NHL Rumor Mill – April 25, 2023

by | Apr 25, 2023 | Rumors | 32 comments

Jason Zucker hopes to remain with the Penguins, Predators new GM Barry Trotz outlines his offseason plans, and the latest on the Canucks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TRIBLIVE.COM: Seth Rorabaugh reports Jason Zucker wants to remain with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 31-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He’s completing a five-year contract with an average annual value of $5.5 million.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker (NHL Images).

Healthy for the first time since 2018-19, Zucker scored 27 goals and 48 points this season and led the Penguins with 195 hits. He said he wants to come back but that’s out of his hands right now as the club searches for a new general manager.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Nick Horwat also took note of Zucker’s performance this season. While he thinks the Penguins would like to keep him, Horwat believes the winger has priced himself out of Pittsburgh. His age could also make him too old for the direction the club could want to go.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Penguins have over $20 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with 14 roster players under contract. They have the space to re-sign Zucker but it’ll likely depend on how much he’s seeking and for how long. He might have to accept a slight pay cut on a short-term deal to remain with the Penguins. Otherwise, they probably can’t afford to keep him unless they shed some salary to make room for a raise.


NHL.COM: Emma Lingan recently reported on Barry Trotz outlining his vision for the Nashville Predators since taking over as general manager. He hopes to build on the club’s blend of experience, youth and goaltending.

Trotz called Juuse Saros an elite goaltender. He believes the roster needs some improvement, calling on his top veteran players to be at the level expected of them. He’s also pleased by the emergence this season of promising young players such as Tommy Novak and Luke Evangelista.

The new Predators GM will look at making some additions during the offseason. “I’m looking to get faster,” he said. “I want to add some size at key positions, and I want to add a little scoring.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have almost $18 million in cap space for next season with 14 roster regulars under contract. They’ve also got 12 picks in the first five rounds of this year’s draft, including two first-rounders. Perhaps one or two of those picks will be used as trade bait to address some of the needs Trotz hopes to address.


SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre examined the Vancouver Canucks’ offseason priorities.

Topping the list is getting Elias Pettersson signed to a contract extension. He’s a year away from becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’ll also be a year away from UFA eligibility. He just completed a career-best 102-point season. MacIntyre speculated that Canucks GM Patrik Allvin may be more willing than most think to let the matter slide into (or after) the final season of Pettersson’s current contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will be a mistake in my opinion. Pettersson’s going to cost a lot to re-sign after his emergence as a superstar this season. Another 100-point performance will only push the cost of signing him even higher. If there’s a deal to be done with Pettersson this summer, make it so.

MacIntyre believes Allvin will go shopping this summer for a third-line center via trade or free agency. Landing a 20-something free agent like Max Domi, Pius Suter or Ivan Barbashev for that role won’t be cheap. He also believes they need to add another second-pairing defenseman.

The Canucks are already exceeding next season’s cap ceiling with $85.2 million in commitments, including injured players. They’ll have to shed salary in order to make additions. Moving the contracts of Oliver Ekman-Larsson or Tyler Myers could prove difficult. MacIntyre speculates it could come down to trading Brock Boeser, Conor Garland or both.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekman-Larsson’s $7.26 million cap hit through 2026-27 and his declining performance makes him almost impossible to trade. Myers has only a year left on his deal and could be easier to move once his $5 million signing bonus is paid on Sept. 15. However, that could complicate the timing of a trade. So could his 10-team no-trade clause.

Boeser and Garland would have much more value in the trade market given they’re in their late 20s. There’s also speculation they could listen to offers for J.T. Miller before his no-trade clause kicks in on his new contract on July 1. It could take one heck of an offer, however, to convince them to part with him.


  1. I would think Trotz would look at a buyout for the oft injured and low producing Johannson. But I have not seen any rumors to that effect.

    • johnnyZ, it would cost Nashville $2,666,667 off the cap for 4 years to buy out Ryan Johansen.

      Trotz already has $2,250,000 in dead cap for 3 years (Ekholm – retained cap) and Turris (buyout), meaning the total dead cap would be $4,916,667 for 3 years – after that Turris still has 2 years left at $2 mil per, with the first of the two also including Johansen’s $2,666,667 buyout – total $4,666,667.

      That’s significant.

      • George……Black N Gold here you seriously think Brian Rust is a third liner ?

        He has always been on the first line with Crosby and this year both lines mostly second with Malkin but bro he is no third liner..

        I get you didn’t think my Anaheim Pittsburgh trade proposal was very good but to say he is a 3rd liner.

        Lens crafters has a special for ya….check it out might help your vision…LOL

  2. Miller to the Canes would seem like a fit. But it would take Kotkaniemi coming back. I don’t know if the tight-moneyed Canes would do that. It wure would be a good cap move for the Nucks.

    • Rutherford giving Miller that contract along with already being 30 yrs old will make him a hard sell even with retainage, and as a mediocre defender I doubt he’s a fit for Brindamour’s system. I think I saw where the Canes may bring Lindholm back for part 2.

      • Bad move 4 sure….

  3. Zucker will have to take a haircut regardless of where he ends up. 3 at 3 would be my max

    You are allowed over the cap by 10% in the off season. Sounds like the Canuckleheads cant even do that

    • Silver maybe Zucker takes 3 years @ $ 4million instead of $ 5.5 million ?

      Outside of Crosby he was the Penguins best forward…playing a speed, checking and all around game….which we have been waiting for since 2020 when we got him

      • And such a shock, it happened in a contract year. Stay away from this signing…

      • Bunting will replace Zucker at 4 x $4.5M. He is the kind of player the Pens lacked since the Matt Cooke era.

      • The pens suspended cooke and required him to get counseling and rethink his game before returning to the team after his shinanigans. No thank you.

  4. Not sure age is what the pens have shown to be concerned about…

    Chicago might be ideal for meyers. Only cost them 1 mil actual cash. They do need to sign some players to get to floor. They could get maybe a third round pick from van. Then flip him at deadline for a mid round pick. Say a 3rd and 4th for less than 1 mil is about going rate.

    • His cap hit is still $6M

      • Yeah. Chicago could easily absorb that hit. They need to sign several just to get to floor. Hold half of it at deadline and you’ll find a taker for a prorated 3mil cap hit.

      • Johnny Z I like that idea of yours Bunting replacing Zucker…or maybe we resign Zucker at a better price and sign Bunting.

        Zucker really wants to stay it will depend on the dollars and term..

  5. Re Vancouver Canucks

    I dont know what way these guys are going
    A Re-tool or A Re build…..❓

    I dont think Elias Pettersson sign’s A Long term contract extension, As He’s a year away from becoming a RFA & 2 years away from being a UFA..🤔

    think he will wait a year or two to see
    where the canucks are in the re build
    as there prospect pool is brutal

    I think they trade TJMillar before his $8.M contract kicks in July 1st….

    • Canucks are one of a few teams that are in a true cap hell. Over priced, under preforming roster with zero cap space to help fix it and to make things worse, it doesn’t appear they have the right people in place to get the job done.

  6. Penguins need a goalie and a third line center and some toughness..
    Anaheim is open to moving Gibson and Comtois.

    To Pittsburgh
    John Gibson 29 Goalie $6.4 4 more years
    Adam Henrique 33 center $5.8 1 more year
    Max Comtois 24 Winger $ 2.035 Million RFA
    $14.3 million

    To Anaheim:
    Brian Rust 30 winger $5.125million 2027
    Jeff Petry 35 RHD $6.125 million 2024
    P.O Joseph 24 LHD $825,000 RFA
    Jeff Carter 38 C/W $3.125 Million 2024
    2023 second round pick
    $ 15.1 million

    Pittsburgh gets…An elite goalie they need, a third line center who has scored 20 goals 6 times and is good defensively, and a young 24 year old left winger, 4th line, who is tough and only 2 years removed from a 17 goal season.

    Anaheim gets a perennial 20 goal scorer in Brian Rust to help the youngsters, a 24 year old defenseman Joseph who fits in to the age group of the young ducks, can play second pairing, a veteran RHD who can play in the top 4 and help their defense and Fowler, Jeff Carter helps equal out the money and can play 3rd 4th line center…and a second round pick in this years 2023 draft.


    Penguins only one year left with Henrique and Anaheim only one year left on Petry and Carter
    they exchange 24 year old RFA players in Joseph and Comtois??

    • Not even gonna get into value here but why would petry not have Ana on his no trade list. And why is carter waiving nmc?

      • Chrmis……I think Petry would go…and Carter well we can sub in Granlund..

        Carter is a west coast boy who still has a house in Malibu..

      • Anaheim would just say “thanks … but no thanks.”

        Rust is a guy who will score 20 a season and he’s averages about 45-48 pts a season. Not bad for a 3rd/4th line F. But not at $5,125,000 per to 2027-28 when he’ll be pushing 37 y.o.

        Petry is also vastly overpaid at $6,250,000 – and that’s for 2 more years, and he turns 36 in December.

        Carter … enhh.

        This sounds suspiciously like the trades we used to hear regularly involving a team that shall go unnamed – here’s our canoes for your battleships.

      • Chrisms…..I hear what you are saying if not then sub Granlund in for Petry…..

        Or Buffalo a rising team tied the Penguins with 91 points doo need a RHD vet defenseman maybe we can move him there he might go Buffalo is up and coming..

    • Hey blackngold,

      I dont think its the Goaltendending thats the Problem with the Pens…..❓
      The Pen’s D Sucks, its very very bad … they have lots of Dead wood there and No GM, or Pressident to make some trades….🤔

      Is the Ducks Gibson Better than the Pen’s Jarry…❓
      I dont think so, if you compare there last 4 years… with both you will see..
      Remember Jarry is still very young for a goaltender at 27yrs & a UFA…

      Pengy would be a better insight to this than i am as its one of her Fav Teams….👍

      If the GM has half a Brain…. and he is a Smart Cookie….Any Trades the Ducks make for Gibson will be 1st round Pick and good Prospects and not taking on old washed up Pittsburgh Players back in return in the Cap straped NHL……❓

      • While Gibson might not be “better” than Jarry, he’s comparable and since 2019-2020 has averaged roughly 5 more games started per year. While it doesn’t sound like a big difference, do you think those 5 games would have made a difference this year?

      • Willie…I get what you are saying for the most part about the Penguins defense.

        But the Penguins defense compared to Anaheim’s defense corps is like well the Penguins are the lock down Barry Trotz Islanders compared to the Ducks.

        you can’t compare the 4 years Gibson when giving any kind of support is an elite goalie Jarry is not…..

        I live in LA and see Gibson all the time and many nights he is the 1st starbut he also gets beat down with 40 45 shots games against many high quality chances.

        Plus Jarry gives up too many soft goals like against Chicago that third goal banked in off the pads from a bad angle.

        Jarry is good Gibson is better.

    • I guess in Pengy’s world there are no NMC’s, which both of the main pieces you are trying to jettison have!

      • Who’s world?

      • Oops, Black and Gold’s little world has no NMC’s, sorry Pengy! 🙃

      • Hi blackngold,

        i know what your saying i just dont think with the curent Pen’s d is a quick fix,
        The last 2 GM’s have screwed it up

        The Pen’s have a Very Poor Prospect Pool avalable to them, The picks they have this year
        are 2 in the first 4 rounds…. 🤔 All They have a 1st & 3rd, no 2.nd & 4th

        Its going to be Very Tough to acquire Good Talent and try to Dump the many bad contracts the pens have⁉️

        I dont see Gibson as much of an upgrade…
        Ducks are in year 3 of there re-build, i dont think
        New GM Pat Verbeek go away from the current Re-build plan.. He will try to get as many picks and prospects as possible…

        There young Back up Lukas Dostalis only 23 yrs old and a year or 2 away from Starting,
        i think they keep Gibby to train the new guys first as he olny started 19 game this season…and the Duck have the Best chance of Getting the 1st pick over All…. Connor Bedard👌✅

        To Quote Ken Holland is better to have more time in the minors than less….🤔
        This will be the Pen’s last kick at the Cup after the 2023-2024 season The Re-build will start…

    • I don’t think there is anyway Anaheim would say yes to this trade, it’s more of a salary cap dump for the penguins over the next few seasons and doesn’t overly make any sense for a rebuilding club. They would just keep Henrique instead of getting Rust.

      Also I don’t think Petry is as bad as everyone says, he put up top 4 numbers and 31 points for within a million of value to his cap hit.

      Petry and Carter are not waiving their trade clauses to go to a bottom feeding team at this point in their career so it really just takes them out completely.

      My thoughts on a trade would need to be like this:

      Honestly looking at it, there is nothing that Anaheim would want that the Penguins would be willing to give up to account for salary.


      All don’t make any sense to move with what you’re bringing in and what you’d need to be sending out.

      For just Gibson, this might, might work.

      To Pittsburgh

      John Gibson 29 Goalie $6.4 4 more years

      Retains 1 million.

      $5.44 million

      To Anaheim:

      P.O Joseph 24 LHD $825,000 RFA


      Ty Smith 23 LHD $863,333

      1st and 2nd round picks

      Under 1 million depending on Josephs new contract.

      The 2 draft picks might not be enough for Anaheim to retain on Gibson considering where the 1st is likely to be in the round.

      • Travis…I don’t hate your proposal…Not sure a 1st and a second though…maybe just one pick..

        I think you might be closer than me on a deal for Gibson..

  7. George… How do you think Brian Rust is a third liner? He has mostly played 1st line with Crosby and this year mostly second line with Malkin.

    Rust, Zucker and Malkin where really good this year..

    You honestly think Rust would be a third liner in Anaheim?

    i think you should check out lens crafters…they have some special deals for ya….

    Brian Rust has never played 3rd line in Pittsburgh which is a way more talented team and forward group than Anaheim….yikes George


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