Latest Rangers, Flyers & Maple Leafs Rumors – September 10, 2013.

An update on Derek Stepan’s contract talks, a suggestion for resolving the Maple Leafs cap crunch, and the Flyers signing of Daniel Cleary could force a salary-dumping trade.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks calls upon the Rangers management to sign RFA Derek Stepan as soon as possible to avoid the possibility he’ll receive an offer sheet from a rival club. “Stepan is believed seeking a five- or six-year deal in the neighborhood of $5 million per while the Rangers are believed offering a two-year contract worth between $2.75-and-$3 million a year”, writes Brooks, who noted the Rangers only have around $3 million in cap space.

If Stepan received an offer sheet worth $5 million per season, Brooks believes the Rangers would be forced to dump “Brian Boyle ($1.7 million) or perhaps even Derick Brassard ($3.2 million) quickly and in a buyer’s market”. He fears the Islanders could make a pitch for Stepan, thought there’s no indication the Islanders – or any other team – are pondering that option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are gambling the lowered salary cap will prevent Stepan from receiving an offer sheet. Stepan is a restricted free agent coming off an entry-level contract. If he doesn’t get an offer sheet, his only leverage is to stage a holdout, a tactic which rarely works in today’s salary cap world. For now, the leverage remains with the Rangers.

Should the Leafs shop Nikolai Kulemin?

Should the Leafs shop Nikolai Kulemin?

THE SPORTING NEWS: Sean Gentille suggests trading Nikolai Kulemin ($2.8 million cap hit) as one way the Toronto Maple Leafs can free up sufficient cap space to re-sign center Nazem Kadri, defenseman Cody Franson and possibly training camp invitee Mason Raymond.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis suggests Kadri should consider using the threat of signing with the KHL as a means of forcing the Maple Leafs hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To sign Kadri, Franson and Raymond, the Leafs would have little choice but to dump salary before the start of the season. Kulemin is a former 30-goal scorer but his career has been plagued by inconsistency. Still, for a team seeking scoring depth on the wing, Kulemin could be an enticing possibility. He’s in the final season of his contract at an affordable cap hit of $2.8 million, and the Leafs wouldn’t want a salaried player in return. 

 As for the KHL suggestion as an option for Kadri, I doubt it’s one he’d seriously consider, but it’s an interesting scenario for future restricted free agents stuck in contract stalemates with their NHL teams.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi suggests the Flyers recent signing of Daniel Cleary (three-year, $2.75 million per season) could result in the Flyers dealing one of their high-priced defensemen, like Andrej Meszaros. It also “virtually guarantees” Simon Gagne won’t be invited to Flyers camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers currently sit about $2 million over the salary cap. They’re allowed over the salary cap during preseason but must be cap compliant when the season opens.  They’re expected to place Chris Pronger and his $4.941 million cap hit on LTIR, but that won’t leave much space if the need arises to add more depth to the roster.  Trading Meszaros won’t be easy, given his salary ($4 million) and injury history.


  1. Not so sure I like replacing Kuli with Raymond (he is faster, but he isnt exactly as tight defensively as Kulimen is). That being said if the other 2 are willing to sign realistic contracts with the excess salary it frees up, it might work out ok. Always good to have options and even though alot of people whine and complain about how they handled the cap it seems like Dave and the gang gave themselves enough options to get a lot of what they wanted to accomplish done in this off season, with the exception of finding a big physical stay at home type D man to take some minutes away from Dion. (Which should have been way more of a priority imo, hopefully Fransons game continues to improve going forward)

    • Did a scenario on cap geek. Smith and Holzer are playing marlies this year so their salaries come off the books. If leafs go through the training camp and no other team is willing to trade for Liles then you waive him and bury 900,000 of his salary. Sign Kadri 3.1 and franson 2.9 and you are left with 1.1. Not much room but it gets it done and you have the option of demoting mcclaren or Orr if needed. I would use trading kulimen as a last resort as sticky stats its not really a positive move for the trade off with Raymond.

      • I guess my point is there is options. I can see why management has been saying they have room and options.

  2. Cleary is money come playoff time, he is all heart and gives 100% on every shift. He will teach Flyers young roster a thing or two about competing.. With all that.. I wish this is not a 2.75M a year deal for Cleary. Way too much imho.

    P.S I guess this is good bye to Gagne?

    • The Flyers have to make the playoffs before that happens.

      With the new divisions — it’s going to be more difficult to make the playoffs than before..

  3. I think Nonis and company have played this all very very well.Kadri will get 2.8 a year and not a penny more, he has no leverage whatsover. Same for Franson. I liked Cody Franson last year- but isnt the jury really still out? Not overly physical and not overly mobile but played very well in the system. David Poile is a sharp GM – you dont dont just give away a 22 year old defenseman to shed Lombardi’s deal, he saw the same flaws Wilson saw 2 years ago. All that being said I dont see him being in Toronto past this year; he will take a 2.2 million or so 1 year deal and he will be dealt- they wont give him 4- 4.5 on a long term deal, not with Gardiner Rielly Blacker etc in the fold…you will see that in the same scenario Paul Ranger will be a similar player.
    Kulemin, is also on his last legs in TO…at 2.8 a bargain just for size and defense but he isnt worth much more, and he is a UFA? which means the KHL may be an option next year- he may very well get dealt for a draft pick..

  4. There should be way more offer sheets. This is business and no team should worry about “offending” another team. Teams hate each other….I’d like to see Ottawa make an offer sheet to Kadri seems Burke “stole” him knowing Ottawa wanted him. At the draft, you can tell Burke took Kadri to anger Brian Murray. Payback is a B with an itch.

    • I’d also like to see the Sabres make present an offer sheet for Stepan. But Darcy is too nice a guy.

      • You know the Sabres have enough $ to make an offer to Stepan and Kadri. I’d like to see them stir things up a little – I would have no problem with the Sabres offering Stepan between $27-30M for a six year deal and offer Kadri a $13-15M deal for 4 years. Essentially, the Sabres could sign Hodgson, Stepan and Kadri and still have $ leftover and these 3 would be the core of the team along with our youngsters.

        I would love for Darcy to go out of character – take a chance and stir things up. It would make for an interesting couple of weeks!

        • I would love to see Stepan leaving NYR. NY will probably match it but they will h ave to trade someone..

    • Oddly enough the guy the Senator’s took instead of Kadri (allegedly) was Cowan who is also unsigned. Maybe they can swap players and start all over…

    • Bryan Murray was building up the defense. I think it was Jared Cowen all the way and Murray didn’t want to tip his hand to Burke.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see Calgary try to offer sheet him…

    • Haha Kadri is clearly a Leaf because of Sens spite. Is your name Eugene? Nazem is a Leaf because Brayden Schenn was drafted one spot b4 him

  5. There’s no doubt in my mind Stepan is worth the big contract, but it’d be nice if he’d commit to the team rather than the money. Then again this is the Rangers….

    • Is this why he won’t show up in training camp without a contract? Those are the rumors.

  6. Stepan would look good in a Nashville jersey…they could certainly use his offense. Fisher could slide down to the second line where he belongs.

  7. Do you still get 3 First round draft picks if a team signs another teams player?

    • Compensation depends on the $$$ of the contract.

  8. So much for the Cleary to Dallas rumors, eh?

  9. No way the isles make an offer sheet to stephan, doesnt even make sense. If theres one area the Isles are ok its at center. The Rangers would match any offer anyway. Larry Brooks needs to find something logical to write about

  10. I like Mason Raymond but I rate Kulemin well above him overall. Can’t believe the Flyers gave Dan Cleary a three year contract.

    • I would only want to trade him to Pittsburg if they were willing to overspend to reunite Kulemin with Malkin. I agree Kulemin is an upgrade to Raymond

  11. It was also reported Kadri opened with 6×6 so don’t go saying I told you so to fast…

    • He is the mosyt credible reporter in hockey- not an Eklund or Incarcerated Bob- he has earned his reputation