NHL Rumor Mill – April 6, 2023

by | Apr 6, 2023 | Rumors | 22 comments

Could the Canucks and Penguins revisit their trade talks regarding J.T. Miller? Could the Leafs face another summer goalie change? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance considers the clarification of J.T. Miller’s future should be on the Vancouver Canucks’ offseason “to-do” list.

Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Miller’s seven-year contract extension with its full no-trade clause begins on July 1. Drance wondered if the Canucks could revisit trading the 30-year-old forward based on the rumors that swirled about him leading up to the March 3 trade deadline.

A number of sources reported the Canucks had substantive talks with the Pittsburgh Penguins about Miller. It’s believed they initiated those discussions with the Penguins.

Drance believes the Miller trade speculation could increase during the lead-up to the 2023 NHL Draft in late June. However, he’s skeptical about his trade value given the $56 million contract attached to him.

SPORTSNET 650: Mike Halford and Jason Brough also discussed Miller’s uncertain future in Vancouver and the rumors linking him to the Penguins. They believe the speculation linking Miller to Pittsburgh made perfect sense given that club’s inevitable decline and their need to eventually replace Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins could retool their roster this summer to build up the supporting cast around Crosby, Malkin and Letang. Cap Friendly shows them with over $20 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with 14 roster players under contract. They must also address their goaltending situation with Tristan Jarry eligible for unrestricted free-agent status.

The Penguins could afford to take on Miller’s $8 million cap hit but I think they’ll want the Canucks to take back a contract as well. Maybe they try to get them to take on Mikael Granlund’s $5 million cap hit through 2024-25.

Granlund lacks no-trade protection and has struggled to adjust to the Penguins system since joining them at the trade deadline. Maybe the Canucks take him on simply because he’s only got two years left on his contract and would cost $3 million less per season than Miller.

Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, and Rikard Rakell have been mentioned as trade candidates. I don’t see them parting with Guentzel and Rikard while Rust has a full no-movement clause.


SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Luke Fox was asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs might attempt to move Matt Murray and go with a goaltending tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll for next season.

Fox believes they could depending on how their current goalies perform in the playoffs. He pointed out that the Leafs aren’t afraid to pay to correct a mistake as they did last summer bundling a first-round pick with Petr Mrazek to ship him to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Murray could be traded to a team needing to reach next season’s salary-cap minimum. The Leafs could also buy out the final season of his contract, which would be more affordable thanks to the Ottawa Senators retaining part of his annual average value. A buyout would cost the Leafs just $687,500 for 2023-24 and $2 million in 2024-25 when the salary cap is expected to spike.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s frequent absences due to injuries could make him difficult to move this summer even to a budget club looking to stay close to the cap floor. A buyout could be the easiest route provided he’s not on long-term injury reserve when the first buyout window opens on June 15.


  1. Re Murray : “A buyout could be the easiest route provided he’s not on long-term injury reserve when the first buyout window opens on June 15.” LOL – talk about taking advantage of a briefly-opened window!

    But seriously, THAT is really their only reasonable option. As for dealing him to a rebuilding team needing to reach the cap floor, those loop-holes have either already been filled or the team won’t have any problem reaching the floor from options within their own system.

  2. Re; Toronto Maple Leafs might attempt to move Matt Murray and go with a goaltending tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll for next season.❓

    What that going to cost a 1st pick or 2nd round pick for the Salary Dump for the China Cup MM….
    Leafs dont have much in picks left for the Next 3 years🤔

    just checked, the Leaf have
    2023 1st pick Bruins, NO 2.nd, No 3rd,no & 4th picks
    2024 1st pick, No 2nd & No 3rd they have a 4th
    2025 No 1st, N 2nd, No 4th, they have a 3rd

    Leafs are left with 4 picks in 3 rounds…..😳
    They better Hope they can Re-sign Samsonov….⁉️

    • Sammy is RFA he will be signed

      • It will be tough for the Leafs to sign a few key free agents this offseason. As per Cap Friendly the Leafs have 14 players signed for next season and just under $8.4 million in cap space to sign 6 to 9 players to fill out their roster.
        Key RFAs – Samsonov.
        Key UFAs (Not playoff rentals) – Kerfoot, Bunting, Aston-Reese, and Holl. I’m not sure if Holl is a key UFA or not. But the coach seems to be in love with him for some reason.
        Bunting and Samsonov’s new contracts combined will probably be more than $8 million.
        You have to give Dubas credit though, he makes the offseason interesting. It seems the last few offseasons the Leafs have been in this same situation, and Dubas keeps surprising us and making things work. If he is still there this offseason, it will be interesting to see how he pulls things off again.

      • Kevjam: Dubas does indeed make things interesting. Going back as far as his getting rid of Patrick Marleau when few thought that was possible, to the deft acquisition of OReilly.

        But he he has yet to stabilize the Leafs’ goaltending or their cap issues. Bunting appears to be joining a continual list of players that the Leafs develop and then let go (hello Hyman). And, as Willie has pointed out, they have all but emptied their draft cupboard.

        This year the Leafs will surely get past the first round. But after that, is a Cup likely? Either way, what are their fortunes with so many assets going or gone out the door and 10 UFAs (Bunting, Kerfoot, O’Reilly) after this year?

    • In terms of goalies, how many “good ones”are there? There’s 32 teams and by my count there are about 5 where I would say I won’t be looking at them as the weak link.

      Having a good goalie is important but having a good structured system/team is paramount.

      • That, Ron, is a growing conundrum for a 32-team league.

        The position represents the lowest for every team if you consider there are only – basically – 6 with each franchise – 2 at the NHL level, 2 in the AHL and possibly 2 at the ECHL level (not counting, of course, any drafted and still in Major Junior, College or Europe).

        Filling out competent D or the C position is bad enough and there each franchise will have upwards of 21 and 12 within their basic system, meaning, throughout the 32 teams there are in the area of 672 D-men and 384 C, but when so many teams seem to be constantly searching for answers to a goaltending problem which far exceeds and problems at any other position – with just 192 in basic total in all levels of each franchise – suggests there is something missing (coaching?? – assessment??) at the various levels of development.

      • Well Said Ron…..👌
        If you dont have goaltending you have Nothing✔️

      • The other problem is that it is the most volatile position in the league from 1 season to the next outside of Vasilevskiy and maybe soon Shesterkin.

        IMO Dubas has done an outstanding job with the goaltending over the last few years.
        Got Campbell for a song and paid him very little and the production he got for that was great.

        Samsonov has the 10th best sv% in the NHL for tenders who have played at least 35 games. On the high danger saves he is #1 in the entire NHL. He makes $1.8M. Outstanding use of cap $, considering the 2 guys above aren’t getting traded, and almost everybody else is up and down like a yoyo.

        If Murray is hurt all the time put him on LTIR, when he is hurt, call up Woll. Woll get’s some games and doesn’t need to clear waivers even if you want to bring him up whenever.

        I wouldn’t buy him out.

        I think Dubas get’s a bad rap, if the Leafs don’t keep him somebody will hire him.


  3. Hi Lyle. I’d love to hear your assessment of the Kings or what you’re hearing out there. They have quite a few RFAs to re-sign as well as some UFAs they should retain. Cap space will be in issue.
    Will they move some players to make room to resign the likes of Korpisalo or Gavrikov?
    Will be tough with Vilardi due a pay raise. Turcotte can’t seem to crack the line up so they may get him on the cheap.

    • So far there are few rumors coming from the Kings. That’s understandable given their position in the standings with the playoffs fast approaching. I’d say the futures of Korpisalo and Gavrikov in LA will depend on their performances in the postseason. I’d say they should try to retain Korpisalo given how well he’s played for them and their ongoing concerns in the net. There was talk before the trade deadline of moving Matt Roy or Sean Walker so I’d keep an eye on their respective statuses this summer.

      • According to CapFriendly, L.A. has $75,583,334 committed to 18 next season, with $7,916,666 with which to sign 5 ($3,875,000 is dead cap related to Cap Petersen).

        Their 5 RFAs listed – MacEwen, Kupari, Vilardi, Anderson-Dolan and Bjornfot have a combined expiring cap hit of $4,257,5000 and while most will likely be re-signed to minimal deals – based on their production (or lack thereof) this season – Vilardi is a different story. With 23g 18a 41 pts in 63 gp and coming off an ELC of $825,000, he is going to eat up a big chunk of that $7,916,666 reserve.

        UFAs are Gavrikov (expiring $2.8 mil), Korpisalo (expiring $1.3 mil) and Edler (expiring $750,000).

        Trading one of Walker ($2,650,000 with 1 season to go) or Roy ($3,150,000 with 1 season to go) would not, the figures show, free up enough to re-up all 5 RFAs – especially Vilardi – AND re-sign Korpisalo and possibly Gavrikov.

  4. is there anyway the blue jackets get rid of merzlikins this off season. if so what are the serious offers they could receive.

    • Norman, although there is a segment of the fan base that would love to see him moved, it is unlikely Merzlikins goes anywhere. He was progressing well in his 1st few years resulting in the long-term deal and decision to move forward w/ him as the #1G over Korpisalo (although Kori/s injury and mixed performance certainly factored in as well). I am a genuinely fan of of Elvis so it pains me to say it, but he has been abysmal this year and parts of last season. Jarmo and JD have both publicly committed to supporting Elvis as the 1G but also challenging him to raise his game. He is virtually untradeable w/ the cap/term left on his deal. CBJ is hoping he can rebound and reestablish the promise he was showing prior to last year or we may have a situation similar to Cal Petersen in LA

  5. Re; A TJ Millar Trade to the Pens…..🤔

    The Pens dont have much in the way of good prospects left to trade….?
    For the Rebuilding Canucks, they need help All over Especaly Defence.
    Pens do have a 1st pick in the draft and a couple of d/men the canucks would like..
    Big 6.ft4 d/man Owen Pickering’
    forward, Big Samuel Poulin.. but sounds like he may be a Bust…..⁉️
    Pens will also need to figure out a Starting Goaltender for next year also…as Tristan Jarry , is a UFA….🤔

    • Willie….. I think J. T. Miller is a good player but more and more I keep hearing about attitude, leadership, and behavioral issues like the last game where he left the ice early with seconds left after missing a breakaway.

      J. t Is 30, a Pittsburgh area native, can play center and wing…If we lose Zucker might be a good fit on Malkin’s line.

      The only way I take J.T miller is if Jeff Petry goes the other way.to make salary easier..

      Jeff Petry + next years 2024 number # 1 pick to Vancouver for J.T Miller.

      The Penguins have over $22 million in cap space this summer we can absorb the $ 1.7 million difference in Petry’s contract $6.25 million and Miller’s $ 8.0 million.

      Miler may want to come home and a change of scenery seems necessary.

      • Hey blackngold,

        I could see that happing TJM going to the Pen’s, for there last Run…

        There window is about to close for the Pen’s
        they are just to old, However TJM is going to get 30 Goals and 50 assists this season nothing to sneeze at..⁉️

        Im 100% Sure the Canucks dont want Petry’s contract $6.25M ….
        An other old d/man they already have 2 old d/men they are trying hard to move
        $6.M Tyler Myers & OEL @$7.260M
        Im sure they want a 1st pick and a Good d/man Prospect in any trade….🤔❓

    • Id love to see the “who the f*ck are you” look on Crosby or Malkins face the first time Miller throws one of his on ice toddler tantrums.


  6. Luke Fox – Campbells playing like a Vezina candidate.

    Luke Fox – Morgan Reilly looks like the 2nd coming of Bobby Orr, Norris Trophy challenger.

    Luke Fox – Austin Matthews 200ft game should get him the Selke.

    Also Luke Fox – Leafs over Tampa in 6 games.

    LeafsNet resident expert.

    I wouldnt wager too much of the rent based on Mr Foxs’ expert opinionations.

    • Ron can’t you say that about most of these sports writers? They all suck to some degree and homers are plentiful.

  7. Keep Jarry. Who else.

    A defence-man a prospect like a Poulin and multiple draft picks other than a first should land JT

  8. Willie /Silver screen…I agree with both of you.

    I think Vancouver is desperate to move J.t Miller I think they regret signing him…but he is a terrific player.

    How about this….Vancouver needs to take a salary back

    To Vancouver
    – Michael Granlund 2 years left @ $5 million
    – Pierre Oliver Jospeh LHD only 24 $825,000
    – Brian Rust $6.1 million
    – 2023 second round pick
    – 2024 first round pick
    Total $11.95 million

    To Pittsburgh
    – J.t. Miller 30 $ 8.0 million
    – Connor Garlund $ 4.95 million
    Total $ 12.95 million

    thoughts does this work..