NHL Rumor Mill – August 31, 2023

by | Aug 31, 2023 | Rumors | 22 comments

How much could it cost the Bruins to re-sign Jake DeBrusk? Could Jake Guentzel get $10 million annually from the Penguins? Can the Pens bring in Tomas Tatar on a tryout basis? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NHL.COM: Derek Van Diest reports Jake DeBrusk isn’t looking toward testing next summer’s unrestricted free-agent market. The 26-year-old winger hopes to sign a new contract with the Boston Bruins.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

Entering his seventh season with the Bruins, DeBrusk is in the final season of a two-year, $8 million contract with an average annual value of $4 million. He tied a career-best in goals last season with 27 and had a career-best 50 points but those stats would’ve been higher had he not been sidelined for 18 games.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy observed that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will have around $28.5 million in salary-cap space for 2024-25 thanks in part to the projected rise of the salary cap by $4 million.

Part of that cap room could be taken up with shoring up his top-two center depth if Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle don’t pan out in those roles this season. Murphy believes DeBrusk could seek a deal similar to the eight-year, $52 million contract ($6.5 million AAV) recently signed by Brandon Hagel with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins also have just 11 active roster players under contract for 2024-25. If they have to find suitable top-two centers it might not leave enough to re-sign DeBrusk and fill out the rest of the roster.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jacob Punturi recently pondered how much it could cost the Pittsburgh Penguins to re-sign Jake Guentzel. The 29-year-old left winger has been their top goal scorer over the past five seasons.

Slated to become a UFA next July, Guentzel will be due for a healthy raise after earning a team-friendly $6 million annually on his current contract. While he could easily justify seeking an AAV of $10 million, Punturi doubted he’ll get more from the Penguins than the $8.7 million AAV currently earned by team captain Sidney Crosby.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are in “win-now” mode trying to win one more championship with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. Ultimately, I think they’ll pay up to keep Guentzel in the fold.

Penguins GM Kyle Dubas could hold the line for Guentzel at between $8 million and $8.5 million. However, I don’t think Crosby’s AAV will be that much of a barrier.

Unless Guentzel is willing to accept as much or slightly less than Crosby, he could get between $9 million and $10 million from the Penguins. And I don’t think the Penguins captain would have an issue with that. After all, Malkin’s last contract had a higher AAV ($9.5 million) and that wasn’t a problem for Crosby.

Punturi’s colleague Nicholas Brlansky believes the Penguins still have a shot at signing Tomas Tatar. With some free agents starting to sign professional tryout option (PTO) contracts, Tatar is starting to run out of time to find a deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tatar could have a couple of contract offers on the table. One of them could be with the Penguins.

The 32-year-old winger could be waiting to see if he gets any better proposals before training camp. If he doesn’t, he could end up accepting the best existing offer.


  1. Guentzel more than Meier and Aho ?
    “ don’t think so Tim”

    Sid has been a bargain his entire career.

    • And Sid continues to be, and will be a bargain

      Sid got 93 points last year…. His take home pay last year (and for this year and next ) was/will be…. Just $1.75 M (per Gavin group)

      He can (will) be extended… 1/7/24…. His two buddies (Tanger/Gino) still have term…. Sid has been consistently superstitious with 87 …. Expect a re-up again at a Cap hit of $8.7 M…. Term TBD

      is Guentzel worth more …. Yes (younger)…. But his term would take him deep into rebuild, and well past Sid/Gino/Tanger retirements…. He may be a casualty

      Under no circumstances should there be any contract extension before they see how he recovers from the surgery

      All should be fine…. But nothing is guaranteed

      • Well the plan is the Pens 2018 All Star team wins the Cup next spring and Letang goes LITR aka retirement so they can pay Guentzel

  2. Everybody knows what a hardline negotiator Scooby Dubas is.

  3. DeBrusk at 6-6.5 is about right
    Boston won’t need 2 ctrs only 1 Zacha is in the role and will be for quite sometime. Next year Coyle will slide back to 3 c. Where he is at his best

    • $6-$6.5M for Debrusk seems right assuming he performs similar to last year. 6 years for $6M would be good. But hopefully it’s not an 8 year deal considering he’ll be 27 when next year begins. These GMs can’t help themselves when giving out ridiculous term these days, especially when the bulk of the term/money comes on the wrong side of age 30.

      • DeBrusk getting less that Hagel with better career numbers and only 1yr older is likely not gonna happen, so 8X6.5 is in the cards for sure, so any hope of trading him for that type of contract likely won’t happen as getting a 1 or 2C via trade or UFA as Sweeny’s cap issues have come back to roost in Bean town.

    • Bruins have to scrimp through this year because of poor future planning. The deadline deals weren’t the cause because they were all prorated- the team was in salary cap peril before the deadline. They will have to go through this year with the center weakness. This won’t make Bruins fans including me very happy but they will be in good shape next summer to resign DeBrusk and trade or sign a true number 1 center.

    • Mrbruin4 agree just 1 C is needed, the $6-6.5 range for Debrusk sound right.

      If Swayman has a solid year, i see Ullmark and hid $5m cap being moved.

      If not sometimes this season, next season will see Lysell get his opportunity in the top 6

      Lohrie will be playing left side D.

      Lauko will be in the bottom 6

      and at some point this season we will see Merkulov play his first NHL game

      The 4 players come at a cap hit of $3,500,833 this is what the bruins will need to do if resigning Debrusk, #1 C and Swayman new contract.

      I know much has been made about Boston prospect, it is as bad as folks think most of the rankings are simply by how many 1st round or 2nd round picks teams have in their prospect pool.

      If you look at a player like Matthew Poitras, most folks say “who?” Poitras was drafted 2nd round 54th overall. Last season tied for 5th in OHL scoring 16g 79a for 95pts. Poitras plays for the Guelp Storm the closes player next to Poitras in points was Braeden Bowman with 72 points.

      Merkulov scored 21g 31a in 67gp his rookie season in the Ahl; however wasn’t drafted, if he was a early draft pick you would here more.

      The cupboard isn’t bare there is some quality prospects in the pipelines.

      • Who & how much this 1C is up for debate.

        That’s putting a lot in faith in so many rookies into the line up.

        B’s are in the downturn times. It was inevitable. They will still not be pushovers or door Matt’s but it’s a very tough division.

  4. Anybody know what happened to George? He is not posting anything lately. I enjoy his take on things.

    • Let’s try this….

      Ottawa sucks! Canada sucks! Nobody wants to play up north!

      Mnnnn. Nothing. Rut row.

      • George can defend himself, Chrisms, but IMO he contributes not just more content but value here than you do.

      • Geez lj. I’m sorry friendly banter is frowned upon in your world. I guess I’ll try to stick to condescending and haughty and model my responses after yours.

      • I am not interested in a back and forth with you Chrisms, but your attempt to pass off sarcasm as friendly banter is bogus. Take responsibility for your post – you wrote it.

      • You are physically incapable of admitting you are wrong and apologizing arnt you lj. Must be a heck of a world you live in in that bubble. I be been exchanging bits of conversation with George long before you graced us with your royal presence. I’m quite comfortable george can differentiate humor from not. He generally doesn’t have to look for ways to get upset to make himself feel better than others.

    • Hoping you are OK George

      We miss you in here

      • As a Sens fan I enjoy reading George’s take on things. I hope everything is okay.

  5. Yes please re Tatar on Pens’ PTO

    Did my full take on morning coffee

    9 4th liners under NHL contracts…. Not a single player even close to filling in 2C if either Sid (36) or Gino(37) get injured

    Marginal 3rd liner (Eller) with the rest all 4th liners; and only 5 healthy top 6…. Not a good start

  6. Poor George takes a hiatus for a bit, and everyone is googling his name in the obituaries.

    Good for you George, enjoy what is left of summer.

  7. Depending on how this season goes, if, God forbid, the Bruins are out of the play off hunt by the TDL, then by all means, trade JVR, DeBrusk, Grzelcyk, Forbort, Brown, Boqvist, Greer, etc can all be had for draft picks. They have no 1st, 2nd, 3rd pick in the upcoming draft. Also, by being successful the past few years, they draft late all the time. That’s another reason why the cupboard is bare.

    • DeBrusk won’t be moved and I don’t believe Gyz will be moved either. I believe Ullmark is a goner if sway continues to grow and Bussi could be the backup next year if he continues where he left off last season