NHL Rumor Mill – May 2, 2023

by | May 2, 2023 | Rumors | 27 comments

A look at what the offseason could hold for the Rangers plus the latest on Marc-Andre Fleury in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton examined what could be in store for the New York Rangers following their first-round playoff elimination by the New Jersey Devils.

Pending unrestricted free agent rentals Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane seem unlikely to be back. Shilton believes the Rangers’ forward group needs retooling by providing more edge to go with their firepower. Meanwhile, restricted free agent defenseman K’Andre Miller’s new deal could affect how the rest of the blueline is shaped.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes there will be consequences for the Rangers after failing to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs.

Brooks wondered if Gerard Gallant will return as head coach. He pointed out that most of the Rangers’ best players – Kane and Tarasenko along with Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox, as well as their Kid Line of Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere – didn’t play well during the series against the Devils.

New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere (NHL Images).

Brooks colleague Mollie Walker wondered if the Rangers should’ve focused on adding grit instead of skill at the trade deadline. She doesn’t expect Miller’s contract negotiations will be easy and wondered if the Rangers will want to retain Lafreniere after another mediocre season. Walker pointed out the Blueshirts will be back this summer to where they were before the trade deadline: Without two top-six right wings.

THE ATHLETIC: On Apr. 28 after the Rangers lost Game 5, Arthur Staple speculated changes could be coming if they lost that series.

Staple was critical of Gallant’s coaching. “He is not a master tactician; The Rangers coaching staff makes its plan and sticks to it, with the biggest tweaks coming on a couple guys swapping lines when things are going poorly.” He believes the Blueshirts would be interested in former NHL coach Joel Quenneville if he’s reinstated by the league this summer.

Like Walker, Staple thinks Rangers management must consider whether Lafreniere is worth re-signing or whether his salary and roster slot could be used to get deeper on the wing. He also wondered if Barclay Goodrow ($3.6 million annually for four more years) might become a cost-cutting trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Tarasenko or Kane coming back even if they want to. With $10 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 (as per Cap Friendly) and 17 active roster players under contract, they don’t have enough room for those two.

Miller’s next contract will take a significant bite out of that cap room. Lafreniere could be an affordable bridge signing if they decide to keep him but they’ll need cap space for a reliable backup for Igor Shesterkin and to address that ongoing need at right wing.

Lafreniere was the first-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and was projected to become a star. He’s had his moments but has yet to fully flourish as hoped. The 21-year-old winger had 19 goals and 31 points in 79 games last season but managed 39 points in 81 games this season and was held scoreless in the Devils series.

It’s hard to believe the Rangers will give up on Lafreniere and risk him reaching his full potential elsewhere. Nevertheless, this is a club that’s still in “go-for-it”. They could use Lafreniere as a trade chip if he can fetch a reliable right winger for their first or second line.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski wondered if the Minnesota Wild’s Marc-Andre Fleury might be on the Penguins’ list of options to improve their goaltending. He noted that the former Penguins starter turns 39 in November and will likely be relegated to backup duty next season with the Wild.

Fleury has a year left on his contract with an average annual value of $3.5 million. Kingerski wondered if Wild GM Bill Guerin might be more interested in having promising Jesper Wallstadt fill the backup role. The Wild need to free up salary cap space so their asking price for Fleury would be modest.

Kingerski considers it unlikely that there will be a Pittsburgh homecoming for Fleury at this stage of his career. Still, he isn’t fully dismissing the notion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury yesterday shut down any notion that he might seek a trade rather than accept backing up Filip Gustavsson in Minnesota next season. “I’m tired of moving,” he said “I’m not going anywhere”. He also has a full no-movement clause.


  1. Laf + Avs 3rd for Mangiapane + Vlader

    • Ottawa wants Vladar. Will make counter offer.

  2. If Ducks draft first and get Bedard… they also have money for Kane….I would think he would be an amazing linemate and mentor for Connor. With Kane on a short term $4 million/year contract….No?

  3. So let’s see. The Rangers need to add a RW with grit who can also provide offense. They can offer up a young French Canadian forward. Could there be a fit with the Habs?
    How about Josh Anderson and the Habs 2nd rounder (#37) for Alexis Lafreniere and the Rangers 1st rounder (currently #24 but could rise a bit depending on the outcome of the 2nd playoff round)

    • If I’m the Rangers is MTL retains half the salary I would do that. I really like how the Leafs did that this year.

    • Lafreniere has shown flashes but then sees 11 minute of ice time. Get the feeling he at least becomes 60 pt guy if gets a new start.
      Drury would move him for some more ‘playoff style’ player….

      • Can’t see a world where the Rags trade LAF for Anderson and pay extra draft capital to do it.

        I watched Byfield play 6 playoff games against the Oilers. Still raw with some details and skills, but has really improved from where he was when he came in. And he is an absolute beast who can move. Hits guys hard. You notice him on the ice, still only 20 until mid August.

        Ranger fans – would you trade LAF for Byfield straight up?

        Kings fans – would you trade Byfield straight up for LAF?

      • Ray, not to speak for Kings’ fans …. but in my view I would not trade a 6′ 5″ 220lb left-shooting C taken 2nd overall in 2020 who is on an ELC of $894,167 for i more season before becoming an RFA for a modest-sized LW who hasn’t yet proven his worth as a # 1 overall, and who is an RFA this year coming off an ELC of $925,000.

        The Kings aren’t that deep at C and getting quality at that position is gold.

    • Not a Ranger fan, but there is no way the Rangers go for that. Anderson? I wouldn’t give up a third for his injury history and performance.

    • Lafreniere was a man among boys in Junior apparently and hasn’t become special in any way in the NHL.

      Josh Anderson is not only the power forward the Habs have long looked for, but is also a veteran to help the kids grow into their roles in the NHL.

    • There is 0 chance the Rangers make this trade. Lafreniere has played a total of 111 minutes of PP time or just over 1:30 per game. 44 of his 47 goals have come at 5 on 5, as well as 15% shooting percentage for hi career. He is also a positive advanced stats player. His bridge contract will probably be in the 1.75-2 million dollar range with no arbitration rights.

      Anderson while a good player has only had more than 39 points in his career once, hasn’t played more than 69 games in a season since 2018 and is paid 5.5 million for 5 more years.

      Rangers have roughly 15.5 million in cap space. For grit they’d have better luck signing players like: (in order of best to worst to sign)

      Max Domi
      Evan Rodrigues
      Nick Foligno
      Nick Ritchie

      Vladislav Gavrikov
      Scott Mayfield
      Carson Soucy
      Radko Gudas
      Ian Cole

  4. Obviously the rangers need to move panarin zjad fox sorokin trouba. Rebuild before they get too old.

    • Sorokin? I guess they’ll need to grab him before he move him. Yeah, you may need to pick up a game or two outside of Pittsburgh.

      God you pens fans are salty when it comes to reality!

      I hope the pens keep that roster together for 15 more years! Maybe it’s time to hire Lou?

  5. Coach Q linked to NYR!!!! Maybe he will insist they keep Kane! 🤔

    • Johnny Z : Coach Q linked to NYR!!!! Maybe he will insist they keep Kane!

      Maybe Q can ignore the way Kane teased Kyle Bush, after the incident, and then Kane will forget he knew about it.

  6. How good have Montour and Mahura looked? These under the radar d-men that get showcased in the playoffs.

    If I’m the Sens I’m signing Freddy Andersen in the off season. He’s UFA. He’s a Dane like Soggard. the price is right. He’s proven NHL talent. And Carolina will only be keeping one of their net minders.

    The deBrincat thign will need to be solved shortly.

  7. Lafreniere has taken 1.55 shots per game in his entire career……..He is misused….His effort is certainly there….He didn’t lose his skills, he’s just not displaying them….Being stuck behind Kreider and Panarin has kept him back, but he has to shoot the puck or he’ll never reach his potential….The coach or linemates that get him to shoot will be the ones that get a 30 goals scorer….

  8. Re LaFreniere
    Coming off his entry level deal with his stats, the Rangers will sign him to a cheap 2 or 3 year bridge deal around $3 MM AAV. If he excels in that time they get value and if he doesn’t they can bury it or move him since the AAV is low.

  9. Treliving and Stan Bowman are rumored to have the Pens interest.

  10. I wondering if the Habs, who will have over $20 mill in cap space once Price goes on the LTIR again next season would be interested in plucking Anthony Mantha off the Caps roster for cap relief to them & reclamation project them. A Monahan type deal.

    Very likely the Caps are not interested in moving a 1st rounder, but what if the Habs offered Hoffman with 1 year left, retaining half of his salary for Mantha & say the Bruins ’25 2nd rounder.

    This gives the Caps some much needed cap space, like the deal with Calgary last summer, of approximately an extra $3.5 mill next season as they aren’t looking to rebuild just yet.

    For Montreal, they grab a future pick & also an opportunity to see if Marty St. Louis can finally unlock the potential Mantha was billed with as a prospect. A large bodied, Francophone winger with a fresh start in his home town could be a match.

    If it does workout, he is an UFA at seasons end & nothing lost, but a pick gained.

    FYI, in the same amount of games last season, Hoffman had more points the Mantha.

  11. Speaking of potential matches, I was wondering too if Hellenbuyck, if the Jest do decide to tear it down, would be a fit in Buffalo???

    The Sabres have the capital in a top 15 pick, a young top end goaltender & several other top young players &/or prospects to offer. They also have the cap space to pay Hellenbuyck an extension.

    Although Levi is an up & comer, the Sabres may feel they require a more experienced top end goaltender at this point.

    • If Winnipeg will trade Hellebucyk I think the return would be massive and also an extension first of course, probably in the 8-9 million dollar range, but they have 22 million free cap space so it is possible. Dahlin is in for an extension after next season which will probably double his current 6 million.

      It would be in the range of

      2023 1st
      2023 2nd
      Owen Power or Matt Savoie

      It would be tough to stomach for a lot of people but you are getting a goaltender is his prime whose been excellent for years now. It would be who do you value more, Owen Power or Hellebucyk and who would give you the better chance of winning today. I personally don’t think Power will ever be the game changer Hellebucyk is, so if I am Buffalo and the extension is put in place, I make that trade any day. Winnipeg might need a goalie back though as I do not know what their pipeline looks like for goalies.

  12. I get called every profanity under the sun by poster yesterday because I simply had a different opinion. Didn’t retaliate etc.

    Now my posts are “waiting for moderation” lmao! Priceless!

    • Simmer down. Your post was waiting for moderation because you typed in the wrong email address “gail.com” instead of gmail.com.

      • I wish I could “like” this

    • I wonder why….mmmhhhhh

  13. LOL….I never see the “post is waiting” thing. I just don’t see it appear. I just recognize there’s a delay at this site sometimes.