Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 10, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 10, 2023

The latest on Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele plus other Penguins trade needs in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun and Michael Russo reported Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff isn’t looking to trade goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele right now.

“The narrative took on a life of its own,” said Cheveldayoff. “Obviously we made some changes to our organization and we think we’re situated to be in a real good, competitive spot.”

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (NHL Images).

That narrative is the contract status of Hellebuyck and Scheifele. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer unless they re-sign with the Jets before then. LeBrun and Russo noted there’s a risk that the Jets could lose those two for nothing if they’re not signed before the projected March 8 trade deadline.

Cheveldayoff, however, is putting his focus on winning this season. He also indicated there’s been ongoing dialogue with both players, adding that he’ll meet with them once training camp opens later next week.

LeBrun and Russo’s colleague Murat Ates believes Cheveldayoff’s body of work during the offseason might give the Jets a chance to re-sign Hellebuyck. The most notable move was shipping Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Los Angeles Kings for Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo and Rasmus Kupari.

Ates speculates there’s a possibility of a short-term contract between the Jets and their starting goaltender. Scheifele’s situation, however, is less clear.

If the Jets are forced to move Hellebuyck and Scheifele before the trade deadline, Ates believes they could fetch solid returns. The club could also accrue $10 million in cap space by the deadline if they wish to become buyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a significant offer before the regular season begins, it’s safe to say that Hellebuyck and Scheifele will start this season with the Jets. Whether they finish the season in Winnipeg or stay beyond that remains to be seen. 

If the Jets are sitting in a playoff position, Cheveldayoff will likely keep both players for the postseason even if it means they’ll depart next July as free agents. On the other hand, one or both could be peddled at the trade deadline if the club is near the bottom of the standings.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski doesn’t see the Penguins making any forays into the trade market before the season opens next month. However, they still have some roster shortcomings that could require a trade or two later this fall.

The Penguins could use some offense among their bottom-six forwards. With the club pressed for salary-cap space, it must also be affordable.

Kingerski also believes the Penguins need to boost the right side of their third defense pairing. Chad Ruhwedel or professional tryout offer signing Mark Pysyk are tentative options to be penciled in at that position.

Marcus Pettersson could once again find himself the subject of trade rumors. Other potential trade chips could be left-shot defensemen Ty Smith, Will Butcher and Libor Hajek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like former Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, current GM Kyle Dubas isn’t afraid to wheel and deal to try and address his roster issues. He could attempt to make another move or two later this season if those issues raised by Kingerski persist.

NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2023

The summer of Erik Karlsson continues with more speculation linking the Sharks defenseman to the Penguins. Check out the latest plus some possible Sabres trade candidates in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes remain the primary suitors for Erik Karlsson as both clubs have permission to speak with the San Jose Sharks defenseman. The Penguins have had multiple people (apart from president of hockey ops Kyle Dubas) talking to Karlsson in recent weeks and several within the organization are confident that the Penguins are his preferred destination.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and top defenseman Kris Letang have endorsed the pursuit of Karlsson. Letang would remain their No. 1 defenseman and skate on the top pairing but he’s willing to change his role on their top power-play unit to allow Karlsson to quarterback it.

Dubas and his staff are working on several scenarios that would allow them to acquire Karlsson while remaining cap compliant. One is a straight-up trade with the Sharks. Another would involve a third team with salary-cap space. There could also be a scenario that would include buying out a current roster player such as Mikael Granlund.

Rossi also indicated that Dubas spoke with Jeff Petry last month in Detroit about all possibilities, including a trade. The 35-year-old defenseman is not open to a trade far away from his family in Michigan. He has a 15-team no-trade list.

The Sharks are interested in Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson as part of the deal but Dubas has resisted offers thus far. The Penguins’ hockey ops president also favors top-five protection on any first-round draft picks and expects the Sharks will retain a portion of Karlsson’s $11.5 million cap hit. How much they’ll retain depends on what assets the Sharks receive in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As expected, a Karlsson-to-Pittsburgh trade would be a complex deal involving a lot of moving parts.

It certainly seems like the Penguins are the front-runners. The most we’ve heard about the Hurricanes’ interest is they’re “monitoring” the situation. That doesn’t mean they’re not making offers or trying to work a deal but there’s been almost nothing of substance being reported about their efforts to land the Sharks blueliner.

Rossi noted the Penguins get a second contract buyout window because of Drew O’Connor filing for arbitration. His arbitration hearing is Aug. 4 but he and the Penguins could reach an agreement on a new contract by then. Whether O’Connor’s situation is settled before his hearing or requires an arbiter’s decision, the Penguins will have 48 hours following the settlement to buy out a roster player.

That could explain why the much-anticipated trade sending Karlsson to Pittsburgh hasn’t taken place yet.


THE ATHLETIC: Matthew Fairburn recently looked at several Buffalo Sabres who could become trade candidates. The club currently has 10 NHL defensemen and three goaltenders who could be ready to play this season. They also have several forward prospects who could be ready to join the lineup.

Winger Victor Olofsson is the most logical trade candidate given his one-dimensional play and that he was a healthy scratch during some key games down the stretch. His $4.75 million cap hit for this season makes him tough to move under a flattened cap. The offseason injury to Jack Quinn could force management to retain Olofsson until Quinn’s return.

The Sabres’ blueline depth could make Henri Jokiharju expendable. He does have some value which could make him a more realistic trade candidate before the start of the season. Ilya Lyubushkin could also be available but might not have as much value as Jokiharju.

They must also decide between goalies Eric Comrie and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Comrie could have some value around the league as a cheap backup. Other trade options include Jacob Bryson and Riley Stillman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One or two players on Fairburn’s list could be playing elsewhere when the Sabres open their season in October. Olofsson seemed to be a goner for sure before Quinn was sidelined. Perhaps they’ll evaluate the performance of their promising forwards to determine if they can part with him before the season begins.

When it comes to Comrie and Luukkonen I can’t see them parting with the latter. Still, it could come down to training camp and preseason performance.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 11, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 11, 2022

What next for Wayne Simmonds, Nick Foligno and Mike Reilly after clearing waivers on Monday? Are the Canucks interested in Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson? What’s the latest on the Senators’ search for a blueliner? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS/SPORTSNET: Mike Stephens and Luke Fox wondered what’s next for Wayne Simmonds after the Toronto Maple Leafs winger cleared waivers on Monday. The 34-year-old could start this season with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate or he could be traded.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds (NHL Images).

Stephens and Fox both cited rumors that have Simmonds returning to the Philadelphia Flyers, where he spent nearly eight seasons and enjoyed the most productive period of his career. Fox also cited Nick Kypreos claiming the Ottawa Senators could have some interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs management said they’re not concerned about return but want to do right by Simmonds. His best seasons are well behind him but he’s still well-regarded for his toughness, experience and leadership. He also carries an affordable $900K cap hit for this season which could be enticing to clubs with limited cap space.

The fact Simmonds cleared waivers makes it easier to move him in the trade market. He can be demoted to the minors within the next 30 days without having to pass through waivers.

Stephens also weighed in on what the future could hold for Boston Bruins forward Nick Foligno and defenseman Mike Reilly. Like Simmonds, they both cleared waivers on Monday.

He cited rumors suggesting the Philadelphia Flyers as a destination for Foligno, who played for Flyers coach John Tortorella when the two were with the Columbus Blue Jackets. They’re said to be seeking some veteran leadership.

Meanwhile, Reilly’s skills as a mobile defenseman could make him attractive to a club like his hometown Chicago Blackhawks, who could later flip him at the trade deadline for future assets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins won’t want much in return for Foligno or Reilly as they can’t afford to take back too much salary. They’ll need the space for when Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy come off the long-term injury reserve list later this season. Having cleared waivers, they too can be demoted within the next 30 days without having to pass through them again.


THE JEFF MAREK SHOW (stick tap to “NHL Watcher”): Elliotte Friedman said he knows there’s been reports linking the Vancouver Canucks to Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson. However, “someone threw cold water on that to me last night”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Penguins carrying nine defensemen under NHL contracts, Pettersson was frequently mentioned during the off-season as a trade candidate. However, they found other ways to become cap compliant to start this season, assigning Ty Smith and Mark Friedman to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

32 THOUGHTS PODCAST (stick tap to “NHL Watcher”): Elliotte Friedman still believes the Ottawa Senators intend to add a defenseman. “I believe they’ve talked internally about it, and my expectations is they’re still going to do it.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators were linked to Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun throughout the latter half of the off-season. The Coyotes’ expensive asking price, however, could have them considering more affordable options. We’ll see what transpires. Maybe they’ll make a trade for a Penguins defenseman?

NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2022

A look at several proposed destinations for Nazem Kadri plus the Ducks might not be done making additions to their roster. Check it out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski examined seven potential destinations for Nazem Kadri. The 31-year-old center is the top player still available among this summer’s unrestricted free agent class.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

The New York Islanders, Seattle Kraken and Calgary Flames are among Wyshynski’s proposed destinations based on recent speculation, followed by the Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, and Detroit Red Wings. He also doesn’t rule out a possible return to the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz recently reported the Islanders could be pursuing Kadri after losing out in the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes. They need a boost to their offense and, as Kurz and Wyshynski suggest, Mathew Barzal or Brock Nelson could shift from center to the wing to make way for Kadri.

Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater reported last week that Kadri has offers on the table. However, some are from non-contenders and he’s apparently not interested in signing with those teams. That would take the Kraken out of the running.

The Senators and Red Wings have improved following their recent offseason moves but Kadri might not see them as contenders. It’s believed the Senators are more focused on adding a top-four, right-side defenseman.

Unless the Bruins’ efforts to bring back Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci have fallen through I don’t see them bidding for Kadri. The Flames could try to sign him but he rejected a trade to Calgary three years ago and could still be averse to playing there.

Kadri was very receptive to staying with the Avalanche and they would’ve reportedly loved to bring him back. However, they’ve got limited cap space for the coming season and must ensure they’ve got sufficient long-term space for the big raise Nathan MacKinnon will be entitled to on his next contract. A return to the Avs isn’t in the cards for Kadri unless they shed a lot of salary or he accepts a low-cost one-year contract and goes to market again next summer.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently reported Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek isn’t done making additions to his rebuilding roster. Having signed forwards Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano, Verbeek said he’d like to add another forward and a defenseman.

The Ducks remain under the $61 million salary-cap floor for the coming season. Stephens pointed out that John Klingberg remains available in the free agent market. P.K. Subban, Anton Stralman, Calvin de Haan and Ryan Murray are among more affordable stopgap options.

Blueline trade options could include Colorado’s Samuel Girard or Pittsburgh’s Marcus Pettersson. Others could include Carolina’s Ethan Bear or Sean Walker or Sean Durzi of the Los Angeles Kings.

Verbeek said he’s seeking shorter-term options on defense. He indicated he’ll look to the free agent market before going the trade route.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard has surfaced from time to time as a possible trade candidate. However, recent reports by Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater suggest the Avs don’t want to part with him.

Bear just signed a one-year contract with the Hurricanes but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t move him at some point. If Verbeek wants short-term blueline options he could pass on Pettersson and his $4.025 million cap hit through 2024-25.

NHL Rumor Mill – July 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 26, 2022

Pierre-Luc Dubois addresses the recent offseason speculation swirling around him plus a look at the Penguins blue line in today’s NHL rumor mill.


WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck reports Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois spoke to reporters yesterday via Zoom conference call to address recent rumors claiming he wanted out of Winnipeg.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

If I wanted out I would have asked for a trade,” said Dubois. “I didn’t ask for a trade. Not for one second. It didn’t cross my mind for one second to ask for a trade.”

Dubois also explained the reason why he attended the first round of the 2022 Draft in Montreal earlier this month. Rumor had it he was there in anticipation of a trade to the Canadiens. Dubois said he only lives 15 minutes away from the Bell Centre and was there at the invitation of his bank to a reception they were holding at one of the arena’s suites.

Regarding comments his agent, Pat Brisson, made about Dubois one day hoping to play for the Canadiens, he felt those remarks were blown out of proportion and taken out of context. “I just thought it was overblown, the reaction, and I think some people just ran with the two seconds that they liked or didn’t want to hear.”

As for his decision to accept the Jets’ one-year qualifying offer, Dubois said his next NHL contract could be his last before he retires. He wants to take his time to consider all factors before signing a long-term deal.

Dubois understands his non-committal answers about his future won’t quell the speculation. He knows he’ll face the same questions next summer when he’s once again a restricted free agent. Nevertheless, he intends to face them at that time and put his current focus on the Jets’ upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers remain skeptical about Dubois’ comments, suggesting that he’s in damage-control mode trying to downplay his agent’s remarks about skating for the Canadiens one day.

The Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan points out that Dubois’ RFA status next summer and UFA eligibility in 2024 won’t stop the speculation linking him to the Habs. He observed the club is pressed for cap space this summer. However, they could have room next summer if general manager Kent Hughes is interested in pursuing Dubois. He could also attempt to sign Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau if he tests the UFA market next summer.


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Mike DeFabo recently observed the Penguins still have nine defensemen after swapping John Marino for Ty Smith and Mike Matheson for Jeff Petry. Asked if trading another defenseman was in the cards, GM Ron Hextall replied, “not necessarily.”

Nevertheless, DeFabo speculates on how Hextall could address the issue. Much will depend on how young blueliners like Smith and Pierre-Olivier Joseph perform in the upcoming season. One of them could get traded at some point in the season.

Other options include moving Marcus Pettersson in a cost-cutting move, shopping Brian Dumoulin before his contract expires at the end of the coming season, or giving a depth blueliner such as Chad Ruhwedel or Mark Friedman a chance with another team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall might not be done tinkering with his defense corps. However, his recent acquisition of Petry and Smith could be the only moves he makes with his blueline for the offseason. He could wait until training camp or preseason or perhaps into the early weeks of the coming season to evaluate his defensemen before deciding if other moves are required.

NHL Rumor Mill – May 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 30, 2022

More speculation over the Blues’ offseason plan, the Canadiens’ Christian Dvorak could be a trade candidate and the latest on the Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.


STLTODAY.COM: Ben Frederickson reports it’s been whispered Vladimir Tarasenko has decided he wants to remain with the St. Louis Blues after last summer’s drama following his trade request led to a solid bounce-back season for the 30-year-old winger. He believes Tarasenko and the Blues belong together and hopes the winger and general manager Doug Armstrong agree.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong had difficulty finding a suitable trade partner last summer for Tarasenko, who’d been hampered by shoulder injuries the previous two years. His team-leading, career-best 82-point performance this season should considerably improve his trade value if he still wants out.

Tarasenko has one season remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7.5 million but with an actual salary of $5.5 million, which could also make him enticing in the trade market. He also carries a full no-trade clause, giving him control over potential destinations.

Armstrong could hang onto Tarasenko for another run at the Stanley Cup next season. Given the winger’s UFA status next summer, however, he could quietly revisit his trade conversations from last summer if Tarasenko’s future in St. Louis remains uncertain.

Frederickson suggests the Blues thank goaltender Ville Husso for his service during the regular season and allow him to depart via free agency. With limited salary-cap space and Jordan Binnington having salvaged his season with a strong playoff performance, it may be time for Charlie Lindgren to sink or swim as his backup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frederickson’s colleague Jim Thomas disagrees, believing the Blues should prioritize re-signing Husso given their lack of a clear-cut replacement within their organization. He noted the 27-year-old saved the Blues season when Binnington was floundering. The club has also invested a lot of time in his development. We’ll find out by July 13 which way Armstrong goes with his goaltending.

Regarding pending UFA David Perron, Frederickson believes the Blues should do all they can to keep him in the fold. He also recommended shopping forward Ivan Barbashev while the 60-point winger’s value is high if it’ll free up cap room given their depth up front.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Blues with $9.775 million in projected cap space. Perron and Husso are their main UFAs while Scott Perunovich and Niko Mikkola are restricted free agents.

Shipping out Tarasenko would clear considerable cap room to retain most of their key free agents and perhaps bolster their defense corps. Moving Barbashev would help if they keep Tarasenko but there won’t be much for other additions unless it’s a dollar-for-dollar swap for another player.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited a source saying Christian Dvorak’s name is out there in the trade market. He isn’t saying the Canadiens will trade the 26-year-old center but it sounds like teams are making inquiries.

It’s also no secret Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry is also being shopped and has been since requesting a trade during the regular season. If Petry and his $6.25 million annual cap hit gets moved this summer, Murphy wonders if GM Ken Hughes will attempt to do the same with Dvorak and his $4.4 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot will depend upon whether the Canadiens can divest themselves of the remainder of the permanently-sidelined Shea Weber’s contract. There were reports claiming they were close to moving it to the Arizona Coyotes at the trade deadline but it fell through because of the delay in sorting out the insurance issues.

Recent speculation suggests Hughes and the Coyotes could revisit that deal. If so, there might not be as much pressure to shed Dvorak’s contract, especially if Petry gets moved.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes the Penguins’ objective shouldn’t be finding a way to replace Kris Letang. Instead, they should re-sign the pending UFA defenseman but replace others on the blueline corps.

Kingerski believes the Penguins can’t afford to lose Letang’s offense considering the lack of production among their other defensemen. He recommended retaining Mike Matheson following his bounce-back performance this season and the affordable Mark Friedman. He called on management to shop blueliners such as Marcus Pettersson and John Marino and use the cap savings to improve the defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting suggestion but Penguins management might not see it that way. Then again, there has been speculation linking Marino to the Vancouver Canucks, so maybe they can shed him and perhaps Pettersson and find suitable replacements via trade or free agency.