NHL Rumor Mill – August 29, 2023

by | Aug 29, 2023 | Rumors | 26 comments

A look at questions facing several Pacific Division teams in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon recently looked at the biggest question facing each team in the Pacific Division.

Among them was whether the Calgary Flames would make any major trades before training camp opens later next month. The expectation is defenseman Noah Hanifin will be dealt at some point. There’s less certainty about center Elias Lindholm but it wouldn’t be a shock if the Flames moved him before summer ends.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanifin, Lindholm and center Mikael Backlund are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

Hanifin has reportedly informed Flames management that he intends to test next summer’s UFA market. There are reports the Flames and Lindholm’s camp are discussing an extension but no word as to whether progress has been made. A new contract for Lindholm could lead to one for Backlund.

Dixon wondered if the Los Angeles Kings might pursue another goaltender. He suspects that move might come during the season if the current tandem of Pheonix Copley and Cam Talbot aren’t up to snuff. Dixon isn’t sure if they could land Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck, in part because it would take some salary-cap gymnastics by the Kings to pull it off.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with this assessment. Kings general manager Rob Blake could be forced into the trade market if Copley and Talbot can’t get the job done.

The Kings have plenty of promising young players to draw on for trade bait and a recent trade history with the Jets. However, Blake could ask the Jets to retain half of Hellebuyck’s $6.166 million salary-cap hit to facilitate a trade or try to swing a three-team deal to spread it around.

Turning to the San Jose Sharks, Dixon wondered if offseason acquisitions such as Mike Hoffman, Anthony Duclair, Mikael Granlund and Jan Rutta end up getting flipped to other clubs.

Duclair, 28, could be part of the Sharks’ future but the others are over 30 and probably won’t figure into their long-range plans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of that group, Duclair has the best trade value and would fetch the biggest return. That will depend on whether he wants to re-sign with the rebuilding Sharks or test next summer’s free-agent market. If it’s the latter, he’ll be used as a bargaining chip near the March trade deadline by the Sharks.

Dixon also took note of Elias Pettersson putting contract extension talks on hold with the Vancouver Canucks to focus on preparing for the coming season. He wondered if Pettersson might change his mind once he’s back in North America.

Dixon also wondered if frequent trade-rumor subject Brock Boeser gets moved before training camp begins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson’s remarks prompted at least one pundit to suggest the club he covers at least look into whether a trade can be done for the 24-year-old center. Considering his value to the retooling Canucks, I doubt it.

Pettersson is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. If a new contract isn’t agreed to by then, the Canucks are under no pressure to move him as they’ll still retain his rights.

As for Boeser, he made it clear at the end of last season that he wants to stay with the Canucks. There’s no indication they intend to move him. That could change over the course of the season but for now, I expect him to be part of their roster when the schedule begins in October.


  1. Is it me or does the West look really thin this coming year… Vegas, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton…. then, everything else is wide open. Seattle is probably next on list? Kings?

    • stars fan, I know those teams you mention will probably be at the top but to me the West is no “day at the beach” The Central Division is the toughest division in hockey just based on the “brand” of hockey played: Minnesota, Dallas and St. Louis are very difficult teams to contend with IMHO. L.A., Seattle and Calgary, I think are all going to improve. All those other teams like Winnepeg and Nashville are still going to be difficult to play against. Then, as you mentioned Vegas and Edmonton to boot! Sure, you have San Jose, Chicago, Annaheim and Arizona but on any given day they will beat you. I don’t know, I don’t look at it that way as being “thin”? GO AVS!!!!!

  2. The Flames have been very quiet this off season but they may be better than last year just by subtraction.

    Many are hoping Hani will be moved and that the Flames will get a legit 1st line RW; I have my doubts. I believe the Flames will likely get a young middle 6 forward with upside, another solid prospect or player and or a good pick

    • If that deal was on the table he’d already be wearing another sweater.

    • It’s hard to see how a non-playoff team is better by subtraction when players like Toffoli are traded and no one significant has come to replace all those who have left.

      Yes, it’s still August, but those losses and the continual exit by trade and by those who have left or want to leave says there is something unappealing in Calgary not named Sutter. Not a playoff team this year, IMO.

      • The Flames finished the 23 season one point ahead of the Stanley Cup finalists, despite having one of the worst overtime records in history (7-17, 29% winning percentage). There were also major changes to the top of their lineup.

        If Markstrom and Huberdeau can re-bound from sub-par years, Calgary may not be as bad as many think. Huberdeau averaged 1.13 points per game over his last 5 seasons in Florida. First year in Calgary – 0.70 ppg.

    • Re; The Flames🔥

      Calgary’s Noah Hanifin will end up going Home to Boston as a UFA….100%…….⁉️
      even if he gets traded somewhere

      Flames go into a Quick 2-3 year Re-tool…🤔❓

      I think Elias Lindholm will be the first Flames player to be moved,
      Then it will be Goaltender Jacob Markström,
      LA is maybe if the flames retain Salary❓
      then its Mikael Backlund to a contender for a 2nd pick….✔️
      The 6 Flames UFA d/men……
      last but not least, 6 of the Flames 8 NHL d/men are ALL UFA on July 1st 2024….😳

      Very Bad Planing Calgary……………..‼️

      • I agree Hanifin and Boston are a good possibility. But he may be happy on any east coast team. Of course he just said he wanted to go to a U.S. team, the Boston rumors are more media assumption.

        I feel like Lindholm may re-sign. If not the season is lost without a replacement number one center. With Lindholm the forward group isn’t too bad. Toff may have done well last year but that was an outlier to his averages. With Looch and Lewis gone he becomes the slowest on the team and therefore expendable. Sharangovich scored the same as Toff 5 on 5, kills penalties and is much faster.

        The guys coming up from the wranglers along with Coronato are all speedsters’ that along with Kylington coming back, team speed improves exponentially.

        Speaking of Kylington, your assessment of the D is awful. Even after Hanifin is dealt the seven remaining are good. Weeger/Anderson
        Zadorov/Osterle or Gilbert. Only question mark is Kyl but he played in that spot 1 year ago and was great. They had the 3rd least shots against last year. And if it doesn’t work well, the fact you can totally rebuild your defense next year with only 11 mill tied up in you #1 and #2 dmen is great. Cap space is king.

        As far as Backlund goes I think it’s fine to let him walk at the end of the season if he so chooses.

        If they are in a playoff spot at the tdl Backlund and Zadorov become your own rentals, you listen on Tanev and if a good deal comes up you take it, If your not a playoff team you trade all ufa’s except Kylington.

        Kylington you lock up for next few years if he is anything close to the season before. Poirier will be ready next year and Kuznetsov, and Solovyov will be close, plus Lyle who they just signed is a good prospect, and could snatch the 6 d spot this year.

        Markstrom isn’t going anywhere with that contract and his nmc, retaining 3 mill for the next 3 years wouldn’t even be worth it. Hopefully Vladar gets moved and wolf plays 30 games next year.

  3. That ain’t much -two assets . Flames will want something they can bank on. Not suspects and prospects for Hanifin. Dallas would be my primary focus or Backlund and Hanifin as a package to Boston . Debrusk ++ back to Alberta.

    • I dunno Silver. Boston’s blueline is pretty well set. Where they are going to struggle, compared to last year, is scoring goals. I don’t think moving Debrusk for a D-Man helps there.

    • SS,

      I thinks its a 1st pick in any deal for Hanifin, , and a good prospect and a + $4.M Salary going to Calgary…like a d/man Brandon Carlothis is Calgarys Very Weak area there d…

      I dont think it will be Young DeBrusk, boston need good youngwingers

      • I’m a bit confused williew.
        So your 100% sure that a UFA Hanifin is going to BOS, yet they should give up a 1st and a guy like Carlo for him? Seems contradictory. Why would they if he is gong there anyway?

        I have no idea where Hanifin wants to play, even though he is from Boston, he did day he will test the market when he hits UFA, don’t blame him.

        I wouldn’t trade Carlo straight up for Hanifin as, again he has said he is testing the market, and Carlo is signed to a reasonable deal for 4 years.

        You could make the argument that Hanifin is a better player, but not by much. They are different and Hanifin gets PP time, so the points are up. I doubt he bumps McAvoy from that unit, heck probably not Lindholm either for 2nd unit.

        B’s need to spend $ elsewhere next year, unless a bunch of other things happen between then and now.

      • Ray I don’t discount the Hanifin to Boston Chatter, agree it’s an next offseason move.

        We know Sweeney tried to trade his picks in 2015 to get Hanifin. Sweeney also likes his local area boys.

        Lindholm at $6.5 and Carlo at $4.1 is solid value

        MCAvoy Lindholm
        Hanifin Carlo

        that’s a solid 4 it be among the top 4 D in the league.

        Grab a C this could be very solid.

  4. LA goaltending is certainly suspect! They might be hoping that Erik Portillo develops rather quickly! I don’t think they would trade for Helly, but a stop gap 1- or 2-year goaltender if Erik is doing well.

    • Wpg can ship Hellebuyck to the Kings , retaining 2 million for Arvidsson , picks prospects.
      If the Jets can work out a sign and trade they will get more value. If he really wants north of 9 million the Kings cant afford that long term IMO

  5. Kings are in such a tough spot. They have literally no cap space right now. They’re banking on their goaltending being enough (LV model?).

    They have, arguably, the 3 best centers in the division but, scoring may still be a problem. Rookies like Byfield, Kaliyev, Turcotte (?) will have to step it up if the Kings have a chance of getting past the likes of Colorado, LV or Edmonton.

    Trade bait includes Arvidsson (painful to lose him) but that’s still not enought to make room for Hellebuyck. Unless salary retention is in there (like Lyle said).

    • Dude top three centres in the west up and down. Sorry but Edmonton has the three top centres in the NHL by a country mile. I did not read the comment past that.

    • LA ha very good center DEPTH, but only 1 is even in the top ten centers in the West….maybe 2 if you stretch it.

      • LA is a playoff team all day IMO, and a really tough team to play against in a best of 7. Goaltending is voodoo, they’ll find somebody at TDL if these guys aren’t playing well.

        They are stacked at C, and all 3 defend really well and play a tough, disciplined game. They would all make great Bruins! Points ain’t everything, but winning is.

        Byfield, another C, is taking a while but they knew he would when they drafted him, raw talent and a really big guy. He just turned 21 ten days ago, so still growing into his 6’5″, 220 lb body. I don’t know if he will ever be a top 20 point producer, but if he turns into a 50-60 point C, who can fly, who smokes guys, and can defend, he will be a very effective player. Especially in the playoffs. We’ll see. Likely play him on the wing for a while, fill in at C when injuries hit.

        Blake has done a great job, and they biggest problem is they have is Vegas and Edmonton are in their division and they have to play them in the playoffs every year. The Pacific top 3 is as good as any division, but Metro is pretty tough at the top too. Atlantic is probably the deepest?

  6. Not wise to wait until mid-season to make a trade in the cap era NHL. They’ll live with Copley and Talbot. Talbot will be better.

    • Talbot is a Complete nightmaire…😳

      Look at the last few years, Edmonton, Philly,Wild, Flames, Ottawa, 5 Teams in 5 Years what dose that tell you…. this guy is a back up all daylong, Same with Copley❗️

      LA, will need to trade for a goaltender,
      They have Zero Cap space

    • I think Talbot will be better this year too Arnie.
      He was good in Minny for 2 years, was good in Calgary the year before that too.

      Getting up there in age though, so who know for sure.

  7. Am I the only one who thinks LA has gotten worse with the trade for PLD? They gave up to much grit only to replace it with an average overpaid center.

    • Yes you are the only one.

  8. Dubois plays nasty.
    I really like VilardI. May end up as good as PLD. Throw in Iafallo and the other assets it was a stiff price.

    Wasn’t Calgary’s D core considered one of the best ? Like two years ago.
    Kylington is coming back . They can certainly supplement with the pending trades . I would be more concerned about forward scoring

    • SS,

      Yes Calgarys d had quite a bit of hype… untill the Oilers blew them out the water a few times,

      6 of the Flames 8 NHL d/men are UFA at the end of the 2024 season,

      Boston may wait till the UFA period and go after a Centre and the local boy Hanifin he is good for
      40+ points on d….
      he is back in Boston every Summer…..🤔