NHL Rumor Mill – May 31, 2024

by | May 31, 2024 | Rumors | 24 comments

Check out the latest on Mitch Marner, Linus Ullmark, Martin Necas, and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli recently published his list of trade targets leading up to the 2024 NHL Draft on June 28-29. Follow the link for the complete list. Here’s a look at some of the more notable ones:

Mitch Marner: It’s decision time for the Toronto Maple Leafs to extend the 27-year-old winger’s contract or trade him. He has a full no-movement clause, but if the Leafs won’t extend him, it might be in his best interest to facilitate a move to a preferred destination in his contract year.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby believes Marner would be welcome in many NHL towns despite his hefty $10.9 million salary-cap hit for next season. He suggested the Pittsburgh Penguins (where former Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas now resides), Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames and the Utah franchise (Mammoth? Yeti?). Hornby also noted the possibility of Marner remaining with the Leafs.

Meanwhile, The Toronto Star’s Nick Kypreos admits to being among those calling for the Leafs to trade Marner but he now feels that’s less of a certainty. He suggests the onus could be on a rival club making an aggressive offer for Marner to move. There’s also the risk of Marner shining elsewhere like Matthew Tkachuk in Florida and Zach Hyman in Edmonton.

Linus Ullmark: The Boston Bruins goaltender could become one of the hottest commodities in the trade market leading up to the draft. Winner of the Vezina Trophy last season, the 30-year-old goaltender lost the starter’s job to Jeremy Swayman. He has a year left on his contract with a $5 million cap hit. Ullmark reminded everyone at his end-of-season interview that he has a no-trade clause for a reason. However, the Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators could be interested.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s colleague Matt Larkin included the Kings and Senators on his list of destinations for Ullmark along with the Colorado Avalanche and New Jersey Devils.

New Jersey Hockey Now’s James Nichols cited a report out of Boston suggesting the Bruins could seek a first-round pick or a player of comparable value. However, Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy cited an NHL executive indicating Ullmark’s market value remains unknown, suggesting they could also end up with a third-rounder.

Martin Necas: The 25-year-old forward is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He’s made it clear to Hurricanes management that he wants a larger role, which will be impossible with Andrei Svechnikov and Seth Jarvis ahead of him on the depth chart. The Vancouver Canucks are among the teams believed to have indicated their interest in Necas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa noted a rumor suggesting a straight-up swap of Necas for Ullmark. However, a league executive believes that would be a mistake for the Hurricanes, swapping a 25-year-old RFA whose best seasons remain ahead for a 30-year-old goalie with a year left on his contract whose best years could soon be in his past.

NYI Hockey Now’s Russell Macias believes Necas should be the Islanders’ top trade target if available this summer. The Hurricanes winger has also been linked to the Montreal Canadiens.

Filip Gustavsson: The Minnesota Wild are willing to entertain trade offers for the 25-year-old goaltender. Marc-Andre Fleury will return next season while promising Jesper Wallstedt is waiting in the wings. The cap-strapped club could free up $3.75 million if they find a trade partner for Gustavsson.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau: Seravalli speculates Islander GM Lou Lamoriello might use some of the additional draft capital he received in a recent trade with the Chicago Blackhawks to package Pageau to another club. The Islanders only have $6 million in cap space. Moving Pageau would clear $5 million annually from their books for the next two seasons.

Jacob Markstrom: The Calgary Flames remain open to moving the 34-year-old goaltender. He has two years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $6 million and a full no-movement clause. With other high-value goalies potentially available this summer (Ullmark, Juuse Saros), the Flames’ best chance to get a quality return might’ve been back at the March trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s rumored the Flames had a deal to ship Markstrom to the New Jersey Devils but it fell through for uncertain reasons. One of them had Flames ownership spiking the deal because the club was still in the playoff hunt at that time.

Following the trade deadline, Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald indicated he would be in the market this summer for a starting goaltender. He could still have his sights on Markstrom, provided the netminder is willing to go there.

One St. Louis defenseman: Seravalli believes Blues GM Doug Armstrong will once again attempt to shake up his blueline by peddling Torey Krug, Justin Faulk, or Nick Leddy. He believes there will be interest in Colton Parayko but considers him worthwhile to retain. Parayko has six seasons left on his contract with an average annual value of $6.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krug, Faulk, and Leddy all have full no-trade clauses until July 1, 2025, while Parayko’s runs to July 2028. Armstrong tried to move Krug to the Philadephia Flyers last June but the blueliner nixed the deal. Finding a suitable destination that Krug, Faulk, or Leddy would find acceptable could prove challenging.

Reilly Smith: The Pittsburgh Penguins’ forward frequently appeared in this season’s rumor mill but didn’t draw as much interest as other wingers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That situation might not change this summer. Smith’s performance notably declined this season with the Penguins, hurting his trade value.


  1. Scooby Dubas traded Guentzel because the Penguins couldnt afford to resign him but now are in the market to move players and or picks to obtain Marner who will need to be signed to a new contract at a larger AAV?

    Makes zero sense, but to be fair it is Scooby youre talking about.

    • Ron, you might be reading to much into a Sun columnist spit balling.

      If Dubas trades for Marner, I’ll quit drinking beer….. uhh, switch that, I’ll quit eating fries, uhhh, I’ll quit eating broccoli.

      • Marner for Karlsson. About the only thing that makes sense money wise.

      • You know I saw that too chrisms. TO could use another puck moving d-man, preferably on the right side. Things that make you go hmmm, but why would Marner would want to go to PIT long term? If winning is his goal, I would pick somewhere else.

        Not trying to troll PIT fans. IMO that is not the direction they should go either.

      • uh, guys: Marner is 27. Karlsson is 34. On that basis alone the Leafs would get robbed.

      • Pens side it would essentially be to replace Jake for one year. But lj. I never said it was a good or bad deal for either side. Just the only way money works. I could say move graves and smith for Marner but that’s even worse for the leafs than karlson.

      • Karlsson 34 and 3 more years at 10 million. That makes sense to you money wise. Somebodies been sipping the Koolaide early today

      • I get what you’re saying Chrism. But the minute someone uses “the money works.” Usually it’s a lopsided deal where nothing but the money works.

        Honestly, I don’t think this particular deal helps either team. I can’t see Marner waiving to go to Pittsburgh, (nor should Pittsburgh have interest at this point) and Karlsson in Toronto makes very little sense.

        If Toronto moves Marner, it’s definitely to save cap space and fulfill other needs. More than likely to fit 2 players under the cap rather than a 1-1 trade.

    • Penguins traded Jake Guentzel because rumor Guentzel turned down 6 years at 50 million, and he wants 7 years at 70 million. Is Guentzel worth 7 years at 70 million? Is Mitch Marner worth his current or future new contract?

    • The Penguins have zero players, picks or prospects that would interest the Leafs in any proposed trade for Marner.
      I’m not even sure why writers, pundits and bloggers bother to bring it up.
      There are 30 other teams in the league besides the Penguins who would like to acquire Marner as well.
      There has to be a suitable trade for it to work and 90% of the teams in the League either can’t fit Marner under their cap or have nothing to offer the Leafs in return!
      Penguins are a prime example of both.

  2. I expect Ron Francis to try and trade for Necas. He drafted him as a center.

    • If Necas is actually available, and he suggested it out loud that he wants a change, plenty of teams will pursue.

      If I’m Carolina I try to keep him, or take him to arbitration. Unless of course the offers are worthwhile. Which there could be. Might be an actual hockey trade vs pending UFA for picks/prospects.

  3. Here’s a prediction: Linus Ullmark will NOT be coming to Ottawa – except as a goalie for a visiting team.

    • Trade Forsberg(retain 1M) and Parker Kelly for Gustavson

      Wild probably want a goalie with a higher upside though. But they are in cap hell.

  4. @ Chrisms
    Marner for Karlsson. About the only thing that makes sense money wise.
    Not bad, but does TML want to get older? Karlsson just turned 34 today. He also only had 56 points this past season. TML needs a RD, but were looking for more of a shutdown guy…..
    Then again Marner only has 1 yr on his contract…….And trading Marner was more about gaining Cap space, I don’t see the Pen wihing to retain any cap here…..but retaining just $1M might move the needle

    • Can`t see Marner waiving to go to Pittsburgh and eating 1 million wouldn`t move a feather in a stiff breeze. Plus Karlsson isn`t what Toronto needs

    • Seriously?
      Marner for Karlsson?
      I doubt Marner would even agree to a trade to Pittsburg a team that is 5 – 10 years away from contending.
      If Marner agrees to a trade there will be a lot better offers for the Leafs to choose from than 34 year old Erik Karlsson!

  5. Necas is the hot topic,things quiet on the Lindholm front? How about a trade involving Nurse to Boston for Hampus Lindholm,Edmonton paying 1-2 million of Nurses contract!

    • Why would Boston trade for an overpaid underachiever?

      • The 64 dollar question is why would Edmonton make such a stupid trade. Nurse doesn`t get the benefit of playing on a defensive minded team with Swayman in net. Nurse has more offensive upside and is 10 times tougher to play against than Lindholm. Straight across would be a definite no, eat 2 million of nurses contract, yikes somebodies dreamin`

      • Because The Boston fans view Lindholm the same way!Why aren t more teams defensive minded than like you say Boston is?

  6. doesn’t Marner to Buffalo make sense? The Sabres need Marner and they have plenty of pieces to complete the deal. Do it!

  7. Pettersson is at §11.5 m but younger .
    I think that it is high right now. It is also a bench mark comparable right now.

    Necas is one of the exciting players in the NHL. . Won’t be cheap

  8. If Colorado is interested in Ullmark, why not build a package for Casey Mittelstadt? Boston could add a player or prospect. Mittelstadt is going to be on the 3rd line behind MacKinnon and Rantanen but could push first or second line for Boston.