NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2023

by | May 25, 2023 | Rumors | 38 comments

A look at what could be next for the Hurricanes after falling in the Eastern Conference Final, some possible trade destinations for Connor Hellebuyck and the latest Bruins speculation in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton looks at what the offseason might hold for the Carolina Hurricanes after getting swept from the Eastern Conference Final by the Florida Panthers.

The Hurricanes must address their goaltending as Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Rookie Pyotr Kochetkov likely isn’t ready yet to become a full-time starter. They’ll either re-sign Andersen or Raanta to pair with Kochetkov or scour the market for another veteran, which will take up a hefty chunk of cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersen and Raanta play well when healthy but both have had their injury woes in recent years. Still, they could opt to retain one or the other on affordable short-term contracts given the limited goalie options in this summer’s trade and free-agent markets.

Scoring depth was an issue this season. Max Pacioretty was supposed to help them address that issue. However, he missed most of this season to injuries and is also a UFA on July 1 along with Paul Stastny, Jesper Fast and captain Jordan Staal. Jesse Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent but his potential remains uncertain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty probably won’t be back given the uncertainty of his health after back-to-back Achilles’ injuries. Puljujarvi was a failed short-term experiment whose NHL career is probably hanging by a thread after another disappointing season.

Staal will likely return on a short-term deal worth considerably less than the $6 million average annual value of his last contract. Stastny and Fast might have to make way for young players, especially if they decide to look for another scorer through a trade or free agency.


THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman looked at seven clubs that could (and should) be interested in Connor Hellebucyk.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (NHL Images).

Winner of the Vezina Trophy in 2019 and a finalist this season, the 29-year-old Winnipeg Jets goaltender is a year away from UFA eligibility. He could be traded this summer if unable to reach an agreement with the Jets on a contract extension.

The Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils are the top two clubs on Goldman’s list. They’re followed by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goldman goes into detail as to why each club could and should find Hellebuyck a worthwhile trade target.

My two cents: Hellebuyck would be a terrific addition to any of these clubs if he’s willing to sign a contract extension. Otherwise, he won’t fetch the type of return the Jets would want if they put him on the market. There will be teams interested in him but they could be reluctant to give up too much for an elite goalie who could depart as a free agent next summer.

The Sabres and Devils carry plenty of cap room and can afford him next season and beyond. The Penguins could make it work for 2023-24 but it could get tricky after that. Maybe the Senators can swing it if they pass on re-signing Alex DeBrincat.

As for the rest, they can’t afford his cap hit unless they move out a lot of salary first.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Bruins and Edmonton Oilers could become offseason trade partners. He noted that the Bruins need centers given the uncertainty over the futures of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci while the Oilers need defensemen.

Murphy cited an NHL source claiming the Oilers “might move” center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins this summer and they’re seeking a defenseman as part of the return. However, Murphy is skeptical about that one given the Bruins’ limited cap space for next season. He wondered if a more affordable bottom-six option from the Oilers such as Ryan McLeod might be available.

Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk could become a trade candidate. However, Murphy doesn’t see the cap-strapped Oilers taking on his $3.6 million cap hit for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy’s source should brush up on Nugent-Hopkin’s contract. He took a pay cut to stay in Edmonton on an eight-year deal. The 30-year-old center also has a full no-movement clause. There’s no indication he wants out of Edmonton or that the Oilers want to move him.


  1. Same ol canes.
    Not big enough, not mean enough can’t score enough.

    • Canes have an abundance of cap space and will snare some big time scorers this summer. Being a conference finalist with what they have now, and then adding to that team this off season, they will certainly have to be reckoned with next year! I think they have the most promising next season in the league!

      • They can have DeBrincat for the right return.

      • Sounds like a perfect fit for Tavares. Hope the new GM has the brass to tell JT that he needs to go, NMC or not.

      • LOL Nice one.

    • This is accurate

      • Why would the canes want ANOTHER small guy?

      • This particular small guy is built more like a fire hydrant and does give as good as he takes in the physical department.

    • Its really strange, reporters, hockey fans and Canes fans have talked about the lack of scoring by the Canes for the last 5 years and not much has happened. They should have targeted Meier or someone like him

      • Waddell tried to acquire Meier but Grier and Fitzgerald had a winy wink deal on him going to the NJD no matter what…Bit Meier in the arsel though as he was on the golf course earlier and had he been a Cane could be playing for a cup.

  2. Svechnikov was a big loss. Huge on a team like that.
    Pacioretty was a gift anyway but Canes missed his potential offence. Goals were at a premium

    I think Andersen is back and Kochetkov the number 1b. They will contend again next year.

    • Agree. Totally different offensive team with Svech and Patches healthy. Svech will be back, but they will need to replace Patches with a more reliable option.

    • Exactly right about Svechnikov, Silver. In such a tight series he was dearly missed by the ‘Canes.

    • I put the Canes loss squarely on their GM. Yes, it was terrible luck to lose both Patches and Svetch, but there was plenty of time before the TDL to take action and acquire some goal producing forwards. They should have known that, at some point in the playoffs, that they would face a team that was either shutting other teams offense down, or had a hot goalie. Carolinablew their chance.

      • Timo went at too high a cost, Kane wanted to go to NYR, Tarasenko went early….But yeah there was Barberhev and Nyqvist, Bert…..maybe.

  3. Re; the Oilers Trades

    99.9% Sure Nuge is not going anywhere,
    He also has a NMC.

    at the draft or just after it would be in this order
    1st, Yammomoto, RW✔️
    2nd, Ceci, RD✔️

    mid season move
    $5.M Jack Campbell after 40 game mark if he playes well….he has a M-NTC 🤔

    Long shot move?
    Darnell Nurse he is not a $9.M d/man, or a 1st pairing would love to get rid of him before his NMC kicks in July 1st 😳🙈

  4. As much as I would love to have him, and he would be exactly what the Sens need at the position, I don’t think Helly signs with a Canadian team long term when his contract is up after this year. Same with Debrincat. So they only have value or possibility with American teams. Or more value.

    • Dont think Canada comes into play here, its about winning a cup and which team can give him a shot at a cup and pay him.

      Sabres, Sens, Devils should be all over this.

      For the devils if it means losing bratt to get Helly then you do that move.

      Same goes for the Sens, Helly more valuable than the cat, so move him in the deal or a separate deal then use the assets to acquire Helly.

      Sabres have it easy, they have prospects, picks and cap space to make the trade.

  5. Kk got pushed around at center. He makes like 4m. Trade him and a pick and prospect to Van for miller who is a bigger more physical player that can play against physical teams like Florida. He also solves their 2c spot for years

    They have the cap room with patches off the books and still enough to fill in goalie

    The goalie they should move assets for is Hellybuck. Who and what gets moved obviously would be tough decisions but Helly solves their issues with goalie health

    Those are the two moves I’d strongly consider.

  6. If EDM needs D I propose

    To PHI: Ceci, Campbell, Yamamoto and 2 1sts spread out maybe 2024 and 2026

    To EDM: Hart and Risto and 3rd

    Hart stabilizes net and major upgrade while young
    Risto replaces Ceci and Yama leaving clears cap room to sign Bouchard to a top 4 contract

    Harts co tract is roughly same value as Ceci and Risto is roughly same as Campbell

    Key is getting Hart and clearing cap

    • Philly would have to clear cap space before this could happen……….

      • They have cap space
        JVR is gone

      • ihatecrosby, right now, not counting UFAs van Rymesdyk and Lemieux, cvapfriendly shows the Flyers with $75,798,524 committed to 15, leaving $7,701,476 with which to sign 8.

        Assuming they re-up all 4 RFAs (Bellows – $1.2 mil, Cates – $925,000, Frost – $800,000, York $889,833 – all figures are expiring ELC amounts for a total of $3,814,833 – that reserve will be whittled down pretty fast, especially considering Frost’s 19g 27a 46pts in 81gp, and York’s 2g 18a 20pts in 54gp for the D-man. Those two alone are likely looking at at least $5 mil combined, even on bridge deals.

      • Hey GEORGE

        I was adding LTIR 6m for a total of 13 in space

        Ellis will be back on LTIR so that’s additional cap

        So let Lemeuix and JVR walk

        Yamamoto is 3ish so around 9m left for 6 more players

        Assumption Hayes will be moved freeing up maybe up to half his cap potentially

        With bridge 2-3 yr prove me deals can leave wiggle room to promote from Phantoms and see what’s in the system to take roster to 22

        Tight but could work no?

    • Hart is very very inconsistent…
      and the oilers have 2 goaltenders

      Skinner is way better and has only played 1 full year
      1st, Oilers need a top pairing RD man
      2nd Oilers need a top 6 RW.

      • What 2 goalies? Campbell will be traded to get Hart

        Skinner better than Hart?

        Can EDM risk not having option and pulling Skinner again in the playoffs?

        Hart at 3.9 or Campbell at 5? Think EDM would choose Hart for the long term


        Just throwing out ideas

      • I didn’t mind your original trade at all and I don’t care about either of those teams. Nothing seemed like an over pay and both teams get significant relief in areas they need out of the deal.

        I’ll never happen but I liked it.

  7. Looking at CapFriendly finally updating for 2023-24 season and man I cannot wait for the last of that buyout cap to go way for the Sens. 2024-25 will suddenly free up 3+ million for guys like Jake Sanderson to be extended/resigned.

    I was mostly looking at it because of calculating cap space for a a certified starting goaltender. I would just love to have Hellebuyck between the pipes.

    • It can’t come soon enough, theSaint.

      The new listing shows them committed to 11 players at a cost of $66,485,000, leaving $17,075,953 with which to sign 12 – including, perhaps, a goalie if the decision is to have Sogaard start one more season in the AHL.

      They have 5 RFAs (DeBrincat, Gambrell, Gauthier, Pinto and Brannstrom). I think we can colour DeBrincat gone – but without knowing the return it’s hard to figure who they can keep from among the other 4 RFAs, with Pinto going to cost the most, followed by Brannstrom.

      Most UFAs are gone, with the possible exception of Brassard for one more year at under $1 mil, and maybe Hamonic – unless the decision is that Kleven and Bernard-Docker are both ready for prime time.

      However they do it, it’s gonna be tight.

      • Very true George. I looked but I am still unsure, do the projections for next season estimate any type of increase in the cap? Or is it calculated on current ceiling?

      • theSaint, this past season the cap was $82,500,000 … the new capfriendly tables are basing next year on $83,500,000 – an increase of just $1 mil. Apparently that could still change

      • Thanks George… I thought that was the case but sometime I get a little cross eyed looking at those pages.

        Cheers! I do hope for a little more room than that… but happy that Jake Sanderson new contract is a year away…

  8. 30yr old RNH with 1 goal in the playoffs. No thanks, Edmonton can keep him.

  9. I have to disagree with you that Puljujaarvi’s NHL career is hanging by a thread Lyle. As an Oilers fan, I think Puljujaarvi can get a NHL gig in another NHL team easily. He’s just not a goal scorer. His underlying numbers as a bottom 6 is very good. He’ll be a decent addition to any team looking to add depth scoring on a checking line or the 4th line. But top 6, he is most definitely a bust.

  10. The Sens young prospect LW Alex Formenton signed a 1 year deal to play in the Swiss league

    Whats happed with all that its gone pretty quiet …❓
    he looked like he would fit right in on the
    Sen’s top 6

    • He’s as persona non grata in the NHL right now as are Bowman and Quenneville.

      • The Swiss are always neutral

      • George,
        it sounds like both Bowman and Quenneville
        are going to chat with Gary Betman and both
        are getting intrest from the NHL …..Coach Q more the GM Bowman⁉️

        I have hear nothing about the 2018 JR Team and the young Sen’s forward Alex Formenton since he went to play in the Swiss league
        the kid had a bring future in ottawa….🤔