NHL Rumor Mill – April 15, 2023

by | Apr 15, 2023 | Rumors | 21 comments

Could trading Alex DeBrincat be among some notable offseason changes for the Senators? Will the Flames consider moving Elias Lindholm or Mikael Backlund? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Alex DeBrincat is non-committal about a contract extension with the Senators. The 25-year-old winger said he’s “definitely open to anything” but he intends to discuss his future with his family and his agent.

Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

Garrioch believes that “doesn’t exactly scream that DeBrincat wants to be in Ottawa long-term, but the Senators need to find out one way or another before the NHL Draft in Nashville in June.”

TSN: Garrioch believes Senators general manager Pierre Dorion could look at trading DeBrincat if a long-term extension hasn’t been agreed to by the draft. He indicated that there have been no substantial discussions between Dorion and the DeBrincat camp.

Doiron indicated the Senators intended to make DeBrincat a $9 million qualifying offer even if there isn’t an extension in place. A restricted free agent this summer, the winger is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrincat didn’t close the door on a contract extension but his comments certainly don’t sound encouraging. I can’t see Dorion hanging onto him for another season in the vain hope of changing his mind only to lose him for nothing to next summer’s free-agent market.

Dorion looks foolish for not ensuring DeBrincat would sign an extension last summer before acquiring him from the Chicago Blackhawks. The Senators gave up three draft picks in that trade, including last year’s seventh-overall selection. That trade will have blown up in Dorion’s face if DeBrincat merely accepts the qualifying offer with the intent of testing the free-agent market in 2024.

However, the Senators GM can salvage this situation if he can get a solid return in a DeBrincat trade that provides immediate roster help. He’ll likely seek a comparable player rather than a top prospect or a first-round pick as the centerpiece of such a deal. DeBrincat could draw considerable interest given that most of the big names in this summer’s UFA market are past their prime.

Garrioch believes goaltender Cam Talbot and winger Austin Watson won’t be back. Both are pending UFAs this summer. Defenseman Nick Holden was informed by Dorion that he won’t be re-signed.

In an earlier column, Garrioch wrote that goaltending is the biggest need for the Senators to address this summer. He also felt that winger Alex Formenton should be traded if he isn’t brought back. He spent the season playing in Switzerland after he and the Senators failed to reach an agreement on a new contract.

Speaking of Dorion, Ken Warren believes it’s not a certainty he and head coach D.J. Smith will be back next season with new ownership expected to take over the club in the coming weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be interesting to see what happens to the front office and coaching staff once the sale of the Senators is completed. The new owner could keep them intact to evaluate the club’s performance next season. Then again, perhaps they’ll come in looking to make sweeping changes in the management office and behind the bench.


TSN/CALGARY SUN: Salim Valji and Wes Gilbertson reported Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm sounded non-committal about re-signing with the Calgary Flames by next summer. Both forwards are slated to become unrestricted free agents in July 2024 along with winger Tyler Toffoli and defensemen Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov.

Backlund, 34, said he loved Calgary and the Flames but he wants to win the Stanley Cup, adding he didn’t know what would happen if the club makes a contract extension offer this summer. Gilbertson noted Backlund’s long pause before answering a question about an extension raised eyebrows.

Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Lindholm replied, “We’ll see what happens. I’ve got one more year. Gotta look at it that way. I have one more year and that’s all I can say.” Gilbertson doesn’t feel that’s a “bring-me-a-pen proclamation”.

Valji noted that Zadorov and Toffoli were more upbeat as they expressed a willingness to get something done regarding their contracts. They also praised head coach Darryl Sutter, whose handling of the roster sparked questions among fans and media over his relationship with the players.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Randy Sportak suggested the comments coming from the Flames’ top two centers could force the club to finally bite the bullet and consider a roster rebuild. He believes it’ll be difficult to retain all their pending UFAs even if Toffoli, Zadorov, Tanev and Hanifin expressed a desire to stay.

A tough decision would be moving some of those veterans to retool the organization rather than stage a full rebuild like the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks. A tougher one would be stripping it down.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportak raises a good point that the Flames face a crossroads this season. They could keep everyone and hope for a bounce-back performance next season. Over the long run, however, a veteran-laden team can be a drain on the salary cap and make it difficult to make room for younger talent.

Much will depend on the fate of general manager Brad Treliving, whose contract expires at the end of this season. Treliving invested heavily in this roster and could be reluctant to retool if he stays on the job. If he and the Flames part ways, his replacement could opt to shake things up.

As I’ve said before, we could be seeing another summer of change in Calgary.


  1. Debrincat + Forsberg for Demko, Garland and Kravtsov and a 4th

    • LOL Why would Alex DeBrincat leave a young up and coming Ottawa team for the likes of Vancouver? Pretty sure if Debrincat doesn’t want to be in Ottawa, Then he probably doesn’t want to be in Canada period. He probably only wants the States.

      Yzerman needs to go after him and bring him home. We need elite scoring so bring home a potential 40-50 to Detroit. Iseriously don’t see Debrincat signing long term with that joke of a franchise.

      • a “potential” 40-50 goal scorer? Do you know what that and a dollar get you? A large coke at McDonald’s. Yzerman needs a proven elite scorer. They never hit the next level on potential.

      • I’ve heard no indication that, if there is “reluctance” to sign in Ottawa, it’s due to not wanting to be anywhere in Canada.

        Right now he has 10 teammates who call the U.S. home – Norris, Tkachuk, Watson, Gambrell, Pinto, Kastelic; Brown, Chychrun, Sanderson, Kleven – damned near half the roster.

    • LR23 really? because he may not want to play in Ottawa, means he doesn’t want to play in Canada.

      Please fill me in, i’m interested on how you come to that conclusion.

      So If a player doesn’t want to play in Buffalo, then they only want to play in Canada?

      • LOL @ Caper

        Obviously you’ve very little reading comprehension, First off i never said he didn’t want to play in Canada. I said he probably doesn’t want to play in Canada. Big difference there bud. First off a lot of Americans don’t want to play in Canada due to the high tax rates there. The Province of Ontario has among the highest tax rates in the country at 30% which is more than double the State of California.

        So learn how to read before you make yourself look like a fool. I seriously doubt that DeBrincat would want to leave a young up and coming Ottawa team for the likes of Vancouver. That team is so messed up it isn’t funny. Canuck ownership is a royal joke. They can’t even run their own team correctly.

  2. Better yet:
    JT Miller + Demko for Debrincat + Forsberg
    if the Cat is not willing to stay in Ottawa.

    • LOL And what if Alex Debrincat isn’t willing to commit long term with Vancouver? JT Miller and Demko are worth a lot more than DeBrincat and Forsberg even if DeBrincat were extended. The trades a joke.

      • OK hot shot, what does Detroit give for the diminutive sniper?

      • Islanders 18th pick is a good start, plus one of Detroits 2nd round picks 41st 42nd or 43rd overall pick one of Ottawa’s choice Cross Hana’s which is basically what Ottawa paid for Debrincat. If you honestly think that DeBrincat+Forsberg is a fair offer for JT Miller and Thatcher Demko. Then you sure as heck don’t know anything about value.

      • LucasRaymond23 not sure the trades a joke, would need to add to the trade though.

        Obviously there would need to be a contract agreement before the trade and Forsberg is really just a throw in. Ottawa would need to add one of their young goalies and maybe a good draft pick on top. Ottawa also probably can’t take back both players without sending more money out unless they really grind the RFA’s. The issue is the 3 buyouts and the Murray retention equalling just over 5 million next season.

        Why would Ottawa want draft picks? They are trying to be done rebuilding. You’re giving up Fabbri or Raymond or Seider. The last 2 are probably untouchable, Raymond maybe, just maybe might be included because he plays the LW and not C.

        There’s not a chance Ottawa trades for a first and second round draft pick. If it was Fabbri, you’d probably adding the NYI 18th overall to the trade and Debrincat would have had to sign an extension with the Wings prior. That’s only if the Sens would want Fabbri which I’m not sure they would.

      • Well. If the dudes one year away from ufa why does he agree to a contract extension to an any team? I think if he won’t sign he’ll play on Ottawa and either be an own rental or a rental trade. If he has a decent season even as a rental he would recoup a 1st plus

      • Ottawa does not want picks but a capable scoring forward +. Stevie is not trading for a -31 player anyway, he already has that with Chiarot!

  3. Some RFAs sign quickly, some hold out, and some “posture” for the best deal possible.

    One thing is for sure, if Dorion is still around once the new owners come on board, his history with him-hawing agents of RFAs suggests that he won’t waste a lot of time in that mode with DeBrincat. He’ll deal him for the best return possible and move on.

    He’s a decently good F – but McDavid or Matthews or Pastrnak or Marner he ain’t.

  4. Ottawa can easily get what they gave up for DeBrincat maybe even more…speculation is what Garrioch thinks not be credible in my view. DeBrincat is a proven player and goal scorer not like some of the other smallish cream puffs.!,

  5. I heard a rumour that Ryan Reynolds was trying to bring in Emilio Estevez to coach those ragtag youngsters in Ottawa…

    • This is the best possible outcome. Would be even better if Charlie Sheen came in and bought the team with Ryan Reynolds and they both brought in Emilio.

      This team would be unstoppable. Ottawa would be “winning” all the time.

      • They’d be pumped full of tiger blood but with soft hands.

    • Anaheim is on the phone…and it sounds urgent !

  6. Knucklepuck

  7. “He also felt that winger Alex Formenton should be traded if he isn’t brought back.”

    Until the 2018 Team Canada WJHC “issue” is resolved and players either punished or cleared I doubt Formenton has any value.