NHL Rumor Mill – July 6, 2023

by | Jul 6, 2023 | Rumors | 37 comments

The Red Wings, Ducks and Islanders are linked to Alex DeBrincat, the Penguins and Hurricanes are believed to be interested in Erik Karlsson, and the latest on John Gibson in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the future of Alex DeBrincat remains the Senators’ top priority. Management continues to work the phones trying to trade the 25-year-old restricted free-agent winger.

Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

St. Louis broadcaster Andy Strickland claims the Detroit Red Wings are revisiting their interest in DeBrincat. Garrioch also cites sources claiming the Anaheim Ducks and New York Islanders are in the mix.

If the Senators can get DeBrincat off their books, they could have room to sign unrestricted free-agent winger Vladimir Tarasenko. The Senators would also like to add depth to their third and fourth lines but some of that is being held up by the DeBrincat situation.

TSN’s Darren Dreger recently reported the DeBrincat camp seeks a contract similar to Timo Meier’s eight-year, $70.2 million deal with the New Jersey Devils with an average annual value of $8.8 million. Interested clubs aren’t willing to go that high, valuing him closer to $7.8 million. None of them are willing to offer up an eight-year contract.

The Senators could bring DeBrincat back on a one-year deal. However, they’re taking the winger to salary arbitration to see if they can get a 15 percent reduction on his $9 million qualifying offer.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Red Wings could consider terminating winger Filip Zadina’s contract after failed efforts to trade him followed by his clearing waivers earlier this week. There’s talk he could refuse to report to their AHL affiliate if sent down, which would be a contract violation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Red Wings have over $9.8 million in cap space. They have the cap room to pursue a trade for DeBrincat and perhaps sign him to a contract close to what his camp is seeking. However, they might feel more inclined to do so if they can get Zadina’s $1.85 million cap hit through 2023-24 off their books.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Levine weighed in on the Ducks’ rumored interest in DeBrincat. He believes it would make sense for them as they’re seeking a scoring winger and have the cap space and assets to make it happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on Garrioch’s latest report, the Ducks may have the cap space but they’re not willing to pay him $8.8 million annually. The same also applies to the Red Wings. Both clubs could be trying to squeeze the DeBrincat camp into accepting a lesser deal to facilitate a trade.

The Islanders, meanwhile, have the most difficult path to landing DeBrincat. They lack the cap space as well as the quality assets to tempt the Senators. I don’t see them having a chance unless the Ducks and Red Wings drop out of the bidding.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng indicates the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes are thought to be interested in Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. However, he also cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that interested clubs prefer that the Sharks retain a larger chunk of the 33-year-old Norris Trophy winner’s $11.5 million cap hit.

Friedman indicated the Sharks were willing to retain 20 percent of Karlsson’s cap hit when they were discussing a possible deal with the Edmonton Oilers earlier this year. He also noted that general manager Mike Grier has said that they’re not going to retain 50 percent.

According to Friedman, Sharks owner Hasso Plattner is a bit involved in this situation. It sounds like he’d be willing to retain a little bit more with the caveat that the more they retain, the better the return has to be.

Friedman also noted that Kyle Dubas, the Penguins’ president of hockey operations, has been pursuing Karlsson for some time, stretching back to when he was the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi believes Dubas has a way of clearing cap space to acquire Erik Karlsson now that Penguins winger Drew O’Connor has filed for arbitration. That move allows the Penguins a second opportunity this summer to buy out any player on his roster (other than O’Connor) 72 hours after O’Connor’s arbitration case is settled or awarded.

Rossi noted that Dubas said on July 1 that he looked into acquiring Karlsson and didn’t rule out continuing the pursuit. Such a move would likely be a three-team deal as the Penguins lack sufficient tradeable assets on their own to make it happen and the cap space to absorb his full cap hit.

The Penguins have two potential buyout candidates in Mikael Granlund and Jeff Petry. Rossi believes Granlund is the more likely option given Dubas’ recent remarks that he still views Petry playing a big part with the Penguins going forward.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Mark Madden doesn’t see the Penguins pulling off a Karlsson trade given their lack of cap space and trade assets. The only way he envisions it happening is through “some third-team, cap-dump magic.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Three-team trades are easy for fans to envision, In reality, they’re difficult to pull off, especially when the centerpiece of the deal carries $11.5 million annually through 2026-27 plus a full no-movement clause giving him complete control of the situation.

I’m not suggesting it can’t happen. I just think the Penguins face long odds of pulling it off.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Levine cited John Gibson’s appearance on the July 4 episode of the “Cam and Strick Podcast” where he spoke about his future with the Anaheim Ducks.

There have been reports that Gibson wanted to be traded from the rebuilding Ducks to a team that was in a better position to win the Stanley Cup. The 29-year-old goaltender said he wasn’t really sure if a trade was going to happen. He indicated he’s had a few conversations with Ducks GM Pat Verbeek since the end of the 2022-23 season but declined to get into the details.

Gibson said he’s facing some uncertainty over whether he’ll be returning with the Ducks or playing elsewhere this season. For now, he’s focusing on his offseason training.

Levine believes it’s unclear what the future holds for Gibson. He’s got four seasons left on his contract with an average annual value of $6.4 million.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens reports there is no known formal trade request from Gibson. When asked, the goalie and his agent declined to comment. However, sources close to Gibson and the Ducks say he has not asked to be traded.

Stephens indicated that neither side is banging the table for a trade. However, that doesn’t mean neither side wouldn’t be interested if an opportunity were to materialize.

Trade destinations appear limited this summer. The Penguins are no longer an option after they brought back Tristan Jarry. Stephens wondered if the New Jersey Devils might be interested.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson’s cap hit and his 10-team no-trade clause complicates things. Verbeek would also likely set a significant asking price. Perhaps next summer might be a better opportunity to move Gibson when the salary cap is expected to rise by at least $4 million.


  1. Isles have no cap room because Lou gave Varley way too much. Should have been 2×2 or else sign a back up for 1 million like the Rangers did .The backup will only play 20-25 games anyway. They should package JGP Wahlstrom and a 2 nd round pick for the cat have them sign and trade him at his price 8x 8.75 and they hold 3 million in cap money for this season only. Lou has to make this happen if not trade JGP for picks and sign Tarasenko 3x 5 million. Power play needs a big adjustment. But being a lifelong fan, I expect Lou to do nothing as usual. Fed up.

    • Yeah, the Rags have a clue! What a joke! I don’t understand the idiocy associated w/ Lou’s transactions. The AAV on all the deals was low. Rostering a half assed backup like the Rangers would be a step back. Parise, if he comes back (I doubt) would be cheap. They don’t need him. The salary going back to Ottawa in Pageau’s case is over $6M I believe. That’s more than 1/2. No need to be cap compliant till opening night. Relax….

      • A half assed backup that really isn’t far off from Varlamovs numbers, comes much cheaper with 3 years less term.

        I’ll take it! Not a huge fan of Quick signing. But don’t ever underestimate the value of what Benny Allaire is capable of doing!

        This deal was rumored for weeks prior to the signing. Looks more like a mentor type deal for Shesterkin than anything else.

        But again, Varlamov will be 39 and carrying that price tag.

    • I don’t think teams are allowed to retain salary for 1 year of the contract only. I think the retention must be the same for the remaining term of the contract.

      • Hi foleyd7

        Took the post right out of my “single finger” typing

        Yes… any retention is for full balance of contract and percentage retained is against not only Cap, but cash owed as well… if 50% retained and there is an SB of say $3 M in a future year… original team on hook for 50% of Sal plus $1.5 M towards the SB

    • Varley was a good signing…Sorokin is still human,and if he gets injured, Varley is a good insurance…JPG, Wally and second is about right with Ottawa retaining few mil shekels….but if history is any indication, Cat is going to Detroit (pajamas and all, we had seen this movie before).

      • It’ll be complex, but nothing Lou can’t handle. Now in regard to the other comment…… we’ll see! Word is Detroit does not want him, nor does Anaheim- I believe they’re “hurding”” him to NY

    • Pete, Varlamovs AAV is fairly reasonable for a solid backup of his stature. The bond he’s developed with his fellow Russian Sorokin is also important. It’s just that the term may be a year or two too long.
      Pageau, Wahlstrom and a second won’t be enough. They’d also have to clear more cap space. They’d have to add in Palmieri if he’s willing. Maybe that’s acceptable to Ottawa, maybe not.
      Tarasenko would be a decent pickup if the Isles don’t pick up Debrincat. But I don’t see him getting 3 years at 5m. AAV. Will probably be 1 year, less money.

  2. 1st, Zadina,Kubalik and Soderblom for Debrincat (signed), Lassi Thomson, Parker Kelly and a 4th.

    • Way too much for OTT to give up and nobody wanted Zadina. Stop posting about sending your castoffs

    • Detroit’s trying to get bigger and stronger upfront, No way we’re moving Soderblom for a much smaller Alex DeBrincat.

  3. One thing you can take to the bank … if Detroit were to trade for DeBrincat there is NO way Zadina’s contract is coming to Ottawa as part of the deal.

    He is a bona-fide 1st round bust along the lines of Puljujarvi and will eventually wind up playing somewhere in Europe.

    • Well, there will be no need to worry about that after noon today. Zadina has agreed to terminate his contract and walk away from the remaining $4.5M on it. He becomes a no strings attached free agent. I feel a bit sorry for him, and wish him well. He worked hard in Detroit. Someone should give him another shot. Anyoine with big enough brass to bet on himself as he did deserves it.

  4. Crazy but wouldn’t it be nice if contracts can be re-negotiated if both sides were in agreement? Obviously owners would want to use this often but I’m looking at great talents being wasted away on non playoff teams and can’t be traded because of their contracts. I think of luango and now karlsson.

    • NFL does it all the time!

  5. Reportedly Anaheim is out of the running on the Alex DeBrincat sweepstakes per Elliotte Friedman.

    The New York Islanders don’t have the cap space to take on Alex DeBrincat, Lou would need to move both Palmieri and Pageau and obviously Ottawa can’t afford to take on nearly $10,000,000 in combined cap hits from both players. Especially if they’re trying to sign Vladimir Tarasenko as well. So that basically leaves the Islanders out of the running as well.

    Which comes down to Detroit as the obvious front runner to bring Alex Debrincat home, He obviously wants Detroit only from what Friedman is reporting. So this leaves very little leverage for Pierre Dorion to get actual real value for DeBrincat. My guess is Yzerman will low ball him major big time here. Jonatan Berggren+2nd round pick would be my guess. Perhaps Yzerman includes Joe Veleno as well.

    • I don’t think Dorion goes for a low ball offer. He will be patient for teams to clear cap space. He still has some leverage, he can sign DeBrincat to the arbitration award and trade him before the trade deadline. I could see Carolina coming back in play if trades they are working on fall through.

    • Stevie Y is going to squeeze the cats balls on a new contract. I’ll bet me get him at $7.5 or he stays in Ottawa.

    • You sound like a Habs fan when it came to Pierre-Luc Dubois. And how did that work out for them?

      The Sens don’t need to trade Debrincat. They can keep and move him at the deadline.

      Also you keep misquoting Friedman. He actually said he doesn’t see a deal transpiring between Ottawa and Anaheim. But he also said that Debrincat was initially not interested in Anaheim but changed his mind.

      The reason there hasn’t been a trade is because Debrincat wants $8M plus over 8’years. If Stevie Y wants to do that then there will be a deal announced tomorrow. It has little to do with the return to the Sens.

      • Ya, hard to believe Dorian can’t get more than that at the TDL Peter. Or from a team near the bottom of the pile with space who can then flip him at the deadline. A year of DeBrincat is worth more than a B prospect and a 2nd.

        The problem with waiting to the TDL, is if the Sens are in a battle for a playoff spot, really hard to sell a higher end asset for picks/prospects, which is how those trades usually work. New owners and fans alike might get a little cranky about that.

        If all you get is what Lucas is suggesting, you keep him, and if not going well trade him at deadline, if you make the playoffs give it a go.

      • With way things are transpiring so far with DeBrincat, I can see a 3-year bridge looming at a cap hit commensurate with what he’d get if Ottawa wins the arbitration hearing and he gets 15% less than the $9 mil due at qualification.

  6. Would be absolutely OK with EK on Pens…. Cannot concurrently happen with both Petry and Granlund remaining on team

    Re “The Penguins have two potential buyout candidates in Mikael Granlund and Jeff Petry. Rossi believes Granlund is the more likely option given Dubas’ recent remarks that he still views Petry playing a big part with the Penguins going forward.”

    Bang on re Granlund

    Buyout $4.2 M then $3.2 M in savings

    But re Petry…. Can’t be “playing a big part with the Penguins going forward” if EK coming in; and even if EK not joining…. He (Petry) is not “the big part going forward that Pens need

    Note… Petry buyout is $3M then $4.5 M in savings

    Grier is right with his trepidations re retaining 50% on EK

    If he is stuck at 20% ($9.2 M coming over); then Petry and Granlund and Rutta ($14 M) must go back

    20% retained…. Return is less….

    Proposal 1

    Petry and Granlund and Rutta (no retention) …. $14 M Cap; plus sweeteners O’Connor ($??? Cap) , Gruden, Butcher

    For EK (20% retained) and Sturm …. Total $11.2 M Cap coming in

    Dooby could actually take EK at only 10 % retained…..then move him at 50% (of the 90% remaining) retained at ‘26 TDL to a contender (when Pens are in rebuild) for a 1st) …..

    Proposal 2:

    EK (10% retained) and Sturm (at 50%)….$11.35 M

    For Petry and Granlund and Rutta (no retention) …. $14 M Cap; plus just 1 sweetener … choice of….O’Connor ($??? Cap) , or Gruden or Butcher

    Accairi/Nieto/plus a $775 K – $1 M UFA (Ritchie or Boquist or Sundquist or Pius Suter or Gregor )

    Friedman/P-O J

    Jarry/ plus back up of : 1 of Murray(after buyout… $1 M for 1); or DeSmith; or Nejedlkovic …. Whichever wins back-up in training camp… other two waived

    Above fits into Cap

    • One further proposal with zero retained on EK:

      EK (nothing retained) and Sturm and Duclair (both at 50%)….$14 M

      For Petry and Granlund and Rutta and Ellers and DeSmith (no retention on anybody) …. $18.3 M Cap; plus just 1 sweetener … choice of…. Gruden or Butcher

      $4.3 M Cap savings; leaving Pens then at 20 on Roster and $2.8 in space

      3 replacement UFAs (1 year at between league min and up to $900 K)…, gets 23 on roster…. Leaps and bounds better than team that finished last season; and much better than team (as it stands at this very second)

      All of these proposals are grossly improbable ti happen just due to the magnitude of assets involved

      Surer/easier way to improve team

      Buy out Granlund

      *Retain 50% on Petry and Rutta ….trade them for two late rounders

      Sign Dumba

      Burry one of DeSmith/Nedjelkivic

      Bring up Friedman and Smith

      Sign two UFAs (less than $1M per)

      Roster at 23, well under Cap; much better roster than this very second

      *Only thing not fully in Dooby’s control …. Needs to find a taker(s)

      • Why not buy out Granlund, and package Petry with a first round pick for EK at 25% or so retained? Still a few $$ to make it work, but seems to be a close framework of a deal that may be able to get over the finish line with some minor pieces.

        SJS need as much draft capital as they can get, and PIT isn’t in a position to be competitive in 3-4 years time, anyway.

      • Hi Dan

        I’m not completely against giving up a first (would need to be lottery protected)…. But if doing so…. Sharks must take Granlund as well

        EK @ (25% retained) ; plus Sturm (59% retained) …. Total $9.6 M in Cap


        Granlund and Petry ($11.25 M) ; 1st (Lottery protected)…. and ONE of O’Connor; Butcher; Gruden

        Then use 1 other remaining two not chosen in above trade; plus a 4th (‘25) to move
        Rutta( bring up Friedman and Smith; demote Ruhweedel)

        Sign depth UFA… for between League Min and $1M (Zadina??)….

        Gives 23 man roster with Cap space to spare


        Friedman/P-O J

        Sturm (on 3rd line) centres Eller and Nylander

      • Basically, a bunch of undesirable players + players Pittsburgh JUST signed (did they need Dubas to do their negotiations?) and the sweetener is Butcher (fresh off a 65 game stay in the AHL), also JUST signed) or a former 3rd round pick yet to sniff the NHL at 23?

        Exactly what EVERY rebuilding team desires!

        Try to be somewhat realistic. Starting with something of actual value to a rebuilding team!

      • I think its asking far too much for SJS to take on both contracts that we want rid of just to unload a Norris caliber D-man. The salary is obviously problematic for SJS, as is Karlsson’s NMC.

        I think packaging either Granlund or Petry (whichever one SJS prefers) with a 1st rd pick and another smaller asset is probably what it would take. The benefit is SJS gets a serviceable (if uninspiring) NHL caliber talent, future draft capital, and a salary coming off the books at the end of ’24/25, before they’ll be a true threat to contend. You get close to making the salary work for PIT, as well. I don’t know enough about the Sharks system to know who the minor pieces would be to make the numbers work, but I think it’s the right kind of framework for a deal.

        I don’t see any possible way to saddle SJS with all of PITs poor contracts and walk away with EK65. Doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Hi Pengy

      Rumor Erik Karlsson trade:

      Penguins trade #1 draft picks * 2, POJ, Granlund to third team, Rutta ? to Sharks for Erik Karlsson and Sharks retain portion of Karlsson’s contract.

      After Karlsson trade, Penguins trade Jeff Petry to another team.

      • I know this wasn’t addressed to me, but I don’t see the logic in sending extra assets to a third team if you can utilize the buyout window to make the $$ work. I would think a 1st, a lesser asset than POJ and a serviceable NHL’er (coupled with a buyout) would be a more direct way to get this done while not sacrificing too much. I would think that EITHER Petry/Granlund (buyout the other) and two #1s OR a #1 and POJ would be enough to get this done. Why sacrifice both with a third team?

  7. Zadina being released by Friday. You can have him for league min. If you want. Agree he will be playing pro overseas

    Why no rumours on Dumba ? A handful of teams would have to be interested. Something fishy going on. Like a deal done and waiting for something else to happen
    Tarasenko is a restart after rejecting all offers and firing his agent this week

  8. Random question…is Debrincat’s qualifying offer already being calculated into the Sens cap room on CF?

    It seems to me like they currently have 9 million or so I’m cap space but when Norris comes back that’s like maybe a million left?

    So now that Lyle put it the way he did, I can only believe that when Cat get traded the calculations go up by like 7.5 million?

    Thanks to whomever can clear this up for my confused brain.

    • Hi the Saint

      DeBrincat currently w/o a contract… not counting towards Cap

      Sens have 19 players (including 2 on IR) with $7.5 M in space (for 4 spots)

      Can sign DeBrincat for more than $7.5 M (space) as allowed to go 10% over during summer

      Hope this helps

      • It does but it doesn’t show a path to being cap compliant unless someone is getting traded away.

        Glad I’m not a GM

      • Hi The Saint

        If they move DeBrincat for futures… then they need to fill 4 spots with $7.5 M…. Which is not hard

        3 players at $1M…. $3M…. Leaving $4.5 M…., so roster player coming back for DeBrincat would need to be $4.5 M-$4.8 M or less

        If they keep DeBrincat…. Worst case is $9 M less 15% through Arb hearing….$7.65M….

        So yhat is the scenario n which they need to trade out about $3M’ish player; replaced by 3 players in thd $775-$1M range…. To get to 23 and under Cap

        Can be over by 10% all summer…. So no rush (if DeBrincat stays) to maneuver that

  9. Zadina…. How many teams will be in on him

    Every team not at the Cap and/or at 23 man roster; should offer him $900 K (1year)

    This is a zero risk move…. If he doesn’t make team out of training camp…. Waive him…. He’s already refused to go to thr AHL…. So if no other team picks him up off of your waivers… he’ll agree to part ways…. No skin off your back…. Zero risk

    In the flip…. He could (and certainly has the potential) turn out to produce at or above the $900 K level… league min is $775K…. so the expectation buffer is $125 K over the lowest you can pay an NHLer

    Upside…. Change of scenery…. Maybe he gets a spark and plays like a $1.5 M – $2M player

    I’ve heard nothing (yet) that says he’s a dressing room issue

    Take the low (let’s call it basically “zero”) risk option of offering him 1 year…$900 K…. All in Sal