NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2023

by | Jul 1, 2023 | Rumors | 30 comments

The NHL’s annual free-agent market opens at noon ET today. Here’s the latest on the notable pending UFAs such as Tyler Bertuzzi, Vladimir Tarasenko, Max Pacioretty and Blake Wheeler plus the latest on Alex DeBrincat and Logan Thompson in the Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Carolina Hurricanes will be aggressive in the UFA market. He wouldn’t be surprised if they pursued such notables as Tyler Bertuzzi, Vladimir Tarasenko, Dmitry Orlov or Blake Wheeler.

The Toronto Maple Leafs could also have an interest in Bertuzzi and could also pursue a UFA defenseman. They’ve also been linked to former Minnesota Wild enforcer Ryan Reaves.

Ryan O’Reilly has been linked to the Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be surprised if the Canadiens, Predators and Canucks seriously pursue O’Reilly given their current state of retooling/rebuilding their rosters. Still, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected in free agency (hello there, Johnny Gaudreau to Columbus) so never say never, I guess.

DAILY FACEOFF: reported significant interest in former Carolina Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty despite his twice-injured Achilles tendon last season. Team indicated the Hurricanes granted Pacioretty permission to speak with other clubs prior to July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given those injuries I expect Pacioretty ends up signing an affordable one-year contract. He’s 34 so he’s not eligible for a 35-plus bonus-laden deal. **Update** As reader “Chris” pointed out, Pacioretty would be eligible to sign a 35-plus contract due to his number of career games played (400-plus) and the number of days spent on injured reserve (100-plus days) on injured reserve in the last year of their most recent contract.

TSN: Darren Dreger speculates the Boston Bruins or Florida Panthers as possible destinations for Blake Wheeler.

SPORTSNET: Friedman reports that we shouldn’t expect any immediate decisions from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on where they’ll be signing.

Jonathan Quick could be heading to the New York Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: ESPN’s Kevin Weekes broke the news of Quick potentially heading to the Rangers to back up Igor Shesterkin.

The Wings and Predators have also been linked to former Colorado Avalanche center J.T. Compher.

Speaking of the Wings, Friedman expects them to make a big move given their plentiful cap space this summer. “All eyes are on Alex Killorn, with Alex DeBrincat trade talks stalled.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Killorn player for Wings general manager Steve Yzerman when the latter was GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

One team with an interest in defenseman Scott Mayfield told Friedman they believe he is all but re-signing by the New York Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello usually doesn’t officially announce his UFA re-signings until September. Don’t be surprised if Mayfield’s name is still listed as unsigned in a month’s time.

Friedman believes the Leafs and Edmonton Oilers are in on former Washington Capitals winger Connor Brown.

The Vancouver Canucks could be interested in a UFA defenseman such as Ian Cole or Carson Soucy.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals are among the teams interested in Senators winger Alex DeBrincat, along with the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying the Red Wings are no longer the favorites to land DeBrincat. He also listed the Capitals, Islanders and Stars as possible trade partners as well as the Anaheim Ducks.

Silber believes the Capitals’ limited salary-cap space would make it difficult to acquire and re-sign DeBrincat. They could get cap relief if they could shed the contracts of Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha via trade but those moves seem unlikely.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators would prefer to move DeBrincat as soon as possible but they’re willing to be patient. If a trade can’t be found before their club-elected arbitration date later this summer, they’ll retain him for 2023-24 and try again to move him during the season. Nevertheless, I expect him to be moved soon.


VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Chris Gawlik cited ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reporting a few teams contacted the Golden Knights about the availability of goaltender Logan Thompson. This came amid word they were close to signing playoff hero Adin Hill to a two-year contract, which was completed on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gawlik doesn’t rule out the possibility of Thompson getting traded, pointing to the Reilly Smith deal earlier this week that no one saw coming. However, he noted there are no indications the Golden Knights are shopping the 26-year-old netminder.

With Robin Lehner facing an uncertain future due to health issues and the limited options within their system, the Golden Knights will likely return this season with a tandem of Hill and Thompson.


  1. Cannot see Wheeler going back to bruins after they shipped him out on 2011 cup run

    • I dont know Mrbruin4, so long ago, different management and can’t be to passed, the Bruins moves brought them the cup.

      Hopefully Boston picks up a piece or two, other than Lucic announcement.

      Maybe sign Reaves also. 4th line of Lucic, Frederick, Reaves.

      That be fun to play against.

      • I rather the Bruins pass on Wheeler and sign Hathaway, Lucic, McLeod and Wood to reasonably low dollar value contracts. That would be a floor check for the ages. Also, Neely was in the front office when Wheeler was traded, and he apparently was not too happy with his lack of physicality for a big guy (much like Ritchie). I doubt you see Wheeler back in Boston.

    • Mrbruin4 nvm Reaves is signing in Toronto. This is a good signing for them.

      With Lucic in Boston and Reaves in Toronto, this is their answer to the Florida Panthers.

  2. Pacioretty can sign a bonus-laden contract.

    CBA: “Players who are “400-plus game Players” for pension purposes, and who: (i) in the last year of their most recent SPC, spent 100 days or more on the Injured Reserve List; and (ii) have signed a one-year SPC for the current or upcoming League Year.”

    • Thanks, Chris, I was not aware of that rule. That’s the fun thing about the CBA, we learn something new all the time. Cheers!

  3. Could Florida move out Anthony Declair.

    Bring in Blake Wheeler for reunion with Paul Maurice.

    Remember once in a interview Maurice said he would go thru a wall for that guy.

    • Is duclair and pick for pesce useful for both clubs?

      Who then replaces Pesce in their top 4?

    • Spending how Ranger contracts shape up I honestly would consider Wheeler for NyR on a 2 yr deal

      Play 1RW with zibby and kreids or line 3c with kreids

      Moving bread and chytl to line 1
      Promote Laffy and Kakko to line 2 with Troch
      Wheeler kreids and cuyle line 3

      • Wheeler does not help the Rangers speed and forecheck pressure woes but obviously if a player wants to come to NYC for a 1million contract we have little choice

  4. I read that since he played so few games Pacioretty he is able to sign a plus 35 bonus laden contract, but I might be wrong

  5. What would the isles have to give up for Debrincat? I wish Ottawa would take back JGP who they liked plus Walstrom and a pick. Is that fair for both sides? Or do they offer that to Toronto for Nylander. Probably not enough in both cases.

    • Pete, whatever Dorion gets for DeBrincat it will be monumentally better than a 5’10” C who turns 31 in November and costing $5 mil per off the cap for 3 more years (to play where – with Norris, Stutzle and Pinto holding down the top 3 lines at C?), and a borderline NHLer. As for the pick, what pick? Even a 1st figures to be middle of the pack somewhere.

  6. Reading Reaves 3 years Leafs that’s crazy

    • Ya odd for term but assume he doesn’t sign without that term

      Great locker room guy though
      And Bizz likes him too 😂

      But if they can find the space a guy like garnett Hathaway is pretty tenacious and I think would be great for their bottom 7

    • He’s 36 years old ….

  7. Read OTT signed Branstrom 1x2m

    Was there a drawback to his play or consistency to not signing him longer in a bridge deal?

    Is this a show me contract that if he doesn’t take the next step they most likely plan to move off the young kid?

    • It could also be a prelude to a trade.

  8. Think a UFA deeper we aren’t hearing much about is JVR

    Though 34 a 2 or 3 yr deal would be an effective use of some cap space no?

    30plus pt per season guy

    Where does he fit best and for how much?

  9. Not a game changer but have a feeling the Bruins are going to run it back with Hathaway

  10. Freidman :

    Everybody to the Leafs!!!

  11. To Lyle and your family

    To all my fellow Canadians (and their families) on here

    Happy 🇨🇦 Day

  12. Have been watching TSN for last 20 minutes…. 4 times; and 4 different panelists…. All mentioned Jarry’s big downfall last year was the D in front of him

    If Dubas does the right thing…, NOT re-upping Dumo; burying CR; moving Rutta; AND Sully benches (or seriously limits playing time of ) Carter…. Pens will do well with Jarry

    I fear that he will sign elsewhere; and have a stellar year

    Healthy Jarry with a good D in front of him…. Great formula

    The other thing they’ve talked about is Karrllsson … and Penguins one of 4 teams in on him

    If Petry goes the other way (with ++)…. Excellent move by Pens

  13. Would like to see the Edmonton Oilers Get

    ➡️Connor Brown for the Top 6 RW Spot

    ➡️A Big Tough Guy

    ➡️Hathaway for the 3rd line RW spot add physicality

    ➡️ Evan Bouchard to a 2 year bridge deal $3.M.

    ➡️Ryan Mcleod 2 year deal $1.5M

    if we can trade we Ceci❓to improve out top 4 RD,
    like a Carson Soucy to play with Nures… or a
    Brett Perce from the Canes….

  14. Hope the Ottawa Senators get a Good Starting Goaltender untill the 2 younger goaltenders are ready in Ottawa as they are both 1-2 years away and need more time to inprove the skill set in the AHL….

    There are 2-3 good Goaltenders in the UFA Market today

    First choice
    1/ The pens UFA 27 yr old Jarry could cost them $5.M for 4-5 years

    2/ Kings Joonas Korpisalo UFA 28 yr old could cost them $3-4.M for 3 years

    3/ The Canes UFA Fredrick Anderson 33 yr old…🤔

    if not they will have to pay a big price for one via a Trade……..⁉️
    Maybe its a The Cat for a goaltender ….Really
    hope they can Move The Cat today or Tomorrow and get a good fresh start this season 🤔

  15. Bruins signing Van Riemsdyk if they sign someone else, TSN is right, time to offer sheet Swayman @6M and pay a 1st and a 3rd. So Leafs replacing OReilly with Ryan Reaves…3 years… Guess they didn’t learn from the Simmonds signing. The pas few days have been great. Been a while !

    • The Bruins have filed for arbitration with Swayman. He can’t be offer sheet-.ed

      • Smart move. It’s unlikely they’ll even get to arbitration. This provides a deadline to get a deal done rather than have it drag out into training camp.

      • Agree Lyle. Believe Sweeney has said he would prefer a settlement before arbitration hearing.

      • According to cap friendly if the team elects arbitration an RFA he can still sign an offer sheet until 5pm on July 5th.