NHL Rumor Mill – May 24, 2024

by | May 24, 2024 | Rumors | 43 comments

Assessing the recent speculation linking Mitch Marner to the Predators, the latest on Matt Duchene, and an update on the Kings in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun dissected the speculation earlier this week linking Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner to the Nashville Predators.

The rumors arose after Predators general manager Barry Trotz laughed off a reporter’s question over whether his club would pursue a big-ticket talent like Marner.

LeBrun confirmed that the Predators and Maple Leafs had no discussions about the 27-year-old winger. “In fact, the Leafs as of Tuesday hadn’t talked to a single team regarding a Marner trade,” he wrote.

Currently, the Marner camp isn’t working on a list of preferred trade destinations for their client and has no intention of producing such a list. The Leafs will have to come to him about a trade, not the other way round.

Marner holds all the cards with his full no-movement clause. LeBrun believes any team approaching the Leafs about the winger will want to know if it can sign him to a contract extension. He carries a $10.9 million cap hit for 2024-25 and is expected to seek a substantial raise on his next deal.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

LeBrun also doesn’t see the Predators acquiring a player that doesn’t fit within their carefully curated salary-cap culture, where the highest-paid player is Roman Josi at $9.059 million. A contract extension for Marner would blow that to pieces.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This story arose because the Predators traded Ryan McDonagh back to the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this week. That move freed up nearly $7 million in cap space per season for the next two years.

The theory was the Predators could use that windfall to invest in someone like Marner. They could also free up more cap room if they decide to part ways with goaltender Juuse Saros, who has a year left on his contract with an average annual value of $5 million.

Trotz could make one or two moves this summer to boost the Predators’ scoring depth. However, he could find more affordable options than Marner through the trade or free-agent markets. Whether he trades Saros remains to be seen. Trotz will also likely use some of his cap room to acquire a suitable replacement for McDonagh on their blueline.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Rob Couch suggested Dallas Stars forward Matt Duchene could be a good free-agent target for the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Stars lack sufficient cap space to re-sign Duchene. He’s on a one-year, $3 million contract that he signed after being bought out last summer by the Predators. Duchene’s enjoyed a bounce-back performance this season in Dallas. Unless he’s willing to accept a pay cut, he’s likely to hit the open market this summer.

Couch believes the Blackhawks could offer Duchene two things the Stars can’t: more money and a three or four-year contract. He thinks the versatile 33-year-old forward could bring much-needed leadership and experience to the rebuilding club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks could add one or two experienced forwards to ease the burden on franchise star Connor Bedard. Duchene could be a good fit there if he’s willing to play for a rebuilding club.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently looked at which players will be back with the Los Angeles Kings next season and those who could be moving on.

Stephens doesn’t expect to see Viktor Arvidsson, Carl Grundstrom, Trevor Lewis, Arthur Kaliyev and Pheonix Copley returning with the Kings. Arvidsson, Lewis and Copley are unrestricted free agents while Grundstrom and Kaliyev are restricted.

The Kings could face difficult decisions on UFAs Cam Talbot and Matt Roy. With Brendt Clarke waiting in the wings, it might be best to reallocate the $5 million it could cost to re-sign Roy. The 36-year-old Talbot had a good season with the Kings. At his age, however, he can no longer steal games for them.

Kings GM Rob Blake recently dismissed the notion of buying out Pierre-Luc Dubois. However, Stephens wondered if they should rule out retaining half of Dubois’ salary to get out from under his contract if it would get another team interested in him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on Blake’s season-ending comments, Dubois isn’t going anywhere. They intend to work with him to improve his game.


  1. Not mentioned above is Garrioch’s column today in the Ottawa Sun where he writes “There is talk the Senators offered Korpisalo to the Bruins as part of a package for Ullmark at the deadline and Sweeney politely declined. Boston can’t afford to take on the $16 million in salary and the four years remaining on Korpisalo’s contract. A league executive said Thursday he believes the Senators would likely have to offer defenceman Jakob Chychrun along with a first-round pick and another selection to acquire Ullmark. Even then, he has the hammer because he does have the modified no-trade clause.”

    The article goes on to say “The Bruins may be willing to take Forsberg, who has one year left on his contract at $2.75 million, as a short-term backup solution. Sweeney cautioned that people shouldn’t believe everything they hear. Some guys are really wrong, but it doesn’t stop you from throwing it out there and that’s OK. It’s good for the business overall. It’s good for hockey, in terms of drawing attention and eyes to it, so I understand, Sweeney said.”

    OK, so Boston taking Korpisalo as part of a package is out. Big surprise there and I’m inclined to think Sweeney’s response was anything but “polite!” But assuming Ullmark would waive whatever clause he has precluding Ottawa as a destination in exchange for Chychrun, the 7th pick overall and another pick (whew!), Staios simply cannot do that and put himself in the bind where he suddenly, and absolutely must, move Korpisalo elsewhere by including even more assets that would cripple their depth.
    That’s why I remain convinced that Korpisalo – who cannot be entirely blamed for his mediocre season – will be here when training camps open, and that Staios will instead make other moves to bring in experienced two-way Fs for the 3rd and 4th lines and a D or two so his new coach can instill a systematic, two-way game to reduce the 2nd – and all too often 3rd chances – that beleaguered both Korpisalo and Forsberg under Smith’s “system.”

    • Since when does any goalie get a top 3 defenceman, a top 10 pick and another draft pick? Cory Schneider is the last goalie I remember getting a pick that high (turned into Bo Horvat) and that didn’t include other assets. I can’t see Boston getting anything close to that much for Ullmark and Staios should be fired on the spot if he gives up that much.

      Ottawa needs to keep their early picks and restock the prospect pool.

      • Van, how about forSwayman?

      • I prefer Swayman and would give up more for him, but Boston would have to take Korpisalo back in that deal or it doesn’t work for Ottawa. I don’t see Korpisalo working for Boston long term either given they would likely extend Ullmark at more than he is currently making plus they have a good young back-up waiting in the wings already.

        Swayman is one year from UFA and will get at least $7M/year on an extension (probably $8M+ for 5 or 6 years). You can’t have Korpisalo making $4M as a back-up long term with that much committed to your #1G. Ottawa would have to get rid of Korpisalo at the same time to make this kind of trade work or they would have to pay a hefty sweetener to trade him since other teams would know they are desperate to move him.

        I think Chychrun would be an overpay for both goalies too given recent trades. He has only one year left at a very team friendly cap hit for a top 3 defenseman. Ottawa should be able to get a better return than a goalie one year from UFA and could use part of that return for the #1 goalie. Maybe if Korpisalo is separately traded and Swayman/Ullmark sign long term, Chychrun would work. Those are big IFs though.

      • Van, agree it might be an overpay, because tenders don’t get as much as folks think, definitely not that much.

        I will say, I value Chychrun a lot less then some other folks. The physical talent is obvious, but, seriously, can the guy defend? Seems like a slightly bigger Tyson Barrie to me, so far anyway.

      • Ray Bark, re Chychrun, there is one statistics attached to his name that fully supports your query “can the guy defend?”

        On the positive side he did play in all 82 games – a vast improvement over his seasons in Arizona where he was always on the IR – and he did score 14 goals – 7 of them on the pp – adding 27a for 42 pts. On the negative there is that glaring -30.

        Some will say that that is just a reflection of the overall defensive shortcomings of the club which was, as a whole, -26 in goal differential. However, when you look at the entire roster, the only other player approaching that – in fact -30 himself – is the departing UFA Kubalik.

        No one else is even close. Indeed, the only other D with double-digits in that category is Hamonic who was a -10 in 48gp. He won’t be back. Bernard-Docker comes in 3rd worst at -7 over 72gp, while Chabot was -3 in 51gp, often playing “gimpy” for one reason or another.

        The rest of the regulars on D were all plus: Sanderson +8; Brannstrom +5; Zub +5.

        You can bet that any team getting a trade proposal involving Chychrun will be closely examining his game films before relinquishing what some seem to think Ottawa should ask.

      • Hey George, I knew that stat too.
        He had similar seasons in Phoenix.

        Crappy team too, so who knows for sure, but ya compared to his team mates, not all that.

        Doesn’t seem like a 3 to me. IMO he looks like a guy who needs good matchups with plenty of O-zone starts. Not a #3, who you need to be able to throw over the boards against anyone, at anytime.

        What’s that worth? I dunno, but about what he is making seems right. Max.

    • Korpi isn’t an A List goalie, but give him a decent defense and he has the skills and talent to take a team into the playoffs. It wasn’t that long ago when he set the NHL record for saves in a playoff game. Admittedly, he can be a bit inconsistent, but playing regularly and having a decent defense in front of him seriously reduces that. I still regret Jarmo handing Merzlikins a silly contract, forcing a Korpi trade.

      • I fully agree, Paul. There were games this season when he played very well despite having upwards of 35 shots and, coincidentally, the skaters in front of him played a disciplined game that kept most shots to the perimeter and few 2nd – and 3rd – scoring chances.

        Unfortunately – and again coincidentally – , those types of games from the skaters were just as inconsistent.

        With a proper two-way, pick-up-your check discipline instilled by a coach whose reputation is one of expecting maximum effort with each shift, combined with the infusion of veteran Fs who know how to play that style and at least one more experienced D through trade or off the UFA heap, I think Korposalo will be just fine.

        If he can move Forsberg’s contract and bring in a veteran, back-up type goalie, even better.

        Assets to move to that end include Chychrun, Brannstrom, and that 7th overall pick – or maybe the 22nd pick which they also hold.

      • Paul, with today’s news that Waddel is interviewing for the Jackets’ GM position, maybe not so far fetched that Holland is in the mix.

        I imagine timing will be a factor, as the Jackets would want a GM in place in time to influence the draft at the end of June.

      • I don’t know, LJ. Waddle has successfully built a playoff regular team in the salary cap era. Holland has not.

      • How much of the Canes is Waddel’s and how much is it owed to Francis?

        Is Waddel more a caretaker than builder? I know he’ll be a good hire regardless but I’m just curious as to what some others think because can you say either GM had the Canes up there as a better team for years now.

      • That’s a fair question, Ron. Success, or failure is a shared result. And who knows who has the final say? Is it the GM, the VP, the owner?

        I guess the only way to have a degree of certainty is with those who have had success over a number of years or a number of positions.

        PS: I think you meant to say Brind’amour, not Francis.

      • “Waddle has successfully built a playoff regular team in the salary cap era. Holland has not.”

        The Oilers are in the WCF for the 2nd time in 3 years, they missed the playoffs the season before he was hired.

        Carolina still playin’?

      • And how much of that team did Holland draft and develop, Ray? Do you think that having two of the best current players as your centers just might help get a team to the conference finals? If Holland actually knew how to work with the salary cap, don’t you think the Oil just might have had a championship by now? Tell me, Ray, if Holland has been doing such a great GM during the salary cap era, why have the Oil struggled in the playoffs and Dallas is the consensus pick to advance to the SCF?

      • Paul, hear that argument from time to time.

        No he didn’t draft them. Did Waddle draft Aho, their best FWD, or Slavin their best D?

        You do the best with the cards you’re dealt. Should he have traded them? Not sure what your point is.

        They missed the playoffs the year Holland got there. Team in turmoil again after the “Decade of Darkness”. They had no cap space for the first 2 years. The organization was a mess and was wasting those 2 guys.

        He stabilized and calmed down the entire organization, changed the MGT, scouting and the coaching.

        Added Kane, Hyman, Ekholm, Kulak, Henrique, Janmark, Ceci, Foegele, Ryan. Those last 4 are all key on the PK which is #1 in the playoffs at 92%. Promoted and stuck with Desharnais, also on the PK.
        Also stopped rushing prospects, and they now practice patience with young players. Look at Holloway, his pick, in these playoffs. Guy is ready, and will be a player. Broberg continues to wait and season.

        The Oil are night and day different than they were. And are up 1-0 against the consensus SC favorite in the WCF. They outplayed Dallas last night. I picked them, though I get why others took Dallas.

        He blew it on Campbell, so far anyway, one of many tenders to be good then lose it. All in all, outstanding IMO.

        Waddell has been good to, but I would take Holland. Really hard to win a cup. He has turned the Oil into a consistent contender.

        What more do you expect of a guy? Leafs have high end guys, think they would trade places?

      • You had to bring up Campbell. Until then, you might have swayed me. But no good GM hands a $5MM/year multi-year contract to a 30 year old goalie who has had one good season. That alone is enough to get a GM fired and more than enough for me to hope Davidson doesn’t even interview Holland.

    • I am hoping for some big old fashioned hockey trades to spike up the game! The game has become to stagnant with the number of NMC and NTC clauses!

      • Accairi and Eller and Nietto for McDavid???

        Oilers retain 50%

        I’m good for that trade 🤣

    • Chychrun for Saros

      Only teason i suggest this is it provides Nashville that replacement D

      Look to move a goalie after acquiring saros or bite the bullet and buy one out?

      • Jeff,
        I would do that deal with Preds and the Bruins
        ( Chychrun for Saros ) or Ullmark
        as they both need A top 4 LD/man like JC and and he is only 25 yrs old….👍

        But the Sen’s would have to add a 2nd rd pick in there to make it work for Saros as he is only 28 & Ullmark is 30…. would it be a Sign and Trade…❓

      • williew: Based on recent goalie trade history plus the premium on defensemen, Ottawa would be the team getting the pick in a goalie trade with Chychrun, not the other way around. Chychrun has a very team friendly cap hit for a top 3D and is also 3 years younger than Saros and 5 years younger than Ullmark. The Sens definitely shouldn’t have to add a 2nd rounder to get Saros or Ullmark and it is more likely that they would get the 2nd round pick back with either goalie.

    • Hey George,

      I would not us the 7th over all pick in a trade, they need that for a Offencive RD-man as they have Nobody on the team Or in the system to fill that role, they could pick one of 2 Great young RD like
      Zayne Parekh or RD/man Carter Yakemchuk to fill that role for the Sen’s,❓

      I would use the Sen’s 2nd 1st pick in the draft to trade, Chychrun and the pick for Saros….. if i had to or maybe a 2nd pick

      And For Ullmark, I would try to do it right up Swap its what both teams need for Chychrun…..❓

      • williew, you may be right in that their second 1st round pick – 25th (not 22nd as I say elsewhere) – will more likely be used in a trade than # 7.

        However, I reiterate – chances are that any D chosen there from this crop will more than likely need at least a season or two of AHL “seasoning” before making the NHL full-time.

        Zane Parekh might be an exception – but he’s a consensus 5th pick and will probably be gone before Ottawa picks (if he drops then that’s an option for sure). Yekemchuk is ranked 11th and certainly nothing attached to him suggests he’s ready to step in right away.

        And already in the system at RD with some AHL action under their belts are Nikola Matinpalo, a big Finn (6′ 3″ 207 lbs) who played 67 games in Belleville with 4 goals 10 assists 14 pts and was a +15, as well as Maxence Guenette, 6′ 1″ 181 lbs who played 58 games with 7 goals 27assiosts 34 pts and a +5.

      • I should add that, although Matinpalo was undrafted and Guenette was a late pick, there have been some notable undrafted players in NHL history, including D-men Mark Giordano, Brian Rafalski and Borje Salming.

  2. If Marner moves, maybe the least likely of places will be the spot he goes. I know, I know, what contending teams have the cap to make that move?
    How about a team that has consistently said FU to the cap and acquire him anyways, Vegas! Vegas signed Hanifin to a big new contract and maybe looking to move off Theodore since he has one year left on his current contract and what seems to be a need for both teams as a bases of a deal.
    Maybe Marner wants to follow in the steps of his idol and go to the Hawks and dawn number 93 lol!

    • Marner and Liligren for Cerelli and Chernak….Chernak NTC does not kick in till July. Stammer plays 2C

      • Johnny, Bolts don’t have the cap space to make that trade and sign Stamkos. 18 players and $5 M left to spend.

        Liljegren is an RFA, what does his new salary look like? Tampa would have to move out Hagel in order to re-sign their captain.

        Out: Cerelli, Hagel, Chernak
        IN: Marner, McDonagh, Liljegren

        Forward group would be pretty thin after Kucherov, Point and Marner.

      • Jeannot to the Sens for picks/minor league something as salary dump, they need muscle, sign Stamkos, carry 8 D with bottom 4 Raddysh, Fleury, Lillenberg, Crozier against anticipated Cernak IR time, add at trade deadline as needed
        trading spare D. Maybe find something useful & cheap when music stops for free agents.

      • Stamkos hasn’t played center in years. Doubt the added speed required to do that is in the cards for him at 35. I believe he will resign but it won’t be without moving either Cirelli or Cernak. Seems like the return won’t bolster the future from dealing either one either, since nobody is going to be keen on the term and AVV of either

      • @ Johnny Z

        Trading both Cernak and Cirelli for Marner and Liljegren defeats the reasoning of even trading them. The whole reasoning is so that JBB can re-sign Steven Stamkos.

        Marner and liljegren make about the same as Cernak and Cirelli so this trade absolutely makes zero sense

  3. Pavelski is a UFA and will probably retire due to age catching up quick this season. He’s slowed down noticeably this year. GM Nill can then sign Duchene to a 3-4 year contract with a slight raise. He’s loving his time in Dallas, not to mention his new teammates.

  4. Barry Trotz is far to wise to deal for an overpaid, overhyped disappearing marshmallow like Muskoka Mitch.

  5. Marner has a NMC.

    He’s not going anywhere if he doesnt want too.

    Scooby Dubas effect still handcuffing the Leafs.

    • Ron here’s a couple of points you need to consider. I think Mitch does well in the postseason offensively and defensively. If you believe his production isn’t up to par to his cap hit, I have a 100 players you can say that about who aren’t even as productive as him.

      Second, his NMC is basically allowing him to go into free agency for him one year early. He chooses his team and most likely his extension or new contract this year vs next year on an open market.

      • Ron, that echoes my sentiments exactly. Even media analysts are pointing to next year’s UFA date as if it were nirvana or some golden opportunity, while noting that many teams don’t have the cap space to absorb Marner’s contract this year. Well, the same cap space problems will also plague some teams next year.

        A sign and trade in July can be a win-win-win for everyone – new team generates cap space by transferring some assets to the Leafs and in return, locks up a 100 points per season player for 9 years. In the final year Mitch would only be 35 years of age. An 8 x $12.5 M contract would result in a cash outlay of approx $11.2 M per year.

        At the very least, Marner would be foolish to not at least explore the market this year. He can always come back and say that the offers weren’t acceptable.

  6. Why do folks things Boston needs a puck moving LD?

    Yes they were linked to Noah Hanafin and now Chychrun.

    I would hope Boston stay the course they have a very good puck moving left defenseman in 23yr old 6’4″ 195lb Mason Lohrei. The poised he showed in the playoffs and his creativity with the puck and a contract of $925,000 is the puck moving LD that Boston needs.

    What Boston really needs is a left side big physical, nasty defenseman.

    • Pens will gladly come to your rescue. Big LD, you got it.

      6’5”, 225

      In my Ron Popiel voice, “for the low low price of 4 easy payments of just $4.5 M”

      Your trade cost. For you, just because you are so nice; we’ll accept “future considerations” . However these “future considerations” must be paid back by the time Khazekstan wins the Olympic Gold in Men’s hockey. Very important part of the deal.

  7. Do Boston fans not realize goalies barely return anything in trades? Fleury was traded right after winning the Vezina for a guy who was drafted in the 5th round (and will never play an NHL game). Ullmark will be lucky to return a 3rd round pick to the Bruins.

    • Brock, Schneider went for the 10th overall.
      Kuemper went for a 1st plus a bit in 2021 at the TDL.
      Schneider had more term, Kuemper had less. Neither won a Vezina.

      Some above proposals for Ullmark seem nuts to me, we agree.
      But, so does “lucky to return a 3rd”

      We have comparable deals, I just gave 2. Guessing in that range unless someone really wants him. Or they just keep him, check back in at the TDL. B’s aren’t forced to move him for cap reasons.

  8. The Ullmark talk makes no sense as the only strength the Bruins have is 2 platooning great goalies to go with hard attention to systems.

    If anything they should be in the “supposed” Necas availability.

    Big physical skater with a shot who wants to play his natural center position, Pasta would love it.
    They looked good at the World’s.

    • HF30, the reason their is Ullmark talk is the opportunity cost. The asset back, and the cap space if they go pick(s) or prospect(s).

      But agree, if the return is meh? Why do it.

      Necas is exactly the type of young guy the B’s need, also seems like the type of player Carolina could use.