NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2023

by | Jul 27, 2023 | Rumors | 18 comments

The Sharks are having difficulty moving Erik Karlsson plus the latest on the Capitals in today’s NHL Rumor mill.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli recently reported that the San Jose Sharks are still looking for a significant return for Erik Karlsson in the trade market. However, they haven’t found a team willing to pay anywhere close to what they want for the 33-year-old defenseman.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Seravalli claims the interested clubs are sitting back and waiting for the Sharks to call them back when they’re ready to resume discussions. They aren’t willing to pay anything significant for Karlsson.

The Sharks believe they need to get a return for Karlsson. They don’t want to get nothing and retain 20 percent of his remaining cap hit just to get him off their books. Seravalli thinks they’re not properly valuing the salary-cap space, the freedom and flexibility from getting off an $11.5 million player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson recently confirmed he’s spoken with several clubs including the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, Seattle Kraken and Toronto Maple Leafs.

I discount the Leafs because they’re already over the cap ceiling and still have to get cap compliant after putting goaltender Matt Murray on long-term injury reserve. The Hurricanes’ recent signing of defenseman Tony DeAngelo likely takes them out of the bidding.

The Penguins are the club most often linked to Karlsson and reportedly remain the most confident in landing him. We’ve heard nothing from the Kraken. That doesn’t mean they aren’t interested but I think they’re content to stick with their current roster-building program.

My theory about the Penguins is they could be waiting until after Drew O’Connor’s arbitration situation has been resolved.

The Sharks will have to retain part of Karlsson’s hefty cap hit whether it’s a trade with just one team or a three-team deal to spread his cap hit around. As Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman pointed out earlier this month, how much they’re willing to retain will determine the quality of the return.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Remy Mastey noted a recent report indicating Evgeny Kuznetsov had requested a trade from the Washington Capitals earlier this year. He believes the Arizona Coyotes should look into acquiring the 31-year-old center.

Mastey believes the Coyotes need to add a bonafide top-six center. He thinks Kuznetsov could address that need, pointing to his playoff experience which he can use to mentor younger Coyotes such as Clayton Keller, Matias Maccelli and Barrett Hayton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuznetsov carries an average annual value of $7.8 million through 2024-25 along with a 10-team no-trade clause. While he might welcome a trade he might not have rebuilding teams like the Coyotes on his radar.

Besides, Kuznetsov might not be the type of player that fits into general manager Bill Armstrong’s rebuilding plans. He’s a talented playmaker and the Coyotes can afford his salary but he’s been inconsistent in recent years and has had some off-ice issues in the past.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Jared Sarre recently listed four players the Capitals should target to improve their top-six forward depth. He listed the Toronto Maple Leafs’ William Nylander, the Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Konecny and the San Jose Sharks’ Kevin Labanc as trade options and winger Tomas Tatar as a free-agent target.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tatar is the easiest option of the bunch. However, they can’t afford to add a free agent without shedding some salary via trade or demotion.

The Leafs aren’t in any hurry to move Nylander and the same goes for the Flyers with Konecny. They aren’t available right now unless the Capitals are willing to pony up a significant return for either guy.

Labanc would be much more affordable in terms of return and the Sharks would probably entertain an offer for him. However, Washington’s limited cap space means the Sharks would have to retain part of his $4.725 million cap hit. Considering they’re facing that scenario with Karlsson they’re unlikely to be receptive toward doing the same for Labanc even if it is just for this season.


  1. Lyle,

    Concerning Labanc, I disagree with your opinion. The Caps do have the assets to make a deal w/o SJ holding. Something like this,

    Mantha + 24 3rd + 25 2nd



    SJ wouldn’t have to retain money off this deal and they could flip mantha at the TDL and use the retain on him to get more assets.

  2. Rumor – for Erik Karlsson, Sharks demanding three major pieces. Trade involving Karlsson to the Penguins, Sharks want two high draft picks and either of the Penguins top two prospects. Well, Penguins don’t desire trading three major pieces. Eye staring contest, which team blinks first?

    • Curious, what prospects in the penguins pipe line would be considered “major pieces “?

      I’m not trying to be funny or a jerk. But there isn’t one single ranking that has one Pittsburgh prospect in the top 100 prospects in the nhl.

      Digging deeper, ranking only Pittsburghs top 10 prospects, 5 of the 10 were selected 3rd-7th round, and only 2 in the late 1st (both 21st overall) round.

      With all due respect, that’s not exactly asking for a lot for a guy coming off a Norris season.

      • 2023 #1 draft pick center Brayden Yager


        2022 #1 draft pick D-man Owen Pickering

      • I agree. Let’s say the Pens 2023 and 2024 1st round picks (if they have them) and a blue chip prospect (which the Pens have few if any) for Karlsson is too little. I’m guessing you’ll have to add bodies, err cap hits to that deal to make things work too.
        If the deal turns out to be just those 3 pieces, man that’s almost a steal if it wasn’t for the term attached to the contract.

    • Said something very similar on NHL Network Radio Tuesday.
      San Jose wants a 1st round pick to retain salary.
      Then they want an additional 3 pieces, either top prospects or 1st round picks.
      Id San Jose is taking back a bad contract they are going to want more.

      So in the Case of Pitt, it sounds like:
      To Pitt EK 30% retained.
      To San Jose:
      2024 1st for the salary retention
      And 3 of:
      2025 1st
      2026 1st
      Poulin, Yeager, or Pickering

      • Rumor – Penguins trade package:

        Sam Poulin

        Casey DeSmith

        #1 draft pick

        condition #2 draft pick

        Jeff Petry traded to third team ?

      • Also, heard Sharks wanted Penguins D-man Marcus Peterson.

  3. I am glad that Carolina is hopefully no longer in the running for Karlsson. If I look at is +/- it isn’t all that. Yeah he may be an offensive powerhouse but 22/23 season was the best he’s ever had. He came in at -26. I know +/- doesn’t always tell the story but it still matters.

    • -21 Karlsson on the ice Sharks allowing an empty net goal.

      • Carolina Hurricanes 2022-2023 goals against 210. Karlsson goals against even strength 126.

  4. If a team retains salary , does it have to be for the entire course of a contract?

    Or can a team have a deal where they retain a significant portion for 2 years and then much less for 2 years etc.

    • It’s flat across the board. It has to remain the same throughout.

    • I asked this previously too. Whatever is retained this year must match the length of the contract. So if you withhold $3M this year, it is $3M every year until the contract runs out.
      I’d love to see this change in the CBA to allow teams an option to withhold $ for just the current year, then the acquiring team has to figure out the future.

      • I agree, it would be great to see some wiggle room on that.

        I mean the buyout length is a little ridiculous too sometimes (Colin White ugggh)

  5. why would the Yotes spend $$$ on an inconsistent Kuznetsov when they can just have Logan Cooley at center? unless the Caps throw in a bunch of 1’st and/or prospects, Yotes will just continue to run on the cheap

    • Exactly what I thought when I read that mikeP

  6. Penguins just move on now from EK…
    Matt Dumba is better all around, younger, and cheaper..

    If Petry to a third team
    # 1 2024 pick
    Casey Desmith
    Pierre oliver Joseph
    SAM Poulin

    Not enough moce on please Penguins