NHL Morning Rumor Mill – December 6, 2013.

The latest on Ryan Miller and Brad Richards, plus updates on the Islanders, Oilers and Panthers.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports goaltender Ryan Miller has become a huge asset for the Sabres, both with his play and as a trade candidate.  Harrington is open to the Sabres re-signing Miller but advocates only a three-year deal worth $7 million per season. He doubts Miller would re-sign.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe Miller has any interest in re-signing.  He’ll move on, either via free agency in July or by the March 5 trade deadline.

Could Brad Richards be bought out at season's end?

Could Brad Richards be bought out at season’s end?

NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough wonders if the New York Rangers use their remaining compliance buyout in June for Brad Richards to free up cap space to re-sign Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Brough noted, the issue isn’t Richards performance (20 points in 28 games) but his front-loaded contract. While a buyout of Richards is no certainty, it can’t be ruled out.  

SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon reports the New York Islanders are in need of goaltending help. There’s speculation GM Garth Snow could pursue Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, but doubts even he could save the Isles season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:Sticking with an ageing Evgeni Nabokov as the Islanders starter was not a wise move by Snow, and his team is paying the price for that mistake.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wonders if Oilers GM Craig MacTavish is trying to land a defenseman. Options could include ” the Detroit Red Wings’ Kyle Quincey, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Tim Gleason, the Florida Panthers’ Dmitry Kulikov and the Phoenix Coyotes’ David Rundblad.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of these, the best option talent-wise could be Kulikov, who’s only 23 and still has time to develop into a reliable top-four blueliners. Only concern, however, is his RFA status with arbitration rights, plus the possibility he could use the threat of going to the KHL as leverage in contract talks.

MIAMI HERALD: George Richards reports Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon isn’t in “tank mode” but said any trades to improve his club won’t include his young core.


  1. What happened to GMs addressing their needs around US thanksgiving? Quite a few teams have quite a few needs but it seems like Kulikov and Miller and Gleason are the only ones available (Gardiner depending on how he played the night before)…with the way the cap is going to rise over the next 4-5 years small market teams will be lucky to get to the floor anyway and all the big market teams will spend to within pennies of the ceiling. This system sucks there is no player movement practically no way to improve your roster once the season starts small market teams still have less star players than big ones, competitive balance is a sham.

    • I think it’s just a lack of cap space this year due to the lock-out. Things will return to “normal” next year when the cap goes up and more teams have $$ to play with

      • Kinda my point the cap sucks…strict contract limits in term and revenue sharing make more sense than the way the NHL has set up this cap system. Its a bit of a joke, it does not help smaller market (or no market) teams like Florida Phx etc etc they still struggle to get to the floor and lose money still are basically a farm system for the rest of the league. It has changed nothing but the ability to improve your team or make good hockey type deals.

        • Also, the following will happen:

          1. cap will go up
          2. the UFAs will say, “look, there’s room in the cap, I want to be paid”
          3. salaries will escalate
          4. every team with money will be pushed up against the cap ceiling again
          5. little-to-no player movement will occur.

          Repeat as necessary.

          • 6. another lockout

    • I wondering if like you said small market teams having trouble financially reaching the floor if instead of a buyout of a front loaded contract such as Richards would be that more appealing to a team like Florida?? Get the higher cap hit with smaller actual dollars out

      • The Islanders have done this in the past – reach the cap floor in terms of the cap but not actual salaries (i.e. they trade for guys with higher cap hits than salaries, just to meet the floor)

        This technically works to hit the cap floor, but is no good for competitive balance. No team with a team salary below the *floor* will ever be competitive, in my opinion.

  2. Unless the salary cap rises to $70+M, the NYR will have no choice but to buyout Richards, if they want to re-sign their UFA’s and keep key RFA’s next season. Or they have to make a salary dump elsewhere, if Richards, is part of their plans going forward.

  3. Rangers have no choice to buy out Richards as a matter of fact if they did it this year it would have been better off and the team could have signed all the guys they really want to keep longer term and they may be doing better in the standings and could possibly have made a trade or 2 all ready !

    They all ready know what they got in Richards for the next 6 years and his contract is almost non moveable so you almost have to do it ! Only other way is to find a GM that is looking to do a buy out for his player and see if that trade would fit in summer so both teams dont throw away any money !


    WANTED :
    looking for young stud defender who can shot block, take body and throw the mitts….LMAO
    Oh wait ……they traded that guy LOL

    who runs this team ????

    • Um… If you are talking about Smid, he was a constant for a few years on one of the leagues worst defensive units. Also, I have not seen any improvement on the flames blue line since he has been there. If anything the defence has improved on the Oilers since the trade. They sure have been winning more since Smid was traded away.

      • @ KEV JAM

        YEAH ….with Yakupov , Hall , RNH , Eberle , Hemsky Sultz to name a few …it was all Smids fault !!

        His stats with the Oilers for his role were exactly what they are going to get with the next guy who takes his position and plays that way ..maybe worse !


        • Yeah… You totally missed my point.

          • Surprise!

  4. If Richards gets bought out there will be a lineup of teams ready to sign a very similar contract he already has. NYR is fortunate enough to have depth at forwards now to even contemplate buying out one player to retain a few other, younger talented ones.
    However I doubt he gets bought, NYR will just structure their re-signings to be back-end heavy to balance out the yearly cap load.

  5. Speculation by Nolan that the Sabres would be better served by resigning Miller is total nonsense. The only reason Nolan wants Miller to stay on is to try and protect his job!
    The Sabres would be fools to do this.

    And I wouldn’t be shocked to see the new GM replace Nolan. I know I would.

    • I agree BW, if Miller is kept then things aren’t changing here. Use that 8 mil he wants to sign some defensive talent come July. Trade Miller, Ehrhoff, Ennis, Ott and send Flynn down. If Stasny is available go for it. A line of Stasny, Moulson and Foligno might work.

  6. I’m starting to get bored with the Miller talk these days. Thing is…..Miller has made his desires known – he wants to go to a contender and wants to go west. His desire is to go to California, unfortunately for him all three teams have good solid goalies. So, essentially he will be a rental player and who better to go to than Nashville – his BF Gaustad is there and they desperately need help in goal to get back into the playoff race. Sabres, if they had a GM could trade Miller to Nashville for Taylor Beck and a draft pick (retaining some of Miller’s salary). Problem is, Sabres don’t have a GM and while some windows open, others close. For Miller, its not about the money, it about location to his wife and playing in the playoffs. So, let’s get something for him and move on.

  7. Snow should pursue Anderson. Nabby goes to Ottawa with a young forward ( ie Bailey ) for Anderson. Isles get their goalie at a good price and clear room for Strome. Sens get Nabby as a back up for the rest of the year.

    It’s all about assets and this works.

    • I actually like the deal. Maybe not Bailey, but Nabby splitting a mentor with Lehner and getting an NHL ready asset back would be good.

  8. Lyle i was wondering your opinion of where Gaborik could end up if traded or goes into FA, and how much would he be worth via Trade.

    I know its off topic so feel free to delete if you want to.

  9. regarding Ryan Miller:

    Ducks could trade Jonas Hiller to NSH for a young solid defenseman.
    Buffalo trades Ryan Miller to the Ducks for a forward prospect and a pick.

    seems like some needs are addressed here.

    • Not really the issue of the Ducks having 4 goalies in the system who could and probably will be ready for NHL icetime in the next year or so.

    • Why would Nashville do that ?

  10. GMs are trying too hard to act like they are all calm,and expect other teams to offer over payments for there players.mactavish is doing it with the oilers.garth snow should have been fired long ago.chang or wang or wong has to go also,terrible hockey sense,maybe a great business sense,but that doesnt mean much when your team sucks.i understand getting the best return possible,but sometimes it seems like these gms put player character before player talent.

  11. Lyle in regards to the oilers there is rumours of Vancouver potentially moving Edler possible deal to be done there? Even with the inter conference premium the oilers would have to pay?

    • Not with Edler currently sidelined.

      • So what about him healthy that the top d man they are looking