinking than a viable trade.

      According to the theory above, IF Anaheim decides to move Gibson in the interest of a complete re-build it would be for “a return that accelerates the process.”

      Now, while a 1st round pick from the Blues sounds enticing, I doubt if would be sufficiently enticing for them to take on a goalie with a huge chip on his shoulder who turns 30 in July and who would be 34 by the time his $6 mil per cap hit expires 4 years down the line.

      There are so many teams obvious;y in need of goaltending improvement I would think at least one would come up with a package involving a pick, top prospect and/or good young roster player with ELC term, thereby negating a situation where Anaheim would need to take a big contract back.

  6. Just what the Penguins need, another 30+ has been (Gibson).

  7. No chance of Debrincat coming to Montreal. Remember, he’s an RFA this summer, not a UFA. Ottawa will try to sign him long term. If they can’t, they’ll trade him to a contender for a pile of assets. Not what a rebuilding team like the Habs would give up. Unless he agrees to an extension and if he doesn’t in Ottawa, he won’t in Montreal either.

    Pacioretty is ridiculous. That ship has sailed. Hughes will have no interest in a 35 year old who’s been injured a lot these past couple of years. I can see the Habs going after a depth winger who can score some goals but they’re not ready to break the bank for a big time scorer.

    Center may be a different story. Unlike at wing, the Habs don’t really have a young center ready to break in now. I think Dach would be much better suited at LW. A veteran top 6 center will be needed, rebuild or not. I believe there is mutual interest with PLD. He is only 25 years old and at a time in his career which would make sense. If a reasonable trade can be made, it may be done. If not, the Habs would pursue him when he becomes a UFA.

    • You convinced me the other day that the Habs should trade for Dubois next summer, Howard. He is exactly what we need, and waiting for him to sign as a UFA is risky. He could be traded somewhere else, and sign there.
      Would the Panthers’ 1st, Anderson, and a prospect ne enough ?

  8. What about:
    Gibson (retain $1M) + Ducks’ 2nd + Boston’s 2024 2nd
    For Debrincat

    • Heh. Dorion might just go for that … but why would Anaheim need to hold back anything? They’d already be faced with paying DeBrincat in or around $8.5 mil, while Ottawa – which would have to pay him around the same to keep him – would be “saving” around $2 mil to absorb Gibson’s cap hit.

      • That is actually a reasonable trade proposal Johnny.
        Assuming that is with an extension in hand for DeBrincat.

        Think the Sens keep DeBrincat around at $8.5 – $9M for 7-8 years George?

  9. I do Ray. I have this feeling he likes it here and sees the potential for this team should the cap ever go back to pre-Covid annual increases. Consequently, I believe he will sign long-term for something in the area of $8.2.