NHL rumor mill: Offseason speculation on UFAs, trade bait

More NHL Playoffs: Schedule, TV listings | Expert Picks | Bracket | Scores | Odds

With a lot of movement expected prior to the NHL Entry Draft and ahead of the free agent signing period beginning July 1, it's time to fire up the ol' rumor mill. Several players could be bought out, creating some unexpected unrestricted free agents as well.

Stay up to date with all the latest rumors and reports on the expected player movement right here. Check back often.

Offseason Rumor Mill
June 30 Like the Preds and Del Zotto, the Sabres declined to give a qualifying offer to Cory Conacher, meaning he will also join the class of free agents. 
June 30 Three free-agent defenseman market just got another late addition: Michael Del Zotto was not offered a qualifying offer from the Predators and will thus be a free agent available to sign anywhere on Tuesday.
June 30 Interesting move by the Ducks concerning Mathieu Perreault, who was slated to become a restricted free agent. Bob McKenzie says they didn't send him a qualifying offer, but instead a "substantial" contract offer. If he doesn't accept, Perreault is an unrestricted free agent.
June 30 If the Wild are going to sign Thomas Vanek, as has long been believed to happen, Vanek will have a decision to make: will he accept a shorter-term deal to join the Wild or go for the big deal somewhere else?
June 30 The Rangers were going to have a lot of work to do if they wanted to keep the Stanley Cup Final core together but that doesn't look like it will happen. Larry Brooks says Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot and Anton Stralman are all on their way to free agency barring any unforeseen changes.
June 30 Really interesting situation unfolding in Montreal right now. The Canadiens are trying to trade Josh Gorges but Bob McKenzie says a deal with Toronto was vetoed by Gorges, putting the Habs in a tough spot. This one isn't over.
June 30 It appears that we have identified one of those 7-8 teams that are expressing interest in Radim Vrbata right now; the Florida Panthers. They need help at right wing and Vrbata fits that billing.
June 30 Go back to the start of last season and the Islanders traded away Matt Moulson in a now ill-fated deal that landed them Thomas Vanek despite Moulson being so effective on Long Island. Well don't rule out a return to the Isles this summer per Katie Strang ... or a return to another one of his teams from last season, the Sabres.
June 30 As has become almost an annual tradition, the Red Wings will be looking for defensive help in free agency and Mike Babcock says he's been "all over" GM Ken Holland to get him a right-handed defenseman. You know who is right-handed? Matt Niskanen. We're just sayin'.
June 30 One of the Coyotes' top players the last few years, Radim Vrbata is a day away from hitting free agency. The Coyotes would like to keep him but right now don't want to match his asking price. But there are 7-8 other teams that are showing interest and might be willing.
June 30 Somewhat quietly on the free-agent market is Milan Michalek in Ottawa. An All-Star just two seasons ago, he's getting interest from a dozen or so teams at this point but the Senators haven't been ruled out yet.
June 30 After a season in the KHL, Leo Komarov wants to come back to the NHL and while he wanted to return to Toronto, he might have to look elsewhere. One team looking his way appears to be the Jets.
June 30 For quite a while now the Hurricanes have been looking for a way to unload Cam Ward but he is still in Carolina and with the compliance buyout window closing Monday, Bob McKenzie says it's going to stay that way; Ward will remain a Hurricane.
June 30 The Leafs are still working on trying to re-sign center Dave Bolland but his asking price remains very high and the Leafs (rightfully) don't seem willing to go up to it. What is the price, you ask? Darren Dreger says five years, $25 million might not be enough. It pay$ to be a free agent.
June 30 The future for Michael Del Zotto in Nashville is not bright as it appears he's on his way out. A report early Monday said he could be targeted by the Islanders but Arthur Staple says that's not the case.
June 28 Daniel Alfredsson is still mulling his future as his agent told ESPN's Pierre LeBrun. Alfredsson is taking his time according to J.P. Barry, though it is expected he will return for another season and likely to the Red Wings.
June 28 Josh Gorges is a player the Canadiens were floating as a trade option around the draft according to Bob McKenzie of TSN. Could be an interesting option for some teams as a low-pairing defenseman.
June 28 According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, the Predators are looking to trade defenseman Michael Del Zotto. He probably doesn't carry the same value he did a few years ago, but the Preds need to bolster their forward group.
June 28 It appears that the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the teams interested in pending UFA goaltender Martin Brodeur. With James Reimer on his way out of town, Brodeur could be a backup option for Jonathan Bernier. (via Tom Gulitti, The Record)
June 27 If you're expecting Jason Spezza to be traded at the draft, you might be disappointed. The Sens don't have any offers that they like right now according to Pierre LeBrun
June 27 The rumors have been running faster than anybody can keep up with but Harvey Fialkov says that's it, the Panthers are keeping the first overall pick. The Canucks and Flyers were reportedly going the hardest after the pick.
June 27 According to Mike Kelly of NHL Network, the Toronto Maple Leafs may be making a big offer for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and the Panthers are considering. Kelly says the deal centers on James van Riemsdyk with others going to Florida. If true, that could be a whopper of an offer.
June 27 Sabres general manager Tim Murray told John Vogl of the Buffalo News that has has spoken with the agents of former Sabres forwards Steve Ott and Matt Moulson, each of whom will be free agents come July 1.
June 27 Martin Brodeur's agent told ESPN's Pierre LeBrun that at least six teams are interested in the pending UFA goaltender. Despite low save percentages over the last four seasons, Brodeur's experience and championship pedigree seem to be creating a real market for his services.
June 27 According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the Arizona Coyotes (still weird to say) are strongly considering buying out the remaining years of Mike Ribeiro's contract. He is signed through 2016-17 and was signed just last summer. That means Ribiero is not eligible for a compliance buyout, so $1.94 million would still count against Arizona's cap per CapGeek.com
June 27 The Calgary Flames are trying hard to get another top-10 pick in Friday night's first round of the NHL Draft according to Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun. They currently hold the fourth-overall pick in the draft.
June 27 The likelihood of Paul Stastny returning to the Avs seems to be dwindling. ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reports that as many as 15 teams have already shown interest in the soon-to-be UFA center. That could drive up the price in a big way.
June 27 According to TSN's Farhan Lalji, the Canucks could be closing in on multiple deals today. Lalji says it's a "very real possibility" the Canucks deal both defenseman Jason Garrison to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks Friday.
June 27 Add another interesting name to the trade rumor mill... TSN's Bob McKenzie reports that there is a "legit chance" the Canucks deal defenseman Jason Garrison. He has a no-trade clause, but according to McKenzie, it is believed that he'd be willing to waive it depending on the location.
June 27 The Red Wings are among the teams that would have interest in pending UFA Jarome Iginla, according to Darren Dreger. The TSN insider also reported Thursday and reiterated Friday that they are interested in acquiring Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers.
June 27 The Lightning have two picks in the first round (19 and 28) of Friday night's NHL Draft, but may be willing to package them in a trade. Steve Yzerman says the team is looking for a young defenseman with some term on his contract. (via Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times)
June 27 It sounds as though there will be changes coming to the NHL Draft lottery as early as next season. That should be cause for concern for the Sabres, who will have two picks in the next draft and could be a favorite for No. 1 if they're unable to compete again this season (which is likely the case).
June 27 This is a bit of a surprising twist in the bidding war that top UFA center Paul Stastny should spark come July 1. According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, the Chicago Blackhawks are among the teams showing interest in Stastny. With their cap situation, it's hard to see them being a major player for Stastny, but it shows they're aggressively seeking a No. 2 center.
June 27 According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, the Ryan Kesler sweepstakes has heated up. The Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks are still believed to be the front-runners, but more teams are interested in seeing if Kesler will agree to go elsewhere. Meanwhile, Vancouver GM Jim Benning says he'd be content to keep Kesler. As the rumor mill turns...
June 26 Rumors around Jets forward Evander Kane never seem to disappear and they won't leave after GM Kevin Cheveldayoff spoke to media on Thursday. He made it clear Kane is still a Jet in their minds, but that they will always listen to the phone calls.
June 26 The entire league is still waiting to see what the Panthers will do with the top overall draft pick. Dale Tallon says there's only one offer right now that's good. Meanwhile, Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis said he doesn't expect his team will move from No. 8. Toronto had been one of rumored teams to be interested in the No. 1 pick.
June 26 Might we have a big deal coming at the draft involving the Canucks? Darren Dreger says a Ryan Kesler trade could be made in the next 24 hours.
June 26 This shouldn't come as much of a surprise on any front but the Canadiens announced on Thursday that they won't be making offers to Thomas Vanek, George Parros or Douglas Murray, making them all free agents.
June 26 Since it was made clear that Paul Stastny was going to see what free agency has to offer, another thing has emerged as clear: the Blues are interested. One thing to remember is that the Avs believe they will have a chance to match any offer made to Stastny in free agency.
June 26 Last summer the Maple Leafs were able to sign Mason Raymond for next to nothing after a tryout. He responded with a nice season and now there are a number of teams talking to him and his agent, the Leafs still included.
June 26 Speaking of Jason Spezza, Senators GM Bryan Murray said on Thursday that he's been slightly disappointed with the offers on Spezza thus far and if they don't get better, he just won't trade Spezza.
June 26 Here is a new name in the Jason Spezza trade chatter: the Dallas Stars. Of course kicking the tires and actually trying to make a deal are two different animals at this stage.
June 26 The Kings have done a remarkable job of keeping their team intact over recent seasons and all this success but one casualty of the cap will be veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell, so he'll head to free agency.
June 26 The long-held belief was that it was a given that Thomas Vanek would go to Minnesota if he hit free agency. While that belief has changed some in recent weeks, he has been in touch with the Wild in this courtship window.
June 25 The Caps signed Mikhail Grabovski for one season and it went well when he was on the ice. But he remains without a deal and is entertaining teams in the courtship window but will continue discussions with the Caps too. He's looking for four or five years and possibly $5 million per.
June 25 The Lightning are taking full advantage of the free-agent courtship window. Steve Yzerman didn't name any names but did say he's reached out to some defensemen already so you can see what their next order of business likely is.
June 25 The Oilers have already picked up one defenseman in Nikita Nikitin but they appare to have another player in mind: Mark Fayne. Ryan Rishaug says there are 6-7 teams interested besides the Oilers and he could be looking for a four- or five-year deal.
June 25 The Florida Panthers still haven't decided what they'll do with the top pick. Darren Dreger says they're waiting for the offers to improve and if they don't hear what they want, they will hold on to it. There are worse fates than having to pick No. 1 overall.
June 25 Mike Weaver's acquisition by the Canadiens at the deadline wasn't a big deal but it proved to be pretty excellent for the Habs down the stretch. Still, it wasn't enough to earn him a new contract in Montreal. Same goes for Francis Bouillon.
June 25 You can add the Red Wings to the list of teams interested in Dan Boyle. Guess he made a good decision on not signing with the Islanders, huh?
June 25 Of potential landing spots for goaltender Ryan Miller, Vancouver has been one of the most commonly mentioned, partly because there just aren't many apparent options. Well the Canucks have reportedly reached out so there might be something there after all.
June 25 The Senators are going to part ways with Jason Spezza sooner or later and they should have plenty of interest as Bob McKenzie notes it's already picking up with three teams from the West and one from the East reportedly interested. Anaheim and St. Louis have been two rumored destinations so far.
June 25 As you could probably guess, the interest in defenseman Matt Niskanen is already very high. He's likely going to get a king's ransom in a new deal but the Penguins aren't completely out of it yet.
June 25 There is a lot surrounding the Maple Leafs right now. The latest has the Leafs holding "serious" interest in defenseman Dan Boyle. They aren't alone, though, as the Rangers also are rumored to be kicking those tires.
June 25 Speaking of Dave Bolland, Darren Dreger has a few interesting updates about the centerman who seems more and mmore likely to not be returning to Toronto, even if he wants to. At least six teams are expected to show interest for the center who is looking for a very large deal: Think around $5 million for eight years. Good luck with that.
June 25 The Canucks and Dave Bolland haven't always been cordial but the Canucks have new management so they weren't bothered by reaching out to the UFA centerman on Wednesday as the free-agent interview window has opened.
June 25 The Stanley Cup champions are close to locking Marian Gaborik into a new contract to remain with the Kings after his 14-goal postseason following a midseason trade.
June 24 It's rarely a dull summer in Toronto and this one is slowly starting to shape up in the same mold. Per Chris Johnston the Leafs are ready to let Nikolai Kulemin -- their longest-tenured player -- walk into free agency where he'll look for a bigger role than the checking-line position he played under Randy Carlyle.
June 24 The Calgary Flames are still trying to work out a new contract for forward Mike Cammalleri as new GM Brad Treliving told the Calgary Sun. The 32-year-old forward would become an attractive UFA option for many teams on July 1 if the Flames can't get a deal worked out.
June 24 As he so often seems to be, center Sam Gagner is going to be trade bait heading into the draft according to Darren Dreger of TSN. He has two years left on his deal with a cap hit of $4.8 million.
June 24 After reportedly striking out on their prefered choice for the new head coach, Darren Dreger of TSN reports that the Penguins will be speaking with Portland Winterhawks head coach Mike Johnston this week. He is believed to be the front-runner for the job as well, despite not being connected to the job until this week.
June 24 According to Gare Joyce of Sportsnet Magazine, the Jets are among the two teams pushing hardest to trade up to nab the Panthers' first overall pick at the draft along with the Vancouver Canucks. The Jets have the ninth pick, which is just outside of the range of Florida GM Dale Tallon said was his limit for trading down.
June 24 The Bruins are in a bit of a cap crunch right now with a reported $4.7 million bonus overage penalty lowering their cap ceiling according to CSNNE.com. That is going to make re-signing Jarome Iginla a bit more challenging with RFAs Torey Krug, Reilly Smith and Matt Bartkowski due new contracts.
June 24 The Red Wings have some work to do with their top young restricted free agents. Defenseman Danny DeKeyser and forwards Tomas Tatar and Reilly Sheahan will be hearing from GM Ken Holland around the same time as the NHL Draft for new deals according to MLive. It also sounds like Daniel Alfredsson would like to return.
June 23 Don't even bother trying to figure out who the Bruins might use a compliance buyout on, GM Peter Chiarelli said on Monday that the team will use neither of them.
June 23 With all of the talk about the Panthers possibly trading the No. 1 pick in this weekend's draft, here's something to keep in mind: Dale Tallon says he doesn't want to trade for a pick any lower than eighth.
June 23 Ever since he signed a new contract, Kris Letang's name pops up every so often in trade speculation. Elliotte Friedman cleared that one up pretty well: "hearing Kris Letang will not be traded, barring a ridiculous offer."
June 23 Marian Gaborik seems interested in remaining in LA and the feeling is mutual; why wouldn't it be? A report over the weekend said the Kings made an initial offer of $15 million over three years but Elliotte Friedman says the offer he's hearing was worth a little more money, which is what a deal will likely require given Gaborik's expiring deal's value.
June 23 The Panthers are open about listening to offers for the No. 1 pick and have reportedly had a lot of interest. Elliotte Friedman says some of that has come from the Canucks, who offered the No. 6 pick, former first-rounder Hunter Shinkaruk and another player to Florida, because deals with the Panthers always work so well for the Canucks.
June 22 From the sounds of it, the Blues won't be re-signing any of Steve Ott, Brenden Morrow, Derek Roy or Carlo Colaiacovo before July 1 meaning they will be able to sign elsewhere, according to Jeremy Rutherford.
June 22 The Lightning have a decision in net to make. Not with starter Ben Bishop after a terrific season but they didn't qualify backup Anders Lindback, meaning he'll become a UFA on July 1. The Lightning aren't dismissing a return for Lindback at a cheaper price than his qualifying offer but they could get a new backup. Lindback had a .891 save percentage last season.
June 22 How will the Phoenix Arizona Coyotes attack their offseason with a little bit of money to spend? Sarah McLellan takes a look at the options for a team mostly in need of some depth at the wings.
June 22 The Colorado Avalanche aren't often the biggest buyers in the offseason but Patrick Roy is clearly thinking of adding some on defense as Adran Dater reports. First things first, though; they still have the Paul Stastny and Ryan O'Reilly situations to figure out.
June 22 With the Brad Richards decision made, the Rangers have a bit of extra money to work with and Larry Brooks says that means the Rangers are looking at trying to re-sign coveted D Anton Stralman for three or four years at $4 million per season.
June 21 Now that it has been confirmed that the Kings won't buy out Mike Richards, attention turns to pending free agent Marian Gaborik, whom the Kings would like to re-sign. Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun reports that the Kings have offered Gaborik a three-year, $15 million deal. No word on if he'll accept, but he could possibly get more on the open market.
June 21 One of the candidates reportedly among those interviewed to become the Penguins head coach for next season can be crossed off the list. Former NHL head coach Marc Crawford will return to Swiss club ZSC Lions to remain its head coach, the team announced.
June 21 Recently bought out forward Brad Richards would likely consider a return to the Tampa Bay Lightning if they show interest. Joe Smith of the Tampa Times caught up with Richards' agent who said his client would "certainly respond positively to interest from Tampa." 
June 21 Teams looking for scoring help should have high interest in Jets forward Evander Kane. According to Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press, the asking price would include either a young top-six forward or top-four defenseman that is coming of age or in his prime with years on his contract. 
June 21 One of the top trade targets out there reportedly has pretty specific demands according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun. Ryan Kesler apparently wants only to go to the Chicago Blackhawks or Pittsburgh Penguins in an offseason deal. He does have a no-trade clause, so Kesler does have some power in this scenario.
June 20 Add the St. Louis Blues to the list of teams that have interest in acquiring Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler and/or Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza. The line is probably long for these two and the price will be high. (Via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN)
June 20 According to Nick Kypreos, the Florida Panthers were scared off by the amount Dan Bylsma was seeking to join the team as its head coach. Elliotte Friedman of HNIC says speculation points to Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Gerard Gallant being named head coach early next week.
June 20 The Los Angeles Kings will not use a compliance buyout on forward Mike Richards, GM Dean Lombardi told Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times.
June 20 It appears the Islanders are set to part ways with goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. Arthur Staple of Newsday reports that the team and player not close to a deal to bring the veteran back to backup new signee Jaroslav Halak.
June 19 The Blues and Ducks were reported to be the favorites to land Jason Spezza in a trade from Ottawa but Nick Kypreos says another team is interested in getting in the mix; the Tampa Bay Lightning.
June 19 Cody Franson is coming off a pretty strong season for the Maple Leafs and is now a restricted free agent who has drawn plenty of trade interest per Darren Dreger. However the Leafs still would like to sign him.
June 19 Panthers GM Dale Tallon has been very open about possibly dealing the No. 1 overall draft pick and according to Darren Dreger, other GMs have heard him as there are at least eight teams interested.
June 19 The Buffalo Sabres are already guaranteed to be a very busy team at the draft with all of their picks but GM Tim Murray still wants more and is looking for another in the first round.
June 18 Canadiens captain Brian Gionta is slated to become a free agent in two weeks and many have predicted he might actually be on his way out in Montreal but Tom Gulitti spoke with his agent, who says negotiations have just started to get intense. This one could go right up to July 1.
June 18 The Islanders will be looking for a new suitor for Dan Boyle's services according to Pierre Lebrun after the veteran defenseman and the Isles couldn't reach a deal.
June 18 One of the surprise Canucks last season was Mike Santorelli. He had 29 points in just over half a season after signing a one-year deal for next to nothing and now he says he "100 percent" wants to remain a Canuck. If they feel the same, though, remains to be seen.
June 18 The Detroit Red Wings will soon be out of compliance buyouts. They used one last summer and on Wednesday they waived Jordin Tootoo with the intention of buying out the final year of his deal per Elliotte Friedman.
June 18 Jason Spezza has asked for a trade from Ottawa, the Sens confirmed. He has a limited no-trade clause on which he can include 10 teams but he's found a way to really make it 12. Knowing the Sens won't trade him to either Toronto or Montreal already, he put the other four Canadian teams then Nashville, the Islanders, Florida, Blue Jackets and two more unidentified American teams with Buffalo likely one per reports. So where does he actually want to go? Seems like St. Louis and Anaheim are the favorites right now.
June 17 R.J. Umberger is on his way out in Columbus so according to Aaron Portzline he has provided the Blue Jackets with a 10-team no-trade clause to help the process move along. Who those teams are, though, isn't known.
June 16 One of the biggest potential free agents that's sure to draw a lot of interest is Paul Stastny in Colorado but he's not guaranteed to leave the Avalanche yet. There's an offer on the table and Bob McKenzie says talks will pick back up soon.
June 16 Negotiations between Ryan Callahan and the Lightning continue but according to Bob McKenzie, Callahan hitting free agency is still a very real possibility.
June 16 Don't look for the Washington Capitals to use a compliance buyout this summer as new GM Brian MacLellan said on Monday they have no such intentions. You're safe, Brooks Laich.
June 16 This could be seen from a mile away, but the Carolina Hurricanes are looking to deal goalie Cam Ward, who has a full no trade clause. According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the veteran netminder with a Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup in his career will waive the NTC under the right circumstances. With two years left on his deal wiht a $6.3 million cap hit, finding the "right circumstances" might be really difficult.
June 16 Re-signing Anton Stralman should be among the New York Rangers' top priorities this offseason. The veteran rearguard is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and is likely to get some big-money offers. Stralman told reporters during Rangers break-up day that he wants to return to the club, but also says security for his family is his No. 1 priority. He very well could get more on the open market than the Rangers will be able to spend. (via Andrew Gross of The Record)
June 16 George Richards of the Miami Herald reports that the Florida Panthers are down to three finalists for the vacant head coach position. Among those in the mix per Richards is former NHL head coach Marc Crawford. It has also been previously reported that former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma was interviewed for the job as well. He is not confirmed as a finalist, however.
June 16 We have our first buyout of the offseason. According to Ren Lavoie of TVA Sports, the Dallas Stars have waived defenseman Aaron Rome for the purpose of buying out his contract. Rome had one year remaining on his contract worth $1.5 million.
June 16 This should come as no surprise, but the Anaheim Ducks are rumored to be in the market for a No. 2 center according to multiple recent reports. Among the likely trade targets, Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks and Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators. Both are expected to be dealt this offseason.
June 16 The Dallas Stars had hoped to keep Vernon Fiddler, but the veteran center rejected their contract offer according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. That will make Fiddler an unrestricted free agent come July 1.
June 16 According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Chicago Blackhawks have informed veteran center Michal Handzus that he is not part of their plans going forward. According to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times, Handzus still hopes to play next season. He will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The New York Islanders shuffled their coaching staff around Jack Capuano a bit. The club announced former Maple Leafs assistant coach Greg Cronin will be an assistant coach for the club next season. There was more movement according to Arthur Staple of Newsday, as he reports Doug Weight has been promoted to assistant general manager, but will remain on the bench as an assistant coach. Bob Corkum will also officially join the staff as an assistant coach according to Staple.
June 16 Talks between Ales Hemsky and the Ottawa Senators have reportedly stalled. According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, Hemsky recently rejected a three-year, $10 million deal and the Sens are prepared to trade his negotiating rights for a draft pick.
June 16 Andrei Markov is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but it is believed the Montreal Canadiens were hoping to keep him. According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, Markov is asking for a three-year deal worth $6 million per year. With P.K. Subban also left to re-sign, that may be a tad higher than the Habs want to go.
CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories