NHL Rumor Mill – July 18, 2023

by | Jul 18, 2023 | Rumors | 11 comments

What’s the latest on the Hurricanes? Could they move Brett Pesce? What would it take for the Islanders to sign Vladimir Tarasenko? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke Decock reports the Carolina Hurricanes had a busy start to July but rumors have died down since then. Their last addition was signing winger Brendan Lemieux on July 11 and things could remain unchanged.

The Hurricanes had a proposed deal in place with the Philadelphia Flyers to reacquire defenseman Tony DeAngelo but it was blocked over salary-cap circumvention concerns. It was placed on the back burner after the Hurricanes signed free-agent blueliner Dmitry Orlov. DeAngelo has since become a free agent after being bought out last week by the Flyers but the Hurricanes have not spoken with his agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think we can rule out the possibility of DeAngelo coming back to the Hurricanes.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce (NHL Images).

They’ve been linked to Vladimir Tarasenko but their interest in the unrestricted free-agent winger has cooled. They continue to monitor Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson but their limited cap space would make it difficult to acquire the San Jose Sharks defenseman unless they make another trade first.

The Hurricanes are also working on finalizing an eight-year contract extension for center Sebastian Aho. They face decisions on winger Teuvo Teravainen and defensemen Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei, who are a year away from UFA eligibility.

Decock considers it unlikely or prudent that the Canes will go into 2023-24 with those three still in limbo. Nevertheless, general manager Don Waddell is not yet facing any time pressure.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquiring Karlsson would likely mean parting ways with a defenseman, most likely a right-side defender like Pesce. Speaking of whom…

THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman listed five clubs that could or should be interested in Brett Pesce if the Hurricanes opt to trade the 28-year-old blueliner. They include the Dallas Stars, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pesce carries a $4.025 million cap hit for 2023-24 plus a list of 15 preferred trade destinations. At least one of the aforementioned clubs could be on that list.

Assuming Pesce would accept a trade to those five teams, salary-cap constraints hamper the Leafs, Stars, and Oilers. They’d have to shed salary in a cost-cutting deal to free up room for him. The Hurricanes could be reluctant to take on a player in return if they’re trying clear space for another move.

The Sabres have the cap room but it could get tricky if they want to keep Pesce beyond this season. They must ensure they’ll have sufficient room once they get Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power signed to their long-term extensions. They also recently signed Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton, leaving them with eight defensemen on one-way NHL contracts. Power is on his entry-level contract which is a two-way deal but he’s not going to be buried in the minors following his solid rookie performance last season.

Meanwhile, the Predators have the cap space and the depth in tradeable assets. First-year GM Barry Trotz has shown a willingness to make bold moves. Perhaps he’ll pursue Pesce if the opportunity presents itself.


NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears noted the Islanders’ ongoing search for a scoring winger, pointing out Vladimir Tarasenko is still available in the free-agent market.

Signing the 31-year-old winger, however, would mean having to free up some cap room. He reportedly rejected offers between $5.5 million and $6 million before changing agents.

Sears believes Jean-Gabriel Pageau would be the logical cost-cutting trade candidate. Removing his $5 million cap hit from the Isles books wouldn’t leave a hole at center since Mathew Barzal could be moved back to that position.

Pageau’s skills as a two-way center and penalty killer give him value in the trade market. However, he has a 16-team no-trade list. Meanwhile, just 13 teams have $5 million in cap space, and that’s without accounting for their unsigned restricted free agents.

Moving Pageau alone might not be enough. Sears suggested waiving Ross Johnston and including Oliver Wahlstrom in any deal. If Zach Parise opts for retirement it would leave them with $6.4 million in cap room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule out anything when Isles GM Lou Lamoriello is concerned. He’s been chasing a scoring winger since last summer. Perhaps he can woo Tarasenko while finding a way to clear sufficient cap room. Still, it won’t be easy, especially if there are other suitors with more cap flexibility in the hunt.


  1. I fret that Lou will trade Wahlstrom just before he breaks out.

    • I like Wahlstrom. I think he has tremendous upside.
      I wonder if Lou feels the same way?

  2. I can’t help but wonder if the Islanders already have a deal in place with Tarasenko. Lou seems to like to wait to announce big UFA signings after the initial chaos of the first week of free agency.

  3. I’m confused about the Parise comment that was reported by Sears: If Zach Parise opts for retirement it would leave them with $6.4 million in cap room.
    CapFriendly is showing the Isles about $500k over the cap and Parise isn’t even part of that as he’s a free agent.
    If the Isles cut Johnston ($1.1M) and trade Walstrom ($0.9M) then they would only be $1.5M under the Cap.
    What am I missing?

    • Foley, Lyle was referring to the space they’d have if they’re able to trade Pageau

  4. Lou would have more space if he didn’t sign his back up to an over 2m contract.

    Regarding Tarasenko I do not see him seeing NYI as a contender and I am sure he wants over 7m per on long term deal IMO

    Engvall for 3 m for 7 yrs is odd
    Mayfield for 7 yrs odd
    Should have left more cap flexibility as plenty of UFA could have had for cheaper that do the same thing

    I get cap will go up but Dobson will get paid in 2 yrs and the way roster looks they need to develop draft picks so they don’t have Lou signing Martin and Clutterbuck to 7 yr deal so too

    Lou is too loyal per se and I still hate the Horvat move.

    Those picks and players could have been offered to a younger Debrincat to leave Barzal as center.

    Worry about those Isles.

  5. I have heard a lot lately about a possible trade with Boston with Pageau going there and DeBrusk coming to the Islanders. DeBrusk-Horvat-Barzal would be a pretty nice top line. If they keep Engval- Nelson-Palmieri together that would mean Lee as 3rd line LW with Wahlstrom/Holmstrom at RW. They would need a new 3rd line Center. Could see them sending Johnston and his 1.1M cap hit to the AHL and releasing Clutterbuck with Fasching ready to take over on the 4th line.

    • There better be more coming than Pageau,like Wahlstrom,,then we can talk!

      • The Bruins don’t need/want Pageau as they already have a $5m third line center, and Pageau is not good enough for a 1C or 2C role.

    • You have read wrong Jake isn’t going anywhere

  6. How toxic can dangelo be that every team can’t wait to get rid of him as soon as they see him. Almost a pt a game player as a dman. He must have really burned bridges wherever he we t