NHL Rumor Mill – May 10, 2023

by | May 10, 2023 | Rumors | 41 comments

What will the Avs do with Gabriel Landeskog sidelined for 2023-24? Could they find a way to trade Valeri Nichushkin? Should the Canadiens trade their first-round pick for Pierre-Luc Dubois? What’s the latest on the Penguins? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE DENVER POST: Bennett Durando pointed out that the Colorado Avalanche will get $7 million in salary-cap relief if necessary by placing Gabriel Landeskog on long-term injury reserve. The 30-year-old Avs captain is expected to miss the entirety of the 2023-24 season recovering from knee surgery.

Durando observed the Avalanche would have nearly $21 million to work with if the salary cap rises to $83.5 million as projected. Part of that will be used to sign restricted free agents Bowen Byram and Alex Newhook to new contracts.

Colorado Avalanche winger Gabriel Landeskog (NHL Images).

The Avalanche must also fill at least one top-six forward position and possibly more if J.T. Compher departs as an unrestricted free agent and Valeri Nichushkin doesn’t return next season.

Should they go the free-agent route they could look at short-term signings for pending UFAs such as Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, the Rangers’ Patrick Kane, Toronto’s Ryan O’Reilly or Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk.

Assuming they want a younger, long-term setup among their top six, they might have to move someone like Devon Toews or Samuel Girard to free up sufficient cap room.

During a weekend mailbag segment, a reader told Durando’s colleague Mark Kiszla that the Avalanche should trade Nischushkin.

Kiszla acknowledged that we may never know why Nichushkin disappeared from the Avs. However, he doubted they’d have a chance of moving him unless they come clean with a potential trade partner over what happened with the winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche will place Landeskog on LTIR and use the savings to re-sign Byram and Newhook while attempting to address their second-line center position. They’ll either re-sign Compher or seek a more experienced option via free agency or a trade.

Free agency might be the better way to go if the Avs don’t want to get entangled in an expensive long-term deal for an aging veteran. It could also help them avoid shopping Toews or Girard this summer.

Moving Nichushkin will be difficult even without knowing what happened to him on that fateful day in Seattle. He’s signed through 2029-30 with an average annual value of $6.125 million and a full no-movement clause.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Brendan Kelly doesn’t believe Montreal fans will remain patient with the Canadiens for another season if they don’t show signs of real progress with their rebuild.

One way to do that, he argues, is to trade their 2023 first-round pick (fifth overall) to the Winnipeg Jets for Pierre-Luc Dubois. The rumor mill has linked the 24-year-old center to the Canadiens since last summer as speculation persists he wants out of Winnipeg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois could help the Canadiens accelerate their rebuild. He’s a restricted free agent this summer and is a year away from UFA eligibility so there’s a good chance the Jets could shop him this summer if he won’t sign a long-term deal. The Habs could make a pitch for him that includes a first-round pick. 

If they do, it’ll likely be the first-rounder they acquired last year from the Florida Panthers bundled with a couple of promising prospects or a young player. It won’t be the fifth-overall selection.

The Jets won’t be negotiating from a position of strength if Dubois intends to test next summer’s free-agent market. They’ll want to get the best deal possible. Sure, another club could swoop in and outbid the Habs but it would be risky if he’s not interested in a contract extension.

In that case, the Canadiens don’t have to put up their first-rounder but can simply wait until next summer when they can sign him as a UFA. That’s assuming that the Habs want Dubois in the first place. For all we know, they’ve got their eyes on other plans.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Nick Horwat cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating the Pittsburgh Penguins might have an interest in Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas as their next GM.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas is in the final season of his contract with the Leafs. There’s rampant media conjecture that they could part ways if the club is eliminated from the second round by the Florida Panthers.

Despite the Leafs’ playoff difficulties under Dubas they have reliably been among the league’s top teams during his tenure. That could help him land with another club following this season if his time in Toronto is coming to an end.

Horwat also cited Freidman saying the Penguins and Calgary Flames are among the teams interested in talking to former Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been less than two years since Bowman lost his job over his role in covering up Kyle Beach’s allegations that he was sexually abused by former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich. Any club hiring him can expect a considerable backlash from fans and pundits. Horwat also pointed out that he did a terrible job during his final seasons with the Blackhawks as they went from a Stanley Cup dynasty to a bottom-feeder with bloated contracts.


  1. Maybe PLD would rather go to the Avs now? They now have space.

    • We will take a player like Pierre Luc Dubois in Colorado. Good hockey player. I have seen him play as a Blue Jacket when I was a season ticket holder. I don’t think he’s the problem in Winnipeg? I think it’s the other guy’s like Scheifle, Wheeler, etc. Now with Landeskog situation becoming clearer, we will need more guts with grit and he fits that bill. To me, that’s t h e Avalanche problem, they don’t have enough grit, like when they go up against the Dallas, the Vegas, the Blues, the Lightning, etc. Teams that are in your face, they don’t handle it that well. We need more Manson’s, Schenn’s, Perry’s, Pavelski’s, etc. Guys that will willingly go to the net to get the job done! We have all the skill, need more grit. GO AVS!!!!

  2. Brendan Kelly’s claim to fame in Montreal is his hatred for former GM Marc Bergevin and click-bait generating “articles” .

    Give up a 5th for a guy who’s UFA next year???
    A laughable suggestion.

    • It is possible that Montreal could trade the 5th pick but it will take PLD plus a top prospect and probably even Winnipegs 1st rounder to do it. Even then I don’t know of Montreal does it.

      • I don’t think even that would do it.

      • Mr. What the heck

        ➡️ TRADE..?
        Jets Send PLD, and there 1st pick and a Good Prospectto the Habs for the 5th pick over all…❓

        I would do that trade all day, IF the PLD contract was signed first…
        he is going to leave the jets at the end of the 2024 season…. SO maybe wait 1 years??
        are the Jets rebuilding Now….🤔

    • Habfan, you’re so right. It’s so laughable. How does someone have a job with such crap like that? I guess his audience isn’t hockey fans.

      As for the idea of the Habs might have different plans, it might be true but I feel that’s something we’ve seen the Leafs do when players expressed their desire to play for them. I think the Habs make a move if they want him but need to make sure the Peg doesn’t trade PLD to say the Avs or another good club where he might want to stay. Regardless, something worth watching.

  3. Let’s be realistic here – Bowman got his job based on his name and family ties. Kind of like John Ferguson, Jr., and Toronto fans know how THAT turned out.

    Any team hiring Bowman – or Quenneville – can expect a loud and angry backlash.

    • George I agree on the Nepos, Bowman and JFJ claim to fame due to a name. Their record speaks volumes of how bad they are as GMs.

      As for coach Q, I do see him returning to a big club like the NYR or even a social conscious organization like the Leafs if Keefe is shown the door. My reasoning is that we really don’t know how much he was involved other than it was under his watch and likely not prepared or knew how to handle such an issue.

      I do believe in a fitting punishment for his role and since I don’t know exactly what his role was, I’d like to see him maybe take a more proactive approach to issues of this manner…maybe in due time or maybe he has and that we haven’t heard of it. In any case, you’re right, there will be a number of people who will take issue regardless but unfortunately those people rarely have any real experience or ties to what happened and as such, their outcries will be quickly forgotten.

  4. Pay close attention everyone. All together now. Brendan Kelly (my former McGill classmate) is a hack. Pay no attention to anything he says. The #5 overall pick is not being traded for anyone who may reasonably be available.
    Frankly I think that a trade for Dubois is less likely now that the Florida pick seems likely to be 29-32. If the pick were to stay at 17, I could see the Jets accepting it along with a prospect and a guy like Dvorak. But if it’s near the bottom of the round the Jets May want more than Hughes is willing to give. They may have to wait till he’s a UFA.

    • Howard I’m in full agreement with your evaluation. At 17 with Dvo and a prospect like let’s just say Beck it could work.
      I get it that Habs fans don’t want to give up anything if value but he’s a good young big center.
      I read Capers comments on his taking dumb penalties and yes I agree but he also draws a lot of penalties with his style of play.
      As more high expectation teams get turfed his value will rise.

    • Howard and HF30: We have had interesting exchanges and disagree often (which is stimulating, and of course a purpose for this site).

      It has made my day that we all agree about Brendan Kelly. His name in an anagram for Elmer Fudd. And to think it was probably Kelly’s job that Pat Hickey’s retirement saved. Kelly for Hickey. Worst journalistic trade ever. It could not be worse if the Gazette had fired Hemingway to keep Alex Jones.

      As for PLD to Montreal, Lyle has once again nailed it. The Habs only go for PLD they know he wants to come to Montreal. And if they know it, everyone else will so the cost is no more than Florida’s pick and a prospect.

    • I guess it would depend on what the prospect is. If it’s a top prospect plus Florida’s first it might do it. I’d be cautious with the he’ll just sign when he’s a Ufa. PLD might really like where he is traded to and decide to stay there. Not to mention he would be able to sign an 8 year contract bringing doenw his avv. I remember a couple years ago when Columbus was trading him and the Montreal fans on this site kept saying I wouldn’t trade Kotkiemi for him. PLD is a quality player who’s only 24 and a lot of teams are going to try and get him.

  5. Still find it funny two years after the scandal, the coaches, gm, trainers all don’t have jobs.

    what was the penalty to Chi?

    To me that’s forfeit your first round pick for 3 to 5 years and you deserve to be where your at because of your own actions.

    AZ, NJ both lost picks for a lot less so why didn’t Chi have to pay for the actions of there staff, seems like they went after the staff and forget the team.

    No way should they had a shot at Bedard, and the NHL is a joke for allowing this.

    • Eidt,

      I am a bit snarky because in 07′ they pulled this crap on the Flyers, and now the Ducks(who are my home town team) get screwed out of Bedard.

    • mp: The penalty to Chicago was that most who were directly involved in the coverup lost their jobs. Most will probably never work in the NHL again. Joel Quenneville can only get back if Commissioner Gary Bettman approves it. So far, no one’s even dared to try.

      However, the investigation found that team owners Rocky and Danny Wirtz were unaware of the allegations. Had the club ownership been in on the coverup, the team might’ve had to forfeit a pick or much more.

      The Coyotes lost a draft pick for violating draft combine rules. The Devils had to forfeit a draft pick for attempting to circumvent the CBA in their first attempt at signing Ilya Kovalchuk. The league subsequently reduced the penalty and the Devils regained their pick.

  6. – MTL would be foolish to trade ANYTHING for a guy who is good, but not “great”, when they can sign him next off-season for nothing.

    – Dubas completely blew the leafs’ latest rebuild…why would ANY NHL team want someone that has so thoroughly proven that he can’t manage a team at the NHL level???? You are what your record says you are, and Dubas’ record says he’s a loser.

    • Pete when the team you build has been at the top part of the standings, that means you have done a good job at managing a team at the NHL level. Are you not aware the top of the list of teams in the standings means it’s a good team? He’s also continued to do so for his team under strict cap restrictions. Something you can’t say with many other GMs you probably think are smarter or better than him.

      I’m not saying we build a statue for the guy but it doesn’t say much about your perceived notions of what is good or successful or not.

      • This depends on one’s definition of success, Ron.

        Dubas has pulled off some good trades: getting someone to take all of Patrick Marleau’s cap hit was deft. His getting O’Reilly and McCabe this year was excellent – notwithstanding the Leafs situation now.

        But the perceived notion that evaluating success means ignoring the playoff results is, well, unique. We all remember Cup winners. Who remembers the Presidents Trophy winners?

        If Dubas is fired from the Leafs he will be hired again. The key question IMO for his next interview is: what would you do differently had you a do over?

        Has he learned from his mistakes with cap management in Toronto?

        The strict cap restrictions you mention are self inflicted, after all. Surely it is irrefutable that his moves early on with the Leafs top 4 has meant good players continually leaving (Hyman), mediocre players being signed to fill the line up (Simmons) and rotating goaltending with very mixed success.

        Does the lack of playoff success wear more heavily anywhere than in Toronto?

      • Again, LJ, don’t lose site of the fact that Dubas – indeed, no GM with a current cap problem – saw Covid and the resulting flat cap happening.

        Had the cap been rising since 2019 at the same rate – or potentially even higher had revenues continued to increase – probably the Hymans of the world would have stayed right where they were as the cap would be somewhere north of $90 mill – or even $95 mil – heading into next season.

      • Covid aside LJ, Dubas was still able to ice a top team despite everyone saying the Leafs are going to have to do this or that. He stood by his team and made the playoffs every year, something that can’t be said for others. His playoff success has not reached its potential and I find it hard to blame a young team that went from the very bottom of the standings to a team that lost five of their game 7 series since, have never been blown out in any of them and to eventual finalist or cup winners. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see the results have come up short so far but you can also say that about every other team that failed to win the cup. Would you call this years Bruins crap now that they got booted after only needing one more win against the Panthers to advance and fulfill everyone’s favorite to win it all? No because the simple truth is stuff happens and that’s the kind of stuff that keeps you coming back cheering for your team.

  7. I would love to see Dubas as the next GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins..

    He is fiery, he cares, and he is a good mix of the new analytics generation but will provide his team with what they need either in the off season or at the trade deadline..

    Unlike the two Buffoons Hextall/Burke

    Look at the players in just the last couple off seasons Dubas has provided the Maple Leaf core.

    Ryan Oreiilly
    Jake McCabe
    Luke Schenn
    Sam Lafferty

    Mark Giordano
    T.J Brodie
    Jake Muzzin

    Can you imagine of the Penguins would have added just Ryan Oreilly and Luke Schenn at the deadline?

    Hextall was too old fashioned, too stubborn, to slow, and not creative or imaginative for the job.

    I’m sure they are many other good candidates Dubas fits now

    • Don’t know how much was just him. They often say how much it’s a group decision and looking at the behind the scenes shows on them it appears as such.

      As a fan I saw what he built in the AHL as the GM as well as some from his days in the Soo. His teams play an uptempo swarm, mentality attacking teams. He’s won so far at every level but the hardest and best league yet. I have no doubts he’ll be hired shortly after if he ever receives his walking papers.

  8. PLD is a good player in fact I got his Rookie jersey off his back on fan appreciation night as the military vet honoree that night. I really don’t know what he wants. If his dream is to play for the Habs that well and good but it also will put a lot of pressure on him. I know he is only 24 but don’t make him out to be a superstar. When is the last time he scored 30 goals in a season?

  9. As a TML fan I can say that Dubas has done some very good things as leafs GM. But he has made two critical errors that can’t be corrected. First he failed to rebuild to an identity that could win in the playoffs. Speed and skill aren’t enough. There has to be a glue that pulls the team together and elevates their compete level come playoff time. He has repeatedly tried to change the identity by adding to the periphery of the team, but the true identity is in the core, and hasn’t changed since Tavares arrived. Second, he negotiated poorly with Willy and should have made him sit the season. This would have set up materially lower deals for Marner and Matthews and maybe even Tavares. I’m pretty sure he won’t be the GM who negotiates the next sets of these contracts.

  10. “What the heck”, you say it should be PLD, a top prospect and Winnipeg’s first for the 5th pick and you don’t even know if you would do that?

    How valuable do you think that 5th pick is when you are receiving a big, powerful, scoring center just coming into the prime of his career.

    Look at the # 5 overall picks from 2014 to 2021:

    Michael Dal Colle
    Noah Hanifin
    Olli Juolevi
    Elias Petterson
    Barrett Hayton
    Alex Turcotte
    Jake Sanderson
    Kent Johnson

    You can’t overvalue the 5th pick when you are receiving a guy that was picked 3rd overall and has panned out. The most you could really hope for is that the player picked at 5 winds up as good as PLD.

    As far as waiting until he’s a free agent, be careful what you wish for. I believe PLD would like to play for the habs at some point in his career, he never stated he wanted to play for them as soon as he becomes a free agent.

    Like others have stated, he could be traded to another team and really enjoy it there and sign a long term contract. Wasn’t Johnny Gaudreau supposed to sign in his home town? Look where he ended up. Who would have guessed that? My point is, if you have a chance to get a center like that, you go out and get it. Florida’s pick isn’t going to be worth a player of that caliber, the Jets would be better off waiting until the trade deadline and have a bidding war.

    • Dave, fair points. Anyone who looks back several years at draft picks will see that a lot of first rounders don’t work out.

      Dubois has had good numbers the past two years in Winnipeg with good line mates. 27 and 28 goals isn’t chicken feed. But it is not elite either.

      WTH may be asking for a little much in his proposal for the 5th, but Dubois is not of himself going to turn the Habs around.

      How much of an impact did he have in the ‘Peg, who have been better in the past few years than the Habs will be next year?


      So the calculation has to be not just the value of the 5th, but any other picks, prospects or players that the Habs would have to get for a player who is good but not a franchise player. I’ll give up the Habs’ pick from Florida, and maybe a young D or a prospect. But no more.

    • What you stated makes sense David! I would like to see the Avalanche pursue someone like him, trying to think of others that are about the same approximate situation around the league? I think it would be worth it for the Avalanche. to pursue him but that might not work out because of us being in the same division. If I am the Avalanche, I would consider trading for him! We made trades with Minnesota in the past, are archrival, really I think most Avalanche fans consider the Wild are most despised rival?

    • Good point Dave. Looking at that list, I’d say Ottawa was very lucky to have Jake Sanderson still around at # 5.

    • Good point Dave but this year’s draft will be a very good one. Matvei Michkov or Will Smith might still be available at number 5 ! I think you have to take that in consideration. I think it was Craig Button who gave the example and I think he is right saying that a team will get a better player at number 5 or 6 than last year’s 1st overall (Slafkovsky).

      As I said, they should just wait untill he becomes a UFA and if he gets traded to another team, so be it. There will be other very good players available eventually.

      Habs fans may be more patient than you think if the team is entertaining and stays healty. I will be one who will be for sure

  11. Dubas’ failure is in his steadfast refusal to add one or two big stay at home defensemen and thinking they’re a waste of money. Schenn, maybe at the end of his career could be considered that but his feet are two slow now. He needed a shut down pair. And he kept thinking he could score his way out of that conundrum. Additionally he has had some pretty decent goaltending that looked worse than it was because again – defense wasn’t a priority.

    • Dark G…Point taken and agree with mostly ! Dubas did provide Luke Schenn, he did provide Jake Muzzin, and he did Provide Jake Mccabe, and former Norris trophy winner Mark Giordano these guys are more defensive oriented than offensive.

      The Maple leaf forwards seem to shy away from physicality and defensive structure or effort ???

      Does that seem fair dont think I have ever seen Matthews Mariner Nylander,Tavares ever throw a body check???

      • Matthews is one of the league leaders in forwards for body checks. Not the issue. They don’t elevate there game when it matters. Leafs have gone to how many game 7’s and lose every time. You should relish the big moments and elevate your game. That’s the difference between winning and losing. The leafs especially this year do not have a toughness or defensive issue.

      • What the heck, it’s that argument of skill vs will, right? I think there’s some truth in it but really, it’s mostly BS. I can say this because I had all the will in the world to want to make it to the NHL and I couldn’t, my skills just weren’t there.
        That could probably be said of some of these players, might not have the skills that translates well in the playoffs. Or not. I don’t think anyone in their position wouldn’t want to do everything in their power to win. I know I would so why would anyone think different?

      • Hi What the heck

        The Leafs did finish 23rd in hits per games, just saying…

    • Dark g you’re funny. It’s like you think of a thing and therefore it is. Everything you said is completely wrong. I get it’s easy to think like that when you see him take long shot chances at smaller players, which is smart since we have left the era where clutching and grabbing was part of the game and you needed bigger bodies. What you don’t see is he first and foremost goes for players that are skillful but smart. Picking big bodied 18 yr olds who can dominate over smaller ones is a terrible strategy as we’ve seen time and time again when these players jump to the NHL and their large build doesn’t give them the advantage they once had. But with the last 3 drafts, Dubas has still stuck with his MO but these years he either had the type of player he liked also come in a big body or those big bodied players with skill and smarts where available when he picked. It’s really that simple.
      If you want to believe whatever you want, go ahead it doesn’t mean you’re right.

      • Ron, I am funny. And the best part of that “thing” was it wasn’t even my original thought. That was me parroting every other pundit for the past 5 seasons.

        if the Leafs had a ” Pelech and a Pulock” they’d have won two Stanley Cups already. But as you said that’s not what Dubas thinks wins championships.

        Clutching and grabbing is alive and well. As is impeding the player, running picks and generally interfering with people in the playoffs.

        We can agree to disagree.

  12. “You can’t overvalue the 5th pick when you are receiving a guy that was picked 3rd overall and has panned out. The most you could really hope for is that the player picked at 5 winds up as good as PLD.”

    Not in a deep draft year when #5, if it’s Michkov , is the best goal scorer in the draft.

    IF PLD really wants to become a Hab , he and his agent can let it be known to other teams.

    Either way he has shown himself to be a good player, not a great one .

    • A draft pick is still not a sure thing. the 2003 draft is considered to be the best of all time, you’ll see multiple misses there too.
      PLD is still young and getting a player of that caliber as a sure thing at #5 would be pretty good under normal circumstances.

      • Taz…..Agree 10% a draft pick especially in hockey is no guarantee…

        The NFL is more reliable than al the other sports when it comes tp picks.

        I’M a Pittsburgh fan and if we have to give up our number one pick 14th overall to get a stud player to help…hell yes

  13. What you stated makes sense Dave! I would like to see the Avalanche pursue someone like him, trying to think of others that are about the same approximate situation around the league? I think it would be worth it for the Avalanche. to pursue him but that might not work out because of us being in the same division. If I am the Avalanche, I would consider trading for him! We made trades with Minnesota in the past, are archrival, really I think most Avalanche fans consider the Wild are most despised rival?