NHL Morning Rumor Mill – February 18, 2014

A look at the top trade deadline goalie targets and an update on Devils defenseman Adam Larsson.

Ryan Miller is the top trade target among goalie nearing the NHL trade deadline.

Ryan Miller is the top trade target among goalie nearing the NHL trade deadline.

ESPN.COM: Doug Mittler lists Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, Carolina’s Cam Ward, Florida’s Tim Thomas and the NY Islanders’ Evgeni Nabokov as the top five trade targets among NHL goalies approaching the March trade deadline. Miller’s been linked to the Wild, Blues and Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The problem with moving Miller is a team must have the cap space to absorb the remainder of his $6.25 million contract, plus they must be prepared to meet the Sabres’ asking price, which could involve at least a first round pick and a top prospect as part of the return. It’s also possible the Sabres could be forced to reduce their demands if teams aren’t willing to pay up.

It appears Brodeur and Devils GM Lou Lamoriello are expecting the other to make the first move. I believe the Hurricanes will retain Ward for the rest of this season, but could gauge his trade value in the off-season, provided he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause. The Panthers hope to re-sign Thomas, who’s expressed interest in staying. I don’t believe there’s a market for the ageing, banged-up Nabokov.

NJ.COM: Randy Miller reports Devils defenseman Adam Larsson is frustrated over his slow progress. He was recently demoted to their minor league affiliate in Albany. That’s resulted in his name popping up in the rumor mill, but Larsson’s ignoring it, hoping his future remains with the Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some promising young defensemen take a little longer to develop than others. I doubt the Devils trade him, especially for a rental player.


  1. I honestly think the Hurricanes and Islanders should be talking about Ward as there is some good potential there. However before they do anything with Ward they need to get Khubodin & Peters under contract. I just feel the Hurricanes would love to add Andy MacDonald to their own blueline. Either way Ward is no longer the future of Carolina, Khubodin is. I would say Miller, Ward, and Reimer are all with new teams by the beginning of next season.

    • I doubt the Leafs trade Reimer till over the summer but surprising with how small his cap is compared to some others around the league and contract status that he is not even mentioned yet Nabobkov is? lol

      • I agree, which is why I put the caveat of the start of next season 😉

      • I agree. No way Toronto trades Reimer during the season. Doesn’t make sense.
        Not to change the subject but…..Would anyone discount a recent unsubstantiated rumor passed my way that said “Gardner + to Edmonton for Darnell Nurse”.
        Oilers get immediate D-man and Leafs can afford to wait a couple of years for a Carlyle type D-man.
        Like I said, no validity to it, it was just a rumor I heard from an Edmonton fan out west.

        • I doubt very much if the leafs are interested in acquiring Nurse. They have several d prospects in the system and are more interested in acquiring forwards at this point in time. Besides, Gardiner +, the leafs are the ones who would be looking at + in that trade scenario.
          I agree Reimer would get moved in the summer but the leafs would have to have a backup plan for another backup tender before they do so, and he would have to be pretty decent unless they feel MacIntyre is ready to fulfill that role.

      • Hey now, I’m sure Nabby could fetch a spare water bottle and a bag of pucks from someone :) I suspect his pending UFA status has something to do with his “desirability”. That and the Isles so clearly being out of it already.

        • Depends on the water bottle and if David Clarkson is involved….could get ugly.

  2. I was just thinking of a possible deal between the leafs & the islanders.
    Leafs get; Nabokov & MacDonald
    Islanders get: Reimer, D’Amigo, & 2nd rounder

    • How does this help Toronto? Nabby is expensive and old, there are better back up options available and as good as MacDonald is the Leafs are loaded on the blueline so they don’t really need to give up assets for MacDonald, plus both are UFA’s.

      Good deal for the Isles I suppose. (weird to see a flip side of the coin Leafs deal)

      • Loaded on defense as in a lot of bodies or very good players? The only Leafs defensemen I’d put ahead of MacDonald right now are Reilly and Phaneuf.

    • @Kevin

      I’m not sure the Isles are all that interested in Reimer or at least I wouldn’t be if I was the GM. I think Reimer is a very solid backup goalie but it’s clear the Leafs don’t think he’s a number one. I do believe he’s a bit better than what they have now but not enough that he’d cause them to stop looking for a true #1 tender.

      Not sure what the Isles will end up getting for Macdonald but would love to see them end up with a young up and coming tender like Anderson, Gibson, Subban, or Jones out of the moves they make near the deadline. If not then they really need to do something this summer in the FA market (Miller, Khudobin, etc).

  3. I wonder if the Islanders are willing to move Okposo? Anybody know?

    • Kevin,
      The Isles looked into moving Okposo early in the year, but I believe that ship has sailed. It was prior to the Vanek deal. With Vanek looking like he is going to be traded at the deadline, I believe Snow will hold on to 2/3 of his top line.

      • I’ve never heard that. Prior to last season there was talk but not since last year’s playoff run. He’s not being moved.

        • AS an Islanders fan I can assure you that there is ZERO talk of Okposo being traded – he was lobbied around as a Captain with Tavares name after Streit left, although with Snow running things now he might actually deal him out of town for a defence man who has already signed his retirement contract and may not report.

  4. If a team gets Ward without overpaying I think the have a winner. The last two years were tough for him, but he is a bounce-back player with plenty of ability…I would not count him as down and out and the team that would acquire him may be really fortunate with the addition…

    • I could see the oilers potentially going after him during the off season

      • Oilers & Islanders are the best fit for Cam Ward. Only 30 years old, tons of experience and a solid goalie. In Edmonton he will act as a good mentor for Scrivens and the Islanders he could mentor Poulin/Nillson.

        I believe it is more of an offseason move for either team, but if the Hurricanes sought permission to speak with Vanek I wonder if they could pull the trigger around a Ward/Vanek deal at the deadline (probably 100% not).

    • He is vastly overrated IMO and has been a bandaid for quite some time now. Other then that one year where he won the Conn-Smyth and the cup he’s really been doing nothing. He’s been getting out shined by Peters and Khudobin. Oilers would be wise to stay away IMO. He’s not the answer. Scrivens could probably do the same job he does and he won’t cost anything.

      • agreed.

        • Also agree, Scrivens needs to be given the chance to shine in Edmonton. IMO I believe he will.

  5. Miller’s salary is really a non-issue.

    His salary is $6.2M, The end of February base on days paid…they would have 44/195% ;left to pay which is about 23%….Buffalo retains 50% (likely) which puts the money around $750,000 owed. Most teams can afford that.

    In a deal buffalo could take back 23 man roster salary that make that much smaller.

  6. I believe the Sabres have no problem of picking up the max amount of Miller’s salary cap, which would be half I believe? And I’m sure they’ll have no problem taking a garbage contract in return. So it’s technically not like the opposing team is adding $6 mill in salary cap. When it’s all said and done probably end up being around $2 mill or something or lower.

    • Why? Why would a small market team want to have a bad contract in exchange for a star player who you also say will also have no problem retaining money of said star just to facilitate a terrible transaction? I think it’s the job of the GM to make trades that help your team, not handcuff them. Non-sense.

      • Lol… We’ve got one of the wealthiest owners in league guy retaining money will be no problem for us. Your comment is non-sense. Have you ever heard of the cap floor? Sabres will have to reach it with Moulson, Miller, Tallinder and Ott leaving add possible buyout of Leino. So taking on a bad contract of a player like Erat who’s got potential is exactly what the Sabres would do. Also how is a deal of Miller and retained salary for 1st rounder, top prospect and a garbage contract a terrible transaction? That’s what will happen if a trade is made involving Miller.

        • I agree in principal about what you are saying about the cap floor. But I find it a little strange to be talking about a guy that is in his 30’s and using the word potential. Erat is definitely showing signs of decline. The word potential usually sails by the time a player hits his mid 20’s. Not into his early to mid 30’s.

          • I’m not talking about that type of potential.

            Erat is still a good player but hasn’t been used right in Washington and he has the “Potential” to be better elsewhere. That’s the potential I’m talking about.

          • And you see his potential rising on a younger , less experienced, stripped down Buffalo team? I can’t imagine being surrounded with less talent and more minutes will elevate his game. I just can’t see it.

          • Erat had his best seasons in Nashville where there was what Kostitsyn and Legwand for offense? He’s currently playing on the third line in Washington so yes more minutes playing with the likes of Moulson (If still there), Ennis or Hodgson would raise his game.

        • @Jes, Erat is a overpaid crybaby that thinks he’s better than he is, third line is where he belongs and I can’t see a team moving him any higher, you can have him, he’ll probably ask for a trade if things don’t go his way.

    • True, money is not the obstacle here. The real obstacle is the price in terms of players, picks, etc.

      I have said this for a while, and still believe that Washington is very much in the market for Miller. I think that they believe with stability in goal, the team could make a run.

      Giving back Holtby or Neuwirth plus Erat and a prospect will get it done.

      • Yup if it’s Washington it’ll definitely be Neuvirth, Erat plus Kuznetsov or if they don’t wanna deal Kuznetsov it’ll be that Austrian, Burkowsky or w/e.

        • I believe Burokowski is from Sweden

          • Oh ok I guess it says AndrĂ© Burakovsky is an Austrian‑born Swedish professional ice hockey player. That solves it I guess.

        • Erat seems like a guy people are adding in this trade scenario only to make the $$$$ work for Washington. Neuvirth is no better than Enroth. More than likely a career back up guy. It seems like the Stewart , Pick and prospect from St Louis from last week look better and better.

          • Any big deal involving Washington will include Erat or Neuvirth leaving. Both have demanded trades and if McPhee can`t ignore at least one of them in a big trade like a trade for Miller the guy is an absolute joke.