NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2023

by | Aug 1, 2023 | Rumors | 10 comments

The top remaining unrestricted free agents, Sharks speculation that has nothing to do with Erik Karlsson, and the latest on the Oilers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


DAILY FACEOFF: Patrick Kane and Matt Dumba sit first and second on Frank Seravalli’s list of the top remaining NHL unrestricted free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane won’t be entertaining contract offers until he’s recovered from his recent hip surgery. That’s expected to be sometime in early December. Dumba, meanwhile, is the top defenseman in the market and has been linked to the Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks.

Forwards Max Comtois, Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Toews sit in positions three through five on the listing.

Former Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Comtois recently said that he’s received calls from interested clubs but no contract offers yet. He indicated that the Montreal Canadiens have not contacted him. There’s been no rumors of late linking Tatar to any NHL club but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t received any calls.

Toews, meanwhile, has been silent except for releasing a statement in response to the recent death of Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz. The agency that represents him did not have his name on their list of clients who are free agents this summer, fuelling speculation that he’s mulling retirement.

Forward Pius Suter, winger Noah Gregor, goaltender Jaroslav Halak, center Paul Stastny and winger Phil Kessel rounded out the top 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Suter said he doesn’t intend on returning to his native Switzerland and hopes to sign an NHL contract. Kessel, 35, has indicated he wants to continue his NHL career. So does the 38-year-old Halak. No word on Stastny or Gregor.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: For those of you who are weary of all the speculation about Erik Karlsson, here’s the latest on the San Jose Sharks that has nothing to do with the 33-year-old defenseman. Enjoy!

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng observed that Sharks general manager Mike Grier has been pursuing devalued assets this summer that still appear to possess real upside. He’s acquired goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood and wingers Anthony Duclair and Filip Zadina and made a failed attempt at signing Vladimir Tarasenko.

Peng listed defenseman Matt Dumba, winger Tomas Tatar and winger Max Comtois as three free agents that he believes Grier should target.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks have over $5 million in projected cap space for 2023-24. They will have more if they somehow manage to trade a certain expensive Norris Trophy-winning defenseman this summer. That will give Grier more room to perhaps add a free agent or two such as those listed by Peng.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Max Miller wondered if the Sharks might consider trading Alexander Barabanov. The 29-year-old winger has been a good player, netting 93 points in 147 games. However, he could become the odd man out among their top-six forwards with the additions of Duclair and Zadina and with promising William Eklund expected to crack the lineup this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller suggested that Barabanov, who is slated to become a UFA next July, could be an enticing target for playoff contenders at the March trade deadline. He carries an affordable $2.5 million cap hit but his 10-team no-trade clause could affect the number of possible trade partners for the Sharks.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reported on Sunday that he’d heard the Oilers were closing in on new contracts with defenseman Evan Bouchard and center Ryan McLeod. The latter has an arbitration hearing on Aug. 4.

Leavins believes the goalposts have been slightly moved in terms of what it might cost to sign them. That leads him to conclude that the Oilers might have to go the professional tryout offer (PTO) route to add a center or two rather than signing UFAs. He also doesn’t rule out an in-season trade, suggesting Washington’s Nic Dowd and Montreal’s Jake Evans as possible trade options.

Robert Tychowski, meanwhile, believes the Oilers have dodged a “potential grenade” of an offer sheet for Bouchard. If it was going to happen, he thinks it would’ve by now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed regarding the Bouchard offer sheet. There aren’t many teams with the cap space to pull it off. It also remains a rarely-used tactic that most general managers tend to avoid.


  1. would like opinion on a proposed trade. fleury from minnesota to blue jackets for roslovic and bemstrom. maybe any other ideas on this.

  2. Dumba has been linked to the Coyotes and Sharks for weeks now. The fact that he hasn’t signed yet leaves me skeptical that he will.
    At this point, the Sharks could probably sign all three of Dumba, Tatar and Comtois for $5m. total on one year deals.

  3. Karlsson took the $$ from a team he knew was crap and now wants to play for a winner. Boo hoo! he expects the Sharks to eat some $$ so he can go. No wonder why the Sharks suck.

    This whole buyout thing stinks league wide. GM’s need to smarten up and stop giving out contracts that they know they might have to eat. Cap hell is every where. That extra $4M+ cap for next year will be gone when one player is signed. What a mess.

    The only way to fix this is if a player wants to move on to a winner he should be able to eat some $$. Hey Karlsson take a big bite of $2M if you want to go! What a system!

    • Turk, in fairness to Karlsson they did get to the conference finals his first year there. Then, not so much. And many of us thought that they would be a team in decline soon as their core was getting old. He had to see the same thing?

      People convince themselves to believing things they want to believe all the time. Seems like that happens in the NHL too.

      That last paragraph is an interesting idea.

    • The buyout system is pretty fair way for an owner to purge an unwanted player.

      what is not fair is when a star players requires and receives top market value only to request a trade a year later. Both NBA and NHL players do this trick to gather top dollar and then choose where they want to play.

      What the NHL/NBA really need is a mechanism for reducing player salary if a “trade” is requested. Meaning if a player signs an 8 year contract and demands a trade after a 1-2 years the player either needs to pay back a certain amount of money or have their contract reduced a certain amount of money or ignore the contract value all together to allow a GM to trade said player without having to take back 90% of the traded players contract on worthless players on expiring contracts.

      ex. Right now, Harden is forcing the Sixers to trade him. 2nd team all star, led league in assists, averaged over 21 pts a game. The Sixers are being offered scrub 4 players just because the salaries match up. Eliminate the need to match salaries and force the receiving team to trade value for a HOF player.

      How quickly could SJ trade Karlsson if they didnt have to take expiring contracts/worthless players? How many teams would trade for Karlsson if they had to give 3 firsts and a couple of prospects and no salary dumps?

      Some kind of system needs to be put in place or the inmates will continue to run the asylum.

    • Perfect response!

    • Granted, GM’s can’t help themselves, but the current system puts most teams in Cap hell.
      Start with the max cap on Player’s contract, at least it’s a start.

    • Signing Karlsson was the dumbest thing Doug Wilson did as GM. He already had Brent Burns and his high salary. The Sharks did not need the 2 most expensive defensemen in the league.

  4. Dumba….

    Dooby…. Forget the biggest asset give to get handcuffed with a big cap hit on EK

    Buyout Granlund; sign Dumba and have a net Cap space free up

    Move Petry (give a second) to a middle team; who retains 50% and also receives a 2nd from the final team (who gets him for $2.4 M cash per and a Cap hit of $3.1 M

    Then trade with Ducks for a 3C….

    Ducks next 5-8 years set down the centre with (alhabetically): Carllsson, McT; Zegras

    AND they have in the pipes (in no particular order):


    All the above makes Henriques and Strome redundant

    Trade with Ducks for one of those two for 3 C

    • And have Amanda sign Phil to a 3 year $21 million dollar deal.