NHL Rumor Mill – April 15, 2024

by | Apr 15, 2024 | Rumors | 19 comments

Where could Steven Stamkos go if he and the Lightning part ways this summer? Could the Canadiens attempt to trade Mike Matheson in the offseason? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill. 


THE ATHLETIC: Chris Johnston and Joe Smith recently examined what comes next for Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning following this season. 

In the final season of his eight-year contract, Stamkos has spent his 16-season NHL career in Tampa Bay. The 34-year-old Lightning captain’s production has declined but he remains a point-per-game player. 

Stamkos raised eyebrows last September when he expressed disappointment over a lack of contract extension talks last summer. General manager Julien BriseBois insisted he wants to re-sign his captain and have him finish his career with the Lightning. 

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

Johnston and Smith believe Stamkos will draw plenty of suitors if he heads to free agency. The Florida Panthers (the Lightning’s in-state rivals) have been known to swing big. Stamkos could fit in well with the Nashville Predators alongside former Lightning teammates Ryan McDonagh and Luke Schenn

Anaheim Ducks winger Alex Killorn said his team has plenty of cap space and he’ll start recruiting his former teammate if the Lightning don’t re-sign him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Stamkos and the Lightning will work something out that keeps him in Tampa Bay for the remainder of his NHL career. Nevertheless, we can’t discount the possibility that he hits the open market on July 1. 

I don’t see Stamkos signing with the Panthers nor do I expect they’ll pursue him. They’re focused on re-signing Sam Reinhart, eating up a big chunk of their projected cap space of $20 million. 

The Predators would have more cap flexibility as they don’t have any big-name players to re-sign this summer. Goaltender Juuse Saros has been the subject of trade rumors and moving him would free up more space. Still, adding a star in his mid-thirties might not be what the Predators have in mind at this stage. I could see it if they were poised to be a Stanley Cup contender.

As for the Ducks, they could easily afford Stamkos but he might not be keen to join a rebuilding club at this point in his career. 

Since we’re just spitballing here, how about Stamkos signing with the Salt Lake City Coyotes? Or whatever name they’ll be called. They’ve got lots of cap room, he would be their most well-known player and an excellent leader for a team brimming with young talent looking to take the next step. 


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan was asked what the return would be for the Canadiens to part with Mike Matheson. He replied he’d be shocked if GM Kent Hughes moved the 30-year-old defenseman, who has two seasons remaining on his contract at a reasonable cap hit of $4.875 million. 

Matheson plays a leadership role with the rebuilding Canadiens. With 51 assists, he’s only the sixth defenseman in franchise history to net 50 assists in a season. Cowan believes they need his veteran presence on their blueline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. I understand why some Canadiens fans believe their rebuilding club should peddle Matheson while his trade value is high. However, Cowan is correct in his assessment of Matheson’s invaluable leadership and experience that he brings to the young Canadiens defense corps. 

Cowan was also asked about “a certain TSN insider” speculating Columbus Blue Jackets presence John Davidson might reach out to Jeff Gorton to see if he’d be interested in becoming president/GM of the Blue Jackets. Gorton is the Canadiens executive VP of hockey operations. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gorton is under contract with the Canadiens until 2026. He’d need the blessing of team owner Geoff Molson to speak with the Blue Jackets. I don’t see Molson doing that. For that matter, I doubt that Gorton is interested in leaving the Canadiens.


  1. Considering the Preds signed O’Reilly, singing another veteran like Stamkos wouldn’t be that shocking to their one foot in, one foot out strategy.

  2. The canadiens would be crazy to trade matheson.

    • Agreed CC. While I get that they need to shed veteran contracts and focus on building their core through the rebuild, a team still needs some veteran presence to properly mentor these kids so they end up with the right type of attitude for long-term success.

      I could see them moving Savard, but not Matheson.

  3. It would be a mistake by the Habs to trade Matheson.

    He supports the young Canadiens’ productions.

    Also, too often, Kent Hughes trade for B Prospects and Montreal is one long brochette of B prospects.


    It’s not how you build a Stanley cup winner.

    The best talents they have come from Marc Bergevin’s legacy or the result of them finishing dead last.

    It will be rough for a long time. May as well be at least entertaining.

    Keep Matheson, ironically acquired by Hughes because the Petrys wanted out; one good trade.

    • I agree that have good talents from MB but they also inherited almost 17 mil in contracts from Gallagher, Anderson and Dvorak who only has one season remaining.

    • I’ll join the chorus here. Matheson should not be traded. In fact if he continues his solid play he would merit an extension.

    • HuGo have been with the Habs for 2 drafts and this is the third year……and they have put their stamp on the team.

      Traded for Dach, Newhook, Matheson, Monahan, a boatload of draft picks, unloaded some bad contracts, Dadonov, Petry, Weber.

  4. Stamkos would look good in a Sens jersey.

    • No 1 looks good in a Sen’s Jersey LOL

      • Marian Hossa did.

      • *rolleyes*

  5. I actually wonder if there are any Mormon nhlers and if that would make slc an attractive destination for them.

    • Derek Ryan is a convert.

  6. Tampa is a weird thing… part of you thinks “no way they will trade their franchise player” and then you remember… Vinnie….Marty…

  7. Stamkos is getting $5.5 M sal; $1M signing bonus this year.

    Tampa Bay (like Panthers, Stars, Predators; Knights ; and Kraken) has no state tax

    He’d love a contract that finishes off his career.

    The $6.5 M in Tampa has the same take-home $’s as about $8.7 M for Canadian teams and around $7.8 M to $8.2 M for any occasion the US franchises not listed above

    He starts next season at 34, so not s 35+ contract

    He probably will play for 5 more years.

    Keep him and give him his current rate for next 5 years; load up next two years with signing bonus $6.5 M * 5 ~ $32M….

    24/25 & 25/26: each with $6 M signing Bonus; $4 M Sal; full NMC

    26/27 : $1M Signing Bonus ; $4M Salary; full NMC

    27/28 $4.5 M in Sal; Can only be traded to 4 teams

    28/29 $2.5 m in Sal ; 15 team trade protection ;can be traded to 16)

    29/30; 30/31; 31/32; $775 K in Sal; no trade protection

    Total contract $34.3 M; Cap hit $4.29 M

    Stamkos is happy; gets same AAV gross pay for next 5 years; with no state tax; no need to uproot family for sure for 3 years, almost for sure for 4 years ; and if they do trade him in year 5 ; it’ll most likely be at TDL; if pre-season and he doesn’t want to go; retires at 38; and only out $2.5 M

    Most likely scenario; stays in TB, Retires at 39

    TB gets Stamkos (this year will end regardless season as a 40/40 guy) extended at liw Cap hit of $4.29 M

    • He could easily make $9M AAV if he opts to take 3-4 yr contract elsewhere. Then he can take a $6M x 2 yr contract if still around.

  8. To Habs

    Please win in regulation tonight and tomorrow

    • Nope, not happening!😂

  9. Devils, Bruins, Flyers

    Please win your next game in regulation