NHL Rumor Mill – June 6, 2024

by | Jun 6, 2024 | Rumors | 28 comments

A look at the offseason market for goaltenders and the latest on Brady Tkachuk, Martin Necas and Chandler Stephenson in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen offered up an analysis of the goaltenders potentially available in this summer’s trade market and the teams who could be interested in them.

The big names include Nashville’s Juuse Saros, Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom, and Boston’s Linus Ullmark.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saros seems the least likely of those three to be available. The Predators are reportedly planning to open contract extension talks soon, though they could listen to offers if those negotiations stall.

Markstrom has two years left on his contract with an average annual value of $6 million and a full no-movement clause. The 34-year-old Flames goalie was reportedly close to getting traded to the New Jersey Devils in February but for some reason, the deal fell through. It’s assumed Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald could revisit his interest in Markstrom, who could waive his clause to go to New Jersey.

Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (NHL Images).

Ullmark seems the most likely to be traded. He’s got a year left on his contract with a cap hit of $5 million and a 16-team no-trade list that becomes a 15-team list on July 1. It’s believed the Bruins intend to make Jeremy Swayman their full-time starter with promising Brandon Bussi as his backup. It was rumored the Bruins were close to moving Ullmark before the trade deadline to a team on his no-trade list but he rejected the deal.

Other trade options include Minnesota’s Filip Gustavsson, Ottawa’s Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins, and Washington’s Darcy Kuemper.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’re all on this list because of their recent inconsistent performances.

Gustavsson is the odd man out among the Wild goalies with Marc-Andre Fleury returning for one more season and promising Jesper Wallstedt ready for promotion. Korpisalo has four years left on his contract with an annual average value of $4 million and a 10-team no-trade list.

Merzlikins raised eyebrows in January with a trade request that his agent subsequently walked back. He’s got three years left on his contract with an AAV of $5.4 million and a 10-team no-trade list. Kuemper’s performance has declined over the past two seasons. He’s also got three years left on his deal and a 10-team no-trade list. His AAV is $5.25 million.

The free-agent market is rather thin on reliable starters but has plenty of backups with varying abilities. They include Kaapo Kahkonen, Casey DeSmith, Anthony Stolarz, Ilya Samsonov, Laurent Brossoit, and Cam Talbot.

Boylen listed the Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings, Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings as potential buyers.


SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan noted the recent trade speculation suggesting the Ottawa Senators might listen to trade offers for captain Brady Tkachuk, forcing GM Steve Staios to deny the rumors in a recent interview with The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.

The trade conjecture about Tkachuk is baseless but it’s not going away. Scanlan believes the only way to nip it in the bud is for the Senators to finally improve into a playoff contender. Another missed postseason will only further stoke speculation about their captain’s future in Ottawa.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are building around Tkachuk but the constant losing is wearing on him. The 24-year-old left winger has four years left on his contract. He’s already been in the NHL for six seasons without a sniff of the playoffs. This year’s disappointment had to be particularly bitter following such a promising buildup to this season.

If the Senators keep spinning their wheels, Tkachuk will run out of patience at some point. He’ll want to play for a winner while he’s still in his playing prime. Another lost season or two could force him into requesting a trade. He’ll get slammed in some quarters for bailing on the Sens but most folks won’t blame him for doing so.

Tkachuk is doing everything he can to lead the Senators into postseason contention. His performance on and off the ice back this up. He and his teammates have been let down by years of mismanagement by Staios’ predecessor.


THE JEFF MAREK SHOW: Marek spoke with colleague Elliotte Friedman about potential suitors for Carolina Hurricanes winger Martin Necas.

Friedman isn’t sure that some of the teams reportedly interested in Necas (Vancouver and Montreal) have what the Hurricanes want for the winger. The Boston Bruins could offer up goaltender Linus Ullmark, noting the two teams discussed the former Vezina Trophy winner before the March trade deadline.

Marek noted the Buffalo Sabres have a lot of prospects and draft capital to use as trade bait. However, he doesn’t think any of that works for the Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes will set a high asking price for Necas, hoping his potential as a scoring winger will fetch a significant return. They can retain him if they don’t get any suitable offers, but there’s a sense among the punditry that they prefer to move him rather than face a potential arbitration hearing.

Earlier this week, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli said he wouldn’t be surprised if Necas was traded by this Saturday. We’ll find out soon enough if that’s the case.


VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen recently reported Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson could draw several suitors if he hits the open market on July 1. He’s coming off a four-year contract with an AAV of $2.75 million.

Allen cited reports suggesting the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Nashville Predators could be among a growing list of teams that could come calling about Stephenson when free agency begins.


  1. No way the Bruins move forward with a rookie backup at this stage. That’s one thing the Bruins won’t do. Bussi is good and still needs to be developed. Ullmark gets moved they will sign a veteran backup. No way they risk losing Sway to injury and having a rookie backup to hold down the fort especially since they’d have to call up a guy from providence to be the backup

    • Bussi being waiver-eligible this year complicates matters.

    • DeSmith played pretty good for Vancouver, his numbers only dropped when he was forced to be the number one

    • Jack Campbell is available on the cheap. LOL

      • Matt Murray also UFA

      • Jack Campbell played well the last half of the season
        He may get some interest if the oilers hold $2.M of his $5.M salary as the goaltender market is going to be a Hot one……❓

  2. D-Day.

    Hope everyone takes a moment to reflect and remember those brave souls that stormed the beaches.


    • Amen Ron. Those men saved the world. May those no longer with us rest in peace and cheers to those still with us.

  3. Reports here in Winnipeg is that 28yr old Nikolaj Ehlers who will be in his last year of his contract isn’t interested in resigning in Winnipeg.

    Ehlers has a 10 team no trade list, he is a LW who scored 25 goals 32 assist 57pts in 82 games played with a +27.

    I’ve always been a fan of Ehlers certainly has speed to kill.

    The down side for me is that Ehlers reminds me of Matt Grzelcyk, a different player come playoff time.

    This year playoff sour me on Ehlers his soft play was very discouraging.

    Ehlers career regular season numbers 201 goals 256 assist 457pts in 605gp with a +92

    Ehlers playoff numbers 4goals 10assist 14pts in 34gp with a -9

    Watching Ehlers in the playoffs was very disappointing and always left me wanting more because i didn’t find the effort was there as he was lacking any sort of physical engagement.

    • A good replacement for Bertuzzi! 😉

    • What reports?

  4. I believe that Oettingers backup, Scott Wedgewood, is a UFA this year too. Yes, he’s a perennial backup, but he had a pretty good season this year. Kinda glad that no one is talking about him. Love to have him back in the same role.

    Since Pavs is retiring, I would love to see Necas play along side Hintz or Johnston

  5. Re; Brady Tkachuk

    There is No-way the Sen’s are moving him… Yes The Senators are building around Tkachuk but the constant losing is wearing on him yes, But now old GM PD is gone ……
    Steve Staios will fix the Mess, They have $12.M in Cap space today. not a lot but its a start with some smart moves and Trades🤔

    #1 problem is there Goaltending, They have never had a Good Starter in net, Lots of Perennial Backup’s
    over the past few years like
    ➡️Cam Talbot,
    ➡️Anton Forsberg,
    ➡️Joonas Korpisalo,

    if they can Move Chychrun for a Goaltender like Ullmark, even in salarys $$ they may have to through in a 3rd pick to make it work

    # Sign a UFA RD-man for the 2nd paring
    this will fix lots of the problems the Sen’s have
    Cost $3-$4.M

    Sign Pinto to a bridge deal $3.M

    with the Sen’s 7th pick at the draft on the 28th,
    An Offencive RD man like
    1st, Zayne Parekn,
    2nd, Levshunov,
    3rd Yakemchuk,
    All are highly rated to go in the top 5-12 spots, However They are all 1 to 3 years away But its a Huge hole RD for the Sens, nothing coming like these 3 offencive RD-men, Sens have some 5 & 6 RD-men but nothing for the top 4🤔

    • I agree regarding Brady, but if he pulls a Spezza, not much the brass can do. If I were Staios, I’d probably hold on the goaltending situation and give both guys a chance to bounce back.
      I’d trade away Chychrun for some cap relief and picks, or a solid RD. I’d use the cap to bolster RD looking mostly at Tanev, Roy, or Demelo. Then use the rest of the cap to bring in some help on the forwards….i’d love to land Marchessault, but if not some solid two way guys on the bottom 6.

    • The issue with Brady, is his NMC kicks in Next July 1 and will run for the final 3 years of his contract.
      Yeah they have 12 million in cap space, but they have to fill 8 spots.
      Pinto is likely going to be a 2-3 deal between 4-5 million per.

  6. The Preds brought back Mitch Korn. That leads me to believe that Saros will definitely be moved. Korn has been brought in for the young Russian netminder to take over.
    At least, that’s what I think.
    Trotz is aggressive and looking to do something.

  7. Nashville better be careful about moving Saro s with a talented but inexperienced goalie replacing him!Look at all the teams out their dying for a goalie! Boston is in a different place,it makes no sense to keep Ullmark at this stage!

  8. SR,

    The 3 big goaltenders are getting moved for sure,
    And a Dark Horse Starter….❗️👀

    NJ, LA, Sen’s, Leafs, They Could all be in the market for a starter?

    Preds are in a Re-build/Re-tool, picks and prospects

    Boston need a top 4 LD man & A good Centre or 2❓

    Calgary are looking for picks and Prospects for the Re-build

    Dark Horse in the Race…. (Thatcher Demko)
    Could he get moved…⁉️

    • Why would the Canucks trade Demko? That doesn’t make any sense. They’re trying to improve the team, not rebuild.

      His contract is up after the 2025-26 season, maybe there will be talk about trading him as the 2026 trade deadline approaches… but that’s a long way off and will depend on team and goalie and contract variables between now and then.

      • East Van,

        if they trade Thatcher Demko, that would give then about $30.M in Cap space, They could re-sign
        Casey DeSmith to mentor young RFA,
        Arturs Silovs who will be with the Canucks for next season,

        Then they can Fix the D, Re-sign Hronek & Zadorov, add one more good d/man,
        Then add A Good Scoring Winger to the
        Top 6…
        and add to the 3rd line

  9. Senators being miss managed for years is a bit harsh. Dorion has made solid moves that the majority at the time of the moves supported.
    The Karlsson trade has worked out. Drafting Brady over Zadina worked out. You could argue before this that loving zabinejad out was a bad decision but the team got to double over time of the conference finals. So at the time it worked

    My biggest critique is the impatience with the young goaltenders . From Bishop through to guys like Gustavsson and Daccord. Dorion always wanted the green grass of tenders on the other side of the fence

    Many teams struggle to get back to the playoffs. The recurring injury to Norris’s shoulders and extensive time of along with losing half a year of pinto due to breaking the leagues gambling rules amongst other issues resulted I. Thai teams stalled development. It isn’t like Ottawa is a destination where free agents flock and signed players keep off the no trade list.

    • Jeff

      the Sen’s have had lots of Very Very High Draft picks over the past 8 years.

      letting young 25 yr old goaltender Gustavsson go
      was a bad move goaltenders normally come into the own around 23 to 25 depending on there development, you just cant rush them,

      #1 Priority is still a goaltender
      #2 A top 4 right stay home d/man for 2-3 years
      #3 If they can Draft a Good RD man with the #7 pick they are set in there top 4.

  10. If Saros stays in Nashville, then the price for Ullmark and Markstrom goes up. The reason is that they are the only two good starters available.

    • Not sure price goes up, problem with trading Ullmark or Saros is that they cant be extended prior to the draft. So there will be a leap of faith that they will be able to extend after they trade some very valuable pieces. With the 2 years left with Markstrom, it reduces the risk of losing valuable assets for potentially a 1 year rental. Yeah, I know, Markstrom is 34. Last I looked, Bobrovski also had some tough years as well & he’s 35 & backstopping his team to consecutive Cup finals.

  11. If Saros is extended, does that mean they trade Askarov? He’s on the books for 1 more year at $1M before becoming RFA. I don’t see how they can extend Saros for 4-6+ years and also keep Askarov around (and happy).

    • Saros will look for a 7 year deal with a new team and it will have to have a sign and trade in place before a trade ❓
      8 year deal with the Preds with a no trade if he stays there with the Preds…..🤔
      Don’t know if he wants to go into a 5+ year Re build..❓❓

  12. I think Chandler Stephenson would be a good UFA fit in Pittsburgh. A solid third line center, 15-20 goal potential, fairly young, and a good two way player.

  13. What does any team trade for Ullmark, making a “reasonable” 5 mil this year, butwhat’s he going to want on his next contract? This needs to be discuss ahead of time. You don’t give up a #10 OA draft pick not knowing how it’ll play out. Also, having a 16 team no trade list, is NJ a team he won’t go to? Same way he may refuse to go to Sens? I’m sure B’s are letting Fitz do his due diligence. Let’s see how it plays out.