Friday Evening NHL Rumor Mill – June 28, 2013.

Should the Leafs pursue Vincent Lecavalier? Should the Oilers make a pitch for Kris Letang? Are the Flyers interested in Jaroslav Halak? All this and more in this evening’s rumor mill.

TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox acknowledged recent speculation suggesting the Maple Leafs pursue UFA center Vincent Lecavalier, but reports the Leafs prefer to re-sign Tyler Bozak, ahead of Lecavalier, Stephen Weiss, Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy. Cox cites Bozak’s chemistry with top Leafs scorer Phil Kessel. Still, if Bozak seeks more than $5 million per season, the Leafs could look elsewhere. Cox also believes Lecavalier could get a better offer elsewhere that what he might get from the Leafs.

TSN’s Mark Masters attended today’s press conference held by Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis, who said talks with Bozak are on hold until after the draft, plus it’s unlikely Dion Phaneuf gets moved as he’s received no inquiries from rival clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs fail to sign Bozak I believe they pursue Weiss. Indeed, if they can acquire Weiss’ rights from the Panthers this weekend, kiss Bozak goodbye. No surprise there’s no interest in Phaneuf, given his cap hit for next season ($6.5 million) and his eligibility for UFA status next summer. Sure, that could change, but I don’t think there’s much of a market for the Leafs captain right now.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis suggests if the Pittsburgh Penguins decide to trade Kris Letang, the Edmonton Oilers should make a pitch for him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins could seek a good young player, a top prospect and a first round pick in return, plus the Letang camp is reportedly seeking $7.5 million per season. While I appreciate the Oilers need for more skill on their blueline, Letang is probably too rich for their blood.

Flyers interested in Jaroslav Halak.

Flyers interested in Jaroslav Halak.

CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports an NHL source claims the Philadelphia Flyers have made some inquiries into the availability of St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak, who has one year at a cap hit of $3.75 million left on his contract. “The Flyers have been told it’s going to take a very good player, but it won’t take one of their top guys, which Philadelphia was worried about,” the source said. “He could be their No. 1.” Other possibilities include former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, former Flyer Ray Emery, Roberto Luongo (if he’s bought out by the Canucks) and Jose Theodore.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I were the Flyers GM, I’d wait out the Canucks and hope they’ll be forced to buy out Luongo. He’s the best of the aforementioned bunch, and would be a solid addition for an affordable three-four year deal. Halak has an injury history so buyer beware there. I’m not convinced Thomas wants to return to the NHL (see below). Theodore or Emery could be good backups and mentors for Steve Mason.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Joe Yerdon cites a report claiming Calgary Flames winger Mike Cammalleri is available but there’s currently little interest in him. Flames GM Jay Feaster is willing to field inquiries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Flames pick up half of Cammalleri’s remaining salary for next season ($6 million cap hit, $7 million in actual salary), he won’t be going anywhere unless they decide to go the buyout route.

NESN: Mike Cole reports former Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is still undecided about returning to the NHL next season.

24 Comments

  1. Is Bozak worth 5 mil? Not in my eyes. He’s worth 4. Kessel makes Bozak good, its not bozak making Kessel good.

    • Yep but. I’d take Bozak at 5 before I’d take Weiss for 5…. before the end of this season Bozak has been pretty healthy most of his career so far, Weiss is setting the Leafs up with some depth issues with with the amount he is injured.

      • I agree. I’d rather do nothin at all then sign either or Weiss, bozak or Roy for 4-5 mill for in excess of 3 years. Grabovski’s contract is already a negative don’t need another.

      • Weiss at 5 is even worse than Bozak because of all his injurys so your right there. Toronto has to stop over paying for players or they will never be able to make a competitive cup team. They are like the Rangers but to a lesser degree. But its hard to get Bozak to sign for less than 5 when the 2nd line center makes 5.5 (Grabovski). I just see Bozak the same way a lot of people see Letang; the players he plays with make him better, not the other way around. Also before signing Bozak to a deal they might want to look at Kessel and if he will sign an extension. Bozak is there for the chemistry with Kessel, right. So no Kessel = wasted $ on Bozak.

        • Agree. I think nonis is playing his cards very well right now. He hasn’t made any signings since Orr to make sure if something comes up via trade or ufa’s he can fit them. Players like kessel, Kadri and Bernier will al be signed after the buyout period is over so all the options are known.

          • Forget any of these high priced centres. To after Horton or ?? and bobby Ryan and build three solid lines around mediocre centres if there is nothing good available or over priced. I’d rather have six top notch wingers at $4 to $5M with so so centres then over pay a Weiss or Bozak. Kadri, Grabo and McClement plus another third line cheap centre would be just fine with wingers like Kessel, Lupul, JVR, Horton, and Ryan

          • Horton will stay in Beantown my friend, he will take less to stay there I’m sure they will be good for a couple more years, unless Rask starts looking for ridiculous amounts of money, and even then you never know with an owner like Jacobs he might send Rask packing I doubt it but you never know…lol

          • @BeerGoggles You really want to pay Horton 5+ m for 4-5 yrs. That’s risky.

    • Guys that’s why I put “or ???” because you can slot in who ever you like Horton, Bickle, or Clarkson (who ever you can get the cheapest). My point is that the Leafs can operate with the centers they have if you surround them with top wingers.

      Who would you rather have at $5.5M?

      Bobby Ryan or Bozak/Weiss
      Horton or Bozak/Weiss
      Clarkson or Bozak/Weiss

      If Nonis gives Kadri, Colborne and Kadri a goal for the rest of the summer to improve in the dot and hire a guy like Steckle as a consultant along with McClement all three should improve significantly. The Buds have decent centers they just sucked in the dot. So work on improving (cheating). If Bozak could do it these guys can do it.

      Kessel, JVR, Lupul, McClement, Ryan, and one of Horton/Clarkson or Bickle as your top 9 wingers and carry Grabo, Kadri and Colborne as your centers with McClement taking all defensive draws for Colborne it would be exciting to watch.

      BTW I’d do Bobby Ryan for Rielly. Leafs first or second this year and Kulemin. Now that Burke is back with the Ducks I would think he would be all over management to do this trade considering he said he would have taken Rielly number one over all last year. Burke still wields a lots of clout over there.

      • Sorry meant to say if Nonis gives Grabo, Kadri and Colborne a goal

  2. Leafs financial picture looks good. That said, anything 5+ coming out of the Bozak camp will be a pass with Nonis. Check in at 4-4.25 for 3 years thereabouts and you might have a deal.Vinny? Love to have him at 5 per season or less for 3 years max; but not as my #1. Why? Cuz Vinny doesn’t want it. He does not want to be the go to guy. Expense price for guy past his prime who DOESN’T want the title but can still game change on any given night. A bit of an enigma there.

    Leaving who for a #1? Statsny to the Leafs? If you will take Dion in exchange its a done deal. Contract swaps for both teams which on the surface helps each other but might not suit either GM though. but I’d still take Statsny for Dion. Gagner? Not really.. Stephen Weiss? Not really much better than Bozak.

    Dave Nonis..Watch your pocketbook this weekend and consider all angles cuz Leaf Nation wants to move forward with the plan; and for the first time in a very long time, the potential for growth is there and we all hope you fully realize not only what you have, but what you need as well.

    • Again Dion for Stasny is a bad move…Toronto is getting hosed in that deal, do we need a center yes but we also need D (probably worse then we need a center) and your sending away a really good one for a center that is over priced and not necessarily a top line guy. Take Dion away from the D corps and who do you have as a shut down pair? Franson and Gunnarson?? It will be a mighty long year if that’s the case. Hope that Stasny wins every draw if not it will be a Chinese fire drill in our own end of the rink most nights, even worse than last year, no one in the lineup now will be able to play 25mins plus a night.

      • If you can’t find a true number 1 guy or sign a guy like Vinny the best option is to get a very good number 3 like Gordon and keep Phaneuf. Don’t dig holes to fill other holes with guys that are not going to be the solution anyway it fixes nothing and in this case would actually leave you weaker. Kadri will continue to develop and get better at draws Grabo isn’t horrible on the dot or put Gordon as 2 Colborne could go 3 and McClement 4 and be patient, and keep looking better idea then overpaying in money and assets for 1 year and with the choices of Weiss Bozak Ribero and guys like that it’s not really that much of a downgrade, Gordon is solid at faceoff good 2way game tjatBozak dosent have and put him between Kessel and Lupul he will probably get almost as many points its not like Bozak had great hands either…

        • Well thanks for your informed feedback. Always nice dealing with Bob McKenzie the 2nd but at least the original knows his stuff. Have a good day Shticky

          • Your welcome Joey I’m always here to help lol if you don’t want to hear opinions might I suggest not coming to a Page called opinions

      • Ya the more I think about it Toronto should keep Doin and if they are going to miss the playoffs then trade him at the deadline for a 1st rounder. Unless Reilly and Gardiner really jump into their own early this season then you might be able to swap for a centre.

        • Exactly Dion would net a tone as a rental providing he is healthy if the Leafs can’t make any moves that make sense then stay put sign a couple UFAs and roll the dice if you come up short of making the playoffs at the deadline you could try and move Phaneuf and possibly Kessel who also be UFA and be in a very good position going forward with the youth we already have tones of cap room and multiple picks/prospects etc. I hope as a fan It dosent come to that but don’t blow things up for the sake of trying to win a cup this year we are still aways off yet.

  3. Letang to Toronto will never happen … the Pens don’t want any Maple Leave trash …

    • Blah blah blah lol we don’t want Letang either. So all is good I’m hoping they get sick with him and he walks for nothing personally. Can’t see any GM wanting to sell the farm and pay him that kinda dough but there is a sucker born every minute right Ed?

  4. I think the Leafs will do their due diligence in regards to Lecavalier. They’ll kick the tires a bit, but considering the amount of teams supposedly interested in him, his age and injury history, along with the fact that he would like a long term deal, I don’t see him as a fit in TO. As for Bozak, the Leafs would probably prefer him to other available UFA centres because they know full well what they’d be getting. That being said, regardless of Grabovski’s contract, I don’t believe he’s worth $5M per. One telling stat I heard someone mention on TSN radio the other night, was that during the Leafs’ opening round loss to the Bruins, Kessel and JVR both averaged one point per game, while Bozak could manage just a 0.5 ppg ratio. Played out over an entire season, say Kessel and JVR theoretically put up 100-point seasons, that would put Bozak in the fifty point range. Now I know that Bozak is valuable in other areas, but the money he wants is a tad high for what is essentially the strengths of most third line centres (winning draws, killing penalties and being aware defensively). Although they play different positions, I liken Bozak’s value and contribution to Pascal Dupuis’ in Pittsburgh. You won’t see Dupuis getting $5m out of the Pens, but someone out there might be foolhardy enough to offer him that. Personally, $3.75M is about as high as I would go on Bozak. Failing that, I don’t really like what the UFA market offers, which is why I think there are so many trade rumours involving the Leafs inundating the rumour mill.

  5. Am I the only one who sees Ribero in a bit higher class than Bozak, Roy, Weiss.

    • No, you’re not. Ribeiro would be a serious upgrade at centre for the Leafs. I see Washington signing him though.

    • Higher class for sure but I’m thinking bigger price tag too

  6. I see Gillis finally smartened up and put Schneider on the trade block to see what the return would be.