NHL Rumor Mill – August 24, 2023

by | Aug 24, 2023 | Rumors | 4 comments

A look at some of the Metropolitan Division teams plus some PTO options for the Penguins in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Earlier this week, Ryan Dixon looked at the biggest questions facing each team in the Metropolitan Division. Some of them involve possible trade scenarios.

The Carolina Hurricanes, for example, must decide if they’re willing to go through this season without a contract extension for Brett Pesce. They could flip him for a scoring forward but Dixon thinks they could ride it out with the 28-year-old defenseman given their status as a Stanley Cup contender.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation earlier this summer that the Hurricanes were willing to consider trading Pesce if they couldn’t get him under contract before the start of this season. Their offseason additions of Dmitry Orlov and Tony DeAngelo served to fuel those rumors. If they don’t find a suitable trade offer, however, they could stick with Pesce for the coming season.

Dixon also wondered whether the New Jersey Devils will take a run at landing a reliable starting goaltender such as the Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck. He also mentioned the possibility of the Boston Bruins moving one of their goalies in pursuit of a center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils were linked to Hellebuyck in the rumor mill through late June and early July. It’s said that they weren’t willing to meet the 30-year-old goalie’s $9 million average annual value on a new contract beyond this season. As for the Bruins, they’re sticking with Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman. They see having a solid goalie tandem as their best bet to reach the playoffs this season.

If center Sean Couturier is fully healthy, Dixon mused over what his future might be and if it would be with the Philadelphia Flyers. The 30-year-old former Selke Trophy winner was sidelined by a back injury since Dec. 2021 but is expected to be in training camp next month. Perhaps the Flyers put Couturier on the trade block if he regains his form though his hefty contract could make that an impossibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couturier’s contract is a major obstacle in the path toward a trade. He carries an AAV of $7.75 million through 2029-30 with a full no-movement clause.

Finally, Dixon pondered the fates of Washington Capitals forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha. He wondered if a trade of one or both forwards was possible given their miserable performances last season. He suggested the prospect of moving Kuznetsov if the Capitals were willing to retain part of his $7.8 million AAV through 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there were any chance of moving either guy it would’ve happened by now. The Nashville Predators were reportedly interested in Kuznetsov before free agency started on July 1 but that seems to have waned following their signing of center Ryan O’Reilly.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently suggested several players the Penguins should consider as possible targets for professional tryout offers.

One name of note is former Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes winger Jesse Puljujarvi, suggesting the opportunity to play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin might be a selling point. Other targets include defensemen Mark Pysyk and Slater Koekkoek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi is recovering from offseason hip surgery and is expected to be unavailable until later this fall. Kingerski noted that Koekkoek stepped away from the game last season to deal with unbearable anxiety. He hasn’t announced if he’s ready to resume his career.

Pysyk might be the best bet on his list. He missed last season recovering from a torn Achilles but could be ready to return to action for 2023-24.


  1. Edmonton had Gretzky, then Pittsburgh gets Lemieux, Jagr, then Crosby, then Edmonton gets McDavid, now Pittsburgh is all in with the older players, set up to easily be the worst team in the league in a few years. They will probably get the next generational player at that point. Then after a few years Edmonton will lose McDavid and Draisaitl (possibly sooner for him) and will be unable to attract free agents then it will be their turn again for the generational player.

    I must say, Edmonton and Pittsburgh fans have been the luckiest fans in many decades with what they’ve been able to watch game in and game out.

    • Sounds like someone is jealous go Pens go

  2. As to a post a couple days ago where Rupp mused about Nylander going to the Ducks:
    How about if Trono gives them Wille and Brodie and for Fowler, Vatrono and a top 10 protected 1st
    Fowler is from Windsor and might have the Leafs as on of the 4 teams he is willing to go to.

  3. .
    Re X Oilers…

    I thjink the Oilers old d/man is done playing Hockey…..Slater Koekkoek?
    Jesse Puljujarvi… i think he is going back to Europe to play at home and try to get has game back together if he Can…..âť“

    He could not play with Conner or Leon and was given seasons & Seasons of chances full of chances..
    I dont think he is a top 6 player in the NHL and he is not a defencive forward in the bottom 6 ether
    after watching his for 4 years in Edmonton🤔