NHL Morning Rumor Mill – Friday, April 26, 2013.

Updates on David Clarkson and Damien Brunner, plus the latest on the Jets, Stars and Oilers.

NJ.COM: Rich Chere reported Devils pending UFA forward David Clarkson doesn’t know where he’ll be playing next season. Chere believes the Devils will try to sign Clarkson, but he could get offers which convince him to sign elsewhere. The Toronto Maple Leafs have long been linked to Clarkson, plus cap space could also be an issue for the Devils. Clarkson acknowledged he’s yet to have contract talks with the Devils, but said he enjoyed playing for them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A year ago I was certain the Devils would re-sign Zach Parise. I know Devils GM Lou Lamoriello wants to avoid losing another notable player – like Clarkson – to free agency, but the combination of the Devils cap space and the offers Clarkson could get elsewhere make re-signing him an uncertainty.

Stephane Robidas could be available this summer.

Stephane Robidas could be available this summer.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In the wake of the Stars elimination from playoff contention, Mike Heika speculates “one of Stephane Robidas, Trevor Daley or Alex Goligoski is made available in a trade”.  There might not be enough room for pending UFA Jordie Benn, while Eric Nystrom could also be on his way out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s also speculation Stars ownership could replace GM Joe Nieuwendyk or head coach Glen Gulutzan. I doubt the former is replaced, but I wouldn’t rule out a coaching change. I expect the Stars  retain Daly and Goligoski, as Robidas has been frequently mentioned this season as a trade candidate, despite his NTC.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Ed Tait reports another missed post-season leaves Jets management facing another summer of unanswered questions, among which is what to do with their nine pending unrestricted free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of this group (Nik Antropov, Grant Clitsome, Ron Hainsey, Al Montoya, Derek Meech, Antti Miettinen, Aaron Gagnon, Wellwood and Mike Santorelli), I wouldn’t be surprised if only Clitsome and Santorelli return.

MLIVE.COM: Brendan Savage recently asked if the Red Wings should re-sign Damien Brunner and for how much. He suggests a four-year, $10 million deal, while Ansar Khan believes two years at around $2.5 million per season would suffice

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Brunner’s friendship with Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, I believe he’ll return, probably on a tw0-three year deal for $2.5 million per.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s recent suggestion new Oilers GM Craig MacTavish’s bold move could be shopping his first round pick.  Staples also noted McKenzie’s colleague Darren Dreger believes MacTavish could make as many as six changes, pursuing a goalie (Mike Smith? Jonathan Bernier? Ryan Miller?), defense (Kevin Shattenkirk? Andrew Ference? Mark Streit?), and forwards (Jarome Iginla? Brenden Morrow? David Clarkson? Matt Hendricks?). He also reported the Oilers hope to re-sign RFA center Sam Gagner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staples offered up his own take, so here’s mine: I expect MacTavish will shop his first round pick (the higher it is, the more value it’ll have), perhaps even packaging it with Gagner (if unable to re-sign him) or another forward like Magnus Paajarvi to shop for a quality defenseman. If the Coyotes get their ownership sorted out, I expect they’ll re-sign Smith. I don’t believe Miller will accept a trade to Edmonton. Bernier is a more likely, and more affordable, target.

Forget about landing Streit, the Islanders are re-signing him. I also expect the Blues to re-sign Shattenkirk. Ference will be available but he could prefer signing with an Eastern team. I don’t see Iginla signing with the Oilers, and Morrow is on his last legs. Clarkson would be a great fit, but he too likely prefers staying in the East. I also think the Capitals hope to re-sign Hendricks. So, to summarize, of those aforementioned players, I believe the Oilers best shot is landing Bernier. They’ll probably have to look elsewhere for depth at defense and forward.


  1. Yandle -> Oilers still just seems to fit with me. I also think there is a good chance they target Nathan Horton via free agency and could maybe get him.

    If Toronto comes after Clarkson I think it is a lot of changes. The need to buy-out Komi, Connolly walks, they probably wouldn’t want to resign Bozak at that point (TO has to sign Kadri, Komarov, Colbourne, Gunnerson, & Franson) so do they also let MacArthur walk or buy-out Grabo? Lupul-Kadri-Kessel : JVR-Grabo-Clarkson : Komarov-Colbourne-Kulemin could shape up to be a pretty deadly top 9 forwards.

    I also expect that the Senators might make a strong pitch for Clarkson though.

    • Why do they need to buy out Komisarek? He’s already cleared waivers and doesn’t count for much against the cap while he’s in the AHL. Connolly walking as a UFA is a given and MacArthur hasn’t done much to justify an extension. If Eric Francis’ purported free agent price tag of $5M AAV for Tyler Bozak is accurate, it could be more than Nonis has the stomach for.

      • If you are in the minors, your cap hit remains the same.

    • Bozak had a pretty good year and chemistry with Kessel this year. If I was TO, I would much rather re-sign Bozak and pray to the hockey gods that someone will take Gabo off my hands.

      But that’s just me.

  2. The Jets should keep Montoya.

  3. While the article from Heika is dated today, the answers came from a chat before last night’s game and playoff elimination for the Stars. I doubt last night would change his answers but just for accuracy’s sake.

  4. Lou is a great GM, he has made the Devils competitive for all these years but I dont see much of a future for NJ. Brodeur is ready to retire, not a lot of youth ready to move in and not trying to sign your guys through the season I feel is a BIG mistake. Especially with all these other GM’s that will sign good players to huge contracts even if they arent worth it. Should’ve traded for a guy like Bernier who has potential and had Brodeur mentor him for the last couple seasons. Unless Lou is going to go after a guy like Louongo.

  5. I doubt the Kings trade Bernier to Edmonton since they are going to be divisional rivals next year. The only way it happens is if Edmonton over pays for him, which they probably won’t. So I would look for him to be traded to a team out east like the Islanders, for perhaps their first and a prospect such as Neidereitter (sp).

    • Not sure if it is a good trade fit sending Nino Niederreiter to LA, but he had reportedly asked for a trade earlier this season (January 23rd), so he could be moved to LA as part of a package with a defenseman if Snow thinks that Bernier is an answer. One would have to think that LA would want an established blueliner however, which the Isles don’t have a wealth of yet.

  6. I don’t see the Oilers being interested in Bernier, or any goalie for the matter, as Dubnyk with a .920 save percentage with having faced the one of the most shots against in the NHL has proven himself as a starting goalie. Comparing him to Schnider – 835 shot against with a .927 save percentage. Dubnyk – 1102 shots against with a .920 save percentage.

    Also I hope that the Oilers look to move Hemsky before Gagner.

  7. I believe Brodeur said he was coming back next season.

    The Devils lost Parise last season.. I can’t see them letting Clarkson walk.. I guess it all depends on how much Clarkson wants to stay in NJ.

    Being from Toronto, I believe, the could give them the inside track to get him. But as someone said above.. the Leafs have a few players to sign that will get raises..

    Quite a few teams will have cap issues this off-season with the top of the cap coming down… Teams with cap space may get a some quality players in trades..

  8. I already bought my new leaf jersey with Clarksons name on it lol. Hes exactly what the doctor ordered. Imagine clarkson, orr, mclaren, fraser on a team and clarkson can score. To me hes the number one ufa this summer. Bozak is bozak, he plays with good players (kessel and lupul/jvr) and he does not crack 50 points. It might come down to sign either clarkson/bozak at 4.5 to 5 mil. who would you rather have?? if anybody says bozak they are not a leaf fan. sign Kadri to bridge contract 2 years 7 mil, resign franson, fraser, colborne, gunnerson and give them slight raises. let mac walk . kadri becomes the number 1 center number 2 the only way i keep bozak is if i buyout grabo and sign bozak. so either bozak or grabo as number 2 colborne/mcclement as 3 and 4 sorry for the confusion long nite