NHL Rumor Mill – June 27, 2023
WHAT NEXT FOR THE BRUINS?
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss explained the motivation behind the Bruins trading Taylor Hall to the Chicago Blackhawks was to free up salary-cap space. The move clears Hall’s $6 million average annual value from the Bruins’ books for the next two seasons. They now have over $10 million in cap room for 2023-24.
Goss believes the Bruins’ priority now is re-signing Tyler Bertuzzi, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The 28-year-old winger could command between $5.5 million and $7.5 million annually on his next contract.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL source claiming the Bruins aren’t done shedding salary. The source believes general manager Don Sweeney is going to move a defenseman. He also claims the trade rumors surrounding goaltender Linus Ullmark are true. Murphy speculates Matt Grzelcyk could be the defenseman on the move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winner of the 2022-23 Vezina Trophy, Ullmark earns an AAV of $5 million through 2024-25. He has a full no-movement clause until July 1, when it drops to a 16-team no-trade list.
Unless Ullmark agrees to waive his clause before then, the Bruins will have to wait until Saturday to trade him, assuming he’s the goalie they intend to move. They could decide to peddle restricted free agent netminder Jeremy Swayman.
LATEST ON PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS’ TRADE TALKS
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Montreal Canadiens appeared to be out of the bidding in trade talks for Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Jets don’t want to go into rebuild mode while the Canadiens don’t want to give up good playing assets off their existing roster.
The Canadiens have re-engaged discussions with the Jets. However, Dreger believes the Los Angeles Kings remain the front-runners for Dubois.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported that rumors claiming the Kings had permission to discuss a contract extension with Dubois weren’t true. Nevertheless, Friedman wondered if Dubois would sign an eight-year extension or a one-year deal to bring him up to UFA eligibility next summer.
WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck reported the Kings were willing to offer up forwards Gabe Vilardi and Alex Iafallo for Dubois. He believes the Canadiens won’t have much else to sway Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff if they’re not willing to part with young center Kirby Dach.
Speaking of Scheifele, Billeck wondered if he might be on the Bruins’ radar following their cost-cutting move of Taylor Hall to Chicago.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Kings drop out I think they’re the most likely destination for Dubois. The rebuilding Canadiens are understandably intrigued about Dubois. However, the cost of giving up a good young player such as Dach as well as paying over $9 million annually to sign Dubois to a long-term deal is probably something they’re not comfortable doing right now.
As for Scheifele going to Boston, most of that freed-up cap space could go to re-signing Tyler Bertuzzi. Unless the Bruins shed more salary, I don’t see the Jets center landing in Beantown this summer.
LATEST SENATORS SPECULATION
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch acknowledged San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson’s recent comments about his willingness to accept a trade back to the Senators. However, such a move would mean clearing Thomas Chabot’s $8 million AAV through 2027-28 to create sufficient cap space for Karlsson’s contract even if the Sharks retained part of his $11.5 million AAV.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be a nice story, Karlsson returning to a rising young Senators club five years after he was traded away. As Garrioch pointed out, however, this is a different team than the one he left, built around a good young core of talent. While anything’s possible, I don’t see Karlsson returning to the Senators as a player.
Turning to Alex DeBrincat, Garrioch cited league executives expressing their belief that the Detroit Red Wings are high on the 25-year-old RFA winger’s list of preferred trade destinations. However, dealing with Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman isn’t easy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also cited Yzerman’s reputation as a tough negotiator as well as his reluctance to sign players to long-term contracts with Dylan Larkin as the sole exception.
Garrioch also noted that DeBrincat has been linked to the Nashville Predators. That’s prompted speculation whether Nashville goalie Juuse Saros would head the other way but there’s mixed feelings over whether the Predators want to part with Saros.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stranger things have happened but I’m still not convinced that Predators GM Barry Trotz will part with Saros. He’s been talking as though he’s retooling rather than rebuilding his roster. In that case, it makes sense to hang onto Saros.
The Senators could also have some interest in Calgary Flames winger Tyler Toffoli, who would make sense on a short-term contract. Toffoli has indicated he would be open to a trade. He has a year remaining on his current deal.
There was a rumor claiming the Washington Capitals would like to make a deal to send Tom Wilson to the Senators. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan told TSN there was no truth to the rumor and he’s not trading the power forward.