NHL Rumor Mill – May 23, 2024

by | May 23, 2024 | Rumors | 26 comments

The latest on the Bruins, an update on Hurricanes forward Martin Necas and recent speculation about Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy reports Bruins general manager Don Sweeney told reporters his club intends to be aggressive this summer as they search to address their need for help among their forward lines.

Conroy noted Sweeney sounds like he’ll focus on adding depth among his wingers. “I have to be able to find some players that can come in and provide secondary scoring for us,” he said.

Bruins president Cam Neely said the Bruins weren’t as fast as they’d like to be and must win more 50-50 puck battles.

Conroy noted some very good wingers could be available in this summer’s free-agent market. They include Carolina’s Jake Guentzel, Florida’s Sam Reinhart, Detroit’s Patrick Kane, Winnipeg’s Tyler Toffoli and Vegas’ Jonathan Marchessault.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins have more wiggle room this summer, carrying a projected cap space of $23.5 million for next season with 15 active roster players under contract. They have room to make a splash in the free-agent market.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

Meanwhile, contract talks between Sweeney and Jake DeBrusk’s agent have stalled. The Bruins GM said he sees a path for the 27-year-old winger’s return but added that negotiations “are a two-way street.” He also pointed out that DeBrusk has the right as a pending unrestricted free agent to explore the market on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy contacted DeBrusk’s agent, Rick Valette, but he hadn’t heard back regarding the winger’s intentions. He’s coming off a two-year contract with an average annual value of $4.4 million and will seek a more lucrative long-term contract.

Whether DeBrusk gets it from the Bruins remains to be seen. He won’t have to wait for long to sign with a new club. The Utah franchise could be among the suitors if he’s available on July 1.

Sweeney also indicated that he’s hopeful of making the math work in re-signing Jeremy Swayman whereby the Bruins can also retain Linus Ullmark for next season. “If we can’t, we’re going to explore,” he said, noting that he expects to receive inquiries about Ullmark, who has a year left on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Swayman is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He’s coming off a one-year, arbiter-award contract worth $3.475 million. Swayman could cost the Bruins over $6 million annually on a seven or eight-year deal.

That would leave the Bruins with over $11 million tied up in two goaltenders. They could clear $5 million from their books by trading Ullmark. He’s a year away from UFA eligibility and has a 16-team no-trade list until July 1, when it drops to 15 teams.  If the Bruins get a satisfactory trade offer, Ullmark will be moved this summer.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa recently pondered whether the Bruins should pursue Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl this summer if he becomes available or wait until he becomes a UFA next summer.

Draisaitl, 28, has a year remaining on his contract. He’ll command a big raise on his next deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Draisaitl’s contract status will make him a hot topic of speculation this summer if he and the Oilers fail to agree to a contract extension.

Recent conjecture suggested the Bruins could be interested in Draisaitl to address their need for an elite center. The latest rumor claims the 28-year-old Oilers forward would be interested in joining the Bruins next summer to center his buddy David Pastrnak.

The Bruins’ limited trade capital makes them unlikely to win any bidding war for Draisaitl if the Oilers decide to trade him this summer.

Signing Draisaitl as a UFA will likely cost over $15 million annually. The Bruins have a projected $47 million in cap room for 2025-26 with seven active players under contract. However, that will shrink considerably once they make their necessary signings and additions this summer. They might not have enough by next summer to outbid other clubs for Draisaitl’s services.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander wondered if Martin Necas will return with the Carolina Hurricanes next season. The 25-year-old forward is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, making him the subject of media trade chatter.

Necas departed Carolina soon after the Hurricanes’ elimination from the playoffs to play for Czechia in the ongoing IIHF World Championships. His father said his son wants to play on a team where he’ll play on the top line and top power-play unit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s assumed the Hurricanes will attempt to trade Necas, probably in the days leading up to the 2024 NHL Draft (June 28-29) in Las Vegas. The Montreal Canadiens reportedly inquired about his availability. The Utah franchise is another club that might have an interest in Necas.


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel recently pondered whether the Penguins will re-sign Marcus Pettersson or use the 28-year-old defenseman. He’s entering the final season of his five-year contract ($4.025 million AAV) and carries an eight-team no-trade list.

Pettersson put up a career-high 30 points in 82 games this season and led the Penguins with a plus/minus of plus-28. Noting management’s shift toward moving veterans for younger assets, Vensel wondered if Pettersson could suffer the same fate as Jake Guentzel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson would be a player the Penguins would prefer to retain if they were still a serious contender. However, they could shop him this summer while his value is high or peddle him before next season’s trade deadline.


  1. Re Bruins.

    DeBrusk’s contract talks between Sweeney and DeBrusk’s agent have stalled. 100% he will test the UFA market on July 1st…
    he is from Edmonton and has a House/Girlfreind here, could the RW/LW sign with the Oil…. 🤔

    Jeremy Swayman,
    he will want a minimum salary Starting at $8M on an 8 year deal, or he will sign a 1 year deal and go’s on to UFA next season…❓

    • Williew,the 3 remaining goalies playing in the conference finals are Bob 10 million,Igor,5.67 and Otterenger , 4 million!Why do you automatically see Swayman as 8/8? I would not rule out offering both in a trade and see what you get offered! They are going to be a much more talented team, I Hope with their free agent signings!They should not have a team that 2 of their best players are goalies!I like Swayman but let s remember he has won one playoff series in his career!

      • Hey SR,
        just looking at the way Salary cap is going Way Up..+$9 in two years.
        These Young Goaltender know if they hit the UFA market they will get that easy…
        Goaltender are Way under Valued … ❓

        Dallas Stars Jake Otterenger is one a 1 year deal at $4.M, one more year after this and he is a UFA @ 27 yrs old….👍

        Ullmark will more than likly get, $6.M to $7.M
        Saros (2 yrs ) younger will get $7.5M +
        Otterenger 27 when he is a UFA, $8.M+
        Igor Shesterkin, NYR, he is a UFA at the end of next season… ? $8.M+

        if you dont have good goaltending you have Nothing…..

        Regarding Boston Swayman,

        Im not a bruins fan, But they Lost there 1st & 2nd line Centres and replaced them with 2 winger’s and put them in the 1st & 2nd line Cemtres position…..🤔
        Not only do they need a 1st line centre
        They lack top 6 Wingers that can score and a good 2 paring LD/man,
        Sweeney will try to replace all 3 of these position ++
        and use Ullmark as a trade.. more than likly NJ for the 10th pick there are some great picks in the top 12 for the draft…

      • Williew,you are really opening up the checkbook! I like your reasoning ,but when players become free agents,the guys that get paid are no. 1 DMen,and no. 1 centers! Goalies are paid less than those2 position groups!

      • Very true, Sr …. and yet, a goalie remains the ONLY team member to be on the ice for the entire length of the game. Usually.

  2. Necas would certainly get top 6 minutes with the Habs with plenty of PP time. Would be a good fit. And what Carolina will need most is cap space. As I’ve said before, I’d offer up the 26 overall pick, a young Dman like Barron, Harris or maybe even Mailloux and a young forward like Roy or Kapanen.

    • All that for a player who wants to be traded? Hugues needs young fowards to replace Armia, Gally, Dvorak ans Anderson in the near future. He will not trade those who have a good chance to make it. If Necas is in Anderson will have to go.

    • I understand the interest in Necas, Howard, just not at the price you are prepared to pay.

      You want to give up a first round pick (where there still will be some talent), a D, and a prospect. Necas scored 24 goals this year.

      He’ll cost more than 6 million per to res-sign (he has arbitration rights) leaving the Habs with no room to add any other player who might make an impact.

      Hard pass at the price of acquisition, hard pass at the cost of re-signing him.

      Just one comparison: Toffoli scored 33 goals this year, and liked his time in Montreal. He won’t cost as much in term or $.

    • Pat, LJ,

      Necas is 25 years old with size, skill and good numbers. Those type of players aren’t available too often and they come with a price. A 1st and a young Dman is where it starts. There will be competition, ergo a forward prospect will likely be necessary.
      As for Toffoli, I like him too. But he’s 33 years old. He’ll likely want to sign with a contender. And would want the type of contract that’ll look pretty rough when the Habs are ready to contend.

    • Why doesn’t Carolina play Necas at center?
      Why does Carolina hardball Necas every contract?

      He puts the puck in the net despite playing on the 3rd and 4th line.

      He big, young, skates well, hits hard, why doesn’t Carolina want him?

      • HF30, all good questions, but he does get plenty of ice time and gets over 2 minutes a game on the PP. CAR rotates the the 1st and 2nd PP more than most teams, and its a good one. They have lots of good players.

        I have another question – why do we think that CAR will actually trade him?

        I know above that Chip Alexander “wondered” if he would be back, and that is what we do on this site. We wonder too.

        All I’m saying is I wouldn’t trade him. I definitely wouldn’t trade him for picks and prospects that are maybes if I am Carolina, who still has their eyes on the prize. If he has crazy demands, take him to arbitration.

        If he asked for one and goes public, I still might not buckle unless the offer is really good. It’s a good team, players like Rod as a coach, seems like a place a guy would want to stay if winning was the goal. Maybe he ain’t into that? Then why would MTL want him? Which is what I think is your point, unless I am reading it wrong.

      • Indeed. Ray. For sure this site is propelled by rumours, and that’s part of the attraction.

        But too often a player’s name becomes a thing. Witness the Zegras to Montreal a few weeks ago.

        And while I am guilty of this myself, along with the clamor for a player too often the trade suggestions are made in a silo: this player for $ and term, without questions about the broader picture: acquisition costs, cap management in the greater scheme of things …

        So yes, Ray, why would the ‘Canes trade him when their window is now, for promises and prospects? Why would the Habs want a player who has arbitration rights – a leap into the unknown?

        Speculation is fun, but there needs to be a tich more thought to it.

      • Ya LJ, us fans would like him on our team, going by the #’s. So we make trade proposals. All good fun.

        The B’s could use a guy like him, just not much to offer in return.

      • RB,
        I don’t think Necas is being traded, just posturing for arbitration.

        I think they were surprised by how well Seth Jarvis turned out and he’s not replacing Svechnikov so reward him with PP time.

        Underpaying him while they had cost control and paying him 3 million helps them in arbitration re % increase.

        Carolina would have been better off not chasing Kotkaniemi and they could have kept Trochek and Necas underpayment would be more easily understood.

        So, I think Habs could definitely use him and want him but I think so does Carolina.

        Fans and pundits are tossing all kinds of “stuff”, much of it really wild and crazy.
        Hab fan sites put out daily rumors and insider info from highly respected sources that would blow your mind.

      • how about a trade that sees Ullmark to Hurricanes for necas if hurricanes are not on ullmarks no trade list

    • Howard,

      I would offer Matheson as the centerpiece with a pick & a prospect.

      • This is just the type of suggestion I am talking about, Uwey.

        Why would Carolina be interested in Matheson when they have to either choose between Pesce or Skjei, or find a way to sign both? You’d hand them a 4.8 million cap hit problem in an area that is already a strength.

  3. So someone lied! Debrusk said there was no negotiations and he was hoping to get something done. Sweeney says he went at Debrusk aggressively but negotiations are a two-way street. In short Debrusk isn’t resigning.

    Neely says we need to add speed then someone suggests Tyler cement feet Toffoli. Yes Toffoli can score but definitely lacks foot speed.

    The question for me; who going? Sweeney and Neely:

    need more secondary scoring
    need to win more board battles
    need more speed

    This would imply you’re not satisfied with some of your players.

    Changing the bottom 3 doesn’t do much.

    who’s safe:

    David Pastrnak
    Brad Marchand
    Charlie McAvoy
    Hampus Lindholm
    Brandon Carlo

    That it, that’s my list. Everyone else has the potential to be moved. They all won’t be moved, just saying any of them could be part of a trade package.

    • Hey Caper,

      What about Swayman the bruins #1 goaltender….❓
      Is he not part of the core…
      Ether way Ullmark won’t be a Bruin July 1st this year or maybe ….🤔

      • Williew, yesterday Sweeney reminded everyone that it was Swayman who took Boston to arbitration last year.

        Meaning this won’t be an easy negotiation.

        Could Swayman price himself out of Boston?

  4. Draisitl moving on from Oilers seems incomprehensible; but, money talks

    My gut says 80% he re-ups

    I also believe Reinhart and Marchessault both re-up with Panthers and Knights respectively

    Pens trading Pettersson (their most consistent D man; on an affordable contract) this summer would be a huge mistake!!!

    • 87897 /Pengy,

      No Way Leon Draisitl gos to boston they are to cheap to pay him…..
      1/Reinhart stays with the panthers, Great tats and weather✔️

      2/ Marchessault Go’s away as a UFA, Las Vegas has only $900,00 in cap space JM will get 3 or 4 years at $5.M
      They also have 7 UFA’s to replace 1Xd, 1X 3rd back up tender, Forward, 4 ….of the 5 UFA forwards 4 of them wont be back❗️😲

      3/ Pettersson 100% stays with the Pens
      they need all the d help they can get and someone that can play 40 games with Jarry in Net…❓

  5. 99%
    Leon Re-signs in Edmonton along with Connor next year….

    Marchessault, will be gone as a UFA they have No cap space
    $900,000 that’s it ……🤔
    And they have player to resign ..

  6. Why all the hype about DeBrusk and Necas? They should be in the $4-5M range based on their career numbers.

    DeBrusk is inconsistent throughout the year with hot and cold streaks. His $4.4M cap hit aligns perfectly with his production…average .57ppg

    Necas has one outlier season of 71 points but usually falls within 45-50 points….average .67ppg

    Michael Bunting has averaged 22G over the last three seasons and scores at a .67ppg average and his cap hit is $4.5M

    Overpaying for this type of production can really hamper the ability to ice a competitive team.

    • Daryl, your figures above got me curious about 6′ 3″ 203lbs RW Drake Batherson in Ottawa so I calculated his ppg at 0.73 (309gp 90 goals 135 assists 225 pts) and his cap hit is $4.975,000 with 3 seasons to go before becoming a UFA at age 29.

      Seems like a good deal … I just wish he’d start to pay more attention to the defensive side of the game – he was -35 the season before this past one, although he did improve to -9 this season.

  7. George O

    Batherson has a good cap hit for his production. If he can improve his defensive game and still produce at the same PPG level he’s an ideal 2nd line player every team would love to have.

    When it comes to guys that are in the 40-55 point averages ,I don’t see value at the numbers people throw around for guys like Necas, DeBrusk, and even Bertuzzi.

    I feel $5.5M is about $1M more than they should get. In a hard cap system, overpaying multiple players in your line-up even a few hundred thousand too much adds up quickly.

    Look at the money the Leafs wasted this season, overpaying Kampf, Reaves, Klingberg, and Bertuzzi.