NHL Rumor Mill – August 2, 2023

by | Aug 2, 2023 | Rumors | 23 comments

The latest Leafs speculation, an update on Tyler Myers and some cost-cutting trade candidates for the Senators in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Arpon Basu was asked to predict which players the Montreal Canadiens might target in the 2024 class of free agents. He proposed Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander (NHL Images).

If the Canadiens decide to be active in next summer’s unrestricted free-agent market, Basu believes they would target a winger to complete their top-six forward lines. He thinks they would have sufficient cap space to pursue Nylander, whose current contract extension talks with the Leafs reportedly aren’t going well.

Nylander will be 28 next summer and has been a consistent scorer for the Leafs, even in the playoffs. Basu speculated it would cost $10 million annually on a contract carrying him into his mid-thirties.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Basu was merely responding to a reader’s question and he’s not reporting the Canadiens will pursue Nylander on the open market next summer. Depending on the course of their rebuild and the performance of young players such as Juraj Slafkovsky, Kirby Dach and Alex Newhook, they might not be in the market for a big-name UFA by that time.

Still, this gives us all something else to banter about during these dog days of the NHL offseason other than when and where Erik Karlsson will be traded.

Meanwhile, Basu’s colleague Joshua Kloke looked at some bargain-bin free agents for the Leafs to consider. They included Jonathan Toews, Zach Aston-Reese, Jesse Puljujarvi, Sam Gagner, Derick Brassard, Ethan Bear and Scott Harrington.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews is likely retiring while Puljujarvi underwent double hip surgery and probably won’t be available for some time. The rest could be dirt-cheap signings for the Leafs or other NHL clubs looking for affordable options to boost their rosters for 2023-24.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: David Alter recently examined how the Leafs can slide under the salary cap before their season opens in October.

One option is demoting waiver-exempt players such as Nick Robertson and Pontus Homberg. They could also do the same with Matthew Knies though they’d likely prefer retaining someone who performed well during the playoffs. Another would be placing Maxime Lajoie or Dylan Gambrell on waivers.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Harman Dayal was asked about rumors claiming the Vancouver Canucks already have a trade in place for Tyler Myers but are waiting to announce it after his signing bonus is paid next month.

Dayal recalled Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting in late June that the Canucks had a deal on the table to send Myers to the San Jose Sharks. This was denied by Canucks GM Patrik Allvin as well as Myer’s agent, J.P. Barry. Seravalli clarified that the deal would’ve sent Myers to the Sharks for winger Kevin Labanc.

Myers’ future feels like a “wait-and-see” scenario for several reasons. One is the Sharks’ efforts to trade defenseman Erik Karlsson. The Canucks might also prefer seeing how their other right-shot blueliners fare during training camp. Myers’ 10-team no-trade clause also complicates things.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Myers’ situation could be resolved before the end of September. We’ll know by that point if the Canucks indeed to move him or not.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: With the Senators signing Vladimir Tarasenko last week, they need to shed salary in order to re-sign restricted free-agent center Shane Pinto.

Ryan Hyndman listed five potential cost-cutting trade candidates. The most obvious is forward Mathieu Joseph as clearing his $3 million cap hit from their books provides the room needed to re-sign Pinto.

Other options include defenseman Erik Brannstrom, winger Drake Batherson, blueliner Artem Zub, and goaltender Anton Forsberg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think it will be Joseph but they might end up having to package him with a sweetener to get it done.


  1. Habs should target Hellyebuck, they need that stud goalie. They are covered everywhere else with their prospects and young NHLers

    • I don’t see Hellebuyck signing with the Habs. He wants to go to a US based team with a chance to win the Cup now. Besides, I don’t think it would be a good idea for any team right now to give him the term and the money he’s seeking.

      Obviously things can change in a year but I agree with Basu. I’d love to see Hughes take a run at Nylander. They have the cap space and the need for a player like him. But Nylander will have options. For the Habs to have any type of shot at him they’ll need to show marked improvement over the upcoming season.

      • I don’t see the Leafs trading Willie to a close rival like Le Habs.

      • Johnny Z, the proposal is for the Habs to acquire Nylander as a UFA. As Howard points out the Habs will want to see how their prospect pool looks, though it will take a couple of years before any clarity to emerge.

        That plus the fact that the Habs won’t part with the assets they could move now to acquire Nylander – that’s one reason Howard’s dream of acquiring Dubois from the Jets did not come to pass.

      • J Halak is UFA and is a steady goalie who is regularly underpaid, a solid backup for a year or two.

  2. CapFriendly shows a contract signing for O’Connor…. Doobie…. Have the Granlund “B-Bye” paperwork ready when window opens in 48 hours… an absolute must!!

    $3.2 M over right now…. Most you can drop to (at 23 on Roster) and not lose a player (trade etc) to another team is to waive either DeSmith or Nedjelkovic…., burying $1.2 M…. Still $2M over….. so barring a buyout or trade…. Max on Roster and being under Cap is 21 (and that would have to be burying over $2M (one player at or over $1.15 M and a player making at least $850 K

    Granlund buyout has Pens with 23 on roster and with $1 M in space!!!!

    More has to be done…. But Granlund buyout is a must

    Trading Granlund will cost asset(s) ;

    keeping a $5 M Cap hit that played for the Pens at a League minimum value of performance is ludicrous

    Doobie….. get it typed up and signed , dated 4/8/23…. Fax it exactly 48 hours after you registered (with NHL) the O’Connor contract

  3. I read somewhere Canucks have never made a trade in August.

    Robertson $1.5 m . Still a long way to go Tre.

    I highly doubt Batherson is the one to be moved. Same with Forsberg .

  4. The Montreal canadiens will NEVER get a chance to sign nylander.if he refuses to sign with Toronto he will be shipped to the west coast in a trade.

    • Or, he could be held as an “own rental” if the Leafs believe, or want their fans to believe, that they have a legit chance to win the Cup.

  5. What does a
    E Lindholm/Nikita Zadorov for Carlo/Coyle look like to you Bruins fans

    • Looks like wishful thinking to me, Joe. Great targets though.

      • My thinking two expiring contracts coming two with time going … has to be worth something and would help the. B’s cap space a little

      • I think you’re right Joe, in fact, I doubt Sweeney has offered that much yet. Yet being key word.

        I keep saying this – IMO Calgary has no leverage. I think the reason he hasn’t been moved is they are still trying to sign him as the return they are being offered isn’t to their liking. Teams are low balling because they see he isn’t signed yet, and know how few teams have the space to sign him or are a team he will extend with. Teams are playing wait and see.

        So Flames might as well wait too, and if you have to, go to the TDL, then you do it. The return will be better if he stays healthy. If the Flames turn it around and have a good year, they might even keep him and give it a go in playoffs and try to sign him in the off season.

        Maybe he decides to stay in Calgary and re-signs soon, who knows. Maybe Flames blink and get what they can before the season starts? Or maybe a team like Boston blinks first an ups the offer? Nobody has to do anything yet.

        Conroy likely doesn’t want to start his GM career losing a big trade.

      • Coyle yes, but I don’t think Sweeney will be trading Carlo or Lohrei. Would need to look elsewhere on the roster. What about Coyle, Debrusk, Grejczyk, and a B prospect, for Lindholm and Hanifan?

    • takes more than that to get a #1C in the league. Carlo isn’t that much superior to Zadorov – I’ll admit I don’t see the latter play often though.

      • Taz,
        i would say Big Carlo from boston is better

        I seen big Zadorov play a couple of times in Edmonton over the past 2 season,

        He Big Physical and Very Inconsistent….
        you never know what Zadorov is showing up🤔

        Calgary play him in the 4th d/man position, i would play him less, like 5-6 d/man in the 3rd paring….less of a liability ❗️

  6. I can’t figure out why if Krech were packing it in he hasn’t announced it yet? Maybe he wants one year as number one guy playing with the chec line.

    • Maybe he’s still trying to talk the wife into it.

    • Maybe he wants to play but has to wait for all the arbitration hearings to be settled so the B’s know what they have and what they need to do to squeeze him in for another year.
      With all the arbitration hearings getting finalized over the last week, maybe next week we finally see some of these free agents (Dumba, Krejki, etc) / trades (Erik Karlsson, etc) get completed.

  7. With the types of players Ottawa acquired in the Debrincat trade and FA signings, Joseph has become incredibly redundant.

    I could see Joseph packaged with a younger roster player or a pick to get someone much cheaper on the 3rd or 4th line.

    Brannstrom could still go… at times I wonder how enamoured management is with Chabot, but I do not see any team being stoked to take on that 8M dollar contract.

  8. Hellebuyck will have very difficult to get what he wants. Cant see anyone with a chance to win paying more than 7,5 times 7 and he is rumoured to want close to 10

  9. Re the Sens,

    I think its RW, LW, Mathieu Joseph and his $2.9M cap that gets traded team could use him in the bottom 6, in a 3rd line roll

    they need to keep the others especaly the
    2 defenseman Erik Brannstrom & Artem Zub as the sens have had lots of injuries on d….
    Goaltender Anton Forsberg. to be back up as the
    2 X young 22yr old goaltenders are not ready as yet maybe 18 month away🤔

    RW winger Drake Batherson, they need him for the top 6…. he had 62 point last year

    the 3rd line of RW Vladimir Tarasenko center Shane Pinto. and a LW like the big Russian
    ( Egor Sokolov ) could be Very Exciting……⁉️

    • Agreed on all this.