NHL Morning Rumor Mill – February 13, 2013

The latest on the Maple Leafs, Flames and Blue Jackets, plus updates on Ryan O’Reilly, Roberto Luongo and Ryan Whitney.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports the Maple Leafs goaltending situation could become dire if James Reimer is sidelined longer than anticipated and Ben Scrivens struggles in the starter’s role. If the Leafs go shopping, Koshan suggested Jonathan Bernier (Kings), Jonas Hiller (Ducks) and Nikolai Khabibulin (Oilers) could be options, while free agents include Ty Conklin and Brent Johnson. Unless the Canucks lower their asking price for Roberto Luongo, he won’t be an option for the Leafs.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: cited a recent interview Canucks GM Mike Gillis had with Nick Kypreos of The Fan 590, where Gillis acknowledged he’d consider keeping Luongo if the goalie expressed a desire to stay.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That doesn’t mean Gillis has changed his mind about shopping Luongo or that “Bobby Lu” wants to remain with the Canucks. For now, it’s the status quo, with Gillis remaining patient with the trade market while Luongo handles this situation very well. As for the Leafs, GM Dave Nonis intends to sit tight for now. Reimer is expected to miss at least a week, perhaps two. If Scrivens can hold the fort, there won’t be any need to shop for a short-term replacement. 

Are the Avs finally shopping Ryan O'Reilly?

Are the Avs finally shopping Ryan O’Reilly?

DENVER POST: Adrian Dater reports sources now say it’s a virtual certainty the Colorado Avalanche will trade holdout center Ryan O’Reilly. Both sides have apparently become too entrenched to reach a compromise. It’s believed the Avs are seeking a roster player and a top prospect in return.

EDMONTON SUN: Robert Tychkowski reports Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney doesn’t understand why he’s been a healthy scratch of late, but insists he’s not seeking a trade. Still, he acknowledged his future with the club isn’t secure. Whitney is eligible for UFA status this summer.

TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie reports his contacts with the Avalanche and the O’Reilly camp declined to comment on the current contract standoff between the two side. Darren Dreger cited sources claiming the Avs have held talks with Eastern Conference teams. He also said there is some interest around the league in Ryan Whitney, but GM Steve Tambellini said he wants the defenseman to play better and isn’t actively trying to move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I guess it was only a matter of time until the Avalanche started shopping around to see what they could get for O’Reilly. Given how the club is currently struggling, they’ll need something in return to both help them now and in the future. Re-signing O’Reilly could’ve addressed that need, but apparently the Avs either want O’Reilly on their terms or not at all.

As for Whitney,he hasn’t been the same since his ankle surgeries, which appear to have hampered his mobility. If he continues to be a healthy scratch, and with the Oilers currently mired in a slump, I could see him shopped in the near future.

CALGARY HERALD: Scott Cruickshank reports Flames GM Jay Feaster denied his waiver claim of goalie Joey MacDonald was part of a possible plan to move on from workhorse Miikka Kiprusoff, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The plan is to stick with Leland Irving with MacDonald as his backup. Once Kiprusoff returns, it appears MacDonald will be demoted and Irving returns to the backup role.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Arace reported there were 19 scouts at the recent San Jose Sharks-Blue Jackets game, suggesting “the vultures are circling” as the Jackets continue to struggle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg for the link.


  1. Why would anyone trade that much for O’Reilly? He had one 55 point season and before that in his first two years he put up 26 points in each of those two seasons. Plus, no contract and he wants to be paid like a center who regularly scores 60 points or more.

    Bernier has not proven to be a starting goalie. He is not worth the asking price that LA will seek. Why would the Ducks trade Hiller? And why would the Leafs want a regular starting goalie? What would happen once Reimer comes back? Khabi would make much more sense.

    I’m not sure how pleased Schneider and his agent Liut are with Gillis after saying that he’d keep Luongo if he decides to stay.

    Ryan Whitney will be traded at some point for a center. Maybe the Isle’s for Josh Bailey?

    Blue Jackets should retool the whole team. I wouldn’t expect a major rebuild, though. Players that could be traded:

    Umberger (NTC)
    Prospal (NMC)
    Aucoin (NMC)

    I don’t see any reason to trade the younger players, and guys like Dubinsky and Jack Johnson with fairly high cap hits are needed for the team to reach the cap floor.

    • A great – and reasonable! – post, Micki. Only thing I wonder is if there is any market for Mason. $2.9M salary for truly horrible numbers over the past couple of years. Maybe someone still sees him having upside, but my hunch is those days are gone for him. I think he’ll be out of the league by next year. Raycroft, pt. 2.

  2. The only goalies I would want to see the leafs go for if scrivens completely sucks in the next week would be Bernier or khabibulin. When Reimer comes back you would either have a situation like you had before with two young goalies competing for a job with him and Bernier or you’d have a good veteran to back Reimer up who has shown he can win. I don’t know what la would want but Bernier doesn’t have much experience and bishop last year went for a 2nd so could you do a scrivens and a 2nd?
    I’m tired of the Vancouver stuff and only makes me dislike the team more.
    Going to be interesting to see how the new jackets gm builds his team, a lot of gems come in and want their own guys, would he come in and just clean house,?

    • Hello Jrd18:
      I too am tired of all the Luongo/Vancouver stuff but when you say it just makes you hate the team more I must remind you that it is the media, and mostly the Toronto media, that keeps the rumour alive. As far as the Canucks as a team go, they are quite happy to have a pair of quality netminders that they can count on. If there is any animosity between goalies it sure doesn’t show.
      In fact, with Luongo playing the way he has been and having the 2nd best GAA in the league, I believe the Canucks would be foolish to trade him now, at the end of the season, or in the foreseeable future.

      • Well I must remind you it was gillis who went to a Vancouver reporter and said we have a deal in place and are waiting for a another move to happen first. I do agree that the team would be foolish to trade luongo as he is playing like a top goalie right now and the team is playing good. They will be in good shape once Kessler and booth come back. As long as they play good they can carry on but soons as they slip the trade demands from Vancouver fans will be back.

        • While I think that Gillis saying he had a deal in place and was just waiting for something else to happen was not the wisest move he could have made but it was the reporter that came to him, not the other way around, and asked about Luongo and the eminent move for about the thousandth time.
          When Kesler returns I hope that he is healed and in decent enough shape to be the scorer he was prior to the injuries. Booth on the other hand has a lot to prove to me and maybe a lot of other people as well. I hope that he can show he was worth the money.
          Again I agree with you that once the team hits a losing streak there will be calls for trades. Fans are fickle, especially in hockey crazed cities across Canada.

  3. How about Bozak & Holzer for O’Reilly
    or Bozak & Franson for O’Reilly & 2nd rounder
    or Bozak, Franson & Scrivens for O’Reilly, Giguere, & 2nd rounder

    • In what universe do you live? What if the Avs offered up Ryan O’Byrne and John Mitchell for JVR? I your mind, that would work right? Idiot.

      • What do other teams think of grabovski? I would be up for trading grabovski for o’reilly. I know Avs want more but they at e in a tough position themselves with a player not wanting to play and the team acquiring him having to resign him.

        • Reason they might get rid of O’Reilly is money.

          The whole situation doesn’t make sense. But otherwise, Grabo is a terrible deal. They already have a grabovski, his name is Paul Stastny.

          • Well reason they might get rid of him is he hasn’t proven to be worth the money. But yes the grabovski contract is a reason I’d trade him for o’reilly. Obviously other parts from both sides might be in but my question was what grabo would be worth compared to o’reilly

  4. Jonas Hiller being available? No way in hell does that happen, because goaltending consistency these days is not guaranteed. Viktor Fasth is doing fantastic right now, but he still lacks the experience at the NHL level and hasn’t even seen a playoff game yet- which is where Hiller is already proven. Doesn’t make sense to trade Hiller and I’d rather have 2 No.1 goaltenders to carry the team. Until John Gibson is fully ready, Hiller is by no means expendable.

    • Agreed. Ehnroth went a year without a loss – there were no calls for the Sabres to trade Miller because of it.

      If Fasth keeps this up all year and into next season, then maybe it’s time to re-visit the idea of trading Hiller, but not before.

  5. The only two deals that make sense to me right now are O’Reilly for Yandle or O’Reilly for Subban.

    If they’re going to want a roster player and prospect, they might go to Washington for Forsberg and Erskine or Perreault, sending O’Reilly and an “okay” prospect back the other way.

    Most of the other eastern teams that need a center don’t want to pay that price. Toronto would have to give up Gardiner and more (Bozak?) for him an a lesser prospect. Boston would want to send Krejci back. Buffalo might consider giving up Foligno and a roster player. Probably cost Florida Goc and Gudbranson. The Islanders could get him if Strome’s in the talks. Ottawa, Philly, and Winni’s got nobody they’d be willing to deal.

    • What are you smoking? Gardiner and bozak for a player who has had one good season. No one would do that trade for an unsigned, unproven player.

      • Turris

  6. To the Rangers for Kreider.

  7. I think the habs will land him for a a deal that includes webber, eller and white

    • I do not expect it would work (Habs have a lot of players signed right now) and it is not in the team’s philosophy to sign a 23-year-old player for that much (see Subban), but I saw that idea a few times on twitter tonight.

  8. O’Reilly for Subban or Yandle? Are you high? If O’Reilly is as good as you and he thinks he is the Avalanche would be scrambling to sign him. Prospect and a 2nd round pick is what he will go for. Av’s don’t want salary. The team that gets him will sign him for 2 years at $4m per that way if his 55 pt year was a one off they will not be on the hook for long.

  9. Supposedly the reason that O’Reillys agent wants more than what Duchene got (3.5 mill) is because in his RFA year, Duchene had something like 35 points, and O’ Reilly had 55 points, so they are just pro-rating the dollars.

    At the end of next season, Stastny will be a UFA, Duchene and Landeskog will both be RFA’s, Varlamov will be an RFA, and Giguere a UFA. Those are significant roles and spots to resign and sign UFA’s for, so maybe they are trying to work the Detroit model where everyone takes a haircut, and no one makes more than a particular player (like Lidstrom) so they can grow a young group up together, and O’Reillys demands clearly would not support that plan.

    O’Reilly not playing is not the only reason for the Av’s poor performance this year, although it has played a part. Landeskog and Duchene are clearly the AV’s core that they wish to build around, so the sooner they trade O’Reilly the better for all parties involved.

  10. To TOR – O’Reilly,

    To AVS – Grabovski, Gardiner,

    Get it done Nonis

  11. Anybody think Columbus with their new GM might go for O’Reilly?

    They have 3 1st round picks this year so they might be able to come up with a competitive package for the Avs?
    I also agree that a centreman with one <60 point season demanding lots or $$ is not going to MTL for Subban or to PHX for Yandle. Also as far as the Leafs go, I don't think O'Reilly has shown he is that much better than Bozak, not least of all that Bozak AND Gardiner would be a worthy trade, vast overpayment if Nonis goes for that.