NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2023

by | Jul 3, 2023 | Rumors | 27 comments

Senators linked to Vladimir Tarasenko plus the latest on the Leafs and Bruins in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: On Saturday evening, Elliotte Friedman tweeted that the Ottawa Senators had had discussions with free-agent winger Vladimir Tarasenko. He indicated there were “some moving parts here”, referring to how things unfold with winger Alex DeBrincat.

Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As of this writing, there’s been no further word regarding talks between Tarasenko and the Senators. The 31-year-old right winger is a six-time 30-goal scorer who’s also a year removed from a career-best 82-point performance.

Tarasenko completed an eight-year, $60 million contract. He won’t get anything close to that in this year’s market given the high number of teams with limited cap space. He could end up accepting a one-year deal with the Senators or another club and return to the market next year when the cap is projected to rise by at least $4 million.

The Senators have been trying to trade DeBrincat since June but recent reports claim they’ve had no luck finding a club willing to ink the 25-year-old winger to a long-term extension. They’re taking DeBrincat to arbitration with a hearing sometime between July 20 and August 4.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports the Maple Leafs’ signings of Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi push them above the $83.5 million salary cap by $8.1 million. They still have to sign restricted free agent goaltender Ilya Samsonov to a new contract that could come in between $2.5 million and $4 million per season.

Teams are allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be compliant when the regular season begins in October. The Leafs can get some savings by placing permanently sidelined defenseman Jake Muzzin on long-term injury reserve. Moving the contract of goaltender Matt Murray (the Leafs share is just over $4.6 million) or buying him out could free up enough to get them under the cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Leafs would be above the cap by $2.4 million once Muzzin goes on LTIR. The Leafs opted not to buy out Murray during last month’s buyout period but could get another opportunity if Samsonov files for arbitration by the July 5 deadline for player-elected arbitration or if the Leafs go that route by their July 6 deadline.

Trading Murray seems all but unlikely given his injury history. The Leafs would have to sweeten the pot by bundling him with a draft pick and perhaps retain a portion of his cap hit. A contract buyout, meanwhile, will be two-thirds of the remaining value of the contract over twice the remaining term.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports Bruins general manager Don Sweeney denied the trade rumors swirling about defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. He said they never came from him, suggesting they were media creations. He also stated that he would never talk publicly about whether a team has called him about one of his players.

Murphy claimed numerous sources said Sweeney had had trade conversations regarding Grzelcyk, goaltenders Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman, blueliners Brandon Carlo and Derek Forbort and forwards Jake DeBrusk and Trent Frederic. It doesn’t mean the Bruins GM is shopping those players but rather that teams have inquired about them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney trading Taylor Hall in late June stoked speculation that more moves could be in store. However, the Bruins now have over $6.2 million in cap space with three active roster players to sign. Depending on the cost of re-signing Swayman and Frederic, another cost-cutting move might not be necessary.


  1. If one or both of Bergeron and Krejci come back, I hope it’s not all on bonuses.

    The $4.5m cap hit they took this season on the bonuses make for difficult decisions. yes they were worth it; however, i would like to see less of next year cap space being spent on this season.

    Krejci 1yr deal $2m and Bergeron 1yr deal $3m

    Swayman arbitration case then buyout Forbort if necessary, savings of $2.333m this season and cost $1.166 next season.

    I would prefer a trade but this is the season of we will take your player, plus.

    • Caper

      I doubt Bergy would take less then last year maybe exact same deal. As for 46. I think he is done maybe a. Deadline signing similar to what Fisher did with Nashville a few years back I still think Sweeney has to move a d man

    • Krecji can stay home

  2. Not sure what happens this year but wow Bruins are big and strong going to be real hard to play against and score goals on. Great goaltending good D and very big and strong.

    • Obe

      They still need 37 to return if so they will be more then fine😀

  3. Yes a healthy Bergeron is a must for all aspects of the game offensively defensively face offs power play killing penalties.

    • Geez Obe, that sound like a Selke player. Bergeron at age 37 wins the Selke had a season of 27 goals. No need to retire, definitely still has a good year left in him.

  4. Leafs…. Option that may work

    Before I start…. Don’t forget…. The top two players EVER to play the game, were traded. Franchise players do get traded. Yes, the best player ever had a wonky knee. But the 2nd best player ever, who had at one time… 40+ NHL records…. Was traded @ 27….. in his prime…. And his former team still won the cup two years after that…

    These trades do happen

    So…. With that in mind….. and, with the acknowledgement that this trade would have been much easier before 1/7 when full NMC kicked in…

    Leafs were offensively built, it’s the blue line and back that needs to be addressed; plus a more rounded and balanced and tougher roster

    Leafs MUST free up space…. Not a suggestion…they must.

    Leafs cannot go into next year with Murray/Woll as the tandem

    Leafs cannot extend both AM & WW…. because that means 54%-55% for 4 Fwds to start 24/25…. Not a chance to fill out a cup contending roster


    To Kraken: AM ; Murray; Brodie; Robertson ($22 M leaving); plus Niemela (prospect)

    To Leafs: The Big Rig, McC, Wennerberg. ($14.1 M coming in)

    Krakken get :
    Their franchise superstar, on top of already having Beniers
    Their Captain for next 8 years
    Have Mathews/ Beneirs down the centre for next 8 years
    Get a nice prospect in Robertson (although small)
    Get great prospect in Niemela
    Can buyout Murray

    Net a huge nigh $8 M Cap swing
    Actually get more cumulative offence coming in than leaving
    Have 1C, 2C, 3C set for next 2 years
    Get much bigger and much tougher on back end
    Rid Brodie and Murray…. Able to sign Samsonov
    End up with much stronger, more balanced and better roster than they have had for years

    Does Tre have the guts to pull this off; * will AM waive

    *Big advantage going there is team on rise; will be Captain; if stays… Leafs hard to build viable cup contending roster; massive increase in take home pay

    • Mario Lemieux was never traded…

      • Hi Randino

        Sorry…. I’ve been consistent with my view that Mario was just below (3rd to ) Gretzky

        Orr…. Head and shoulders @ GOAT

    • Pengy, AM probably wouldn’t waive.

      Very creative, but don’t think Tre even considers this blockbuster; new GM alienates at least 50% of the Leaf fanbase.

      I believe AM is far more committed to winning in TO than WW, who is living up (down) to the Melander nickname.

      Stick to the easy route:
      Trade / Buyout Murray
      Trade WW (and Brodie).

      • Hi HOG

        Agree Mathew’s waiving is a long shot…. Tre should have done it last week when he was in full control

        Re Tre not doing because he would alienate many Leafs fans (he would…. I don’t think it would be 1/2…. Maybe 1/4)

        That said…. Time to do it is now as the new Leaf GM…. Can’t be fired; make your stamp on the team…. AND…. not hyperbole here….I absolutely believe that trade gives them a far far better chance than just moving WW

        RE Murray…. Unless packaged… with sweetener…. Buyout better…. Saves $4M this year…. Deal with the deadcap $2M next year

        WW traded with Brodie…. Yes…. Prob way to go…. WW part of the sweetener to take Brodie

        That said…. WW + Brodie is not getting a top pairing D in return…. That deal has a team accepting $12 M cap coming in, so even if somehow they send $6 M D man coming back…. That’s an increase of $6 M in Cap for only 1 year guaranteed of WW…. Other GMs will certainly remember his hold out

        In addition…. It has to be a team that currently has a spare $6 M in Cap space to accept the deal…. Very few teams are in that position; the list gets smaller still when concurrently seeking a top 4 Dman in return that can actually help Leafs; then crimp that list again by 1 or two for teams that WW has protection against

        Hanafin for WW (which this Leafs fan would embrace) won’t work…. They are also in Cap hell right now… the deal would have them losing more Cap space… not viable

        Teams with space are, for the most part; in re-tool/re-build mode… so aren’t seeking 1 year of WW…. Then pro-tracked negotiations only to have him hold out for UFA (1/7/24)

        Something has to be done by Tre for sure

    • Orr wasn’t traded either. Went from Boston to Chicago as a free agent.

    • This is ridiculous!

  5. I really wish Vladdy would take a $3M deal to play one year for the Avs but it probably won’t happen. Drouin is not going to return to what he was years ago so they need some goal-scoring.

    • I agree, I was hoping perhaps Tarasenko might take such a deal but it sounds like other teams are doing better than the Avalanche with bonus, etc. He will probably get something better than Colorado offers? Otherwise, the Avalanche are probably going to address this by a trade? I wish they would spend a little bit more due to Landeskog being on LTIR. So, don’t see what the big deal is. If not, a DMan. GO AVS!!!!

  6. Zadina on waivers. Wondering if Stevie Y is clearing cap space for the Cat. If so I like the Sens bringing in Tarensenko for cheaper, extending pinto and having some extra cash for the bottom six. I’d bring back Watson and Brassard if he was fully healed. They both fit in well.

  7. Pengy

    Who is “The Big Rig” from SEA? I thought that was Maroon’s handle?

    I don’t think the SEA package is enough? A superstar like Matthews is far and above the best player. Unless the Leafs are getting a couple young players or picks back it’s not enough.

    What are the Leafs actually getting? Giving up two of their better prospects in Robertson and Niemela…what is the return for them?

    Matthews alone should garner the return of McCann and Wennberg ++

    Brodie is still a serviceable D-man.

    To get a star like Matthews and two former 2nd round picks they’d have to include Wright and another pick.

    Why not try to trade Murray and Nylander to SJ for Karlsson at 30% retained?

    • Big Rig is Oleksiak. I had to Google it.

      Pengy, srsly sometimes your interesting posts are submarined by your use of nicknames or abbreviations. I enjoy your comments but sometimes they can be a bit frustrating.

      • Hi I want My Curtain Back

        Sorry… guilty of the nickname/acronym overload

        I plead laziness due to single finger (not two thumbs) typing on small screen (iPhone); with brutal eyesight… takes so very long to type just one sentence.

        On the rare occasions (and it is very rare) that I’m at the computer and posting on this site…. I will most often considerably pare back the hyper nickname/acronym usage

        Humble apologies

    • Hi Daryl

      The Big Rig is Jamie Oleksiak… actually had that nickname before Maroon was given it…. according to Oleksiak, they gave him that nickname when he was a kid

      Agree Mathews by himself, is worth more (to give up by Kraken). However, The return (Kraken to Leafs) is much less in the proposal I gave because they are not only taking on Brodie, but they are taking on Murray’s contract as well

      • The O.G “Big Rig” was Chris Phillips.

  8. Just read rumours from yesterday

    Responding to BNG and Randino

    Graves and Smith…. Excellent moves!!!

    I’d love to have had E-Rod….I truly believe he is better than Eller

    Yes Petry a must to go (same re Rutta)….. if it is Karlson in Petry out… Pens much much better

    Agree…. Dumbs in Petry out is an improvement…. But who is just taking Petry (without serious kicker/sweetener …. That’s why I proposed multi-place swap with SJ with key flips in trade being Petry and EK with retention

    The Granlund buyout was not only required… it was perfectly logical…. $4.2 M and $3.2 M freed up in next two years while window still there….the dead cap two years are when the window is closed and retool/rebuild is under way and not needed

    Randino …. Re “One of the biggest mistakes of Rutherford’s career was buying out JJ.”…. The biggest mistake was signing him in the first place. The second biggest mistake was waiting 1 year too long to buy him out…. JJ was the key contributor for causing Pens two first round exits

    Iowa Prince, Tommy Boy

    Re JJ and Avs….. the Horror. He may have been on the cup winning team…. He in no way helped them win. He certainly was better on Avs than his horrific play on Pens…. But in no way could he ever be considered listed as a good NHL player. Not “fair” player; not “adequate”. He’s a veteran with (from everything I’ve read), a good dressing room presence . That for sure must be the reason they signed him

    Just bitter that he was the key contributor to Pens losing two series

    • Pengy,
      I don’t think you watch Avalanche games, he’s slower and everything but he’s smart and utilizes his ability well! I don’t know what your beef is with him when he was in Pittsburgh? I thought he was decent when he was in Columbus and he has played well for the Avalanche since being there and he did contribute to the Avalanche winning the SC. He actually hits guys, too which is still allowed in the NHL, lol. GO AVS!!!!

      • Tommy,
        Peggy has a whipping boy every year. He does have some great insight on the Pens for sure . His obsession with Jack Jonson and Chad Ruhwedel is just way over blown and way off the mark.

        CR played 47 games last year had 5 points was a -4 only 18 pims and played 14.34 for a team that missed the playoffs not bad for a 6th D.

        JJ in his last season with the Pens played 67 games, 11 points was a -1 and played 19.28 per game. Not bad for the worst D man ever to play the game .

        Sorry Peggy I do enjoy your comments but your whipping boys are not near as bad as you think they are.

    • PENGY..Agreed if we can move Petry a d a sweet ee maybe Chicago..as lo g as Peterson stays..

      I k ow we sig ed Jarry but dont like it.

      John gibson just came out today and said i played my last game as an Anaheim duck. mmmmhhhhh

      Can we move Jarry?

      Jarrry & Granlund #1 pick Poulin to Anaheim $10.4 million

      John Gibson Max Comtios to Pittsburgh $ 8.5 million

      Save $ 2 mlion then move jeff petry and sign Matt dumba

      Nice top 4
      graves Letang
      Peterson Dumba

      Happy 4 th pengy

  9. Story is Gibson wants out of Anaheim Leaf’s have tried every average goalie they can and it hasn’t worked out. If Nylander doesn’t have ducks on his list trade him for Gibson and hopefully Anaheim will take Murray in deal. Still believe their D is horrible but helps with cap and tending and Pengy the real big Rig and he’s a really really big Rig just signed in Boston.