NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2024

by | Jun 3, 2024 | Rumors | 13 comments

What could the offseason hold for the Stars? What’s the latest Rangers speculation? Could the Panthers move a key defenseman to free up cap room this summer? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


ESPN.COM: Ryan S. Clark looked at what the offseason might hold for the Dallas Stars following their elimination from the Western Conference Final.

Matt Duchene and Joe Pavelski are unrestricted free agents on July 1. They were part of the Stars forward depth that enabled the club to challenge other top contenders. Clark believes they should be back if there’s cap space to make it work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars have a projected $15.9 million of cap space for 2024-25 with 13 active roster players under contract. While their core players are all under contract, squeezing Duchene and Pavelski within that limited space won’t be easy unless they accept pay cuts or management makes a cost-cutting trade.

Pavelski’s struggles during this postseason prompted retirement speculation. If he hangs up his skates, it could make it easier to retain Duchene.


THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh wondered if New York Rangers general manager Chris Drury might consider any moves that shake up the core and free up some salary-cap space.

New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (NHL Images).

Baugh noted that Rangers captain Jacob Trouba’s performance this season did not play up to his $8 million cap hit. The 30-year-old defenseman’s no-movement clause becomes a 15-team no-trade list on July 1 for the final two years of his contract. There’s speculation that Trouba could draw some interest in the trade market, especially if the Rangers retain part of his cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Baugh believes that’s something Drury should consider but it’s probably not an option the Rangers GM will take seriously. They’re all-in for the Stanley Cup and Trouba is a key part. A more likely cost-cutting trade candidate is forward Barclay Goodrow. He’s under contract through 2026-27 with a $3.64 million annual average value and a 15-team no-trade clause.

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears believes the Rangers have big decisions to make regarding restricted free agents Ryan Lindgren, Braden Schneider, and Kaapo Kakko.

Lindgren is a linchpin player in line for a significant raise over his current $3 million AAV. Drury might have to shed some salary to free up room to keep him.

Schneider is coming off his entry-level contract with little leverage. He could get a three-year bridge deal for around $3 million annually.

Meanwhile, questions remain about Kakko’s future with the Rangers after struggling through this season and the playoffs. The 23-year-old still has the potential to become a top-six winger but whether he’ll do so on Broadway is another matter. Sears expects the Rangers will likely reshape their roster this summer while trying to save money. Shopping Kakko’s rights is an obvious move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Peter Baugh believes there will be interest in Kakko if the Rangers decide to trade him this summer. He suggests it might be the best move for the player and the team, speculating he could fetch a second or third-round pick.

Mollie Walker believes Igor Shesterkin could aim for a historic contract after his dominant postseason performance. The 28-year-old goaltender will become a UFA next summer but the Rangers can sign him to an extension on July 1. Walker speculates his camp could aim for a long-term deal for as high as $12 million annually, which would be a salary-cap record for an NHL goalie.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shesterkin is also a former Vezina Trophy winner (2022). The Rangers have no choice but to lock him up to a long-term deal that could reach $12 million per season.


TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons noted that the Florida Panthers want to re-sign winger Sam Reinhart and defenseman Brandon Montour.

The thinking is, the Panthers will look to trade Aaron Ekblad at the end of the season and use his money to keep Montour,” writes Simmons. He also believes Reinhart will sign a “tax-friendly deal brought to you by the state of Florida,” meaning he could accept less than market value because Florida doesn’t have a state tax.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers carry a projected $20.8 million of cap space next season with 13 active roster players under contract. New deals for Reinhart and Montour will take up most of it so a cost-cutting trade is necessary.

Moving Ekblad and his $7.75 million AAV for next season would be bold given his role as one of their top two defensemen and team leaders. He’s also a year away from UFA eligibility. However, that seems like a “last resort” option for Panthers GM Bill Zito.

Ekblad has a 12-team no-trade list which would complicate things. His cap hit won’t be easy for teams to absorb even with the salary cap rising by $4 million next season.

More likely cost-cutting candidates include Evan Rodrigues ($3 million annually through 2026-27), Niko Mikkola ($2.5 million through 2025-26), or even Sam Bennett ($4.425 million). All of them lack no-trade protection. Like Ekblad, Bennett is a year away from UFA eligibility.


  1. Cant see them moving Bennet. Both Montour and Reinhardt will take discounts

  2. MTL could potentially move Kovacevic, a 3rd and a 7th for Kakko. Maybe the change of scenery could benefit the for Jeff Gorton first rounder

    • I do think Kakko is worth more than spare parts…it will take a first at least to land him or the Rangers should keep the player You really don’t want another Nichuskin or even Lafrenièrre

      • Don, nobody’s giving up a first for Kakko. Especially after the season he just had. Maybe they’ll get a second. The Rangers will likely give him a one year deal in hopes he takes steps forward because trading him won’t bring back much,

    • It said it may take a second or third for Kakko. Now your offering 3 prices for a player who bearly got 10 points. Only if there s a bidding war would price be so high

  3. Shesterkin will account for roughly 13% of the cap with the projected ceiling going up per Brooks.

    Not sure if the Rangers HAVE to cave and sign him to that kind of deal. Honestly, I don’t think this is a decision they should make July 1st. I’d make some roster adjustments before I made that call.

    There were some reports yesterday that NY is mulling a Trouba buyout. Not buying it. Still believe he wasn’t 100% coming back from whatever injury he was out with leading up to the playoffs. He could be a trade candidate, but I doubt at his full hit.

    Still think Kakko is worth another look.

    NY should target either Zegras or Turcotte who LA has blocked with FA signings/ trades.

    NY should also take very close looks at Othmann, Perreault and Berard.

    Bridging Schneider to a 2 year 3 per deal makes a ton of sense. Trouba comes off the books right on time. And so will Panarin.

    Jones needs to be an every day player in NY. He was fantastic when both Fox and Trouba went down with injuries.

  4. No mention of FLA trading a goalie. Knight will still be waiver eligible but carries a $4.5M Cap hit.
    Bob’s last 2 years has a 16 team NTC. Retaining $4M would make him a better option than Marksrtom or and even Ullmark and Soros who will be looking for raises. Unfathomable???

    • EDIT: Knight is waiver exempt!

      • Johnny, if Panthers were willing to trade Knight, Fitz should give them a call. It’s not an in division trade, and could be a real hockey trade.

  5. That Trouba contract was a big overpay since day 1. He’s been a solid player, although his recent stretch has been shaky (injured?), but he’s never put up enough points to justify that payday.

    • Agree Brock, he had a couple of good years in Winnipeg, but I think he was overpaid by NY. Some of it can be written off as playing behind Fox, no PP time and given tougher assignments.

      I did a deeper dig into Trouba a couple of weeks ago, and oddly, his overall numbers and defensive metrics are pretty good. Except the PK where his numbers are horrendous.

      No question Trouba was not 100% returning from injury for the playoff run.

      Still a guy I’d keep around until he expires . Gives Schneider time to grow. Miller on the other hand? I’m either making him a right wing or trading him this offseason.

      • CO I totally agree everyone’s looking at Trouba and Schnieder ( keep Schneider) if you can dump Trouba’s salary do it but the real problem is Miller be gets beat to the puck doesn’t hit and can’t skate if you have a taker for him give him away

  6. Re Florida

    I think it time to bring up Knight @23 yrs old
    with a cap hit of $4.5M…..❓
    SpongeBob has 2 years left at $10.M per

    The panthers need to find out over the next 2 season if Spencer Knight can be the guy they think he is….