NHL Draft Weekend Rumors – June 28, 2014

Latest on Jason Spezza, Jarome Iginla, Mikhail Grabovski, Thomas Vanek, Paul Stastny, Nikolai Kulemin and more. 

With Ryan Kesler dealt, will the trade market open up for Jason Spezza?

With Ryan Kesler dealt, will the trade market open up for Jason Spezza?

OTTAWA CITIZEN/OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren and Bruce Garrioch report the Senators had a disappointing evening as they were unable to find a deal in the opening round of the NHL Draft for center Jason Spezza. The 31-year-old’s salary ($7 million cap hit) and contract status were the reported sticking points. No one was willing to part with a first-round pick as part of the return for Spezza. It’s possible Spezza’s status could drag on beyond July 1, the opening date of the UFA market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I confess to being surprised Ryan Kesler moved before Spezza, as there were more potential destinations for the latter. The Senators can still move him but they’ll have to go to “Plan B”. As getting a first-round pick is out, they can try to land a couple of players and a prospect, a player, top prospect and a first-round pick in 2015, or a player and a couple of prospects. A deal is there to be made, but it could take until after the dust settles following the start of the UFA market to sort one out. I believe the Senators remain determined to move Spezza this summer, rather than have his status hang over the club next season.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus reports the lower-than-expected salary cap increase for next season ($69 milion) puts the Blackhawks over the cap ceiling, necessitating dumping some salary this summer. Lazerus claims the Blackhawks want to move Johnny Oduya’s $3.375 million salary, while GM Stan Bowman remained mum on Patrick Sharp’s trade status, despite Sharp’s agent claiming Bowman told him the winger wasn’t on the market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Blackhawks won’t have to cut nearly half their roster as they did four years ago, they are currently perched just over the cap ceiling. They have no choice but to trade one or two players to become cap compliant before next season. And if they want to bring in a second-line center, it’ll have to be a dollar-for-dollar swap, or by getting the other club to pick up part of their trade target’s salary. 

BOSTON GLOBE/CSNNE.COM: The lower-than projected cap ceiling is also bad news for the Boston Bruins, who already had limited cap space and face a $4.75 million bonus overage penalty. It could adversely affect their efforts to re-sign Jarome Iginla.  Defenseman Johnny Boychuk ($3.36 million) and center Chris Kelly ($3 million) could be trade candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins have no choice. With only $1.6 million in cap space, they must shed salary if they’re to re-sign RFAs like Reilly Smith and Torey Krug, let alone re-sign or replace Iginla. 

NBC SPORTS/DENVER POST: The Dallas Stars reached out to the San Jose Sharks about Joe Thornton, plus they’ve contacted Paul Stastny’s agent to express interest in his client.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The interest in Thornton is meaningless if Thornton isn’t willing to waive his movement clause. While the Stars have interest in Stastny, I’m not sure they’re willing to engage in a bidding war for him, especially if its over $6 million per season. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild met with Matt Niskanen and reportedly still have interest in Thomas Vanek, who they would like to sign to a one- to three-year deal.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: For Daniel Alfredsson, it’s the Red Wings or retirement.

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals GM Brian MacLellan claims money is “a little prohibitive right now” in his efforts to re-sign Mikhail Grabovski, who is believed seeking up to $5 million per season.

TORONTO SUN: The Pittsburgh Penguins could have interest in signing Leafs pending UFA winger Nikolai Kulemin, who’s a friend of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

NJ.COM: Pending UFA defenseman Mark Fayne seems unlikely to return to the Devils.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets could have interest in bringing back gritty forward Tanner Glass.


  1. Brian Murray NEEDS to trade Spezza to the first team willing to part with a first round pick in 2015 and is not on Spezza no fly zone. THE WORSE POSSIBLE TEAM….in hopes of getting another pick in the top 10 as they should already have the highest chance at #1 over all.
    I was pretty close on my prediction yesterday of “6000 rumours and 2 trades”. Knew it was all smoke and mirrors. I’m not sure but theres 20++ teams at least in the NHL that need to make MAJOR changes if they want to compete with the LA’s, Bruins, Chicago’s and the like. But it appears they don’t seem inclined to do so. These teams are taking fans for granted. Fans want to see winning teams and it’s mind boggling a lot of bad teams do nothing. Spezza should have been traded because Ottawa is not getting what they ask for. Jets NEED to make moves, they are as stale as day old doughnuts. Trade deadline day, free agency and draft day have become a total bore and I can’t believe the NHL is growing in revenue.

    • everyone knows more trades will happen on the second day of the draft! and as far as spezza only a dumb gm will give a first rd pick up for a guy that only has one yr left on his contract and will only sign an extension if he is very up with where he ends up

      • @jello…. only a dumb GM would give a 2015 first rounder up for Spezza? Talk about dumb….

        • Spezza has had a bad back for several years, has one year left on his contract, is a one dimensional player and 2015 is reputed to be a deep draft class with the top end better than most drafts. But none of that is a reason not to give up a 2015 first round pick for him? Really?

        • @Jes, I wouldn’t give up a first round pick for a possible rental either, but a really dumb GM would.

          • Of course you wouldn’t give it up for just a rental guy. The whole giving up a first would be based on if he resigns or not, duh…. And back to the original quote “Only a really dumb GM wouldn’t offer a first”

      • hmmmm, where were the trades today?

    • Its not all smoke and mirrors, these talks do happen but obviously they wont all turn into deals. There is still lots that will happen over the next week or so.

      • A perfect back-up doesn’t make $4 mill a year.

        • sorry Ryan wrong thread.

  2. I would be very surprised if San Jose doesn’t go all out to bring in Niskannen and maybe go for Boychuck to boot. Even though there is a lot of question by folks on Antii, Nemo will be the perfect back up for Stalock, provided Alex wins the starter role in camp.

    • A perfect back-up doesn’t make $4 mill a year.

  3. Mikhail Grabovski to the Rangers interests me if way under 5 million…

  4. I agree. The template is LA, Chicago and Boston. Heavy play. Deep pool of prospects. Trade guys and refill through quality depth in AHL.

    • Not so sure Id say Chicsgo plays “heavy”, Hossa Sharp Kane Sadd etc, a posession team for sure but more with skill and speed than the other bigger teams in the West. Think that could be why the sevondline has some hiccups (very small hiccups) from time to time guys like Bolland and Handzus cant keep up.

      • the Blackhawks are fast but not small. deceptively big

  5. @ alforducks you are going to love that kid (Ritchie not Kesler) lol

    • Shticky
      Thank you, I wanted Haden Fleury but he was gone, sort of surprised that Ritchie was available at #10 but a lot to like about him and Ducks can let him develop over the next few years and not be in a hurry for him to make the team. I think today we will see a lot more trades then yesterday. A lot of teams did not get what they needed last night and some teams who need to shed salary will try and do it today for Picks. Another reason why I see picks being traded today is that Tuesday is UFA day and if you have someone who you can’t sign ( Dan Boyle) might as well trade him for a low round pick.

      • You got a good draft pick there al. He could be the best one in the whole draft if the fortunes tilt your way. Seems to me they usually do haha.

        Shticky you guys got an awesome player as well. Nylander is going to be sick. When will he be ready for the NHL?

        • how does he know when he’ll be ready?

      • The most fun guy there was to watch in the ohl this year besides McDavid, and the Ducks are a good organization for him to go to, I would not have minded too badly if the Leafs took him but, there would have been too much pressure for him to be “the next Lucic” or some other dumb comparison, to Biggs etc he probably wouldnt develop aswell, Southern Cali he can go and be Nick Ritcie, perfect fit. After seeing how he took the Petes (not a very good hockey team) and pit them on his back and came back in a series from being down 0-3 to win it 4-3 in 7 games against Bennet and my Frontenacs. I am really pulling for that guy to be a star, he can be a beast of a player.

        • I had wanted to see the Leafs select Richie, very intriguing upside. Part of me is happy that they didn’t select a player that fits the Carlyle mold, I really don’t want to see too much pandering to Carlyle. My biggest complaint with Nonis was keeping him, and firing the staff instead. Really had a chance to do something bold and make the Leafs his team. If Carlyle is staying, he needs to adapt to the team in front of him, and Nonis needs to have a plan. We will see. I think Richie has the perfect spot in Anaheim. Richie could be NHL ready this year, but more likely next year. He will get good insulation behind Perry and Getzlaf, but still get the opportunity to play with a good center.

          I said it last year, that if the Leafs were buying out Grabovski and going hard after Clarkson, that I didn’t mind it, as long as that was there big UFA signing. Teams can’t afford to build with UFA’s. Clarkson didn’t turn out well in year 1, but Nonis needs to stick to his guns, and realize he can’t sign UFA’s to fix all his problems.

          I would rather see him pursue short term veteran UFA deals. They tend to work out better in the long run, and when they go bad, they don’t hurt your team nearly as much. Looking around the league, veterans on 1-3 year deals tend to be some of the best UFA value. Iginla, MacArthur, Khodobin, and the ones that didn’t work out are barely memorable because they don’t handcuff teams for long.

          Even looking at the Leafs own track record. Komisarek, Finger, Clarkson look like terrible deals, and took years to deal with when they went sour. Connolly, Beauchemin, MacArhtur, Raymond, Ranger.

          Not all winners, but Connolly and Ranger didn’t handcuff the Leafs, Beauchemin didn’t play great for the Leafs, but his contract was tradable and landed actual assets, and MacArthur and Raymond provided fantastic value, each of them having rebound years for a million or less each.

          If I were Nonis this year, I would be interested in guys like D.Boyle, Legwand, Downie, Winnik, ahead of Niskanen, Stastny, Vanek or B. Boyle.

          I am not saying non of those other guys will provide value, but I think they present higher risk and would likely require longer term deals and AAV then their value to the Leafs current situation may merit. Short term deals could end up being traded for assets later, or maybe even revitalizing a career making a player want to stay where they are a good fit for a reasonable price.

          The only signings I would be ok with the Leafs making of greater than 3 years this summer would be Moulson or Fayne. The reason being that their biggest value is they aren’t flashy, meaning usually you aren’t overpaying for what they do. It would have to be a reasonable price, as a lot of their value is derived from providing affordable minutes, but I would be OK with the Leafs signing 4 years to either of these players (again for the right price). Other than that I would like to see the Leafs avoid all the other really big names looking for more than 3 years. It would be great if Stastny decided to be a leaf for 5.5 million for 4-5 year deal, but seeing as many are expecting him to sign for close to 7 at a minimum of 5 years, I don’t think the Leafs should overpay to get him.

  6. To Toronto – D Roman Polak
    To St. Louis – D Carl Gunnarsson and 4th round pick in today’s draft

    I like what Polak brings to the Leaf blueline and can see him being paired with Gardiner or Rielly, but it’s tough to lose Gunnarsson. Wonder who plays on the top pair with Phaneuf now?

    • So TSN said the Leafs retained $200k cap hit on Polak and Capgeek says the Leafs retained $630k. Which is it???
      Either way all the dopes that post on TSN blog think the Leafs ended up somehow saving cap space which is completely false. It’s either even up on cap or the
      Leafs took on more cap in this deal.

      • Its a bonehead trade but the Leafs save 200k on the cap.

        • Can’t argue that. Hoping it won’t be the only change on D before the season starts though.

      • Think I figured it out. Leafs are essentially paying Polak $3.4M since they had to retain $630k on Gunnar to do this deal. Hope this guy is worth it otherwise Nonis has proven again bad cap GM.

        • Add Shticky to the bone head list

          • Yep kinda had a feeling he would mess something up this weekend,

            Dave “just cant leave good enough alone” Nonis

            Not that I was a fan of Gunnar but you traded a better player for a worse one held salary and threw in a pick to boot, jeezus.

          • Sorry but I disagree on Nonis screwing up. Gunnarsson is soft, gets bumped off the puck way to easily, and isn’t physical enough. Polak is what the leafs need, a tough physical guy who can clear the net and kill penalties. Not sure they should have given up a 4th or picked up salary though.

          • The Leafs needed a stay at home defenseman and that’s exactly what they got in Polak. It’s a good trade. Leaf fans complain to much.

          • 1 If he is a good stay at home D why would the Blues rather have Gunnarsson to play in their top 4 (they got him to plsy with Shatenkirk)
            2 did you not watch the Hawks Blues series? He was generally trapped in his own end and is far to slow to play with Shatenkirk.
            3 Now we have him and Gleason in our bottom 3 which ammount to the same speed as a Mountain and Glacier racing.
            4 Granberg could fill thst spot for ohhh about 2 million dolars less of a cap hit.

            Stay at home d…ya like please stay at home dont bother coming to the rink

            This deal only makes a bit of sense if they buy out Gleason.

          • Didn’t we just give up a slow, tough, stay at home D man in Fraser for basically nothing? and he was only $1.6M.

            I hope everyone realizes when you make a one for one trade for two players with the same term left and you retain salary you are basically adding that salary retention to the cap hit on the player you are bringing back in the trade. So basically Polak will basically cost $3.4M cap hit for the next two years.

          • “Stay at home d…ya like please stay at home dont bother coming to the rink”

            lol love it Shticky

          • Antoni I thought you guys only had 4 RFA’s not including Reimer? The others are just minor leaguers and what not?

          • couldn’t agree with you more …

        • Seems like a knee jerk reaction from the media again.. The actual salary to Polak is $ 3.73 mill per year ! Epic fail! Who is running the show !??

          • What I mean is Nonis succumbed to media pressure for not doing any trades yesterday. We wil be pressed against the cap by the time we re-sign our RFA’s. Only 19 Mil. to sign 11 players!

          • Nonis has proven time and time again he is one of the worst cap management GM’s in the league. Unless he plans on unloading Phaneuf the Leafs will have $14M tied up in Phaneuf, Polak and Gleason. To Funny to even think about.

          • Cap geek was wrong and just changed the salary retained on Gunnar to $200k That makes the salaries a wash since Polak was $400k cheaper. So this is only about the players involved and the pick and not about salary or terms on either player.

  7. The Flyers had a deal in place to get the Panther #1

    B Schenn


    Panther #1

    Panthers wanted Simmonds instead of Schenn but Simmonds has a No Trade Clause

    • You have a link?

      Simmonds over Vinny is what I think it’d be not over Schenn

      • no link and not verified.

        somebody on a message board heard the report in Philly.

        I like B Schenn. Simmonds i like but i would rather include him over B Schenn. Both and the #17 for Ekblad is too much. Vinny would be a good veteran presence for the next 2-3 years on that team.

        • here’s a link. paste into google

          PHILADELPHIA – The Flyers were
          so intrigued with Aaron Ekblad, the top-ranked defenseman in the 2014
          NHL Draft, that they gave it a good shot at trading up to No. 1.

    • B. Schenn and #17 wouldn’t be enough for the #1. Add VL into the deal and the return for Florida is even less; he has become a very expensive 3/4 line centre.

      • Totally agree THgrant

      • That rumored deal is far worse than the Leafs rumored deal, least Kadri and Gardiner are young and relatively cheap top 6 and top 4 along with athe 8 pick, what the hell would the Panthers want with Vinny and a way worse pick?

  8. Well i have question about the cba hoping someone can help.Chris Kelly and Adam Mcquaid were on injured list at end of the season can they be bought out or cant they.Im just wondering why Boston wouldnt just buy them out to free up some cap .And i think or hoping the Bruins are trying to trade some of the lasser but valuable guys like Kelly and Mcquaid to keep Boychuk.

    • They have to be on long term injury list. Can be bought out as long as they didn’t sign contracts after Cba. Agree though should move others than Boychuk.

  9. Since the Bruins are in cap trouble they gotta shed salary leave Johnny alone an Marchand time to move Chara with his big fat contract. Also part ways with erricksson maybe Kelly and Mcquid

    • MCQuaid and Kelly to EDM for Gagner and 4th rd pick?? EDM gets a tough 3rd line center and great PK guy. Can really help the forwards learn to back check. McQuaid helps add some toughness while their young D-core develops in the minors. Thoughts

  10. I will pitch in right now to anyone of the other 29 NHL teams collection fund to sign Kumelin so the penguins don’t sign him. Please for the love of god someone please overpay this player before Pittsburgh is forced to watch his bumbling, um I mean talents. (Hard to say talent with a straight face).

  11. ihatecrosby,
    The Bruins need cap space and Gagne makes more than Kelly and Mcquaid combined. Plus he plays soft and is exactly the opposite of what the Bruins look for in players.
    Bruins will trade for picks in 2015 or just give up on trying to sign Iggy.
    Gagne is overpaid and only a team that wants to get to cap floor will take on that contract, and they will only give up a mid round pick.