NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2024

The fallout from the Leafs re-signing William Nylander, an update on Oilers goalie Jack Campbell, and the latest on the Senators in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan believes the work has just begun for Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving after signing William Nylander yesterday to an eight-year, $92 million contract extension.

On July 1, captain John Tavares and winger Mitch Marner will be eligible to sign contract extensions as they’ll both be in the final season of their current deals. Marner’s next contract will probably cost between $11.5 million annually and $13.25 million.

Treliving could also consider tweaking his roster by the March 8 trade deadline. Bolstering the defense remains a priority. He could also look at adding a depth forward.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran also noted that T.J. Brodie, Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Meanwhile, goaltender Ilya Samsonov continues to work on improving his game with the AHL Marlies.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski speculates Nylander’s new contract could come up in contract negotiations between the Vancouver Canucks and Elias Pettersson. The difference, however, is Nylander was slated to become a UFA on July 1 whereas Pettersson is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel could also benefit from Nylander’s new deal. They’re a little older but could make the case for seeking over $10 million annually on their new contracts.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will likely cost the Leafs more than Nylander’s $11.5 million and less than Auston Matthew’s $13.25 million AAV to get Marner under contract. He could come in between $12 million and $12.5 million on a long-term deal.

Tavares is playing well but the 33-year-old Leafs captain will have to accept a pay cut from his current $11 million AAV to stay in Toronto. How much of a cut will determine whether he has a future with the Leafs beyond July 1, 2025. It’ll have to go at least below $10 million for sure.

The Leafs can afford to re-sign Brodie, Bertuzzi and Domi but they won’t overpay to do so. It won’t be surprising if at least one of them ends up hitting the open market on July 1.

Pettersson is two years younger than Nylander and keeping pace with the Leafs winger in points. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up with a similar contract given his value to the surging Canucks.

Reinhart and Guentzel could get over $10 million annually on their next contracts with the salary cap rising by $4.2 million for 2024-25. Whether they get them from their current clubs remains to be seen.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland intends to see if Jack Campbell can bounce back though there’s no real sign of it yet.

I’ll watch Jack Campbell, I’ll work the phones, I’ll watch our team and ultimately between now and the trade deadline, make some decisions with our staff as to what we think we need to do,” said Holland.

LeBrun speculates the Oilers GM could attempt to add a veteran goalie to be a 1B with Stuart Skinner or a more traditional backup. He thinks a goalie trade is possible but doesn’t see a likely scenario where they can move Campbell’s contract before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun thinks it could cost the Oilers two first-round picks to convince a club to take on the remaining three years of Campbell’s contract. Unless the Oilers are willing to retain up to half of his $5 million average annual value, I don’t see him going anywhere by deadline day.


SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan believes roster changes are inevitable for the struggling Ottawa Senators. With their playoff hopes fading away, management must decide who stays and who goes.

Scanlan wonders what effect the years of losing could have on defenseman Thomas Chabot and team captain Brady Tkachuk. He wondered if the new front office is as devout to sticking with the mantra of building with youth as their predecessors.

General manager Steve Staios has publicly said he wants to add a veteran or two. However, there is a theory that he could also attempt to shake things up by moving one or two of the young core players.

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes believes all eyes will be on Senators forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Dominik Kubalik leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. Both are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

Mendes also noted that Thomas Chabot’s no-trade clause kicks in on July 1. While it seems doubtful the Senators would trade their best defenseman, the new regime in charge isn’t beholden to anyone on this roster as they didn’t acquire any of them.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Staios is trying to juggle salary-cap space to make room for center Shane Pinto once he’s finished serving his 41-game suspension later this month. He’ll have to demote someone or make a cost-cutting trade.

Garrioch also reports Staios will find it difficult to add one or two veteran players at this time. Teams that have good character players prefer to keep them and those that are available come with a high asking price. A league executive also said those players prefer going to a playoff contender rather than Ottawa.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch indicated Staios and his front office team aren’t ready to move core players like Chabot, Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle, Josh Norris, Drake Batherson and Jake Sanderson. We won’t see any of those guys being peddled by the trade deadline.

Nevertheless, Scanlan makes a good point about the effect that years of losing could have on some of those players, especially guys like Chabot and Tkachuk who’ve been there the longest. Perhaps one or two of them grow weary of this situation and request a trade in the offseason.

For now, Tarasenko and Kubalik appear to be the only notable Senators certain to be on the move by the deadline. We’ll see if that changes in the coming weeks.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 6, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – January 6, 2024

Check out the latest on the Senators and the Blackhawks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau recently looked at which two players the Ottawa Senators will likely shop leading up to the March 8 trade deadline.

Looking at the Senators’ record, Proteau believes they don’t have a chance at reaching the playoffs this season. General manager Steve Staios will have to decide which players to keep and which ones to send packing by the deadline.

Ottawa Senators winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

Winger Vladimir Tarasenko is their best trade asset. He’s on a one-year, $5 million contract and becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The 32-year-old winger currently has eight goals and 24 points in 32 games. Staios could move him for young players and draft picks.

Dominik Kubalik is another trade candidate. The 28-year-old winger is also slated to become a UFA this summer and has eight goals and 11 points in 34 games with a $2.5 million cap hit.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Staios continues his search for veteran help before the trade deadline. He seeks a third-line forward who can help support alternate captain Claude Giroux by acting as a leader for their younger players.

Garrioch also indicated that Shane Pinto is expected to sign a one-year contract worth around $800K. There is speculation that Staois could be discussing a long-term extension with Pinto’s agent but it’s unlikely to be the case.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a second-half performance for the ages, the Senators will not make the playoffs this season. Staios will be a seller at the trade deadline.

It will be surprising if Tarasenko and Kubalik aren’t moved by March. As for Pinto, Staios will likely evaluate his performance over the remainder of the schedule before getting into contract talks beyond this season.

Staios will also want a veteran leader or two with term remaining on their contracts. Whoever they bring in must be willing to be there and help to lead their younger players. Staios might have better luck finding those veterans via free agency this summer.

Hiring the right kind of coach will also be necessary for the Senators to make any real progress after this season. We know that Jacques Martin is only a stop-gap measure for the rest of this season. Whoever they hire as their full-time bench boss will have to keep Daniel Alfredsson on the coaching staff. With everything else going on, the new ownership must avoid repeating the mistakes of the past by alienating the popular Senators Hall-of-Famer.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers dismissed recent speculation suggesting the Chicago Blackhawks could be looking to add big-name talent to their roster for next season. “If you were dreaming of someone like William Nylander, you’re going to be disappointed,” he writes.

Powers noted the Blackhawks will have plenty of salary cap space for 2024-25. “If someone wants to get paid more than market worth on a short-term deal, the Blackhawks would be happy to open their checkbook.” However, it’s unlikely to happen for long-term deals.

Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson isn’t likely to deviate from his current rebuilding plans until he has a better idea of the talent available in his prospect pipeline. He doesn’t want to pay a veteran for the next eight years with the money that will be needed to re-sign Connor Bedard and Kevin Korchinski when their contracts expire in 2026.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will also puncture last week’s speculation suggesting Elias Pettersson will forsake the Vancouver Canucks to join the Blackhawks this summer.

Pettersson is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights playing on a team that is jockeying for first place in the standings, a team that will pay him handsomely to stay in Vancouver. He’s not going to stage a holdout to force the Canucks to trade him. The Blackhawks aren’t going to send him an offer sheet as it would probably be matched. Even if the Hawks successfully signed Pettersson away, they would owe the Canucks five first-round draft picks as compensation.

As Powers noted, the Blackhawks won’t be rebuilding forever. For now, Davidson isn’t going to change his current plans.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 30, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – December 30, 2023

Dissecting a rumor linking Elias Pettersson and William Nylander to the Blackhawks plus the latest on the Leafs goaltending in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPITTIN’ CHICLETS: Matt Murley told hosts Colby Armstrong and Mike Grennell that he’d heard Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson and Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander could be interested in joining the Chicago Blackhawks.

Do not be surprised if you see Elias Pettersson try to make his way to the Chicago Blackhawks to be with (Connor) Bedard next year,” said Murley. He also claimed there was “a lot of talk about Nylander going to Chicago as well.”

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

Murley acknowledged Pettersson’s status next summer as a restricted free agent so he’s “not exactly sure” how that will work. However, he noted the Blackhawks will have a lot of salary-cap space.

SPORTSNET: During Friday’s “32 Thoughts” podcast, Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed Murley’s rumor linking Pettersson to the Blackhawks.

Friedman didn’t discredit or denigrate Murley. “He’s not an idiot. He hears things. I’ve seen the stuff that he reports. He gets information. People talk to him,” he said.

However, Friedman called Murley’s report “premature”, adding that he believes the Canucks will throw a significant amount of cash toward re-sign Pettersson when he’s ready. He doubts that Pettersson is giving much thought to his contract status right now as he’s focused on playing this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I have a few questions.

First, why would Pettersson want to leave a team that’s currently jockeying for first place in the overall standings for a rebuilding club that’s near the bottom of the standings? For that matter, why would Nylander leave a reliable playoff contender (albeit one with just a single playoff-round victory) to join a club that’s several years away from postseason contention?

During an Aug. 23 interview with Friedman, the Canucks star indicated he wasn’t sure if he wanted his next contract to be long or short-term. It’s also believed that he wanted to get a better sense of the Canucks’ direction after several losing seasons. In other words, he seemed reluctant to commit to a long-term deal if the Canucks failed to improve.

Nylander, meanwhile, has stated his wish is to remain with the Leafs. Unless his contract talks have reached a serious impasse, the intent on both sides is to get a deal done before his eligibility for unrestricted free agent status on July 1.

Second, why would Pettersson want to play with Bedard? The latter is a promising rookie who has no prior connection to the Canucks star. This isn’t like wanting to play with a more established superstar such as Edmonton’s Connor McDavid or Toronto’s Auston Matthews.

Third, why would the Blackhawks sign Pettersson and Nylander? Sure, they’ve got a whopping $52 million in projected cap space with just six players under contract for 2024-25.

They’ve got several restricted free agents such as Lukas Reichel and Taylor Raddysh but they won’t be expensive to sign. They must also re-sign or replace pending UFA goaltender Petr Mrazek, though that also won’t be costly to do.

The problem is Pettersson and Nylander could easily cost at least a combined $22 to $24 million to sign, taking a big chunk out of that cap space. That’s not troublesome for next season but having those two on the books could make it difficult to re-sign Bedard when their supposed crown jewel will be due for a new contract (with a whopping big raise) in 2026. It could also complicate other signings or make it difficult to improve the roster.

Adding Pettersson and Nylander would work for the Blackhawks if they already had a solid or promising supporting cast. However, they’re still in the middle of a major roster rebuild and still need depth at every position. A roster featuring Pettersson, Nylander and Bedard might be more entertaining but it will still lose more games than it wins until the roster depth issues are suitably addressed.

Why would the Blackhawks deviate from their rebuilding program in such a sudden and dramatic fashion? Wasn’t the game plan to build around Bedard with promising young players and affordable veterans with experience and leadership abilities? Why invest in two expensive superstars who’ll be on the downside of their careers when the Blackhawks are finally ready to become Stanley Cup contenders?

In short, Pettersson and Nylander to the Blackhawks makes no sense for the players or the team.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: David Alter believes the Toronto Maple Leafs could be running out of patience with struggling goaltender Ilya Samsonov. Before Friday’s 6-5 loss to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets, head coach Sheldon Keefe expressed his belief that general manager Brad Treliving “is going to consider everything.”

With Joseph Woll sidelined until late January, the Leafs have been using the tandem of Samsonov and Martin Jones. The latter has been shouldering the load but it means they need to use Samsonov in back-to-back games.

Alter believes the Leafs don’t have many options. They could call up promising young goaltender Dennis Hildeby but he’s playing in North America for the first time and they want to avoid bringing him up too early.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel has seen enough of Samsonov’s performance and believes the Leafs cannot play him any longer. He also acknowledged their reluctance to call up Hildeby but believes they have little choice, suggesting he wouldn’t need to play a lot. He also suggests that Treliving explore the trade and free-agent markets for short-term help.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov’s confidence is shot right now, Jones is an effective but aging backup while Hildeby has little North American hockey experience. With Woll’s return still a few weeks away, they’ll need to find a short-term fix between the pipes or risk sliding out of playoff contention.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2023

The latest on contract talks involving the Leafs’ William Nylander and the Canucks’ Elias Pettersson, an update on Patrick Kane, and why the Bruins shouldn’t break up their goalie tandem in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports there’s ongoing dialogue between Toronto Maple Leafs management and William Nylander’s representatives regarding a contract extension. Both sides remain tight-lipped as they keep the discussions out of the media.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (NHL Images).

They’re hoping to get a deal done before July 1. However, it’s difficult to do so as Nylander’s strong performance this season is pushing up his leverage.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember the speculation suggesting Nylander’s asking price could be $10 million annually? I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s now around $11 million per season. If the Leafs can’t or won’t pay it, another team happily will, especially with the salary cap rising by a projected $4 million for 2024-25.

Nylander’s been underpaid for some time now and he wants fair market value on his next contract. No “hometown discounts”.

Darren Dreger said there’s less of a sense of urgency between the Vancouver Canucks and Elias Pettersson compared to what’s going on in Toronto with Nylander.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s because Pettersson is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next July whereas Nylander is slated to become an unrestricted free agent

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said this week that there’s been good communication with the Pettersson camp. However, they haven’t yet reached the stage where they’re swapping numbers regarding dollars and terms. Dreger thinks there’s a chance this could get done during the season but we’ll have to wait and see.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If you think Nylander’s asking price is gonna be high, wait until you see what Pettersson gets if he’s willing to agree to a long-term deal with the Canucks. He’s currently jockeying with teammates Quinn Hughes and J.T. Miller for the points lead among this season’s NHL scorers. If Pettersson wins the Art Ross Trophy, his next contract could be between $12 million and $13 million annually.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli pointed out the reason why the New York Rangers won’t be getting into the bidding for Patrick Kane. The way their salary-cap payroll for this season is currently structured they lack sufficient cap space to sign the 34-year-old winger.

Seravalli also indicated that Kane wants to sign soon, hopefully by the end of next week so he can stop answering this question.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane reportedly isn’t lacking for possible suitors. The Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs have been linked to the future Hall-of-Famer, with the Sabres and Panthers said to have kept in touch since the offseason.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss pointed out that the Bruins goaltending tandem of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman has been bailing out the club’s leaky defense of late. That’s why it would make little sense to trade one or the other for a top-six center or a top-six winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams in dire need of a goaltending upgrade (hello there, Edmonton Oilers!) have been mentioned as possible trade partners if the Bruins were willing to part with Ullmark or Swayman. However, Bruins GM Don Sweeney is unlikely to move either guy.

Before the start of this season, Sweeney said that maintaining his goalie tandem would keep his club competitive as they adjust to the retirements of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Ullmark and Swayman have held up their end of the bargain thus far. They’re a big reason why the Bruins are jostling with the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the overall standings.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 17, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 17, 2023

The Senators down the Red Wings in overtime to kick off the 2023 Global Series, the Golden Knights regain first place in the overall standings, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 on a goal by Tim Stutzle in the dying seconds of overtime to kick off the 2023 NHL Global Series in Stockholm, Sweden. The Senators held a 4-0 lead at one point before the Red Wings stormed back to send the game into OT. Stutzle finished with a goal and two assists while Brady Tkachuk tallied twice for the Senators as they improved to 7-7-0. Shayne Gostisbehere netted the game-tying goal and finished with three points for the 8-5-3 Red Wings.

Ottawa Senators center Tim Stutzle (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the NHL’s Alumni Association made Hall-of-Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom the inaugural winner of the Borje Salming Courage Award. It is presented each year to a European NHL Alumni member “who has been a positive influence in their community and best embodies Salming’s lasting legacy of bravery, courage, and dedication on and off the ice.”

Senators Hall-of-Famer Daniel Alfredsson was behind the Senators bench as an assistant coach at the request of Sens head coach D.J. Smith. He’ll return there again for Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

Third-period goals by Logan Cooley and Lawson Crouse 28 seconds apart gave the Arizona Coyotes a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Connor Ingram stopped 39 shots as the Coyotes improved to 8-6-2. Damon Severson tallied twice for the slumping Blue Jackets (4-9-4), who have just one win in their last 10 games (1-7-2).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Something’s got to give for the Blue Jackets. They’re in last place in the Eastern Conference and there’s no indication that they’re anywhere close to reversing their fortunes. Struggling scorers Patrik Laine and Johnny Gaudreau were benched during the final minutes of the third period in this contest.

Coyotes forwards Matias Maccelli and Barrett Hayton left this game with upper-body injuries.

The Vegas Golden Knights (13-3-1) regained first place in the overall standings by downing the Montreal Canadiens 6-5. Shea Theodore had a goal and three assists while Jack Eichel and Mark Stone each had a goal and two assists for the Golden Knights (27 points) as they overcame a 3-1 deficit in this contest. Jesse Ylonen scored twice for the Canadiens (7-8-2) as they’ve dropped three in a row.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj left this game in the second period favoring his left shoulder following a big hit by Vegas forward Ivan Barbashev. It is not the same shoulder that required season-ending surgery in February.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Jesper Bratt, Alexander Holtz and Tyler Toffoli lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Vitek Vanecek made 21 saves for the 8-6-1 Devils. Bryan Rust netted two goals for the Penguins (8-7-0) while team captain Sidney Crosby collected an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils winger Timo Meier missed this game with an undisclosed injury. He should be considered as day-to-day.

The Tampa Bay Lightning ended a three-game losing skid by doubling up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Brayden Point had a goal and two assists for the Lightning (7-6-4). Corey Perry and Lukas Reichel replied for the Blackhawks as they slipped to 5-9-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Blackhawks placed defenseman Nikita Zaitsev on non-roster for personal reasons and recalled Filip Roos from their AHL affiliate in Rockford. Zaitsev missed practice on Wednesday and there’s no timetable for his return.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm had a goal and two assists in a 5-2 upset of the Vancouver Canucks. Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and an assist as the Flames moved to 6-8-2 on the season. Elias Pettersson and Nils Hoglander scored for the 12-4-1 Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes collected an assist as he, Pettersson and J.T. Miller remain tied atop the league’s scoring leaders board with 27 points each. The Canucks kept forward Andrei Kuzmenko out of the lineup for this contest as he was undergoing medical assessments after taking a puck to the face during Wednesday’s game against the New York Islanders.

The Seattle Kraken defeated the New York Islanders 4-3 as Kailer Yamamoto scored the winning goal during the eighth round of the shootout. Yamamoto finished the game with a goal and an assist in regulation for the 6-8-4 Kraken. Mathew Barzal collected two assists for the slumping Islanders as dropped to 5-6-5 with just two wins in their last 10 games (2-4-4).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders forward Matt Martin missed this game with an upper-body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day.

Kings forwards Kevin Fiala and Anze Kopitar scored as their club held off the Florida Panthers by a score of 2-1. Fiala finished with two points while Cam Talbot kicked out 30 shots as the Kings improved to 9-3-3. Sam Reinhart replied for the Panthers with his 13th goal of the season as the Panthers dropped to 10-5-1.

The San Jose Sharks got a 44-save performance by goalie Kaapo Kahkonen to upset the St. Louis Blues 5-1. Mike Hoffman tallied two goals for the 3-13-1 Sharks while Pavel Buchenich had the lone goal for the 8-6-1 Blues.


NHL.COM: The league is hoping to stage one final draft under the current format next year. Under the current format, all 32 teams travel to the draft’s host city. The change will allow the team representatives to stay at home to conduct their draft business.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports indicate the league hopes to hold the 2024 draft at The Sphere in Las Vegas.

The NHL is also working with the NHL Players’ Association regarding the possible staging of a World Cup of Hockey in 2025 with NHL players participating the following year in the Winter Olympics.

In other league news, Commissioner Gary Bettman said he’s hopeful the Arizona Coyotes could have their new arena plan revealed by midseason…Bettman also acknowledged rumors of expansion to Quebec City, Atlanta, Houston and Salt Lake City but claimed the league currently has no plans to add teams, claiming they’re not in expansion mode…Germany could be on the shortlist to host a future NHL Global Series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL is not in expansion mode unless you can come up with a $1 billion expansion fee…Not you, Quebec City! Sit down! They’re only interested in big US markets.

NEW YORK POST: There is concern for Rangers forward Filip Chytil as he’s been out of the lineup since Nov. 2 by what is believed to be the fourth concussion of his NHL career. The club could end up shopping for a center if Chytil remains sidelined long-term.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also indicated that Chytil has been sidelined 10 different times since 2018-19, not including his two-week absence during training camp with an upper-body injury. It also doesn’t include the facial injury he suffered during the World Championships that bothered him well into the offseason.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche forward Artturi Lehkonen is currently in a neck brace as he recovers from falling headfirst into the boards during last week’s game against the Kraken. There’s no real timeline for his return but it’s believed he could be out for weeks.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Adam Erne was fined $2,018.00 by the league’s department of player safety for elbowing Kraken forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on Wednesday.

THE SCORE: Florida Panthers assistant general manager Brett Peterson was named the GM of USA Hockey’s senior men’s national team. He’s their first-ever Black general manager. “It’s a great honor, and I’m excited to get a group of fantastic individuals together and see what happens,” said Peterson.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 12, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – October 12, 2023

Check out the latest on the Lightning plus some trade and free-agent predictions for this season in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun noted that the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t claim a goaltender off waivers as a short-term replacement for sidelined starter Andrei Vasilevskiy. However, general manager Julien BriseBois didn’t rule out a possible move for a goalie as he’s leaving all his options on the table.

LeBrun believes the Lightning will try to hang in there with their current tandem of Jonas Johansson and Matt Tomkins until Vasilevskiy returns. However, if they need an addition, they have the flexibility to do so with their starter on long-term injury reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise there. They evidently felt comfortable with their current tandem and didn’t see any improvement among the goalies who were on the waiver wire earlier this week.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

BriseBois also downplayed Steven Stamkos’ disappointment over a lack of contract talks during the summer. He said his captain’s remarks didn’t surprise him because it was the same thing he told him during the offseason.

The Lightning GM said he didn’t think it was Stamkos’ intent to create headlines and understood his position. Unless something changes, however, those contract talks will wait until after this season. BriseBois also told LeBrun that he didn’t believe this situation would be a distraction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos may not have wished to make headlines but that’s happened. Regardless, I agree that this won’t be a distraction for BriseBois or his captain as they focus on remaining among this season’s Stanley Cup contenders. Still, it could be worth revisiting this situation by February depending on how this season unfolds for the Bolts.


SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen recently published bold predictions for all 32 NHL teams ahead of the start of this season. Among them were a few interesting moves:

He predicts Patrick Kane will sign with the Buffalo Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Color me skeptical because I don’t think adding another winger on a team already loaded with offense is the best way for them to invest cap dollars. Still, I won’t dismiss the possibility, especially if Kane doesn’t find any Stanley Cup contenders able to afford his services.

Boylen expects the Los Angeles Kings will open the 2024 playoffs with a goaltender who’s currently not on the team. He believes they’re taking a big risk with Pheonix Copley and an aging Cam Talbot as their tandem.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with this take. There could be more suitable options between the pipes available to them in the trade market by midseason.

Boylen predicts the Philadelphia Flyers will trade a top-six forward. He believes the rebuilding club is set up to be a seller at the trade deadline with some attractive assets like Scott Laughton or Travis Konecny.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laughton and Konecny have surfaced in the rumor mill at times this year. Playoff contenders will likely come calling for one or both and could be willing to pony up some decent assets to get them.

Boylen also thinks the St. Louis Blues will be sellers again. He noted that they tried to move a defenseman during the summer but five of them have trade restrictions on their contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That defenseman they attempted to move was Torey Krug, who made it clear that he’s not waiving his no-trade clause. Maybe one of the others (Colton Parayko, Justin Faulk, Nick Leddy and Marco Scandella with his partial no-trade) would be willing to do so, provided the Blues become sellers again.

One bombshell prediction is this season could be Elias Pettersson’s last with the Vancouver Canucks. Boylen noted he might be reticent to re-sign if the club has another rocky season with making the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson was reluctant to discuss a long-term contract extension with management. That has some wondering if they’re even keen to make a lengthy commitment with him. I think the outcome of this season will determine Pettersson’s future in Vancouver.