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

Updates on Thomas Vanek, Tim Thomas, Ilya Bryzgalov, Mikhail Grabovski, Damien Brunner, Dan Cleary and Ryan Whitney.

Thomas Vanek admits his situation with the Sabres isn't a best-case scenario.

Thomas Vanek admits his situation with the Sabres isn’t a best-case scenario.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: cited an interview by Buffalo Sabres winger Thomas Vanek with a Minneapolis TV station where he spoke about his preparations for next season. Vanek said playing for a rebuilding team, rather than a contender, may not be the ideal situation at this point in his career, but he noted the Sabres have lots of good young players. “We’re rebuilding, and I’m hoping we have the right pieces to accomplish something”, said Vanek, who is in the final year of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vanek and Ryan Miller (who is also in the final year of his contract) were the subject of trade speculation earlier this summer, but so far there’s not much of a market for either player, particularly if the Sabres hope to receive a good return for either guy. It’s possible Vanek and/or Miller could be dealt before the start of the season, but I expect they’ll still be Sabres when the season begins in October. Depending on how the club performs, they could be shopped by the trade deadline.

CBS SPORTS EYE ON HOCKEY: cited a “tweet” from ESPN Boston’s Jimmy Murphy, who claimed an NHL source said teams are interested in UFA goalie Tim Thomas but “other dominoes” must fall first before he’s signed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At this point I don’t think there’s much of a market for Thomas. It could improve during training camp/preseason as teams with questionable goaltending entering this season evaluate their netminders.

SI.COM: Allan Muir wonders if we’ve seen and heard the last of Ilya Bryzgalov in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: His troubled two years in Philadelphia has hurt Bryzgalov’s market value. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in the KHL next season.

TSN.CA: Sources told analyst Aaron Ward former Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski has narrowed his choices down to three teams. Contrary to reports, the Winnipeg Jets aren’t among those three.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are more focused upon re-signing Blake Wheeler and Zach Bogosian, whose new contracts will push their payroll toward $60 million, so I doubt they’ll have much interest in taking on more salary. The Washington Capitals, Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers could be those three clubs. His agent recently claimed Grabovski wouldn’t make his choice until August.

MLIVE.COM:  Responding to questions from Red Wings fans, Ansar Khan doubts the club will bring back Damien Brunner, who’s still seeking a multi-year deal worth $3.5 million per season. Khan is also pessimistic over the Wings freeing up cap space to sign Daniel Cleary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brunner picked the wrong summer to seek that kind of contract. He could find himself accepting a lesser deal if he hopes to continue playing in the NHL this season.  

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports via Twitter he believes former Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney might be willing to accept a one-year contract. He cites the Carolina Hurricanes and NY Islanders as possible destinations.


  1. Whitney in Carolina? That team LOVES to bring back familiar faces.

    • Sorry, I read that as RAY Whitney, who still has another year left with the Stars.

  2. Whitney will be a good fit in Carolina. He ought to go there and revive his career.

    Tallon said he is not going to bring in anyone from the UFA pool, at least…anyone significant. Grabo to the Panthers? Ehhhhh…. highly doubt it.

    • I think the Panthers should pick up Mason Raymond. He is young, fast, skilled and likely can be signed fairly cheap.

      • And isn’t that good anymore

  3. Lets see, Buffalo is obviously in a rebuild mode, so why not trade both Miller and Vanek for some young guns and picks?!

    To San Jose: Vanek + Miller
    To Buffalo: Pavalski + Niemi + Hertl + Mirco Mueller + 2014 1st Rounder

    • Makes sense to unload both at the dead line.. Create a bidding war for both Miller and/or Vanek.
      Obviosuly, Sabres didn’t/couldn’t move them before the draft so next best thing is to wait until trade dead line.

      I bet Flyers would love to get Miller around dead line time. :)

      • that’s a really good point. I personally think that Miller is most likely to move out of the two, but if neither is moved during the season – then Miller would be fantastic in Philly if they’re in position.

    • First off, I don’t believe the money works for this trade to happen considering the Sharks are already over the cap for next year.

      Secondly, Buffalo doesn’t need a goalie in return, there are enough in the pipeline to take care of any issues that come up. Enroth will have the net after Miller. They need a winger not a center. The defense sits at about 10 guys why another D?

      Thirdly, who the hell is Mirco Mueller???

      The first round pick in 2014 is a nice starting point though.

      • Mirco Mueller is San Jose’s 1st round draft pick selection this year

        • Are you Stupid Leafs? Right now, Niemi is better than Miller. Why the heck would San Jose give up the bank for those two guys?

      • @ The Man__Oss

        Mueller is a good defensive prospect.

        But like you said we do not need anymore upcoming centers. We already have Girgensons, Grigorenko, Hodgson, and Larsson. Besides Vanek we have no left wing. Right wing we only have Armia that’s decent; Stafford blows but he’d be our other right wing. And as far as goalies go we have 6 goalies right now under pro contracts. Hackett and Enroth will be fine as our duo.

    • I wouldn’t do this trade if I was SJ
      Keep in mind both Miller and Vanek are on their last year on their contract.
      Why would you give up so much for them?
      Niemi is a good solid keeper, Pavelski is supposed to be the future of the club, AND a 1st round pick in 2014?

      Move along… these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

      • Totally agree with you.

        Chewie! Take the commands of the Millenium.

        • Oh yeah… I agree with Konstantine not the nonsense LeafsAdvocate is putting out there.

    • Vanek and Miller may get moved, but never in one fell swoop. $12M in cap space between the two of them? No chance they move in one deal.

    • I wouldn’t mind this deal, but I don’t see it happening. The window for a Niemi deal has closed as he improved his standing with fans and media this past season. While I always thought SJ had a bargain with Niemi, he was kind of a scapegoat for SJ’s bombing in the playoffs. Thing is, San Jose needs to get younger – you have Marleau, Thornton, Boyle and Havlat that are all over 30 and starting to “slow down” – the team is transitioning from Thorton’s to Couture’s.

  4. Grabovski to Calgary on a 1 yr deal play big minutes , put up numbers cash in next year. Teams will put dollars aside to sign him if he has a good year this year. I bet he is very hungry to prove his worth.

    • That makes the most sense to me, he may even get the top line C role if he performs well

    • Calgary – Where ex-Leafs go to die.

      Besides, did Calgary like our last export to them?

      • Maybe, maybe not, but they have some glaring holes they need to fill…

    • Good idea but I wouldn’t do it in Calgary. Washington makes more sense. They have more talent up front but a big need for help down the middle. And Caps will likely make the playoffs, and a solid showing when it counts can really up the dollars on that next contract.

  5. Those three teams… probably not who we expect. Never underestimate a GM’s likelihood to be stupid and overload his center corps.

    For all we know, it could be the Islanders, the Sabres, and the Ducks 😀

    Vanek should probably be either moved or re-signed right now. Like it or not, he is a star player. I think Buffalo should re-sign him, and I don’t think Buffalo is “rebuilding” by any stretch. If Myers and Miller warms up again, they could be pretty good again. They still have a lot of good young talent like Ennis, Foligno, Grigorenko, etc.

    • Sometimes you think the grass is always greener – I think Vanek has come to the realization and acceptance that Buffalo may be the best place for him. He has a family and Buffalo is a great place to raise your kids and you get the most bang for your buck. Buffalo has a lot of potential and I would love to see Vanek step up and assume a leadership role – maybe this is the beginning.

  6. The Carolina Hurricanes announced Friday that the club has agreed to terms with left wing Nathan Gerbe on a one-year, two-way contract. The deal will pay Gerbe $550,000 on the NHL level or $150,000 on the American Hockey League level

    • Good for Gerbe!

    • Plays his heart out every game. Carolina will love him.

  7. If you don’t think Buffalo is rebuilding, you’re in serious denial.

    How Regier stays employed is a mystery.

    As for Grabs, Washington would be the best choice for him, if he wants to win.

    Florida would seem to have the biggest need at center, though.

    • You know Pete, I’m not sure if I would want Darcy to sign Grabs. He has talent, but he can’t seem to control his temper – my question is…..do I really want him mentoring my youngsters?

    • Florida may not need centers. Barkov might be NHL ready, Huberdeau looked fantastic last year, big Matthias for 3rd or 4th line, they also have 6’6 21 year old kid Bjugstad played 12 games in NHL last season and might be good to go and let’s not forget Drew Shore.

      They could use some veteran leadership on wings so it would make sense for them to add someone like Cleary, Morrow on wings.

    • Florida has the biggest need at center? Next year Panthers

      #1 Jonathan Huberdeau – excellent rookie season last year
      #2 Sasha Barkov – They have already said he is playing and he has skill & size
      #3 Sean Mattias – 25yrs old, nice hands, 6’4″
      #4 Marcel Goc – Great faceoff guy and can score still

      If I am the Panthers I am waiting to see how these lines work out before I bring in another center. If anything I am worrying about my depth on wings and how much Gubransson, Kulikov, and Petrovic can improve.

    • Sign with Washington if you want to win? Mind=blown

  8. And there you have it. Stupid Nonis running around over paying Bozak, and trading for an over paid Bolland and now he may have to trade Franson and let Fraser walk because he can’t afford them.

    TSN reports trade talk heating up for Franson for a prospect and draft pick. Leafs will be left with a real nice defence if they loose these two guys.

    That’s ok we have Dion, Gunnar, Liles, Ranger, Holzer, and Gardiner. A real force for sure.

    How do you like those apples.

    • I don’t know what anyone’s hit is on Bolland. I’ve been a Hawks fan since Dirk Graham was captain. Bolland’s been one of the best 3rd line C / PP/PK specialists we’ve had for years. On top of that he’s a)a huge pest who draws tons of penalties – which is pretty much an assist to either Sharp, Hossa, Kane or Toews and b)he is super clutch. The stanley cup game winning goal isn’t the only (or the last) time he’s done that.

      Bolland will be super huge for the Leafs.

      • My comment was less about knocking Bolland then it was about knocking Nonis for not foreseeing this RFA problem and dealing with it before going out and throwing money around without taking care of his own back yard first.

        • sure. I think Bolland benefits the Leafs moreso than Franson. Bolland won’t cough up the puck in his own end. I like the speculated return for Franson that’s floating out there. I think by Dec 30th, we will have all said Nonis took care of his ‘back yard.’

        • Franson has put up HUGE numbers last year though… so, can’t ignore that.

          • Most of Franson’s huge numbers came on the power play. And um, Nonis should have known that Franson was going to demand $4 million+ for half a season of work? He was good this year, but he hasn’t earned that kind of money yet (well, then again, neither has Gunnarsson, but meh).

          • We don’t know what Franson is asking for or willing to settle for so no sense in throwing out numbers that may be wrong. I suspect $3.5M which is fair.

    • I like those apples alot better then I like Grabovski @ 5.5 mill, or Colborne centering 3rd line Fraser will stay he has arbitration wouldnt have even done that if he got a one way deal so he gets 1-1.5 one way deal for 2 years thats smart..lol and tell mewhy a guy who was paired with Fraser on

      • You say Bolland is over paid but you would give Franson a guy with a half of 1 decent season playing against bottom 2 line opponents as much money as Bolland who has 2 cups!??? That almost seems smart

        • Again my point is that Nonis should have known this problem was coming and shouldn’t have been so wreckless with his cap space. Do you see what we will end up with if Fraser is awarded $2M at arb and Leafs walk and they trade away Franson. Seriously you will be happy with Dion, Gunnar, Liles, Ranger, Holzer, and Gardiner. You will be the first one loosing your mind when the season opens.

      • Wha??

        • Lol hit post too quick…. On bottom pairing D for most the year, Fraser is going no where hes cheap

          • So the same source is quoted as saying 4 million asking price but your not willing to use it just the fact it says the leafs are trading him?? Which it actually doesn’t say they are it says trade speculation… You are probably the same type of fan that would have critizied nonis for not signing clarkson or not doing something with the goalie or not signing a centre when if you look at the other non first line centers who were signed (Roy, filpula, Weiss ) bozak came in under them and is a known commodity in toronto….not saying he’s first line material but they knew what they were getting and he could have got more elsewhere, same with clarkson… So I really don’t know what you want?.? Or are you just a negative person in general?

          • Lmao

  9. Cody Franson should generate a lot interest in the league. A big guy like this should be paid around 4,5 M$, or 5M$. I wonder if Colorado could be a good suitor for a possible trade. Except Tyson Barrie, they dont have any offensive D in Denver.

    Speculation trade: Stefan Elliott a 2nd round draft pick vs Franson

    • if that’s accurate, I like that if I’m a Leafs’ fan. This guy isn’t physical.. but he’s got good offensive upside and great w/ the puck, and responsible defensively. Leafs lack that w/ Franson.. he coughs up too many pucks in the Leafs own end.

    • You wanna pay Franson $5 million, go right ahead. He ain’t worth it yet. Not even close.

      • Again Dark is 100% correct trade him for something usefull like a stay at home type D or a pick and a prospect…keep building buy lo sell high and all that jazz its still early and I dont think we are contenders yet get more pieces because if we keep improving the draft picks we get only go down from here. Reilly Gardiner now Ranger, we have enough puck moving D Gardiner and Reilly will be better then Franson before the term of his new long term deal would be up. So why pay him when you could save it for Gardner or Reilly?

        • Buy low sell high??? Well if we went with that theory then your first bit of business would be unloading Kessel
          1.he gets awarded $8.5M,
          2.his value drops or worse
          3.he walks away at seasons end for nothing.

          • If you can get him for 7.5 he is worth it imo and again I can back it up with stats consistant 30 goal guys dont vrow on trees and he is only 25

  10. I rather have Franson than Phaneuf anyday. Better offensively, still improving and using his strength more. The call Franson soft because he doesn’t play a gritty game or go for highlight reel hits, but he is much more physical than he was. He now uses his size to make space and bump players off the puck very effectively. Great passing. It would be a shame to lose him after how well he did in the playoffs. He is on the verge of becoming an all-star given the minutes.

    Miller to SJ doesn’t make sense in a trade unless Niemi is coming back in return. I could see Miller eventually signing somewhere in California as a FA.

    • Franson does not play 30 mins a night against teams best lines…

      • Wholly crap what’s wrong with you? All you do is bitch at people who crap on young guys that are constantly improving and here you have a D man 25yrs old who had a great playoffs and solid year and you are ready to cast him aside.

        Man you need to realize you can’t suck and blow at the same time. You keep changing your way of thinking to suit your latest arguments. I can’t keep up anymore.

        • Im not ready to just get rid of him I just dont think he is worth anymore then bout 3 mill def. Not 3.5 -4

          • I said two months ago he will get $3.5M. Remember if Burke/Nonis will give Liles $3.8 and Grabo $5.5M then anything is possible. Apparently Nonis did all the negotiating back then. It was a known fact.
            From what I’ve seen so far with Bernier getting $3M Gunnar getting $3M, Boz getting $4.25M there is no way Nonis is much of a negotiator for salary signings. Franson will get $3.5M or most likely be traded and Kadri will get $3.75 to $4M. I’m thinking a judge awards Fraser $2M and the Leafs will have to walk. What a joke our D will be.

  11. I expect Franson is looking and for deserves 3.5 to 4mil per season.

    • $3.5 million is pretty much what they’re looking for. If that was the case, he’d be signed. No, it looks a lot like he wants upwards of $4 million.

      And Phaneuf > Franson right now.

      • Totaly agree with Dark

  12. Are Holzer and Brennen on 2 way deals? Otherwise it looks like the Leafs might need to move out Liles in some way, we will have a enough offensive dman. Fraser is perfect at the #6-7 guy

  13. Franson was the Leaf’s best D man against Boston for the full 7 games.

    • Franson had a good season but numbers are slightly inflated as he played bottom pairing minutes most the year with Fraser never seeing any better then other teams 3rd. And 4th lines till alot later in the year he is not worth 3.5 + I like Franson think he will develop in to a good D but if they cant move Liles he is the next best option because no one is going to take Dions contract this early there is no saying that if you put Ranger in his place he wouldnt have similar numbers maybe not quite as good but similar Ranger at 1 million could be much better then Franson at 4…..

      • Again maybe Nonis should have thought of this before unloading most of the cash knowing full well he had to sign Kadri, Franson and Fraser.

        • But why pay Franson that? You will be the first guy screaming about bad contract and look what Franson made if Gardiner or Reilly or both end up being better then him in 2 or 3years which is a very real possibility.

          • He can be traded when Rielly is ready in two or three years.

    • A full 7 games? Wow we should give him 5 mill…ludicrous

  14. Interesting development.
    On a personal level, I like Franson better than Phaneuf.
    If I was GM I’d shop both Liles and Phaneuf, then give Franson the $4 Mil he’s probably asking for, but make it a long-term contract (6 years). Many analysts feel he’ll only get better and better, wise to lock him up for the long term if they are correct.
    On the other hand if Liles and Phaneuf can’t be shopped, then hang on to them until trade deadline for playoff rentals, then go back and sign Franson.

    • Here’s a spit-baller to go along with what I said above.

      Phaneuf to Colorado for Stastny, this gives Nonis leverage signing Kadri. (ie take a bridge contract, or we keep Stastny and send you packing Nazeeeem the Dream LOL) I know this would create the ironic situation of a log-jam at centre, Hypothetical situation of Bozak, Kadri, Stastny, Bolland anc McClement.
      I suppose McClement or Bolland could temporarily move to the wing for one season to make things work.

      Liles to NYI for 2nd round pick in 2014

      • Hmm torn on Phaneuf for Stasney…it could work but I think come closer to the trade deadline Phaneuf will get the Leafs a very good package like a blue chip prospect pick and maybe more Id rather use him as a building block that way instead of trading him for another rental type player.

        • I don’t mind a Phaneuf for Stastny deal. You get to try out out Stastny one year as a #1C and see if you like it. Also I think Phaneuf 30 HARD minutes of play could be better served split among Franson and our other defenders. Really not a fan of Phaneufs defensive game or lack of creativity. He has all the skill and athletic ability in the world but has never put it together.

          and the whole centre/forward shift for a season would occur like mentioned above

          • You cant really “split” that much time with what we currently have if you were to devide it up between 3 linesof D we have now youre going to have gunnarson playng 30 mins with Franson…no thank you no one wants to see that…. We would need to get another top line D or atleast another 3 type d guy to take up some of those minutes, take Dion out of the top 2 lines of D with out replacing him with a physical shut down type D we are in big trouble thats why Ive been saying if Dion goes ( or now Franson) it should involve a D man who is not nessicarily a puck mover but more like a guy like Petry (just an example not saying Petry for Franson) bigger guy good defensively can put up some minutes that is not going to have a huge contract, this would make Dion more expendable unless we get a guy like that some how its kind of a scary thought to move Dion even for a guy like Stasny you are just shuffling holes around not filling them.

        • Torn?? You have been crapping over this trade for the past two months.

          Phaneuf is history after this season. You really think his new bride starlet is going to move to Toronto? Good move for her acting career… Not…You can bet your ass they aren’t going to live apart for the next five years while he gets ridiculed in Toronto and she parties it up in LA.

          • You know she is from Montreal right and has a house there?

      • I imagine there has to be a team that would be a team out there that would take Liles contract for a much later pick. That would really solve all the imminent cap/RFA/defense clog problems.

        NYI makes sense in terms of cap space and needs.

        • But the real issue is Franson is not worth 3.5 mill +

          • I’m not so sure, although admittedly I’m gambling on future development.,,
            Keep in mind top 4 d-men usually get over $3 Million, and I would rank him as top 4.
            In your opinion, do you think Gunnarson is worth $3M/year?

          • Just..if he plays like he did 2years ago Im ok with it not really happy with it but ok, if he plays like he did last year we were robbed.

          • OMG you are too much. I can’t take it anymore.. We just had this argument a few days ago. I said Gunnar had a great year two years ago and you crapped all over it saying he didn’t. You also said you hated him being signed for 3yrs/$3.15.

            You are officially all over the place.

          • And no no I am not I said I dont really like Gunnar for 3 mill but thats what he got then Ill give it the benifit of the doubt i guess Im ok with it if he plays better then he did this year…Ive also looked at some comparables and have decided he is close if and only if he plays top line minutes with similar hopefully better results then he got 2 years ago. If he plays like he did this year my exact term is we were robbed how is that changed my opinion of Gunnar?

        • Franson was impressive for maybe 20-25 games last year before that he was playin maybe 14 mins a night bottom pairing minutes before this he sat most nights and was given away by Nashville so for his whole career he has maybe 2 dozen really decent games in which he also turned over a tone of pucks he is not worth more then PK Subban was this time last year.

          • That’s because he had no confidence ala Wilson. It took the kid 20 games to find his confidence and for Carlyle to gain confidence. You realize he played almost 23 minutes per game in the playoffs right?

          • Still not worth more then 3 mill

  15. I am officially done arguing with hypocrites and people with Bi polar disorder, I apologize for spaming up pages with BGs pissing contest and roller coaster of whining, from here on out Ill post once per convo and just let it ride… Thank you.

    (Que the funny “finally” comments lol)

  16. @beergoggles
    Looking at comparables, because that’s what gms, agents and players do, what would you do for contracts for these p,ayers then,
    Your constant criticism of the term and $ is fine if you have something to back it up as far as comparables as far as ice time, role, points and age.
    Obviously a team can’t just go out and get whichever player they want and pay him, they are limited, and it takes years for a gm or coach to get what they would consider the ideal player for that spot, ie bozak at 1st line centre.

  17. /Facepalm

    Good lord. I can’t believe I read to the bottom.

    • That makes me worse, cause i read your comment….curse me

      • Again I apologize….lol