NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2023

by | Sep 15, 2023 | Rumors | 11 comments

Could the Avalanche and Canadiens make a goaltending trade? Are the Senators any closer to re-signing Shane Pinto? What’s the latest on Phil Kessel? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the Colorado Avalanche appear to be exploring their options in the trade market seeking a potential replacement for Pavel Francouz. The 33-year-old backup goaltender is expected to miss training camp and the start of the season as he recovers from offseason adductor surgery.

Seravalli’s colleague Mike Gould suggested Casey DeSmith as an obvious trade target. He was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins by the Montreal Canadiens in last month’s three-team trade that sent Erik Karlsson to the Penguins.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Casey DeSmith (NHL Images).

Salary cap space could be an issue for the Avalanche. Gould pointed out that they are projected to start the season with $525K in long-term injury reserve space, though they might be able to add more by placing Francouz and his $2 million cap hit on LTIR. DeSmith, 32, carries an average annual value of $1.8 million.

TVA SPORTS: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes recently said he was okay with his club starting the season with Casey DeSmith, Samuel Montembeault and Jake Allen as his goaltenders. However, he has also said that he’s open to moving DeSmith before the start of the season if an opportunity presents itself.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeSmith has plenty of backup experience with the Pittsburgh Penguins. That could make him enticing to the Avalanche if Francouz appears to be sidelined long-term. Putting him on LTIR would cover DeSmith’s cap hit for this season.

Montreal Hockey Now’s Marc Dumont doesn’t expect DeSmith, Montembeault or Allen would fetch much of a return in the trade market. Still, Hughes might be able to get a decent draft pick or prospect from the Avs if he agreed to retain part of DeSmith’s salary.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion acknowledged he still has to re-sign Shane Pinto. The 22-year-old restricted free agent has yet to reach an agreement with the club on a new contract.

Dorion remains hopeful of getting a deal in place before training camp opens next week. The two sides don’t want Pinto to miss any playing time because he’s expected to play a key role on the Senators this season.

Garrioch pointed out that the Senators are pressed for salary cap space. He believes they’ll have to shed a contract to accommodate a new deal for Pinto.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pinto’s current contract situation has generated some trade speculation suggesting he could be moved if the two sides fail to hammer out an agreement. Dorion’s comments suggest that isn’t the case.


TSN’s Chris Johnston reports there’s some “percolating interest” from NHL teams on signing Phil Kessel to a contract this season. He indicates the 35-year-old forward isn’t in PTO (professional tryout offer) territory yet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL’s ongoing Ironman record holder, Kessel recently said that he’s willing to accept a secondary role even if it brings his consecutive games streak to an end. That might account for the recent interest in his services.


  1. Steinburg for Vladar 25% retained
    Francouz has not been reliable due to injury his entire career
    The Avs need that backup position solid

    Sens are not letting Pinto walk unless it is a very good return. No need. And no leverage by the player

    • I would go for that; rather have Vladar than DeSmith. Francouz, same old problem, it’s time to cut him loose!!!

  2. if the Habs try to pass goalie Primeau through waivers, I bet the Avs would pick him up. good prospect in goal, and he is on a cheap ELC contract

    • Not sure about that Mike. The Avs would rather have a proven backup.
      If Hughes gets even a 4th for Desmith it’ll be an accomplishment. Even if salary is retained. I’d expect Hughes won’t want to retain salary even if it means getting a later pick.

  3. I’d love if NYR can find a way to add Kessel to the mix. Good 3rd line option and allow the kids to move up the line up

  4. At SilverSeven. I say they go bigger than that deal. Let Calgary get out from under the Lindholm cloud and include him with Vladar. Ask for a huge haul in return turn it into a win. They only issue is that they empower a western rival that is already pretty powerful. And essentially wave the white flag before the season begins.

  5. I’d sign Halak or trade for Vladar, depending on the direction they want to go. Halak would be a terrific stop gap for a season, but Vladar has youth and upside looking to the future.

    • That’s why I would go for silver seven’s proposal. Francouz has been good but the flip side of the situation is he’s always hurt. The investment in Vladar would be worth Steinberg. I think I was at a game that Vladar was in goal against the Avalanche; he was pretty good but we prevailed. GO AVS!!!!

  6. Bring Kessel back to the Burg… Put him on the power play which was great and when he left not so much.

    we want third line scoring and he can play power play because he shoots and is a very underrated passer..

    Don’t think it will happen he and Sully not sure relationship was good??

  7. DeSmith is a proven back up with good numbers. His game deteriorates when pushed into a bigger role.

    Halak would be a better option for one year, frankly I don’t see why he’s available.

  8. Better for the Avs to wait for the waiver wire options to find a backup; no reason to spend assets on a guy you may not have a place for once Francouz is back