NHL Morning Rumor Mill – April 12, 2014

Updates on Alexander Ovechkin, Ryan Kesler and Andrew MacDonald, plus the latest Jets speculation.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports of rumors a KHL team could try to lure Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin, if not this summer then in the next few years. LeBrun contacted KHL president Alexander Medvedev about this possibility. Medvedev said under the terms of the memo of understanding between the NHL and KHL, Ovechkin would have to negotiate his way out of his current NHL contract before he could join a KHL team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun noted, Ovechkin has given no indication he would go that route. Maybe in a few years that might change but I see him staying with the Capitals and the NHL.

Will new Canucks management retain or trade Ryan Kesler?

Will new Canucks management retain or trade Ryan Kesler?

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford reports just-ousted Canucks GM Mike Gillis had a plan in place to try to retain center Ryan Kesler, which adds up because Canucks ownership isn’t thrilled with the idea of a rebuild. TSN and ESPN insider Pierre LeBrun believes that could change under new president Trevor Linden.  Botchford thinks the organization probably  believes it’s now best to trade Kesler.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks don’t need a major overhaul yet, but they will if they don’t take measures now. Moving Kesler is their best option, though his limited no-trade clause narrows the number of potential suitors.

PHILLY.COM: Frank Servalli reports the Flyers intent is to re-sign defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who they acquired at the trade deadline. MacDonald has expressed a willingness to stay, but Seravalli suggests salary could be the sticking point in a new deal. MacDonald could make big bucks if he tests this summer’s UFA market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacDonald was making $550K per season on his current deal and was rumored seeking $5 million per from the Islanders before he was traded. Perhaps his asking price will be a little less than that if he’s willing to remain a Flyer.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Ed Tait and Gary Lawless offer up their views as to the priorities facing Jets management this summer. Both agree re-signing or replacing Paul Maurice as head coach is the priority. Tait also believes they must address their shaky goaltending, which could mean trading or buying out current starter Ondrej Pavelec, They must also decide if they’ll keep or retain Evander Kane and bolstering the third and fourth line depth. Lawless suggests retaining Maurice could help their efforts to bring back Alexander Burmistrov, who spent this season in the KHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I offered up my take on the Jets in a recent THN.com column. I’ve got nothing to add. 


  1. I guess Labrun wasnt happy enough with a playoff race or giving analysis on first round matchups, 2 teams presidents being hired, or speculation over all the change that organizations like the Preds Canes Jets Canucks Leafs could go thru . Pile on the Ovie train Pierre stoke the fire sbout those Russians!
    There just wasnt enough news to report so he thought he might make a story up?
    Normally I kinda like LaBrun but this is really some pretty selfish writting imo he has gone the way of many kind of second rate media types and has lost alot of my respect anyway.
    Way to go Pierre thanks for pointing out other guys from other countries can retire and move home to play hockey, I would never thought this possible. Ace reporter.

    • I have no problem at all with this article from Lebrun. You speak of management changes for teams add the Caps to that list. The main reason for those possible changes is none other than that stubborn superstar Alex Ovechkin. I would seriously try very hard to trade him and if I couldn’t then I would strongly consider a compliance buyout. Enough is enough with Ovechkin so much raw talent but so little awareness or team concept especially for a captain. Let him go to the KHL, let him score 75 goals/yr over there, let him collect his tax free salary. But most importantly if your the Caps let him be someone else’s problem. As I said so much raw talent, let’s take a very good player like Ryan Kesler and give him Ovechkins raw talent. Do you know what you have? You have multiple cups, you have MVP’s, and you have real leadership. Same could be said for Krejci and Bergeron, Ryan Callahan, David Backes and a few more. These guys are all winners. The Caps will never win a cup with Ovechkin the day they cut those ties it’s addition by subtraction.

    • I hope he’s not going to dumb down to Garrioch’s level.

    • Wow Shticky why did u even read the article? If u don’t like it, move on. No one is forcing you to read the article right?

  2. This was my exact thought aswell…preceeded with “oh god not you too…” followed by was “Reimers mom busy?”

  3. You do not let a number 1 over all pick regardless of age, a 50 goal scorer regardless of +-, and a major asset regardless of heart go for nothing. Addition by subtraction is not going to happen unless he pulls a Kovalchuk. A trade is possible but would be very difficult to pull off in this new age. All the writers and pundits can speculate until the cows come home, Washington is stuck and Ovi is going nowhere. Draft character and less Euros and keep to the league percentage of 75% Canadian and you will see a difference. The players in the room determine who is their leader, no one else.

    • @Silver Seven

      I would agree with you about Ovechkin except for his $9.5M cap hit. You cannot pay a guy $9.5M and have him end up with the worst plus/minus in the league. In addition, he seems to be too moody.

      The best thing for the Caps would be for him to do what Kovalchuk did. Have him bolt for the KHL and be done. That $9.5M contact almost assures that he won’t be tradeable and a buyout would be too expensive.

      $9.5M pays for several good players. Sure they may not get 50 goals, but Ovechkin’s 51 goals didn’t even get the Caps in the playoffs.

      • WHAT!! Get rid of OVI!!??!!!

        Are all of you crazy? Ovi is not the issue in Washington. One guy does not ruin a hockey team. Especially a guy who scores 50 plus a year.

        The Caps need to build around Ovi and have the guys that play with him be compliments to him. You are never going to change who he is. Why would you?

        Did they get mad at Gretzky for only scoring goals?? What about Gordie Howe? No, they let them score and built the other lines to support them and put the number 1 defense pairing on with them to compensate.

        Who else on that team scores? He isn’t getting the support he needs. They need to bring guys in that can score and roll 3 lines of scoring prowess and 1 shut down line.

        • Yep agreed man, think there is an issue if he plays in Boston or LA? This team has been kinda built bad for a few years now not really his fault they are terrible he is going out doing what he does. Guys like Semin Backstrom Ribero now Grabovski Green is an offensive D man with deffensive problems and drafting more offensive guys Oats wasnt exactly a defensive stalwart, heres an idea get some higher end defence goaltending and maybe hire a coach (not Randy Carlyle) who can teach or coach the other the other to defend around him. Seems like McPhee and the owner just keep spinning their wheels with the same gameplan year after year just with different faces. All sizzle and not steak been that way for quite some time in Washington.

          • Think the giant minus might have something to do with he never comes off the ice with a team with horrible D no goaltending and bad possession players?

  4. When the puck is in your defensive zone and Ovi is on the ice you are essentially on the PK. If you are the Caps that is because your captain chooses to play on one half of the ice. You are right about the other players choose who the leaders are. Are they responding to Ovechkin? Doesn’t look like it to me. Your captain is a $9M/yr power play specialist.

  5. I agree with Lebrun’s speculation, especially as I was already thinking the same way. Ovechkin is a selfish player. Unlike Kovy, who seemed to want to be home and near family, and gave up some money to do so, I think Ovechkin will take the bigger money the KHL offers him, buy his way out of a losing organization, and go for the high life and continue to be a one dimensional superstar in Russia. He’s not going to get a cup with Washington, so what’s the advantage of staying? He’s not going to get traded to a contender because of the prohibitive cost, and because he’s not a team player.

    While I agree with many of the posters on here that Garrioch is very useless as a hockey commentator, I think Shticky’s rant about Lebrun is a bit over the top. Lebrun is just throwing out a possibility, and given Ovi’s personality and playing style, an opinion that’s not as far-fetched as some would believe.

    • I agree not far fetched at all, my problem with it is its speculation that he goes out of his way to backup as a possibility to happen then goes on to say he dosent belleve it will happen this year but MAYBE in the future…really? Who would have thunk it? Way to cover all the bases. Its Eklundish and my rant being over the top is due to this is a guy I generally respected for not resorting to things of this nature. There are plenty of things going on in the nhl right now, to me it seems like ESPN and Pierre La Brun needed some recognition so why not make up some Ovi is leaving conjecture. Did he bother to get or try to get AOs thoughts? Nope but apparently he has the KHLs president on speed dial.

  6. Trading Kesler would be a huge mistake by the Canucks. Kesler is signed for 2 more years at 5 million & is locked in as the #2 C on this team with no replacement in the system ready to take on that roll. This team doesn’t need a full rebuild. It needs a coach that doesn’t try to squish a square peg into a round hole. Signing Torts was a huge mistake. His system sucks. It’s slow, boring & not condusive to the personal in Vancouver any more than it was NYR. Watching NYR play Washington in the playoffs last season was a joke. It was like Washington was always on a power play with NYR falling back into this shot blocking system.

    The Canucks need to move Edler. He should have been moved at the beginning of the season. Even at minus 36 he will still garner some solid prospects & a pick. If Detroit truely offered Sheahan, Tatar, Smith & a pick for Edler & Gillis declined he should have been fired right there as obviously he can’t evaluate talent. Getting Edler’s 5 million off the books with the buyout of Booth; 4.25 mil, opens up all kinds of options for the Canucks to buy a scorer or to vie UFA, possibly even 2 depending upon who would come back in this trade.

    Bring in a coach that wants to try & score & the Canucks get close to where the were. They can’t climb back to presidents tropy status but those wins were paded playing in 1 of the weakest divisions in hockey. In the new balanced format they are a playoff team comfortably. The Canucks should be the 6th best team in the West now that if all goes well, can push into the #4 spot .Torts cost the Canucks this season. Simple as that.

    The Canucks top 4 D even with out Edler in Hamhuis, Bieksa, Garrison & Tanev is solid. I would say top 10 in the NHL. Stanton was a great find by Gillis; yes he had to go, I never would have hired him or fired Nonis, & the Dman you take back in an Edler trade makes for a solid D. In the Sedin’s, Kesler, Burrows you have 2/3rd’s of 2 solid lines. Kassian is still developing & may still be 2 seasons away from reaching his full potential but should be a border line top 6 player certainly top 9 that see’s 2nd line PP time standing in front of the net. The roll players, checkers & depth players are solid. Higgins, Hansen, Richardson, & Matthias.

    The prospect kitty isn’t great but isn’t totally empty. In Gaunce, Cassels, Horvat, Jensen & Shinkaruk along with this years top 10 pick there is some hope & NHL depth coming in a few years.

    This team doesn’t need to be gutted nor does it need a full rebuild. It needs to remove Torts, why he wasn’t shown the door at the same time as Gillis is baffaling. Why he wasn’t fired back in January is even more shocking. It hasn’t gotten better but worse. To the point that Kesler wants the hell out. At $5 million per season for what Kesler brings to the rink there may not be better value in the NHL.

    Please Trevor mend those bridges.

    Thoughts from the bench.


    • Trading Kesler is a good thing to do IMO. He obviously wants out. Plus he’s an injury concern year after year.

  7. I read but rarely comment. Tired of all the Ovi bashing, all the Russian bashing. Ovi, Yakupov, Semin, Kovalchuk, etc. I’m a proud Canadian but it smacks of racism. All of you complain about his stubborn attitude and how he is a bad captain. Based on what? Never once has a teammate complained about his attitude. He’s well liked and a good leader. Is he one dimensional? Of course. It just happens to be the best dimension. Most elite goal scorers tend to cheat for offense. Was Brett or Bobby Hull, Guy Lafleur, Mario Lemieux or Luc Robataille known for their stellar defense? Ovi is a career + player, just having a tough time on a team with piss poor defense and goaltending. Go take your average two way player and tell me how you win an overtime game in the playoffs. Shame on all of you. Ovi is a once in a generation player and he has never once been accused of being a lockerroom cancer except for all you ‘experts’.

    • +1

      • +2

        • +3

    • I agree, This is a conversation that comes up way too often. The whole “Lazy Russian/Euro players” is just a shortcut to thinking.

  8. Hey Silver Seven, do you have your white hoodie on? Your comment “Draft character and less Euros and keep to the league percentage of 75% Canadian and you will see a difference. The players in the room determine who is their leader, no one else.”

    Since when do only Canadian players have character? Steve Downie? Sean Avery? Todd Bertuzzi? Brad Marchand? Cody Hodgson? Evander Kane? How about Dany Heatley? He murdered someone.

    Please take your opinions back to your trailer park. Bad people come from here too. Last time I checked there aren’t any Russians in the league that have murders on their resume. Give your crap a rest.

    • Someone needs to chill out.

      This board has nothing to do with racism or being prejudice.

      Europeans are none to be more finesse, and Canadians more of the lunch pail type of players.

      I find you remarks and actively looking to argue based on on racism that you are clearly stretching to achieve, to be offensive.

      Dany Heatley didn’t murder anyone. Not like the way you are implying.

      He had some drinks, and made the bad decision to drive after.

      Not a good thing, but the way you comments come off is like he used a hatchet and cut some one up.

      Grow up and look for a fight elsewhere.

      This is purely a hockey board.

      • You make some good points Gary but to think that there isn’t some underlying prejudice against players among their critics (including this purely hockey board) is simply not true. PK Subban doesn’t play nearly as high risk a game as Erik Karlsson but gets 100 times the criticism. Playing in MTL has barely anything to do with it cause Karlsson plays in Ottawa which is just as a rabid market. I’ts because he’s charismatic, and he’s ‘different’ that he receives so much heat. Same with Ovi. Don’t believe me? Read all the comments above and yesterday and you’ll notice a trend. Blasting a guy for his character when there is zero evidence suggesting that he is a problem in the room is just dumb. I’m not looking for a fight, but when others say he’s a bad guy for whatever reason and I call them out for it based on my perception is still a hockey discussion. Bottom line – Ovi is a great player and doesn’t need to be crucified for being some selfish jerk because he’s Russian.

  9. Chester Re- read my message. Slooowly. You do not trade. Add around. Who determines leadership. Good think you brought up Danny and by the way he was not over .08. and it was a car accident ! What about Mac T ? forgot him. Tim Horton . Not sure how racism comes into play when the fact remains on the percentage of Canadian born players in the NHL. Look at the rosters of the most recent champs. Wow !

    • Boy oh boy this is a tiring arguement…
      The most recent Stanley cup champ the Blackhawks are actually in the bottom 5 of the nhl with Canadian content, 42 % of that roster is Canadian higher if you include americans but still not as high as the Capitals whos roster is made up of over 50 % Canadian player (in the top half of the league) and nearly 25 % Americans… the Capitals are 75% north american born players the Hawks are around 65 % look at the most recent cup winners lol Skill and coaching matter more than birth certificates. Quit spending all the cap on your top 2 forward lines and get some defense goaltending and hire a coach that coaches defense, you are not going to win 6-5 every night.

      • The Leafs are made up almost exclusively of these lunchbucket type north american born players how good are they?

        • Blues Ducks Hawks Redwings all in the bottom of the league for north american players teams like the Sens Oilers Flames Leafs Jets all in the top 10, if your arguement is more North Americans = better chance at a cup you are sadly mistaken. Out of the eams that are made up of mostly North American players (over 50% of the roster being north american) 8 out of 18 teams made the playoffs or 44%. The teams that are less than 50% north american born players 12 teams 6 of them made the playoffs. Hawks Blues Wings Ducks Lightning Jackets. THE NUMBER OF NORTH AMERICANS ON A TEAM DOESNT MATTER.