NHL Rumor Mill – July 7, 2023

by | Jul 7, 2023 | Rumors | 39 comments

Are the Penguins still pursuing a trade for Erik Karlsson? Are the Red Wings and Islanders still interested in Alex DeBrincat? Are the Sharks interested in signing Vladimir Tarasenko and Matt Dumba? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reports numerous sources tell him that Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas remains intrigued by the thought of acquiring Erik Karlsson. He added that the Penguins are still involved in talks with the San Jose Sharks regarding the 33-year-old defenseman.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Yohe believes Karlsson would be a fine addition to the Penguins in their quest for one more Stanley Cup run with their aging core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the deal would be complex and would have to involve three teams given the amount of money involved.

NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said he believes it’s between the Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes regarding a potential Karlsson trade. He thinks it’s harder for Pittsburgh because Carolina has more salary-cap room.

Friedman feels the issue is trying to find the sweet spot between how much salary the Sharks retain and the trade that gets made. He believes it’s likely to happen at some point and thinks it’s between the Penguins and Hurricanes.

NHL.COM: Responding to a reader’s question about a possible deal moving Karlsson to the Penguins, Dan Rosen doubts that it’s going to happen. He believes there are too many hoops to jump through to make it work with the salary cap. Rosen also doesn’t think the Pens have sufficient assets to tempt the Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I have no doubt that Dubas is trying hard to land Karlsson. Like Rosen, however, I’m skeptical that he can pull it off. Even if the Sharks are willing to retain more than 20-30 percent of Karlsson’s $11.5 million annual cap hit through 2026-27, I don’t believe they have enough of the assets the rebuilding Sharks would want.

I’ve also learned to never say never in this business. Dubas has shown the ability to perform some impressive salary-cap gymnastics during his years with the Leafs. However, trying to make the money fit and finding the right assets in this case just doesn’t seem likely. As Friedman observed, the Hurricanes have more salary-cap space and quality assets to make a competitive bid.


NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said he’s heard that the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings have been actively working on a trade regarding restricted free agent Alex DeBrincat. The 25-year-old Senators winger is a Michigan native and wants to play for Detroit.

Friedman noted the Red Wings placing winger Filip Zadina on waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. That would free up some cap space, giving the Wings more room to work on a new contract for DeBrincat. He thinks this deal isn’t that far away but the last hurdle is the toughest.

NHL.COM: Dan Rosen replied to a reader wondering when DeBrincat will become a New York Islander. He thinks the winger going to the Isles makes sense for all parties if they’re interested.

Rosen cited the Islanders’ need for an elite goal scorer. He suggested a package including sending Jean-Gabriel Pageau back to the Senators along with RFA winger Oliver Wahlstrom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think you’ll see DeBrincat traded to the Red Wings before you’ll see him join the Islanders. The Wings have the advantage in cap space and tradeable assets to tempt the Senators.

If a deal with the Wings isn’t possible, Wahlstrom might interest the Senators depending on what else is included in the return from the Islanders. Pageau, however, is not a fit in Ottawa with Tim Stutzle, Josh Norris and Shane Pinto centering their top-three lines and Claude Giroux capable of filling either spot if necessary.

The Islanders are squeezed for cap space. Ethan Sears of the New York Post believes they might not have a roster spot for Zach Parise (who’s mulling retirement) or Wahlstrom. They’ll have to move quite a lot of salary to make enough room for DeBrincat and his new contract.


NHL NETWORK: Elliotte Friedman also reported hearing the San Jose Sharks have an interest in unrestricted free agent Vladimir Tarasenko. While the 31-year-old winger was linked to the Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators, Friedman doesn’t believe that Tarasenko has found the market he wants and that’s not likely to change.

Friedman also suspected that the Sharks might have a spot for unrestricted free agent Matt Dumba if they end up moving Erik Karlsson.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cited Sharks GM Mike Grier saying he would be keeping an eye open to see if any bargains emerge in the free-agent market. He wonders if Tarasenko and Dumba are starting to enter bargain territory, suggesting it could be a win-win.

If the Sharks can trade Karlsson, it would free up cap room for the Sharks to sign Tarasenko and/or Dumba to short-term contracts. Those players would get the opportunity to rebuild their value, enabling the Sharks to flip them at the trade deadline for younger assets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peng is skeptical that the Sharks will sign Tarasenko and Dumba but doesn’t rule it out. Stranger things have happened.

Trading Karlsson would shake up what’s been a dull offseason for trades and free-agent moves. Perhaps it would lead to a rebuilding club with cap room signing someone like Tarasenko and Dumba.


  1. It would be huge if Dubas would be able to land Karlsson. To make this work the Pens would need to buy out Granlund (and Petry?).
    Dumba would also be a good addition.
    Imo DeBrincat is not a $9mil player. He’s not worth more than $7.5m (just my opinion).

    • Hi Juss

      EK on Pend can be done without any buyouts (see below)

      No matter what…. Impossible for EK to come over with Petry still on team; Granlund needs to exit

      Petry and Granlund exits followed by Dumba signed; also works

      Still some fair League Min to $1M UFAs out there

      3C option is also (one I’d like)… Toews… Eller and Nylander in his wings

      Toews at $1M plus commensurate PBs

      Everything starts with Granlunds exit (a must) by either buyout (easiest) or trade (sweeteners given up… not preferred)

      • My nephew who works with the penguins organization in Pittsburgh was telling me penguins have two plans

        Plan B

        Karlsson @ $ 9 million

        PO Joseph two 1st round picks to san jose and Michael Granlund to a third team..

        Plan B mAtt Dumba which i think should ve Plan A even if we keep Petry move Jan rutta buyout granlund plenty there for Matt Dumba younger, better, cheaper than Karlsson

      • Grandland gets buyout, Petry in the trade for Karlsson

      • Your nephew does a great job. I can hear “peanuts! Get your peanuts!” Like two whole sections over!

    • I agree with you about DeBrincat’s value Juss, and if the rumors about him coming home to Detroit turn out to be true, I am hoping we can sign him for your $7.5M number.

      • Coming from the Detroit media.

        That’s looking like the offer that Yzerman is giving DeBrincat somewhere between 5-6 years @ $7,500,000 it sounds like league wide no teams want to go long term with him or give him the money he’s seeking. He’s better off just taking his one year qualifying offer. And head to free agency next summer where he should get a bigger payday.

  2. Te EK to Pens and

    “Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the deal would be complex and would have to involve three teams given the amount of money involved.”

    It does NOT need to be 3 teams

    If Key players moving are Petry, Rutta and Granlund to Sharks; EK to Pens ; of course prospects/futures going West as well… then no third team is needed

    The 3 Pens are $14 M on Cap

    20% retained on EK… $9.2 M…. That’s $4.8 M for Pens to replace Rutta (Friedman is but $800 K); and still several UFAs that can replace Granlund at 1/5th the Cap cost

    Dubas brought in Eller as 3C…. So it is just a 3rd line winger needed

    Cost for above is likely O’Connor and one of Butcher/Gruden

    I’d be OK with moving a lottery protected first….

    EK (25%retained); Sturm (50% retained)

    For Petry; Rutta; Granlund; O’Connor; 1st; Butcher and Gruden

    Sturm becomes 3C; Eller on his wing along with Nylander

    Sign Ritchie at 1 yr $900 K

    4th line

    Accairi, Ritchie, Nieto

    Bottom pairing is Friedman/P-O J; 7th D Smith

    However….. easiest move…. Buyout Granlund….


    Petry , Rutta, O’Connor, Butcher or Gruden , 1st (Lottery protected)

    For EK (35% retained by Sharks)….coming over at $7.5 M

    • I don’t think that’s enough from the Pens. I would do that deal as Pens GM but I don’t think Grier would do it.
      If it includes Petry Rutta and Granlund they must add sweeteners. And Butcher is not one. Gruden looks like a career AHL player (may be i am wrong), O’Connor and a first round pick would have to be included at least.
      If the Sharks include Sturm the Pens would have to give even more.

      • I agree with Juss76, IF and that is a big IF, the Pens can get Petry to accept a trade…
        To SJ
        Petry 6.25
        Granlund 5.0
        2024 1st.

        Granlund and Petry are essentially negative assets and you are going to have to pay SJ to assume those contracts and retain on EK.

      • Hi Juss and Brian

        agree my offer might be a little shy…. However…Pickering and Yeager and 1st ‘24…. Definitely won’t happen, and waaay too much

        This will come down to two things….. (1) and most importantly…. do Canes come up with an amenable Grier deal (as Canes are the favs to get him) and (2) if he is coming to Pens…. How much is retained. As I mentioned yesterday…. Grier prefers to limit retention, and already is assuming minimum of 20% retention…. The more the retention, the less the return. Pens are only interested party that can actually take EK full whack….. 11.5 in; Petry, Rutta, Granlund ($14 M) back. This scenario saves Sharks tons in out year commitments… and I truly believe IF taken at full whack.. O’Connor plus one of Gruden or Butcher suffices

        In two years…. All three off of Sharks Cap and payroll. At a time when they will start needing space again

        Pens get EK and fill out 23 on Roster under Cap

        Pens (once window has closed in 2 years… can retain 50% and move EK for a 1st

        The absolute easiest/best scenario/move for Pens is

        1) Granlund buyout

        Then 2) Petry and Rutta trade (even if up to 50% needs to be retained)…return is two late rounders

        3) sign Dumba

        4) bring up Friedman and Smith

        5) sign Toews at $1M Sal plus commensurate PBs as 3C

        Above is a much much better roster than at this very moment…. AND…. has a full roster WITH Cap space to boot; and not 22 man roster already at $1.5 M + OVER

        Only #2 above relies on other teams… and even if the cost of moving Petry and Rutta at 50% retained costs Pens O’Connor… worth it

      • “ However…Pickering and Yeager and 1st ‘24…. Definitely won’t happen, and waaay too much”

        Yeah, because there isn’t a pile of unwanted contracts going San Jose’s way!

        Too much only seems to work one way in EVERY deal you propose!

      • Pengy, Apologizes but I think you are way off base on this. Petry, Rutta, and Granlund are all negative value guys right now.
        No way Grier add’s 3 guys that have negative trade value and accounts for 14+ million in cap space, for essentially 25 year old O’Connor, 28 year old Butcher, and 23 year old Gruden.

        I cant tell if you are serious or just messing with us.
        Pens have very limited assets to make this move.
        Considering that Philly just traded Hayes, a player who has out produced Granlund over the last several years, for a 7th round pick, while retaining 50% of his cap hit, that should tell you the absolute negative value that Granlund has.

        San Jose is not giving away EK just to give him away and they certainly are not going to take on 14+ million in cap without getting a considerable return. Pickering Yager and a 1st likely will not even get it done.

    • Pengy, if Granlund should be bought out, then the trade to SJ doesn’t make sense. Why would the Sharks take Granlund and retain salary on EK? Seems like wishful thinking.

      • Hi HOG

        Granlund buyout (and not part of SJ take package)….lessons sweeteners needed in EK deal

        No matter what

        Pens need Granlund and Petry out; and also preferably Rutta; and….

        Either EK or Dumba in; plus true 3C (I’m hoping for Toews)

      • And where were you at pengy when we needed a gm, I like your thinking. I volunteer as asst gm if you want to give it a go.

    • If it were that simple you’d be a GM somewhere.

      • 😀

        I’ll sell my company and work for $1/year

    • This trade now has San Jose taking on 14 million in salary not counting Gruden, O’Connor or Butcher. While retaining 3.875 on Karlsson and Sturn.

      San Jose in 17.875 +++
      San Jose out. 9.625
      Gain? -8.25 +++ (Butcher , O’Connor and Gruden.)

      Basically for a middle of the pack lottery protected 1st?

      “Hi, my name is Mike Grier, and I hate my job! Please fire me!”

      • LOL. You got it. This time of year has always brought out the convoluted multi-player deals … usually involving canoes for someone else’s battleship … that you have NEVER seen happen since the advent of the cap,

        Some like to point out that, after 4 years of flat cap minimal increases, next year should see it return to pre-Covid levels ($5 mil? a bit more?).

        The reality there is, however , that the juggernauts coming up for contract renewals on just about every team not in the early throes of re-building, are going to account for just about the whole damned amount, leaving GMs scrambling as to how to retain the next tier of talent who are also seeking new deals.

        Consequently , all of this will factor into just about every trade of any consequence, and only an idiot will screw the future by taking on other’s grunge – especially when there is term left.

        Meanwhile, here, we get to see the best of fantasy league deal proposals.

    • Pengy..saw a proposal the other day which was decent involving Vancouver..

      To Vancouved
      PO Joseph Michael Granlund a 2024 2nd 2025 4th rounder

      To Pittsburgh
      Nils hoglander Lucas Forsell

      Niks only 22 13 goals three yeRs ago 10 two years ago last year up and down minirs..this kid can skate nice scoring touch perfect 4th liner lucas forsell 19 strong in swedish league we get younger and add to pool..

      Vancouver is going to move tyler myers at some point they will have room

      Our thirs line can be Eller Accari Nieto

      Hoglander Oconner Carter 4th line younger to pish carter

  3. What is the purpose of SJ taking on all the contracts that pitt doesn’t want. The whole purpose of the trade is to receive quality prospects and draft choices.

    If you are not getting those I would just stick with EK.

    • Unless the point of the trade for SJ is to clear 11.5 million in cap space.

    • Agree Jeff.

      I don’t think San Jose is really in a position to worry about shedding that contract to help out the Penguins.

      They have 21 signed with 6.5 in open cap space. Also can’t see them chasing high dollar UFA’s at this stage.

      But if they were worried about that cap space today, why would they take on Granlund, Petry and Ruuta that cost more (14 million combined for 2 years) and don’t match Karlssons production all together? And none of which would be seen as rebuilding pieces.

      This is beyond wishful thinking.

    • Agree! Not to mention, how many Teams right now would dump 14+ million in cap hits, to take on a 3 time Norris Trophy winner and as a sweetener you have to throw in 2 or 3 guys in their mid to late 20’s playing in the AHL.

  4. So it looks like Tarasenko is down to a one year prove it deal. I believe it was LJ who suggested yesterday that his best move would be to sign with a team not likely to make the playoffs and hope to play well enough to be traded to a contender at the deadline. That may be his best option. I can see the Isles being a fit for him. Maybe even for 2 years. But they’d have to move someone out first. A lot easier said than done as we’re seeing around the league now.
    Dumba will likely have to take a one year prove it deal as well. I still think he’d make sense for the Habs. He can help the right side of the D for this year as Reinbacher and Mailloux are not ready yet. They’ve got Savard and Barron at RD bit Wideman will likely spend the year in the AHL and I’m still not sold on Kovacevic. Then if Dumba plays well enough he can be flipped at the deadline. Don’t see it happening though.

    • Thanks for the credit Howard but it wasn’t me with the Tarasenko suggestion. A good rule of thumb is if it was a good idea it wasn’t me.

      As for your idea of Dumba on a one year deal, that’s worth considering. I wonder though, if the Habs want to see how their young d and prospects do at training and pre season as opposed to committing to a new D. But … see above!

      • You’re right LJ. It was Caper. Sorry about that Caper.

  5. I have a feeling Tarasenko replaces his agent(s) because he wants to return to the Rangers. But NYR will have to clear cap room, and still have to resign Miller and Lafreniere.
    Unless Tarasenko decides to take a 1yr $1M deal from NYR, but I doubt that happens

    • MikeP, the Blues writer was on 101.1 in St. Louis yesterday and went into some detail on Tarasenko and Paul Theofanous, the agent he fired. It was Theo fanous that recommended the doctor that did one of Tarasenko’s shoulder surgeries, and Theofanous is essentially the one who pushed for Tarasenko to request a trade. Tarasenko had been with Mike Liut for many years, and it really looks like Theofanous is/was a major issue.

    • I will do a very happy dance if he signs for 1million to stay with the Rangers. But i get a feeling they will sign Kane for that

  6. Re; San Jose Sharks.

    I dont see them signing Tarasenko and Dumba
    unless its for a 1 year deal with a signing bonus to flip them for picks at the trade deadline….🤔

    They are starting there 5 year re-build and have one top 6 Centre in Will Smith, and some other forward prospects, and some good d prospects in development.

    if they can move EK $11.5…❓ it will be a 3 way deal due to the very tight Cap most teams have with the 3rd team holding salary… 30%, 40% & 30% spread

    they have a few other old players with Huge Salarys to trade after this one, that are more than likely Not Movable

    36 yr old Marc-Édouard Vlasic’s $7.M for 3 more years is more than likely not movable

    34 yr old Logan Couture’s salary is $8.M for 4 more years
    They also have 7 UFA players at the end of the
    2023-2024 Season to move out

  7. Juss ; Brian ; BnG

    The offer offer earlier

    “EK (25%retained); Sturm (50% retained)
    For Petry; Rutta; Granlund; O’Connor; 1st; Butcher and Gruden”

    was to emphasize the need to buyout Granlund first

    Above deal with 4 players in (Gruden and Butcher currently AHL) ; two going out for Sharks; and then of course allowing for at a minimum 2 less League min contracts (4 in two out) and assuming O’ Connor is $1 M….

    Net Cap impact to Sharks is just $3.8 M more in Cap (EK $8.6 , Sturm $1M, two League min replacements….$11.2 M out; replaced by $15 M Cap coming in). With overall cash commitment savings to Sharks of $5.8 M.

    Cash irrelevant to Pens. The net $3.8 M in Cap plus EK replacing Petry is the key

    However…. If Doobie finally gets act in gear and buys out Granlund first; so he is not part of the trade…

    Sharks actually gain space… EK ($8.6M) , Sturm ($1 M) ; 1 League Min… total ….$10.4 M… replaced by $10 M Cap coming in… so actually 0.4 Net Cap savings for Sharks…. However.. . With Granlund out of the equation the cash commitment savings jumps to $15.8 M

    For Pens…. Cash irrelevant … Cap savings paramount…. Option 1… $3.9 M net Cap….. option 2… buyout Granlund… $4.2 M, less UFA replacement….$1 M , less net cap loss in trade …. 0.4 M…. So net $2.8 Cap space (vs $3.8 M for option 1)

    Obviously less needed in trade for option 2

    Dooby…. Buyout Granlund

    Compare above option #2 ; to what has been bandied about in Media as Canes offer…. 1st (lottery protected)…. So that’s the same as Pens ; just much more likely 28th-32nd vs 18th -20th (Pens); but Canes insisting on 40% retained ; Plus giving up Pesce (UFA next year) ; plus 2nd in ‘26

    Assuming Pesce extends at $5 M for 3 years( he won’t)…. Then net Cap savings (Sharks) this year at $2.9 this year followed by net cap savings of $1.9 M…. But cash commitment savings only $3.6 M (vs nigh $16 M with option #2 above)

    Sharks are not playoff bound for 23/24 and 24/25…. So Greir’s focus is after that (25/26++); PLUS focus on long term cash savings

    Truly easiest/ best for Pens…. Buyout Granlund; move Petryand Rutta (even at 50% retained); sign Dumba and Toews; bring up Friedman andSmith

    All starts with a Granlund buyout!!

  8. So Scooby Doos plan is to plunder any and all future assets and prospects to get Karlsson from San Jose?

    Pittsburgh ends up with 13-15 million per season on 2 injury prone defencemen (Karlsson and Letang), neither of which could check a hat and zero cap wiggle room.

    All this in front of their injury prone 2nd tier starting goalie?

    • Ron I think we are about ready to hear a lot of last grasp type of rumors and possible we have some desperation trades by Pitt over the next year. Their farm system is atrocious and they have very few assets that other teams are interested in. You also have to think what Guentzel will command on the open market next summer. Will he want to go back to Pitt who will be in desperate need of a rebuild? I read that many think Pitt is facing a long 5-10 year rebuild and it should have already started. Watching Doobie try and get Sid another cup is going to similar to an absolute dumpster fire over the next 12-18 months…..get the popcorn ready.

  9. San Jose retains $3 million or so…

    To Sharks.. Granlund, Petry, Casey Desmith, Ty Smith or POJ, 1st rounder 2024, Tristan Brotz.

    Sounds good….let’s do it…lol…

    oh yeah, and hopefully Dubas gets rid of Pettersen too

  10. A) every person proposing trades today would get laughed out of town as a GM

    B) every time someone cites “needing to shore up defense” in their argument for getting Erik Karlsson has never watched the guy play.

  11. Chrisms..ways the scinic rjust well you are a piece of work..just passing something along..u dont have to b the know it all D****k you always are. Lol
    Thats ok