Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 20, 2023

by | Aug 20, 2023 | Rumors | 11 comments

Check out the latest on the Flames, Canucks and Capitals in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup


SPORTSNET: Pat Steinberg recently fielded questions from readers regarding Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin and forwards Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund.

Asked why the Flames haven’t moved Hanifin yet, Steinberg believes it’s because they haven’t received any suitable offers yet for the 26-year-old blueliner. He believes Hanifin remains their top trade chip and should fetch “multiple strong assets” in a trade. The Flames have set their price and will stick with it even if it means starting the season with Hanifin on the roster.

Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It can be risky starting the season with a player eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next summer. An injury or a decline in performance could hurt their value when trying to move him before the trade deadline.

Nevertheless, if the offers aren’t there during this summer, the best course of action is to start the season with Hanifin and hope the market improves if he remains healthy and productive.

Asked which teams have the cap space and need for what the Flames are selling, Steinberg listed the Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres. Both are hoping to emerge from years of rebuilding into playoff contenders and each has around $6 million in cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm would address the Red Wings’ need for experienced skill at center but he might have to play on the second line behind Dylan Larkin. The Sabres’ bigger concern is their goaltending but they could consider adding someone like Hanifin if they feel they need more depth among their top-four defensemen as the season progresses.

Steinberg indicated that trade offers for the 34-year-old Backlund have been soft. However, they could improve if he puts up numbers similar to last season (56 points in 82 games). He doesn’t believe the Flames should trade him just for the sake of it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. As with Hanifin, they can’t rush into trading Backlund if the offers aren’t suitable. His value could improve over the course of the season, especially if he has another season comparable to 2022-23.


THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston noted the Vancouver Canucks will have a logjam of wingers this season, especially if Tanner Pearson returns from last year’s season-ending hand injury. Even if he doesn’t, there isn’t enough room for all of Vasily Podkolzin, Conor Garland, Brock Boeser and Nils Hoglander.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could end up moving one of those wingers before the start of the season. Boeser and Garland are the most notable and frequently surfaced in trade rumors last season but any talk about moving one of them dried up over the course of this summer. Their respective contracts are difficult to move under a flattened salary cap but both have also indicated their wish to remain in Vancouver.

Podkolzin or Hoglander could become the odd man out. They carry more affordable contracts which should make them easier to trade if it comes to that.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber noted that Jesse Puljujarvi remains available as an unrestricted free agent. The 25-year-old winger is recovering from hip surgery but should be ready to return at some point during the coming season.

Noting that Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan is still working the phones looking to add to his roster, Silber wondered if there might be a spot for Puljujarvi on a low-risk contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible though I daresay MacLellan is in the market for a player who can have a more immediate effect on the roster. Puljujarvi would be a low-cost option for most NHL clubs willing to gamble on him. Whether any of them will take that chance is another story.


  1. Backlund isn’t worth as much as he thinks. Third line and pk. I don’t think he gets his current level of compensation with a short term at his age.
    Lindholm should heavily consider that 8 th year that only the Flames can offer. We are talking 8-9 million.

    Hanifin will find a home at an appropriate return . Conroy not giving him away because the player is hanging his lip.

  2. Elias is a decent player but in my opinion he is no 8-9 million dollar player he had one good year and his line mates that year had 30 more points than he did. He is big enough but plays a soft game and a perimeter game. Elias is 28 if I’m GM of almost every team my max is 6 years 6 million he would be a fine 2nd line center. Now a team with plenty of cap can afford more per year but still wouldn’t go more than 5 or 6 years.

    • Lol! He’s a top line centre for at least half the teams in the NHL & you think he’s only worth 6 x $6.0. Wow. Barzal recently got $9.150m per & he only hit 60 points once since 2019, Lindholm stats blow his away & Lindholm is durable. Sorry have to disagree with you.

      • I could get behind potsticker… cause they are delicious. But potlicker ?

      • I totally agree, the reason JG and MT had such good seasons was partly because of Lindholm. Also, horvat got 8m and Lindholm is better with a rising cap

      • Not that I necessarily disagree with you.

        I’d say Lindholm is probably the #1 centre on half the teams in the league roughly.

        The difference between Lindholm and Barzal though is he has played with much more talented players and he is 3 years older. I’d say personally he’s in the 8.25×5, 7.75×6, 7.25×7 range of salary based on age. This all could be adjusted based on the salary cap actual increases but it might also be in his best interest to sign a 9×3 and sign short term contracts for his career if he wants to maximize dollars and use the salary cap increase to his advantage.

        Probably an advantage for the team to if they decide to rebuild.

    • I think he is a 1C all day Obe.
      For points over last 3 years, 16th for C’s.
      Plus he plays and excellent 200′ game, and has got Selke votes in the past. 1 year finished 6th.

      Had the best +/- on the Flames over that span, and the most points.

      I think he fits the B’s like a glove and if he hits UFA after the season, has another good year, he will get paid. I think the 9 # is more likely.
      And somebody will give him 7 years.

      Aho just got $9.75, and in the last 3 years got 12 more points, but younger and more prime years, but also wasn’t a UFA. I think 9 is bang on.

      Hope it is in Boston if he hits the market.

  3. Kent if Elias carried Johnny Hockey and Mathew then why did he have way less points ? Was other way around that’s why his numbers fell farther than Justin’s approval rating last year. If Calgary gives him 8 years four years from now we will be calling it worst contract in NHL. Problem with GM,s they lock players in for way to long example Jeff Skinner Valeri Nichushkin Brendan Gallagher and many many more Nashville just dumped two.

    • Again, your argument doesnt wash. Lindholm has been a very responsible forward & frequently compared to the ilk of Bergeron. Bergeron has played with players like Marchand & Pasti & there numbers in 2018-19 & 2019-2020 & 2020-21 are almost identical & Lindholm has outperformed him in points the last 2 years.
      & Chisms
      Like KFC which is finger licking good I am pot licking good :->

      • LoL potlicker. Nice one.

        Most other teams fans have the opposite effect when evaluating other teams players than they do of their own. And stats, well some fans still don’t regard them as a valid argument! Crazy I know.

  4. Lol Lindholm equal to Bergeron your hilarious not in same stratosphere I like Lindholm but not for 8 years at big money 5-6 years max.