NHL Rumor Mill – August 25, 2023

by | Aug 25, 2023 | Rumors | 35 comments

Could the Bruins still pursue the Flames’ Elias Lindholm or could they instead set their sights on the Canucks’ Elias Pettersson? Alexis Lafreniere has a two-year deal with the Rangers but will he finish it with them? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited an NHL source who claims the Bruins could be in on Elias Lindholm if he’s still available in the trade market next month.

Murphy noted there have been numerous reports in recent weeks indicating the contract talks between the Flames and the Lindholm camp have picked up. He also mentioned a source telling him a month ago that the Bruins would have to include winger Jake DeBrusk in the deal if they make a pitch to the Flames for the 28-year-old center.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Bruins are the only team pursuing Lindholm I doubt they have sufficient trade capital to outbid other clubs that will also have an interest in the Flames’ center. Like Lindholm, DeBrusk is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Flames could prefer a good young player with more cost certainty as part of the return.

Murphy also wondered if the Bruins should shift their focus in the trade market toward Elias Pettersson. The 24-year-old center is the subject of trade rumors after telling Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman this week that he’s in no hurry to sign a contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks.

Pettersson is slated to become a restricted free agent next July with arbitration rights. Murphy points out that the Vancouver center is four years younger than Lindholm and in his playing prime during the duration of his next contract. There’s no telling what the Canucks would set as an asking price if they put Pettersson on the trade block.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are in no rush to peddle Pettersson, who is undecided if he’ll sign a short or long-term contract with the Canucks. Unlike the Flames with Lindholm, they still control Pettersson’s rights after next season.

The Canucks’ performance this season will be the determining factor regarding the length of Pettersson’s next contract. He probably doesn’t want to tie himself too long to a club stuck in a perpetual rebuild.

If the Canucks shop Pettersson, the Bruins will face the same issue as they would if they were pursuing Lindholm. They lack tradeable assets to win a bidding war in the trade market. If you think the Flames will set a high price for Lindholm, the Canucks’ will seek more for Pettersson.


SPORTSNET (via NHL Watcher): During his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman touched on what the future might hold for Alexis Lafreniere, who signed a two-year bridge contract with the New York Rangers earlier this week.

Friedman thinks the Rangers could consider moving Lafreniere if the 21-year-old winger fails to improve under new head coach Peter Laviolette. He believes his current contract with its current average annual value ($2.325 million) is a number suitable enough for other clubs to handle.

To me, it’s a two-year deal, but it’s a one-year deal in New York and then we will see,” said Friedman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a struggle for Lafreniere to play up to the expectations that come with being a first-overall draft pick. His situation hasn’t been helped by the instability behind the Rangers bench since his rookie season in 2020-21. Laviolette will be his third head coach.


  1. If Lafreniere steps up and has a solid season with the Rangers, they’re unlikely to trade him. If he slumps or stagnates they’ll likely be unable to trade him. It’s likely he stays with the Rangers,

    • I would disagree somewhat. If he has a blah season there are plenty of teams willing to give a former number one pick a fresh start. If they put him in top six I expect he would flourish.

    • Give a player 3rd line duties with limited powerplay and you get 3rd line production

      He had 4-5 games on the 1st line where the team went 4-1 and 3 games on the 2nd line playing the off wing with Panarin.

      He will have 50 points this season with his 14 minutes of ice time.

      The Rangers will have limited success until a coach stops them from gliding around and keeps their feet moving. Kreider scored almost every goal in their playoff series but was gliding around on every goal against in game 7.

      • ds, good take on Lafreniere. Top performers get top minutes.

      • Wouldn’t a good top six player playing on a third line against inferior opponents making him look pretty good?

        An example would be someone like Coyle who is more a 2nd line center than a third like he was used on the Bs last year. Put up 2nd line points with 3rd line minutes.

        Laff is 21. He’s got lots to learn and grow into. If the Rags are eager to dump the kid, it would be hard to imagine the 31 other teams not come calling for him.

      • Redmonsters, if he has a blah season, other teams may still want to give him a chance but they’ll be offering peanuts and the Rangers aren’t going to just give him away.
        DS I agree that he needs more ice time and opportunity to show what he can really do.

      • If the Rangers had taken Tim Stutzle he would of been buried behind the vets for two seasons as well and not developed like he has in Ottawa IMHO

      • I don’t know if Stutzle would have been buried in NY if they drafted him ds. Different type of player, and I think he played C for most of the 2nd half in OTT.

        He skates better and seems to create a lot of space for himself when he has the puck, and seems to create more offensive for himself and line mates because of it. Seems totally capable of playing the position, or the off wing.

        Rags traded for a 2C this past off season, do they do that if they have Stutzle? I dunno, maybe.

        But ya, Rags are in win now mode vs player development being first priority, so for sure has an impact, where OTT is improving but are in a different place. Young players make more mistakes, the more they are on the ice, the more they make. OTT was willing to put up with the growing pains.

        Looks like Sens found themselves a good one.

        I would have to think Laf and the Rangers are contemplating playing him on RW, and if he was wise he would be working on it in the off season. Sure worth a shot as the guy can shoot it and it’s a better angle to shoot from.

      • @Ray
        I still think Stutzle is a better player…just not sure he gets the same look YET in NYC
        He has a gear Lafy has not shown yet

        He was stuck on the wing in NYC until Strome went away and yes maybe no Trocheck signing

    • With one year and 2.something on his contract he will be easy to move, unless he gets injured. There will be PLENTY of teams who will be willing to give a recent first-overall pick a chance for $2,something million and very little trade cost.

      • Exactly Garth. You indicated that team would trade for Laf at “very little trade cost”. Unless his game nosedives next year I don’t see the Rangers trading him for very little.

  2. Lots of speculation on bruins going after a 1 ctr. They simply can’t afford to give up the assets required to get one. The plan is ride what they have this season and grab a ctr next season from the ufa group when they are flush with cap space imho

    • The Bruins cannot start the season with Zacha and Coyle as the number 1 and 2 centers. I disagree that they don’t have the assets to acquire a top center. They have little in their prospect pool but if a team doesn’t want prospects they could offer a package of DeBrusk, Carlo, and throw in the Bruins number 1 prospect Lysell. The Bruins might not want to give this much up but if they would that package would entice other GMs with top centers who won’t sign long time deals.

      • They pretty much have no choice but to start with the two

  3. LaFreniere is a good young hockey player. I don’t get the disatisfaction by some Ranger fans with his game? Sure, he could score more but he is 21 y.o. has a good edge to his game and plays on a team that has a lot of talent up front. I don’t think they will trade him, if they do I hope Colorado is listening. When I watch the Rangers on tv, he easily stands out as someone you have to contend with. GO AVS!!!!!

    • I think a lot of the dissatisfaction with Lafreniere is that he was 1OA, but has watched 2OA, 4OA, 5OA and 6OA have already established themselves more than Lafreniere has despite him playing more than those four above.

      • yeah but Lucas Raymond gets half his points being on Powerplay unit #1

        hard to compare production
        regardless Lafy has not show he is a game breaker. ive said it before but toss him LW with Zegras/Terry and he gets 75+ points

        The Rangers will continue to Ranger while having another great goalie keeping them in it

  4. Getting Pettersson would be a pipe dream for the Bruins.
    I’m on board all the same. This is the player who should have finished 3rd in Selke voting this past season. Perfect age to build around. Perfect style of play.

  5. Another example of Rangers management mishandling development of a young forward.
    For the 2020-21 season, with OHL not operating and the other 2 junior leagues extremely limited, an exception was made to allow underage players to play in the AHL. An additional agreement was made for the 2021-22 season that any underage players who participated in at least 20 AHL games during the 2020-21 season could play in the AHL in 2021-22. Several teams used this to develop their young players without the pressures of learning on the fly in the NHL.
    This course should have been taken with LAF. provided LAF the time to grow in the pro game by getting more ice time – particularly on PP. could have provided a better opportunity for him to transition to RW (knowing LW was locked up for several years by Kreider and Panarin). Would have afforded the opportunity for the Rangers to slide his contract 1 year (meaning he would be in the last year of his rookie deal this season instead of being a RFA). All of this would have gave the Rangers an additional 2.3 million at the beginning of FA – could have signed better players instead of rushing to sign on bargain bin Day 1 and Day 2 (Belzile, R Nash, Pitlick, Bonino)

    • Joey, yep.
      Not all 1st overall picks are equal.
      IMO the only players that should jump straight from JR to the NHL are the exceptional. I get when guys are too good to stay in JR, but that’s the deal, and the Rags had a chance with the exception to the CHL rule.

      It never hurt any player to play in the AHL first. Missed opportunity.

      • The problem with sending Laffrienere to the AHL is, he wasn’t eligible to play in the AHL.

      • I’m not 100% sure Captain, I went with what Joey said above, that the NHL made an exception that season due to covid. I didn’t fact check it this AM, but when I checked just now Byfield played in the AHL that season and came out of the CHL.

    • good points Joey

      there was zero reason to toss the kid on the bottom 6 with some grinders. he was better off dominating somewhere else

      • ds. Laf has payed mostly with Kakko and Chytil. Far from grinders. The idea that he’ll just put up points playing more minutes in top 6 and pp isn’t a lock. Stutzle would have played center in NY, and they probably don’t sign Trochek. Laf might’ve had same problem in Ottawa cracking too 6. Tired of everyone bashing Rags about “development”. Plenty of good young players thriving in NY. Need to lower expectations and be patient. Having him for 2.3 mil per for 2 years is a bargain. Up to him if he wants to put in the work and earn a better payday next deal.

      • @slick
        yeah i guess it was more the use. he had that spell with Goodrow where i felt he was a bit of dump and run.
        and yes a 3rd line of laf chytil kakko you should expect more production with those matchups

  6. Has anyone heard from George O lately. I don’t see hime commenting these days.

    • No I haven’t, and was wondering about that too.
      Hopefully just not into during the dog days, plus his Sens have completed most of their work.

  7. Sure Laf’s cap hit is “suitable to handle”. That’s why there’s no way they trade him. Unless it’s for another good young player, why give away? Kakko drafted 2nd OA the year before and signed a similar deal as LAf last year. Havnt heard any rumors on him.

  8. Alexandre Daigle vs. Alexis Lafenierre:

    Games played (first 3 years): 191 to 216

    Total points: 105 to 91

    Goals: 41 to 47

    One consider a bust, one considered a very good young player with plenty of room to develop. Head scratcher.

    • Good points. I liked Laf but wasn’t into all of the hype. Great Jr skills but skating in the NHL isn’t good enough added to NYR’s poor prospect development track record & here we are.

  9. The only thing wrong with Lafreniere is that he was built up to be the “next one”
    A big kid who was overpowering Junior has come down to earth and expectations need to be tempered.

    He’s a good player with what is still a high ceiling which he may yet reach.

    The guy signed a contract for 1/4 of Tim Stutzle while getting half his production in 25% less TOI.

    I’d take him for that money on the Habs.

    • Being 1oa comes with high expectations.

      NYR was lucky to win him but did squat for him to develop & succeed. That is on them like so many other prospects not D.

      Your comparisons to Stutzle is off base. A C of his calibre always is better to have. The difference in the 2 is easy to misconstrue using your numbers. Stutzle is a play driver that is needed to go far. Wingers not named Jagr or Kane are the outliers. Laf was never going to be them.

      Laf wasn’t going to get to get top 6 opportunity the way NYR locked up wingers longterm. He’ll have to wait & be great as top 9 or injury.

  10. Re-Canucks centre,
    Would not be surprised to see Elias Pettersson
    Bolt’s from the Canucks….They are a Mess.❗️and could well be heading into a full 5 or 7 year re-build 🤔

    Boston needs a 1st and 2nd line centre after there top 2 retired over the past month, maybe Zacka & Coyle hold those down for the first 3-4 months

    Boston for sure will go after & target the Flames’ Elias Lindholm 1st…. maybe at the deadline or wait till he becomes a UFA
    But they also have the cap space next year for sure at $28.M… but the also need to resign a couple of UFA d/men also, thay can contend for an other 58 years with there core group they have in boston

    • It’s been a mess leading up til now. The future has yet to be seen.

      A rebuild is a pure guess that is unlikely given the owner & market.

      Wouldn’t bet on Zacha or Coyle holding down the fort. Finding or acquiring top 6 C’s is not an easy task. They don’t grow on trees & are rarely traded. Leaves it to UFA’s like Schieffle who will get paid but aging & not a Bruin mould of player.

      B’s cap space is large next season but isn’t large enough to sign Petey & Debrusk & still fill in the other 10 players & have enough to contend for a Cup.

      Just my 2 bits

  11. You are right Gordie, Boston will only have 7 forwards, 3 D and 1 goalie signed after this year. 28 million is not a lot of money to sign another 12 players, especially if DeBrusk and Swayman have another good year.

    Looking back, I would have almost considered a quick, one year re-build and hope to get a top 10 1st next year, pushing the 1st they owe to 2025. They could have traded a goalie and one of their pending UFA D. That’s only my thoughts, because looking at that top 9, they have almost no hope of making a run this year. What would a Marchand fetch at just over 6 million for two seasons? He will be too old by the time Boston can compete for a cup again. What a waste.