NHL Rumor Mill – July 19, 2023

by | Jul 19, 2023 | Rumors | 46 comments

Check out the latest on Erik Karlsson, an update on the Leafs’ contract talks with William Nylander and Auston Matthews, and the Flames’ efforts to re-sign Elias Lindholm in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman still believes it’s primarily between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes to acquire Erik Karlsson from the San Jose Sharks.

Friedman said this situation tends to ebb and flow. Some sources tell him that it’s more likely Carolina is the destination while others claim it’s tipping toward Pittsburgh.

According to Friedman, the Hurricanes have two issues holding them back from landing the 33-year-old defenseman.

They’re trying to deal with defenseman Brett Pesce and winger Teuvo Teravainen, who both are slated to become unrestricted free agents next July. Friedman thinks they’ve spoken with some teams regarding Teravainen if they need to free up cap space for Karlsson.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

The other issue is how much of Karlsson’s $11.5 million average annual value will the Sharks retain. He believes the Hurricanes already have a number that the Sharks are unwilling to reach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman claims the Hurricanes are involved in a lot of things. As noted yesterday, they’re monitoring Karlsson’s situation. It’s difficult to determine how much interest they have in landing the Sharks rearguard or what they’re willing to offer up in return.

My guess is the Hurricanes would prefer the Sharks retain at least 40 percent of his cap hit which runs through 2026-27. However, that would require the Canes to give up much more in terms of return, perhaps more than they’re comfortable with.

Turning to the Penguins…

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel speculated last Friday that there was a 50-50 chance of the Penguins landing Karlsson. He believes the Sharks could be feeling the urgency to move the veteran rearguard as his trade value will only go downhill after this offseason.

Vensel believes the quality of the return the Sharks receive depends on how much they’re willing to sacrifice financially, whether it’s retaining part of Karlsson’s cap hit or taking on a bloated contract or two.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sharks don’t wish to retain salary or only a small portion, they’ll have to take back someone like Jeff Petry ($6.25 million) or Mikael Granlund ($5 million). Petry has a 15-team no-trade clause and could be reluctant to join a rebuilding club, even if it’s in sunny California. Granlund, however, lacks no-trade protection.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Mark Madden recently claimed Karlsson is “vehemently against going to Carolina,” claiming he hates Hurricanes defenseman (and former Sharks teammate) Brent Burns as well as the club’s style of play.

Madden also said that everybody has made their best offers for Karlsson. It’s now down to see if the Sharks crack and take one.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, Karlsson’s supposed dislike of Burns would explain why the Hurricanes haven’t landed him by now. On the other hand, why are they still mentioned as a suitor by insiders like Friedman if he has no intention of joining the Hurricanes?

Karlsson has a full no-movement clause. If he ruled out the Hurricanes as a destination you’d think that would’ve surfaced in the rumor mill by now.

THE ATHLETIC: On Monday, Josh Yohe reported things were quiet on the Karlsson front for the Penguins. He claims they remain very interested. “Something could happen quickly, or this could drag on all summer.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The way things are going, this could last all summer. Stay tuned…


NHL NETWORK: Elliotte Friedman reports contract negotiations between the Toronto Maple Leafs and winger William Nylander appear to remain at a standstill. He doesn’t see any movement in those talks until one side budges. Friedman added that if other players aren’t going to take a little less to remain in Toronto then neither will Nylander.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports earlier this month claimed Nylander is seeking an AAV of $10 million on his next contract while the Leafs are offering between $8 million and $9 million. He’s coming off back-to-back 80-point performances including a career-high 88 points playing second-line minutes.

I’d say Nylander makes a reasonable case for seeking that much. If the Leafs won’t pay it, somebody else will if he hits the open market next July with a salary cap projected to jump by at least $4 million (I say up to $6 million) for 2024-25. Clubs who consider Nylander as a first-line guy will pay him what he wants, especially if he reaches or exceeds 80 points again.

Some observers believe Leafs general manager Brad Treliving will trade Nylander before the start of this season rather than go through another season of uncertainty as he did in 2021-22 with Johnny Gaudreau in Calgary. There are also some who feel the Leafs could retain Nylander for the coming season and see how things play out on the ice and in contract talks.

Friedman indicates the news is better regarding Auston Matthews’ negotiations. He believes the Leafs superstar will reach an agreement on a deal that is between three to five years in length. Friedman believes it will happen but isn’t sure when.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on how much of a raise Matthews will receive over his current $11.6 million AAV. Some believe it could exceed the league-leading $12.6 million of Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, ranging from between $13.5 million to $14 million. Whatever Matthews agrees to will affect Nylander’s talks with the Leafs.


NHL NETWORK: Elliotte Friedman believes the Calgary Flames are still trying to re-sign Elias Lindholm. The 28-year-old center is a year away from UFA eligibility. The Flames consider him a key piece of their future and hope to retain him.

Friedman speculated an extension for Lindholm could cost between $8 million and $8.5 million. However, with several key players having left the Flames in recent years, he thinks they could offer up $9 million annually.

Lindholm sounded reluctant about signing an extension with the Flames during his end-of-season presser in April. Nevertheless, Friedman thinks he hasn’t closed the door on re-signing with the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mikael Backlund also shared Lindholm’s reluctance. Their comments, however, came before the club hired Craig Conroy as GM and fired head coach Darryl Sutter.

Conroy is believed working on keeping Lindholm and Backlund. Nevertheless, he also shipped out Tyler Toffoli when he asked for a trade last month. Defenseman Noah Hanifin indicated he wouldn’t sign an extension. Conroy has reportedly shopped him but hasn’t pulled the trigger yet on a trade.

If Lindholm won’t re-sign, the Flames will go into rebuild mode. Lindholm, Backlund and Hanifin could be shipped out before the March 1 trade deadline.


  1. Wondering for availiable centers why Tomas Nosek or Pius Suter haven’t found a home.

    • What do you think of Suter, Caper?
      It seems to me that he does a lot with the ice time given to him.
      Nosek is a Steady Eddy where nothing much happens either way when he’s deployed. Excellent low event center who can lean on guys and win draws.
      I’m surprised they haven’t found a seat on a club yet.

      • I am surprised that Nosek hasn’t been picked up by anyone. He plays a heavy game, and is good on the PK and in the faceoff circle.

        Suter is kind of a meh player. Pretty good on the PK, good stick, but not much on faceoffs. One thing he is also pretty good at is breakaway and shootouts….has a pretty high shooting percentage in those situations.

    • Sop good energy guy only 27yrs old got some skill and energy.

      Wouldn’t think him or Nosek going to break the bank. Suter 14g last season and 15 the season before.

      Nosek excellent on the pk and faceoff

      understanding not needle mover but also want 4th liners who can contribute.

      • Don’t know much about Suter, but IMO a guy like Nosek brings the most value to a contender who is willing to spend for a guy like him as they know his value come playoff time and how important that role can be in tight games.

        I think those teams have other issues to sort out first. I would be surprised if those conversations haven’t happened already, and simply waiting for the shoe to drop.

        COL or Vegas if Lehner goes on LTIR?

      • After watching Nosek with the Bruins, I would not agree with the comment that he plays a heavy game. He is not a hitter to the extent that the others teams D are rushing their breakouts. He is quite good in the face off circle. He is also responsible defensively, but he is not a fast skater, and there is not much offensive creativity. As such, you really need to watch who you put him out against as his defense has limitations due to his lack of speed. On the two very good Bruin teams the last two years, his net +/- was zero… I would agree that he should find a 4th line center role with someone, but you need to recognize what he brings and what he lacks. For the Bruins, they will miss his face off skills, but other than that they are good to move on to the other players they have signed.

    • Well there you go Nosek signs in NJ at 1yr $1m

      • Nice one, Caper.
        Do Bergeron and Krejci next.

  2. I hope that the Hurricanes stay away from Karlsson. I wish they would stick with Pesce. He is a solid stay at home type and would not cost as much as Karlsson. Go after Tarasenko instead. If it’s true that Burns and Karlsson can’t stand each other why mess up the team mojo? Makes no sense.

    • Snuffy, I think you hit the bullseye.

    • Snuffy, I have a funny feeling that unless William Nylander has a no-trade clause in effect that includes San Jose, Karlsson is going to head to Toronto with Nylander as part of the return for the Sharks. As Nylander doesn’t need a new contract right away (unless the Sharks can talk him into something reasonable, like ( mil/season for 4 years), he could be a good trade chip around playoff time, while resolving the Karlsson issue for now. Karlsson’s value will only go down the longer it takes to trade him, while Nylander’s will not. I just don’t see either Carolina or Pittsburgh having the assets for such a trade, and whether or not Burns and Karlsson don’t like each other, it was not a good look when they’d played together for the Sharks. I also think Toronto is much closer to cup contention than Pittsburgh, even if the Penguins acquired Karlsson. What Karlsson could do for Toronto’s young stars is much greater than what he could do for Pittsburgh’s aging stars.

      • Hi Rock

        EK for WW swap would mean Greir agrees to 43% retention) and s bucket O’assets; AND Leafs still over the Cap by a ton

        So any Leafs EK deal needs more than WW of roster going over

        Who will Grier also accept (that Tre is willing to give up)? AND that weakens Leafs elsewhere AND Grier still will need to retain a load

        For me…, hard to see Leafs ending up with EK

        As s Leafs and Pens fan; I’m cheering for Waddell to blow a load in assets on EK

    • Snuffy

      I’m hoping Pens stay away from EK

      He will improve the team…. But too much given up; and still void of s 3rd line

      Dumba in
      Petry, Granlund , Rutta out

      Focus in in 3C, and 3rd line winger

      • Pengy, did you notice that Dubas signed another goalie?

        Garret Sparks to a 1 year AHL contract.
        Didn’t play much last season – 3 games in the AHL and 14 with Orlando in the ECHL.

      • Hi HotG

        Yes, strange move

        Now 5 goalies with AHL contracts (2 will likely play overseas)

      • Pengy 100% agree with you..

        Matt Dumba much better choice..keep our picks build on Yeager Pickering and the class this year.

        Out DeSmith Rutta Petry Granlund

        In Dumba another bittom six guy may e a tomas tatar 20 goals last year

    • @ Snuffy..I agree with you i wish the Penguins would stay away from Erik Karlsson..i think both Carolina and Pittsburgh should stay away.

      Yes Norris Trophy 101 points..all good rebou d season..

      But -29 this season -103 for his career, 33, 4 years left even if salarie is retained. NO

      Carolina is better with Pesche Pittsburgh would be better off with Matt Dumba. He is younger, 28, better all around player + 29 for his career..

      Toronto you can have him

  3. “Mark Madden recently claimed Karlsson is “vehemently against going to Carolina,””

    If that was the case why would the Sharks even be talking to the Canes? Karlsson has a NMC, so he could easily outright veto a trade.

    This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    • Garth it’s called the silly season for a reason. To me it’s the “let’s generate click bate time”!

      For an insider, man Friedman really can’t do his job when he doesn’t have anything as seen in most of his reporting is these days. Vague and noncommittal.

    • Could Burns be moved out (maybe back to SJS)?

  4. Lindholm and Hanafin for Barzal plus??

    Barzal has term and would something of significance to trade away Lindy and Hanafin

    NYI gets two Lou style players

    • Lou style players? Wait, neither are over 30 and former NJ devils?

      • WAs talking less flashy

        BUt yes #2 is nj connection and #1 is old 😂

  5. Samsonov – claiming 4.9 million in arbitration
    What a joke
    Where does it end
    How does a team piece together an actual 20 man roster with this salary cap horror !

    • Rosters are soon going to have 5 guys making $8M+, 5 guys making $5M+ and the rest on minimum deals. There is no in-between because the GMs are giving all their available cap to the top stars and leaving little to fill out a good roster. When the cap goes up the next couple years, only the top 3 or 4 guys on the roster are going to reap those rewards.
      I can’t imagine what will happen to Toronto’s roster if Matthews gets $13M+ and they also try to sign Nylander to $10M.

      • I like the way Kent Hughes has structured the payroll, in Montreal. Suzuki, 7.875M, Caufield, 7.85 ; everybody else, under that. Just signed Newhook for 2.9 for 4 ; Dach, 3 more years, around 3.4 ; Harris signed for 2, at 1.4 ; Harvey-Pinard, 2, at 1.1.
        Only Gallagher is overpaid, 6.5, for six more. Anderson at 5.5 is not so bad.The rest of the Bergevin era overpayments are soon over : Dvorak, 4.45, two more years; Hoffman, 4.5, last year ; Armia, 3.4, 2 more. Price’s contract being buried , LTIR.
        Habs aren’t about to be cap strapped, any time soon.

    • Hi Ken

      Tre is $8.8 M over…. For 24 contracts (includes Muzzin)…. If Muzzin remains LTIR…. 23 @ $3.2 M over

      That’s Samsonov’s ask….Leafs offer will be much less…. Will settle somewhere in between …. Say $3.8 M; buyout Murray…. 23 man Roster now at $3M over

      Flip WW straight up for Oleksiak…. 23 man roster now at $0.7 M over….

      Holmgren and Robertson are both waiver exempt…. Send to Marlies…. Start season with 20 dressed , 2 (instead of 3) in the press box

      It’s crappy, but doable

      Note…. If TheBig Rig comes over….that’s 8 D plus Muzzin (LTIR)…. So a D can be moved

      Now, if ((??) Muzzin comes off LTIR….. whole new ball game!!

      • Stop with the Oleksiak swap straight up for Nylander just brutal.
        That guy was traded twice in his career for 4 th round pick and then left unprotected by in the expansion draft and going to be 31 this year insane

      • Hi MoTV

        It’s what he’s worth now; not what he was worth then

        He’d certainly bolster the Leafs D , is locked in; and saves Cap…. And Leafs already way over

        Something has to be done

        Re-upping both WW and AM is not the answer

        WW’s dad has already proven once that they’ll hold out until they get a deal they are comfortable with

        The logical move is to trade one of WW or AM and in process, save Cap and improve team defensively and hopefully in grit as well

        I’m certainly open for another suggested WW trade for a big gritty defensemen (at lower Cap hit)… but I can’t think of one right now that would work for Leafs and from a team with space (they’d lose theCap space Leafs gained) and needs (for WW)

      • can’t agree with you more Man on TV, Nylander for Oleksiak is preposterous. Though just as insane was the suggestion of Oleksiak plus McCann for Matthews that he suggested a little while ago.

      • Man on tv what you’re commenting on is someone that thinks solutions to complex problems is simple and usually only have one drum to beat on. Completely insufferable.

        Best advice, see the name skip the comment. Trust me, you’d hear it and it’s still god awful.

  6. Hate is a strong word
    For 11.5 get over it

    Flames will be patient

    I am sure Tre is gun shy after last summer .

  7. there isn’t enough $$ left for Sway..Trent. & 37 don’t think 46 is even in play .. could DeBrusk ( last year then (UFA who I don’t think will be getting a new contract from the Bruins ) & Forbert be moved for a young Center

    • There is enough money for Sway and Trent, and they could move a defenseman now or during the year to make room for Bergeron’s return mid-year. I think Bergeron’s return mid-year makes a lot a sense not only for the Bruins, but mainly for Bergeron and his physical health (and their new child). That could also explain his silence right now about retirement.

  8. there isn’t enough $$ left for Sway..Trent. & 37 don’t think 46 is even in play .. could DeBrusk ( last year then (UFA who I don’t think will be getting a new contract from the Bruins ) & Forbert be moved for a young Center

    • Sorry

  9. I don’t undersarand why Karlsson’s value will go down.

    If he can reproduce close to what he did last season I would think that would increase his value.

    If the value and term of his co tract is an issue one year off it would seem to be beneficial.

    If the cap is going to go up as they say it will allow teams more leeway to add his salary.

    If people don’t think he is going to be as good in the following year as he has been over the last year then his value should reflect. Yet if you’re going to acquire him I’d think your are confident he will co ti us to put up solid numbers and drive the play like he does over his career.

    • Hi Jeff

      EKs value (Cap to production) is certainly fine this upcoming year. His massive performance last year was spectacular…. Ofds of repeating those numbers; or improving are low

      He certainly is not expected to put up those numbers 4 and 4 years from now…. But Cap going way up; so his proportionate hit (to team Cap ) goes down

      The cap hit to the rebuilding Sharks is overkill

      Right now, if we believe media…, only two “real” potential buyers; and there is some mixed info as to whether EK would actually waive to play with Burns on the team; if he won’t…. Leaves 1 seller ; 1 buyer playing chicken

      Pens would certainly improve with EK but at quite an expense (assets and Cap manipulation ; and they are already over); and they don’t *HAVE to have him

      One potential buyer; that doesn’t have to buy; a seller with an older and expensive asset that is not needed in a rebuild… leads to a decrease in value (trade value) of that asset (EK)

      *I believe it’s better for Pens to move Petry and Rutta with much less given up in assets; sign UFA Dumba; buyout Granland; use space and saved (in potential
      EK deal) assets for good 3C ; plus solid 3rd line winger. Those moves far better for the team than blowing the load on EK

    • The cap going after next year will not help the leafs. The increase will go to existing players. Therefore still same issue can’t afford quality depth.

      Teams like Colorado on the other hand will be in a perfect situation as all their stars are already locked up so the cap increase for the most will go to adding new players.

      • Hi Jeff

        Avs as at now…for 24/25… just $10.7 M to fill 10 slots (including replacing or re-upping Toews [$4.1 M] and Francouz [$2 M])

        If they re-up same or sign similar…leaves only $4.1 M for 8 slots…. And 8 league mins cost $6.2 M

        Oilers as at now , for next year, have $18.3 M for 10 players ; Knights $16.7 M for 7

        As at right now for Leafs….. closing in on $47 M …. For 12 spots…. But as at now under contract for 24/25 is just Marner, JT, Kampf, Jarnkrok, Reaves; Knies and Holmberg as Fwds; Reilly , McCabe, Timmins as D; Woll in goal

        If Tre re-ups BOTH AM & WW…. Total then more than 1/2 the cap (now just less than 1/2 Cap) on the same top 4 Fwds…not good

    • “If he can reproduce close to what he did last season ”

      I hope he does that off the ice!🤣

  10. Wille Nye for Pesce + Jack Drury makes a ton of sense!

  11. Agree on the EK and Burns comment, makes no sense that they dislike each other. If true, EK would just invoke his NMC and thats that. However they did not mesh when it comes to play on the Ice so from that Canes should stay away. Grier should take what he can, EKs value will only go down since I just dont see him repeating last seasons numbers.

    WN not taking less unless other players do the same makes sense. Looking at the current contract, Marner just isnt worth 4m more in my book. The problem is that AM will only take as much as he can, at least that is how it looks to me, but I guess money is more important than winning for some players

  12. I’m just not understanding the Karlsson to Penguins fit. They already have Letang locked up who plays the #1PP.
    Karlsson would improve any team but I just don’t see the marginal improvement to justify the price tag

  13. ”If Lindholm won’t re-sign, the Flames will go into rebuild mode. Lindholm, Backlund and Hanifin could be shipped out before the March 1 trade deadline.”

    And if this happens, guess who has their 2025 1st round pick 😉

    • Mike, Habs have CGY’s 2025 1st round pick. However, it is extremely unlikely that Mtl would receive a top 10 pick. For this to occur, both Calgary and Florida would have to pick in the top 10 in 2025.