NHL Rumor Mill – September 19, 2023

by | Sep 19, 2023 | Rumors | 25 comments

What’s the latest on Ducks goalie John Gibson? Do Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk have long-term futures with the Bruins? Are the Senators any closer to re-signing Shane Pinto? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Levine recently noted that John Gibson’s future with the Anaheim Ducks was a hot topic during the offseason. There were conflicting reports about his desire to remain with the rebuilding club.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

Levine noted that Gibson doesn’t really fit the timeline for the Ducks so it would make sense to cut ties at some point. So far, however, there’s no indication that’s going to happen anytime soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson’s contract remains a significant obstacle in the path to a trade. He carries an average annual cap hit of $6.4 million through 2026-27 plus a 10-team no-trade clause.

In a season where a flattened salary cap means most teams lack the room to take on his contract, a Gibson trade might have to wait until next summer. The salary cap is expected to rise by at least $4 million for 2024-25, making it potentially easier to swing a deal with a contender.


THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa noted that Jake DeBrusk is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He believes the 26-year-old winger’s performance this season as a top-six forward will determine if his future remains with the Boston Bruins.

Like DeBrusk, defenseman Matt Grzelcyk is also eligible next summer for UFA status. Shinzawa noted he’s a good defender who uses his feet, stick and hockey sense. He’s also a sheltered five-on-five blueliner who doesn’t kill penalties and is unlikely to see much power-play time. He wondered if Grzelcyk would be re-signed or traded.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think DeBrusk is more likely to be re-signed than Grzelcyk. Both have frequently been mentioned as trade candidates in recent years. However, the chatter around DeBrusk died down during his solid performance last season.

What say you, Bruins fans? Do you prefer one or the other? Should both be re-signed or traded? Let us know in the comments below.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the clock is ticking for the Senators and restricted free agent Shane Pinto to reach an agreement on a new contract. Training camp opens with team medicals on Wednesday but there’s no sign the two sides have bridged the gap in negotiations.

Garrioch noted that there’s been talk the Senators might trade Pinto. However, he claims that’s not at the forefront of any discussions right now as the two sides continue to try and reach common ground. It’s believed the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers have inquired about the 22-year-old center’s availability.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As previously noted, Pinto cannot receive an offer sheet from a rival club because he didn’t accrue a sufficient number of games to become a Group 2 RFA. He already lacks arbitration rights so he has little leverage except to withhold his services until he gets a new contract. Garrioch believes his camp is seeking a two-year deal worth over $2.1 million per season.


THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont recently reported that there’s been buzz around the league that the Columbus Blue Jackets could sign Jaroslav Halak to a professional tryout offer. The 38-year-old goaltender needs just five wins to reach the 300-win milestone for his NHL career.


  1. Excluding Kane; Non 35+ UFAs that played 50 + games in 22/23 and have NOT signed a PTO:

    Shaw (24)….LW/C….7-10-17 ; minus 1; in 59 GP; 5’9”; 181

    Puljujarvi (25) … RW….5-11-16 , minus 13; in 75 GP; 6’4”, 202

    Bear (26)..RD….3-13-16 ; plus 6; in 61 GP (*surgery); 5’11”, 200

    Leivo RW/LW (30) ….4-12-15 plus/minus of zero; in 51 GP; 6’2”, 193

    Brett Ritchie (30) (W)….. 8-5-13; plus/minus of zero; in 50 GP; 6’4”, 225

    Stepan C/RW (33)…5-6-11 in plus 8 in 75 GP; 6’, 195

    With all those that HAVE ben getting PTOs…. I’m baffled Leivo and Ritchie haven’t got a PTO yet

    I get the argument re JP…. Injury/performance; some might argue against Shaw’s size…. But let him prove himself on a PTO

    I do understand some reticence re Stepan

    Bear is off…. Recovering from surgery…. I think it is Dec (??? anybody here know) for earliest return …. So obviously no PTO

    But….. why not sign him now, low….. he’ll start LTIR, so zero Cap risk….

    $500 K SB; league min Sal

    Absolute worst case…. On his return…. He is just awful…. So bury him for balance of year…. $100 K sits above for 1/2 season…. That’s only $50 K in wasted space …. And ONLY if he absolute stinks

    Upside…. Rightie; 26….. that was 3-13-16 ; plus 6; in 61 GP…. AND note…. That was with ‘Nucks; and Playing hurt AND on a down year; was paid $2.2 M last year; if he signs…. Team has his rights to negotiate (up to 30/6/24) a re-up

    Definitely worth signing now…. Owners are rich…. The cash risk is a rounding error

    • Leivo signed in the KHL for the next season.

      • Thanks Whalercane; didn’t know that

        Very surprised on that…,

    • Ritchie signed pto with Florida

      • Hi Mike

        Didn’t know that….. that’s not showing on CapFriendly; must have been this morning that he signed the PTO


    • Ritchie has a pto with Florida.
      Stephan is going to the Wild for a management gig.
      What’s the deal with The Bison King?

      • Puljujarvi is recovering from hip surgery.

      • Hi SOP

        Just read that (re Ritchie) from Mike above

        Still not showing on CapFriendly; so that PTO signjng must have been this morning or late yesterday

        Re Stepan..,is that what he’s talked about or has Minny media been proposing?

        Bison King??? Who is that?

      • Thanks Lyle

        ETA on JP recovery?

      • He underwent double hip surgery in late June. Recovery time is six to 10 months.

      • Thx, Lyle. I didn’t know his recovery would take as long as that. Big kid though.
        Any word on if anyone is looking at him?

      • Nothing. If there are clubs interested in Puljujarvi, they could wait until after his recovery period. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t play this season.

      • Pengy, I heard that Stepan and his next-door neighbor Billy G had a role in mind for him going forward.
        Ritchie was last week, I think. Nick is in St. Louis, btw.

      • Thanks SOP and Lyle


  2. If Gibson wants to move out of Anaheim, his best chance is to come out strong this year and pray that a playoff-hopeful team that is desperate for goaltending comes calling (NJ?).
    Jersey probably has the young assets to get it done too. (Again, only if Gibson comes out sharp to start the year).

  3. DeBrusk will definitely be resigned. Unless there’s a ridiculous return it would be foolish to trade him. He gets knocked by media and fans regularly but his stats are solid he’s reliable in all 3 zones and has a very high hockey IQ. Gryz maybe on the move depending how the team does this yr. He’s the best breakout passer they have on D. Only issue is his playoff performance. He has yet to make an impact.

    • PB

      I agree. Jake leaves only if ask is too high. As for Gryz I think he will be gone by the deadline

    • Only trade Debrusk for Lindholm or Scheikle

      • Cal will want Jake Lysell and a first. I’d rather they hold on and see what free agency brings. Bruins do fine in the underdog role. Let the season play out

  4. I believe the maximum 50 man list is a factor in some of these decisions .

    Debrusk a first round pick and I would consider a power forward. Albeit not mean enough . He has value. I think the Bruins want to keep him but hand might be forced to fill fill the hole at Center.
    Grezlyck a third rounder and at 5’9” and a buck 70 I would suspect very limited interest and trade value. An add on in a multiple player deal. Wasn’t he a heathy scratch on more than one occasion last year ?

  5. Halak to the Jackets? The Jackets are in need of a #3 goalie to be a backup in Cleveland and do some fill in when there’s an injury in Columbus. I wonder if Halak is actually interested in that possiblity.

    • It sure wouldn’t hurt if he is. Goaltending is our biggest iffy department

  6. Jake Debrusk has twice been on a 30 plus goal season. last season finishing with 27 goals in 64 games; that could’ve translated to 35 goals over 82 games.

    The Bruins don’t have a 1st, 2nd or 3rd round pick in the 2024 draft.

    Matt Grzelcyk time was up two seasons ago, no reason to hang onto a guy who you scratch in the playoffs.

    Boston potential ufa’s: Debrusk, Lucic, JVR, Greer; on defense: Grzelcyk, Forbort, Shattenkirk and Zboril

    All players can bring back a lunch pail; however, only two or three will bring a decent return.

    Debrusk would bring back the best return, he can score goals and drive the net.

    Forbort has more value (imo) than Grzelcyk, because he can shut down the other team and is a very effective penalty killer.

    Grzelcyk was never going to be the next Torey Krug. Grizz has a career regular season of +124 and a career playoff of -19 Grzelcyk has never had a negative +/- in the regular season; Grzelcyk has never had a positive +/- in the playoffs.

    Debrusk a 2nd round pick plus a b level prospect
    Forbort 3rd round pick plus a c level prospect
    Grzelcyk 3rd round pick

    regardless of Boston position they need to trade the ufa’s if they can’t or don’t plan on resigning. Unless the return is so underwhelming.

    • If Boston trades Debrusk they become a helicopter team!No wings,after Pasta and Marchand he s their next best winger!

  7. Keep Debrusk.
    Sign Gryz at a discount from his current salary or let him go.
    His chemistry with McAvoy is undeniable.

    Halak should go to Colorado not Columbus.
    What are the Avs waiting for? Camp starts in a few hours.


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