NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2023

by | Aug 23, 2023 | Rumors | 15 comments

Should the Devils pursue Connor Hellebuyck? Are the Capitals any closer to moving Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha? What are the Canadiens’ trade options for Casey DeSmith? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NHL NETWORK: Mike Rupp believes the New Jersey Devils should attempt to acquire Connor Hellebuyck. The 30-year-old Winnipeg Jets goaltender appears reluctant to sign a contract extension and could seek $9 million annually on his next deal given his strong play over the past five years.

Rupp doesn’t know if the Devils would be interested in signing Hellebuyck to an expensive long-term extension. However, he has this season left on his contract and Rupp thinks the Devils would be a good fit if Hellebuyck wants to win the Stanley Cup.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (NHL Images).

Rumors have linked Hellebuyck to the Devils. Rupp believes they have the players and pieces to make an offer to the Jets, noting that goaltending is an X factor for New Jersey. Perhaps spending the season with the Devils would make Hellebuyck more receptive to staying on a slightly more affordable contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hellebuyck seems like a perfect fit for the Devils and there was talk earlier this summer claiming they had inquired into his availability. The cost of signing him to an extension was said to be the deal breaker.

The Jets thus far haven’t found a suitable offer for Hellebuyck. It appears they’ll start the season with him in the lineup and see how things go. If they’re out of playoff contention by the trade deadline perhaps a deal with the Devils or another playoff contender can be had.

Meanwhile, the Devils appear willing to enter this season with the tandem of Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid between the pipes. Whether they’ll stick with them for the playoffs remains to be seen.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber reports recent trade speculation regarding Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha suggests both players will remain with the Washington Capitals for the time being.

Silber cited a report earlier this month from Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli indicating Kuznetsov and Mantha remain trade chips for the Capitals. However, it seems unlikely either player will be moved.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Nashville Predators looked into acquiring Kuznetsov before the free-agent market opened on July 1. However, that interest appears to have cooled in part because of their addition of Ryan O’Reilly. There’s been no indication that Mantha has drawn any serious attention in this summer’s trade market.

Kuznetsov and Mantha are coming off down seasons and both carry expensive cap hits in a summer when most teams have limited cap space. The only way their trade value improves is if the Capitals agree to retain half of their respective cap hits. Otherwise, it’ll take improvement in their performance during the coming regular season to make them more enticing in the trade market.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont recently looked at possible trade destinations for Casey DeSmith. Acquired earlier this month from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canadiens could attempt to flip the 32-year-old backup and his $1.8 million cap hit to another club before the start of the season.

Dumont suggested the Boston Bruins if they end up trading Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman for a center. The Anaheim Ducks could be another option if they trade John Gibson. The St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning are possibilities if their current backups struggle. Others could be the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins will be sticking with their current goalie tandem for the coming season. There doesn’t appear to be a market for Gibson given his $6.4 million cap hit. Barring injuries, those other clubs are likely to start the season with their current goalies and see how things shake out.


  1. I don’t see Columbus dealing for DeSmith. They’ve been getting younger over the last 3 years and the word around Columbus is that the Jackets are searching for a #3 goalie.

    • Predicting Vejmelka will be a blue Jacket sometime during the season.

  2. Gibson @ 6.4 mil cap hit for next 4 years could be a better fit for Devils.

    • Long term Helly would be a beast. Idk how they fit him into their cap but he puts them into serious cup contention for many years.

      • I think his future contract demands are scaring teams off. Jets will get maybe a 2nd pick for him as a playoff rental.

        The window to move Helly or Scheifele has closed, all they can do now is play them hope for no injuries and maybe another team loses a player to injury and either would be a replacement.

        Wonder what the ask is for them?

  3. How many seasons have we heard Gibson’s name in the mill? If he wants out or the team wants him off the books, that cap hit must really be a factor….or, his never really on the block.

    • Might be a case of Teams seeing his play decline, but not doing there homework and realizing what team was in front of him.

      On a team like the Devils they go deep into the playoffs with Gibson/Schmid combo. I would have them and the Canes as my favorite to come out of the east.

  4. The Devils will have to give up pretty significant stuff to get Helle. (any team for that matter) I could see maybe DeSmith coming from Habs, but many Devil fans think he sucks.
    I’m OK with VV & Schmido.

  5. mp, are you kidding when you say Helly would only be worth a 2nd as a playoff rental? That’s a joke when you see what other high end players go for at the deadline. A goalie is the only player on a team who has the potential to steal games and rounds in a playoff series. You can have five McDavid’s on a team and the only thing that could stop that team from winning is a hot goalie.

    New Jersey has a lot of offer for Helly and I think they should trade for him and worry about next year later. When he spends a year on a team like that, he may change his ask to remain there.

    He would definitely go for more than a second if it comes down to the deadline.

    • Dave,

      When’s the last time any goalie landed anything significant?

      To take that a step further , when’s the last time a rental goalie landed anything significant?

      I can think of 2 times and neither ware rentals. Schneider and Lehner. And if Buffalo could take a mulligan on Lehner.

      • Captain Obvious, when’s the last time a Vezina winner and a Vezina finalist in the most recent year was traded the following year at the deadline? And what was the price of the Schneider trade? It was the 9th overall that became Bo Horvat. I also don’t recall either of them winning the Vezina or even being in the mix on two separate occasions.

        It’s your opinion if you think he’s only worth a second, but my opinion is you’re wrong.

      • Marc Andre Fleury was traded 29 days after winning the Vezina, he had one year remaining on his deal.

        The price tag? Mikael Hakkarainen, a former 5th round pick.

        So to answer your question. About 2 years and one month ago was the last time it happened.

        I think a 2nd is more than generous given he’s a pending ufa, and probably very unlikely to Re-sign in Winnipeg.

        Goaltenders just don’t have those kind of returns.

  6. Matthews 4×13.25 and not reporting any bonuses or a NMC so far

    • Wow! Good for the Yotes!!!

  7. That was a cost cutting trade by Vegas and Fleury was 36 with another year at 7 million. You failed to mentioned Fleury got traded at the deadline during the next season at 37 years old for Minnesota’s first rounder in 2022. So a second for a 30 year old making a million less dollars, who won the Vezina and was a finalist last year is definitely worth more than a second.