NHL Rumor Mill – August 4, 2023

by | Aug 4, 2023 | Rumors | 27 comments

Check out the latest on Erik Karlsson and Elias Lindholm in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman anticipates a contract buyout coming this weekend for the Pittsburgh Penguins that could affect their efforts to acquire San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Friedman noted the Penguins avoided arbitration with Drew O’Connor earlier this week. That opens a 48-hour contract buyout window this weekend.

General manager Kyle Dubas prefers not to use contract buyouts. However, Friedman said he’s had a couple of people tell him to keep an eye on this weekend as the Penguins could attempt to get this closed (referring to a Karlson trade).

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe also took note of the Penguins’ buyout window. He wondered if Dubas will use it to buy out the remaining two years of Mikael Granlund’s contract, potentially freeing up some salary-cap space to acquire Karlsson.

Yohe also envisioned other scenarios such as including Granlund in the package to acquire Karlsson from the Sharks, trading other veterans in cost-cutting moves, or the unlikely option of putting Jeff Carter on long-term injury reserve.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jacob Punturi examined the pros and cons of the Penguins potentially buying out Granlund. While it would provide significant immediate cap savings of around $4 million, it would also result in four years of dead cap space worth $1.38 million annually on top of what they’re carrying from their 2020 buyout of Jack Johnson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve previously mentioned my theory of Dubas buying out Granlund and then using the savings to put toward getting the Karlsson deal done. We’ll find out by the end of the weekend if that’s the case.


NHL NETWORK: Friedman said things were quiet regarding Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm. He believes the Flames want to sign the 28-year-old to an eight-year extension in the range of $8 million to $9 million annually.

THE ATHLETIC: Julian McKenzie and Shayna Goldman listed some potential trade destinations for Lindholm if he and the Flames fail to reach an agreement on a contract extension.

They took note of speculation linking Lindholm to the Boston Bruins. However, they question whether they have sufficient assets to pry him away from the Flames. They also looked at the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes, Blue Jackets and Wild have the depth in tradeable assets to tempt the Flames. I’m not convinced that the Leafs and Canucks could pull it off. Salary-cap space could also be a concern for some of these clubs even with the projected increase by $4 million next summer.


  1. Toronto interested in Lindholm? Sure, if they can get him for $2M a year! Unless they let Matthews and Nylander both walk, there is no conceivable way they could ever bring him in under the cap with the amount of $ they are already paying their forwards.

    • Nylander for Lindholm. Works

    • Sure Toronto or anyone else can get him, in spite the cap…it’s called doing it Vegas style! Sign everyone and when you’re over, deal with it then however you need to as long as you got your guy.

  2. I agree foley, not to mention they have Mathews and Tavares as the top two centers. The Wild are also screwed for the next couple years with the buyout dead cap space. I could maybe see Vancouver in a JT Miller trade if they would rather have Lindholm.

    I’m sure the only reason Toronto is mentioned is because everything has to be about them. Just like when they were interested in Karlsson.

    • HaHaHahahahaha!

  3. Happy Friday All…If CBJ are truly looking to push into win now mode (which I fully admit I am skeptical is realistic after last year), Lindholm makes a ton of sense particularly if the Horvat to NYI and Dubois to LA trades are similar frameworks for a potential deal. As much as I believe CBJ have improved dramatically (especially w/ Fantilli in the fold) IMHO they simply do not have the C depth to be a legitimate contender to compete in the Metro without another upgrade at C. My view is acquiring Lindholm would allow Jenner to move to W (at least periodically) provide Fantili & Johnson time to develop. Given his defensive abilities it also potentially helps provide structure that will help the D and Elvis who had abysmal years (albeit on a team decimated by injury). Will be interesting to see if CBJ-CAL actually are exploring this

    • I seriously doubt that the Jackets have the cap space, now and long term, to trade for Lindholm. Just in the next two years, they have Johnson, Marchinko, Sillinger, Greaves, Chinakov, Blankenburg, Kuraly, Tarasov and Texier finishing their current contract.
      Perhaps the Jackets do try to trade for Lindholm. But will Lindholm want to play for Babcock?

      • Paul, I see your concern about the wave of ELCs ending but I don’t believe the cap would prevent them from being able to add. Lindholm if they want to. It will require some creativity and some of those players being bridged but with the cap projected to increase at least $4 million w/some (far more informed than me) estimating possibly $6 million next year and even greater escalations the next 2 years , the cap situation isn’t a barrier to the move. Creativity and difficult decisions for sure but not a prohibitive

  4. Re

    “Yohe also envisioned other scenarios such as including Granlund in the package to acquire Karlsson from the Sharks, trading other veterans in cost-cutting moves, or the unlikely option of putting Jeff Carter on long-term injury reserve.”

    Under no circumstances should Granlund be traded…. In an EK deal OR any deal

    Absolutely ludicrous mentality

    Trading Granlund will cost valuable assets and only gain $833 K (that’s it!!!!) over buying him out

    A buyout saves a very valuable $4.2 M this year and $3.2 M next year

    The (very silly) rationale of not to buy him out because of two dead Cap years (AFTER saving $4:2 M then $3.2 M) just does not make sense:

    Pens ownership has indicated that they are all-in now…. Cap savings paramount…. NOW!!!

    The measly “extra” $1.8 M deadcap in 25/26 and 26/27….. when Sid/Tanger/Gino are 38/38/39 and 39/39/40 for those seasons AND when Pens are then NOT vying for (considering) the big enchilada; and NOT spending to the cap; AND when Cap is then mid $90’s M…. That measly $1.8 M is literally nothing

    Buying him out has tons of advantages and basically nigh zero downside

    Pens right now at $3.2 M OVER…. One fax/email tomorrow from Dooby to the NHL head office moves Pens immediately to $960 K UNDER

    Re Carter on LTIR…. Well nice thought….. but Tanya Harding’s “contract” rates have gone up!!!!

    Only chance there is to get him (Carter) onto LTIR; is to get him to borrow Hossa’s gloves for practices

    Re EK….. still have to move Petry (pay for that privilege) to a team he won’t nix; and pay at least 3 key assets to get EK AND likely still over; and 3C position still not addressed!!

    Better move(s):

    Buyout Granlund; sign Dumba

    Move Petry at full tilt for a 2nd (‘24)and 3rd (‘26)…. Maybe Chicago?

    Trade Accairi; O’Connor; 3rd (‘25) for Henrique

    waive DeSmith, Rutta; Ruhweedel

    Sign Comtois; N Ritchie at League min to $900 K 1 year deals

    Result….. well under Cap; younger; faster; better; bigger; stronger; and D far superior than what they ended up the season with

    Sid Guentz Rakell

    Gino Smith Rusty

    Henrique Nylander Comtois

    Eller Ritchie Poulin


    Tanger Pettersson

    Dumba Graves

    Friedman PO-J


    Jarry/ *Nedjelkovic

    *only two negative spots on roster…. Carter can sit in the press box; and Dooby now has Cap space (and many remaining assets) to maneuver the back-up situation if he fails

    • Pengy my friend. That’s a lot of player movement. Especially considering Karlson is the guy everyone has going to Pitt, and not Henrique, Dumba and Comtois

      • Hi Slick

        Yes most have EK as the Dooby move

        I truly believe the less Cap compromising move (and obviously easier) is Dumba in, Granlund bought out; Petry moved….. with the free space opened up…. Address the gaping whole at 3C and the rest of the 3rd line

    • You have way to much time on your hands!

      • We finalized a major acquisition yesterday; had already given Monday off to all employees (it’s an Ontario holiday but not a Stat one); so I decided to give all today off as well…4 day weekend for everybody…. So just relaxing on deck, reading and posting

        A very very rare Friday for me…. Enjoying it 👍

      • Don’t believe this BS. Anyone who would dream of even half the trade scenarios this guy posts could never truly be successful in any business. Moms basement. Almost guarantee it.

    • Pengy.

      Look for this weekend for some moves and activities with the Penguins.

      The buyout 48 hr window goes from Saturday to Monday..

      They will take one last shot at Karlsson or quickly piviot to Calgary and defenseman noah hanafin..
      Or sign matt dumba.. or botj..hanifin who the penguins had majors talks with at the nhl draft..

      Or both hanifan and dumba. Move rutta and petry

      We will see

      • Hi BnG

        Guentz out until at least mid Nov (ankle operation two days ago)….

        Now Cap space but glaring vacuum in top 6

        This absolutely should not change the Granlund buyout

        I’m guessing that Dobby (with this temporary LTIR space on top of Granlund’s freed up $4.2 M) is going full tilt on EK

        Now even more that may be the wrong route to take

        EK will address the D, but even with Granlund, Petry out and Guentz on LTIR…. HE’ll be tight on Cap…. With

        No 1LW
        No 3C
        Weak 3rd line wingers

        Signing Dumba costs no assets
        Buying out Granlund costs no assets
        Petry move….. Dooby already accounting for assets needed in any EK acquisition move

        Better move is Dumba in and go after Henriques…. He can play wing for top 6 while Guentz is on LTIR; then go to 3C when Guentz returns

        The beauty of having Henriques is that in a pinch if Gino or Sid get hurt…. He can spot in as a top 6 C

        Eller can’t do this
        Not a chance Accairi can
        No way they should try Carter there

        Comtois and Ritchie are UFAs…. No assets given up; Will go for league min to $900 K, have size, will be better than anybody currently not in the Pen’s top 6

        That’s the way I’d go….. but don’t be shocked if now Dooby overpays for EK

        The most recent bandied around trade speculation was

        EK (Grier retaining $4.5 M Cap…. That’s 39%) for a 1st (top5 protected); a 2nd (that could become a 1st if Pens make SCF in either ‘24 or ‘25 AND if EK plays in 50% of that years’ playoff games); plus Poulin….Dobby moving Petry separately by giving up another 2nd

        If Grier is retaining 39% (don’t hold your breath )..,with EK still owed $38 M….. that’s retaining $14.82 M

        Instead….. make a deal that gets him (Grier) retaining the same but Pens give up less

        He retains 30% on EK …. $11.4 M
        He retains 45% on Petry on the to-through….$4.4 M…. Total $11.8 M

        Pens retain 5% on Petry…. Final team still gets Petry at 50% for a 2nd (but that goes to Sharks)

        For the same retention

        Greir still gets the first and second (that could become a first) from Pens; but instead of Poulin, they get a 2nd from the final team (receiving Petry) and another Pens prospect not named Poulin, P-O J, Pickering, Smith or Yaeger

        Pens save a 2nd; save Poulin

        and instead of getting EK at $7 M , they get him at $8 M

        Setting aside Guentz on LTIR…. Pens at $3.2 M over…. 23 of 23 on Roster

        Buy out Granlund; bring up Poulin… the 23 of 23 and $0.2 M under

        Rutta and DeSmith buried; up comes Friedman and Smith; that’s then roster at 23 of 23 at $1 M under

        Petry (5% retained) replaced by EK (30% retained)…. Pens at 23 of 23 with $1.1M over

    • Pengy, that’s never going to happen. If two of those things happen exactly as specified there, I’d be surprised. These trades never end up working how we speculate they’ll work out.

      With that said, I really hope the pens get EK.

      • Hi Rich

        I only proposed two trades

        Petry…. And besides what is given up, the media has already speculated that Dooby has the cards/trade parameters in place to move Petry w/o a Pens retention in order to get EK

        The other trade….

        “ Accairi; O’Connor; 3rd (‘25) for Henrique” I believe is fair

        The signings are UFAs…. So in Dooby’s control if he wishes to meet their demands….. at this point…. Beggars (remaining UFAs) can’t be choosers

        Buyout…. Fully in Dooby’s control

        Waive/demotions to WBS …. Again all in his control

        Regardless of going the Dumba et al route (my preference) or EK route…. Two things a must….

        Granlund buyout
        Petry jettison

        EK in move does not address the 3 C issue…. And that is crucial

        Right now…. Top 6 plus 8 “fair”/“reasonable” 4th liners…. Not a good start

    • Wow. GMs really can’t help themselves.
      He’s going to be 30 when his current contract expires. THEN he begins a new 7 year deal going through age 37.
      With his injuries and style of play, they will be trying to buy out this contract before it is half over.

      • Foleyd 7…completely agree 7 years at age 30 risky at best especially the way he plays…

      • Why won’t the Wilson contract age well?

        His game isn’t skill and speed, both of which fall off with age.

        His game is intimidation, defending the skill guys, hitting hard, banging the boards and creating havoc in the slot.

        He’ll keep getting 15 goals and keep opponents looking over their shoulders.

    • Buyout won’t be easy or worthwhile. Last couple of years loaded with bonus money.

    • One of the worst contracts I’ve ever seen. This guys agent is a magician and all players should hire him.

    • Jealous much?

  5. Jackets need goal tending . Calgary has goaltending .
    Lindholm and Johnny G played pretty well together
    There could be a deal there .

    Goes to show you with Wilson you don’t have to be a point producer to get paid . I wouldn’t want to play against him on a nightly basis.
    But he is a knob and should stay in his weight class

  6. Habfan30, what you wrote about Wilson will also be a reason it won’t end well. It’s hard enough on the body when you aren’t hitting and fighting, he will be lucky to be playing anywhere close to 82 games by the time he’s in the last few years of his contract because of the style of his play. That’s definitely a bad contract.