NHL Rumor Mill – July 31, 2023

by | Jul 31, 2023 | Rumors | 15 comments

A look at five clubs that still might make some offseason moves in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton recently looked at five NHL clubs that still have to make some moves before training camp opens in September.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

The Calgary Flames still have to determine what to do with centers Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund as well as defenseman Noah Hanifin. The trio is slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. Shilton believes retaining their services would require the Flames to prove that they can still be a contender worth sticking with as standing pat isn’t the best way to do that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, will they make a major move to upgrade the roster in order to entice Lindholm, Backlund and Hanifin to stay?

Lindholm and Backlund expressed reluctance about signing contract extensions but haven’t told the Flames yet that they’re definitely heading to market next July. Earlier this month, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Flames remain hopeful of re-signing Lindholm.

It may be too late to keep Hanifin in the fold. There were reports last month claiming the 26-year-old defenseman informed management that he wasn’t interested in a contract extension.

The San Jose Sharks have to find a trade partner for Erik Karlsson. Shilton compares his situation to that of Jakob Chychrun’s last summer. “We all know he’s going to be traded,” she writes. “It’s just a matter of when, and to where.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson recently admitted speaking to clubs like the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, Seattle Kraken and Toronto Maple Leafs. Of these, the Penguins appear to be the front-runners. My theory is they’re waiting to sort out Drew O’Connor’s arbitration before pulling the trigger as they’ll have a brief second contract buyout window to free some some cap room to take on Karlsson.

The Hurricanes’ signing of Tony DeAngelo last week likely takes them out of the Karlsson sweepstakes. Over the previous two years, the Kraken made splashes in the free-agent pool but have yet to swing a blockbuster trade. As for the Leafs, it’ll require considerable salary-cap juggling to pull it off.

Shilton noted the Minnesota Wild have limited salary-cap space for 2023-24. Nevertheless, she believes they could still have some wiggle room once they’ve got Filip Gustavsson and Calen Addison under contract to perhaps boost their secondary scoring.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will depend on how much it costs them to get Gustavsson and Addison under contract. The high number of teams with limited cap room this summer could force forwards such as Tomas Tatar, Josh Bailey and Pius Suter to considerable pay cuts to play this season. They could also take a chance on a young forward like Max Comtois.

The Washington Capitals have been aggressively trying to ship out veteran center Evgeny Kuznetsov. If they wish to be a playoff contender this season, they’ll need reliable forward depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ve also been trying to move Anthony Mantha. However, their disappointing performances and expensive salaries for this season make them difficult to move without adding sweeteners, retaining salary, or both. They could end up retaining those two for the coming season and see how things unfold.

Shilton believes the Seattle Kraken need to address their goaltending if they wish to remain a playoff contender this season. Philipp Grubauer works better in tandem than as a primary No. 1 netminder. So far, their goalies for the coming season are Grubauer, Chris Driedger and Joey Daccord.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: UFA options include Martin Jones (who shared the duties with Grubauer last season), two 38-year-olds in Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak and the 35-year-old Alex Stalock. Kraken GM Ron Francis will have to go the trade route if he wants to find younger, more reliable backups.


  1. Francis can have Cayden Primeau for next years first rounder

    • I’m sure Ronny will jump right on that.

    • Wouldn’t it make more sense to go after Allen as a 1B/backup? Would cost next to nothing I would imagine and his salary is absolutely palatable for Seattle.

      • I was obviously being sarcastic but I don’t see the Habs trading Allen unless they’re blown away by an offer. Primeau hasn’t shown he can be a reliable NHL goalie and the Habs want to have two goalies who are at least somewhat reliable.

  2. Comtois could be a nice young aggressive 3rd-4 th line player to fill out a bottom 6
    You have until the trade deadline for some of these players. It could take that long and Karlsson might have to play another season in SJ… Boo hoo

    • Francis should look at Swayman! Boston might need to trade a goalie for cap reasons! What does Seattle have to offer?

  3. If the offers for EK is at least ok, Grier should make the trade since the offers wont get better and the Chychryn saga told the same

  4. One team not mentioned by Shiltren that absolutely MUST make a few moves is Ottawa.

    As of today they sit with 18 players committed to with just $895,953 in cap space and still two RFAs to re-up – Pinto – a 10(2)(c) RFA (no one can make an offer-sheet) and Sokolov.

    Logical candidates to get moved are Joseph ($2,950,000 for 3 more seasons) and Brannstrom ($2 mil this coming season – an RFA next year)

    • George O: Agree on Ottawa, but I don’t think it is as bad as your saying. Norris and Forsberg are included in the overall cap number and would bring the number to 20. They’re currently showing up in the LTIR.

      Joseph getting moved makes the most sense. They’ll have to add a sweetener, but ~$3.8M in cap space with Joseph gone for 2 or 3 spots is fine for minimum or close to minimum players. If Forsberg and Norris are still hurt, they can bring up someone from the minors to replace them while on LTIR. I don’t think they will trade Brannstrom unless absolutely necessary.

  5. hindsight…maybe the Bruins should’ve tried trading Ullmark and a piece for a #1 center …..they have a real issue with Sway & Trent if rulings dont go their way

    • How about SEA calls Calgary about Vladar?

      There have been rumours he’s on the block. Might be a good partner for Grubauer?

      • Seattle and Hellebuyck makes a lot of sense if they swing for the fences . They have lots of prospects that may entice the Peg

    • Joe, I will stick my neck out here. Based on the Samsonov arbitration, Swayman’s award should be approx $3 million.

      Jeremy asked for $4.8 million while Samsonov requested $4.8 M, both la-la land crazy.

      • typo – Samsonov requested $4.9 M

      • What a boring summer!