NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2023

by | May 8, 2023 | Rumors | 33 comments

With the Leafs on the brink of playoff elimination, the speculation about their offseason has already begun. Check out the latest as well as updates on the Jets and Kings in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TORONTO SUN/THE ATHLETIC: With the Maple Leafs down 0-3 in their second-round series with the Florida Panthers, the Sun’s Steve Simmons and The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun and James Mirtle are already wondering about the club’s offseason moves.

The trio pondered whether general manager Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe will be replaced. Dubas is in the final year of his contract and could garner interest from other clubs if his bosses decide not to re-sign him.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

They also noted that Auston Matthews is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. Does he sign a lengthy and expensive contract extension or decide his future belongs elsewhere?

Simmons mused over whether Leafs president Brendan Shanahan survives after yet another solid regular season dissolved into another unimpressive playoff run.

Meanwhile, Mirtle took note that William Nylander is also a year away from UFA status and wondered if Nylander or Matthews becomes the priority to re-sign. He also wondered which players on the current roster under expiring contracts will be brought back given that next season’s salary cap is expected to remain flattened.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This seems like feasting on a carcass while it’s still barely breathing but it’s understandable given the rarity of clubs overcoming 0-3 postseason series deficits.

There was talk about Dubas and Keefe having saved their jobs during those giddy days following the Leafs series victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. All of that has disappeared in this series against the Panthers.

Barring a miraculous comeback those issues will be paramount in the minds of Leafs Nation.

What does the future hold for Dubas, Keefe and Shanahan? Will it be Dubas attempting to open contract extension talks with Matthews and Nylander or someone else?

Are those players interested in staying in Toronto? Have they grown weary of the fishbowl existence and postseason underachievement and intend to their sights elsewhere?

The answers to some of those questions could be coming by the end of this week if the Leafs get swept on Wednesday.


SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon recently looked at seven potential off-season trade suitors for Connor Hellebuyck. The 29-year-old Winnipeg Jets goaltender is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. He indicated during his end-of-season interview that he’s not interested in a roster rebuild if Jets management goes that route.

Topping Dixon’s list is the Los Angeles Kings if they decide to part ways with trade-deadline acquisition Joonas Korpisalo. Taking on Hellebuyck, whose annual average value is $6.16 million, would be more expensive than re-signing Korpisalo. However, the former Vezina Trophy winner could help the Kings finally reach their potential.

Atlantic Division clubs like the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators could be among the suitors. The Sabres and Senators appear primed to become serious playoff contenders with the right goaltender.

Perhaps a current playoff club that comes up short comes calling. The Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils could fall into that category depending on the outcome of their current series.

Canes goalies Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta are UFAs this summer. Meanwhile, the Devils lack an experienced and reliable starter.

Dixon also included the Maple Leafs in his list. However, their limited cap space would probably take them out of the running.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know yet whether the Jets’ ever-cautious management will shake things up or attempt to bolster their depth around core players like Hellebuyck for one more run next season.

Nevertheless, Hellebuyck will garner plenty of interest if he hits the trade block. Several of those aforementioned clubs are bound to come calling. I would also include the Pittsburgh Penguins in that bunch.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently looked at what the offseason could hold for the Los Angeles Kings following their second-straight first-round exit at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers.

Trade-deadline acquisition Vladislav Gavrikov was a terrific fit for the Kings. While his teammates went to bat for him to return, Kings GM Rob Blake noted his club has just $2.5 million in cap space for next season. Stephens believes Blake must make a cost-cutting trade to keep Gavirkov.

Defenseman Sean Walker could be a trade candidate. He appeared in just two of the six playoff games against the Oilers and was a healthy scratch at times in the second half of the season. Walker carries a $2.65 million cap hit for 2023-24.

Stephens also noted the Kings’ goaltending situation remains unsettled. Trade deadline pickup Joonas Korpisalo is slated to become a UFA this summer and Blake was noncommital over whether he’ll re-sign him.

Pheonix Copley is signed through next season. Meanwhile, the Kings might have no choice but to try and improve Cal Petersen, who struggled in the first season of his three-year contract with its $5 million annual cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Walker was a frequent subject of trade speculation this season as a cost-cutting candidate. It seems likely he’ll be on the move to clear space for Gavrikov if the latter is willing to stay and doesn’t seek an unreasonable raise over his current $2.8 million cap hit.

Korpisalo seemed certain to be re-signed by the Kings following his strong play down the stretch and early in that series with the Oilers. However, he struggled as that series went on which would explain Blake’s seeming reluctance to include him in his future plans.


  1. With so many teams up against the cap with little to retain key free agents or even shop for obvious positional improvements – and the guilty cap again only inching upwards – this could be one of the busiest trade scenarios seen in years, starting with draft week.

    • I would agree and disagree with this statement. While I agree that we are going to see a ton of movement, I would argue that we will see movement due to more teams having cap flexibility as opposed to the last 2 off seasons.
      Before looking at RFA’s, UFA that may or may not be resigned, and guys that will land on LTIR.
      1 Team has 40+ million in Cap Space
      3 Teams 30+ million
      4 Teams 20+ million
      8 Teams 10+ million
      9 Teams with 5+ million
      7 Teams with less then 5 million.

      A point in the bottom 16 Teams with less then 10 million, for the most part those Teams wouldn’t have to make a move to fill their rosters for next season, except for Tampa and Vancouver.

      Net season you have roughly 90 Million in LTIR from players who will likely never play in the NHL again.

      And as of today you have 181 open roster spots available between the 32 Teams, as roughly 460 Million in open cap space across the NHL.
      The other thing to point out, while it doesn’t impact the numbers above, there is an absolutely crazy amount of dead cap, buy out penalties, etc. that come off the books this off season and next.

  2. I agree with you Lyle as to the Leafs. With the teams that are no longer playing, everyone at least waited till they were eliminated before beginning the post mortem.
    I think Dubas returns if he wants to and I think he will. I had thought that Keefe saved his job with the first round win, but if they wind up losing in four, I’m not so sure.
    As to the players, I think Mathews will re-sign. He might have had a preference to go home to Arizona, but doubtful with the mess going on there right now. Nylander May have to be a cap casualty as his money may be better spent elsewhere. But with Tavares’s contract expiring only one year after his, maybe they’ll find a way to keep him.

    • I think when the leafs are eliminated, be it in 4 or 5 games everyone is shown the door. “parted ways” or outright fired.

      Matthews may be wondering if this really the place where winning is going to happen. And if he takes the giant deal so many are predicting will he hamper the teams ability to fill the rest of the roster with quality talent.

      If I’m Ottawa–no thanks on any of the goalies mentioned.

      Frederik Andersson is who they should target in the offseason. The Danish connection with Soggard means more to europeans than we realise sometimes. Great fit, with Forsberg in the minors or moved if he can even recover from rehabbing his knees.

      • “Matthews may be wondering if this really the place where winning is going to happen. ”

        The question can also be asked ‘Is Matthews the guy who can help us win the playoffs?’
        He has zero goals in round 2 while having lots of talent around him. Its no different than when Denault made him a near non factor 2 years ago.
        As a Leafs fan, I’m obviously all for keeping Matthews but realistically is someone is hoping to get 15M on his next deal then they can’t be be putting up 0 goals and rendered ineffective during the playoffs.

    • Will Matthews resign, Howard? The Leafs still have a pulse and miracles happen, but seems likely that the Leafs are out in round 2.

      Surely it is masochism to continue to persist with the Big 4 in the face of persistent failure. The cap will not go up enough in the next couple of years to help the Leafs, and they have a depleted # of draft picks over the next three years.

      The question surely is: does Matthews value money over a legit chance at the Cup? It will take some verbal tap dancing for whomever is the Leafs GM to convince Matthews that he can win in the next few years unless radical chances are made to the current Leaf roster.

      • LJ, I see your point, but let’s not forget that the Leafs are not alone when it comes to the cap conundrum. No one saw Covid coming and those top-heavy teams (50% and up of the cap devoted to anywhere from 4 to 6 players) were obviously banking on the same annual rise as in the years just before the freeze – and perhaps even better depending upon revenues – since 2019.

        The problem is, using Matthews as one example, if the cap the year after next shot up $5 mil (or more), the Leafs wouldn’t be alleviating their top-heavy situation by forking over the entire rise to one player. Add in the other 3 or 4 of the “core” re-upped in the same manner, they’re still left scrounging around for the best of what they can assemble for the rest of the roster while perhaps even losing some very good RFAs along the way.

        But as I say, the Leafs aren’t alone in that regard, so the question becomes, who else among the highest paid (cap-wise) coming up for renewal “value money over a legit chance at the Cup?” And there are plenty in that boat sprinkled throughout the league.

        Boston parlayed getting two key players to perform at bargain rates, but while it translated into an exceptional season, they still came up short in the playoffs.

      • Re; Austin Mathews,

        Will he Re-sign in Toronto…
        its will Depend what the team looks like for the 2023-2024 season…?
        And what he wants for a salary $13.M+❓

        if the Leafs have leared anything …. ❓
        they know the Cant have 4 forwards eating up 50% of the Salary Cap….🤔❗️
        KD the GM has showen he is not afraid to make trades….
        However he may have made to many trades bye Adding 7 NEW Players to the Leaf Roster this year
        some nights they just look like they are Not Jelling Well….

        We will see tomorow if they are Golfing on Wednesday or not….there could be whole sale changes in Leaf Land❓

  3. With a decent blue line corps in front of him, Korpi is a good goalie. Not great, but good. If LA doesn’t want him, maybe Buffalo and/or Ottawa will.

    • I’m sure he’s on Dorion’s radar somewhere, Paul.

    • Probably would depend on his ask for a new contract. IF he’s looking for a 5-7 deal my guess is he will be available for a while then take a deal with less years.

      There are better goalies available.

      • I doubt Korpi would want more than 3 years. As for the better goalies, only Gibson is substantially better and he can, effectively, decide where he wants to go. Quick is, certainly, playing his final games.
        Plus you have to keep the cap in mind. If it stays flat, Korpi is an affordable signing. Other goalies, not so much.

    • Paul i think your right,✔️

      He would work well in both Ottawa and Buffalo..
      as both teams need starters for the next 3 years or so…
      untill the young up & coming goaltenders are ready for prime time…👍

    • Paul….I’ll take Korpi in Pittsburgh.

  4. Petterson/Walker/Bclarke and a 1st rd pick for Carter Hart/Provorov

    LA gets rid of petterson’s salary, plus flyers could take another contract back to help the numbers work out. La still has to resign Vilardi.

    Flyers can flip Walker to another team for a pick.

    • Flyers get more than that for Hart and Provorov.

      Can you clarify LA Kings/Petterson and not another Petterson?

      • Actually that trade is pretty fair MP.
        When I first read it I felt the opposite to LJ14, but now it looks pretty darn fair. My first thought was LA really doesn’t want to trade Clarke. Still a prospect, I get it, but has a very reasonable chance to be the best player in that trade.

        Clarke is first class prospect, against the best in his age group in the WJC you could make an argument he was the best D man in that tournament.

        We know what Provorov is now, and tenders are risky.

        Blake might just say no because of how good they think Clarke will be.

    • Pengy… If the Penguins buy out Granlund (which we must) that is another $ 4 million which would bump us up to $ 24 million in off season cap space.

      If we can get a strong Gm in there communicating with Sully we can add a lot to the roster that missed the playoffs by 1 point.

  5. Hellebuyck is an elite goaltender, yes he would definitely improve Buffalo, Ottawa or Montreal but for any up and coming teams, there would have to be a sign and trade deal in place.

    A team who thinks their a starting goaltender away from competing for the cup maybe interested and gamble on signing later.

    I would think a team like Buffalo or Ottawa would want a sign and trade, can’t build what their building then give away assets for a one and done. Also said team must have a goalie going back.

    Again for a one and done; Boston for Ullmark.

    • Caper

      I do think Ullmark is in play. As bruins need cap space and futures in a bad way

    • Agree MrBruin4; but you know, for that one more last run at the cup.

      • Caper

        It was a very bad and sour pill to swallow. I said only the bruins health could really hurt their quest. And boy did they get a dose. Add a couple coaching errors and done. Ouch. But at least. With leaf’s getting spanked has eased the sting a little bit 🥲

      • Eases the biggest choke job in history? Ok. 🤪

  6. Draft tonight

    Would like to see Bedard as a Hab (8.5 %) or his “homie” Nucks (3%)

    Ducks have 25 % chance of landing him…. But 75% chance of NOT landing him

    as long neither Bedard (7.5% chance) or Fantilli (7.7% chance) go to Yotes….. then I’m good

    Tragedy if either of those two have to spend their first 4 years (minimum) in a barn in front of 4,600 (max) and not anywhere near close to the TV audience they would have…. ANYwhere else

    Carllson only has 0.2 % chance of being picked by Yotes…. If he is…. His agent should council him to refuse to sign; play in Europe ; force Yotes to trade his rights

    Jackets have 28% chance of landing Bedard or Fantilli; 57% chance of getting one of Bedard, Fantilli, Carllsson

    They already have Jenner(29); Kuraly (30); Roskevic (26) ; Sillinger (19) as C’s on the roster and under contract ; with Del 🔔 🔔 (19) in the wings

    If Jackets (who are in a rebuild) nail Bedard OR Fantilli OR Carllsson…..

    I’d love to see new Pens GM ; make a move for Jenner as their 3C. Jenner can only block 8 teams (not sure which teams they are, but 75% chance that Pens are not on that protection list)

    Buyout Granlund (saves $4.2 M in Cap) replaced by Jenner ($3.8 M)…. Pens become younger; much much bigger; stronger; waaaay better at 3C…. AND save Cap space

    Would 14th OA; Petry (@50%) and Pickering work?

    Jackets have tons of Cap Space….. assuming Werenski; Bean and Danforth come back… Jackets have $18.3 M to fill 3 spots

    If Texier comes back…. $16.8 M for 2 spots

    Likely to draft a player who makes roster and plays…. ELCs max (including PB’s) is less than $3M….

    so Jackets will have over $15 M (Texier not back) for 2 spots ; or

    If Texier back….Just shy of $14M for 1 player

    • Actually, my biggest dream for tonight is when Dayley is flipping over the cards…..

      if he says…. “and the 14th pick in the 2023 draft goes to “ and the next words are either “the Buffalo Sabres” or “The Arizona Coyotes”…. 👍😀👍😀👍😀….. meaning Pens picking 4th or 5th

      Only 3.2 % chance of it happening….. but at least a chance…. Actually better odds of that happening than Leafs going to 3rd round this year (per TSN …. 1.3 % chance)

      • It’s definitely ideal that Arizona gets the number one. It’s f the get a franchise player and can’t seal a deal with the city and draw fans then you know their jig is up. Then they move. So it’s a win win. Either the franchise finally cements itself as a viable one in Arizona or a new market team comes with a marketable franchise player. It’s perfect for the league.

    • Re: “Ducks have 25 % chance of landing him…. But 75% chance of NOT landing him”

      By the same reasoning, Habs have a 91.5% chance of NOT landing him. Same with Arizona’s chances – astronomical.

      The odds say Anaheim or Columbus.

  7. If Blake could swing a deal for Hellebuyck that’d include Walker and Petersen, he’d win GM of the year.

  8. Re Tonight,
    The Draft lottery for Connor Bedard…..

    I hope he Go’s 1st to the
    both these teams really need a lift?

    2nd over all pick is going to get a Great Centre also.. in Adam Fantilli 6.ft3 & 195lb that was before xmas im sure he is 205lb + now

    I wish the NHL draft would put out Curent players hight and weight the week of the draft as every web page is different…..⁉️

  9. Kids are stilling growing in height and weight . I have heard some a foot in their draft year.
    Leafs are not dead yet. What’s the poker saying ‘a chip and a chair’
    Where is M. Murray ? Oh yes history does repeat itself .
    I agree maybe too much new and seven is a lot for this time of year.
    Still don’t like that defence. Old Gio Brodie Holl , McCabe and Gustafsson all meh. Reilly the only real top tier D . This not on Samsonov. I still maintain way too happy and a let down after the Tampa win. Maybe you can have a smaller parade.

  10. If the Habs stay where they are or drop a couple of spots, I would be very happy with them picking Dalibor Dvorsky, the kid IMHO has game. He has good size, skates very well, can play all three forward positions, has top six talent, but most of all has tenacity. To me skill without tenacity will not win you championships.

    As for what is looking like will be the 29th overall pick, maybe the can package that pick, Farrell & maybe Harris to move up or a young top end player or prospect.

  11. As for Hellebuyck, I believe Buffalo can make the best package offer than any other team.

    They can two picks in the top 40, a young high profile goaltender in Devon Levi, plus other top end prospects or top young players.

    • To my memory the best return a goalie got in the past 20 years was a late single digit 1st. Schneider. Anyone recollect something better?


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