Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 6, 2023

by | Aug 6, 2023 | Rumors | 52 comments

Check out the latest on Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alexis Lafreniere plus some free-agent forward options for the Sabres in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Jared Serre recently cited Evgeny Kuznetsov claiming reports that he’d requested a trade from the Capitals weren’t “entirely true”, claiming he’d heard about most of the rumors through the media.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).

The Kuznetsov speculation started in March following a report that he’d requested a trade. A purported friend of the 31-year-old center claimed he was tired in Washington. NHL reporter Mike Vogel confirmed Kuznetsov’s trade request last month amid a report that the Nashville Predators had looked into acquiring him.

Kuznetsov claimed that 95 percent of the rumors were “superficial information” that wasn’t worth reading.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuznetsov didn’t deny the trade request. He compared his situation with the Capitals to a marriage. “You constantly swear, back and forth, some moments happen, but you still have this love”.

Reports last month claimed the Capitals were aggressively shopping Kuznetsov this summer without success. It appears the trade discussions with the Predators fell through.

Kuznetsov’s $7.8 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 plus his inconsistent play likely dampened his trade value. It’s expected he’ll still be in the Capitals’ lineup when they open their season against Pittsburgh on Oct. 13.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Arthur Staple was asked what was taking so long for the New York Rangers to sign Alexis Lafreniere.

Staple doesn’t consider it unusual that a deal hasn’t been reached yet between the Rangers and the 21-year-old winger. He theorized that his camp could be hoping to get an offer sheet, or maybe the hold-up is over the length of Lafreniere’s next contract, or maybe it’s not a top priority for either side since he’s not going anywhere.

Asked why Lafreniere hasn’t been tendered an offer sheet, Staples suggests the signing team would be taking a huge bet on a young player who hasn’t yet proven that he can play top-six minutes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lafreniere is also coming off an entry-level contract and didn’t have arbitration rights. His only leverage is not reporting to the club until he’s got a deal that his camp considers suitable. Given his current situation, that’s not going to work in his favor.

Too many teams with limited salary-cap space is probably another factor. Only eight clubs have $5 million or more in cap room and some of them need it to re-sign their own remaining RFA players.

Lafreniere will likely agree to a short-term bridge deal of two or three years before training camp starts in September. Given the Rangers’ cap limitations, it will probably be a low-cost annual cap hit of around $2.5 million.


THE ATHLETIC: Matthew Fairburn recently suggested some free-agent options for the Buffalo Sabres if they wish to find a short-term replacement for sidelined winger Jack Quinn. He listed Tomas Tatar, Paul Stastny, Pius Suter, Zach Parise and Max Comtois.

Fairburn acknowledged the depth of talent is thin among the remainder of this summer’s free-agent class. If they can’t sign Tatar or Suter, he recommends they go the trade route or hope to find a suitable replacement from within their system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication yet as to the Sabres’ intentions. There’s plenty of time for them to address this. They could evaluate their options during training camp before deciding if they need external help.

It’s believed Quinn’s injury puts the brakes on any efforts to trade Victor Olofsson, at least until Quinn returns to the lineup.


  1. ‘Staples suggests the signing team would be taking a huge bet on a young player who hasn’t yet proven that he can play top-six minutes.’

    Lafy has played like 10 games in the top 6 and never on the top Powerplay unit…. he is still behind Panarin and Kreider as a LW.
    3rd line ice time still yields 3rd line point totals.

    I think the kid gets 70-80 points if moved to a rebuilding team that uses him as the #1LW.

    • I agree ds From what I have observed as a hockey fan Lafreniere is one of the best Ranger players on the team
      Sometimes, I don’t put much emphasis on stats. If he’s not getting top six minutes though that’s not his fault necessarily? They have a lot of talent on the Rangers! Watching the Rangers on TV during the playoffs whatever their shortcomings were, was not due to Lafreniere. If I was a Ranger fan, I would not be happy if they moved him out. He’s 21 y.o. plays a good game and to me the most interesting line on that team. Obviously, the big guys like Zybanijad, Kreider, Panarin are going to get the minutes but those other guys like Lafreniere, Chytil and I forget who the other guy is on that line are really good hockey players. He plays a solid game and is young, they
      Would be crazy to give up so soon on a guy like that. GO AVS!!!!

      • you cannot also blame the kid if his agent is asking what they can expect next season.
        drafted #1 but not getting a minute of 1st line ice until year 3 because you are behind two players in their primes is not his fault. anyone who watched Lafy in the previous playoff run saw what he can do.

        he has the same amount of 5 on 5 goals as Zib over the past two seasons.

        But if the Rangers are going to keep him getting 14 minutes a night I cannot blame the player for asking to be moved.
        Rangers still ALL IN with the aging star forwards……. they can get a 1st round pick plus a 3RD LINE WINGer at least in return

        I still think Habs sending Slaf+Anderson for Lafy makes sense for both teams.

      • No thanks on Anderson. Anderson is Kreider without the ability to put up numbers or stay healthy.

        But, from Montreal’s perspective, that is a bit too steep for a guy that really hasn’t proven himself (no fault of his own).

        Ny needs to figure out either moving a LW to RW or moving one out.

        I’ve stated here a bunch of times that Panarin would be impossible to move. But if Karlsson has interest, why not Panarin?

        Toughest roadblock is that pesky NMC! And they more than likely would have to retain or take a 3-4 million bad contract back.

        Moving either Laffrienere or Othmann would just be totally abandoning the rebuild they went through. At least partially.

        They’ve already whiffed on Lias Anderson, Nils Lundkvist. Have Jones buried (probably a trade candidate at this point).

        Don’t blow it with Othmann or Laffrienere!

      • @Captain
        if new coach splits the ice open it might work but LAfy is not getting Powerplay time where Panarin shines and Kreider is the tip king

      • Why don’t they play Lafy, or one of the other LW’s on opposite side? Not nearly as big a deal for a F vs a D to adjust.

        Kinda like the B’s did withDeBrusk, worked out for the team and the player.

        Or maybe they just don’t think his game is there yet. Still young, no need to rush a deal.

    • If Lafrenier were capable of putting up 70 – 80 points, why isn’t he being used as the #2 LW? Kreider put up 54 points last year. The Rangers surely know what Lafrenier is capable of, and conculded he can’t do that. at least yet.

      • Agreed, Not sure what he’s capable of. The reason behind him riding 3rd line minutes is chemistry. Kreider with Zibanejad and Chytil with Laffrienere and Kakko.

        And going into last year, Kreider was coming off a 77 point season and absolutely lethal on the PP. Why would they change that?

        This year, that PP clicked early and faded away. A lot of this is also on Gallant and his absolute refusal to juggle things up when things weren’t working.

        Hopefully Laviolette has a different philosophy.

  2. Dooby…. What the Fuddle Duddle

    Granlund should have already rec’d his cheque

    You already blew the first buyout window…. Don’t blow this one

    Just a reminder….

    Trading him only gains $800 K in space this year (over the buyout) BUT will cost Pens dearly in trade asset(s)

    Buyout also saves $3.2 M next year

    The deadcap of $1.8 M in 25/26 and 26/27 is literally irrelevant ….

    1) Pens will not be spending anywhere near the cap in those years

    2) Cap then will at least be mid $90’s M

    Keeping Granlund will be horrific….. $5 M cap for $800 K in production

    It’s just a fax; not your money (owners are loaded)


    • What makes you think the pens won’t be spending to the cap in those years? I doubt with their current owners that’s the case. You could argue whether they should do it. But they will.

    • Pengy Granlund was sent to SJ for Karlsson

      Told ya something like that would happen

      Petry to MTl and Hoffman to SJ

      Sj retains only 1.5 on EK

      All about them saving long term dollars and they get Pens 2024 1st

  3. I always thought lafreniere would be just what the leafs need. Wonder if a trade that included nylander or marner could be worked out. Lafreniere and goodrow for nylander could work if you sign lafreniere to a bridge deal for around $3M per year.

    • Rangers can’t afford to pay nylander what he wants do essentially it’s trading laf for a rental. Now as evidenced above most rangers fans are overvaluing him, I don’t think you move him for a rental.

      • Ranger fans don’t overvalue Laffrienere, Ranger fans are wanting to see his actual value / ceiling actually is.

        He’s put up decent numbers given his lack of opportunity and ice time.

        It’s not a Drew O’Connor situation where the guy is 25 , can’t crack the NHL lineup and yet makes his way into every trade proposal for a superstar.😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀

        He’s 21, has shown he is pretty good, yet much more to give if provided the opportunity.

        Unfortunately, he has a 90+ point guy and a gritty power forward that can score in front of him in the lineup.

      • He ain’t worth Slav and Anderson was what I referenced. And you can’t make fun of pengy no more. Not after today. The prospect pens sent in the deal is worse than O’Conner!

      • Worse than a player that’s 25 and still can’t crack a not so good bottom 6? Yes , yes I can still tear that apart!

        Slav is more of a mystery at this point than Laffrienere. And Andersons cap alone in conjunction with production makes him relatively undesirable.

        Would Montreal make that trade? No. But it isn’t that out of whack.

        Honestly, at that cap hit, that injury history and that production, I’d pass on Anderson for MUCH less!

        I wouldn’t trade Jones and a 5th for Anderson. He’s a poor man’s version of Kreider.

      • Your assessment of O’Connor is a bit harsh but not far off the truth. That’s how bad legare is

  4. Maybe Granlund is involved in the Karlsson trade. 20% held by the Sharks but you have to take Granlund.
    Pens buyout someone else or trade someone else
    You will still have to add a first and Poulin

    • Erik Karlsson three team trade – Canadians were the third team – guessing Jeff Petry traded to the Canadians?

      • The pens literally just got karlson and other pieces for all their cap dumps and all it cost was a protected 1st a 2nd and a failing prospect? Wow! Dubas with a grand slam.

      • On that note i among others owe pengy an apology. This was almost the definition of a pengy trade. Except we didn’t send a player we just signed weeks ago out in the deal.

      • Oh and lastly. Just do pengy doesn’t get so happy he faints… the logjam at rd is gone so chad “frost giant “ ruhwedal is almost certainly the starting 3rd pair d man. And no pengy. Sully won’t start Friedman over him.

      • I love the trade! I even more love the headline on They had Glad Pitt. In swedish that means happy dick 😁.

      • I like Karlsson, I really do. But he’s a bit of a cap dump too no?

        I think a lot of teams in the east are salivating as much as pens fans thinking about Letang / Karlsson as that 1/2!

        Which leaves Pengys favorite scape goat at 3? Who’s shutting down the oppositions top lines?

  5. ds. For last few years you’ve argued about how Rangers needed to keep their money cause they were going to need to pay the kids. Laf will get slightly more than Kakko’s 2.1m bridge. Miller didn’t break bank. 3 first round picks traded away. 2 of them were top 10 picks that appear to be total busts. (Kravtsov + Lias A) Outside of Fox, nobody is getting big bucks that we see other young studs getting after elc’s are up. I wouldn’t label Laf a bust, but his ceiling seems to be a good middle 6 winger, maybe 2nd liner. If he was so good, they’d make room for him in top 6 by either playing him on right side or moving Kreider. Which by the way they’ve tried. Point is, I don’t think there’s any one blueprint for proper rebuild as a lot of folks like to argue. Sacrificing a few seasons of losing can set you back further if you don’t hit on picks.

    • @slick
      but how many games did they try him at RW? like 4 games with Panarin and two weeks? with him+Kakko with Zib where they looked good-did Kakko get hurt during it?

      I also understand from the Rangers point of few if Lafy did explode they cant pay everyone.
      Not many 1st overalls come to a team with two star leftwingers already there

      • Well, Karlsson to Pens is done. 3 way trade with Habs

    • As for Laf and contract. I’d assume that if anyone presented an offer sheet, Laf would sign it. Rangers currently showing over 2m in cap space with a roster of 22.
      A trade for another player on elc would make more sense than an offer sheet. I would do a straight up swap for Slavkosky but I’m not sure Habs would do. Forget Anderson and his over 5m cap hit

      • @slick
        cant disagree with you

        my bigger concern is how do the Rangers get past the speed and depth of the Devils this time around?
        same game with a very aged Wheeler is not the answer.

      • Laffy and Kakko need to be on the 2nd line with Trotchek

        Move Kreider to 3rd line

        Bread and Chtyl to first line

        Goodrow center 3rd with Kreids and Wheeler

        Nash Pitlick and Vesey 4th line

        Ride out the Panarin and Trouba contracts and start using picks and develop better so in 3 yrs ya have a young core to step in and take up the roster spots

        Cuyle needs to up his offensive game if he is to break the main roster. No need to keep him as a 4th line forward

      • ds. I think too much being made of Devils speed. Rangers effort in last game was dissspointing. Carolina had no issue and I don’t see them being any faster than NY. Devils outplayed us. Imo, Jones should’ve played over Mikola. Could’ve helped with quicker exits. But speaking of speed, I feel like Lafs skating is his biggest issue. Personally, I think Kakko will be the better player. And for the record, I like Laf. Just expected a lot more from him with all the hype. Kreider had 30 points during Lafs rookie year. Shortened season but not exactly a star that year.

      • IHC. I can see Kakko on top line, but I don’t see Kreider/Zib getting split up. Kreider has 88 goals over last 2 seasons. What coach would put him on 3rd line?And I’m not sure Chytil gets 2C job. I really wouldn’t rule out a Laf trade before season starts.

      • @slick
        Kreider tough call for me
        he more or less scored every goal in the Devils series but he was the worst player imho during Game7. there were 2 goals all he had to do was be involved on the backcheck and they dont happen. unless he has the puck on a rush or stands in front of net he has become lazy.
        but you dont limit ice to proven goal scorers.

        so my stance stays if Lafy is not going to play top 6 trade him IF the deal is decent. and i like the kid.
        I know Panarin gets you wins in the regular season but he looked useless in Tampa and Jersey. First priority should be finding a way for Panarin to stay effective in the playoffs and the Defense being able to outlet the puck better.
        With Igor there is always a chance to win any series

    • It’s not exactly over yet. They will have to re-up Kakko , Schneider , Lindgren next year

      Sheterkin / Miller the following. With Panarin, Kreider, Zibanejad, Trocheck, Fox and Trouba eating up a lot of cap and still on the books.

      Shesterkin? Probably will want a Lundqvist / Bobrovsky/ Vasilesky type deal unless he falls off a cliff. Miller if he continues to trend up will want a significant raise.

      Why isn’t he getting top 6 minutes? Panarin / Kreider. Which combine for 18 million combined with a coach that refused to shake up that lineup.

      Where he’ll end up? Who knows. He’s 21 and stuck behind those 2 players. As I posted above, let’s see if Laviolette has a different perspective when things aren’t working.

  6. Karlsson is a pen

    Petry and DeSmith to MTL
    Granlund Hoffman and Ruutta to SJ

  7. Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli)
    saying EK to Pens is a done deal

  8. Pengy
    U should be on cloud “9” today
    Especially dumping some undesirables from your Penguin lineup
    Crosby and company should have some “fun” times teaming up with Karlsson

  9. Wow! Those of us hoping for a relaxing summer Sunday just received quite the shock.
    A few observations from the Habs perspective:

    1. Happy that Hoffman and Pitlick were moved out. Clears up some room up front for younger players by moving out two guys who were not in their long term plans.

    2. Really shocked at Petry coming back. They could certainly use a solid RD for the upcoming season. Mailloux will need at least a year in the minors, likely two. Reinbacher also shouldn’t be rushed. The Habs have a solid D now which will only get better. Petry, Savard, Barron and Kovacevic on the right, Matheson, Guhle, Harris and Xhekaj on the left, with Hutson, Reinbacher and Mailloux coming up when the time is right. The problem is that both Petry and Savard have two years left on their contracts, while the Habs may very well have to open up a spot in another year. I think it’s quite certain that one of those two will be gone a year from now. Even if they don’t try to trade Petry now, which some observers see as possible.

    3. Can’t figure out why they picked up Desmith. Possible he or Allen gets moved. If not, likely that Desmith gets waived to the minors.

    4. Pretty clear now that Hughes killed it on last year’s Matheson-Petry trade. The Habs have now made three trades involving Petry. Won the first two going away and I think the result on #3 will turn out good for them as well.

  10. What is the Habs thinking ? Dubby is up. For Gm of the year . Moves 3 unmovable contracts (2 to the Habs) for a first and a second . And gets a 3 time Norris trophy winner .

    Not a good day to be a Hab fan

    • Swany you couldn’t be more wrong. Firstly, the Habs move out two forwards with a combined $5.6m. cap hit who they didn’t need and thus opened up spots for young forwards. Secondly, they picked up a 2nd rounder, which is useful for a team in the Habs position. Thirdly, even though Petry’s game slipped a bit in Pittsburgh, he’s still a solid D-man who can eat up big minutes and put up 35-40 points. Plus, they get him at a discount and will likely wind up flipping him at some point for younger assets.
      Not sure they needed Desmith but most of his cap hit can be buried in the minors and he’ll be a UFA after the season anyway.

      • We will disagree but will say you make valid points . Maybe should not have just had my knee jerk reaction . Glad some of you think things through.

        Still think Petry takes spots away from the young D . And Desmith makes 0 sense. To me .

      • Swany, I agree that Desmith makes little sense but he can be buried in the minors at a small cap hit.

        As for Petry taking spot away from a young D-man – not right away. If things stay the same, the Habs three RD this season will be Savard Petry and Barron. Reinbacher and Mailloux are at least a year away. So Barron will get ice time and continue to develop. As for 2024-25, if either or both of Reinbacher and Mailloux play well enough this year to suggest that they’ll be NHL ready the following year, then the Habs will look to trade Petry or Savard before then.

    • You’re kidding, Swany?
      It is an Incredible deal by Hughes!
      They’re not retaining any salary on Hoffman or Pitlick. They get Petry for 2.34 for 2 years or they can trade him later.
      Great deal.

      • SOP, it’s actually a hit of $4.6875m. for the Habs for two years of Petry. Not a bad hit for a player like him. The thinking is that they may flip him and retain $2.34 while getting another valuable asset. Obviously, moving out Hoffman without retention is key.

      • That’s not what they get petry for. It’s closer to 5 mil.

      • Howard. Wouldn’t rather have retained on Hoffman for 1 year than petry for two?

      • Chrisms,
        No I wouldn’t. Petry does have more value than Hoffman and he provides needed veteran depth at a position where they could use a veteran – at least for the coming season. I expect that he’ll be dealt to a contender for futures within the next year. Hoffman was blocking a spot that is better used on a young player. Plus they get a 2nd rounder.

      • Thanks for the correction, guys!

  11. Sharks get 3 NHLers .
    Habs swap Petry for Hoffman and Pens get their man.
    I think a win win win trade. No wonder it took so long

    • The rest of the East is licking they’re chops at that D corp…EK and Graves top pairing LOL…The goalies are in for a shelling very game!

      • “every” I hate you auto correct!

      • 1. Letang/Graves

        2. Karlsson/Peterson

        3. ?/?