NHL Rumor Mill – May 22, 2023

by | May 22, 2023 | Rumors | 32 comments

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill, we look at the latest on Erik Karlsson, a look at the Avalanche’s potential trade assets, and the Devils might swing a trade for a first-rounder in this year’s draft.


DAILY FACEOFF: Tyler Yaremchuk and Mike McKenna discussed whether the San Jose Sharks will trade Erik Karlsson this summer.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Yaremchuk thinks Sharks management might be kicking themselves for not taking whatever the Edmonton Oilers were offering for Karlsson before the March 3 trade deadline. They’ve since acquired Mattias Ekholm to skate alongside Evan Bouchard and are likely out of the market.

McKenna believes the Sharks must retain part of Karlsson’s $11.5 million average annual value through 2025-26 if they hope to get three first-round picks for him. If they’re to move him, he believes it has to happen this summer. He wonders if Karlsson is willing to waive his no-movement clause for a team in the top half of the league or only those among the top 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson’s value will never be higher than it is right now. He’s the favorite to win the Norris Trophy as this season’s top defenseman coming off a career-best 101-point performance.

There will be some teams interested in acquiring him but they won’t want to take on his full cap hit for the next four years. It’s believed the Sharks were willing to retain less than 20 percent of Karlsson’s cap hit before the trade deadline. They’ll likely have to retain between 30-50 percent to swing a deal this summer.

It’s unlikely the Oilers will be among them after acquiring Ehkholm and given their cap constraints.


COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Evan Rawal examined the Avalanche’s potential trade chips to put toward acquiring a second-line center this summer.

Defenseman Samuel Girard keeps coming up among the pundits with Daily Faceoff listing him at No. 3 on their recent list of off-season trade targets. However, trading Girard could be a risky option until the Avs know what’s happening with Devon Toews, who’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent status.

Rawal thinks the odds of the Avs trading Toews are low. Even if they don’t agree to a contract extension, he thinks the club considers him too important to trade and will retain him for another run at the Stanley Cup next season.

Trading someone like Alex Newhook would require getting another forward back. They only have five forwards under contract for 2023-24. There’s also still a chance that the 22-year-old Newhook could become a top-six forward.

Other potential trade chips include their 2023 first-round pick, their 2024 first-rounder, as well as Denis Malgin or prospect Oskar Olausson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche have $13.35 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with just 12 roster players under contract. However, they’ll get $7 million in cap relief by placing captain Gabriel Landeskog on long-term injury reserve as he’s sidelined for next season due to knee surgery.

Newhook and Bowen Byram are restricted free agents who’ll be seeking raises coming off their entry-level contracts. Even if they’re signed to affordable short-term bridges deals, the Avs still must free up cap space to re-sign or replace UFA J.T. Compher as their second-line center and perhaps find a left winger as a short-term replacement for Landeskog.

That’s why Girard’s name remains so high on most lists of this summer’s trade candidates.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Kristy Flannery reports the New Jersey Devils lack a first-round pick in the 2023 draft. It’s the first time that’s happened in a decade. However, general manager Tom Fitzgerald isn’t ruling out making a trade to get one.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have their second-rounder but traded away their third-round pick. Perhaps he’ll bundle that second-rounder along with another pick or two (or maybe with a prospect) to move up into the first round.


  1. any rumblings if the Devils could flip Timo to St Louis before the draft? I think Meier does a 7×7.25 to match Nico but if he wants to get max cash I dont see the DEvils paying him more than Jack. St Louis can

  2. Karlson (retain$2.5M) for Marner???

    • Johnny Z

      yes the leafs need a good RD man in the top 4…

      if the Leafs Trade Mitch Marnier….
      You can bet right now his Best Buddy in Toronto is GONE July 1st 2024 As a UFA…‼️

      AKA 🇺🇸Austin Mathews✔️✔️…………………….👀

    • no thanks

  3. A resurgent Karlsson may seem like an attractive addition to the line-up by a number of teams … but does McKenna truly believe someone is going to give up THREE 1st round picks for that gamble – even with a portion of his cap hit retained?

    Yes, he had a fantastic year from a points perspective as he approaches his 33rd birthday at the end of this month. But he was also a -26.

    The last time he came anywhere near this year’s offensive output was 2016-17 in Ottawa when he posted 17g 54a 71 pts and was a +10.

    When this contract runs out he’ll be approaching 36 years of age and I’d bet neither his offensive output and, perhaps just as importantly, his defensive prowess, will be anywhere near his previous high mark in Ottawa – let alone this past season in San Jose.

    Would he be a significant addition to a contender with $3.5 mil retained? You bet. But not at the cost of three 1st rounders.

  4. The Sharks Erik Karlsson,

    1-He has a NMC
    2-He Controls 100% where he go’s
    3-He has said he wants a chance to win the Cup
    4-Want to only go to a lagitmant conterder
    The oilers need to replace RD Ceci in the top 4 as he is not getting it done

    I think the Oilers will re visit this in the off season
    to make this work the oilers have a Very Tight Cap
    it will come down to money retained 🤔

    EK Salary $11.5M for 4 more years
    if the sharks retain
    45% retained woulkd be $6.325
    50% retained would be $5.75M

    ➡️ The Trade
    if they can get a deal where they trade out Yamo,$3.1M & Ceci $3.25M & a first pick that could work……❓

    The sharks will be rebuilding now for 6-7 years
    im sure they want to move him this off season ASAP….
    while his value is up there, Along with his age and salary….🤔

    • If Sharks were only going to retain no more than 20% of his salary before, they might go as high as 30%, but that would be only if they don’t have to take back a bad contract. As Karlsson will probably be miserable on the Sharks if he’s forced to stay, he’ll probably be more open to who he gets traded to just to have the chance at a cup, cause it’s not going to happen in SJ.

    • So, two players considered liabilities – or at least deemed not worth their cap hits for what they bring to the table- and one 1st rd pick that figures to be well down the 1st round.??

      And this is going to help SJ how?

    • Willie, if you think the Sharks will retain 50% of Karlsson’s salary and accept only a single first round pick and two underachievers, you are quite the wild-eyed optimist.

  5. Everyone is overlooking the fact that Karlsson’s best friend Daniel Alfredsson is about to become part of the new Senator’s management team. My gut feeling is he ends up back in Ottawa with the Sharks retaining salary and a D-man go back the other way.

    • Not – a – chance

      • Agreed on him not coming back to Ottawa. How bad does that full trade and return look on SanJose? Even with a different GM at the helm there’s no way to spin that positively.

        Everyone obsessed with trading him. If I’m SanJose I keep him. They’re in a full rebuild. His salary isn’t in the way (all these young kids and plugs make nothing). By the time (3-4 years from now) they’re making moves again he will be gone. In the mean time, night in and night out he is a one man entertainment. I say both parties (SanJose, and Karlsson) made their beds they can sleep in them. He’ll finish his career with 70-100 point season a minus player and no stanley cups.

      • Definitely not going to happen. They ned all the salary space they have now to re-sign Sanderson.

  6. Don’t forget, the oilers have Draisaitl for two more years @ 8.5 million, if they have any hope of re-signing him, they better have a lot of cap space available at that time. Karlsson would still have two years remaining at that point.

    Given how Draisaitl performs in the playoffs (49 games, 31 goals and 77 points), he will be the highest paid player in the league in two years. The following year McDavid’s contract is up and he will take over as the highest player in the league.

    It’s definitely time for the oilers to go all in over the next couple of years.

    What about the Hawks signing Draisaitl in two years and having Bedard/Draisaitl? They will definitely have the cap space and market to do that.

  7. Ooooh, Kyle Dubas getting closer to Pittsburgh ? Apparently the Leafs gave them the authorization to speak with him… Guess we will know soon !

    • -Pen’s are a Real Mess….

      -No good Prospects, they were all traded away over the past 3-4 years

      -They have a 1st pick and not 2,3,4th picks

      -Top players are Closer to the pensions than playing…!

      -The top 4 D is Horable, and old 31-37 yrs old
      they will need to trade these guys with picks to move them out and that almost imposable

      -and they need a starting goaltender ⁉️
      thats $5+M…
      if Jarry dose not stay😲

      this is a 7++ year Re-build,
      As a GM, I would Hate to be the New GM for the Pens

      • All accurate except the top 4 d part.

  8. Newhook and 1st to Philly for Hayes with 50%retained and a 5th

    Gives Avs cap flexibility and Philly gets young NHL ready prospect

    • No way Newhook and 1st to Philadelphia for Hayes and 5th. What are you smoking? Newhook, I believe is only 21! Why would the Avalanche part with his potential in addition to giving away the 27th pick in the 1st round for Hayes? I’m not buying that one. They would have to give us a 2nd rounder for Newhook plus throw in another roster player if they wanted a 1st rounder. Atkinson perhaps? Hayes, even though he has a great shot is a little lackadaisical on the defensive side of the ledger. If not Atkinson, then Farabee or Frost if the expect us to give up a 1st plus a potential good young player like Newhook? So, we would need some equity back? How about Hayes, Provorov and a 2nd for Newhook, and 1st? That would be more reasonable!! GO AVS!!!!!

      • Sure take Atkinson too

        Newhook not top 6 ready. Not a 2 c. 22 yrs old so yes young but this trade gives them a 2 c and leaves room to resign JT Compher who outplays Newhook .

        Avs still in win now mode.

        Put landy on LTir and now has room to not have to trade Girard this year while having caproom to give raise to Bowen.

        Philly will gladly send cam Atkinson in the trade.

        Philly needs picksand Avs can’t be bounced again with their win now roster.

        Avs 1st this yearis like an early 2nd statistically based on how draftpicks pan out. So it really isn’t a great a pick as you make it out to be.

        Newhook is still only potential. Sure Avs rather have win now depth since their core. IS locked in.


  9. I believe Matthews will not sign with Toronto before July 1st and the Leaf’s can’t take a chance of losing him for nothing. I would find out where he will sign long term and trade him to one of the teams and if Boston one of them I trade him for McAvoy. Toronto could then sign Ryan O,Reilly or whoever they desire. Center men are hard to come by but so are great young D men and Toronto can’t afford to lose Matthews for nothing. Leaf’s also need a good D man and Charlie is definitely that.

    • Obe,

      Leafs will never trade Matthews to an eastern conference team, let alone an Atlantic division rival.

      • Nor would Bostoin give up McAvoy for the privilege of needing to deal with Matthews’ demands for his next contract,

  10. I realize that may be true but they also can’t lose him for zero and Matthews has the hammer if he says he will only sign in a few cities. Calgary was fed a story by Johnny hockey and Calgary got zip. Islanders were told a story by Tavares and they ended up with zip. Leaf’s need something and if the team trading for him isn’t guaranteed an extension then the return won’t be great. Take what you can get or may be sorry just my opinion.

  11. Matthews for Bedard pre draft

    Chicago can sign him to highest paid in the NHL and ticker drawer
    Quickest retool in nhl history

    TML gets cap relief to fix depth on roster.

    • Ihatecrosby, that’s a hell of a deal for Toronto, a no-brainer. Crossed my mind as a Leaf fantasy, but I don’t think Chicago would even consider it.

      However, should Auston agree to sign an extension with the Blackhawks, that would certainly change the narrative. Sign Kane, trade picks for players, all of a sudden Chicago is a playoff contender. $5.2 million of dead cap space in 2023-24, but only $2 million the following year when cap is expected to increase by $4 mil.

  12. Alex Tanguay could be leaving the Wings to to be the Flames new head coach.

  13. Why would Chicago, that tore down their team to get Bedard, trade him for a guy that’s turning 26 before the next season starts? How would that even be a quick rebuild? It’s one player. A Bedard trade has been mentioned on here before, it’s not happening.

  14. IH Crosby , 27th might not be a great pick but better than a 5th rounder you just expect us to take, that’s quite a difference, late 1st rounder vs 5th? How do you know we won’t get a real good player @ 27th? In addition, Hayes might be a good player but is slower and will he be coachable? We won’t take him if he’s not. So, at least throw in another roster player and a 2nd for me to be interested! Avalanche have traded many of their 2nd & 3rd’s as of late. Like to see them start to refill the cupboard a little! Atkinson is healthy this year isn’t he? If so, he’s a good player. Regardless where Newhook ends up playing, he has skills and can skate. I’m sure the Flyer’s would be more than happy to have him? Won’t happen unless the deal has more sweeteners in it?

    • Philly doesnt have a 2nd round pick this year, TDA trade boo.

      But we could hold money on Hayes contract to make cap dollars work and add atkinson no problem.

      Picks are all we want and we could also take a contract back for extra picks, say val nish issue might get to that point.

  15. Karlsson is a tough deal- why would San Jose retain 50% without getting a kings ransom. Flip side is who really thinks he comes close to repeating what he did last year. He signed his deal has to live with it..contending teams don’t normally have that kind of cap space

    Bedard is not getting traded- period

    The Ducks pick however, that may be in play.. they already have a tonne of young talent…and need a proven producer-could be a team to watch especially with Toronto

    Dubas to Pittsburgh..who cares…same Toronto media that called him pigheaded and stubborn for not dealing any of the core four- now paint a picture of the sky falling. I liked Dubas but lets be real…

    He inherited Matthews, Nylander, Marner, and Rielly. Tavares was a rubber stamp. So someone tell me what did he do? What player of any significance did he bring in? made some small deals and signings, some bad, some good…best thing you can say is that he fixed his own mistakes.

    As for drafting and scouting, the Leafs spend more on their scouting department that any team in the league so don’t tell me any successes are only his…

    Wasn’t much of a loss, he was an average GM in Toronto with below average playoff success. Truth is that his contracts left this team in a terrible bind going forward.

  16. Hmm…..that Mathews for Bedard thing is interesting. What has Bedard done? Zip. (could be a slow footed bust) What has Mathews done and pretty much proven he’ll do every year? Other than play off success, the guy is goal scoring money. If I’m the Leafs I get greedier. Leafs trade Mathews and Tavares and their first. Take back Chicago’s first and both the Jones brothers.