One of the notable differences between the NBA and NHL is the player movement during the trade deadline and offseason. Hockey players are loyal dudes and for that reason, moves don’t take place as often. However, this season, the rumor mill is buzzing with the upcoming draft. Whether it be teams trying to fulfill needs, dumping salary or looking to move a player they can’t hang onto, this offseason is loaded with rumors.
We have plenty of speculation in this article. As you’ll see, it features both the good and downright bad. We take a look at the recent rumors to emerge, we’ll discuss which moves make sense, and which do not. We include several top tier players that might make a move this season such as Kovalckuk, Karlsson, Carlson, O’Reilly, Kessel, Pacioretty and many, many more.
Find out if your favorite team makes the good or bad side of this list. Some of these GMs might have you scratching your heads at the interest they have. That’s the beauty of hockey isn’t it? These GMs can be saviors or drive their fan base bananas! Here are ten rumored NHL offseason deals we hope are true and ten we don’t. Enjoy folks, let’s begin.
20 True - Jeff Skinner To Toronto
With Carolina jumping up the draft board, they’re in line to select an elite forward. According to the rumors, they’ll take Andrei Svechnikov, which seems to be a no brainer. Unfortunately for Skinner, he’s now the odd man out on the team. Of course, lots of teams have interest and one of them is the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Babcock loves speed on the wings so you can bet he’s nudging the GM to make this move.
Skinner can play an instant role alongside Hyman and Matthews on the top line. It would be a dream fit for the team and one that can put them over the first round hump of years past.
19 Untrue - Jack Johnson To Montreal
Jack Johnson is an interesting name out there. However, what might scare teams away is the steep price he's asking for. It also doesn’t help his cause that he’s in his 30s. Just ask the Habs how Karl Alzner's doing, who’s nearing his 30s as well...
Yup, the Habs have interest in the ageing D-man and when you look at their depth chart, you can understand why.
Aside from Weber and Petry, the blueline looks like a complete and utter mess. However, the answer isn’t another slow paced defenseman. Montreal might need to look within the organization instead and bring someone up from their Laval AHL affiliate.
18 True - Kovalchuk To St. Louis
At the age of 35, Ilya continues to mull over his future with several teams in the mix for his services. In terms of a fit, some make sense while others don’t. Both Los Angeles and San Jose seem like nice fits for the sniping winger, however, St. Louis might be the most attractive option of the bunch.
The Blues are a team trending upward with a mix of young and veteran talent.
Adding someone like Kovalchuk can bolster the team to the top of the West. In terms of chemistry, he can play a fantastic role on a top line alongside fellow Russian Tarasenko and thriving center Schenn. He can also get slotted alongside Steen and Fabbri for some secondary scoring.
17 Untrue - Kovalchuk To Detroit
Even Red Wings fans are scratching their heads at this one. The team is obviously in rebuilding mode, so adding a veteran in his mid-30s just really doesn’t make much sense.
According to the rumor mill, the Wings are looking to add the player so they can boost interest for the team along with ticket sales.
Ice time needs to go to the younger players this season. Adding Ilya won’t do much for the long-term of the team. Yea, he can play the role of a mentor but the team already has plenty of ageing veterans in that spot. If he wants to win a cup, you would think Kovalchuk joining the Wings would make no sense at all.
16 True - Ryan O’Reilly To Montreal
Oh yes, another offseason with the Habs connected to a top tier center. The team continues to search for some help down the middle and this particular name has the Habs fans talking. It is rumored that the Sabres are quietly shopping Ryan O’Reilly.
Seriously, isn’t he a blueprint of what the Habs really need at this point?
If this is to happen however, the Habs need the pay the steep price. According to the rumor mill, it’s going to take a top of the line pick along with an established player. The rumor of Phillip Danault and a second round pick going the other way certainly won’t cut it - other teams that seen to be kicking tires on the player include Carolina and Vancouver.
15 Untrue – Milan Lucic To Montreal
Montreal’s local newspaper stirred things up this week. According to the headline, the Habs have interest in struggling winger Milan Lucic. Marc Bergevin loves character guys like Milan and he had interest in the player just before he signed with Edmonton. However at this point, such a deal makes no sense at all.
Rumors suggest that Montreal would be willing to eat his $6 million per deal, however Edmonton is going to have to sweeten the pot.
Perhaps the team’s 10th round selection can do the trick. Aside from that, Montreal fans want no part of this deal. Hey, what if they send Karl Alzner the other way?
14 True - Max Domi To Pittsburgh
Staying the course is the wise option at times, however, it seems like the Coyotes are starting to lose patience with Max Domi. He played a full season last year only finding the back of the net 9 times. He had similar issues the year prior with the same goal totals. Keep in mind, he’s only 23 and playing on a pretty awful team.
Perhaps a change of scenery can do the trick. One of the teams heavily involved is the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The team has knack for making fine trades. Max can be a perfect fit on a line with Malkin and Hornqvist. He can also find chemistry in the three spot with Sheahan and Kessel. This would be a positive trade for the Pens without a doubt.
13 Untrue - Philipp Grubauer To Islanders
Yup, we’ve seen this movie before. Just like the Habs in talks about bringing in a center every year, the Islanders have the same mentality when it comes to finding a solid option between the pipes. Under new management, this hasn’t changed as the staff is trying to solidify a number one position.
With Holtby having a dream post-season, Grubauer is now the odd man out.
He’s an RFA so the Caps likely want a return for his services. A first round pick is one of the rumors. Given he’s never been a starter, that’s one heck of a steep price and one we’re not sure the Islanders should pay. Others teams with interest include the usual suspects; Philly, Buffalo, Carolina and Calgary.
12 True - Torey Krug To Edmonton
Offseason rumors indicate that Krug might have played his last game as a Boston Bruin. According to various sources, the team wants to get bigger on the back end similar to their Stanley Cup days. This can mean the end for Torey Krug as they search for other D-men. Noah Hanifin is among those the team has interest in.
What’s Boston’s loss can be Edmonton’s gain.
The team has been plagued by poor defense for years now. Even with their impressive playoff run two seasons ago, the blueline was still a big problem. Lack of puck movers and foot speed is a reoccurring issue. Krug can help to patch up that problem instantly, playing top tier minutes for the club.
11 Untrue - Scott Darling Back To Chicago
Darling is a prime example as to why teams should think twice when signing a backup to a long-term contract. The Hurricanes went all-in last year, signing the net minder to a four year deal worth over $4 million per season. It just hasn’t worked for Scott, he was a disaster for the team picking up 13 wins along with 21 loses. And the Hurricanes overall record wasn’t even that bad. His GAA and Save Percentage numbers sum up his struggles.
Rumors believe that the Hawks might come to the rescue. This just isn’t worth it for the team, they have other concerns they need to address such as their ageing blueline.
10 True - Justin Faulk To Chicago
With Faulk’s name on the trading block, there is lots of interest. The Maple Leafs are among the teams that are talking to Carolina. However, Chicago is another front-runner making a big push at the American defender.
As we said in the recent entry, the Hawks don’t need a backup goalie from the past; instead, a defenseman is desperately needed.
Ketih and Seabrook had terrible seasons and both look to be on the downswing. You can resurrect them with some enthusiasm, Faulk can be that pivotal piece. He would instantly become the minute eater on the team playing in every situation.
9 Untrue - Dion Phaneuf To Edmonton
His stint with Ottawa wasn’t too bad. He played a second pair role and that’s the type of defender he’s become at this point in his career. He was decent with the Kings, however, not decent enough to stick around as rumors are out there on his next destination. Some link the defender to a move back North of the boarder.
Yes, the Oilers need defense but this rumor makes no sense given their needs. Edmonton doesn’t need a stay at home d-man, puck off the glass type. They have plenty of those. Edmonton requires speed and a puck mover that can jumpstart their transition game (aka give McDavid the puck when he's in flight mode).
8 True - PK Subban... Staying Put
Despite having a tremendous season and one worthy of the Norris Trophy, PK still found his name in the headlines as possible trade bait. Unlike Marc Bergevin, the Preds GM instantly turned down this notion. He recently commented on the matter, making the claim that Subban isn’t going anywhere.
We love a good hockey deal and a high profile player switching area codes. However, in this case, Subban is just better off staying put. The Preds are among the closest teams out there in search of a cup. They have a fine mix of youth and veteran talent, PK and the Preds shouldn’t tamper with a good thing.
7 Untrue - Red Wings Trade First Round Pick
We’re not sure what’s in Ken Holland’s Kool-Aid these days but the Wings trading their first round pick seems laughable. The Wings desperately need a rebuild and one of their deficiencies is depth at the back. The likes of Kronwall and Ericsson just won’t cut it any longer. They need fresh talent and prospect Evan Bouchard seems like the perfect fit for Detroit.
Stay the course Ken, don’t shop this pick. The Wings fans might be looking to the next offseason already with a valuable name out there. Yzerman’s GM contract is coming to an end, Red Wings fans are drooling at the possibility of Yzerman coming back home and aiding the struggling franchise.
6 True - Max Pacioretty To LA
The chances of Max staying in Montreal are pretty low. However, there are talks between the Habs and Max on a extension believe it or not. The current rumor going around is that the Habs might sign the player to a, sign and trade type of deal.
Lots of options make sense for Max. Florida is a goof fit for the winger, even St. Louis is a nice option - though it’s the return that might be sketchy in dealing with these teams. LA seems like the best destination, Max can be a perfect fit for either of the top centers whether it be playing alongside Anze Kopitar or in the two spot alongside Jeff Carter.
5 Untrue - Phil Kessel To Dallas
Winning back-to-back cups, it all seemed so nice for Phil Kessel. However, the mood has changed significantly following last season. A reported rift between Phil and coach Mike Sullivan made things uneasy in the locker room. Kessel was none too pleased about being slotted in the third line away from Evgeni Malkin.
Of course, the rumor mill linked Kessel to a move elsewhere. Among the teams that have high interest includes the Dallas Stars. We’re not sure sniping power is exactly what the team needs, especially with Radulov, Seguin and Benn. They need two way reliability down the middle similar to what they had with Cody Eakin.
4 True - John Carlson To Vegas
Wouldn’t this be a plot twist? Carlson joins an arch nemesis in the offseason? It wouldn’t be the first time, just ask Marian Hossa or heck Matt Niskanen for the matter.
Carlson has admitted that he wants to stay in Washington, however he added that there is a lot more to it. Dollar signs is a huge part of it and with Ekman-Larsson signing a mammoth deal just days ago, that doesn’t help the Caps in resigning the stud blue-liner. You know who has a lot of money... the Las Vegas Golden Knights! They play an up-tempo game and one Carlson can fit into perfectly. Just think how much better their transition game can become with a puck mover like Carlson at the back?
3 Untrue - Canucks First Round Pick To Carolina
Like the Red Wings, Vancouver trading their first round pick would not be a wise decision. They had an impressive season last year with some of the younger guys really stepping up. They need to stay the course at this point and continue developing younger talent. Sending a top pick to Carolina just makes no sense - especially when they can draft a good, promising blueliner in Swedish d-man Adam Boqvist.
They have interest in Hanifin but the price tag is just too steep and not worth the risk for a rebuilding franchise. They’ve taken enough of those in the past. Less is more Vancouver, less is more.
2 True - John Tavares To Vegas
Yes, John Tavares makes sense in the lineups of all 31 teams. He can be a great fit with every single team. However, a Stanley Cup and dollar bills might be his biggest priority at this point. Putting those two needs together, is there a better option out there than the Vegas Golden Knights?
It’s a move that just makes so much sense and if there’s a team that can pay up, it's Vegas.
Tavares can form a tremendous duo alongside Marchessault. He can also play middle man to Alex Tuch and James Neal. Just imagine the one-two punch down the middle of William Karlsson and John Tavares? Yikes.
1 Untrue - Both Hoffman and Karlsson Leaving Ottawa
In the midst of all this chaos between the Sens teammates, it is Ottawa that suffers the most. Problems behind the scenes led to the team failing miserably. Time on the road caused huge problems for the club according to reports.
At this point, Hoffman has one foot out the door. With several wives coming to the defense of Mrs. Karlsson, Hoffman staying in the nation’s capital seems unrealistic. Making matters worse, Karlsson is also set to leave with a contract extension unlikely to meet his demands. The worst case scenario is likely to be true for the Sens. Possible destinations include St. Louis for Hoffman and Vegas for Karlsson.