NHL Morning Rumor Mill – February 7, 2014.

The NHL Olympic roster freeze is 3 pm ET today. Will there be any significant moves? Read on for the latest on Sam Gagner, Ryan Callahan, Andrew MacDonald, Ryan Miller and more.

Could the Senators pursue Steve Ott?

Could the Senators pursue Steve Ott?

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports time is running out for Senators GM Bryan Murray to make a trade before today’s Olympic roster freeze but so far he can’t find a willing trade partner. Murray is in the market for a scoring winger and it’s believed he’s interested in Buffalo’s Matt Moulson. Don Brennan believes Murray should forget about Moulson and instead try to land Sabres versatile and gritty captain Steve Ott. He cites an insider claiming the Sabres want a high draft pick and prospect for Ott.

BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports Sabres GM Tim Murray doesn’t expect to make any moves before the Olympic roster freeze goes into effect today. He is willing to get something done by the March 5 trade deadline.

WASHINGTON POST: Neil Greenberg notes the Capitals have been linked to Sabres goalie Ryan Miller in the rumor mill, but doesn’t believe he’ll be a good fit for the Capitals, citing in part the expensive return required to land him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A team could contact the Sabres with a significant offer today but Tim Murray doesn’t sound as though he’s expecting that to happen. He’s in no hurry to move Miller, Moulson, Ott or anyone else. It’s more worthwhile to wait until after the Olympic break, as teams will be more willing to deal leading up to the trade deadline in March, which in turn could drive up the trade value of those players he’s willing to move.

TSN/ESPN/SPORTING NEWS: reports trade talks have intensified between the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are reportedly interested in Oilers center Sam Gagner, with the Kings sending left winger Kyle Clifford to Edmonton as part of the return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gagner is making $4.8 million per season, Clifford $1.075 million per. The Kings have limited cap space. To make this work the Oilers may have to pick up part of Gagner’s salary and the Kings might have to move another salaried player.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports it appears Ryan Callahan won’t be re-signing with the Rangers before today’s Olympic roster freeze, and it also appears unlikely he’ll be traded by then. The two sides reportedly remain well apart in contract negotiations. GM Glen Sather apparently hasn’t received a suitable offer yet for Callahan. Dan Girardi’s contract negotiations are also expected to remain unresolved by today’s roster freeze.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with the Sabres, it’s possible the Rangers could receive a significant offer before the 3 pm roster freeze, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. It looks like the stare-down between Sather and Callahan’s agent (and to a lesser degree Girardi’s) will continue for a few more weeks.

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports the NY Islanders have placed defenseman Andrew MacDonald on the trade block after he rejected a four-year, $16 million offer. It’s believed the MacDonald camp seek a four-or five-year deal at $5 million per. Isles GM Garth Snow has already rejected a “substantial offer” for MacDonald.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen what the Isles could get for MacDonald. Remember one of my golden rules about general managers: never underestimate their ability to grossly overpay at either the trade deadline or in the free agent market. For those of you scoffing at the notion of MacDonald getting a five-year, $25 million contract as a free agent this summer, say hello to Jason Garrison


  1. Todays freeze won’t bring much action. I figure most GM’s will use the two weeks to make deals in advance of the trade freeze lift after the Olympic break. Why rush into something today when you have two full weeks to chat with all the GMs, work out the specific’s and have your new guy a game or two after the break is over. Other then giving your new player extra time to get his things packed up and get on a plane there seems to be no reason to rush for todays deadline.

    • Well said my friend.

    • ….because if they trade them today, they don’t have to pay them through the Olympics…….

      • That makes no sense to me. Players get paid per game don’t they? If one is traded now, the team picks up remaining salary which will be pro rated per games left in season. Maybe I’m wrong.

    • Im sure there will be some moves probably all smaller ones like we have seen already this week.

    • I think the benefit of getting the player now is that you have the Olympic break to have the new player skate with the team and get adjusted to his new linemates and kind of learn the system.

      • I would figure no one will be skating over the break so that assessment is probably incorrect. With most teams near the cap and most trades involve salary swaps I don’t see what saving on the two weeks will do for a team.
        Hey we can debate who was right or wrong at 3 pm today.

        • Most teams will be practicing the second week.

        • Many players will be skating or doing some workout during the break. I don’t know if teams will or can but I recall in the past they did, like Shticky said, they do the second week.

          I think if I recall correctly, players are paid like other employees from any major company, ie, pay periods over the year. Making a move over a break has it’s benefits as you remove payroll and easy to move (personally).

          I see this trade freeze as a soft freeze as it will allow GMs better gauge the trade market and revisit/continue trade talks even during the ‘freeze’. Trades made in time of the freeze look like payroll/cap trades or teams looking to lower the number of SPCs.

          • Wow something constructive without trashing anyone for a change. I like this new Ron.

          • As I expected ZERO trades. GM’s won’t be rushed by some stupid soft freeze when they can spend the next two weeks inking a proper deal before the real deadline.

          • Boston and Columbus did a small trade today similar to others previously in the week

          • Shticky you would argue with a cardboard box if you could. My god as I told you before I have a buddy exactly like you who can never admit when someone else is right. He will even make up untrue facts to prove his point. I’m almost thinking you are really him but I know he doesn’t like hockey so it can’t be… can it? lol

          • Lol just say’n

  2. Just my opinions and we’ll continue to beat the same “dead horses” until their dealt!
    Ott is NOT worth a high draft pick and a prospect. He’s a minor contributor, sort of like Callahan.
    MacDonald WILL get overpaid.
    Miller’s asking price is WAY to high, I think he re-signs with Buffalo
    Callahan nor Vanek will be traded today.
    The Kings don’t need Gagner, he’s a piece of glass waiting to break.

    • @Thunder – Agree with all of these, except as for Miller re-signing? I still tend to agree with you, I’m just less certain of that one.

      • @Paddy, I’m thinking that his options are so limited that he could consider staying in Buffalo, OR the asking price will have to go down. Just a thought, I know all the hype is about him being traded, he likely will finish the season a Sabre.

    • Ott a minor contributor sort of like Callahan? Callahan contributes in every aspect and area of the game…. that being said, as a Rangers fan i’m ready to say goodbye to him on July 1.

    • @Thunder…….another fan of only scorers. watch the all-star game then!

      • @DaNk, honestly, I do like the skilled players more than the grinder/energy type player. I just can’t see the justification of a first round pick for that type of player, as far as watching the All Star Game? Boring.

    • Ott is worth a 1st rounder. He’s the type of player GM’s crave for the playoffs.

      Yup MacDonald will get overpaid in the offseason. I see maybe Florida, Washington or Buffalo giving him the big money this offseason.

      Miller’s not resigning with Buffalo. Either he is traded by March 5th or he walks when free agency begins.

      Doubt any of the big names get traded today.

      Gagner to Kings IMO makes absolutely no sense. Don’t the Kings have 4 solid centers? And yes your right he’s a bandaid waiting to happen.

    • How is Gagner a “piece of glass waiting to break”? He missed the first part of the season with a broken jaw from a high stick. He isn’t a particularly large player but he isn’t soft or fragile.

  3. Miller will not re-sign. He has no interest in staying in Buffalo. He hates the press here and isn’t enamored of the fans, either. We might not get much for him, we might even hang on to him to the end of the season, but he’s gone.

    • @Griswel, I don’t know, if Murray can get rid of Scott and Tallinder on D to start, and upgrade them with picks or players in the system, they have plenty of leverage to turn this team around in 2-3 years. I know that may be too long to convince Miller to stay, being that he is older and running out of time to win a cup, he will probably want to go to a cup contender if they can work out a trade with one of those teams, but I just can’t see how with the high asking price for his services. IMO

      • The Sabres need Scott to handle other goons like Kessel and Crosby. No chance of him leaving Buffalo. He’s their MVP.

        • Just like you’re our MVP as a commentator!

        • MVP = Most Volatille Pr#@% ?

  4. This LA, Edmonton rumor bugs me. Typical US team fleecing a Canadian team like usual. So, La is saying we will take your 60pt a year guy and give you our 15-20pt a year guy. Oh, we also want you to cover part of your 60pt players salary as well. One more thing……take this other guy we don’t want that has 0 value in the NHL and pay his salary so we don’t have to. Sounds like a wonderful deal Edmonton. Jump on that one.

    • Gagner has never scored 60 points in a season.

      • Or 50. Sound like a player we know?

        • Gretzky!!!

  5. Does anybody else find the link between Ganger and LA to be a little confusing? LA has solid C depth with with Kopitar, Richards and Stoll. I understand they need scoring but unless they put Ganger on the wing I don’t really get it. If that’s the case why not target Moulson or Ott? Ott to me seems like the perfect addition to this Kings team, fits in well on that top line and would take some of the pressure of Toffoli come playoff time.

    Clifford and a first for Ott?

    would give them the lines of:

    Ott – Kopitar – Carter
    Brown – Richards – Williams
    Toffoli – Stoll – Lewis
    King – Fraser – Frattin

    • There has got to be more to this than meets the eye. No way LA gets Ganger for Clifford.
      Wondering if this ends up being a 3 sided trade with LA getting Vanek or Moulson.
      Cannot see Kings giving up Toffoli. Perhaps Pearson or Forbort. There has to be more
      than what we are hearing.

    • @RK, sorry, but Ott is not a 1st line player and I’m not hating on the guy. IF they could get Moulson, which they probably won’t because of limited cap room and other reasons unknown, would be much better on that top line.

    • LA has the 2nd worst powerplay in the league. Perhaps they feel Gagner can help them out there. He could also play the wing, it’s not that much of a stretch. He is also under team control for another year unlike Ott or Moulson.

    • Clifford and a 1st which we don’t have this season (CBJ) has it from the Carter trade for Ott no way Ott is a third forth line guy not a 25-30 goal guy put in Moulson and Ott than we have a deal !

    • I’m not sure that Clifford has a whole lot of value. Also not sure how much value the Kings have in their system given that Hockey’s future ranks them 26th. The current team is incredible and has some great young talent but they are going to have to give up something to get a player like Molson, Parenteau, or Vanek. The reason they may be after Gagner is that he’s all the upgrade they can afford given their available assets. Gagner or Ott aren’t going to make a huge dent in their inability to score.

    • Ott is a third line guy, not a top 6 type.

  6. what if the leafs flipped, kulemin to either team like florida or pitts highest bidder for either a first, or a second plus a, b prospect, and the leafs flip that to buffalo for Ott??? I can’t stand playing against the guy but I feel he would be great on a line with Clarkson. even if Toronto had to add another decent prospect, Nonis should try and get it done. The days of the big tough guy who plays 3 minutes a game and can’t skate are over and players like Neil, from Ottawa, and Ott from Buffalo who can actually skate score and contribute are in. I know a deal between sabres and leafs is highly unlikely, but maybe with sabres re-tooling. they would consider it??

    • Kulemin for a 1st + a prospect? He’s a decent player, but come on.

      • Misread, the 1st is still out of the question, but a 2nd and a prospect sure.

        • Ehh any other year Id agree Kuli is not worth a first but with this being a little bit shallow of a draft year and if it was to a contending team. I dont think its out of the question that Kuli could maybe get a 25-30 pick this year (doesn’t mean I think it will happen either just I dont think it would be out of the question)

          • I could seem a team throwing a late first at him, or a team like panters maybe giving a low second and a b prospect, which I think if nonis added another decent prospect we could land Ott. I think he is the kinda player we need instead of the orr’s and mclarens.

          • Can’t see it because of his UFA status BUT if the team trading for him can speak to him before hand and work out tern and money in advance then sure a late first might not be out of the question. As a rental I’d say a late second or worse.

    • You want Florida’s first rounder for Kulemin? Lol you got a prayer.

    • Why would Pitts or Florida do that trade if they could get Ott for the same package. Makes no sense.

      • I think you may see the reason why in the Olympics Gary. Just a feeliing dont quote me but if Kuli and Malkin show chemistry together as they have in the past, it might give Shero something to think about.

        • ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Gary just what Shticky said.

          and @ Jes Florida is just a team im throwing out their, in my post I said Highest bidder. a late first from pens, or second plus decent prospect would do it. plus I am sure Shero would have a clause about retaining him. essentially the point was why not try and get Ott for kulemin. Buffalo would not trade a ufa for a ufa, so why not get a decent return in Kuli, and try to get Ott with the picks/prospects we get for Kuli?? buffalo is re-tooling,so this seems like a more suited way to get Ott.

        • First..Malkin has Jussi on his wing, and he is playing great, We need a winger for Sid., and Kuli couldn’t keep up with the best in the game, we don’t need any junk from Toronto!!!

  7. Jes, Ott worth a 1st ? if he is worth a 1st Callahan must be worth a 1st ,2nd and a prospect because he is way better than Ott. Get real

    • One big difference between Ott and Callahan is that Ott is healthy – Callahan has had a number of injuries over the past year. Callahan plays with more talented teammates than Ott. Ott is an in your face type of player, always involved when on the ice, has the ability to score, can place defense and is a leader.

      Callahan and Ott are very similar except when healthy Callahan can definatily generate more offense. The ? is – is he worth $7MM a year – I could see the Sabres offering him a 7 year deal @$5.5/year with a $10M signing bonus up front.

      What is more important for the Sabres is if they trade Ott and Moulson, they need to get a player with leadership ability to replace them. Ideally, I would rather see the Sabres trade McBain, Tallinder, Ennis, Grigorenko, McNabb, Weber, Ehroff or Meyers.

      • No no. Keep Myers and McNabb. But trade Foligno. The guy is a clumsy version of his father and will never reach that level.

      • Your crazy Steve for wanting to trade Myers over Ott lol.

    • Ya Sheldon Ott is worth a first. Guy does everything. Like I’ve said before Ott’s a guy that GM craves for a playoff run. If Gaustad could get a 1st, there’s absolutely no reason why Ott can’t.

      • Too many people assume that because he plays for Buffalo he can be picked up for a bag of pucks. They aren’t having a fire sale.

        Be realistic people. Ott is the kind of guy GM’s love to get for a cup run.

  8. on what planet do the oil trade gagner for clifford AND pay part of his salary? oh wait, we’re talking about a first year gm and an incompetent president

    • I know man if that does happen MacT should pack his bags. Well on any other team he’d be fired but I guess we are talking about the Oilers brass

  9. Even if Edmonton took Clifford as a heavy lifter and Justin Williams, to balance the salaries, does anyone REALLY think Edmonton makes that deal? They don’t really fill their weakeness on dee with even a second pair defender, and are receiving drafts picks at this point the answer?
    This reeks of Los Angeles King Koolaid were they get something for nothing….

    • Gagner is not worth both Clifford and Williams.

      I would think if Williams is available, he would be on a few teams lists.

      • Agreed with Gary unless the Oilers hold some salary (alot of it) Gagner is not worth Cilfford and Williams.

  10. I think that gagner for Clifford and a salary dump would be perfect. I don’t see la giving up Williams though. He always seems to be the guy available at the draft then come playoff time he explodes for points. Clifford and a dman would suffice. Edmonton is probably going to try and move any salary dump they get in the deal anyway

    • I just don’t really see how that helps Edmonton at all… Yes Clifford is a gritty physical player but Edmonton needs defense … Use your asset and get what you actually need not another forward…. Be funny if it was Gagner and scrivens for Clifford and jones though lol

    • agree, Williams is money in the playoffs – like Briere, and doesn’t address their main need, although it does address the lack of veteran leadership with SC rings … if only Van could acquire him (sigh).
      If the rumours are true, Clifford and a roster d-man under contract makes more sense (Martinez?).

  11. @alforducks
    Read a couple ducks blogs sounds like they might make a couple moves before deadline.. One said depth up front or help down the middle … Me being a leafs fan of course the first thing I think of are the recent rumours of possible bolland move, what do you think of adding him or kulimen … Ducks have to be all in this year they’ve got a great chance

    • Aki Berg
      Murray has said that he is willing to trade both #1 choices Ducks have. They also have (2)#2’s, so they have assets. Typically Murray doesn’t go big time at the trade deadline so while I expect him to make a deal or two, I don’t expect big deal unless it is a long term hockey move and not a rental. If me it is Bolland I would look at but aren’t the Leafs then saying that Bozak / Kadri and Holland are going to be their centers next year ? I’m think a #2 pick is about right for Bolland if a rental. If I am the Leafs I would rather keep Bollard, move Kardi to wing and keep Holland at Center.

  12. Wow something constructive without trashing anyone for a change. I like this new Ron

    • Maybe its because he doesn’t have to read back checking nonsense. I know that makes me in a better mood, all those exclamation points can really get to a guy after awhile.

  13. If the Leafs trade Bolland I am burning my 4 Leafs Jerseys and throwing 35 years of loyalty down the toilet. I really think the Sabres and Islanders are going to have trouble getting value for Vanek and Miller. I can’t see why any team would want Gagner. He is a small center who is terrible at face offs. You are better at having a winger or even defense take the draw over him. At his cap hit the Oilers will need to pick up salary. When are the Oilers going to face the fact they they need to trade a good young player to get a good player back. MacT seems to think over paid junk like Hemsky or Gagner is going to get them some one good. The Pens will try to get Kulemin after he plays with Malkin again. Toronto wouldn’t ask for much and would take a draft pick to free up cap space.

    • Seems a little extreme for a guy whos only played for the team for 15 games but ok I guess.

      • If Bolland won’t sign a deal before the deadline and expresses a wish to test the UFA market then what Jon? Let him walk for nothing in the hope he can recover enough from this injury (which left Karlson hampered for another 6 months after he returned) to help the Leafs go one maybe two rounds?

        I see no other option other then a trade to get some assets back if he expresses his desire to test UFA. If he signs a new contract then great you keep him obviously.

  14. Agree with most of your points… I also don’t want to see bolland traded prefer resigning as he is a guy you need on a playoff team and will help a young team immensely … I think snow is giving milbury a run for worst gm . How much longer until Tavares ask for a trade . Just ridiculous. Snow should have used the first rounder he gave up for vanek to address a need like defense or GOALIE.. As for kulimen he will get a young d man maybe depres

    • Kulimen getting the Leafs Despres?


  15. About the Oiler/King rumor, I don’t believe that the Oilers would make a significant move like that and be the ones having to compromise. Why should they be the ones taking on salary? They seem to be in a position to deal on the advantage. If they make that stupid move, I think they need to reconsider their management yet again. Make a bold move and move out Yakupov and maybe some other player or asset for a return that will help turn this club around like asap. That’s my 1 cent. Ya? :p