NHL Rumor Mill – May 4, 2023

by | May 4, 2023 | Rumors | 24 comments

The latest Avalanche speculation plus recent updates on Josh Bailey and Kailer Yamamoto in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE DENVER POST: Bennett Durando recently examined the pressing issues facing the Colorado Avalanche following their early exit from the 2023 playoffs.

Uncertainty exists over the statues of captain Gabriel Landeskog and winger Valeri Nichushkin.

Landeskog remains sidelined by a nagging knee injury that could sideline him into next season. He’s under contract for six more seasons with an average annual value of $7 million.

Meanwhile, the club has been silent over Nichushkin’s situation. He was sent back to Denver following an incident involving an intoxicated woman in his Seattle hotel room before Game 3 of their series against the Kraken. His whereabouts remain unclear despite the lack of a criminal investigation against him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landeskog could end up on long-term injury reserve to start next season. That will provide the Avs with some salary-cap wiggle room if necessary though they must ensure they’re cap compliant should he return to the lineup before the end of the season.

Nichushkin reportedly isn’t under investigation for any criminal charges. He’s earning an AAV of $6.125 million through 2029-30. His situation has some observers wondering if a contract termination is possible though it’s premature at this stage to make that assumption until more details emerge.

The Avalanche face the second straight offseason trying to fill their second-line center position. Do they re-sign pending UFA J.T. Compher or attempt to find a replacement via the trade or free-agent markets?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They might be better off re-signing Compher provided his asking price is reasonable. There’s not much depth in quality second-line centers in this summer’s UFA market. Finding one via trade could be difficult.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews (NHL Images).

Durando also wondered what the Avalanche will do with Devon Toews. The 29-year-old defenseman is eligible for UFA status next summer. Do they open contract extension talks this summer, clear another salary to make room for his new contract, or consider trading him this summer?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews is an invaluable part of their defense corps. If they re-sign him, however, they could be forced to ship out another blueliner to clear cap room.

The Athletic’s Peter Baugh wondered if that would mean shopping Samuel Girard. The Avs have been hesitant to move him in the past but they might not have much choice this time around.

Defenseman Bowen Byram and forward Alex Newhook are coming off their entry-level contracts this summer and are due for raises. Durando wondered if they’ll end up on affordable short-term bridge deals or signed to long-term deals with bigger dollar amounts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That all comes down to how much cap space the Avs will have. Cap Friendly shows them with $13.9 million of projected cap space next season with 12 roster players under contract.

Re-signing Compher could cost a minimum of $5.5 million annually. It could cost at least a combined $6 million to ink Byram and Newhook to short-term bridge deals. That won’t leave much to fill out the remainder of the roster.

If there’s no apparent cap relief from Landeskog and/or Nichushkin, the Avs will have to make a cost-cutting move or two. Toews or Girard could be on the move this summer.


NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears reports long-time Islanders winger Josh Bailey faces an uncertain future. The 15-year veteran is just the third player in franchise history to play over 1,000 games and is among their franchise leaders in assists and points.

Bailey, however, was a healthy scratch during the Isles’ first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes and played just four games in the club’s final month of the regular season. He acknowledged the uncertainty he faces during his end-of-season interview with the press.

With younger wingers in the lineup and the Isles carrying limited cap space this summer, Bailey could become a trade or buyout candidate. He has a year left on his contract worth $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bailey’s production has declined since reaching his career high of 71 points in 2017-18. He had just 25 points in 64 games this season. Trading him won’t be easy unless the Isles include a sweetener in the deal or retain part of his cap hit. A buyout seems more likely at this stage in his career.


THE ATHLETIC: During the Edmonton Oilers’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings, Allan Mitchell pondered Kailer Yamamoto’s future in Edmonton. The 24-year-old winger has been hampered by injuries plus his shooting percentage has struggled and he’s had difficulty winning puck battles.

Yamamoto has a year remaining on his contract worth $3.1 million. Mitchell believes he hasn’t delivered enough offense to justify his salary when the Oilers face a tight salary cap this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have 21 players under contract for next season but only $3.7 million in projected cap space with Evan Bouchard and Klim Kostin seeking raises as restricted free agents. Yamamoto had 10 goals and 25 points in 58 games this season. He could become a salary-cap casualty this summer.


  1. My heads spins trying to subtract from the Oiler roster, because I just see a pretty cohesive roster and I am thinking the goal might need better results, and a loss of low end of the roster might weaken them and RW Xavier Bourgault seems like the only possible from their farm. My seven round mock has player descriptions in the first three rounds finished and readable with a click of their name(s).

    • Hi Bill,
      I think the Oil will make a few Trade’s this summer —

      -RW, Yamamoto $3.1M gone….
      -RD Cody Ceci $3.25M gone….
      if they can move these two that would be $6.3 mill exra to go with there $3.7M in cap spave they have… so about $10.M

      Players that need contracts🤔

      Evan Bouchard 2 yr bridge $2.5
      Mattias Janmark 1yr $1.M
      Nick Bjugstad 2 yrs @ $1.M
      Ryan McLeod 2 yrs @ $1.M
      Add a UFA RD d/man to replace Ceci

      I dont think they bring back,
      -Devon Shore,
      -Derek Ryan

      Jack Cambell and his $5M contract, ❓🤔
      if they play him more in the playoffs and he plays well they could move him at the Draft or after the FA periond starts in July 1st..❓

      up with the oil next season will be Dylan Holloway,
      i think young Xavier Bourgault is a full season away

  2. I would like to add to the rumor mill, or wishing well.

    I would like to see the Boston Bruins move David Pastrnak before his new contract sets in.

    His present contract has a 10 team no trade list; certainly there a deal to be made with one of the other 21 teams.

    I like the person, but i don’t like the player game. Pastrnak has decent size but rarely wins any board battles, like Taylor Hall easily knocked off the puck and find himself in his backside a lot.

    Caveat if Bergeron decides to return (i think he does) then they’ll keep him. If Bergeron retires best to move him, as he can’t drive on line on his own.

    • Caper

      Might as get used to the fact. Pasta is a Bruin for life unless bruins go off the rails and he demands a trade which is unlikely he is best player on bruins by a lot

    • By a lot? you and i have a different opinion of value.

      Charlie McAvoy will be Boston best player and the second best player is Brad Marchand.

      Pastrnak always leaving me wanting more and and one good bodycheck received he is gone for the night.

      If Bergeron and Krejci retire, what value does Pastrnak bring? will the team be a playoff contender?

      If you could move him to LA for Vilardi or Byfield i be all over it.

      I fear you’re correct that he’ll be a Bruin for a long time.

      • Hmmm caper you sound like a Leafs fan. Pasta doesn’t do everything, no one does and certainly non of the players you mentioned. The things Pasta does do, few can. That’s the deal with guys like him. The things he can do, outweigh what he can’t so what do you do about it? Simple, build around him with players that can complement his skills and bring elements he can’t do. He’s not a star but rather a superstar. I don’t think you’ll find anyone but yourself who’ll pass on Pasta if offered.

      • If checking is all you want, trade Pasta for Clutterbuck + Horvat

      • Ron, I have a large group of Bruin fans, who wouldn’t mind Pastrnak being traded.

        I guarantee you I’m not alone in that boat.

        My concern with Pastrnak is he doesn’t battle and doesn’t drive a line.

        He isnt a $11m player. If he would put some drive into his game ie (Leon Draistl) then I be pleased.

        Johnny Z, I want him to battle thru the bodychecks, not to disappear when he recieve one. I would be grateful if he would battle along the boards and at the very least hold up the other player until a teammate can help him out.

        Like the player, simply want to see more effort and compete level.

      • Pasta has a lot of value.If I were a center I would want to play with him in Boston and pile up the assists and points.That s what makes you money ona contract.You just need to build around him.For years people complained about the Bruins not paying their players.Now with Mcavoy and Pasta they are still complaining!It s tough to replace45.60 goals in your lineup!

  3. Bailey has been a good player. That said he should have been gone 2 years ago he is slow does not battle will never shoot and has lost his mojo. Buy him out it will take a sweetener to trade him no thanks just move on. Younger and faster take Clutter and Martin also.

    • Bailey and Horvat and a 3rd to WPG for Scheifele and Wheeler


      Not going to happen but if NYI can escape Horvat contract now it’d be good. Besides WPG is looking to change locker room. So wpg gets a younger asset in Horvat u dear contract. Wheeler is 37 but NYI can use his size. WIn for both clubs

      • Horvats contract NTC kicks in next season and I’ll go ahead and say the Jets are near the top. Bailey’s games has fallen off so bad he wouldn’t even be a sweetener in a trade. I agree with Caper on moving Pasta before the NTC kicks in as the B’s have ran they’re race and need to rebuild the forward core and Pasta could bring back enough to get that ahead of schedule.

  4. How many players can drive their own line regardless who is on it
    Mcdavid, Crosby , KUCHEROV

  5. This site is really laughable, Spector writes about the Avalanche and there is literally no comments about the ex-champs who get no respect from any of you east coast homers. I hope the Avalanche get healthy for next year, they will kick everybody’s ass in the league. Instead, we get the ongoing drivel about Boston. NY Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. By the way, those teams, who haven’t won “jack” the last time I checked. Yet, we constantly debate what they are and aren’t doing? I appreciate the Avalanche talk and feel that maybe Compher and Girard need to go to get something in return. Despite liking Compher, he didn’t contribute much to the offense when we needed it. Girard is a good man and a lot of speed comes from him too but we need some more offense. I hope we don’t give up anymore 1st round picks and perhaps make a hockey trade to fill the holes. Rooting for the Oil

    • Where you from tommy boy?

    • Tommy, maybe you feel better about Eklund and Hockey buzz instead. I like the Avs and was for them last year vs TB, but the big news about the Avs is the Injury to Landy and the stupid Makar penalty/suspension that likely cost them the series, and then the drunken stripper with Nik in the hotel are not exactly the best subject matter. The best hockey info and discussion is here, so I’ll leave it there.

    • Trade Yamo , give Holloway or Lavoie a chance. Bigger bodies who may win more puck battles. I wonder if they could trade Nurse in order to free up cap space and pick a D man in free agency. Maybe Dumba for 3 or 4 mil? Nurse is a huge cap space killer. 9.25 for a second pair d man doesn’t make sense.

    • I was just thinking “where is the Avs convo ?” I guess it did not show up, kinda like the Avs in recent games, eh, TB!
      As for Compher and Gerard, I think your stuck with them for now. Compher should sign for 2 years, he will not get a better team, but could get more from a bubble team.
      Oh, and you forgot all the Sans and Hab fans here too. 😁

    • Tommy Boy, there’s a lot of passionate fans on here, we do about the teams we follow closely.

      I like Colorado and have family members who are friends with the McKinnon family.

      Colorado has $14m in cap space with 12 players signed. That’s $1.28 per player only two rfa and several ufa’s to sign or not.

      who do you see them signing?

      • Hello Caper,
        Appreciate the response, I probably have “sour grapes” Don cherry reference, lol but am frustrated the Avalanche didn’t get to adequately defend the title with a full compliment? Whatever, it’s true they didn’t show up in the 1st round. No one is more critical of the Avalanche than I am? I don’t know who they sign? I would make sure Byram and Newhook get signed, too early to give up on Newy but unfortunately someone is going: E.J. Compher and Girard would be my guess? I think depending on what gives with Nichushkin and Landeskog, I guess the plan will develop? I will say Compher and Girard could be gone?

  6. Thinking the Avs just had too many hurts this year to hang in there. Makar came back from injury a couple of times and I think he came back too soon. MacKinnnon is in my top 3 favourite forwards in the league. He’s an ‘all in’ player and I love guys who play like that. Landeskog being out all year also hurt the team. Rest , recovery and a couple of minor changes and they will be back in the hunt next year.

  7. DeSmith and Grandlund for Campbell?

  8. The Bruins stout D didn’t show in the Playoffs … they couldn’t handle the Panthers bigger forwards down low, everyone except McAvoy needs to be looked at …. Swayman is going to get a raise .. maybe moving the starting goalie and T Hall along with Reilly ..Forbert .. Grez.. would help the Cap a lot

  9. Basically the Avs were missing a second line from last year.
    Landeskog Nichushkin and (Kadri)
    Georgiev played to much thanks to Francouz inability to stay healthy . Definitely not his fault.
    Compher is a very good utility guy third line second pp type. They had him second behind Mackinnon and first pp.