NHL Morning Rumor Mill – February 15, 2014.

The latest on the Florida Panthers, Blackhawks prospect Brandon Pirri and the top defense trade targets.

Could Tim Thomas re-sign with the Panthers?

Could Tim Thomas re-sign with the Panthers?

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov reports Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon isn’t giving up on the season but is challenging several underachieving players to step up their play. Though Tallon didn’t single out anyone, Fialkov believes he’s referring to Tomas Fleischmann, Tomas Kopecky and Shawn Matthias. All are signed through next season and would be difficult to move. “We’re not going to blow this team up,” Tallon said. “We got some great pieces and we got some pieces we have to change and make better as we move forward to March 5, the draft and free agency” Tallon also said he’s talked with Tim Thomas regarding his future. “We spoke in the last week and he wants to be here,” Tallon said. “The feeling is mutual. I like his competitiveness and his overall performance, very good, so we’ll see.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Tallon will make a couple of moves by the trade deadline if he can land a return which his club can build on for the future. It doesn’t sound as though Thomas will be among them.

ESPN.COM: Tim Kavanagh lists Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, the Islanders Andrew MacDonald, Buffalo’s Christian Ehrhoff, Dallas’ Trevor Daley and Toronto’s Jake Gardiner as the top trade targets among defensemen heading toward the NHL trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien’s $5.4 million per season salary and his weak defensive play means he probably won’t be moved until this summer, when teams have the cap space to take a chance on him as either a defenseman or a winger. Ditto Ehrhoff, for while the bulk of his 10-year, $40 million contract has already been paid out, his $4 million annual cap hit to 2021 could be tough to move at the deadline. MacDonald and Daley are the more likely trade candidates. Gardiner was dogged by trade rumors earlier this season but I don’t believe the Leafs intend to move him. GM Dave Nonis wants a player comparable in skill and age in return.

ESPN CHICAGO.COM: Scott Powers reports Blackhawks prospect Brandon Pirri is uncertain about his future with the club. With the ‘Hawks recent acquisition of Peter Regin, there’s rumors they are shopping Pirri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible but I don’t think there’s a pressing need for the Blackhawks to move Pirri, who’s only 22 and in the final season of his entry-level contract.


  1. Why would Buffalo trade Ehrhoff? He’s their #1 Dman, they have already payed the front end loaded portion of his contract, now his cap real cost in moving forward in cap hit & real salary makes him a bargain.

    • Why wouldn’t they trade him? By the time Sabres are good enough to compete he’ll be at the end of his career. If they can get a good package that bring in a good young asset they will do it.

  2. An early re-occuring injury didn’t help Pirri’s chances to win a job from the beginning. He has a major league release, clear offensive instincts and has gotten quicker, but the developmental problem is that so far he just isn’t all that strong on the puck. If you can’t meander and hold, the othet hawk attackers aren’t were they want to be to receive passes.
    Remember also that Pirri isn’t being asked to come in, get his feet wet on the bottom six-he is being given the responsibilty to get the puck back to Kane and to get open to finish, besides being good on the cycle.

    Per the average hockey sportswriter, Scott powers neglets the fact that trading Pirri of anything but futures is IMPOSSIBLE as the hawks have $212,489 deadline Cap space, and it seems ludicrous, but there are still fans that think the hawks can trade both veteran back-up defenders Kotska AND Brookbank, (and go into the playoff praying that the other six stay healthy) AND that the hawks will find some team to take both dee-men and the promise of Pirri GIVE the hawks another weapon at forward and take on a portion of that new forwards Cap/contract. Pleasant dreams.
    By the way I have I have the top 259 NHL prospects for this weak 2014 draft in order on http://www.draftsite.com/nhl/mock-draft/2014/
    if you want to find your team help for the distant future…

    • LOL nice pot Bill.

      • *post…smh

        • I was thinking what you meant there Shticky… I thought he was your pot dealer for a second lol….

          • hahahaha!

          • Ya Bill has the real sticky icky good stuff. lol

      • He spec did you not allow my comment. I didn’t say anything inappropriate, not cool, tht how you lose your fan base.

        • lol nice

    • I like your draft rankings. Ekblad deserves to be number 1, but if buffalo gets the first pick, I would think they would have to address their problems upfront first. Therefore, if buffalo gets the first pick, they’ll select Reinhardt, and if Edmonton gets the second pick they will select Ekblad to address their defensive woes.