NHL Rumor Mill – May 16, 2023

by | May 16, 2023 | Rumors | 54 comments

The latest on the Leafs and Oilers plus what’s next for the Kraken in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Kyle Dubas said he’s open to moving one of his core players if he remains general manager of the Maple Leafs. “I would take nothing off the table at all, and I think everything would have to be considered with regard to anything to do with the Leafs,” he said.

Captain John Tavares and defenseman Morgan Rielly have full no-movement clauses. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner have NMCs that kick in on July 1 while William Nylander has a 10-team no-trade clause that also goes into effect on July 1.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

Matthews and Nylander are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. Matthews indicated his intent to sign a contract extension with the Leafs while Nylander is hopeful of doing so as well.

TORONTO STAR: Rosie DiManno suggested Marner as a trade candidate pointing to his postseason struggles. However, he’s coming off a 99-point performance this season and could fetch a power forward or a stalwart defenseman.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: cited Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek wondering if Nylander would be available. He thinks there would be a huge market for the 27-year-old winger, suggesting the Colorado Avalanche could be a fit with Gabriel Landeskog sidelined next season and uncertainty over Valeri Nichushkin’s future with the club.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ann Kimmel wondered if the Nashville Predators would make a deal for Nylander.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews’ intent to re-sign with the Leafs and his status as their top player likely rules out any thought of trading him. That could change if Dubas is replaced as GM by someone whose vision for the Leafs doesn’t include the 25-year-old superstar but I consider that a remote possibility.

Marner could be a trade candidate but the Leafs would have to act fast to move him before July 1. I don’t rule it out but I also don’t see this as a certainty.

That leaves Nylander as the most likely trade candidate of their core forwards. Marek’s not wrong when he says there will be plenty of interest in him. He’s coming off a career-best 40-goal, 87-point performance while his career postseason points (40) are just behind Matthews (44) and Marner (47).

Nylanders’ $6.9 million cap hit for next season is affordable and his next contract will be more cost-effective compared to what Matthews and Marner currently make. His 10-team NTC for 2023-24 is an obstacle but it’s not insurmountable.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson looked at some possible offseason moves for the Oilers following their second-round exit from the 2023 postseason. He anticipates changes but they won’t be blowing things up.

Matheson noted one rumor has Ken Holland giving up the general manager’s role to let assistant GM Steve Staios take over that job. He considers that to be “debatable” given that Holland has a year left on his contract and will probably want to see this through.

Player changes could involve winger Kailer Yamamoto and maybe a defenseman like Cody Ceci or Brett Kulak.

They’ll also have to determine how much to pay puck-moving blueliner Evan Bouchard and for how long. They could ink him to a bridge deal comparable to the $4 million annually being earned by the New York Islanders’ Noah Dobson or go all-in with a seven- or eight-year deal worth $6 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers only have around $5.9 million in projected cap space next season with 17 players under contract. They’ll have to shed one or two contracts to free up sufficient space for Bouchard and to fill out the rest of the roster. Yamamoto, Ceci and Kulak could become cost-cutting trade candidates.


ESPN.COM: Ryan S. Clark looked at what the offseason could hold for the Seattle Kraken following their second-round elimination by the Dallas Stars.

Vince Dunn, Will Borgen and Morgan Geekie are restricted free agents this summer. Dunn will be the most expensive to re-sign following his career-best 64-point performance this season. Fortunately for the Kraken, they have a projected $18.5 million in cap space for 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunn is coming off a two-year deal worth $4 million annually and is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. It could cost around $6.5 million per season on a long-term deal to re-sign him. Borgen and Geekie are coming off short-term deals worth under $1.5 million annually but should be affordable re-signings.

The Kraken must also decide what to do with Ryan Donato and Carson Soucy. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer.


  1. Bouchard played himself into a nice deal. Improved dramatically. I know the Oil like him but Yamamoto has to go for that money. Too small to be effective and no offence (playing with Draisaitl ! ) . Holloway a much better option . Edmonton will be there next year with some minor tweaks. Toronto needs to rework the entire back end with the exception of Reilly . If that takes moving a core 4 so be it. You need two studs and a strong third on the blue line . Look at the teams remaining for verification

    • You would think the leafs would like to trade an aging and over paid tavares and resign mathews long term as captain. Yes JT has a nmc but perhaps the gm asks to waive. Leafs might have to eat some $$$ too.

      • Tavares has said repeatedly and recently that he won’t waive. The leafs are stuck with him at 11M, unless they were to buy him out, which is unlikely.

  2. So Mathews wants to sign an extension to stay in TO. Is my memory filing or do I recall Tavares making the same noises on Long Island 6 years ago. The truth is, until pen is put to paper, you never know.
    That being said, I do believe Mathews is being sincere. He’s obviously a player the Leafs can not afford to lose and a deal will get done. Nylander seems like the obvious trade candidate. One way or another, changes have to be made.

    • Dubai said Nylander is not getting traded while he is GM. I bet he regrets that now.

      • Wasn’t a binding contract though was it? I don’t think anyone will hold him to a statement he made several years ago that isn’t a binding written agreement.
        When Dubas made that statement no one had ever heard of Covid and everyone figured the cap would be higher by now. Dubas probably also thought the Leafs would have won more than one playoff series by now.

      • Funny how we speak about Edmonton
        This team has to the best workd class players but then calls for hooks on McDavid are its sad
        So many calls have been misse Eklom got a stick to the face 5 minutes penalty no call
        Whistles put away
        But again refs calling for the USA teams suck

        Next what changes should happen
        Easy Ceci showed he has issues as a top defense pairing gone
        Move someone up in his place
        Forwards omg where to start
        Brifng some young blood in please
        3m and you cant score dump these bad contracts

      • Why would he regret saying that when a 40 goald scorer is making under 7M?

      • “Dubai said Nylander is not getting traded while he is GM.”

        No, he didn’t.

        But why would he trade Nylander anyway? He and Rielly are the only two who consistently show up at clutch moments in the playoffs.

        Trade Marner, re-sign Matthews and Nylander, let Tavares play out his contract as second-line winger.

    • Agree Howard; unless you have it in black and white you got nothing.

    • Page 1 of the UFA preprogrammed things to say.

      “I really want to stay and get a deal done”

      How many times have we seen it?
      Taylor Hall has said it about every team he’s played for. It’s meaningless and preprogrammed .

      Nobody ever says “I can’t wait to get out of this city, the city sucks, the food sucks, the fans suck. Sayonara jerk faces! I’m outta here!!!!”

      For very obvious reasons.

      Maybe he stays , maybe he doesn’t. We’ll know when we know I suppose.

      • Yeah. It’s a negotiation tactic. If he stays great! Fans are told I wanted to be here all along. If he goes it’s not Austin’s fault. It’s the cheap ownership and crackerjack gms fault.

      • Chrism,


        It’s so common in sports , it should just fall on deaf ears.

        Not sure why anyone would take these type of comments to heart. The players certainly don’t!

      • People believe what the athlete says, because there is always a new set of fans, young fans, that havent been to the rodeo before. They still believe their favorite player is loyal to the franchise rather than the money.

        Theres 17-25 year olds that think Matthews really cares about the city of Toronto

  3. Trade Nylander to STL for Parayko, problem solved. Now you just have to figure out how to get good goaltending consistently.

    Oilers defense is the problem, Ceci and Kulak are 7th and 8th dmen but yet they play decent mins. Fix the defense and figure out who is your starting goalie. Personally I think the coach lost the series when kept starting Skinner. He should’ve got Campbell some games like every other team did with there back ups getting games.

    Love the Kraken story this year, I think they proved a fast game will get you places. Wish my Flyers understood this.

    • I think everyone in St. Louis would go for this trade 100%… The only place for Parayko to go is Vegas, so that Petrangelo can make him look good again.

      And yes, the Kraken looked amazing. The entire team played like Yanni Gourde… relentless… I’m glad the Stars did not win the Division and have to face them first round. I was one of very few people to pick them over Colorado and was scared of getting them in the 2nd round as well.

    • Not so fast, mp. The Leafs’ playoff issues are multiple. One of them is scoring, both with the Core 4 and secondary scoring. While I agree that Nylander is the most logical to go in order to help the Leafs he is going to have to bring back two solid NHLers.

      I’d move Marner instead as the combination of the returns and cap savings would help the Leafs with the holes in their roster.

      • Ya LJ, it’s not as simple folks make it out to be.
        IE – a team gives up more goals then you would like and it’s automatically the D-men at fault. Can’t speak for the Leafs, don’t watch them enough, but watched the vast majority of the Oiler series. Vegas tenders played better, but the Oil had some of the same mistakes creep in again. And not just the D, forwards as well.

        The Oil lost because they made more mental errors than Vegas did. Quoting McDavid as well. Blown assignments, bad puck management, not supporting the puck to help their D. All teams make mistakes, it’s about how many and when.

        MP, Ceci and Kulak are both NHL d-men IMO. Saying they are 7-8 dmen isn’t accurate. Ceci is asked to play a way tougher role than he should be asked to play, fair enough, but he does it. Ceci and Nurse draw the toughest competition every night, usually in their own end to start with. Ceci is not that guy.

        Kulak played very well in these playoffs, just like he did last year. Worth every penny.

        The Oil need a shut down #4 guy who shoots right. Not many that fit that bill in the UFA market, Severson is a guy that played top 4 minutes on a good team, but guessing NJ tries to keep him. Gudas is the same as Ceci, but hits more. Also slower. After that who’s better than Ceci? Trading Yamo isn’t getting you that guy either.

  4. I wonder if we could see Holland step aside in Edmonton and end up in Pittsburgh? I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.

    • I would be surprised to see Holland leave Edmonton while they are competitive to join a Pittsburgh team on the brink of long reconstruction.

    • Ed…That is a hard no from Pittsburgh.

      You can keep him in Edmonton

      I would rather have Kyle Dubas as long as he doesn’t bring Sheldon Keefe with him we are good..

      A lot of smoke that Shanahan and Dubas don’t exactly get along or see eye to eye on a lot of things?? Truth??

      I would think that pressure cooker in Toronto is hard on him and his family.

      I would love him in Pittsburgh he is a good mix of modern analytics, he is fiery, and will get what his team needs either at the trade deadline or in the off season…unlike the slugs Burke/Hextall who were useless.

      lets see Ryan Oreilly Jake McCabe Luke Schenn

      Hextall goes for Kulikov Granlund Bonino…uuugghhhh…………

      Bonino played three games Kulikov 4 because of injuries’.

      If the Penguins would have just got Ryan O’Reilly and Jake McCabe wow

      • If you’re a Pittsburgh fan, it should scare the bejesus out of you to hear it confirmed that Chirarelli interviewed for the GM job. You’ll be set back at least 5 years if that should come to pass.

  5. Nylander is the obvious choice but Marner would get you the most cap space. He isn’t worth the extra 4m he makes over WN, AM isn’t going anywhere. Yamamoto and Ceci should be gone, due to their play this season. Coach in Edmonton should be questioned when you pull the goalie that many times in one series.

  6. Before the playoffs i said i didn’t think Toronto had the D or goaltending to w. More specifically the D.

    Justin Holl-7
    Jake McCabe -7
    Mark Giordano -7
    TJ Brodie -3

    Reilly had an excellent playoffs and Schenn played solid D and brought the toughness.

    Toronto needs to address the D first and foremost.

    • Fair- but you cant tell the remaining teams have a far better defense corps..

      and outside of Oettinger other 3 goalies are historically mediocre

  7. Marner and a 3rd to Pitts for Rust, Guentzel and a 1st?

    TML trades for cup experience again

    Pitts gets huge marketing draw

    • That is a hard no from Pittsburgh a hard no.a hard no….a hard no

      That is way too much for Marner..c’mon now !!

      Guentzel 36 37 73 pts + 3 28 years old
      Rust 20 26 46 pts – 3 31 years old
      # 1 draft pick number # 14 overall
      $11.125 million

      Marner 30 69 99pts + 18 26 years old
      # 3 draft pick way down there near abyss
      $ 10.9 million

      No way in hell does Pittsburgh do this deal our top 2 wingers and a number # 14 overall 1st round pick for Mitch Marner NO THANKS

    • A major hard no on your proposed Marner trade to Pittsburgh.

      way too much for him.. I wouldn’t even do that for Matthews

      • This guy’s player’s evaluations are freaking spot on!

        You can tell by how many Leafs fans or anyone else but himself, commented on it.

  8. cue up the Yamomoto to Seattle rumors by the draft. But even if he’s traded for picks, that still won’t help the Oilers cap out that much. Campbell will probably get dealt to the Sharks, but what will it take for the Sharks to take on that cap hit? Forget a trade for Karlsson, don’t see that happening.
    Kulak and maybe Foegele will get traded for scraps as well to clear space, clearing spots for Broberg and Holloway

    • When you read about how many teams need to shed salary that maybe should be traded with picks instead of traded for picks.

  9. Matthews and Tavares are staying and Nylander isnt the player that should go. Its Marner. No one questions his wanting to win, but his game isnt conducive to the playoffs. You can argue he had a big role in Matthews production during the regular season, conversely he is an anchor in the playoffs. He cant cycle on the wall and too easily bodied off the puck
    You can afford to have a big bodied Matthews who isnt extremely physical as long as Marner isnt there as well

    Here is the bigger issue- Marner burned himself. His NMC kicks in on July 1-even though he has 2 years left on his deal! then you have no choice but to trade him now- otherwise you are hostage to paying him whatever he asks for or lose him for nothing. It would be insane to keep him knowing that. At least with Matthews you can try to extend before July 1– you cant do it with Marner

    He still has value to many teams as you still have to get the playoffs, as for targets- who knows. but some options…

    trade for a top pick and use cash savings on Meier – more of a power forward…

    or for a Mactavish package
    Konecny package

    he is the only play- culture transformed…players know Mitchy gets what he wants.

    • Just trade Marner for Meier and A 2024 1st!
      Problem solved! Meier deal has to have a negotiated 7 year first!

  10. Sam: Completely agree. Nylander has also been better in the playoffs the last several years and his next contract won’t be as much as Marner’s current deal. Dubas overpaid Marner by US$2-3M on that contract and treated it like a UFA deal instead of an RFA deal.

    All things being equal, I think Marner is the better player. However, he is not worth US$4M/year more than Nylander next year or ~US$2M/year more after an extension. Nylander’s modified NTC would also give Toronto the option of trading him during the season if he didn’t have an extension yet vs. Marner’s NMC being bullet proof.

  11. Re Marner “… but his game isn’t conducive to the playoffs … he is an anchor in the playoffs. He cant cycle on the wall and too easily bodied off the puck … Dubas overpaid Marner by US$2-3M on that contract and treated it like a UFA deal instead of an RFA deal … Marner is the better player. However, he is not worth US$4M/year more than Nylander next year or ~US$2M/year more after an extension …”

    So, if all that is apparent to the ordinary fan, and beyond doubt, what make anyone think there’s a GM out there prepared to take on his “albatross contract” while giving up players deemed better at playoff hockey, along with other assets?

    • Hey George- I explained though, he excels during the season – where checking isnt tight and he is allowed to roam. I am just that – an average fan..but some hockey pundits disagree..some say he is better than Matthews. There is a market, why? same reason Evander Kane gets signed, same reason Klingberg got 7 mill for a season and Nurse got 9.5…Skinner got 9 etc etc.. He would be a draw in a place like Anaheim where they are just trying to get to the show. I didnt say he would get us nathan Mackinnon but there is value and much of his deal in real cash was paid up front.. There is value there…just a luxury leafs cant afford to pay

      • While there might well be a market, my point is, why would any team give up players who ARE more adept at playoff hockey for one who isn’t “conducive to playoff hockey?”

        Isn’t it the goal of every team to get to the playoffs and then chase Lord Stanley?

        Added to that conundrum for the receiving team is the fact that they’d be forking over close to $11 mil per for one player who (not my opinion) “:disappears when playoff time rolls around.”

    • George – mactavish has never been to the playoffs neither has the high pick.

      Like I said- some teams need to just get into the playoffs –

      Salary cap isnt an issue for many of the lower end teams and the real cash is minimal

  12. I don’t think any team can swallow Marner’s deal. Small winger which hurts him post season. Point producer at every level. Didn’t he lead the Leafs with 14 points in 12 games ?

    Every remaining team has a better deeper defence group than the Leafs. Holl wasn’t terrible and actually a liability . Gio is like 40 can’t play the minutes anymore. Brodie was good but played too much. They missed Muzzin.

    • LEafs with a Muzzin type in his prime would make a world of difference
      I think you have to let Marner go. Nylander plays more playoff style than Mitch and like others said his new deal might be less than MM.
      I said @ TDL the Leafs should of tried to bring McDonagh over …alot younger than Gio

    • I disagree- you cant tell me the remaining teams D cores are tangibly better- just not true-defense was not the issue in this series

      Marner points are disputable but they dont pass the eye test- secondary assits and flukey floaters from the point. I have been trashing the guy what I should say is he just isnt worth 10.9 mill

  13. This may be an unpopular opinion but I think Toronto sealed their fate the minute they chased Tavares.

    When they signed him it seemed like this was always going to be their fate because they made their salary too top heavy to create a balanced team.

    It may be difficult, but their best option is to stick with their young core and try to trade Tavares out and use the salary space to do what they should’ve done in the first place…create a balanced roster instead of a mini one line all star team.

    Edmonton’s issue is almost the opposite. Trading Eberle and Hall. I’m sure keeping them would’ve created an alternative time line cap space issue, but they need depth scoring, and the GM before Holland made a lot of bizarre trades that self destructed their depth and D. Holland has had limited space to work with, but aside from the Jack Campbell contract, has done an adequate job, but I bet Holland would’ve handled or traded out Hall/Eberle for better pieces than they currently have.

  14. If you’re a Pittsburgh fan, it should scare the bejesus out of you to hear it confirmed that Chirarelli interviewed for the GM job. You’ll be set back at least 5 years if that should come to pass.

    • Klima….I didn’t; know that now I am officially scared…good grief he is awful..

      • Chia isn’t scared to deal the big name players. They’re bringing him in to kick off the rebuild by moving the big three for picks and young assets.
        Is this the beginning of the end in Pittsburgh?😏

      • I heard they all will only waive their nmc if they are all traded together. And would only except Boston. So…. Mcalvoy pasta swayman insert any other young talent here plus picks for crosby Malkin letang.

        Pardon my spelling.

      • Tough, but a lil lopsided. We’re going to need a Ruhweedle n stuff like that.

      • Chad!?!? Might as well ask for Mario to unretire and play for the bruins.

        Dude. Some things are sacred.

  15. The other day somebody asked , I’m paraphrasing. would you pay a goalie $10 million?

    Why not?

    Your best players, if they are stars, if they are acknowledged as among the league best, they will get that kind of money after ELC are done.

    The best goalies steal games, exude confidence, mentally dominate the opposition and have more ice time than any other position player.

    Almost every Stanley Cup winner has had a playoff dominating goalie. At times it was getting hot at the right time but frequently it was a top level one.

    If the TML had Price or Vasilevskiy as one of their “core four” over the past 7 years they would have won enough Stanley Cups to be called a dynasty.

    • And if a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump its ass as it hopped.

  16. A goalie has to steal a game in a series. Some even manage to steal the series.
    Edmonton and Toronto did not have that this year

    What about Bob

  17. I don’t like this Leafs team. I never have. The playoffs separate the men from the boys. I say keep the “core” together. Hire someone like Sutter to run the ship. Trade away the scurrying rats that he exposes and go from there.

  18. Posters here who focus on the Leafs defence forget one thing:
    The problem in the second round was scoring goals. Bobrovsky had some thing to do with that but the big guns didn’t score. Two goals a game will not win a series.
    IMO the biggest need are a couple of left wings, preferably big and physical, who can score. They do not grow on trees.
    Moving Marner will create the cap space to add some punch on the left side but will create one helluva hole on the right.
    The ideal situation would be internal – Knies might help, Tavares to left wing might help, if Robertson can stay healthy, he might help.
    It’s a complex problem with zero simple answers.

  19. “Nobody ever says “I can’t wait to get out of this city, the city sucks, the food sucks, the fans suck. Sayonara jerk faces! I’m outta here!!!!””

    So, you took being a hockey fan off last summer, or you just didn’t pay attention?

    Also, “I really want to stay here” is absolutely *NOT* rule number one in UFA talks because it’s the very last thing your agent wants you to say.

    Dylan Larkin literally said the exact thing that Matthews said and after he re-signed he said his agent told him to stop saying that because it was hurting his negotiating position.

    Also, why would Matthews say this a year out from free agency if he didn’t mean it? He could easily have done what Tkachuk did and tell Toronto he’s not going to sign an extension.

    That seems to have worked out for Tkachuk so far.