NHL Rumor Mill – April 24, 2024

by | Apr 24, 2024 | Rumors | 25 comments

The latest on Pavel Buchnevich, Trevor Zegras and Brock Faber plus updates on the Blue Jackets, Canadiens and Kraken in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reported the St. Louis Blues are expected to “try and extend” Pavel Buchnevich. The 29-year-old winger will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2025.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buchnevich was the subject of trade speculation leading up to the March deadline. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong wasn’t actively shopping the winger but set a high asking price for clubs that came calling about him.

St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich (NHL Images)

Buchnevich carries an average annual value of $5.8 million with a 12-team no-trade list. He’s been a reliable scorer for the retooling Blues, netting over 25 goals and 60 points per season since his acquisition from the New York Rangers in 2021.

It could cost the Blues an AAV of $8 million on a long-term deal to keep Buchnevich in the fold. He’ll be 30 when that new contract begins.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Lou Korac reported the solid goaltending of Jordan Binnington and Joel Hofer kept the Blues in the playoff race until the final week of the regular season.

They formed one of this season’s best goalie tandems. It’s the one area of the Blues roster that is the least of their worries going forward. The duo also have a good relationship and push each other in the right areas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m mentioning this because Binnington was the subject of some season-ending trade chatter because of his improved play and calmer demeanor. Based on Korac’s report, it’s unlikely the Blues intend to break up this tandem.


Friedman noted that Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras had eight points in his last 10 games. Sorting out his future could be “the most fascinating summer decision in the NHL”.

The Ducks challenged Zegras to show them something when he returned from injury and he did. However, Friedman believes there’s “a nagging sense not everyone’s comfortable with each other here”, referring to the relationship between the Zegras camp and general manager Pat Verbeek.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens reported Zegras has been linked to the Montreal Canadiens in speculation stretching back to midseason. The young forward said he’s seen it and it’s taken some of the fun out of social media for him. He also hasn’t spoken to Verbeek about it.

Stephens also noted that Zegras sees the composition of the Ducks and wonders where he fits into the picture and the club’s plans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rumors about Zegras will likely persist, especially after Verbeek said he’ll be shopping for a top-six right-shot forward and a top-four right-shot defenseman in the offseason. He could use the young winger as a trade chip to address one of those needs in the trade market.


Friedman believes the Minnesota Wild will throw Jake Sanderson money at Brock Faber following the rookie defenseman’s stellar performance this season. He has one year remaining on his entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would be an eight-year, $64 million contract with an AAV of $8.05 million. Don’t be surprised if it ends up being close to $9 million annually.

Filip Gustavsson wonders if he’s going to be traded.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild re-signing Marc-Andre Fleury to a one-year deal could set the stage for a Gustavsson trade if they believe Jesper Wallstedt is NHL-ready.

The Wild’s priority could be to find more scoring help for superstar winger Kirill Kaprizov. He’s two years away from UFA eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild currently have just $5.9 million in projected cap space with 19 active roster players under contract next season. Trading Gustavsson and his $3.75 million cap hit for next season could help provide some additional wiggle room to add another scoring forward.


Friedman noted the Columbus Blue Jackets took a hard look at veteran centers earlier this season. He wondered if that might still be a priority.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It should be, the Jackets have lacked skilled depth at center for a long time.

Turning to the Canadiens, Friedman anticipates they’ll attempt to sign winger Juraj Slafkovsky and defenseman Kaiden Guhle to contract extensions.

Friedman noted the recent speculation about Dave Hakstol’s future as the Seattle Kraken’s head coach. He’ll be shocked if Hakstol is fired. “That’s not (GM) Ron Francis’ way, and the coach was rewarded after last season’s playoff win with an extension.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis left open the possibility of some changes behind the bench in his recent remarks to the media about his offseason plans. He’s said he’s still examining what happened with his team this season.


  1. Maybe the Jackets will go looking for a center, but I wouldn’t expect a big name when they already have Adam Fantilli – who might have challenged Bedard for the Calder if he hadn’t been injured – Cole Sillinger, Dmitri Voronkov and Sean Kuraly down the middle. Though Voronkov’s future should be as a winger.

    • Re; CBJ

      they have the 4th pick in the NHL Draft
      There will be some very good Centres and wingers avalable there…. but they already have 2 very good young centres Adam Fantilli & Cole Sillinger at Centre

      But i see them going for a really good LD/man like Big
      Anton Sllayev 6ft7 who projects to be like a big Chara…..
      Big Sam dickinson from the London knights at 6ft3 & 205lb good on the PP and good on d…
      Thats abig hole they need to fill

      They already have 20 yr old RD/man David Jiricek and RD/man Corson Ceuleman but nothing coming up at LD…🤔❓

      • Svozil and Knazko.

  2. Maybe they go for Monahan in FA and reunite hi with Johnny! Seems like a good probability.!

  3. I wonder how much on line punditry impacts players, can they really block it out and ignore it?

    Elliotte Friedman throws stuff at the wall with 32 thoughts and regular TV commentary, treated like an “insider” but for S&G I wonder just how low his prognostication is.

    A common refrain about a hyped player is, he’s good but he’s no Bobby Orr.

    I frequently feel about writers, he’s good but he’s no Red Fisher,

    A Red Fisher story was a fact not fantasy pretending to be meaningful.

    Not a shot at Lyle, you’re assembling and often expressing opinions on the links you’re providing.

    • It’s called 32 Thoughts for a reason. It’s opinion. If you think otherwise, then that’s on you. The “Insiders” are paid to give opinions and observations. It’s not based on fact. Sometimes they are spot on, but quite often they miss the mark.

      • But Ed to what effect is the question. We should all know what these guys say, praise or not, is just their own opinion or an opinion shared by fellow talking heads. No one really takes a tally how often they are right or not – unsurprisingly a lot of off to way off comments probably to just create click bait.

        Insiders ought to be what they are really which are journalists not rumor mongers. That is the point Ed, these insiders are really doing all of us an injustice sharing their opinion – which is no more accurate or better than some on here. Elliot was a better talking head but for a few years now, he’s no better than any of the others and a lot of what he states can be ignored simply because he states, it’s his opinion and not actual fact.

        Fact based reporting like a Red Fisher is an art and something that takes time and hard work which I have my doubts any of the scribes these days can or want to do.

    • I hear what you are saying HF30; you commented once that we learn of trades that happen seemingly out of nowhere.

      True. But you may have also read that sometimes trades take place after several months of calls between GMs. Information that teams are talking can be true and still lead to nothing, meaning that while the trade didn’t happen but the reporting was accurate.

      As for Red Fisher, different media era, different writing style, definitely different reporting style and personality. Not unlike comparing players from the 60s to now.

      • LJ,
        I don’t expect a Red Fisher any more than I expect a Bobby Orr.

        I would like to read something that is fact based and not just “ideas” tossed out there.

        Johhny Z makes nonsensical suggestions on a regular basis and that’s fine, it makes for chatter from all of us know nothing fans giving our opinions based on our biased views, what we think we see, our respective evaluation of talent.

        I’m sure you see Montreal hockey now, hab fanatics, Marinaro’s blathering and it’s mostly click-bait, no real news.

        In many respects I’ rather read opinions from some of the people here who aren’t fan boys than the paid pundits

      • Perhaps you might like the columns provided by Arpon Base, HF30. He covers the Habs for the Athletic, available with a subscription to the NYTimes – which is dirt cheap.

        Many of his columns are analysis of players’ strengths and weaknesses supported by video clips. Not ever one is a jewel, but at the least his coverage is different from the Gazette, Hockey News, etc.

        And you’re right about JZ.

  4. I suppose. But in the olden days there way less “opinions” out and about. Now anyone with a phone or a microphone is a sports blogger with an opinion.

    “Jeff Sanderson money”. Say what you will about Pierre Dorion. Some of those deals he signed with Sens look like gold. Tkachuk, Stutzle, Sanderson, Batherson…pretty team friendly so far with how those players have performed. HIs goalie signings……eek…and Chabbot. The Chabbot deal is tricky to assess. I feel Thomas was burned out by the previous coaching regime. He was a top 4 D. And just looks tired all the time now.

    Speaking of goalies. Pretty telling, the state of Canadian goaltending in junior and lower that Binnington is likely starting for Team Canada in the next couple international things. Fleury and Blackwood…..and who else? Quebec used to be a goalie factory. What happened?

    • DarkG, one theory I heard a few years back is that, at one time, the Q was considered a shooter’s league, with high scores the norm and goalies routinely facing upwards of 40+ shots a game. Consequently, they either wilted or developed moves that only served to help them when and if they made the pros. In recent seasons, however, the league has moved more towards establishing a tighter defensive game similar to the OHL and WHL and that has made a difference in the better of their goalies learning to defend under fire.

      Another factor. laid out in a March 2021 article by Larry Brooks, was covered by the great Martin Brodeur who observed ““One factor is obviously the European invasion — the Russians, the Swedes, the Finns, they’ve really developed their goaltenders to the level that was never there before. They have a structure in Europe that allows for development. They don’t rush their goalies. They allow them to play at their youth level, they don’t move them ahead two or three steps, they are able to play in the second league professionally and then they move them up to the top league.”

      Another notable Quebec-born goalie, Martin Biron, added that another factor is “the Nordiques’ departure for Colorado following the 1994-95 season which “coincides with the generation of kids that stepped away from hockey … you don’t have the same number of kids who play hockey in Quebec like you used to because after the Nordiques left, part of the hockey culture, especially in the eastern side of the province, kind of slowly faded away … people started doing other things. They started playing soccer, they started going skiing. I think that may be associated with that lack of a role model.”

      The whole article is here


      • For what it’s worth, Dark G, I scanned through the primary goalies in the league and list them here by birth country – in no particular order

        Canada – 18: Hill, Thompson, Montembeault, Talbot, Kuemper, Fleury, Jarry, Skinner, Pickard, Wedgewood, Binnington, Hofer, Allen, Brossoit, Reimer, Blackwood, Inoram, Comrie

        U.S.A. – 14: Woll, Primeau, Demko, DeSmith, Lindgren, Swayman, Quick, Stolarz, Oettinger, Hellebuyck, Daccord, Lyon, Cooley, Gibson, Nedeljkovick

        Russia – 10; Samsonov, Vasilevsky, Georgiev (born in Bulgaria but grew up in Russia); Prospetov; Shesterkin, Sorokin, Varlamov, Bobrovsky; Kochetov; Tarasov

        Finland – 8: Annonen, Korpisalo, Fedotov, Khakonen, Husso, Saros, Lankinen, Luukkonen

        Sweden – 7: Johanssen, Gustavsson, Ullmark, Forsberg, Errson, Markstrom, Soderholm

        Czech Republic – 5: Rittich, Vladar; Vejmeka, Dostal, Mrazek

        Denkark – 1: Andersen

        Germany – 1: Grubauer

        Latvia – 1: Merzlikins

        I apologize for any typos or spelling errors

      • Good stuff, George!

    • Dark G those signings you mentioned are questionable now looking at how this team’s signed core has performed. To me it looks like they believed in the players they locked up for what seems as fair contracts (and they might end up being right given enough time to see) it so far the facts are they couldn’t be good enough to qualify for the playoffs and have no cap room to improve and fill holes.

      So this means you have overpaid assets that you will have a hard time moving or getting full value for. Paying for potential or over paying for replaceable players is a death knell for teams. Look at Philly signing a KHL goalie over $6m after just 3 games in the NHL. Talk about a really bad bet or overpay. Jesus!

      • True – sort of like Toronto did with in excess of 52% of their cap spread amongst 6 players, leaving a dearth of talent among the bottom 6 F and n their D.

        But at least those top-paid 6 are good enough to keep them among the playoff teams every season, albeit it starts to show as they get deeper into the playoffs.

      • At least here in Ottawa we can thankfully say that we haven’t had to – yet anyway – let a pending UFA soon to become a 50-goal scorer walk away for nothing in return because we lacked the cap to keep him.

      • Yes George I figured that sentiment was well enough established here that I didn’t see a need to include what the Leafs did isn’t ideal but have proven to be better at getting into the playoffs 8yrs in a row so far and coming up short is the case for 15 other teams too. Before last year it was can’t get past the first round 7 game long series be dammed, what’s the bar now, win the cup? The same goal for every team?

        Spending a big chunk of your cap on true stars vs. not is something I find hard to believe there are people who would actually be against doing that.

      • Yeah, sort of makes you wonder how teams like Vegas, Colorado, Tampa and others have managed to do it while at the same time making the bottom halves of their F and D corps stronger than their opponents in order to go all the way through a grueling 4 series of playoff hockey. Just lucky I guess.

  5. I think Ottawa should flip a pick or two to Minnesota to get Gustavsson back. Make him and Korpi a duo to see if maybe it can make Joonas better. Forsberg then traded with one of the two LD as a package somewhere?

    Not sure about where because I haven’t looked at the cap hits for next season, but goaltending is a priority.

    Also… I mention keep Korpi because with that contract it’s a tough sell to anyone… but in a couple years a 4 million dollar backup tender won’t be uncommon.

    Also could be seen as Staios righting of the major Dorion wrongs.

    • I still like Anaheim and their $34 mil cap reserve in terms of a potential trading partner for Forsberg and one of the LD.

      • I like that sugestion George…..Chabot & Forsberg for Gustavsson

        Sen’s have to bring in one New Goaltender to win some game’s if they want to make the playoffs next season……….❗️

  6. Another potential goalie in the market. Value for the bigger fish like ullmark and markstrom going down.

  7. Quality Goalie assessment George. Tough when everyone but the Fins and maybe Czechs have better tenders than us. Holy crap the russians and americans have a good group to chose from.

    Perhaps we can get Sorokin to apply for Canadian citizenship LOL.

    I don’t think the Sens missed the play offs because of what they are paying the players I mentioned. They missed the play offs because of a lack of a good coach, structured team defense and some overpriced underperforming periphery.

    • Exactly. They waited a month too long to dump Smith on December 18 – he should have been jettisoned along with Dorion on November 1. Even that took about two weeks too long to do.

      There were certainly enough indications at the start of November that the team lacked cohesion on the defensive side of the game and that, unless wholesale changes were made then, they were in for yet another season of 1 step forward – 2 steps back. And waiting until Jan 15 to replace their goalie coach didn’t help matters.

      Offensively, and in terms of teams that finished ahead of them overall, their 255 goals exceeded Seattle, Calgary, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Washington, St. Louis, and NYI, was exactly the same as Pittsburgh and 1 less than L.A.

      And with a team -26 there were a handful that, personally, arose above that with Greig (+10), Pinto (+9), Sanderson (+8), Zub (+5), Brannstrom (+5) and Tkachuk (+1) all accomplishing that.

      A few more who finished on the minus side of the equation were close enough to suggest they may have finished on the plus side except for being on the ice with some of the more glaring minus types. Here I include Joseph (-4), Norris (-6), Chabot (-3) Kastelic (-5).

      So what, exactly, was the problem with these players in comparison – line combinations? defensive “system”? -Stutzle (-17). Giroux (-14), Chychrun (-30), Kubalik (-30), Hamonic (-10)

      They’d better figure it out and make the necessary moves- both in terms of coaching staff and player changes or they’ll become Buffalo North.