NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2023

by | May 19, 2023 | Rumors | 23 comments

Check out the latest on the Blues, Islanders and Kraken in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


STLTODAY.COM: Matthew DeFranks recently noted that Blues general manager Doug Armstrong could use one of his three first-round picks in this year’s draft as trade bait to land a player. They must be 27 or younger, have at least three years remaining on their contract, and be worth giving up one or two picks that could fall between 23 and 32 in the draft order.

DeFranks looked at some possible options that could fit the bill. Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor, Calgary defenseman Rasmus Andersson and Columbus’ Patrik Laine topped his list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While anything’s possible, I don’t see Connor, Andersson or Laine being available for the Blues or anyone else this summer. They’re too valuable to their respective clubs.

Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz (NHL Images).

Three Arizona Coyotes forwards – Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz and Lawson Crouse – would fit the mold.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schmaltz has frequently surfaced in the rumor mill of late. The Coyotes won’t part with Keller or Crouse unless they asked to be moved.

DeFranks suggested a young New York Rangers forward such as Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere or Filip Chytil. He wondered if the Rangers would still want to do business with the Blues following the Pavel Buchnevich and Vladimir Tarasenko trades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers need to bolster their scoring depth at right wing. Unless they’re planning on flipping one or two picks they get from the Blues to another club to address that need, they’ll likely want a good player in exchange for Kakko, Lafreniere or Chytil. Of the three, Lafreniere seems the more likely candidate as he’s popped up a few times in the rumor mill.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Brandon Hagel would make sense for the Blues. Ross Colton would be another though he’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning need to shed salary but I expect them to retain Hagel and Colton.

Edmonton winger Kailer Yamamoto, Philadelphia forward Joel Farabee and Washington defenseman Rasmus Sandin round out DeFranks’ list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yamamoto is the most likely to be available. He’s popped up as a cost-cutting trade candidate for the Oilers. The Flyers might consider moving Farabee for the right return as they’re expected to begin rebuilding this summer under new GM Daniel Briere. The Capitals acquired Sandin before the trade deadline so I doubt they’re going to part with him.

To sum up, Schmaltz and Yamamoto seem the more viable trade candidates on this list. However, other options could present themselves as we get closer to the NHL Draft on June 28-29 in Nashville.


THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently speculated that Josh Bailey has likely played his final game for the New York Islanders. Despite his reduced production this season and $5 million average annual value, his $3.5 million in actual salary for next season could make him more tradeable.

Kurz suggested teams looking to reach the cap minimum for next season like Arizona and Chicago might take an interest in Bailey. The 33-year-old winger might not care where he goes as long as he gets playing time and a chance to resurrect his career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bailey only has one year left on his contract. If a trade isn’t possible the Islanders could buy him out to free up cap room for next season.

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov frequently said he’d like to remain with the Islanders. A league source told Kurz that multiple teams could be interested in the 35-year-old backup if he tests this summer’s free-agent market.

Varlamov could get a three-year deal worth $3 million annually. The Isles probably won’t go that long, preferring a two-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Varlamov really wants to stay perhaps he’ll skip that extra year he might get on the open market. The Isles would probably want to keep him because he and starter Ilya Sorokin are a solid goalie tandem.


THE SEATTLE TIMES: Geoff Baker believes the Seattle Kraken need to tweak their roster for 2023-24 and beyond if they hope to build on this season’s impressive performance.

Baker believes adding “a tougher, more imposing forward or two” should be a priority.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be interesting to see how the Kraken’s improvement this season affects general manager Ron Francis’ roster-building program. Perhaps he shares Baker’s view that they need more size and toughness up front. That could be something worth monitoring during the offseason.


  1. Its easy to say a team needs “need more size and toughness up front”. Finding a player like that that fits into your current roster and isn’t a drain on their skill is the tough part. A lot of teams have this same need. I think Bertuzzi can pick his spot, just not sure if he is a fit for all teams.

    • Wondering if once again Josh Anderson’s name starts being connected to some of these spots seeking “size and toughness”

      • Wouldn’t trading him then put Montreal in the position of seeking “size and toughness???”

  2. Been awol on this site for a few days (Business in a few cities and sitting now at terminal at SeaTac airport)…. Haven’t had time to see anything re hockey…. Had hoped that Kraken would advance; knew I was coming here and client has box…. Dang

    I missed quad OT…. Shite…. Congrats to Cats

    Gary…. No means No…. Tempe says no ….. just like every projection model since the beginning… get the NHL out of there…. You are coating owners/players millions and millions

    Best for hockey all would be another GTA team…. We know Gary is very against that

    Would love a team in QC… Gary will nix that obvious move

    At least move to Houston for 24/25

    For 23/24…. Play 5-10 “home” games in each of KC; Houston; Portland; Saskatoon…. Will be sellouts…. HUGE HRR increase over the measly 4,600 in the Desert Barn

    Wake up Gary!!!

    Thank you thank you thank you citizens of Tempe…. If the vote had gone 50% + 1 …. Gary would have gloated with …. “We have a fantastic and successful outcome”

    Move the team….. make everybody happy

    Just a thought Gary….. moving franchise to GTA not only guarantees years of sellouts at premium seat prices…. But could easily garner owners $500 M in relo fees

    • Suspect the owners backing GB have sugerplum fairies dancing in their eyes from juicy expansion fees & don’t want good prospects occupied….an easy 10 million cash each from Hamilton, O, Houston, or several other juicy targets. It is finally clear that you can make hockey work as a financial enterprise all across the US sunbelt – with models in place. If the yotes have to move – I see QC or Hartford getting a second chance so as to preserve the fee paying cities — possibly as part of the same (backroom & quiet) deal)

  3. Kyle Connor in 6 full season has scored 30+ goals 4 times, 40+ goals once. In covid season he scored 26 goals in 56 games.

    4yrs remaining at a cap hit $7,142,857

    Connor is the type of player you hope to draft in the early part of a 1st round. Not someone you trade to get a late 1st round draft pick.

    Connor isn’t going anywhere

    • Kyle Connor is pretty much on record saying that he won’t go through a rebuild.

      If Pierre-Luc Duboius, Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Connor Hellebuyck are traded. Then obviously Winnipeg is heading for rebuild.

    • Agreed that was a ridiculous post. As if the Jets would trade Kyle Connor for a late first, to a division rival no less. Come on, think before you throw these out there.

  4. Per Brendan Shanahan, Kyle Dubas will not return as Toronto GM.

    • Dubas will have another GM job if he wants; however, he said it’s Toronto or nowhere.

      • Seems like he changed his mind… BTW he also confirmed that he wants to spend time with is family and will not sign anywhere this year.

    • The next announcement should be by the faceless ownership committee that “Shanahan won’t be back.”

      If Dubas is the scapegoat for not producing a winner, how does Teflon Brendan escape the same verdict? After all, he hired Dubas … and all this that preceded him going back to the beginnings of the “Shanaplan” – which is what? 10 years?

  5. Anyone have any further news on Clayton Keller wanting out of AZ? I heard his dad’s phone was hacked, and the hacker sent out that tweet, but where there’s smoke, there’s often fire.

    • I’m sure the whole team wants out of AZ. And who can blame them?

    • Nobody in Arizona cares. Never have, never will.

    • Cooley is going back to college for another season, That’s pretty much all you need to know.

  6. anyone who follows the Rangers would see the obvious regression of Alexis Lafreniere from last years playoff to this season. he had a coming out party finally last spring which led to no additional playing time or many powerplay minutes this season.
    A GM could probably pluck him away for a top 15 1st round pick and a prospect(or player the rangers could pop in middle 6 now). Kid still has potential

  7. 5 years wasted on Scoobys Core 4 No Shows …. 9 years frittered away on the nonsensical Shanascam.

    Looks like Brenden found his scapegoat to throw under the bus.

    Shanahasnoplan and Keefe should be next out the door.

    Pathetic, completely pathetic.

    Mike Babcock and Mark Hunter must be laughing their butts off bout now.

  8. Shanahan let Lou go and handed the team over to Boy Wonder.
    Lou wins 2 (count ’em TWO) GM of the Year awards.
    Isles reach Conf Finals 2 years in a row.

    Boy Wonder…..?????

  9. I just read that the governor of Connecticut Ned Lamont would like to meet with Gary Bettman next week to talk about bringing the Coyotes to Hartford. Connecticut has a population of 3.6 million people, and the Whalers where my second favorite team back in the days. If Quebec really has no chance to come back boy would I love to see the Whalers return. Wonder if they would still play the Brass Bonanza lol Here’s the article but it’s in french, time to use Google translate 😉 https://www.lapresse.ca/sports/hockey/2023-05-19/connecticut/le-gouverneur-aimerait-attirer-les-coyotes-de-l-arizona-a-hartford.php

    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO That would push the Wings back to the WEST!!!!!!!

  10. Suspect the owners backing GB have sugerplum fairies dancing in their eyes from juicy expansion fees & don’t want good prospects occupied….an easy 10 million cash each from Hamilton, O, Houston, or several other juicy targets. It is finally clear that you can make hockey work as a financial enterprise all across the US sunbelt – with models in place. If the yotes have to move – I see QC or Hartford getting a second chance so as to preserve the fee paying cities — possibly as part of the same (backroom & quiet) deal)

  11. Keller’s father says his account was hacked, and those are the posts the hacker chose to post?? Okay lol. A pretty weak excuse. It was more likely a night of partying, venting and posting, then realizing the fallout.

    As far as Kyle Connor not wanting to go through a rebuild, he would really have no choice. He has three years left on his contract and there’s not much he can do about it. Having said that, I can certainly understand why he said that. That’s one cap friendly contract you could get a boatload for.

    It’s really too bad the jets past two season’s weren’t flipped, with this past season being the year they had no chance to make the playoffs. Scheiffle at 6.125 mil and Dubois at 6 mil with more than the current year left of their contracts could have accelerated a rebuild. I can’t imagine what Hellebuyck could have been traded for at 6.1 mil as well, also having an extra year at that cost.