NHL Morning Rumor Mill – February 1, 2014

Updates on Ryan Callahan, Chris Stewart and Matt Moulson plus the latest on the Maple Leafs, Kings, Canucks and more.

Could the Rangers swap Ryan Callahan for the Blues' Chris Stewart?

Could the Rangers swap Ryan Callahan for the Blues’ Chris Stewart?

NEW YORK POST/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Larry Brooks reports Rangers management want captain Ryan Callahan’s future decided before the roster freeze (Feb 7 – 23) for the upcoming Sochi Olympics. GM Glen Sather is reportedly aggressively shopping Callahan, who is unwilling to move off his demand of a seven-year, $42 million contract. Brooks claims the Rangers would prefer a deal comparable to five-year, $30 million signed by Joe Pavelski with the San Jose Sharks.

Brooks and Pat Leonard reported sources claiming the Rangers have granted multiple clubs permission to speak with Callahan’s agent about a contract extension, which Callahan claimed was news to him.  Brooks reports the St. Louis Blues have interest in Callahan while the Rangers are interested in Blues winger Chris Stewart, who has one year left on his contract at a cap hit of $4.15 million and could be better suited to the Rangers style of play than the grinding style preferred by Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.

STLTODAY.COM: Dan O’Neill also reported on the Rangers’ supposed interest in Stewart, noting the Blues have been less than thrilled with his recent performance, managing only two goals in his last 17 games. Neither GM Doug Armstrong or coach Ken Hitchcock would comment on the rumors.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports two Western Conference executives he texted believe the Rangers still want to re-sign Callahan and GM Glen Sather was merely calling around to give himself a “Plan B”. A source also claims Sather wouldn’t be adverse to moving Callahan to an Eastern Conference team. A Blues source declined to comment about the Rangers’ rumored interest in Stewart.

TSN.CA: LeBrun also mentioned the Columbus Blue Jackets could be worth watching in the Callahan hunt.  Darren Dreger reports the Rangers will trade Callahan if he won’t soften his salary demand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So it appears we’ve got a standoff. The Rangers want to re-sign Callahan but not for seven years. Callahan wants to re-sign but isn’t willing to budge off his asking price. Sounds like Sather is trying to pressure the Callahan camp to accept around the same money but on a shorter term. Given Callahan’s physical style and injury history that’s an understandable position.

Ultimately it could come down to Callahan. I don’t think Sather’s bluffing but he also won’t just give him away. As for the interest in Stewart, I think Sather will want a draft pick and/or a prospect included in the return. The move could work out for the Blues, as they would have Callahan at least as a rental player plus they’ll shed Stewart’s salary for next season. That would free up cap space for other moves, perhaps for a new starting goalie if they don’t re-sign Jaroslav Halak and/or Brian Elliott.

Not sure it would be an improvement for the Rangers long-term. Stewart’s a streaky scorer and coming in to replace a popular player like Callahan will put him under considerable pressure. Anyway, this should make the next week rather interesting in the rumor mill.

TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie reports the LA Kings desperately need scoring but there’s not much available right now in the trade market. The asking price for Buffalo’s Matt Moulson is high (first round pick and a prospect) plus he’s sidelined until after the Olympic break. The Flames are talking contract with Mike Cammalleri while the Islanders could wait until the trade deadline to make a decision on Thomas Vanek. McKenzie suggests Edmonton’s Sam Gagner as an option but he’s got two more years at $4.8 million per left on his contract, which could be difficult for the cap-heavy Kings to absorb….Pierre Lebrun reports if the Vancouver Canucks make moves it won’t be for rental players. He expects Alexander Edler could attract a lot of attention after the Olympics…Darren Dreger reports the Maple Leafs are willing to move winger Nikolai Kulemin but they want a player in return and currently there’s no offers on the table which make sense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Kings heading toward next Friday’s 3 pm ET Olympic roster freeze. If they’re interested in Gagner they’ll have to move a player in return or a separate deal to make the dollars fit…Looks like it’s time for the Canucks to commence a rebuild. They don’t need to blow things up but they do need younger scorers and have depth on the blueline they can draw upon. Moving Edler could be their best option…If the Leafs want a roster player back for Kulemin they could be waiting in vain.

SPORTSNET.CA/TORONTO STAR: reports more moves could be coming for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the wake of their trading Mark Fraser to Edmonton on Friday. With injured Leafs Dave Bolland (ankle), David Clarkson (elbow), Frazer McLaren (shoulder) and Trevor Smith (hand) close to returning the club needs to free up some cap and roster space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Star noted the Leafs can loan entry-level players to their AHL affiliate plus they can also send Bolland to the Marlies on a two-week conditioning stint. If they move Kulemin they can’t afford to take back much salary in return.

BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports Sabres winger Matt Moulson (upper-body injury) is sidelined until after the Olympic break.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clubs are interested in him but this could force them to wait until the trade deadline to make offers for him. I daresay the Sabres weren’t planning on moving him (if they do at all) until the trade deadline.

USA TODAY: Kevin Allen lists the most intriguing players in this year’s NHL trade market. Among the usual suspects (Dan Girardi, Ryan Callahan, Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Ryan Miller,Steve Ott, Ales Hemsky) are Florida’s Marcel Goc and Brad Boyes along with Calgary’s Lee Stempniak.


  1. I can see the Leafs moving Kulemin, but it would need to be a package deal. Kulie and another for one in return to dump more salary or to get an upgrade at that position. My only hope is that they don’t immediately drop Clarkson into the lineup after his elbow heals, as they seem to win more when he’s not in the lineup and they’ve been moving up in the standings better lately.

  2. Callahan to the St Louis Blues is a serious upgrade going into a serious run at the cup this year.
    Even if they move Stewart in this deal and Callahan does not resign they are not loosing anything. If I was St Louis I would take on Callahan and hope to resign him and with that not touch Miller as that would be the money he would have received. I think Callahan can be a better impact player than a goalie would be for St Louis due to the depth in Goal they have. My money would be on Callahan moving forward and then look to improve with an up and coming goalie as a second move or in the off season moving forward as there are a number of quality goalies out there in the UFA market to be had.

    On a second note would the Oilers give the dedicated money they had for Clarkson and try to give it to Callahan if he were to go UFA, as they were willing to do the $6 million (roughly) for 7 years …would they pursue this option with Callahan given they missed out on Clarkson as Callahan is double the player long term and a leader they are so desperately missing !

    • Callahan possesses average skills with above average hustle and heart. Because of his hustle and heart he misses a few games due to injury. With that said a lengthy contract at that much money is a very risky contract to give to a player despite how loved he is by the team and fans. I can’t help but think the 2nd half of that contract would be hard to swallow.

  3. The Rangers trying to sign Girardi at approximately 5.5 for ~6yrs is worth it considering McDonagh is resigned at 4.5 for 5 years and he is a younger player. Girardi has earned it and it will be money well spent.

    As for Callahan, he is the heart and soul of the team and obviously a leader but the money he is rumored to be asking for is a bit too much considering the type of offensive stats he puts up year and year out. He has only 2 seasons which he had over 40pts and I don’t believe he has played a full season yet. So as much as it pains me to say this, maybe his time in NYC is over unless his asking price comes down considerably.

  4. Just over 10 years in the league and Boyes already looking at 8th nhl team. Wonder if he sometimes for get what bench to go to after a shift.

    • Good one :-))))))

      Wish about 2/3 of the Flyers would go to the wrong bench and stay there

  5. Since Kuli has been moved up to the second line with Kadri and Lupul insyead of being stuck with guys like McClement Clarkson Ashton etc. he has showed that he is still able to find the net ( 4 points in 6 games) and get some goals and still bring a petty good 200 ft game. In the KHL with Malkin he put up 36 points in 34 games, he could be cheap pickup to replace Dupuis.

    • Other then bamboozling the Pens into paying something decent for Kulemin I doubt anyone else anti’s up much of a return for this pending UFA. Maybe a 3rd rounder from most teams but Pitz might pay more hoping that chemistry might still be there with Malkin. If the Leafs think they are getting anything more then I mentioned above for a 3rd line rental player they are living in a dream world.

      • The pens are not going to trade for him. He is a bad joke that your stuck with. Malkin has Neal and Jussi as line mates. If the pens make a move it’s for a Crosby or Sutter line mate. Get over it

        • stuck with how? hes ufa…get a grip

        • @rc21pa: maybe the Pens will trade for Kulemin and maybe they won’t. The biggest part of Ray Shero’s job is making his team better. If a trade for Kulemin is the best option for accomplishing that, then Shero will do it. Kulemin is not a “bad joke”. Kulemin is a reasonably priced third line winger with enough skill to fill in on the top two lines temporarily when circumstances require it. Kulemin would not be at all out of place on Sutter’s line. It is true that Neal and Jokinen have very good chemistry with Malkin. Does that mean that either of them would suddenly turn into Rod Buskas if they were moved to Crosby’s line to accommodate Kulemin on Malkin’s line? Kulemin’s past chemistry provides an extra assurance to the Pens that they would not get in trading for any other player. Is Shero going to trade for Kulemin simply because he is buds with Geno? Of course not. However, adding Kulemin would give the Pens more line options than they have currently. Is he the best option the Pens might have available? Only Ray Shero has the information necessary to make that call. Would you trade Pyatt and Glass for Kulemin and Maclaren? I would in a heartbeat. Would you trade Beau Bennett for Kulemin? I wouldn’t. If the asking price were the same I’d take Stewart over Kulemin every time. The fact is the asking price for those two player won’t be the same. Not even close. Parenteau provides more scoring than Kulemin but wouldn’t fit as well on Sutter’s line next year when Dupuis is back. What a team gives up in a trade is as important as what is gained. All things being equal, however, Kulemin is a better option for the Pens than Erat, Cole, Booth, David Jones, Michalek, Hemsky, Brodziak, Vanek, Gaborik, Heatley or probably even Setoguchi or Boyes. For clarification, better option and better player are not the same thing. Clearly some of those players have aspects of their game with are far superior to the same aspect in Kulemin’s game. As far as the playoff rental issue is concerned, It is easily conceivable that the Leafs, Who have made it known that Kulemin is available, would grant the Pens permission to negotiate Kulemin’s next contract prior to the deal being finalized. Maybe the Pens will deal for Kulemin and maybe they won’t.

    • I agree. Kuli can still contribute when he plays with players, that have an offensive touch.
      He plays a well rounded, game. he would fit in well with pitt, or maybe st. louis. I would love to get Chris Stewart to the leafs, I know it would take more then kulemin, but its a start.

      • The pens have 2 pretty decent center prospects that are going to have a tough time making the big club with Malikn Crosby and Sutter, I think Nonis might be blowing a little smoke and stoking a bit of a fire by saying he wants a roster player, if he could get a good prospect that has a high ceiling down the road like Sundqvist or Blueger for Kuli (much easier to give up for the Pen than some of the D prospects and centers would be more valuable to the Leafs) then I think they could maybe work something out. The Leafs are going to probably move Kuli for cap reasons it makes no sense to want a roster player in return, it does make sense to say you want a roster player but to “settle” on a prospect that could be a big part of the teams future.

    • Huh, didn’t realize he scored so well when playing with Malkin. That’s really something cause not a lot of guys can score big when they play with a player of that calliber :)

  6. Re: Moulson
    Just looked at Buffalo’s schedule. They have 4 games after the Olympic Break and Before trade deadlines.
    That gives GM’s 4 games to figure out if Moulson in healthy or not. If he is not ready when Olympic break
    is over, then Buffalo just may have to pile money on table or lose him to FA and get zip.
    If Vanek signs with NYI before deadline I guess that makes Stewart and Callahan the new hot dates
    guys are chasing. Not exactly the scoring a team like the KIngs need. Kings have everything needed
    to win another cup but think they need to add goals, so forget Callahan as Kings have lots of grit
    and leadership. Wow, some teams may really have to overpay to get a rental this year.

    • If Moulson’s injury impacts his trade value as a “rental” – I have no problem with Buffalo resigning him. There are other assets Buffalo can trade – Ott, Ennis, Grigorenko, Stafford, Tallinder, Erhoff, Weber, and even who has been injured the past few years is starting to look like the player we knew he could be. With the upcoming cap increase, I don’t Buffalo would have a problem signing Callahan – we could use his “heart, desire and leadership” – I think he is a Nolan type of player.

      But, Ideally my trade would be Miller/Grigorenko/Ott for Halak or Elliott/Stewart/Rattie. I think St. Louis would get the “big game” experience they want with Miller and they might have a real good shot of resigning him, they get a top draft pick/scorer with Grigorenko and grit/leadership and scoring with Ott.

      I have to say that Nolan has done a pretty good job with the Sabres considering what he’s had to work with. Their games are entertaining and they seem to be working hard and building on their confidence.

    • I doubt that Vanek resigns with the Isles. He’s been great to watch with JT but I think he wants greener pastures. Not sure what the Kings send back for Vanek as I don’t know their system at all. I’m guessing it would need to be the goalie Jones if he’s as good as suggested and a top prospect or prospect and pick. Likely see a goalie go back to the Kings to act as a back up for Quick.

      So perhaps Vanek and Nabokov or Nilson in exchange for Jones, Toffoli and a pick?

      • You won’t see Toffoli going anywhere (not for a rental)… Maybe Jones, Vey, and a pick, I doubt they will part with Pearson.. But they’d also have to move some more Bodies for Cap space.. If they were to Trade Jones, Fraser, Lewis and Muzzin they could take the cap hit… I’m sure Frattin’s on the bubble right now too..
        I don’t see the Kings messing with the top 2 lines they have right now, Unless they go after 2 guys. Then that might put Brown on the Bubble..
        I guess it will all depends on what happens in the 4 games after the Break, on what the Kings decide to do.. I hope something though..

  7. I will be in the minority here, but I believe that if the Leafs can sign Kulemin at between $2.5-$3m a year on a 2-4 year deal (currently making $2.8) then they should keep him. Did he have a flash in the pan season, most likely but he is still a bit better offensively then what he is playing and he is one of their most dependable two-way forwards. Maybe if an offer is too good to resist sure move him, but I don’t see the Leafs getting that deal and the Leafs are currently a playoff team.

    I think there is going to be a lot of people over paying at the deadline this year for rentals for sure.

    • I think it comes down to sign kuli or McClement and Bolland. McClement is going to get a bigger pay day for sure, say around 2-2.5 mil and Carlyle loves him and bolland which I see the leafs resigning Bolland as well. say he gets his 3.75 a year. The leafs can not afford to keep Kulemin at that point. I like kulemin and with he thrive on another team playing in top 6 instead of bottom six possibly. but I think you got Guys like Troy Bodie, who can step in and fill that spot at 800k. Plus its time some of these kids get a chance and I mean a good chance to see what they can do.

      • Bolland is the only one to worry about, McClement and Kuli could be replaced for less then they are going to want.

  8. The Penguins should definately pick up Kulemin based on his production and familiarity with Malkin. If the Penguins can get away with a 2nd round pick or a D prospect not named Pouliott, Despres, or Harrington. Possibly Dumoulin and a later rounder. This would enable Jokinen to move to Crosby’s wing to replace Dupuis, Jokinen, Crosby, Kunitz, and would leave the 2nd line as Kulemin, Malkin, Neal. The Penguins, although first in the East, have a revolving door of Dupuis replacements and 3rd line wingers. This needs to be solidified by the end of the season to make a solid run. Adding a solid 2-way player like Kulemin would be exceptionally benefical for the team overall.

    • I get the feeling Kulemins agent has told Nonis his client will explore free agency this summer and that’s why Nonis has leaked it publically he is available for trade otherwise he would have him signed by now.

      • Shero has stated he doesn’t want a rental player for Sid

  9. I still believe Glen Sather is bullying his players into cheaper contracts, and I’m not a huge fan of his hardball lowball tactics.

    • I am not a huge Sather fan, However it is being reported that Callahan has demanded 7 years 42 million and won’t back off an inch. I would say this is Callahan trying to “bully” the team. Callahan is not a 6 million per year guy, and certainly not 6 million for 7 years.

      • I think the Sabres will give him whatever he wants in the offseason. NYR simply doesn’t have the cap space.

        • They have the cap space, They have about 30 million to re-sign 12-13 players/fa’s without buying out Richards. 37 million if Richards is bought out. They just do not want that 6 million hit for 7 years. I don’t see Buffalo as a realistic destination. Callahan isn’t going to sign with a rebuilding team with very little future certainty. It doesn’t seem like a good fit for Buffalo either. I think he either stays or will be signed/traded at the deadline to a contender.

  10. Calahan is not worth 6 million a year; notably for 7 years for the Rangers. With this being said, there WILL be a team that offers him this contract if he is seeking the money. However, if Calahan wants to play for a contending team that is near the cap every year, he will have to seek a 1-5 year contract at around 5 million to have the best chance at the cup. It is a tough spot for the Rangers as they can get similiar production for much less but likely could not replace his work ethic and leadership. Injuries are also a huge factor. I would try to trade him for a guy who can pot 20 goals a year which is similiar and a high draft pick/prospect.

  11. Actually though. I don’t see the necessity of moving Kulemin, who has been fitting in nicely on the 2nd unit. But if you can steal a solid defensive prospect for him at the deadline– go for it (as it might be tough resigning all three of him, McClement, and Bolland). Penguins look like the best partner– Malkin has great chemistry with him, they’re seriously loading for another Cup run, and the Pens have stocked prospect talent on the back-end. Kulemin (and maybe a late round pick) for Harrington. Both teams win.

    • I like the Harrington to TOR for Kulemin and 4th-5th. I believe Harrington projects to be a solid #4 shut down type with high leadership potential in 2-3 years. For the Penguins to give this up it would have to be a trade/sign as I hope the Penguins would not give up Harrington for a #6-8 rental forward.

    • Give up Harrington for Kuli!!!!! HAHAHAHAHHAHA

      NO WAY!!!

  12. If Calahan is really asking for that much and is unwilling to budge seems to me he wants out of NewYork because he is not worth that much. NY needs to get back a solid RW though

  13. I have a feeling Callahan will be with the Sabres next season.

    If I were TML I’d keep Kulemin. Are they just trying to get rid of him for cap space?

    • Cap space and hes a ufa they probably are not going to want to give a big raise to.

  14. Anyone know how that Klein/Del Zotto trade is working for either club?

    • Klein has aloud Moore to return to the right side. And he has been jumping in the play a lot more than when he was paired with MDZ on the opposite side. Not really sure how MDZ is working out for the Preds. I know he had 1 assist in a game earlier in the week. Other than that, no idea.

  15. Id rather the pens go after chris stewart to repace dupis on crosbys line. kunitz,crosby,stewart. neal,malkin,jokinen. talk about an awesome one two punch!! As much as I would hate it I think orpik needs to be the odd man out. gives alittle more cap room and we can more easily replace him with whats in the system. It would be unwise to trade niscannon(scores and its like an ironman out there)letang(heard there was a verbal agreement of cant trade me this year,if not I still wouldn’t trade him.just needs to be alittle more responsible on defence)martin(to good a skater and plays great D)maatta(yea right,trade a defensive prodigy.not going to happen)bortuzzo(no that’s orpiks replacement). NHL caliber defensive prospects are not all that common but the pens are very deep.they will be solid at defence for years to come.

    • Yeah I love that!!

      Kris Letang for Chris Stewart

      Letang = OVERATED

      • A typical Pittsburgh “yinzer”. The penguins would never even constipated Letang for Stewart. Letang is with the penguins until or if pouliott can run a power play and play 20+ minutes. Letang is a top talent defenseman and could be a top 3 D in the league when polished and you want to trade him for chris Stewart. Joke. Much less realizing that st loius has shattenkirk, pietrangelo and bouwmeester.

        • Constipated? Really? Gotta love the autospell function. Anyway, derogatory stereotype aside, your points about the trade proposal are on the mark. although it seems to me like stating the blatantly obvious, a Letang for Stewart trade will never happen. Constipated? Really?

          • Haha autocorrect. I better burn my masters degree

  16. As a kings fan the current situation in LA is a serious problem i have been anticipating for a while now. It seems to me that when there is speculation that a team is in the trade market the players get tentative, lose their confidence and the overall play deteriorates. This is especially true with a young team and young players as they wonder about their future.

    i just pray that the kings will make the move(s) they need to make so the players can regain the confidence and level of play they had prior to the holiday breaks.