NHL Morning Rumor Mill – February 5, 2014

With the NHL Olympic roster freeze set for 3 pm ET on February 7 the rumor mill is heating up. Check out the latest on Ryan Callahan, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller, Dave Bolland, Ray Whitney and more.

Could the Leafs move Dave Bolland at the March trade deadline.

Could the Leafs move Dave Bolland at the March trade deadline.

TSN.CA: Pierre LeBrun speculates the Islanders could trade Thomas Vanek before the Olympic roster freeze on Friday. The Kings and Penguins have some interest in Vanek. The asking price is “three assets: any combination of a first-round pick, a young player, and a prospect.”…Bob McKenzie claims Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald is also in play…McKenzie also claims there’s growing interest in Sabres captain Steve Ott. Henrik Tallinder, Drew Stafford and Cody McCormick could also be moved…Darren Dreger reports the Maple Leafs have to figure out what they’ll do with center Dave Bolland, who’s a UFA this summer. Trading him before the March deadline is one option.

ESPN.COM: LeBrun also reports the Islanders still hope to re-sign Vanek. The Kings have interest but he might not be their top target, as LeBrun guesses they’re also interested in Buffalo’s Matt Moulson, Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri and Edmonton’s Sam Gagner…Predators center David Legwand’s name is cropping up more in the rumor mill…LeBrun speculates any moves made by the Canucks this season won’t be for rental players but long-term assets.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Tony Gallagher believes the only hope for the Canucks this season is to make a trade for a scoring winger like Thomas Vanek, but acknowledged the difficulty in acquiring and retaining such a player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Isles are still trying to re-sign Vanek they could wait until the March trade deadline before moving him if unable to reach a deal…MacDonald could also be moved by the trade deadline…Ott will attract considerable interest. There won’t be as much for Tallinder, Stafford or McCormick. Still, they could be affordable depth acquisitions for playoff contenders…I believe the Leafs will retain Bolland and try to re-sign him before his eligibility for UFA status on July 1…Given the Kings’ ongoing offensive struggles they could pull the trigger on a deal by Friday…Gallagher was merely spitballing and not seriously calling for the Canucks to pursue Vanek. For the Canucks to make a significant move they’ll have to shop one of their top-four defensemen. Given those players are all under long-term contracts with no-trade clauses, such a move probably won’t happen until the off-season, if at all.

NEW YORK POST: After watching Ryan Callahan’s two-goal performance in the Rangers’ 5-1 victory on Tuesday over the Avalanche, Larry Brooks speculates the Rangers could opt to retain their captain as their own “playoff rental” without giving up any assets to land one. Callahan’s UFA status this summer and expensive asking price puts his future with the Blueshirts into doubt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Callahan in the off-season to free agency will hurt, but they can always try to replace him via trade or free agency themselves. Trading Callahan now, with the club on a roll, could screw up their team chemistry at a crucial juncture in the season.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports he’s had no contract talks with the Sabres nor have they approached him about a trade. Miller was evasive about whether he wants to remain with the Sabres or move on.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres GM Tim Murray has said he won’t make any decisions on trading his UFAs until after the Olympic break. As for Miller, he’ll be moving on one way or the other.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC/FOX SPORTS ARIZONA: There’s talk of the Phoenix Coyotes bringing back Ray Whitney (who’s now playing with the Dallas Stars) as a playoff rental.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’ll depend upon where the Stars are in the standings by the March trade deadline and if Whitney is willing to accept a return to the Coyotes.

DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Red Wings GM Ken Holland isn’t planning any trades before the February 7 Olympic roster freeze.


  1. One thing no one talks about with Rangers….. They may make the playoffs but the likelihood of them getting past Pitt or Boston is between slim and none ,they are just not built that way yet. My point is they have 12 guys either UFA or RFA this year. They are in retool mode this summer anyway. They really should start now and get what they can for both Callahan and Girardi. Get the process started now and not worry about breaking up chemistry. Getting anywhere in the playoffs this yr is a joke anyway.

    • I think you are on target with that assesment Mutt. Its been nice to watch a team have some success in the regular season with speed, offensive talent and Power Play production (and Henrik’s game getting back on track) but similar to Alain Vignault’s old club (Van and the Sedin’s, etc.) the Rangers will be grounded into dust against these teams who also have talent coupled with punishing size.

    • Im not so sure, it is the East. Pits. Has choked in the past and you never know maybe Lundqvist, returns to form it wouldnt be the first time a goalie gets hot and carries a team around or 2. If they did happen to upset a top seed, with how wonky the division is they could end up running to the cup final. Its the same story with anyone in the East, anybody is capable of beating anyone else on any given day. Tough to send big pieces of your team away this year to start to retool even if its needed.

      • Boston looks as strong as ever. They come out of the east this yr for sure. It’s not just Pitt. Do you really think NYR have what it takes to beat Boston? C’mon be real.

        • Last year every “expert” had Pittsburgh winning the cup before 1 playoff game was even played.You really never know how things will turn out. I try and make a habit of never saying never, no matter how improbable something may seem at the time. NY has played Boston twice this year so far and lost by 1 goal both times. But it was also a NY team trying to figure out it’s new system and identity. They were nowhere near the team they have been the last month or so. And a million miles from what they were the last few years under Torts choking system.

          • Really? Little ole me knew Chicago had it from mid season.

          • Sorry Dchamp you don’t qualify as an expert. LOL.

    • I strongly disagree. The Penguins have shown how vulnerable they are the last couple of years in the playoffs. The Rangers do not get beat often by more than a goal or two. If they can maintain what they have been doing the last few weeks, they are as dangerous as anyone in the east. If they could add a piece or two before the deadline, they could be a solid contender. Losing both Callahan and Girardi is pretty unlikely. When you look at all the Ufa’s and rfa’s they have this coming year, most if not all them are bottom 6 forwards or worse. Girardi, Zuccarello, Stralman, Brassard, John Moore are the ones they need to concern themselves with the most. Outside of that, Boyle, Carcillo, D.Moore could easily be retained or replaced. Asham, Powe are gift ufa’s that have zero chance of coming back.

      • Well i really dont see them getting rid of Girardi anyway. I’m just saying get what you can if they rant gonna get them signed. I doubt they sign they both

      • Hot keepers and injuries set the tone for playoffs. If Nash and Staal are playing healthy and Kreider/Richards etc are productive the Rangers can give Boston better fight than last season. Boston is still the team to beat. Fleury and the Pens D….

      • In a 7 game series all bets are off. Though, as a Pens fan, the Rags don’t scare me. I think if Lundqvist returns to his All-World form then he can stretch it the distance. The blue print to beat the Pens is to get in their heads w/ the chippy play and post-whistle antics. The Rangers always try to match the Pens skill w/ their grit while playing a disciplined game. They don’t seem to have the wheels up front like the Isles did last Spring and not enough sand paper like the Bruins. If the Rangers what to come out of the East they need to get more balanced scoring.

        • As a Ranger fan, I would rather face Pittsburgh than Boston. The Rangers are very much a different team than they were last year. The have speed, they have some players with size (I’d prefer they added a little more size upfront at the deadline) and they have some gritty players. Last year, Staal was out, Callahan and Hagelin were both in need of shoulder repairs and playing injured in the playoffs. They had no power play under Torts. When their defense and Lundqvist are on, they can be scary.

  2. Chicago has reportedly been looking for a 2nd line center and Legwand is reportedly available. This seems like a trade made in heaven. Legwand would seem to be an ideal Chicago type of player and would be great on their second line. Problem is Chicago’s cap situation but if Nasville was willing to retain some salary for the remainder of the year in order to obtain a pick and player it could work. Krueger and a #1 pick (will be late in the round anyway) for Legwand with the Pred retaining 50% of salary works cap wise.

    Chicago gets stronger all around by adding a good two-way, underrated offensive C with plenty of seasoning and leadership and Nashville gets some assets for the future.

    And I keep posting to watch the Ducks on Vanek. They are not going to win multiple tough playoff series against say, St. Louis, Chicago then say Boston to win the cup with their second line being lead by Koivu and Selanne. Asking price is a trio of assets – Palmieri (young NHL player from NY), Andersson (prospect/young NHL player) and a pick. Deal!

    • No one is giving up that much for Vanek now that it looks like he might be impossible to sign. It looks like he is going to move to Minnesota, if thats the case then the price for Vanek who is the very meaning of rental just went way way down.

      • I totally agree at most the get the standard 1st rounder and a prospect

        • The asking price goes down if he’s not traded by the March deadline which looks possible. Fletcher has said time and again that they don’t want to give up another first round pick, we’ll see. I would rather see them go after Miller, but even his asking price and cap hit are too high. Can’t wait to see which GM pulls the trigger on either one and what it took to get them.

      • Sorry, the Ducks deal I’ve been flogging that I think makes sense is Vanek and MacDonald for Palmieri, Andersson and a pick.

      • You never know Shticky. It’s the trade deadline. Those prices go sky high once that day comes along. There’s always a GM ready to pay the price.

        • True, just dont think its going to happen in this case.

        • Plus its Snow.

          • 29 other GMs know that their is a 99% chance Vanek wants to sign in Minny. Only Snow missed the memo.

    • I think the Ducks could make sense too. They have Ottawa’s first rounder in addition to their own and could look at a guy like Vanek as the difference maker they need to become the elite team in the west

      Of course, teams will probably look to drive the price down as long as options like Camalleri, Moulson, and maybe even Callahan are still available – and may wait until after the Olympics to pull the trigger on Vanek (since he’ll be playing for team Austria in Sochi, and it would obviously be a disaster for any team that acquired him if he somehow got injured in the games).

      • Do you really think Ducks need Vanek with all the fire power they already have? Better thing to do is to go after the defender. Ducks IMO don’t need Vanek.

        • Vanek for Kadri, Gardiner and a 1st. Bash me if you have to Shticky!

          • Lol no bashing, not going to happen Vanek is worth a first and maybe a prospect, no more than that.

          • Haha, thanks! I know he is but Snow thinks he’s worth ALOT more since it cost him so much to get him. “A fool and his money soon parted”.

          • I think Snow is going to have to pick the best low ball offer he gets, not many GMs are going to sweeten a deal now that the entire league knows Vanek turned down 48-50 million bucks. The only teams interested will be a few looking for some scoring depth.

          • I’ll bash….

            That would be a horrible trade.

            The Leafs need to hold onto Kadri…he is worth playing for them than being traded.
            I don’t think the Islanders would take the usual package of Kadri, Franson (Gardiner) plus for Vanek.

            I can see Vanek getting a player, prospect and a pick..just not that package from the Leafs.

          • NY might get their asking price for Vanek but not from the Leafs. Remember Buffalo already offered Vanek to the Leafs earlier in the year and Nonis said no. If Nonis and Snow are talking it would be about MacDonald and that’s it.

          • If I’m the Islanders I jump all over that offer.

        • Their scoring is very misldeading as they do not have much firepower at all beyond Getzlaf and Perry (see below). The top teams can find many ways to shut down other teams secondary scoring when they need to in a playoff series.

          Ducks only have 5 guys over 10 goals scored, removing Perry and Gettzlaf you have:

          Colgliano – going on age 27 and has never scored more than 20 goals or had more than 45 points in 5 seasons.
          Bonino – going on 26 and has never score more tha 20 points in 4 parts of 4 seasons.
          Perreault – going on 26 and has never scored more than 30 points in parts of 6 seasons.
          Penner – he is what he is.

          That is not very inspiring for your teams 3-6 highest goal scorers and certainly not the level of teams tat have won the cup.

      • The Ducks are first in the whole league…and they aren’t already elite?

        Why trade Bobby Ryan, just to just bring in a similar player, that costs more money, is ufa, older, and not really a team player?

        Vanek is very much me first, team second.

        • Exactly but I do find Andrew MacDonald interesting as a long term player to go after. Solid D man and a right handed shot plus I doubt there will be many available as UFA’s so maybe now is the time to get him and SIGN him.

          • Right. I think the islanders will be doing everything they can to get a goalie prospect. Anaheim has a ton it seems. May be macdonald plus for Gibson. Would benefit both teams. I know a lot of people say Anaheim will keep him but if they are looming to resign hillier

        • What?! That is flat out ridiculous.

      • I agree that the Ducks make a lot of sense. Some are saying Snow won’t get what he’s asking for and they may be right. Of course Vanek has been touted by the “pundits” as the best asset currently available on the trade market. The thing that may well drive up the price is two teams realizing if they don’t pony up then the other guy gets Vanek. Of course as others have rightly pointed out it is Snow who has already made a couple of bone head moves this season.

        Andrew Macdonald could get an interesting return. He’s solid, leads the league in blocked shots, and has led the Isles in minutes. He’s also only making $550,000 right now so fits in almost anyones cap. I suspect there will be a few teams interested if the Isles move him.

        Would love to see the Isles get Gibson or Anderson from Ana and the Ducks have a lot of talent in their system.

        • What I cant figure out for the life of me is why wouldnt Snow say something along the lines of we will see where we are at in the summer or how the team is performing there is no need to rush in to contract negotiations yada yada yada all the other cliche type answers about Vanek and keep the negotiations a little less public so if Vanek does say no to a bunch of money Snow dosent look like he is stuck holding the hot potato.

          • Well Shticky it’s not clear who leaked the info. If it was Snow then yeah it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I actually don’t think it really has a huge impact on Vanek’s value though. Anyone who was getting him would know he’s a pending UFA anyways. The thing that’s going to drive up his value is the perception that there are multiple potential bidders. Much like GM’s make dumb decisions around Fee Agents when they think everyone else wants what they are after.

            Just so I’m clear I’m in no way defending Garth Snow. I thought going after Vanek was a mistake at the time he did it. I thought trading Nino for Clutterbuck was mamothly stupid. Of course he hasn’t always been wrong either. PA Parenteau, Michael Graber and Matt Molson where all picked up for nothing and turned out pretty well. Snow also drafter Calvin de Haan way earlier than expected and got roasted for it by fans but no de Haan has looked fantastic.

            Snow may actually not come out of this looking as stupid as most Isles fans fear he will. If he gets a decent return for Vanek and Amac this team isn’t really that far away from being competitive.

          • Oh I agree with they would know he is a pending ufa anyway, but if the Islanders handle things a little different and just kind of feel things out and see what it would take to resign Vanek and dont actually make an offer or atleast dont talk actual dollars or figure all this out before a month before the trade deadline with a 2 week break they could have had a better market to deal him. You have to think there might have been 1 or 2 teams at least that would have maybe made an offer for Vanek with the idea of resigning him now any hope of that goes out the window with him turning down 50 mill long term. Even if it just comes out that Snow doesn’t think that Vanek is worth a long term deal or 7 milllion dollars per year and no term is released it looks a hell of a lot better than Vanek turned down 50 million. This was a bumbled negotiation leak or no leak.

          • No how dumb Snow looks, He still looks better than Millbury!

  3. I don’t understand? Give Callahan the money and length now that he had one good offensively minded game? Lol makes sense…

    • I was cringing when Callahan scored the 2nd goal and crying when he later added an assist. I somehow knew that there would be people all over the place suggesting the next 7 years would be as good as last night.

    • Jes I thought that too. Oh, he scored 2 goals last night…he worth keeping ling term now. It’s like Ottawa, they win 2 games and Murray say’s he like the team and is happy moving forward now.

      • Clarkson scored 30 2 years ago and was on pace for almost that last year (I know Callahan is the better player) but locking these type players long term is always a bad idea, again Malone Clowe Clarkson there are a few reasons why to let him walk or trade him.

    • Jes, tonight Girgensens is going to play center for the Sabres – he originally was drafted as a center and has been playing wing. At this point in the season, Girgensens has shown he is a work horse, leader, has skill, is physical and adapting real well in the NHL. IMO, it kind of opens the door to adding Ennis to the “available” list and I think with the addition of a couple of skilled players the Sabres will be competitive. Trade Miller/Grigorenko to St. Louis for Stewart/Rattie or Jaskin or to MN for Heatly (salary dump) Granlund or Coyle.

      Los Angeles is looking for scoring right now – maybe a trade of Ennis/Stafford or Ott for Stoll and Toffoli. Pittsburgh needs a replacement for Dupis – so why not Moulson for Blueger and a draft pick or if Pitt needs to dump some salary – do Moulson/McNabb and a draft pick for Niskanen or Orpik and Blueger. Blueger is Latvian and has a lot of talent. Another prospect that Bflo should look at is maybe doing a trade with Chicago for Danault, maybe something like Knapp, Ruhwedel or McBain for Brookbank and Danault.

      I don’t think Buffalo necessarily has to trade for draft picks or marques players, I think there are some really good “freshmen” players and prospects that we can add via trade and then sign some Vets via FA.

  4. I hate hearing Pittsburgh is ALWAYS interested in a top scoring forward. Why are they linked to everyone? Isn’t Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Kunitz enough? How many elite players can you magically fit under the cap anyways?

    • @DChamp, I guess we’ll find out when we see the Crosby/Malkin/vanek line hit the ice!

      • You know I think Pitts broke up their chemistry last year with the acquistion of Iginla and Morrow. With Dupuis injury, they just need to add a like kind of player – I can see Moulson having chemistry with the team. What I think is interesting is the choice of Vanek as team captain for his olympic team – perhaps this is a way to develop and advance his “leadership” abilities. Personally, I don’t think he is mature enough to handle the responsibility of being a leader and mentor because he is too emotional and wears his heart on his sleeve.

        I look at the difference between Moulson and Vanek and I think Buffalo got the better of the deal. Moulson is a quiet leader – he doesn’t get flustered nor emotional. Also, Moulson will play whatever role he is asked to play – a good supporting castmate. While I think with Vanek, he already knows what and where he is going and he’ll give you a good effort – but I don’t see him wanting to be the focus and wear the mantle of leadership. MN is where he will end up next year – its not about the $ – its about where he can score goals, get some records and blend in.

    • Ask the rangers. They have talent under the cap as well. The pens are just good at putting themselves in the right spot to do so.

    • @alforducks, I highly doubt our pampered millionaire NHL players are staying in those type of conditions, IMO.

      • Agree, but when they tell you that the water is not safe enough to wash your face with, well then I’d be mighty concerned about what they are NOT telling me.

        • Ha! Right, good point, maybe they can all stay at Ovi’s mansion.

          • Now that would be a blast, never a dull moment with Ovi

          • May be shoot an NHL rap video.

  5. I still think/hope the islanders get Gibson from Anaheim. Though they won’t get that much for vanek because the likelihood of him resigning is 50/50 so why not make a trade with vanek and macdonald for Gibson a first and second. If you can get two firsts and Gibson then all the power to you.

    • How Bad to you want him ?
      Reinhart or Ryan Strome ?
      We could add or subtract smaller parts as needed.

  6. I’ll stick to Gross and Zipay if I want insight from the beat. Any line that begins with “Larry Brooks speculates …” ends with me laughing hysterically. Definitely the B-squad of NYR Beat writers.

    At any rate, nothing’s changed with Callahan. He played a statement game last night. Media types have been dogging his play style since learning of his contract negotiation. Every time a player is asked about negotiations, we hear “I don’t know about it, it doesn’t bother me.” Call me crazy but I don’t believe most of them. Sure some players are truly robots, but they’re few and far between.

    It’s a ruse, is what I’m saying. He’s tired of those questions and decided to answer them with his play. Based on Brooks’ article, it worked. Sustainable? Probably not, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I still think the Rangers should retain him. In terms of total package, there’s nothing comparable on the UFA market.

  7. Just read this article on ESPN’s NHL website. This is just one part of it:

    Vanek also said it was ultimately not about the money, either. According to multiple reports, the Islanders offered him a lucrative deal in the seven-year, $50 million range. Now that he has rejected that offer, Isles general manager Garth Snow likely will try to trade Vanek before the March 5 deadline.

    Did Vanek just say he was going for the most money he could get because you can’t play the game forever? WTF? This guy is getting to be more of a headcase by the day!

    • Meh, I’ve also read that he knows he may be leaving money on the table. It’s easy to vilify a guy who’s making a lot of money. For me Vanek has played really well with JT, it’s been a joy to watch Tavares have a real top line winger. Molson is a solid player and a good finisher but he’s no Vanek IMO.

      • Could be thats its not all about the money and he wants to play close to home and would consider doing it for less. Being closer to family could mean more to him than dollars. Minnesota bound at the end of the year. Trade value droping faster than the price of a hotel room in Sochi after the Olympics.

    • Going home to Minny

  8. Pittsburgh Penguins will make a Big Trade and come out of the East and Beat anyone out in the west! haters hate! sorry! but i wall have the “I told you so” end of the year!!!!!!

    • Like last year when they got Iginla?

  9. If a player is playing in the Olympic games he won’t be traded by the trade freeze. Any team that chose to acquire a player that was going to be active over seas right now would be insane. Wait until after the freeze and then pick them up when you know they are healthy. If any moves happen it will more than likely be with non-olympians.

  10. I think Detroit would be an ideal destination for Vanek.

    Detroit always has a strong stable of prospects, and they could be in a unique position to rid themselves of Quincey and Tootoo in a package – players who could have an impact on the Isles drive for a playoff spot.

    • Tootoo should be a permanant fixture in the minors, he has very little talent and contributes less than nothing.

  11. As a Kings fan, their inability to find the back of the net has been brutally frustrating. They’ve been dropping like a rock with a rock tied to it. A scorer like Vanek is the kind of player I’ve felt the Kings have needed for a while. But if you’re going to part with a good young player like Tyler T, you can’t just be renting Vanek for a few months.

  12. Whoa whoa whoa. As a closet Isles fan for 34 years this is Garth Snow and the Islanders we’re talking about. Take every LOGICAL trade you are thinking about and throw it out the window.

    What do they need? Goaltending and to reach the Cap Floor.
    It has to be crazy stupid, nobody else would attempt.
    It has to lock them into some long term contract they can’t get away from (they’re still paying Yashin)

    **Vanek to the Canucks for Luongo, a second rounder, and some prospect nobody outside of Vancouver has ever heard of.**