NHL Rumor Mill – September 12, 2023

by | Sep 12, 2023 | Rumors | 16 comments

Speculation over Steven Stamkos’ future with the Lightning plus the latest on Tomas Tatar in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont recently mused over whether the Tampa Bay Lightning can afford to re-sign captain Steven Stamkos. The 33-year-old forward is in the final season of an eight-year, $68-million contract and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

Dupont acknowledged that it’s way too early to think the Lightning won’t pony up for Stamkos. However, they’re always tucked up against the salary cap. If Stamkos becomes available next summer, Dupont believes the Boston Bruins would be among at least a dozen suitors for the right-shot center.

Stamkos will have lots of mileage on him by next summer. Nevertheless, Dupont felt that he would still be “a worthy contributor for another 3-4 years.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos doesn’t get mentioned much among next summer’s possible UFA targets. That’s because it’s assumed he and the Lightning will work something out to keep him in Tampa Bay.

As Dupont observed, salary-cap constraints could be an issue. They’ve already got over $74 million invested in 15 players for 2024-25. Assuming the salary cap hits $87.5 million as projected for next season, they’ll have over $12 million in cap space.

Fortunately for the Lightning, Stamkos is their most notable potential free agent at the end of this season. They’ll have sufficient space to re-sign him if he seeks a cap hit similar to his current $8.5 million. Perhaps he’ll accept a pay cut to between $6.5 million to $7 million annually to finish his career in Tampa Bay.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Nick Horwat cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying he’s not convinced that Tomas Tatar will sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 32-year-old free-agent winger reportedly had discussions with the Penguins earlier this summer. However, Friedman said they weren’t the only club involved. He noted that Tatar had recently changed agents and is expected to sign with an Eastern Conference team soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With training camps opening next week, we won’t have to wait long to find out where Tatar lands. There’s been recent speculation suggesting the New York Islanders as a possible destination. 


  1. Friedman – cut and paste other articles and call it 32 Thoughts.

    Never anything profound or not read elsewhere.

    • After I find those articles you mentioned reference Friedman.

      I think you got it in reverse.

      But the nee agent of Tatar represents a half dozen Islander players.

      Coincidence, perhaps.

    • I like Friedman. I think he does a good job.

      • Me too. Since Bob McKenzie retired Friedman is the go to guy for hockey scoops. Tries hard to be fair and accurate.

  2. Yes Frieman gets the scoop and he is a fun guy……👍

  3. Tatar to Colorado.

    • Yup.

  4. Tatar to Avs 1 year $1.5M

    • Great deal for avs

  5. Did not fact check but Tatar an”plus 40 ?? Will be a great fit for Ava who will need some secondary scoring

  6. Way to go AVS!!!!!

    • No show come playoffs!

      • Tatar would be one hell of a mentor to Slovakian star Slafkovsky. For once there’s a crowded depth chart in MTL. However, I feel there’s still a spot that could easily be here

  7. Dooby….. you blew it again

    You have 9 (NINE) 4th liners under NHL contracts; and 3 more 4th liners under PTO….. and missing a 40G scorer to start the season….and you let Avs steal Tatar for a measly $1.5 M!!!!

    He could have filled in for Guentz until he returns; then drop down to play with Eller to bolster 3rd line; once Guentzel is back

    $1.5 M !!! That’s it!

    RU kidding me

    Pens could have had Tatar for

    Just $400 K more than Pitlick

    Just $600 K more than Nieto

    That needs repeating…,.

    Just $600 K more than Nieto

    Just $700 K more than Johnnsson

    Just $725 K more than Hinneztrozza

    Dooby….. you pounded the Leafs out with spending 1/2 Cap on 4Fwds;

    And now think you can get Pens to the promised land with 9 signed; plus 3 (PTO) 4th liners; no 3rd line (only 3rd liner on team is Eller); and absolutely not a single player that can jump up to 2C if either 37 year old Gino or 36 year old Sid goes down; AND you are still over the cap

    Avs….. great steal

    Dooby….. wake up and check your roster…. Gaping hole called Third Line

  8. Championship teams have a lot of components. Luck, goaltending and the walking wounded holding it together.
    One of the most important aspects is a stud third line that can pressure , bang and score even strength.

  9. Penguins are done, old as dirt