NHL Rumor Mill – May 3, 2024

by | May 3, 2024 | Rumors | 12 comments

Looking at some suggested destinations for Steven Stamkos, the latest coaching rumors, and speculation over the former Coyotes’ offseason plans following their move to Utah in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: David Morassutti looked at five potential destinations for Steven Stamkos this summer. The 34-year-old captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 unless he and the Lightning agree to a new contract by then.

Morassutti noted the Lightning’s intention to resign Stamkos and likes their chances of convincing him to stay. However, they have limited salary-cap space and must also ensure sufficient room to re-sign Victor Hedman before his UFA eligibility next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning could be forced to make a cost-cutting move to keep Stamkos, especially if he’s not interested in a hometown discount. Nevertheless, there’s a mutual willingness on both sides to get something done. Unless negotiations fall apart by July 1, he’ll stay in Tampa Bay. 

If the Lightning fail to re-sign Stamkos, Morassutti suggested the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, and Toronto Maple Leafs as possible destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting choices. I’ve summarized his main points as to why each of those teams could become landing places for Stamkos. Click the link provided for his detailed explanations.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

The Red Wings are managed by former Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, who convinced Stamkos to re-sign with the Bolts in 2016. The Wings have plenty of salary-cap space but must also re-sign Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond. Still, Morassutti believes they could be a prime destination if they move some players to gain cap flexibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Does Stamkos want to join a rebuilding team that’s trying to get over the playoff hump, or would he prefer joining a club that’s close to Cup contention? If it’s the latter (and I suspect it would be), the Red Wings won’t fit the bill.

Stamkos’ former teammates Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis are now in the Canadiens organization. However, some will wonder if adding a high-priced free agent would be the right move for a team going through a rebuild. At some point, however, the Canadiens will have to make a push to reach the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Stamkos is interested in joining a rebuilding club regardless of whoever from his past is on the team. The Canadiens are at least two years away from being playoff contenders. They could find younger options than Stamkos that fit better into their timeline.

The Predators could use a premium goalscorer. He would also bring them additional leadership.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators are currently in a transition phase. They already have plenty of veteran leadership in Roman Josi, Ryan O’Reilly and Stamkos’ former teammate Ryan McDonagh. They possess over $18 million in cap space but could use that flexibility to bring in younger and less expensive talent.

Morassutti considers the Leafs a dark-horse candidate. John Tavares and Mitch Marner are a year away from UFA eligibility. The Leafs’ decisions regarding those two will determine how they navigate this summer’s free-agent market. They attempted to woo Stamkos eight years ago but could they have better luck this time?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No, they won’t have better luck this time. The Leafs “Shanaplan” got derailed by signing Tavares in 2018 when their focus should’ve been improving their defense and goaltending. Signing Stamkos would be repeating their past mistake.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reported the Senators have begun interviewing candidates for their vacant head-coaching position. It’s believed they’ve spoken with or are interested in former Minnesota Wild head coach Dean Evason, former St. Louis Blues bench boss Craig Berube, former Los Angeles Kings’ head coach Todd McLellan and New Jersey Devils interim coach Travis Green.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Which would you like to see coaching your club, Senators fans? Let us know in the comments section below.

Garrioch also provided us with some interesting rumors regarding other current coaches.

Rumors linked the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Mike Sullivan with the New Jersey Devils. If the Toronto Maple Leafs fire Sheldon Keefe, Penguins GM Kyle Dubas could allow Sullivan to go to New Jersey to make room for Keefe.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas released a statement earlier this week claiming the Devils have not asked permission to speak with Sullivan nor was permission granted. Earlier this week, it was reported that a power struggle was brewing between Dubas and Sullivan over the club’s assistant coaches. However, most observers believe Sullivan will be staying put.

League sources claim the Senators have serious interest in Evason and have had at least one face-to-face meeting. The San Jose Sharks reached out to the Wild seeking permission to speak with Evason…It’s believed the Kraken could promote Dan Bylsma, who coaches their AHL affiliate in Coachella Valley. They may have also reached out to McLellan…Berube is reportedly “intrigued” by the Senators position but has other options and is staying patient…The Senators would be very interested if the Carolina Hurricanes’ Rod Brind’Amour became available. However, he would cost $7 million per season and the Sens likely won’t shell out that much for a head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brind’Amour seems close to signing an extension with the Hurricanes. If he did become available I agree he’d be too expensive for the Senators to sign.


THE FOURTH PERIOD: Having moved to Utah, the former Arizona Coyotes could make some additions to their roster this summer.

General manager Bill Armstrong’s mandate from his team’s new ownership is to shoot for the playoffs next season. He’s expected to explore this summer’s trade and free-agent markets for players who can immediately help his roster.

Armstrong won’t acquire high-priced contracts to bail out cap-strapped teams, unlike previous years. Any additions this summer will be to upgrade the roster. Sources claim Armstrong seeks a second-line center and a top-four defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The financial shackles are finally off Armstrong. Years of rebuilding have given the former Coyotes a solid base of good young talent. They need a couple of skilled veterans in their prime to provide leadership and experience.

Utah could become a playoff contender next season with the right moves. It’ll be interesting to see if Armstrong can pull it off.



  1. Seasons not even over and its already everybody to the Leafs.


    • Well, they do need the most help! 😉😏😄

  2. As the saying goes “coaches are hired to be fired” – can’t think of anyone off hand who spent his entire head-coaching career with the same team – not even Scotty Bowman. The one thing you don’t want to do as a GM is to find yourself in a position where you have to pay a coach $7 mil per NOT to work for you. while also paying the guy brought in to replace him.

  3. Stamkos is 34 and has made $108 million and Hedman is 33 and has made $79 million so they’re both wealthy beyond belief. I’d be reluctant to tie up too much cap space for too long on aging stars who will be in decline. How about 3 years at $6 million for each? The cap saving could go to the rebuild/retool.

    • If their agents advise them to sign that low, they need new agents. I don’t know how anyone can look at what Stamkos did this season and think he’s only getting 6 mil

  4. Senators Candidates
    for their vacant coach position. my choices
    Im sure a few more coaches will bit the dust.

    1/ Craig Berube,
    # 1 choice, He is Strict, Fair and right to the point
    Know how to win, would be great with the young Sen’s team and he knows the Sen’s Managment👏


    2/ Dean Evason, would be the #2 choice, out of the list of 4….

    Re; Todd McLellan,
    This pick would Not excite me as the next coach,
    He cant get His teams to the next level,
    He is a ho-hum Mediocre coach in both Edmonton & with LA Kings👎

    Re; Travis Green
    I Would look at him as an Assistant Coach to help out the New Head Coach as the young Sen’s need lots of work and help 👍

  5. Dubas just fired assistant coach Todd Reirden. Sullivan’s extension (signed before Kyle became GM) kicks in July 1st. Supposedly $5 M + per season.

    Will be interesting to see how this plays out. IF Keefe becomes available, maybe Dubas allows Sullivan to leave. But if I were Sullivan, I would force Kyle to fire me.

  6. Gerard Gallant would be a good coach for Ottawa.

    • They certainly could do worse – have done, in fact with their last 3.

  7. Re “ GM Kyle Dubas could allow Sullivan to go to New Jersey to make room for Keefe.”

    No FW

    Dubas has already madd so many bad decisions

    Let Sullivan go; that I’m ok with. Gteat guy but he’s just not getting the most out of the players and game in game out makes terrible personnel and line/pairing decisions

    Any of the suggested coaches Send are looking at will do

    NOT Keefe!

    Look at the results Keefe gets from that line up

    Dubas has failed in ever trade and every acquisition

    Got absolutely kicked in the knackers by Waddell in the Guentzel trade; hosed by Ward in the Karllsson trade; over-paid for the “2nd pairing “LD; loaded up and overpaid (and gave unnecessary term) to older depth players/4th liners

    He already made a huge mistake giving Accairi s 60% raise and 3 years (was coming off s “prove-me” 1 year contract where he failed to prove anything AND coming off of 3 successive years of decline)…. Dubas gave that contract because he “knew” Accairi from Leafs

    “Knowing” Keefe from Leafs; then acquiring him for Pens; very bad mistake

    Let Sullivan go to Devils; bring in Berube; get rid of players like Accairi, get younger, bigger, stronger; grittier…. Those moves make Pend s playoff team for sure

    Stamkos to Leafs…. Come on…. Reality check needed

    He’s spent his entire career with the zLightning; is the Captain; moving means uprooting family, selling home; new city, new team-mates; NO STATE TAX!

    He was s still valuable to the team

    Unless he goes to one of Kraken (very unlikely); Vegas (zero space); Panthers (space issue) ; Dallas (space issue); Predators (perhaps, they do have space) where there id no state tax;then an offer from other teams (especially ones from Canada) would have to be AT LEAST $2M per year greater than what Lightning can offer to incentivize him to sign

    The $2M extra gross just about nets the same take home; then you add the drawback of moving on from the only team he’s played for; saying goodbye to the city , teammates; friends, and selling home and uprooting family

    Space is the issue with Lightning

    Here’s the fix

    Zero chance of any space anywhere near current Cap hit ($8.5 M)

    That said, he only received $6.5 M (gross ) in EACH of 22/23 AND 23/24;

    This next contract id NOT a 35+ contract

    Can’t see him playing past 39

    Give him $30 M (total) over next 5 years (he won’t play past that) with each year’s Sal at $800 K; with huge signing bonuses in first 3 years; but have contract be for 8 years

    8 years at $800 K Sal

    24/25 and 25/26; EACH with $8 M SB

    26/27 & 27/28 EACH with $4 M SB

    27/29 a $2 M SB

    full NTC for first 5 years
    No trade protection in final 3… note he’ll retire a Bolt after 5 years

    Cap hit; wait for it. Just $4.05 M

    Stamkos gets a big raise for next two years; effectively makes almost the same average (over next 5 years) as last two; stays with team , team-mates; friends; doesn’t have to sell home and move (upheave) family; STILL no state tax

    That’s the move to make

  8. To sign Stammer, trade Cerelli (his NTC does not kick in till next year) for a good prospect and a pick. such as Berggren and a 1st (maybe more). Stammer goes to 2C duty.

  9. late to this one ..but Evason was really fired by the Wild for not being able to get that thin depth out of the 1st round. and not sure anyone expected them to win any of those matchups with that team.
    Good choice in Ottawa imho…the energy of Berube could work too. but I see Berube getting a sniff of Toronto depending on today