NHL Morning Rumor Mill – Friday, April 19, 2013.

A collection of recent updates on Mike Smith, Tyler Bozak, Patrik Elias, Shawn Matthias, and Mark Fistric.

Could Tyler Bozak price himself out of Toronto?

Could Tyler Bozak price himself out of Toronto?

THE GLOBE & MAIL: James Mirtle recently reported on the tough decisions facing the Maple Leafs regarding linemates Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak. Mirtle believes Kessel, who has one year remaining on his current contract, could command a raise between $7-$8 million per season, while Bozak could seek a deal comparable to the four-year, $19 million deal of Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu. Every indication suggests the Leafs hope to re-sign the duo.

TSN RADIO: Darren Dreger recently claimed he was told Bozak “will command better than 5 (million).”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The automatic assumption is there’s no way the Leafs would pay Bozak that much. Then again, they also paid Mikhail Grabovski $5.5 million per season, Dion Phaneuf $6.5 million per, Tim Connolly $4.75 million per and Mike Komisarek $4.5 million per. Yes, I know, Brian Burke was the GM who signed them to those contracts, but current Leafs GM Dave Nonis was his assistant and would’ve played a role in some of those signings. It’ll be interesting to see how Nonis handles the Bozak situation.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently speculated on Mike Smith’s future with the Phoenix Coyotes. Smith is eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer, but the Coyotes ongoing ownership woes casts his future with the club into doubt. Matheson also reports Oilers defenseman Mark Fistric is “nervous” over the possibility of becoming an unrestricted free agent.

NEW YORK TIMES: Tom Pedulla yesterday reported long-time New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias faces a murky future. The Devils have yet to open contract negotiations with Elias, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. “It’s special for me to play for one team,” he said. “It would be special to play here my whole career. But I understand the business side.” GM Lou Lamoriello has expressed a willingness to retain Elias, calling him “an invaluable player”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At 37, Elias’ NHL career is winding down, but with 31 points in 42 games this season, he remains an effective top-six forward. He won’t command another big contract like the one he’s currently on (worth a cap hit of $6 million per season), but I could see him getting a two-year deal at $5 million per season. I expect Lamoriello and Elias will reach an agreement before July 1.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov recently speculated Florida Panthers forward Shawn Matthias and Peter Mueller could receive long-term contract extensions. Both are restricted free agents this summer.


  1. I dont see how Bozak can command more than $5-million considering his comparables. Grabovski got $5.5 after having multiple 20+ goal seasons, including one where he scored 29 goals. Bozak has never scored 20 goals once and his career high in points is 47, plus Grabo is only 2 years older and didnt have the benefit of playing alongside Phil Kessel all year. Bozak is a great third liner for a contending team, but he’s been playing on the 1st line for three seasons now, so how can you even expect his production to somehow improve?

    Considering the shrinking cap, I dont see how Bozak could get a contract above $5-million even if he tested open market.

    • Completely agree.

    • I agree … this Bozak is worth tons is completely baffling to me. Not a high point producer, even this season he will be lucky to hit 30 pts playing with two very talented wingers. I could see it if he was a dynamo Selke type candidate … just don’t see it. I don’t even see why the Leafs would retain Bozak with Kadri, Grabo, McClement, Colbourne ect to play center.

  2. Bozak is kidding himself if he considers to be a $5M per year player. What does that make Weiss, $7M?

    Yotes should let Smith walk. Stick with Chad Johnson and sign Garon.

  3. The Leafs or any team for that matter would be insane to sign Bozak to anything over 4 million.

    As a Flyers fan I have absolutely no interest but could see how some other teams might. He’s smart with the puck and defensively sound – good on taps. Provides good depth as he can play on any line.

    Situation reminds me a lot of Matt Stajan when he played in TO… Had back to back 50pt seasons with increased ice time and responsibility before he was dealt to Calgary. He signed a 4.5 deal and we all know how good that looks… yuck.

    I’d say 3.5 or walk.

  4. I think Bozak is worth $ 2.5 mil he does not compete hard enough. And when he is in tough games he disappears. Third line at best.

  5. I don’t think Bozak is worth anything near $5 million a year; nor do I think he possesses 1st or 2nd line center skills to command those bucks. However, nobody knows just what he can/will do once the playoffs begin and this too is a dilemma for Nonis. Nonis had Kadri, Kessel, Bozak, Komarov, and others to consider and for the first time in years, the Leafs will likely be a playoff time with a bunch of nobody’s looking to impress.

    Just how deep the Leafs get into the playoffs and who emerged or seemed to emerge as a playoff performer from this bunch of unproven players will likely determine this summer just who exactly is worth what on the RFA and UFA market as all the GM’s will be taking notes

  6. First I heard Bozak wants to return to the West and secondly I can’t imagine any GM giving him more than $4.0. Gabrovski was signed when the Cap was much higher. This summer is going to be interesting for a lot of players and teams with a reset of the Cap at $60.0 million. It’s not what others were paid a year ago that will count. Some one is going to break and set the new “norm”

  7. I would agree that Bozak is not a 5 million dollar player any more than Grabo was \worth 5.5 million dollars a season.
    We don’t need another long term deal that we regret. See JML.
    There is another consideration though, that I have not seen addressed. That is the very close friendship between Bozak and Kessel. If we don’t sign Bozak, will the Leafs be able to sign Kessel next year. Will he want to sign long term, as a Leaf without his best friend, that the Leafs allowed to walk or traded.
    Keep in mind that only 4 players in the NHL have scored more points than Phil Kessel over the past 3 years.
    If we don’t sign Bozaak it might be a smart more to trade them both in a package.
    How about: Kessel, Bozak, Gardiner and a prospect or draft pick to Colorado for Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeslog?

  8. After Thursdays game, I would rather trade Bozak, Gardiner and a whatever draft pick(s) required for John Tavares.

    Whether we like it or not , Carlyle is playing Liles, and he has a few years to go in in his contract. Morgan Reilly is a couple of years away. Gardiner seems to be expendable.

    Getter done…

    • Really, Murph? Bozak, Gardiner and a pick for John Tavares?

      • LOL can’t figure out why us leaf fans have such a bad rep about overvaluing our players…here is yet another purely reasonable trade scenario that I’m sure Garth Snow is considering right now….