NHL Rumor Mill – October 18, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 18, 2019

Could the Oilers try to bring back Taylor Hall? Does Jonathan Quick face an uncertain future with the Kings? Are the Hurricanes shopping for a forward? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting the Oilers could be a suitor for Taylor Hall if the New Jersey Devils decide to shop the winger.

Could the Edmonton Oilers attempt to reacquire Taylor Hall from the New Jersey Devils? (Photo via NHL Images)

“It would not surprise me at all if Edmonton is a big suitor here,” said Friedman. “I don’t know if they can make a trade, I don’t know if they have enough to make a deal, but it just wouldn’t surprise me. Put it this way: it’s long been believed that if Edmonton had a chance to correct and bring him back, that they would be interested. But there’s a new GM there now, so we’ll see.”

Hall is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. With the Devils struggling, Friedman said the winger’s status is becoming a topic of conversation around the league. Staples notes Hall would have more value as a long-term acquisition. Re-signing him, however, would be very expensive. The Oilers would have to free up at least $10 million in salary-cap space.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see this happening. If the Devils decide to shop Hall they won’t just give him away. I think they’ll want at least a good young player, a top prospect, and a first-round pick. Even if the Oilers came up with a suitable offer I don’t believe they can afford to re-sign him.

Cap Friendly indicates the Oilers have over $57.5 million invested in just nine players for 2020-21. Defenseman Darnell Nurse is a restricted free agent due for a hefty raise and they must re-sign or replace goaltender Mike Smith. There won’t be enough to sign Hall to what will likely be over $11 million annually. That’s assuming he’ll want to re-sign with the Oilers.


TSN: During last night’s “Insider Trading” segment, Bob McKenzie observed Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick’s poor performance has led to backup Jack Campbell seeing back-to-back starts. They also have promising Cal Petersen in their system but don’t want to bring him up yet, in part because Quick is on the roster but also because Petersen will have to pass through waivers next year. Quick seems the odd man out but he’s got four years remaining on his contract ($5.8 million annual average value) and isn’t tradeable right now. McKenzie feels his future is up in the air.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers suggested the Kings should swap Quick with a struggling starter on another club, like New Jersey’s Cory Schneider. Easier said than done. While their cap hit is almost similar (Schneider makes $6 million annually), the Devils goalie has a full no-trade clause. Even if Schneider waived it, the Kings probably wouldn’t be interested. I think they would want to trade Quick and replace him with Petersen.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen was a frequent subject of trade speculation after telling management he’d welcome a trade following another losing season. However, Ristolainen indicated he’s happy playing under new Sabres coach Ralph Krueger. LeBrun doesn’t see a trade taking place at this point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are off to a good start and aren’t in any rush to make a trade. They’ll have to move a defenseman once Zach Bogosian and Brandon Montour come off injured reserve but that doesn’t mean they’ll trade Ristolainen. If the Finnish blueliner keeps playing well under Krueger they could look at other options.


LeBrun also reports the Carolina Hurricanes are in the market for a top-nine forward. They’ve looked at New York Islanders winger Josh Ho-Sang and inquired into the Edmonton Oilers’ asking price for winger Jesse Puljujarvi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Hurricanes sitting atop the Metropolitan Division they can afford to take their time. They may have kicked tires on Ho-Sang and Puljujarvi but that doesn’t mean they’re on the verge of acquiring either guy. LeBrun pointed out the Hurricanes are also looking at other players.

Of the two, Puljujarvi has the most value. The Oilers are reportedly interested in Hurricanes winger Julien Gauthier.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2019

The latest on the Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Pittsburgh Penguins better-than-expected start without sidelined centers Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad has taken some pressure off general manager Jim Rutherford. Nevertheless, he’s still carrying nine defensemen and sources say he’s still trying to move one of them.

Could the Pittsburgh Penguins attempt to shop a defenseman like Erik Gudbranson (Photo via NHL Images).

LeBrun suggests the Winnipeg Jets could be an option, though they’re still waiting for Dustin Byfuglien to reach a decision on his future. He wondered if Erik Gudbranson might be a fit with the Anaheim Ducks.

Despite losing Niklas Hjalmarsson to injury, the Arizona Coyotes appear intent to address his absence from within. There’s no indication the struggling New Jersey Devils are seeking help but they could if they don’t snap out of their early-season funk.

LeBrun also said there’s competition in the trade market. The Dallas Stars are still shopping Julius Honka, plus the Buffalo Sabres could have moves to make once their blueline is fully healthy.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports a source claims the Penguins kicked tires on Joshua Ho-Sang. The New York Islanders winger cleared waivers two weeks ago and has requested a trade. Kingerski said his source claims the discussion was initial contact.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets really can’t make a move without Byfuglien’s decision. Their $6.6 million in cap space will evaporate if he decides to return. They’ll have to do a dollar-in, dollar-out deal at this point. The Ducks are seeking a right-shot defenseman but they might prefer a more affordable option that Gudbranson and his $4 million cap hit through 2020-21.

The Coyotes and Devils could be worth monitoring if they haven’t suitably addressed their respective issues soon. Losing Hjalmarsson is a big blow to their blueline but they also need to boost their anemic offense.

Rookie winger Sam Lafferty is playing well thus far for the Penguins. If he keeps this up they’ll have no need for Ho-Sang unless it’s to move out one of those defensemen.

Can Joshua Ho-Sang Save His NHL Career?

Can Joshua Ho-Sang Save His NHL Career?


NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2019

Updates on several 2020 RFAs, some Coyotes speculation, and the latest on Joshua Ho-Sang in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: The recent re-signings of Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat, Ottawa’s Thomas Chabot, Arizona’s Clayton Keller, and Colorado’s Samuel Girard left Pierre LeBrun wondering if those moves were a reaction to this summer’s RFA signings. Negotiations to re-sign notable youngsters coming off entry-level contracts dragged on throughout the off-season. Some, such as Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen and Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, weren’t resolved until the final week of the preseason.

Will the New York Islanders re-sign Mathew Barzal before next summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

LeBrun believes there have been preliminary talks between the New York Islanders and center Mathew Barzal, the Columbus Blue Jackets and center Pierre-Luc Dubois, the New Jersey Devils and center Nico Hischier, and the Montreal Canadiens and defenseman Victor Mete.

It could only be a matter of time until the Blackhawks open talks with Dylan Strome. Meanwhile, it could take until season’s end before discussions open between the Tampa Bay Lightning and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, the St. Louis Blues and rearguard Vince Dunn, and the Boston Bruins and winger Jake DeBrusk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those RFA talks could be determined by how much salary-cap space those teams carry for next season. As per Cap Friendly, the Blue Jackets, Canadiens, Devils, and Islanders have more cap space to work with for 2020-21. They can afford to pursue new deals during the season for their notable free agents.

The value of the player is another factor. Barzal, Dubois, and Hischier are all first-line centers. That makes them more valuable to their respective clubs and a priority to re-sign.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked if the Arizona Coyotes might trade Alex Goligoski this season. The 34-year-old defenseman’s no-movement clause has now become a modified no-trade.

Morgan doesn’t think they Coyotes have any desire to trade Goligoski. That might change if they’re out of playoff contention by the February trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Goligoski has an eight-team no-trade list. That give the Coyotes some room to maneuver if they wish to shop him later this season. He’s signed through 2020-21 but his $5.45 million annual salary-cap hit could be a sticking point.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins weighed in on why the Oilers didn’t pluck Joshua Ho-Sang off waivers from the New York Islanders last week. He feels the only way Ho-Sang could help the Oilers is if he played as a top-six forward, something the winger hasn’t been able to do at the NHL or AHL levels.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay that’s the reason why Ho-Sang passed unclaimed through waivers last week. I’ve read some comments suggesting he’s an affordable gamble but that’s a view that doesn’t seem to be shared by NHL general managers. The fact he’s almost begging for a club to take a chance on him says all we need to know about his value in the trade market. 

Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – October 6, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – October 6, 2019

Are the Ottawa Senators about to be sold? What’s the latest on Dustin Byfuglien, Alex Pietrangelo, Patrick Marleau, and Joshua Ho-Sang? Check out the latest in the NHL rumor mill. 


Chris Johnston reports there’s no truth to a rumored sale of the Ottawa Senators to Robert Kraft, owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots. The speculation was based on a cryptic Snapchat post by Kraft’s granddaughter showing the Senators’ rink with emojis that seemed to indicate the club was being sold. Elliotte Friedman suggested perhaps the Kraft group may have been looking at real estate around the arena. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If someone as well-known as Kraft was attempting to buy an NHL franchise it wouldn’t have been announced in this way. Considering how long it takes to complete the sale of a franchise it would’ve been revealed to the media long before any agreement would be in place. News like that is too big to fly under the radar.  

Still no word on whether Dustin Byfuglien will return to the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

Friedman also talked about Dustin Byfuglien’s ongoing leave of absence from the Winnipeg Jets. He’d recently said there was talk the Jets were trying to talk the defenseman out of retiring. Byfuglien’s agent said not to jump to conclusions and this situation could take time to resolve. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets will give Byfuglien all the time and space he needs to reach a decision. It could take weeks. 

Friedman also provided an update on the contract negotiations between the St. Louis Blues and captain Alex Pietrangelo. The Blues are heading to Toronto soon for a game with the Maple Leafs. Pietrangelo’s agents are based in Toronto and Blues general manager Doug Armstrong intends to meet with them. Friedman said the Blues hope to get Pietrangelo signed to something comparable to Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s eight-year deal ($8.25 million annually) with the Arizona Coyotes. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo’s earning $6.5 million annually on his current deal. Unless he’s willing to accept a hometown discount he could earn much more via next summer’s UFA market. The Blues’ re-signing of Brayden Schenn last week leaves them with over $73  million invested in 17 players. They also acquired Justin Faulk last month from the Carolina Hurricanes in a move some consider insurance in case Pietrangelo departs next summer. 

Johnston reports free-agent winger Patrick Marleau remains confident he’ll land with another NHL club this season. His preference is to play for a team close to his family in San Jose. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Marleau could be waiting a while. The Sharks won’t  bring him back, while clubs near San Jose (Los Angeles, Anaheim, Arizona) don’t appear interested. 

Friedman reports New York Islanders winger Joshua Ho-Sang is letting teams know he’ll do whatever it takes to get a fresh start after requesting a trade last week. That includes starting in the AHL if that’s what a team wants him to do. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang cleared waivers last week so he doesn’t have to pass through them again if acquired by another club. It remains to be seen if someone will take a chance on the former first-round pick. 

NHL Rumor Mill – October 4, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 4, 2019

The potential effect of recent RFA signings, the Oilers options to replace the sidelined Adam Larsson, and updates on Joshua Ho-Sang and Julius Honka in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


TSN: Pierre LeBrun suspects the rash of recent signings by players slated to become restricted free agents in 2020 could be a sign of a trend. After watching the negotiations for many of this summer’s top RFAs drag on well into training camp, some teams are moving aggressively to re-sign their pending top RFAs coming off entry-level contracts. 

Could Alex DeBrincat’s new contract with the Blackhawks lead to other 2020 RFAs, like the Islanders’ Mathew Barzal, getting re-signed during this season? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks were the latest, re-signing winger Alex DeBrincat to an extension yesterday. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard, Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller, and Ottawa Senators blueliner Thomas Chabot were also re-signed in recent weeks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We could see more over the course of this season. Those in the final season of their ELCs include DeBrincat’s linemate Dylan Strome, the New York Islanders’ Mathew Barzal (pictured), New Jersey’s Nico Hischier, and Columbus’ PIerre-Luc Dubois. 

Bob McKenzie believes the Edmonton Oilers aren’t opposed to going outside their organization to find a potential replacement for sidelined defenseman Adam Larsson. However, he doesn’t think there’s a comparable defenseman available.

He pointed out New York Islanders rearguard Thomas Hickey is available and was recently on waivers but he’s not a top-pairing blueliner. Hickey also carries a $2 million cap hit. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers recalled defenseman Evan Bouchard from their AHL affiliate. If he struggles to fill the void, perhaps general manager Ken Holland will explore the trade or waiver wire. 

Speaking of the Oilers, Darren Dreger observes a few teams expressed interest in Jesse Puljujarvi. The 21-year-old RFA winger is playing in Finland as he waits for the Oilers to honor his trade request. He’s playing well overseas but there’s nothing doable for the Oilers so far. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt there’s growing interest in Puljujarvi but the Oilers asking price of a draft pick and prospect could be more than those clubs are willing to pay. Maybe one of those teams will get desperate if injuries strike or they struggle to score. 

Dreger also notes New York Islanders winger Joshua Ho-Sang has requested a trade. He wants a fresh start elsewhere and isn’t averse to playing for another team’s AHL club. However, his fate remains in the hands of Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Arthur Staple doubts Ho-Sang will fetch much in return. Because he’s already cleared waivers he can be sent directly to the AHL if acquired via trade by another team. 

McKenzie believes it’s not a question of if the Dallas Stars move defenseman Julius Honka but when. The restricted free agent is in Finland awaiting a trade. The issue with him isn’t money but an opportunity and a fresh start after three seasons in the AHL. Teams are speaking to Stars GM Jim Nill. McKenzie expects the Stars will get a draft pick in return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Montreal Canadiens were reportedly interested in Honka, who’s also been linked to the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets.