NHL Rumor Mill – June 21, 2023

by | Jun 21, 2023 | Rumors | 50 comments

The Devils contact the Jets about Connor Hellebuyck, updates on Pierre-Luc Dubois, Ryan O’Reilly, Brett Pesce and Kailer Yamamoto in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the New Jersey Devils are among the teams that Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck would be interested in a sign-and-trade.

LeBrun indicates the Devils have looked into it but what gives them pause is the amount of money the 30-year-old Hellebuyck would seek in his next contract. It’s believed he’d seek something comparable to the $9.5 million annual cap hit of Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy. LeBrun believes the price would have to come down for the Devils to get more involved.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hellebuyck is a former Vezina Trophy winner who is a finalist this year for the award. Of course, he’s going to seek something comparable to Vasilevskiy, especially if he wins the Vezina again.

Bear in mind that Hellebuyck lacks no-trade protection. The Jets can send him to anyone willing to meet their asking price. However, they’ll get a better return if he’s willing to sign with whichever team he’s dealt to. That could be a limited number of possible destinations.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Turning to Hellebuyck’s teammate Pierre-Luc Dubois, Darren Dreger reports there are more teams than the Montreal Canadiens and the Los Angeles Kings interested in the Jets center. The Kings have limited salary-cap space while the Canadiens have made it clear they’re willing to wait until Dubois becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The “Dubois-to-Montreal” speculation hasn’t been as heated as it was a couple of weeks ago. That doesn’t mean a trade to the Canadiens isn’t possible. However, it appears they’ve made it clear that they’re comfortable with Dubois heading somewhere else if the Jets asking price is too high. The same applies to his contract.

LeBrun was asked whether there was a pathway for Ryan O’Reilly to return to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Acquired from the St. Louis Blues near the trade deadline, O’Reilly sounded like he would be heading to free agency during his end-of-season interview perhaps because of the Leafs cap constraints.

However, new Leafs GM Brad Treliving has informed the O’Reilly camp that they’re interested in bringing him back. The 31-year-old center also hasn’t ruled out a possible return. However, he appears to be the top center in an otherwise weak UFA market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Reilly isn’t the dominant two-way center he was when he lead the Blues to the 2019 Stanley Cup. Nevertheless, he’s still a very effective one when healthy and will draw plenty of interest from playoff contenders. The Leafs will face competition for his services.


COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Evan Rawal cited Yvon Pedneault of Le Journal de Montreal listing the Avalanche among the teams interested in Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce. The 28-year-old defenseman is a year away from UFA status. The Hurricanes hope to re-sign him but it’s believed they could trade him if a deal cannot be worked out.

Rawal doesn’t buy into it citing how much they’re already paying for defensemen with Bowen Byram and Devon Toews due for raises soon. He believes the only way this works is if they trade away one of their defensemen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Rawal that if the Avs pursue a defenseman this summer it’ll be a depth blueliner, not Pesce.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited TSN’s Chris Johnston and Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli believe there should be a market for Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto. Seravalli doesn’t believe they’ll get much of a return but won’t have to pay to move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The objective here for the cap-strapped Oilers is shedding Yamamoto’s $3.1 million cap hit for 2023-24. If all they get back is a draft pick or prospect it’ll be worth it if the money can be put toward re-signing a key player or adding an upgrade.


  1. Do you need a $10m goalie to win ?
    Vegas no Florida yes. Col no Bolts yes .
    I personally think a little too much for the position with very little left for a backup.
    Without those two and potentially others the Jets are a lottery team next year.

  2. Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto defiantly has Value
    at 24 yr old.

    in the 2022 season he played all 82 games
    G20, A21, 41-Points

    in the 2023 season he only played 58 games due to an injury,
    G10 A15, 25 points

    Teams like AZ, who only have 11 Roster players signed for the 2023/4 Season, They could use a player like RW Yamamoto
    its a 2.nd or 3rd pick coming back for him at the draft or just before the draft

    • It is almost impossible to imagine that there is any market for Yamamoto at full cap hit, even if the return would be “future considerations”. And at his size, no one is looking at him for their 4th line. I’m not sure anyone would offer him a one way contract at league minimum.

      • Granlund and DeSmith for Yamamoto and Campbell?

        Frees 2m for EDM

        EDM gets a forward back who is only under 2 yr contract at same cap that their back up goalie was

        Potts gets a goalie and can sign get
        To back up. Plenty available
        Get young 3rd liner to fill in roster and don’t need to commit long term

        Can’t see EDM wanting to pay their back up 5m for 4 yrs

        Better use of cap for both teams

      • Pens ain’t trading one back up goalie for another far more expensive one.

  3. If I recall, Yamamoto plays on one of the top two lines? Sorry not buying him at 3m. CH might have been worth the 9,5 if he was younger as it is, it’s to much, not paying more than 7-7,5

    • Hey Mr Ihatecrosby

      I dont think the Oilers are taking that deal, inface 100% Sure❗️

      Jack Campbell will be way better this up and coming season

      as for Mikael Granlund, 10 goals…. that what Yamo scored in 22 less games and Yamo is 7 years
      younger ..

      Granlund’s game has been on the decline over the past 3 years and at $5.M PA for 2 more years
      No thanks❗️

      • Ww

        I was coming from the thought why pay EDM backup 5m

        The trade would save 2m for EDM that they need to use toward Bouchard bc I don’t see any other roster move that gives them the space while filling in the roster and sign Bouchard to a good deal

        So it was pick your poison. Campbell at 5m for 4
        Granlund at 5m for 2

        Clears 10m in just 2 yrs time being used towards other roster players

        Just a thought

  4. I think the question shouldn’t be is a goalie worth $10 million but is your best player worth it.
    If your best player is your goalie then he is.

    You do need your goalie to play like he’s worth $10 million to win.

    • I’ll pay him top money if the contract is for 5 years, he will not be worth 10 when he is past 35

    • Ihatecrosby

      After Jack Campbell has a good year 2023-4 season he will be Worth a Lot more…❓

      Remember Stu Skinner has only played one season, they have a great relationship and are good friends of the ice, he has also been a good mentor for SS.

      there will be a few team looking at young 24 yr old Yamo with lots of picks, Like the following teams
      AZ, Detroit, Habs,Hawks, Ducks to name a few….
      There will also be a good market for JC next year…

  5. A fresh start in MTL could work for Yamamoto. Norlinder and the VGK 4TH would be a fair return.

    • No thank you. 3.1m of cap hit for a 5’8” not so great defensively 40 points player.. That money can be invested somewhere else. We already have a small superstar in the making 😉

      • I’m with you on that Mike. Yamamoto could be a guy who could provide decent depth scoring. He’ll never be a top goal scorer. The Habs have enough guys like him. Plus, he’s short.

    • I think Oilers would have to add a draft pick for MTL to take him and the famous future considerations going to the oilers.

  6. Re; Winnipeg Jets goaltender
    Connor Hellebuyck

    Goaltender’s have value, But i dont see any team in this cash strapped world giving Connor Hellebuyck $9.5M PA…❓

    Andrei Vasilevskiy is the best goaltender in the NHL
    right now…,

    Hellebuyck is 30 yr old… Goaltenders are normally going down hill at 35 and being a back up….🤔
    Tops he gets $7.5M with a new team …so his final 3 years would be big $$ as a back up

    NJ have room and could well do that, they are looking for a top Goaltender and if falls in where they want to be salary wise, $7 & $8.M
    they are going into a win now mode over the next few years sound like he wants to win….

    • Hear me out

      What ever teams wants him say NJ trades their assets to WPG

      Then NJ trades assets including Blackwood to AZ to do a sign and Helly is trade from WPG to AZ
      WPG cap dumps a contract like Schmidt to AZ for Blackwood

      aZ signs him to his 8×9

      AZ holds half his contract and sends him to NJ

      AZ now stays above floor for years
      WPG gets assets and cap space
      NJ gets their goalie

      • What is arizona getting out of this? Min. would be 3 1st rd picks to burn ther last retain slot for 8 years on top of the 6 years being retained on EOL.

        SO 3 1st rd picks to start, and then some to even consider holding cap for 8 years.

        And thats just the ask from NJ, for Win to dump NS contract that is at a least a 2nd rd pick plus.
        Word is NJ is walking away from Blackwood so there is zero value there.

      • All picks and assets would be worked out amongst the teams

        I’m merely talking baseline format

        AZ would benefit with all those assets coming in to their young core they have been drafting.
        Can be young player prospect picks combos

        Blackwood no value correct but as an RFA shipping rights to WPG in asset move

        WPG may take a 1 yr flyer in him. Never know

        AZ need not hold 50% perhaps less

        Again merely spitballing framework

      • I personally dont think there is any team that would hold salary for 8 years. I think the owner would step in at that point and nix it.

        I was thinking the Flyers could hold for some teams but with the Hayes issue we will be burning one of our slots for 3 years.

      • Mr Ihatecrosby…

        there is No way AZ or anybody in there right mind holds on to 8 yrs of Connor Hellebuyck salary at $4.5M….❗️
        looks like AZ could not organize a beer in a Brewery so to speak… and i dont think Gary Betman would let that happen to his team…..😂

        SJ cant even trade the best d/man EK in the league this year and SJ wont hold on to $5.M to $5.5M of his salary for 4 years….⁉️

      • MP agreed not the best strategy but AZ is only retaining on OEL
        Cap strapped team that has 31m in cap space

        Assuming their filling roster of 10 more players at 1m each leaves 21m cap space

        Floor will go up significantly over the next few years and holding say 3-4m will help them stay above floor IMO

        Also allows them to get more assets to flip or keep to put a competitive cost effective product on the ice

        They def can pull it off
        Maybe ask for Akira Schmid and flip Valimaki for a 1st somewhere

        Will be interesting this off season who sends players to AZ and what assets they garner for taking bad contracts

      • WW. 😂 for Akira Schmid, Holz and Nemec I’d hold 4.5m when I dont really wanna spend cash on a roster

        Flip Valimaki for a 1st

        Cheap win for AZ

        AZ may even offer BOS Schmaltz as a center to them for draft capital and Grez

      • Sorry meant Vejamelka not Valimaki being traded for a 1st if a wiring Schmid from NJ

      • That’s very creative IHC.
        I wonder if the NHL would see that as any sort of circumvention.
        It’s quite inventive tho.
        That’s a lot to retain for 8 years. I could see a world where 2 mill is held for a fairly big compensation.
        It’s inventive.

    • Sorry meant to say Vejamelka bro g traded for a 1st not Valimaki their d guy

      • i dont think NJ trades Nemec….Tom Fitzgerald is gaga about this kid .. cant say enough

        He is projected to be a top pairing d/man for NJ.
        any trade NJ make for a goaltender 27 yr old Vitek Vanecek’ will go the other way @$3.4M

        i dont think AZ moves Vejamelka they are high on him they AZ, are in a slow 5-7 year re-build

    • In my opinion CH is an elite goalie above most in the league by a long shot. We’ve seen goalies that are elite play well into their 30’s and some that haven’t.

      The goalie position is one of the hardest to predict from year to year, CH has consistently been one of the top 5 goalies in the league for a number of years now. 9.5 is a lot and he may not command that but if he’s at 8 for 8 years, the expectation is that you win the cup at least once in the next 5 years. If you have the money to go 9.5×6, I’d say do it.

      It’s not 100% a sure thing but having a top 10 goalie really seems to improve the teams odds. There are teams that have won in spite of how their goalie playing average or lower and maybe they stepped up in the playoffs.

      For cup winning goalie ranking for GSAA with minimum 30 games played regular season

      2023- Adin Hill (can’t use)
      2022- Darcy Kempeur 5th
      2021- Andrei V 2nd
      2020- Andrei V 8th
      2019- Binnington 16th
      2018- Holtby 9th
      2017- Murray 25th
      2016- Murray 7th
      2015- Crawford 6th
      2014- Quick 16th
      2013- Crawford 21st

  7. Yeah, I’m not sure I buy the rumor of Pesce and the Avalanche? The reasons I agree with Rawal and Lyle: they have to be focused on signing Byram and T oews who is due next year! Both of these guys are invaluable to the team’s success IMO ! They could make some other moves seeing that Jack Johnson is not coming back and EJ is up in the air? But Pesce even though I would live to have him, what would the plan be to trade Toews? I wouldn’t like that. The Avalanche are going to have to figure out a way to keep these guys. They gave up the cupboard to get them, that’s why they don’t have many draft picks? So, pay them. I’m for keeping Rodrigues and Compher too if we can!! Otherwise, to fill some of these holes, they need to make some hockey trades. But not Towes or Byram!!!

  8. Yamamoto is 5’8″ and 153 lbs, he had every chance to produce points with the best player in the world and couldn’t come through. I can’t see any team paying a 2nd or 3rd for him. I can only see a buyout or Edm paying a team to take him.

    I think Helly will come down from asking for 9.5 million if he’s getting another 7 years added to his contract.

  9. I was just thinking. If the Habs had to deal with the Jets, wouldn’t it make more sense if they tried to go for Hellebuyck and then wait for next year for Dubois ?

    Hoffman, Edmunsdon and Pitlick are UFAs in 2024 which will free up 9M $ added to the substancial salary cap increase…

    Just saying, could use Carey Price’s salary cap relief to pay another star goaltender and we have alot of good young defensemen comming up in the near future to play in front of him

    We do have Samuel Montembeault, one of two 1st rounders for next year that can be lottery protected, a youngster like Joshua Roy or Sean Farrell, Christian Dvorak etc… Intriguing

    • The numbers for Hellybuyck don’t work for me, Mike, even without Dubois.

      First, Montembeault (first boosted by HF30) is showing promise that he can be a legit # 1. Second is the # that needs to be anticipated to sign several of the current D who will come off their entry level contracts in a year or two. Third, ask Dubas how spending big on an anticipated significant cap growth worked.

      I could add reasons, but that’s a good enough list.

      • You have good points LJ 😉

      • LJ. I agree that we don’t need Hellybuyck at this point in the rebuild but you lost me with Montembeault and the idea he can be a legit #1. While I agree that Montembeault has been a pleasant surprise as a waiver pickup and has great value at $1 million salary, he was not in the top 40 for GAA and there were more than 25 goalies with a better save %. Yes he played on a bad team but I can assure you, when the Habs are ready to compete, Montembeault will not be their #1 goalie. He does have value though as a solid backup.

      • Agreed, LJ. Montreal is not the place for Hellebuyck. Firstly, as he’s passed birthday #30, he’d like to play for a team that’s a contender right now. The Habs certainly aren’t. Secondly, he’s asking for too much money. I’m not that sure that throwing huge money to a goalie is really worth it. I still have doubts about Montembeault’s ability to be #1, but Hellebuyck wouldn’t be good for the Habs or the player.

      • Habman67,


        You’ll notice that Montembeault is listed at #13 for GSAX and that on a team that is very weak defensively.

        He has shown a steady progression since his arrival and the mental and physical tools to become a legit #1, time

      • HF30. Thanks for the site and the info. No one would be happier than me to see Montembeault become a true #1. Time will tell. My money is on him being the backup when the Habs are ready to contend. Both of us have good memories – so we will resume this conversation in a couple of years to see who is right.

  10. You really think Helly wants to go to a rebuilding team? and in Canada?

    • I think this is going to be a quick rebuilt, as Hughes and Gorton stated that they are expecting better results starting this year and I have a read somwhere that Hugues is planning to go for it in 2024 on the UFA market.

      Doen’t look like it but Habs weren’t doing so bad before Monahan got hurt.

      Now this year’s draft will be one of the best in ages. Add our first round pick that might be NHL ready or close and maybe Dubois or another very good UFA next year to Caufield, Suzuki, Dach, Anderson, Monahan, Slafkovsky… Things are becoming very interesting..

      Just for the fun of it :

      *Montreal is a big hockey market like Toronto, New York etc..

      *Playing for Martin St Louis


      Nick Suzuki
      Kirby Dach
      Cole Caufield
      5th overall pick
      Pierre Luc Dubois or another very good UFA
      Josh Anderson
      Sean Monahan
      Juraj Slavkovsky
      Rafael Harvey Pinard


      Mike Matheson
      Kaiden Guhle
      Justin Barron
      Arber Xhekaj
      Jordan Harris
      Logan Mailloux
      Lane Hutson
      Jonathan Kovacevic
      Adam Engstrom
      Jayden Struble


      Connor Hellebuyck

      1st Florida

      Not to mention other trades that will be done and eventual other UFA’s

      I think this team would be getting really close so yes I think that might interest him.

      • Sorry for the typos ”I have read”, ”doesn’t”, ”somewhere”

        Excuse my french 😉

  11. Re Yammo

    All teams aware that hd is a key buyout Candidate and Oil need space…. Buyout saves $2.7 M in cap this year with a measly $0.5 M dead cap in 24/25

    Trade (if happens)…..saves $3.1 M in Cap this year

    Teams interested in him have to pay $3.2 M cash ; with $3.1 M Cap to retain his rights

    Why not wait for buyout; sign him 1/7 for much les???

    Re RoR…. Posted my hopes yesterday….

    “ Pens should buyout Granlund…. Then on 1/7 offer RoR…..

    $775 K Sal for 8 years; plus SBs of $10M, $10 M ; $5.5 M $5.5M ; $4M…. Full NMC for 5 years; then no protection years 6-8

    He’d likely retire (at 38) after yr 5…. Effectively getting paid basically 5 yrs @ $8M; but Cap hit only $5.15 M….

    Pens (for 23/24) convert Granlund into RoR at the expense of only $950 K in extra Cap (cash extra irrelevant to the deep pocket owners)


    • Ya can still sign ROR for your 5 for 5

      Just trade Granlund and DeSmith to EDM for Yamamoto and Campbell
      You have the cap space still no?

      Better use of cap for both teams

      EDM only has Granlund 5m for 2 instead of Campbell 5m for 4 as their backup

      Campbell would do fine in Pitts as #1

      Then sign Raanta as backup if CAR doesn’t or Reimer as the backup

      Still room for pity’s to make move and the trade saves EDM 2m in cap

      • lol Granlund is your new Jack Johnson, every trade involves getting rid of granlund.

        Hexy left you with a present just like he left the Flyers with many. The hockey player i like the GM not so much.

      • Hi IHC

        I already lived through the Campbell experience with Leafs; don’t want to again with Pens

        Oil want no part of Granlund even though the jetison Campbell. Absolute waste for Granlund

        Buyout by Pens id s must re Granlund

        They (media) have discussed /bandied about a Treliving buyout of Murray (must be deemed healthy)…saves $5.3 M on Cap this year but $2M dead Cap 24/25 (when WW and AM; if Kept; are getting a combined $5M [at least] raise)…. Shouldn’t do it

        If he is bought out…. Murray is out $2.7 M ; but must prove himself on next contract…. 1 @ $1.5 M I’m thinking

        If that is a go…, wait for it BnG et al…. I would take the risk of Jarry/Murray for a combined $6.5 M; bury DeSmith. Cheaper/better than trade options

        If Murray falters/injured…. In a pinch; Gauthier or Lindberg could be called; gives them one more year to develop

        That is a better option than giving up buckets in bidding war over Hallebuyck; weakening roster (and future roster) in the process

        Under no circumstances should Pens consider hometown Gibson; unless Ducks retain 50% AND P-O J is NOT (under any circumstances) part of the assets going back

      • Hi mp

        Granlund is an excellent (real excellent) buyout candidate for Pens….. trade (giving up assets) not needed

        Buyout saves $4.3 M then $3.2 M in the next two window years

        After that the two dead cap years are (1) when Pens are rebuilding; and (2) when cap is much higher

        Any Granlund trade will be costly…. Sweetners or garbage/useless contract coming back

  12. Is Ottawa close enough to Montreal for Dubois.

    Ottawa trades Norris, Soogaard, Creig, Brannstrom some draft pick to Winnipeg

    Winnipeg trades, Dubois, Hellybuyck, Stanley to Ottawa. (All sign up.

    Ottawa gets their goalie.
    Winnipeg changes up their top 6 gets another good goalie prospect plus young NHLer and prospects.

  13. Wheeler…. Trade of buyout?


    If they are considering buyout…. Costs them more cash and minimal Cap savings this year; with Dead cap next year….. COMPARED to retaining 50% and trading

    What’s 1 year of 36 year old Wheeler worth in trade to thr receiver??? ($4.1 M Cap)


    Buyout Granlund then….

    O’Connor and Gruden for Wheeler (50% retained)

    Pens convert Granlund at 3C into Wheeler @ 3C; become much bigger, much stronger; better; AND actually net $100 K Cap advantage; at the expense of two prospects….yes, noted…. Pens (already old) get older

    • I like wheeler for Granlund for both teams

      WPG gets a cost controlled player that is nhl ready for roster as they trade players old or that don’t want to sign long term

      Pens get wheeler who can certainly play 3c

      Perhaps pens offer Jonathan Toews a 3 c role and move wheeler to his wing

      Creates depth and good use of cap space

      • Hi IHC

        Not a chance Jets take Granlund

        And if it’s a straight up trade (no retention)….. not a chance Pens have their 3C @ $8.25 M

  14. Granlund + a 4th for Wheeler ($3M retained)