NHL Morning Rumor Mill – December 5, 2013.

The latest on the Rangers, Sabres, and Islanders, an update on P.K. Subban’s contract talks, Dmitry Kulikov and more.

NBC SPORTS: In the wake of the New York Rangers re-signing Henrik Lundqvist, Jason Brough believes GM Glen Sather faces some tough questions, including determining the worth of pending UFAs Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi. Brough also believes if Sather trades Michael Del Zotto he’ll have to find another puck-moving defenseman to help Ryan McDonagh carry the load.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculates over what Callahan and Girardi could get on the open market in July, citing David Clarkson’s seven-year,$36.75 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dennis Wideman’s five-year, $26.25 million deal with the Calgary Flames. Callahan, meanwhile, states his preference is to remain a Ranger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Rangers will re-sign both, but with a possible $30 million in cap space for next season and 13 players to sign, it won’t be easy.

Habs will find it expensive to re-sign P.K. Subban.

Habs will find it expensive to re-sign P.K. Subban.

TVA SPORTS: cited a Sportsnet report claiming Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban seeks an eight-year deal worth between $65-$70 million.

LA PRESSE: Richard Labbe reports contract talks between Subban and the Canadiens are underway, which could make the blueliner the Canadiens highest-paid player. Labbe cites a source suggesting if it’s a six-year deal, Subban would get “about $50 million”. His source believes Subban gets a salary worth over $8 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the “eight years, $65-$70 million” came from Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, who said he believed it could cost that much, rather than stating it as what Subban actually seeks. Regardless, Subban is going to earn a hefty raise, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he does get an eight-year deal for $8.5 million per season. Winning the Norris Trophy last season pushes his value into the stratosphere.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports Sabres coach Ted Nolan would prefer if his club re-signed Ryan Miller, calling the goalie a player to build around. Miller is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports Sabres winger Steve Ott (who’s also a UFA next summer) would like to remain with the team and help in their rebuild, but he doesn’t know if he’ll get that chance. Ott is realistic about the fact he could be moved before the March 5 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think there’s any way the Sabres can convince Miller to re-sign, but if Ott wants to stay it could be worthwhile, provided his salary demands are reasonable. The Sabres will have difficulty attracting veteran free agent talent next summer, so it would be a good idea to keep a veteran leader like Ott in the lineup.

DENVER POST: Adrian Dater noted recent rumors tying the Colorado Avalanche to Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, considering him a risky move at best for the Avs, though noting sometimes risks can pay off.

THE TORONTO STAR’S Damien Cox took to Twitter yesterday claiming the Maple Leafs have long held interest in Kulikov, but they’re wary of his salary demands (he’ll be a restricted free agent in July) and the threat of bolting to the KHL. THE NATIONAL POST’s Mike Traikos doubted the KHL was much of a threat, pointing out Kulikov played in the QMJHL before joining the Panthers. Cox responded the KHL would still give Kulikov some leverage other players wouldn’t have.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, acquiring Kulikov is risky, but if moving to a better club improves his game, it could be worthwhile, provided the return to land him isn’t excessive. He could threaten to head to the KHL, but I think filing for arbitration could be his goal and then playing the “threaten to move to the KHL” card during the run-up to his hearing.

NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple lists some goaltending and blueline trade targets for the Islanders, as well as his take on the Isles chances of landing them. Potential goalie targets could include Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller, Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, Carolina’s Anton Khudobin or Justin Peters, or Calgary’s Joey MacDonald. Blueliners could include Toronto’s Jake Gardiner or John-Michael Liles, the Rangers Michael Del Zotto and Carolina’s Tim Gleason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hiller’s not available while Viktor Fasth remains sidelined. I don’t believe Miller will agree to be dealt to the Isles, so the best options could be Khudobin, Peters or MacDonald. As for blueliners, the Leafs want to move Liles but his salary’s too rich for the Islanders blood. Leafs GM Dave Nonis is reportedly reluctant to move Gardiner. Del Zotto would be a great fit for the Islanders but I don’t believe the Rangers will trade him to a long-time rival. I thought Gleason might be an option but Staple considers him too expensive.

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley speculated over what the Capitals could get for a package of Martin Erat and Dmitri Orlov, as they could use a top-six forward and a defenseman. He dismisses the possibility of prying Evander Kane away from the Winnipeg  Jets but wondered if they would part with left-handed blueliner Mark Stuart. He noted the Canucks rumored interest in Erat, but doubts that package would tempt them to part with Dan Hamhuis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks interest in Erat was described as “tepid”, so I doubt they’re serious about pursuing him. Even bundled with Orlov, I don’t think the Capitals can move Erat unless GM George McPhee changes his mind about not picking up part of his salary.


  1. @ gary (from yesterday)
    Are we allowed to comment on how we don’t want Kulikov as a Leaf today now that Damian Cox has written about it or will you get upset again? LOL

    • @ LEAFS 24 / 7

      I hate to say this but any D man right now will be an upgrade of the 3 pairs VERY SERIOUS !!
      It has to be the right deal of course but the need D men big time !

      Highest paid goalie that has never won a cup or been to semi final ….WOW!!!
      Yes hes fantastic BUT has lots to prove still in the NHL …teams have not been that bad on paper since hes has been there.

      HABS / AVS
      Rumblings there is a MGA DEAL in works with Habs and Avs been ongoing …not sure what each team is wanting ????crazy why Avs would want to destroy any chemistry …
      Food for thought …would Colorado be willing to give up Mckinnon for Subban and pieces ???? THOUGHTS anyone ???

      There comes a time that is right now that change is better for everyone and the Miller ERA is over …need fresh blood moving forward a quality trade can bring in a new Tender to mesh with Enroth that can’t be as bad as they are now !!

      Too much interest in this guy has raised his asking price from Tallon considering the chance you would have to take …the asking price may be to high in the short term !
      He is an AWESOME pick up …only 22 years old made NHL at 18 and has potential to be a HUGE player for the right team !!

      If any team looking for a Goalie can get a hold of this guy they will have won the lottery !!

      • Please stop with the exclamation marks, and write a sentence, that is somehow comprehensible.

      • I have to wonder about what you’re saying.
        Claiming that ANY D-man is better then all the Leaf defenders at the moment is just plain ludicrous. Yes they are not perfect, but they are better than many other d-men in the league, try to calm yourself and have some faith in them regaining their form.
        Lundqvist IS arguably the best goalie int he NHL, you can’t always blame the goalie when the team craps the bed in key games, he deserves every penny of his new contract, in fact, I think he could’ve gotten more elsewhere.
        Rumbling of a mega deal with the Avs and Habs? What rumblings? What’s your source? Or are you just speculating? Mtl would be nuts not to resign Subban as he puts up almost as many points as many of their forwards.
        A trade to the Avs would cost Colorado too much…
        The rest of your post I agree with though.

      • How can you comment on players when you said the leafs should play smithson more…kind of player they need, a player the leafs waived because let’s face it, he sucked. …?

        • Ron. You can’t give it up eh?
          I said he is a better faceoff guy then anyone else on the team and maybe they should have considered him on the pk a little more since he had a great faceoff record on the pk. Let’s see Smithson wins the draw 60% of the time and if Carlyle had enough sense to have a play where a D man could immediately ice the puck off the win as opposed to what is happening now having Bozak lose the draw 70% of the time and the oppositions D pounding the puck one shot after another until they score. As usual you focus on one little sentence and make it sound like I said he should be the number one center and of course you start talking Leaf talk on the rumour section once again to tee everyone off.

    • Yes, You have my permission.

      • I was only kidding with you. Just wanted to see if you are still reading the comments. lol

        • I was just about to say the same thing Shticky. It’s like that Seinfeld episode where Elaine kept wanting exclamation points after each sentence lol.

        • So was I.

  2. Ted Nolan knows if he looses Miller he’s in for a world of hurt next year which could shorten his coaching career in Buffalo. What do you expect this guy to say? No, No please trade Miller and get me a draft pick I can mentor and who will be ready in 3 years when I’m no longer here because I’ve lost to many games due to rookie goaltending.

    • I am hoping Nolan’s comments are all smoke – we all know Miller wants to go West – that is a fact. He also wants to go to a contender. The good thing is that Miller has a limited NTC which he says he would modify – so instead of 8 teams, he doesn’t want any Canadian teams – so eliminate 7. That still leaves Nashville and the Islanders with the biggest need. Essentially Miller will finish the season elsewhere – why not pull the trigger now? Well Bflo is still looking for a GM, unless Patty decides to do it himself and they may be trying to increase his value (perhaps being named to the Olympic team would do that). We have Enroth and Hackett in the wings – so I expect something to be done around the holidays.

      • It leads one to wonder is Nolan going to be there regardless of the new GM.

        • I hope he’s not here once new GM steps in Shticky. What do you think of Nolan Steve?

          • I think Nolan was a welcome change from Rolston who was way in over his head. I like some aspects of Nolan’s coaching philosophy, but I also think there needs to be some improvement – improvement by more than just acquiring or playing veteran journeymen. In other words, while I like D’Agostini, we also need to show that we are committed to the quality players we have here already – like Moulson and Ott. I wouldn’t even mind trading or going after someone like Callahan, Cammarelli or Gionta, all exemplify the work ethic we want from our youngsters.

            For me, I think Nolan is good for this season and as a transitional coach. I know what he can do with his philosophy, I just wonder if he can adapt it to rebuilding a team with our youth.

          • I bet Nolan signed o for a guarenteed rest of the year, then the new GM has a chance to keep him or make a change.

      • Yes, by reports of who Miller “needs to accept a trade to”, he has around 26 teams on his NTC.

        He said no to any Canadian teams and the Isles supposedly. Let’s assume Miller is smart – he’d take a risk and omit any team with 100%, fully entrenched #1 goalies from his list, figuring he’d never go there and so shouldn’t use up NTC spots on those teams.

        In Canada, we could say before the season, that would be *maybe* Montreal & Ottawa. (The Luongo situation put Van in play, for sure) So, for argument’s sake, let’s call that 5 teams, instead of 7.

        That leaves 3 teams that he could say no to. Maybe the Isles were on there, though I don’t know why, if so. Up & coming team (in theory), not a big move (I know he wants to move west, but no way his NTC can ensure that would happen; too many Eastern teams)

        I’m still sure I’ve read around 12+ teams on here where the pundits have said, “but he’d have to agree to go there”. I’m not so sure, with the Isles…

        • Paddy, according to Cap Geek his NTC is that he can list 8 teams he will not accept a trade to. So if he doesn’t want to go to Canada – that’s 7 teams right there – add the Islanders and that’s your 8. There are several teams that need goaltending because of injury – Nashville and now Columbus. I would throw in Anaheim and St. Louis just because their goalies are injury prone and I don’t think they have gotten their teams past the first round. I’m not saying Miller is an elite goalie, but he is perceived to be an elite goalie. Playing for the Sabres this year he is taking a hell of a lot of shots and has kept the team in most games, image what his stats would be if he had any type of support?

          My gut tells me that maybe the Sabres trade him to a contender to give him the opportunity to “win” a cup and ask very little in return with the thought that he resigns with the Sabres for following year. But then logic tells me they need to just trade him and be done with it. So we’ll see what happens.

          • @Steve
            I like the idea of trade then resign, but I doubt that happens. The new team will offer him big money to keep him.

  3. Oh, Leaf24/7…

    Its loses, not looses, and too, not to, in the context you are using.

    Be prepared for a stern lecture from Jumbo. But then again he may not deliver one because he said he is not going to read the comments section anymore.

    • Spelling isn’t my strong suit. I thought the new spell check on here would help but it doesn’t help with grammar. lol

    • Murph: It’s “it’s” not “its”.

      Yes, I’m feeling punchy today 😉

  4. If Phaneuf is supposedly worth $7mm+ then I gotta think PK is worth $9mm+. Younger and much better. Pay the man his money.

    • Man if Phaneuf gets $7 mill then this whole scary cap thing is going to blow up. No wonder guys like Liles are getting paid $3+ mill a year.

    • Letang got 8….Subban is worth at least 9

  5. Montreal better sign Subban. I mean, I’m sick of the Canadian teams sinking further down the standings each year. Look at the west, 4 Canadian teams in the bottom 6. East only Hab’s are doing anything. Canada supports this league and what do us fan’s up here really get in return? Disappointment year after year after year while some sun belt team where nobody cares win. It’s sooo lopsided, almost seems intentional.

    • We need more Canadian teams.

  6. The Isles don’t need Del Zotto who is not very responsible defensively. They have plenty of puck movers who struggle to defend. Staple’s arguments on why he fits were that the Isles like dmen that move the puck and that he is close with JT. Yet those arguments fail to address their main issue which is defending.

    • actually his jr defensive pairing calvin dehaan plays there and they had great chemistry not to mention that cal clutterbuck and JT all were on the same jr team together

  7. Re: Rangers
    Do not watch the Rangers much so would like some input from Ranger watchers.
    My question is that if Rangers have to resign 13 players with 30 million and that’s
    just to keep the CURRENT team together, are they missing the point ?
    I mean Rangers have been under performers (as a team) and this year are at
    about break even in NHL weakest division. Why spend to the cap to keep the
    same team that has not performed well as a team ? Also, to resign some of these
    guys will be expensive and long terms. Should they consider trading some of these
    players for younger guys, draft picks, pick up a few moderate priced UFA in the
    summer and try and change the chemistry on this team ? A lot of talent on this
    team but they don’t seem to perform well as a unit ?

    • It’s weakest division by points. Other than that it’s pretty competetive.

  8. Agreed we don’t need another struggling D man that might have potential

    • Kulikov makes no sense, the Leafs have the same type players in Gardiner Rielly Liles (and Brennan to an extent) that are getting juggled around enough and in and out of the line up. Unless Kulikov takes a puck to the face and suddenly forgets how to skate like Frankenfraser he would probably be doing the same thing.

      • Agreed with the no kulikov needed and to go even further they shouldn’t be trading away gardiner for any upgrades they need to keep the talent and trade the dead weight they doesn’t do anything, gunnerson, ranger and Fraser all should be replaced before gardiner.

  9. The Rangers on paper have a really good team and I am a big fan of Callahan – would love to get him on the Sabres for his leadership, grit and skill, but I’m starting to question his durability. It just seems he has been injured quite a bit over the past couple of years. The Rangers do have a lot of players to resign at the end of the season, but I can see them letting quite a number walk away. I can also see them buying out Richards next season.

    • I don’t think AV will want to lose his leading point getter, especially for nothing. So doubt he gets bought out. If he was still struggling then I’d have to agree with you but right now highly unlikely. Especially since he’s leading the team in points. Maybe Sabres can make a call and see what the price tag would be?

      I’d also love to get Callahan. Him and Ott on the same team, awesomeness.

  10. Thank God Nolan is not the GM. Miller has to go, and as has already been stated, he could bring in a top pick, which the Sabres really need.

    The truth is, I think they’re positioning themselves for the McDavid Sweepstakes in 2015 (but that’s a secret, don’t tell anybody)

    Ott needs to remain a Sabre. This guy is exactly the kind of captain the team needs. He demonstrates dedication, hard work, and a team-first attitude that the kids need to emulate.

    • But doesnt that kinda smell of Nolan being a bit more than an interim coach bullwinkle?

      • It does to me. Can’t remember where I read it (sigh. validity points… lost!) but I did see an article stating that LaFontaine wants to bring in a rookie GM:

        a) so Lafontaine can remain a significant part of the GM’s decisions
        b) so the GM knows his place regarding Nolan, that it’ll be Lafontaine who ultimately makes the decision on his hiring/firing.

        Sounds more than interim to me!

  11. Just in an attempt to stop the overbombing of Leaf talk when it doesnt really concern some of the stuff zLyle is trying to get on here Ill throw this out there @hockeyshtick if you wanna follow me Ill do the same By following you guys can maybe follow games and chat about Leaf stuff there. (or other games going on and stuff) like I said it may cut down on some of the unrelated stuff.

  12. acquiring kulikov is a good leafs move. allows for rielly to return to junior where he belongs. send liles the other way, and now your pairings actually look like an nhl lineup instead of AHL and CHL had a very ugly baby. how can anybody not see this?

    • Rielly doesnt need JR hockey anymore…if they want him to develop more and play more minutes he can still go to the Marlies in March and play against men instead of 17 year olds. That being said the World Juniors should still maybe be an option. He needs some competition and to play important minutes not the grind of bus trips in the whl, to play meaningless games against boys.

  13. The Norris is tainted, it doesn’t mean anything anymore. The Professional Hockey Writers’ Association is the same bunch of twits who voted for Ovy in two positions last season on the All-Star team after they were clearly warned not to. If they can’t understand simple instructions in voting for an All-Star team, they don’t deserve to vote for the Norris either.

    Winning the Norris does not boost his value. Writers are supposed to be knowledgeable but they have repeatedly demonstrated that they do not possess the expertise, competence or unbiased judgment required to name the best all-round defender in hockey.

    PK is among the best, he deserve 8.5 mill based on his performances and progress but he is not the most complete defender just yet. If he continues progressing at this rate, he will deserve to be in the Norris discussion very soon.

    If there was an award for the best offensive defender, P.K would have been in the discussion last season no doubt. But that is not what the trophy is for; GMs, Coaches and Players should vote for that trophy, not media people. It is suppose to be more significant than the popularity contest that it has become.

    Incompetent people won’t dictate P.K’s value in negotiations, at least I hope they won’t for the principle of legitimacy.

    • If you honestly believe winning the Norris won’t boost Subban’s value, you’re incredibly naive. Furthermore, you contradict yourself, dismissing the value of the award because of incompetence of the voters, then saying if Subban keeps improving he’ll be worthy of the Norris.

      • Naive? when did a GM, in recent times, give out more money to a player because of a writer’s suggestion? If the media had that much influence on their decisions, Gms wouldn’t have jobs in a leadership position. Should GMs, Players and Coaches vote for the Norris, you would be on to something by suggesting the award would boost his value. But writer awards don’t boost a player’s value, the merits of his performances do that. Lidstrom was the best because his body of work proves it, not because the PHWA said he was more complete than anyone else. Do you think the Caps are going to double Ovy’s salary when there will be less than 7 years remaining on his current deal because the PHWA voted for him twice on the All-Star Ballot?

        So to clarify any contradictions, if Subban continues improving, he will be worthy of the distinction the Norris suggests, because he will be the most complete defenseman.

        • And yet, you disparage the voters of the Norris Trophy, so by your estimation, the Norris is worthless. Meanwhile, you don’t believe it has any bearing on his contract talks with the Canadiens. One reason Kris Letang got such a huge raise was due to his being a finalist for the 2013 Norris Trophy. Again, you’re being naive if you honestly believe winning the Norris Trophy, or any other NHL award, carries little or no weight in contract negotiations.

  14. Exactly the Norris pushes his value through the roof whether you like it or not.