NHL Morning Rumor Mill – February 3, 2014

Latest on Ryan Callahan plus updates on the Senators, Maple Leafs, Wild and Lightning.

Could this week be Ryan Callahan's last as a Ranger?

Could this week be Ryan Callahan’s last as a Ranger?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports teams interested in Ryan Callahan could prefer to wait until he becomes an unrestricted free agent to try to acquire him, rather than do so via trade this season. Brooks claims the Buffalo Sabres are willing to meet Callahan’s seven-year, $42 million asking price but aren’t involved in current trade talks.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl recently reported the Sabres have not inquired about Callahan. “At least not yet”, wrote Vogl.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Arace reports Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen denies the rumors he’s among the suitors for Callahan. “It’s rumors,” Kekalainen said yesterday. “Sometimes I laugh when I see rumors. Sometimes I scratch my head. I don’t ever comment.”

STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon reports on the Blues reported interest in Callahan, noting the pros and cons of a possible swap of Chris Stewart for the Rangers’ captain. Among the cons is Callahan wouldn’t make sense for the Blues on an out-sized contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rival general managers aren’t going to admit if they’re pursuing Callahan even if they have permission to speak with his agent. They don’t want to tip their hand and drive up the potential asking price from the Blueshirts. As Brooks suggests, those clubs with interest in Callahan might prefer to wait until he hits this summer’s UFA market, when they don’t have to give up assets (players, prospects, draft picks) to land him. If that’s the case, Callahan could be forced to lower his asking price if he wants to remain a Ranger. 

OTTAWA SUN/OTTAWA CITIZEN: Don Brennan reports Senators GM Bryan Murray continues to seek a top-six forward. Buffalo’s Matt Moulson is believed of interest to the Senators but he’s sidelined until after the Olympic break with an arm injury. Wayne Scanlan reports Murray said he was close to a minor deal which would’ve added a forward but the deal was pulled by the rival GM.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray could add a winger before Friday’s Olympic roster freeze but I’m guessing he’ll wait until after the Olympics to make his move.

TORONTO STAR: With the improvement of Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri combined with the imminent return of Dave Bolland, Mark Zwolinski wonders how the Leafs will approach the March trade deadline. When Bolland returns the Leafs must move two players to get under the 23-man roster limit. Given the Leafs recent improvement, Zwolinski suggests they could stand pat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs need to improve their blueline but if they continue playing well GM Dave Nonis could be reluctant to risk messing with team chemistry.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: Mike Russo reports the Minnesota Wild recently made clear the recent rumor tying them to Buffalo’s Ryan Miller was hogwash. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher says he’ll remain patient and see if goalie Josh Harding, who’s battling multiple sclerosis symptoms, can return following the Olympic break. He’s currently comfortable with the tandem of Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom. Fletcher would like to add another scorer or defenseman but said prices are currently inflated.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The “Miller to Minnesota” rumors started because Fletcher made a bold move at last year’s trade deadline parting with some young players and prospects to land Jason Pominville from Buffalo. This time Fletcher is unwilling to part with his young players, plus Miller is a UFA at season’s end while Pominville still had a year remaining on his contract when the Wild acquired him.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Damian Cristodero reports the Lightning have about $3 million in cap space owing to defensemen Mattias Ohlund and Brian Lee going on LTIR. That’ll allow GM Steve Yzerman to focus on landing a defenseman or perhaps another scoring forward before the trade deadline. Cristodero lists the Islanders’ Andrew MacDonald and Detroit’s Kyle Quincey as “intriguing options” for the Lightning. Yzerman is reluctant to move his young players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wings fans would love it if Yzerman took Quincey off their hands. A better option for the Wings would be MacDonald but a number of clubs could pursue him near the trade deadline.


  1. Still like the idea of Franson/Reimer and a pick or prospect for McDonald. Would give the Leafs a way better balance on the blueline.

    • I’d want McDonald to sign extension first. Plus you need a goalie coming back

      • I’m sure every team would like to sign Amac to an extension but then the price would need to go up significantly. There’s going to be a number of teams interested which will affect the price.

    • I am not sure how Nonis can even think of trading Kadri as of right now
      he is streaky like every other mid to upper level (or 50 % of the league ) player but his youth and talent is not something you want to give up on at 22 years old !

      The Blues should really take the offer for Callahan if its Stewart going the other way …he was a player that they were on the fence with anyways and if they can get rid of his new contract and take on a better player for a cup run and he ends up UFA …its FINE as they dumped salary to get a better player for the needs right now and can fill that roll and have more money to do so.
      ( Teams will pay Callhan no problem he gest the money ) Sather screwed up !! AGAIN!

      If a team has an inside track on Moulson its Ottawa right now obviously with the Murray connection ….so what ever team is second …Murray will get a curtiousy call say Iam moving Moulson today …do you want him ….LAST CHANCE TODAY !
      Teams who want him better pull the trigger Id say hes a guy who might sign with the team that trades for him.

      @ SHTICKY

      100% AGREE

      2 Weeks ago I proposed to make a deal for McDonald and Reimer was in my proposal …..you gave me grief and slam basted me….I guess it only makes sense or sounds good when it comes from you !

      • I think your mistaking me (in this instance) with 1 of the 30-40 others who bash you for your ideas.

        • @Shticky…….Backchecking is always right! Just ask him.

          • @ Shticky

            Case In Point …..the Diaz – for Weise deal make s a ton of sense …eh!!

            Habs have…. Prust , Parros , White …and they move a puck moving D man for a 4th liner AT BEST ….yeah it all makes sense Shticky !


            No Gms call and say I will give you this for that and then they say ….OK good done ….ARE YOU KIDDING ME !!! Go get your head checked !

            It goes like I want this player and this player I will give you this ….then the other GM laughs and says ….ummmm no I cant do that …But I hav ethis and I have that ……then that GM says no I cant do that …how about this …no cant do that either …ok I will call you when you are on a 6 game loosing streak ….if you think that most trades or EVE PROPOSALS are not talked over weeks months or sometimes even longer ….your a moron ……most deals are take many discussions and have had many preliminary discussions to set that trade up ….OR peices have to be moved OR taken out to make a move ….Look at the Luongo fiasco ….there was discussions with almost all 30 teams and Iam sure there was TERRIBLE trade offers or there would have been a trade …SORRY BUDDY your living in a non realistic world then no matter what industry your in ……GMs get bad deals thrown at them every day …..thats why thet all keep saying the phone has been ringing but no deals yet ….DUMBY !

          • @ RON MOORE

            Thats why teams have extensive scouts ….from here to Europe …Cap crunchers and analytics …assitant coaches and a myriad of professionals wacthing hockey all the time everywhere ……..along with multiple executives and GMs ………so they have discussions over time to make the right deal ….not a call at 1 in the morning to say I will give you this for that and its all OK …..WOW!

            And I am a dumb ass …..get your crap straight before you open your mouth again!!

        • @ Shticky

          …..I am not a follower …..nor a YES man, like teh 30 to 40 of the sheep in here !

          I think out side the box because so do most GMs and business owners ….and because Necessity is the Mother of invention and what the conversations may be in rooms we are not in privy too ….so for the other ( 30 or 40 ) of you so to speak ….you must all have your ears to the wall in each GM room to know what every possible deal or proposal has been over the years to say its stupid or realistic …..EVERY GM has been screwed with a BAD deal …EVERY GM has been thrown crazy trade scenarios by OTHER GMS ….what is spoken here or offered here in conversation is ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENT than what is spoken between any Hockey executive at one time or another ….if you say no to that than you are dumb def and blind and most of all …..ignorant !!!!
          Every GM has a hidden motive
          Every GM is trying to soak the other GM
          And every GM tests the waters by offering a stupid deal first to see if that GM bites or not
          To say something is absolutely concrete a yes or no scenario is ignorant nothing is ever Black and White and teams or GMs looking to make a mark sometimes do stupid things and poor decisions and some take risks weather it be by contract term or money …..so it happens in the profession every day every year since the beginning of time ….so don’t sit there and tell me like you and 30 – 40 other people that what is …is the end all and be all …because its not its multi layered ….and usually many scenarios play itself out well before you get or anyone else gets the news !!!

          Iam not always right …..but no one knows how right they could have been when posting your comments that other people think to be outrageous …because sometimes they are not in the real world !

          • Illusions of grandeur much?

          • Dude seriously, the business world DOES NOT WORK THE WAY YOU THINK IT DOES!!!! There are only 30 GMs and each one of them know each other. I’m in an industry very similar to them and I can tell you without a doubt, you’re not even close to thinking the way they do.

          • @ MiserableMoore
            A McDonalds cashier is a similar industry?

      • I don’t believe letting Callahan go as a UFA would be a black mark on Sather. I believe it was mentioned in an earlier article that the money wasn’t the sticking point it was the length of the deal. Callahan has yet to play a full season and has only scored over 40pts twice. If he leaves this off-season his lack of presents will be felt but in 3-4 yrs we’ll be happy that we didn’t over pay.

        • @Ken. I agree with everything you say, except the part “If he leaves this off-season his lack of presents will be felt but in 3-4 yrs”. I don’t think any captain leaves a 3-4 years void when they leave. How long he will be missed would depend on the replacement parts that come back, the next guy to lead them, and what their future overall plan is for the team.

    • Depending on the pick or prospect I could see a deal like that. Gotta say I’m really not sold on Reimer, apparently the Leafs brass aren’t either.

      • If the Leafs aren’t sold in Reimer what makes you think the Isles are? Guys an over hyped backup goalie.

        Reportedly Vanek just turned down a huge contract from the Isles, I believe now they won’t even risk losing MacDonald IMHO. Especially to a conference foe like TML.

        • Vanek is likely gone, and if he wanted more than 7 mil per then good riddance. Agreed that Reimer isn’t the answer for the Isles. They need someone like Anderson or Gibson from ana or Subban from Boston.

          Amac is gone as well, he wants more than they want to spend. He’s got value and could be moved for some help down the road.

  2. Quick question with teams technically over the cap but under it using LTIR, such as leafs with bolland, Tampa with ohlund etc. are they able to remain like this after the trade deadline and have those players come back to play and then put them over the cap? So say leafs are really over the cap right now but able to use LTIR and then bolland comes back March 8th after the deadline and leafs are then over…

    • Teams can add players to their rosters for the playoffs. They must remain cap compliant over the course of the regular season.

      • So we should see salary dumps from the 11 teams currently using LTIR if those players are expected back before the playoffs

        • Or move waiver exempt players back down as in the case with the Leafs. One way or another, bodies have to be moved to become cap compliant.

          • Thinking Ashton, Bodie, Holland makes them that, but I could see a minor move to trim some money down as well it will make it easier to recall someone in the couple weeks after the Olympics before the deadline. Kuli Raymond or a goon could soon be going. Again it makes it easier after the break to recall a guy for those day to day injuries that pop up with out putting someone on ltir.

    • Please let it be Orr moving or demoted please please…

  3. Callahan if Buffalo makes ZERO sense. Why would Callahan want to go to a rebuilding team with so much uncertainty in its future? Why would Buffalo want a 40 point guy for 7 years $42 million? Buffalo is dead last in the league in goals for, Callahan is not the answer or cure for that problem. If this deal were to happen in the off season, I would have to question Callahan’s heart, and Buffalo’s management.

    • @ NYR4LIFE

      This is what I do not understand from you …..Callahans leadership and willingness to sacrifice his body for the team is a very highly coveted aspect that EVERY NHL GM wants …a rebuilding team wants to permeate that through to its young core and would make a huge difference to a team like Buffalo or younger teams trying to make an impact. This is a very highly respected part of a player from insider hockey people and what you don’t see sometimes as a fan…..and why he is asking what he is asking !

      • Backchecking, about 90% of the people here don’t understand your thinking at all, including most of your fellow Leaf fans. But again, Why would Callahan take a 7 year deal that essentially takes him to the end of his career on a rebuilding team with NO chance of a quick turnaround? And if you think Gm’s (smart Gm’s) are willing to dish out $42 million over 7 years for an injury prone 40 point player, I really have to question your general knowledge. I don’t think I EVER let being a “fan” of a team or player cloud my judgement, and I think most here would agree with that statement. Can you say the same?

        • Buffalo has a ton of money that they must spend to become cap compliant for next season. They MUST spend it somewhere. Players will be looking at Buffalo as a team that has the potential to turn it around quickly. Or at least quicker than 5 years.
          They also have a few good prospects working their way through that could either pay big dividends or be great trade bait for younger more established players.
          Don’t count them out yet, wait to see if, and it’s a big IF, they can pull guys in during the off season and at the deadline.

          • It is hard to attract free agents when you are in a rebuild mode. Look at the Oilers. I’m not sure you will see a Stastny, Callahan, or anything out there sign with either team in the off season. It is hard to attract Fa talent when you are dumping your better players (Moulson, Miller, ) and building around youth. I think if Buffalo wants to attract a better group of Fa’s, they should consider trading some of their youth for veterans. Not the other way around. Re-sign Miller and Moulson (or at least bring in pieces that help now) and show free agents you want to build for tomorrow, not for 4-5 years from now.

    • Actually Buffalo is in a position to rebuild faster than most. Add Callahan to Ott, Hodgson down the middle, UFAs like Stastny available this summer, a load of young blue line talent and the ability to add another top 3 pick like Ekblad,Reinhart etc. to the roster with support cast of Foligno,Girgenson etc. and the Sabres are better than given credit for.

    • I agree with you 100%

    • i think you’re way off with you assessment of buffalo. yes they suck now, but they’ve already begun their rebuild. they’ve got the second highest ranked prospect pool in league (http://www.hockeysfuture.com/team-rankings/) with an abundance of bright young talent in the right places to build a winner (defense and center) as well as a number of intriguing young players on their current nhl roster (hodgson, ennis, foglino, myers, enroth, and others are all under 25). add to that that they will undoubtedly pick up additional assets for miller and moulson as well as possibly ott and any other veterans they can unload at the trade deadline. and then add a high first round draft pick this year, and likely another top 5 next year.

      when you look at it all it’s not hard to see that buffalo is well on their way to turning things around. i believe, that if callahan signs a 7 year contract he’ll make the playoffs more times then he’ll miss them before that contract is up.

      • I fully understand that Buffalo has a deep pool of talented prospects. Some even have them ranked #1 in the NHL. But it does take time to get them going. They are not true contenders for a while imo. Even if every prospect works out (which would be nothing short of a miracle) signing players like Callahan to long term deals can be counter productive. You end up with some great young players you will have to part with because the older player with a bad deal becomes harder and harder to move. Again, I think if Buffalo is serious about bringing in help, they need to be more aggressive in resolving the Miller, Moulson deals. And if you trade them, no sense in bringing in more prospects if you are loaded in that area. Bring in people who help now and become a destination that players would be more open to go as ufa’s.

  4. I see a lot of teams being mentioned with respect to Ryan Callahan but I suspect the most likely candidate is Calgary, especially as to whom his agent was given permission to speak to. Callahan is a Burke type of player and if history is any indicator you will recall Burke made a big splash trading for Dion Phaneuf in his first year in Toronto, I would not be surprised that Burke is once again attempting the same here again for Calgary.

    As for the Rangers this may make a lot of sense, especially if they buy out Brad Richards in the summer. Getting some good young talent to go with Kreider, Miller and company is a pretty good rebuild on the fly. Kudos to Sather if he can pull it off.

    • I have only read that Callahans camp was given permission to speak to 1 or possibly 2 teams. St. Louis and possibly Columbus are the teams mentioned. I haven’t seen anything about the possibility of Calgary being involved. However very similar situation as I posted about Buffalo above imo. I would imagine if Callahan bolts, he would bolt to a contender, especially considering the length of contract he is looking for (7 years) which is going to put him at the end of his career. Why would he want to go to a team that is ready to sell off any assets it has and start rebuilding?

      • Callahan would go to a non-contender because those are the teams willing to pay him $6M a year for 7 years, like he supposedly wants.

        • If that ends up being the case, I’d have to say the people willing to pay for his “heart” are getting suckered! Because his talent isn’t worth 7 years @$42 million. And if he were to go to a rebuilding team I don’t think he will) he has more desire to get paid than he does have “heart” to win.

          • Matt Cooke has more points than Callahan (this season) and he makes 2.5M and is a 4th line guy. I’m not comparing the two players but wow, Callahan must have a giant ego to think he’s worth 6M per season. IMO.

          • @Thunder,
            I agree. I find it funny that Callahan has modeled his game after Drury. Because that kind of payday = Drury part 2. Drury ended up playing 3rd and 4th line duty making 7+ per season. It is strange that people are quick to point out how bad that deal was (Drury) then come to argue that Callahan is somehow worth it?

      • Look, at this point Ryan Callahan has no choice but to report to any team he is traded to, hence, the speaking to the agent about getting a new deal done before any trade is consummated. If Callahan is truly after dollars and term why not go to Calgary where they certainly have the cap space to accommodate him and the assets to acquire him.

        As for St. Louis, I don’t see them as viable, I can’t see Sather wanting Stewart back in return. He may be gifted but he also takes a lot of games off. I don’t think Sather is looking for another Brad Richards at the moment.

        As for Columbus, why? They have Dubinsky, Foligno, and a lot of heart and soul guys in their line up so why would you want to add another who wants top dollar and term when your pipeline is full of prospects with larger upsides? I don’t get it.

        • I’m not saying that Columbus or St. Louis are great partners. Those are the teams being reported to have permission to talk to his camp. I haven’t even seen anything that says Calgary may be interested or have any permission to talk to Callahans agent until this post. However, I think St.Louis or CBJ would have better long term return pieces. I can’t imagine NY would be interested in bringing in Cammalleri (FA), Hudler, Stajan or any players rumored to be available from Calgary.

    • @Stephen Seymour All this talk about Callahan, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is resigned soon for a much cheaper price.

  5. i know this is off topic but I am curious about a rule that i have never seen before. When a team is down by a goal with a minute left and they have their net empty and they ice the puck is the goalie allowed coming back to the net or does the six skaters have to stay on the ice? Also the Leafs big move of the year was aquiring Gleason. Dion has played alot better since then with an exception of a game or two. I think it might be gd to keep Franson and Riemer as we have both under control next year. Franson just has to find his game with Clarkson. Why has Nonis been so gd this year. Patience Patience and Patience. Whether it be signing players not making a trade

    • Good question! (not that I have an answer, unfortunately. But I’d assume the goalie does *not* get to go back in)

  6. Why would anyone with any hockey sense believe anything Larry Brooks says or writes

    Root for your team not your player…………players come and go team almost always stays

    If you want your team to win you have to support their attempts to use good fiscal judgment
    a bad investment will prevent good investments

    Finally why are we always so generous with managements money

  7. I would not be surpised to see Aneheim make an inquiry on Callahan. As good as they have been, they need bit more grit and experience to make a long and sustained cup run and they have plenty of pieces they could move. Palmieri and Etem would be a solid return for the Rangers if they trully would let Callahan walk. Young, high draft pick players who are already NHLers. And for the Ducks, Callahan would just slot in and take over the salaries of Koivu and Selanne.

    • Getzlaf, Perry, Koivu, Penner, Selanne, Souray, Beuchamin don’t provide the experience you need? Grit maybe I could see but this team is hands down the top performing team in the league and can make a deep run regardless.

      • Anahiem doesn’t need Callahan, they are playing very well and are in good shape to make a substantial run in the playoffs.

    • The whole reason they traded Bobby Ryan was that they didn’t want to pay what
      Callahan wants salary wise. Won’t happen. Nothing on Ryan Miller today ?
      I’m having serious Ryan Miller withdraws today, quick someone start a rumor that
      he is being traded to ……..

      • Ryan Miller to the Rangers for Ryan Callahan. It really doesn’t make much sense, but both guys have the same 1st name.

  8. I love Cally but his asking price is delusional. Stewart and a pick would be a solid return and Sather should make that trade if it is on the table. The Rangers need more toughness and Stewart brings that and he can skate. The Rangers are not at the same level as Boston or Pitt but I am sick and tired of Lucic banging Rangers into the ice and the team collectively watching that with no response. Stewart is a guy who will respond and can score. Make the trade Glen!

  9. Vaneks camp allegedly turned down an offer from the Islanders, no details of the amount or term are known. So now it looks as though Vanek wants money, lots of it, and will wait to see which team will give him the most. I could see him getting a 7 year 10M per? IMO.

    • No if he does that GM should be fired immediately, and the fans of that team should burn his house down soon there after.

      • @Shticky, ha ha! Right! I wouldn’t be surprised to see another Vincent Lecavalier deal go down here. I was being somewhat sarcastic when I posted that, but you know how crazy GM’s can get. Realistically I can see him getting around the same contract he just had.

    • He won’t get that much but he will get paid. I’d guess he gets around 7 per on a deal that’s way too long. I’m just hoping the Isles get a good return for him. Could use a goalie, a Dman who’s ready now, and or a scoring winger that’s ready or close to ready. Not saying they will get all of that for Vanek but those are the types of pieces they need.

  10. Points aren’t the only thing that makes a player. Callahan blocks shots, throws tremendous hits, and his offensive contributions are often timely. His role has also been tremendously reduced by the acquisition of Rick Nash and the emergence of Chris Kreider.

    When he broke into the league and turned some heads, his game was all grind and his linemates were like-minded grinders (Dubinsky, Anisimov). Now he’s playing with Zuccarello and Richards on the second line, and the coaching staff has completely restructured the game around “skill” players.

    This is pretty much the same reason the Rangers started to tank last season. They traded away all their grit and grind and character for Rick Nash and all of a sudden they had no depth.

    Panicking and calling for a trade because the opening salvo in a contract negotiation is high (although let’s face it, he’ll get that number elsewhere if he becomes a UFA) is foolish under the best of circumstances.

    Rising salary cap means the number is inflation as far as comparable players go. Old Man Richards is having a fine season and he’ll probably be back next year, but with someone else. The Rangers don’t exactly have the assets in place to replace Callahan from within with a Vigneault-friendly player (Does anyone really think Jesper Fast has a shot at taking his place were Callahan to leave? The kid’s still a year or two away, maybe more if Hartford continues to be terrible.)

    That leaves trade partners now, or a UFA acquisition this summer. If Chris Stewart is the only asset coming back, the Rangers may as well wait it out and take a shot at Vanek in July.

    • Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw are similar players to Callahan, both have more points and make considerably less money. 750K for Saad and 580K for Shaw. Looks like an even up trade with either of these guys would be giving the Rangers an upgrade.

  11. It is now being reported that Callahans agent is now returning to the table with Sather for further negotiations this week. I guess the teams that were given permission to speak to Callahan didn’t see a 7 year $42 million dollar deal as a good idea either.

    • @NYR4LIFE, thought the Rangers made a counter offer of 5 years 30M? If that’s the case he should take it.

  12. Gonna be an interesting off season. Cap goes up but every pending FA seems to think it’s going up just for them. Most teams are at the cap now with expected increases for resigning their own guys. Callahan wants 6 mill, Andrew Macdonald wants 5.5, who knows how much Vanek wants. Someone is going to be left without a chair when the music stops like Mason Raymond was this year.

  13. report is Vanek turned down similar contract he’s playing on right now 7yr-50million…..I just think he wants to play on a team that at least has a shot to win it, not a bottom dweller. I can’t see him getting Ovie, Crosby money so it has to be a specific team.

  14. What is the take on gudbranson ? I just read from a panthers scribe he has been a healthy scratch and may be available? I know I’ve read multiple times the untouchable list included him so this seems kinda hard to believe but a pending Rfa who I know was thought to be a future top shut down d man…

  15. Loved the McDonald’s comparison! hahaha!

    Vanek and Callahan are in for a reality check. Callahan better take the 5 year offer for $30 mil if it’s still on the table. As folks said before, his style and injury history don’t indicate a long, productive career. Vanek is just one more scoring star that brings folks to the arena, but not a complete enough player to really push a team to the top. He needs to be a sniper on a real strong team to actually really help a team go somewhere, and that means he’ll have to accept less for the team to be able to keep it’s other parts. Will he put team over himself? Doubt it, the way he seems to be moving! My bet is the Rangers snag him. They’ve got the dough, and Sather is pretty weak when it comes to creating team chemistry…Nash trade is a good example of that, as someone already stated so well here today…..and Sather likes to throw away money….