NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2023

by | May 15, 2023 | Rumors | 19 comments

What next for the Oilers after their postseason elimination? Which clubs might become trade destinations for Connor Hellebuyck? Who could the Avalanche target for their second-line center position? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


ESPN.COM: Ryan S. Clark looked at the Edmonton Oilers’ offseason priorities now that they’re eliminated from the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs.

They have less than $3 million in salary-cap space with defenseman Evan Bouchard due for a new contract. He became a top-pairing option skating alongside trade-deadline acquisition Mattias Ekholm and quarterbacked the league’s top power play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Edmonton media is still doing their playoff postmortems so there hasn’t been much from them yet regarding the Oilers’ potential offseason plans. I daresay we’ll be hearing more about that in the coming days.

Bouchard came to life when paired with Ekholm. He’s coming off his entry-level contract so Oilers general manager Ken Holland could use his leverage to force the young defenseman into accepting an affordable short-term bridge deal with the promise of a bigger pay raise down the road. That’ll depend, of course, on how much salary Holland can free up this summer.

Forwards Klim Kostin and Ryan McLeod are also slated to become restricted free agents this summer. Meanwhile, trade deadline pickups Nick Bjugstad, Mattias Janmark and Derek Ryan are slated to become unrestricted free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kostin and McLeod should be affordable re-signings. However, they also have arbitration rights which could complicate things. Bjugstad, Janmark and Ryan shouldn’t be expensive to retain but there isn’t sufficient cap space to keep them all unless they accept pay cuts. Maybe one of them gets re-signed while the others hit the open market.

The Oilers’ cap space has occasionally surfaced in the rumor mill as pundits speculated over which players could become cost-cutting candidates. Kailer Yamamoto ($3.1 million through next season), Warren Foegele ($2.75 million), Cody Ceci ($3.25 million through 2024-25) and Brett Kulak ($2.75 million through 2025-26) have come up as trade options. We could find out in the next several weeks whether any of them hit the trade block.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (NHL Images).


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculated that Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck will likely be available this summer. The soon-to-be 30-year-old netminder is a year away from UFA status and unlikely to sign an extension after seven seasons with the Jets.

There could be a bidding war for Hellebuyck. He thinks the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings could be interested.

Brooks believes the New Jersey Devils’ priority should be acquiring a franchise goalie such as Hellebuyck. He proposed offering up winger Jesper Bratt in a package that also draws on depth within their system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils can absorb Hellebuyck’s $6.1 million salary for next season and still have plenty of cap space to re-sign Timo Meier to a hefty raise, especially if they follow Brooks’ advice and peddle Bratt.

Hellebuyck lacks no-trade protection so there’s no problem for the Jets to send him to New Jersey if they get a tempting offer from the Devils. However, the question then becomes whether he wants to stick around beyond next season or test the market where he’s sure to get a lucrative long-term deal worth far more than his current contract.

Bratt as the centerpiece of a package offer could interest the Jets. However, he’s also a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off back-to-back 73-point performances with the Devils. The 24-year-old winger is also a year away from UFA eligibility and will seek a big raise over the $5.45 million he earned this summer. That could prove too much of a headache for the Jets to take on.


COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, Evan Rawal was asked if he sees any potential trade targets that might work to solve the Avalanche’s second-line center issue.

Rawal mentioned Philadelphia’s Kevin Hayes, Calgary’s Elias Lindholm, Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov, Arizona’s Nick Schmaltz, Winnipeg’s Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mark Scheifele, Anaheim’s Adam Henrique and Columbus’ Jack Roslovic.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rawal looked at the pros and cons of each center. I’ll just throw in my two cents here.

Hayes and Kuznetsov carry average annual values exceeding $7 million. Unless their clubs are willing to retain some salary, they won’t fit for the cap-strapped Avalanche. Scheifele at $6.125 million for next season is also a tight squeeze.

Schmaltz ($5.85 million) is younger and more affordable but his injury history is a red flag. Dubois, meanwhile is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He’ll probably become too expensive for the Avs in both return and salary.

Henrique ($5.85 million) is 33 and his best seasons are behind him. Roslovic, 26, carries an affordable $4 million but his production is inconsistent and there are concerns over his defensive game.

Lindholm ($4.8 million) could be the best fit cap-wise if he’s available. However, that could change depending on who the Flames hire as their new general manager and head coach.


  1. Roslovic might improve with a change of scenery. However, the reality is that, if the Jackets intend to trade him, they’ll probably have to package him with someone else. I suggest Jake Bean and, possibly, a mid-level prospect.

    • Roslovic got his change of scenery already. Getting traded from Winnipeg to his home town Jackets. Don’t think he can get a better situation to flourish.

    • Paul…I agree Roslovic does have speed and talent and under a new coach, a new system, and a new scenery he could flourish..

  2. I believe it is short-sighted and narrow-minded for the media (and fans) to focus so much on the Avs getting a 2C. The cheapest acquisitions in the offseason are wings so that should be the target in terms of getting good value. The Avs have very few good assets left so they need to maximize their return. Rantanen is more than capable of playing C and, the style the Avs play, the person playing C is almost irrelevant.

    • Rantanen more than capable of playing 2C but is more effective on the wing with his big body and strength; few in the league can handle him! He’s not responsible enough with the puck IMHO and often turns it over in the offensive zone? As a center, you have to be more responsible with taking care of the puck and he is reckless with it a lot despite how great he is. I prefer he remain on the wing. The Avalanche are going to just have to accept the fact they need a good center on the 2nd line. Compher is good but he is more a 3rd line guy. Newhook, I don’t know, he seems better on the wing. I would package Girard and someone else and trade for a center despite losing some speed in Girard. With the Landeskog situation and who knows about Nichushkin, we need a solid center. I would look at Dubois and see what it takes or Scheifle? I don’t know if he’s a center or a winger. They need someone who is going to get their nose dirty down low, win face offs and put the puck in the back of the net on occasion. Hayes maybe but he seems irresponsible on the defensive side! What about Garland in Vancouver, I read where he is on the block? GO AVS!!!!!

  3. Hellyebuck’s goaltending was the Jets’ saving grave, and they don’t have any goalie prospects. I fail to see how acquiring Bratt for him helps the Jets cause, even if the Devils add Blackwood (like Larry Brook’s same article mentions). Unless the plan is to win every game 8-7

    Another Jets problem is a lot of their top players failed to show up in round 1. Last I looked, as a Devils fan, Bratt wasn’t very visible in any of the Devils’ 12 playoff games.

    • I only saw the last Devils game and in that Bratt was fine, and point wise he wasnt any worse than any other forward except Hughes. However I wouldnt want Bratt as the Jets, they already have a small winger in Ehlers and might hesitate to add another, especially when Bratt will want top dollars to stick around. If the Jets can get a bidding war started I would ask for Nemec, one for one if CH signs with NJ

    • MikeP I agree. The headlines have Hellebuyck, Scheifele and PLD going.

      Number 1 goalie and their top 2 C.

      Unless you have goaltender with promise and a Center available, you need not apply.

      Chevy isn’t trading these players without a quality goalie and center coming back.

  4. Can’t see Hellebuyck going anywhere unless team decides to blow it up.
    Colorado needs to know how long they’ll be without Landeskog. If he’s going to spend whole season on ltir it gives them flexibility next season.

  5. I would love to see Nurse gone, but who would take him?

    • Smitty, at $9,250,000 per for 7 more seasons when he’ll be 35 y/o, they might be able to find one team willing to take the plunge.

      But with M-NTC and NMC clauses, chances are that one team may also be somewhere he has no desire to go to.

      He’s more apt to be an “Oiler for life” than either of McDavid or Draisaitl.

    • Minus 3 yesterday……

  6. Dear Colorado, how about a signed McKinnon stick for Jeff Carter? 🤣🤣

    • We will win more SC by the time it’s over than Jeff Carter! We all know that if we’re honest? GO AVS!!!!!!

    • Same OLD gUY…That is too much for Jeff Carter.

  7. Everyone needs a change of scenery. Send us McDavid and Dari and we’ll send Matthews and Marner your way.

  8. Schmaltz is a right winger. People keep implying that he is a center don’t know anything about the Coyotes!

    • Probably because no one cares about them…

    • Schmaltz’s primary position is right wing but he can also play center and has done so in the past with the Coyotes. That’s why he gets mentioned as a trade target for clubs seeking a center.