Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 28, 2024

by | Apr 28, 2024 | Rumors | 34 comments

Will another early playoff exit bring changes to the Leafs? What should the Flames and Red Wings do to improve during the offseason? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET: Luke Fox believes the Toronto Maple Leafs need to make changes if they end up eliminated by the Boston Bruins from their first-round series.

Fox credited the Bruins’ stellar goaltending, their staunch commitment to defense and a strict plan put in place by head coach Jim Montgomery for putting the Leafs on the brink of elimination.

However, he also blamed the Leafs organization “that has let it reach this point of familiar ineptitude.” He singled out “the Shanaplan” (referring to team president Brendan Shanahan) for putting the team on the verge of squandering yet another season for stars such as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.

Fox believes Shanahan can’t allow Sheldon Keefe to return as head coach. He also thinks there should be changes in the players’ leadership core.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation over the Leafs’ future will begin minutes after Game 5 if they’re eliminated by the Bruins on Tuesday night, perhaps even before the final whistle.

This could be Keefe’s final season behind the Leafs bench. He coached them to three of its five best regular-season records in franchise history but only has one playoff series win.

Shanahan could also face the heat after a decade as team president for the Leafs’ pitiful playoff record during his tenure.

General manager Brad Treliving was hired last summer and is still digging out from the mess left by his predecessor. He’s not going anywhere.

As for that leadership core of players, Matthews and Nylander aren’t moving after signing lucrative new contracts. Morgan Rielly is their best defenseman so he won’t be asked to waive his no-movement clause.

Team captain Tavares is a fading star who is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility with a full no-movement clause and an $11 million cap hit. He’s made it very clear he intends to finish that contract with the Leafs.

That leaves Marner, whose underwhelming postseason performances make him the favorite scapegoat for the disgruntled denizens of Leafs Nation. Like Tavares, he’s a year away from UFA eligibility and has a full no-movement clause. However, he’s also in the prime of his career and was a finalist last season for the Selke Trophy. He will seek a substantial raise over his current average annual value of $10.9 million.

The Leafs would get a limited group of trade destinations from Marner if he agreed to waive his NMC. His contract status means they won’t get equal value in a trade. Even with the salary cap rising, interested clubs could ask the Leafs to retain a chunk of his AAV for next season.

It could be an interesting summer in Toronto.


CALGARY SUN: Flames beat writers Wes Gilbertson and Daniel Austin recently discussed what could be in store for the club this summer.

Both believe general manager Craig Conroy should explore Jacob Markstrom’s value in the trade market if the goalie agrees to waive his no-movement clause. However, Gilbertson believes Conroy should retain the 34-year-old goaltender if no suitable trade offers are received. He also pointed out Markstrom has two seasons left on his contract so Conroy can afford to take his time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Markstrom was reportedly close to being moved to the New Jersey Devils in February before the deal fell apart. Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald intends to pursue a starting goalie in this summer’s trade market and could revisit his interest in Markstrom. It was rumored Conroy’s asking price was a first-round pick, top prospect Seamus Casey and either Dawson Mercer or Alexander Holtz. Fitzgerald won’t give up that much to get him. 

Austin believes Conroy needs to avoid the uncertainty over the status of next year’s unrestricted free agents. He advocates finding out what it’ll take to re-sign Andrew Mangiapane, Yegor Sharangovich and Andrei Kuzmenko and either offer them contracts or move them. Gilbertson, meanwhile, doesn’t see Conroy chasing any quick fixes via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Questions about whether the Flames would re-sign Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev were unnecessary distractions this season. All three were traded during the season, creating unwanted upheaval and killing any shot they had of staying in the playoff race. Conroy can’t let that happen with Mangiapane, Sharangovich and Kuzmenko. Re-sign them or move them before the start of training camp in September.


THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman recently looked at the roster issues the Detroit Red Wings might need to address this summer.

They have about eight roster spots to fill with $28.9 million in cap space, though that will shrink once young stars Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond are signed to new contracts. They could create more cap flexibility by moving on from Justin Holl’s $3.4 million cap hit. The Wings could also attempt to move Ville Husso, Robby Fabbri and Olli Maatta as they enter the final year of their contracts.

Bultman believes the Wings need to bring in more help among their forwards, boost the right side of their blueliner and bring in an upgrade in goal.

Bultman’s colleague Eric Duhatschek suggests the Red Wings should look into acquiring goaltender Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames. He proposed offering up Husso packaged with a first-round lottery pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That might work if Markstrom is willing to waive his NMC to join the Wings.


  1. Shannahan told Dubas to sign the big 3 in Toronto..

    • Steve Malik, what I post in the Headlines thread bears repeating here when it comes to cap spending

      “… the Toronto line-up is the result of having committed 66% of their cap on their 6 top paid players, while the Bruins have limited their top 6 to 52% of the cap. While that has given Sweeney $39,875,000 to spread out over 17 players, Treleving has had to the same with $28,384,634.”

      It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the Bruins bottom 6 F, bottom-pairing D and goalie tandem are a notch above those of the Leafs. You can’t find better players to fill those roles if you don’t have the necessary cap reserve.

      • I’ll repost what I also said in that you can’t ignore the cap being flat for multiple seasons which affected all teams but the timing was particularly bad timing for the Leafs. One kinda goes with the other and has a lot to do with their current predicament. It’s a bit ingenious to mention one and not the other like ignoring the valid fact you are making.

      • And I will repost, the cap has been the same for every team, every year. The Leafs evaluated their players before signing them just like every other team did over the same period. So how did the flat cap single out just the Leafs?

        There are a lot of reasons why some teams are
        successful during playoffs and some are not.

        But a great place to start is to recognize Leafs core 4 don’t come through at critical times in the playoffs.

      • Exactly what I pointed out in the other thread, LJ, to the same flat-cap issue.

      • LJ. No fair. You’re using facts and common sense.

      • It’s obvious all teams were handcuffed with a flattened cap however to say it had the exact effect on all teams is a lie or you’re turning a blind eye to how it was different.

        I didn’t know every team had their top RFAs up for new contracts then the pandemic landed. You can justly argue they over paid them but their numbers sure don’t tell that story. It’s not like the handed out big contracts to players who haven’t produced and haven’t achieved the playoffs for eight straight years, damned be unbalanced cap allocation.

        Maybe handing out $6.5m to guys like Tom Wilson or $8m+ to some of the core members on a team like Ottawa is the way to go. Seems like it around here. Talent gets paid. The Leafs did what all teams are doing now, lock down your talent early. The Leafs did that and got burned however it’s evident as the cap creases and goes up so does the quality of bottom of the lineup goes up.

        I’m not saying what they did was right or wrong. All I’m saying is they paid their stars accordingly, a worldwide event occurred, it caused major unavoidable issues.

  2. The Leafs obviously have to hope that lightning strikes twice and that the Bruins blow a 3-1 lead for the second year in a row. May be too much to ask. But maybe the post mortems should wait till the Leafs are actually out.

    • What you say is reasonable, Howard, but you also have to think the Bruins – to a man (coaches included) – are fully aware that they can’t go through another 3-1 lead meltdown. Top coaches and players learn from their mistakes.

      • The Bruins will certainly be determined to not blow a series lead two years in a row and I expect they will finish it off at home in game 5.

  3. Lesson to Conroy,sign guys before the last year of their contracts or trade them!Hanifan,Lindholm and Tanev you did not get enough back for them

    • Boy I am very curious to see what will happen with the Leafs if they bow out early as it seems they will.
      I read that Marner will want a “Substantial “ raise over his 11+.
      Which team in the league would give up what Leaf fans would expect back for him and pay that? Who would see a 12 million dollar value there?
      I’m just asking about the evaluation from other non-Leaf fans

      • Marner is a fantastic player and scape goat. Lol

        It’s really hard to see a destination for Marner. Full NMC probably shuts the door on teams that can afford him. Anaheim, Chicago, San Jose, Columbus makes little sense.

        And then there’s that contract, pushing out teams that want him but couldn’t comfortably afford him.

        If Marner hits the block, they’ll be no shortage of interest. I just think it would be tricky. Toronto will more than likely have to have at least an 8-10 million player / players coming back their way.

      • I wonder if both teams would consider Marner for Reinbacher, straight up ? Gives the Leafs à young shutdown RD and lots of cap space ; gives the Habs…Marner.
        (just spitballing here, not even sure if, as a Habs fan, I’d want to give Marner what he wants)

      • I think Montreal would have to add much more to that deal.

        Marner is a selke candidate the last few years putting up 80-100 points.

        Reinbacher Hasn’t played a shift in the NHL, not sure what he’ll develop into. No way that is a straight up trade.

      • Although Marner’s cap hit is $10.9 million, his cash earnings will only amount to $8.025 million next season. And the signing bonus is $7.25 million with only $775k of salary.

        The most difficult part of a trade will be getting Mitch to waive his no movement clause. Maybe Pittsburgh, to be reunited with Dubas. How about Marner for Rust & Reilly Smith as the main pieces in a trade?

        $10.9 vs $10.1 and Leafs get Rust for 4 years.

  4. Conroy won’t trade the upcoming UFA’s this summer if the value isn’t there. Mangiapane has 0 value right now with the contract he has. Going to be very hard to move him. Kuzmenko was awesome for the Flames but it was a small sample size. If Conroy resigns him, he will be 30 when his new contract kicks in. I don’t think the fits into what the Flames are building right now. If he’s on pace for 30+ goals at the deadline, I could see the Flames trading him for some assets. I could see the Flames resigning Sharangovich.

  5. Detroit should absolutely not entertain the proposed trade for Markstrom, whose save percentage the past 2 years is pretty much the same as those of Husso, Lyon, and Reimer this year.

    Detroit must improve their defensive play above all else. If they don’t, Markstrom would fare no better than the Wings current goalies did. And if they do, then one could expect Husso and Lyon to match any improved performance that Markstrom would exhibit.

    • Husso’s S% is worse than Markstrom, he is the one going to the Flames. And besides is Husso going to recover from his injury???? So this is all a mote point until Husso is deemed healthy.

  6. “ The news of my death is greatly exaggerated “
    Markstrom ain’t worth that much I think Mercer and a lesser pick I would have jumped at
    They knew about Lindholm in October. Must be tough for all concerned and it showed
    They did get a lot for a return eventually . Not so much for Hanifin
    Husso’s season got derailed . I think Detroit give it another go. Maybe look for a younger third goalie.

  7. Hockey isn’t basketball. Using $50-$55 million in cap space on 5 or 6 guys, that’s a dicey strategy.

    • In the NBA, $50 – $55M might only get you 1 top player.

      • Well yeah, bench guys can get like $20-$30 million. A lot less jobs and a lot more popularity will do that for a sport. My point regarding basketball is you generally need a lot more good players and depth in hockey to win.

  8. Leafs marketing department making small changes.

    The Core Four will now be known as The Core Fore.

    Seems about right.

  9. Somewhere Mike Babcock is laughing his nads off.

  10. Re; Jackob Markstrom

    There is No Way they get what they say
    Conroy’s asking price ………⁉️⁉️
    The ask.
    –A first-round pick,
    –Top prospect Seamus Casey &either
    –Dawson Mercer or Alexander Holtz.

    Markstrom is on the downward slide of his career @ 34 years old 🤔
    your not giving this up for this Old tender who number’s dont look good over the past 2 years plaing on a Flames team with a good Defence…..

    NJ GM, Fitzgerald i hope not…. Or someone offers a 1st pick the Flames should take it and RUN

  11. Re Bostons & Nashville Goaltending,

    After Syaymans performance for the Bruins, I see them trading Ullmark at the draft or Before so they can pick up a good centre at the draft if they can get in the top 10 for picks

    Maybe with NJ, Or AZ, and a good Prospect or young player

    I can see Nashville Moving Goaltender Saros Also and working on there re-build, for similar -A first pick,
    -A good prospect Or
    -A good young player

    Right now they have 9 picks in the First 4 round for 2024 draft👍
    6 picks in the First 4 round for 2025 drafts so Far….

  12. Marner and the rights to Sammy for Sorokin and a 2nd (before Sorokin’s NMC kicks in) A 3rd team to take about $2.5M or Marner’s salary for a 3rd

  13. Ullmark (Retain $1M) for Mercer, Thinking Mercer may be worth nearly $3M on a bridge deal?

    • Devs say yes, would prefer moving Holtz. This is probably not happening, though it would be a pure hockey trade (good for both sides).

  14. Is Seth Jones & Hall to TML for Marner a reasonable base for a trade conversation?

    Brodie and other UFAs. TML will have space by also shipping out Marner.
    Jones can fill that RD next to Reilly

    • Jones & Hall? Leafs would be lucky to trade Marner for Jones even up. And the only remote possibility of that occurring would be if Mitch were to agree to an extension with Chicago.

  15. What I want to know is the formula to Marchand’s referee-targeting invisibility position. The refs probably think Boston is playing shorthanded when Marchand is on the ice. It really quite amazing, zero penalty minutes after 4 games for Marchand. What an angel.

  16. If Shanahan goes then Treliving I-M-O has no job security … a new president might well want to clean house … if not, they may only want to watch for a year and make BIG moves when more cap space opens up next summer … still not “security” for Treliving.