NHL Rumor Mill – November 6, 2023

by | Nov 6, 2023 | Rumors | 21 comments

Some roster shakeup suggestions for the struggling Oilers plus the latest on the Blue Jackets in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Robert Tychowski believes the Oilers need to address the lack of production coming from their bottom-six forwards. “There needs to be movement on this front – trades, demotions, anything to shake some life into the third and fourth lines.”

Tychowski singled out Ryan McLeod, Dylan Holloway, Derek Ryan, Connor Brown, Mattias Janmark and Adam Erne. He pointed out that they’ve combined for 52 man games thus far with a total of two assists. They also appear to be trying to compensate for a lack of production by not being physical.

Any member of that group would’ve been healthy scratches from the lineup by now. However, the Oilers salary-cap constraints mean there’s not enough room to bring in substitutes.

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The problem with trying to make trades right now is there are a high number of clubs in the same boat as the Oilers in terms of cap space. It will require some creativity by management to swing a deal that shakes up the bottom six forwards. They could be forced to address the issue internally or consider a coaching change.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Caleb Kerney suggested the Oilers consider buying out a contract if they can’t make any trades before the American Thanksgiving later this month.

Kerney noted the Oilers have “a few high-priced contracts that could be bought out to create some cap flexibility.” He suggested they start with goaltender Jack Campbell, whose performance has left much to be desired. Buying him out would free up over $3.4 million in cap space for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Contract buyouts only occur during the offseason, with the main window opening during the second half of June. See CapFriendly for a detailed explanation. Whether the Oilers go that route with Campbell or anyone else next summer remains to be seen.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline observed that Columbus Blue Jackets forward Kent Johnson’s demotion last Friday to their AHL affiliate in Cleveland along with his recent change of agents raised concern among Jackets fans.

However, Johnson’s future with the Jackets doesn’t appear to be in doubt. He’s handling the demotion well while coach Pascal Vincent felt that the 21-year-old will become an elite NHL player given his progression over time.

Johnson’s new agent is Pat Brisson, who represents former Blue Jackets Pierre-Luc Dubois and Seth Jones. Both players asked to be traded out of Columbus. However, Brisson said changing agents had nothing to do with his relationship with the Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson may get traded but it sounds like the Jackets still see him as an important part of their future. He is a restricted free agent next summer following the completion of his entry-level contract.

Johnson had a promising rookie performance with 40 points last season but struggled through the early going of this season. Sending him to their AHL affiliate is to get him more playing time and try to bolster his confidence. Don’t be surprised if he returns to their lineup soon.

Portzline also reported that Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has been working the phones for months trying to reduce his roster glut. He noted that Winnipeg Jets assistant GM Larry Simmons was in Columbus last Thursday as was Philadelphia Flyers head pro scout Dave Brown and senior advisor Bob Murray.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported for weeks that Kekalainen is trying to move a defenseman. Adam Boqvist and Andrew Peeke have been healthy scratches for some time. Perhaps one of them gets peddled later this month.


  1. Re “Robert Tychowski believes the Oilers need to address the lack of production coming from their bottom-six forwards …”

    That’s the under-statement of the year. As I posted yesterday, the total production outside their top 10 cap hits (which includes D and a goalie) is 1 goal and 2 assists … and that goal comes from a D-man.

    The $64,000 Question is “address it how?”

    Unless they agree to waive, none of the following are going anywhere in an effort to bolster the bottom 6 Fs:

    McDavid – NMC
    Draisaitl – M-NTC NMC
    Hyman – NMC
    Kane – NMC
    Nugent-Hpkins – NMC
    Nurse – NMC
    Campbell – M-NTC

    • It is much like the Trono conundrum with Nylander. Movement from their 6 top wage earners is just not happening! Maybe waiving Campbell and demoting him to the AHL would give them room to pick up a $1M goalie. But that is really iffy………

    • Hey George,

      if you had to ask the fan Base in Edmonton right now, Who should the Oilers Trade🤔

      1/st it would be Nurse as the first guy to get traded out at $9.25M he is way over payed

      2/nd it would be Jack Campbell $5.M

      3rd it would be d/man Codi Ceci $3.25M

      Regarding The bottom 6,

      This was a problem last year with the oil, lack of Scorining and Lack of Size..

      We seen this in the Las Vegas playoff’s the oilers bottom six was man handled by Vegas and they only had Kane & somtimes Nurse for push back⁉️

      That brutal hit on Leon last season & Nobody went after Alex Pietrangelo… he should have never ever got away with that….
      The Oilers do need a Tough Guy to Protect there stars 100% get a 4th line guy for this or dose the NHL want it to be open season with there stars..

      Like Andrew Mangiapane only getting One Game for his 2 Cross Checks to the Head when the player was on the Ice Face down❗️ and he bounced his head Twice of the ice….

      The NHL Head Office really need to get there
      Bad Act together…. Because its Very Very Inconsistent ….

      • The HUGE problem, there, williew is that, despite what the fans think, NOBODY is taking Nurse at that cap hit and I doubt anyone would want Campbell or Ceci at any price … well, maybe Ceci at something withheld, but what’s the point of any team wanting Campbell given his play over the past several seasons?

    • Everyone talks abput how brilliant and amazing Connor McDavid is and well he is the most exciting offensive player in the game…no question…..he is freakishly fast and dangerous..

      But I’m sorry he doesn’t do what Sidney Crosby does and that’s make everyone around him better. He doesn’t yes he makes his line go.

      He is not great defensively or on face offs doesn’t block shots….

      Last year by his peers Crosby and Bergeron were voted the most COMPLETE 200 FOOT Players in the nhl Peers…voted

      Crosby made players like Pascual Dupree, Colby Armstrong, Max Talbot and many other really good.plus he had been to two Stanley Cup finals and won one in his first 9 years and won 2 more after that

      I think Mc David will realize he needs to move on to another team…great player

    • Putting NMC clauses aside would the following work as a base for perimeters of trade talks?

      To EDM: Seth Jones 1m retained and a bottom 6 forward making under 800k

      To CHI: Foegle, Ceci, Campbell, Broberg and a 1st and 2nd

      Just baseline. More to be done to entice Chicago and balance roster spots as CHICAGO is already at 23 spots.

      EDM signs Halak as backup and Kessel for bottom 6. Both to min contracts
      Move RNH to center 3rd line

      Nurse and Jones top pairing
      Ekholm and Bouchard 2nd pairing

      • Hey Ihatecrosby..

        I would do that Trade….👍

        Any trade with Campbell there would have to be a Sweetner like a prospect Or a 2nd round pick put in there to move him out…

        Like San Jose, im sure he could reduce the 10 goals to 6 or 7….

  2. So, this Caleb Kerney works FOR the Hockey News but doesn’t completely understand the leagues rules?
    I liken this to Chicago Blackhawk “insider’ Charlie Roumeliotis thinking winning the draft lottery meant ALL the teams picks jumped to first overall each round.

    • “So, this Caleb Kerney works FOR the Hockey News but doesn’t completely understand the leagues rules?”

      Seriously, how do you get a job with The Hockey News without knowing the VERY BASIC RULES that any fan knows? That’s absolutely embarrassing.

  3. NMC contracts aren’t the bogeyman that fans like to make them out to be.

    All it means is that the player has some control over a trade. There are teams that players may want to be traded to, there are teams that players with NMC may want to get away from.

    Point being that it’s a tool used during signing that is advantageous for different reasons To both team and player.

    • Another important part of a NMC is that a player cannot be sent to the minors without their consent.

  4. I’ll offer my perspective on the Kent Johnson situation. He has struggled this year and has seemed lost in the transition to Vincent’s system (see the TBL game turnover which i saw live…just brutal). However, all the public statements made by Johnson, Vincent, and Jarmo are uniformly positive & constructive and, at this time, it appears it is just part of the development process….hope that doesn’t change.

    It definitely appears Peeke, Boqvist, and at least 1-2 forwards are available (Roslovic, despite playing so well for Vincent, doesn’t appear to be in the long-term plans). Still believe a C is the primary need as abandoning the Laine at C experiment when he returns from injury would be beneficial in my humble opinion. Still hope for a Lindholm deal but that is just my bias for believing he is exactly what CBJ desperately need despite the outsized extension he will receive.

    • Fantilli will, eventually, be the #1C with Johnson and and Sillinger being 2 & 3 and Kuraly as #4C. Bemstrom and Roslovic are, in my opinion, trade bait. Over the next three seasons, the blue line will have massive turnover with only Jiricek, Werenski and Severson safe and I wouldn’t count on Severson staying beyond the 4th season of his contract.
      The Jackets are in a period of massive changes with a lot of incredible talent in the system. It should be fun to watch.

      • Hey Paul…completely agree Fantili was exactly what CBJ needed and I am a firm believer in Sillinger’s potential. I am hopeful Johnson could shift to C but still personally see him as a dynamic W that hopefully becomes a Kane Johnny G-type impact player….fully admit I may be selling his potential at C short. The turnover will be massive and the pipeline is full of great potential.

      • Trade Johnson in a package for Lindholm:
        Johnson, Boqvist, McKnown and a 2nd
        But with the caveat knowing Lindholm will sign a 8 yr extension at under $9M per year

  5. habfan30,
    Regarding NMC for players,

    its all part of the game, they are Very Highly Payed Professional’s in some sports players are Totaly Spoiled Multi Millionaire’s❗️
    The team that signs them should have Full control if the want to move them trade them to where ever

    I think the NHL needs to Re-think the whole NMC/NTC limit for the NHL, with Salary Caps and the number of NMC Contracts they have out there🤔

    This Really puts lots of limitations on teams and is making the NHL Stagnant when it comes to Trades and this Limmited Cap space with all the limitation Teams now face….

    Would like to see NMC Limmited to 3 Top players…❓

    then a 15 team M-NTC,
    for 3 players, that would leave them open to trade them out to 17 teams and make it more user friendly for team and more exciting for the Fans..⁉️

    • Hey Willie, the NHL is about hockey, not trades. Players are people and when you are exceptional at what you do, you deserve to be rewarded or respected for that, not just multimillionaire players but even simple folk like us.

      • Disagree.
        It is the team paying out the millions and if they are not satisfied with the return they are getting should be able to move that player.
        That said, It is the GM’s who give out these NTC/NMC’s and that can be corrected by ownership telling the GM that no more than the top 2 or 3 players are to receive this benefit.

        Interestingly, the NBA which is an even more player dominant league than the NHL has only one player with a NTC and that is Bradley Beal.

        They also have 5 year maximum contracts which I would like to see the NHL institute.

    • A NMC is a tool that a team can use to sign a player for less money, like RNH in Edmonton.

      A NMC is a tool a team can to make a player comfortable to set roots down with his family.

      As mentioned a NMC doesn’t preclude a trade, it just means the player needs to agree to it.

  6. Is the average person going to stay where they are not wanted ?

    Johnny Hockey is in a slump. Benched no points and a minus player for a lot of games
    He needs Lindholm . I proposed a Johnson package the other day. Not sure how it would work except Lindholm is very cost effective right now. Conditional first ?

    • I was thinking his old close friend and linemate Sean Monahan, though it is increasingly unlikely the Habs trade him. He allegedly wants to sign an extension and stay and live in Montreal.