NHL Rumor Mill – September 18, 2023

by | Sep 18, 2023 | Rumors | 12 comments

Are the Flames facing a no-win scenario with Elias Lindholm? What’s the latest on Shane Pinto’s contract talks with the Senators? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Julian McKenzie believes the Calgary Flames could be facing a no-win situation with Elias Lindholm. While the 28-year-old center has said he’s open to a contract extension, he could have the Flames over a barrel.

If the Flames try to trade Lindholm now, only five clubs (Detroit, Nashville, Buffalo, Chicago and Anaheim) have the cap space to take on his $4.85 million cap hit for this season. Clubs like Colorado, Pittsburgh and St. Louis have already added centers this summer, further shrinking the number of possible trade partners.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

Clubs in need of a center like Lindholm, such as the Boston Bruins, could be content to wait until next summer. If he becomes an unrestricted free agent, they’ll have the cap room to sign him.

McKenzie believes the summer window to trade Lindholm has closed. The next best opportunity could be the March 8 trade deadline if the Flames are out of contention by then. However, general manager Craig Conroy could face a dilemma if his club is in the playoff chase by that point.

Re-signing Lindholm will also be expensive. Despite turning 29 in December, he’ll be able to command a contract similar to Bo Horvat’s eight-year deal ($8.5 million average annual value) with the New York Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports over the summer suggest Conroy is keen is re-sign Lindholm. He might be hesitant about investing between $8.5 million and $9 million annually for eight seasons on a player who’ll turn 30 in the first season of that new contract. However, with the salary cap projected to leap to over $92 million by 2025-26, it’s a gamble that Conroy could take to keep Lindholm in the fold.

That’s assuming, of course, that Lindholm wants to stay. While he recently said what Conroy and Flames fans undoubtedly wanted to hear about a contract extension, he could be taking a wait-and-see approach for this season.

If the Flames rebound well from last season’s disappointing performance, Lindholm could be swayed into re-signing. But if they struggle again, he could feel that his chances of playing for a Stanley Cup contender and earning big money are better elsewhere. On the other hand, that scenario would make it easier for Conroy to justify moving Lindholm at the trade deadline.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators still have to get Shane Pinto under contract before training camp opens on Thursday. Last Thursday, general manager Pierre Dorion said the club is working hard at signing the 22-year-old restricted free-agent center.

Pinto doesn’t have much leverage plus he’s ineligible to receive an offer sheet from a rival club. Garrioch indicates that a couple of teams have reached out to the young center’s agent to find out what type of term and salary he’s seeking.

It’s believed those clubs were told to contact Dorion if they’re interested in making a deal. Garrioch claimed the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers have been “kicking tires” but it’s highly unlikely the Senators trade Pinto, who’s expected to fill a key role on their third line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators’ limited salary-cap space is why there’s talk of the Senators potentially trading Pinto. They have just $900K available but a raise for Pinto coming off his entry-level contract will cost more than that. Garrioch believes he’s seeking more than the two-year, $4.2 million contract signed this summer by Morgan Frost with the Flyers.

Dorion could free up some cap space by trading a lower-salaried player. He could also go the waiver/demotion route.


  1. Ottawa wants to pay him like a third liner yet evaluates him as a second liner.

    The player, in this case Pinto, wants ans should be paid according his actual value.

    When Norris goes down again Pinto will be expected to step into the 2C.

    They’ll get it done but creating ill will isn’t te stepping stone for a team that has missed the playoffs for too many consecutive years and aren’t a lock for this one.

    GM’s that would like Pinto know full well that Dorion has a weak hand and they’ll take full advantage of it of course.

    • Pinto will get signed. Dorian is most likely waiting to see which trade works best to open up more money. Trading Joseph would be ideal, but probably would have to attach a second or first. Branstrom is an easy trade but probably doesn’t get it done. Maybe kublaik, but similar is money as Branstrom. It’ll be interesting to see what dorion does. I like that he’s playing a little hard ball. The kid is good but has only played one season.

  2. The Sens will get Little’s contract from AZ for a 4th, sign Pinto for 2 x $2.25M and everybody in Sen’s land will be happy!

    • That’s not how IR cap relief works. Trading for Little does not free up his cap hit, it’s just another hit they have to bury on IR themselves.

      If that’s how IR worked, you’d see every large market in the NHL holding on to multiple IR contracts.

      They still need to free up the cap space to sign Pinto.

      • Oh c’mon! they can go 10% over and then in season they have an LTIR contract to cover it. It has been done time and again.

      • Johnny Z, c’mon!

        For the 5th time, that’s not how it works.
        The whole point is the LTIR will not cover it. You add the extra from Little’s contract first, before you take it off when he goes on LTIR

        Example with rounded #’s.

        Cap is $83M
        OTT is at $82M
        Little costs $5M
        OTT now at $87M
        Little goes onto LTIR, Ott back to $82M.
        No room for Pinto.

      • Lmao. Thank you Ray.

        Johnny, don’t you think teams like Tampa, NYR’s and Toronto would be holding EVERY single ltir contract if that were the case?

        It’s not the case, obviously.

        As Ray explains above, it does not clear a single cent.

        And if it did and the cost was a “4th rounder” again, NY, Toronto, Vegas, Tampa could Mmmmm would have a 23 man roster, and a 23 man ltir roster!

  3. Calgary needs to trade one of Hanifin or Lindholm and sign the other and get on with it!

  4. They were both traded together by Carolina,do you think they wish they had them back now!

  5. Calgary doesn’t and probably won’t trade Lindholm for just picks. Salary will be coming back, the market is not as limited as that article makes it out to be.

  6. Calgary can’t risk another aging veteran signed to a long term contract. Trade Lindholm for 1st round pick and good young nhl centre with potential. Rangers could be the perfect fit.

  7. Lindholm is a good fit with almost everybody this year. It is next year and his pending $9.5 m and at what term I would be worried about
    It is easy to say,” sure pay me a King’s ransom and I will stay.” Teams need their elite players to want to stay and the G.M. had to make that determination.
    New NHL slogan.
    “What’s in your wallet “