NHL Morning Rumor Mill – January 15, 2014

Updates on Jonas Hiller, Steve Ott, Matt Moulson, Daniel Briere and Tuomo Ruutu plus updates on the Blues, Rangers, Stars and more.

Ducks GM says he's not moving Jonas Hiller.

Ducks GM says he’s not moving Jonas Hiller.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray emphatically denied he was shopping goaltender Jonas Hiller. “There’s not a chance in hell that I’m moving Jonas Hiller,” Murray told ESPN.com on Tuesday evening. “I’m tired of hearing about the rumors. I can tell you Jonas is not going anywhere.” LeBrun also reports the Canucks would like to add a number three center or top-nine winger at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That won’t stop some rumormongers from keeping Hiller’s name out there but I believe Murray. Hiller’s playing very well plus he’s the only goalie in the Ducks system with playoff experience.

ESPN.COM: In a recent live chat, Katie Strang reports Brad Richards future with the Rangers depends upon how many years the club believes he has left…She expects the Capitals will move a goalie, likely Michal Neuvirth…She expects Dustin Byfuglien could be dealt…She believes the Islanders will make a serious effort to re-sign Thomas Vanek. If he won’t commit long term she believes the Isles should shop him…She also expects we could see some trade activity leading up to the Olympic trade freeze…She believes finding a number one goalie should be the Islanders top priority…She expects the Maple Leafs could make a move before the trade deadline.

SPORTSNET (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): Scott Morrison believes the recent coaching change in Winnipeg could slow down the trade talk over some of the Jets (Dustin Byfuglien, Evander Kane)…Mark Spector reports word around the NHL is the Oilers are overvaluing their players. Oilers shouldn’t expect more than a third round pick for Ales Hemsky, while Sam Gagner could prove tough to move because of his small size and $4.2 million per season salary…Nick Kypreos believes the Sharks could re-sign Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to 3-4 year deals for the same money they’re currently earning (around $7 million per season…Spector believes the Avalanche have a tough decision to make with Paul Stastny as they have a couple of key players (Semyon Varlamov, Ryan O’Reilly) to re-sign. Morrison reports the feeling is they won’t move him if they’re still in the playoff race by the trade deadline unless they can land a big winger or top-four defenseman.

SPORTSNET: Brad May believes Sabres captain Steve Ott could stay in Buffalo because of his relationship with coach Ted Nolan. Mark Spector believes he’ll be shopped to a contender, suggesting the Vancouver Canucks as a good fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It only makes sense for the Jets to see how the roster performs under new coach Paul Maurice before making any roster moves…Hemsky’s injury history is also a concern which affects his trade value. Gagner, however, could still fetch the Oilers a decent return, just not a starting goalie, a top-two defenseman or a power forward. Think second-line forward or second-pairing d-man…Thornton and Marleau aren’t going anywhere…Neither is Stastny unless the Avs go into free-fall in the standings…I believe the Sabres will entertain offers for Ott but if they don’t get something worthwhile they’ll consider re-signing him.

OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan believes Sabres winger Matt Moulson could be too expensive for the Senators to land. He cites a league executive claiming the Sabres asking price could be a first round pick (in either this year’s draft or next) and a top young player. Brennan speculates the Senators could have an eye on Oilers winger Ales Hemsky, but doubts they’re interested in Flames winger Mike Cammalleri, preferring a bigger body-type forward. They could focus on a rental like the Flames Lee Stempniak or the Jets Devin Setoguchi, or try to put together a package for Oilers winger David Perron.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So the Senators prefer a big-bodied forward than Cammalleri but should pursue the 5-11, 196-pound Perron (who has a concussion history) or the 6-0, 194-pound Hemsky (who has an lengthy injury history)? All-righty, then…

NJ.COM: Randy Miller lists three reasons why Canadiens forward Daniel Briere could become a New Jersey Devil, citing his unhappiness in Montreal, he’d be a good fit with the Devils and he would be closer to his sons. He suggests Anton Volchenkov or less to the Canadiens isn’t impossible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin recently smoothed things over (for now) with Briere  by discussing his role with the club, and Briere has improved since his recent benching. Still, if the issue gets forced by Briere, the Habs could shop him. I doubt the Habs would have interest in the oft-injured Volchenkov, who also has a no-trade clause

STLTODAY.COM: Joe Strauss wonders if the Blues goalie tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott are good enough to carry the Blues deep in the playoffs. He noted the rumors linking the Blues to Sabres goalie Ryan Miller but doubts they can afford to absorb the remainder of his contract this season, let alone pay the steep asking price from the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Blues will stick with their current tandem for the rest of this season and evaluate their need for a goaltending upgrade in the off-season.

 NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks acknowledges the Rangers probably won’t move pending UFAs Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan while they’re still in the thick of the playoff race.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Something I’ve been saying for weeks now.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika believes the Stars could shop Vernon Fiddler, Ray Whitney or Erik Cole (the latter two have no-trade clauses) if they’re out of the playoff race by the trade deadline. They could also see if there’s a market for Trevor Daley or Alex Goligoski. If they’re still in the playoff chase, Heika doesn’t believe they’ll pursue playoff rental players, preferring long-term acquisitions.

TSN’S Darren Dreger reports via Twitter: “Tuomo Ruutu’s name has again surfaced as a trade target. Canes forward might draw some interest as teams approach the Olympic break.”


  1. If Vernon Fiddler moves he could end up being the most under rated move of the deadline, I love his character and gusto and think he is the kinda guy you need on a deep playoff run. I do believe Murray and the Sens will pursue Moulson and would pay the price as he is a guy you bring in and then re-sign to replace Michalek. He is the kind of scoring and hard nosed talent the Sens need desperately in their top 6 right now and I don’t see many others lining up to fit that bill.

    • Fiddler is an awesome player. So what’s the deal he’s wanting back out of town or is this just hearsay?

  2. If the St. Louis Blues were to give up a nice package for Miller I don’t see any reason Mr. Deep Pockets Pegula has in taking most if not all of Miller’s remaining salary.

    • Why are the Blues even contemplating moving Halak in the first place? Their goalies are one of the best tandums in the NHL. Miller is 33 years old and way overrated, yes he’s good, but the asking price for his services is rediculous. The Blues should stay with what they have, they are a great team with a great coach. Let it be. Peace.

      • 100% agreed. The Blues traded for Halak after his awesome playoff run with the Habs, likely in large part because they thought he could be a clutch playoff performer.

        After that incredlble Habs run, he’s only been able to play two playoff games for the Blues so far, and has a 1.73GAA and .935%; amazing numbers.

        Why they’d want to get another goalie before Halak has even had a chance to replicate those numbers makes zero sense.

        • True that Paddy, Elliott ended up playing the playoffs last year due to Halak’s injury and Halak only played about 1 and a half playoff games the year before the until he was injured by Barrett Jackman falling on him. Not giving that man at least one shot to take the Blues through the playoffs would be a crime with the team they have right now.

  3. The Oilers/Flames are pretty much in the same boat. Nobody wants what they have. Or they won’t move what people want.

    In the case of the Oilers, the “big 4 up front” are pretty much off limits. And Hemsky and Gagner have been “over-hyped for a while now……er..nobody’s buying.

    Poor Burke. Arrives to the same situation in Calgary that he did in Toronto. A team of garage sale players that nobody wants. He managed to fandangle them into picks in T.O and he’ll find suckers again but…he hasn’t got much to work with.

    • Totally agree Dark G. Hard to imagine that the fringe/non core players on one of the worst teams in the league are really worth all that much to another team. If Burke can pull the equivelant of the Phaneuf trade (decent player for a bunch of scrubs) Calgary will be fine :)

  4. No team in the NHL will touch Ruutu at 4.75 million for 2.5 more seasons. May be the most overpaid player in the NHL.

  5. You are right on with your comment on Brennan’s speculations. Do these guys read their stuff after writing to make sure it makes sense.

    Not sure if the Oilers can get anything more than a 2nd or 3rd round pick for Hemsky or Gagner before the trade deadline. Teams that make trades at the deadline are arming themselves for the playoffs which are closer checking and much more physical than the regular season. Who really wants to take on a couple of smaller, softer players (with big contracts) who are under performing without the intensity of the playoffs. I realize the Oiler fans think they’re each worth a 1st rounder but if they were that good they wouldn’t be trading them.

    • Well maybe teams like Boston who already have the more physical players and are looking to add more offence which Gagner and/or Hemsky can add. If you knew Mark Spector you would know to take what he writes with a grain of salt.

  6. Ott would be a great pickup for the Canucks, or any team for that matter. I agree with Jes that Pegula could cover off the cash with the stroke of a pen, but I do not believe the Blues are panicked about their goaltending. Supposedly there are only 8 teams Miller is unwilling to go to, and apparently 7 of them are the Canadian teams. I wonder who the 8th is? Sounds like he wants to play in a low key hockey market, on the west coast, but no room in Anaheim or Los Angeles or San Jose. He may just have to stick out a smaller hockey market that needs and wants him. Dallas? Would he play for Lindy Ruff again?

    • while I like the idea of Ott in Van., unsure what they would have to give up for him. With Phalsson and Roy as hindsight wisdom, Gillis is likely to be hesitant to give up the prospects or picks to get a rental unless he is sure he can re-sign Ott (or any UFA worth getting). Or somehow miraculously offload Booth (a big bodied fwd…Senator fans – I’m looking at you).

      Sort of joking, but, how about Tuomo Ruutu for Booth? Canucks get a gritty but talented winger that has performed in the playoffs before. Canes get a speedy winger that likely needs to be back in the eastern conf. to succeed. Neither are rental players but money is similar. thoughts?

  7. SPECTOR’S NOTE: So the Senators prefer a big-bodied forward than Cammalleri but should pursue the 5-11, 196-pound Perron (who has a concussion history) or the 6-0, 194-pound Hemsky (who has an lengthy injury history)? All-righty, then…

    Spector, at times your logic baffles me! When you make sarcastic comments like this it makes many of wonder if you truly know anything about hockey…period! There isn’t a team out there that wouldn’t want Perron or Hemsky on their roster. You do know that there are other cities playing in the NHL than Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa right? You need to be more objective…seriously!

    • Randy, your bafflement is misplaced. I’m not saying no one would want Perron or Hemsky. I’m simply pointing out Brennan’s own contradictory opinion. He claims the Senators would prefer a bigger-bodied forward than Mike Cammalleri, then cites two players who are only marginally larger than the 5’9, 190 lb Flames winger.

      • I wouldnt want Hemsky for that money… hes missed as many games as hes played the past 5 years, teams may want a skilled guy “like” Hemsky on their roster but Im sure they dont really want a 5 mill cap hit on their LTIR. This year producing at .5 ppg? Im sure there are other guys available that will provide better bang for the buck than Hemsky at a 5 mill cap hit for the next 2 years.

        • Hemsky is an UFA at the end to the season. For what he will give you in the playoffs will be worth it as a rental. Although I do believe that MacT is over valuing him.

          • Thought he had 1 year left following this one, regardless its not like Edmonton hasnt wanted to move him or he has been hiding for the past few seasons, to say eber GM in the league would love Hemsky in their line up is laughable.

        • Randy, based on your comments you know what sarcasm is, but you don’t seem to really understand it. I am a leaf fan, and as such I must say spec is constantly telling leaf nation to cool down with hypothetical leaf scenarios. If Ottawa wants big bodies, hemsky and Perron do not fit the bill.

        • Just kidding around, but what about Heatley? The Wild will be flushing that turd down the toilet at the end of the season………

    • Interesting how we all see things different. I go to this site because of Spector’s objectivity and his willingness to call BS on statements in the media that just don’t make sense.

      • I believe Matt Moulson would probably be a better fit for the Senators’ than the other suggested possibilities however it will come down to what has to be given up in order to acquire him. The team seems to be looking for someone that can play off of Jason Spezza.

        • Given the sentiment in the local fanbase and the media here, the Sens might be better suited to land a Moulson for the right price, along with finding a buying on Spezza. Its not even the hardcore fans in Ottawa here now who are suggesting getting rid of him, but the casual fans and non-hockey fans who are suggesting it as well.

          • Hard core sens fan. There is no way Spezza goes anywhere. There’s in no better center in the market at the moment. Who could the sens land to fill his gap? Sure he’s had some ups and downs, but look who he plays with, Stone, a great, but still young player, and Greening (see description on Stone). Spezza has loads of talent, and although he still needs to work on his 200 meter game.
            Now, in terms of forward talent getting landed, I heard Statsny might be in the mix. That would be a great landing, however not sure if the sens could match the asking price.

    • Randy – we’re all sitting here wondering if you know anything about hockey… Lyle certainly knows his stuff better than most.
      Although this wasn’t what Lyle was referring to, there are serveral teams out there that want no part of Hemsky or Perron.. give your head a shake…

    • Given the fact that Hemsky has been in the rumour mill for a very long time now it would appear that there are several teams that don’t want him in their roster for the salary he’s making. As a said above, when your one of the worst teams in the NHL it’s a tough sell to convince folks your peripheral players are worth a whole lot.

  8. Should have put LOL on that last comment!

  9. Oh hey Sam gagner is only 5’11 199 pounds. Oops Crosby is same size. Lol.

  10. If shero can get Montreal to eat $4-5 million in brier contract I think Pitt might be a good fit. Probably won’t cost more then a 3rd rounder or mid-level prospect

    • Briere a good fit in Pittsburgh? Where? The Pens need a scoring winger and 3rd/4th line role players: Briere is neither. He’s never going to replace Crosby, Malkin, or even Sutter up the middle, so it doesn’t matter how much Montreal picks up the tab, Briere is not going to be happy with his role as a Penguin. Pass.

  11. I do believe Perron is 6’0 actually. But who’s nitpicking numbers anyways? And hemsky’s injury history is just that he has no chronic issues anymore. 3rd round pick..bunch of armchair GM foolishness. Oilers are bullied by everyone cuz they suck. Have for many years so people know oilers are desperate and will not give fair value for any of their players. Perron also won’t be traded if hiller ain’t. Same difference. Lol

  12. Wow, does Katie Strang also expect the sun to rise tomorrow and the sky to be blue?
    Seriously, thank you captain obvious… must’ve been an “NHL for dummies” show…

    Out of all the updates above, I have to say that the rumors about Ott are the most surprising.
    This guy is totally under-rated in my books. He throws massive hits, has some offense talent as well, and gets under the skin of some of the best players he’s faced. He’s that guy others hate to play against. Why would any team want to move him?

    • agreed on OTT.

      I’ll trade you Brad Richards for Ott. I’ll even throw in Asham.

    • Suspect that Buffalo realizes that he’ll be out of the picture by the time they are any good. He’s an asset that could get them some type of return for when they start to get better. It’s the same with Miller, great goalie, keeps them in a number of games they have no business being in but he’ll be long retired before they are competitive again.

  13. Pitched Setoguchi as a potential target for the Sens here yesterday. Today, his name is mentioned in a Don Brennan column, which is enough to make me think I must have been terribly misguided.

    • Even a blind man can find lost change once in awhile.
      Setoguchi is a good complimentary player who isn’t a fit with the Jets and would work well on a second or third line in Ottawa (assuming the Turris line is 1st). The Sens should be able to pick him up at a below value price and I agree with you, that would be something they should look at moving towards the trade deadline.

      • Mentioned him because I think he fits what Murray has said he’s looking for – a veteran forward with a physical element on an expiring contract. Murray also seems to subscribe to the philosophy that some players will benefit from a fresh start in a new system, and hasn’t shied away from reclaimation projects. He could be an upgrade on Spezza’s wing (positions currently occupied by the underperforming Colin Greening and Rookie Mark Stone) or he could be a fit with Mika Zibanejad (currently playing with streaky sophmore Cory Conacher and the mercurial Milan Michalek).

        The only pause I have with a guy like Setoguchi (and also Lee Stempniak) is that his career has been plagued with consistency issues – and the Sens have already struggled with maintaining consistency this season.

  14. Don Brennan – Still proving that people aren’t reading the Ottawa Sun for the sports section…..

  15. I don’t believe the Sabres are going to trade Ott unless they get an offer they can’t refuse. Ott and Nolan have a deep respect for each other and I think that relationship will influence Murray to the point that he’ll try and keep Ott. Ott has already said that he’d like to stay.

    Same with Moulson. He wants to stay in Buffalo too. (that happens a lot with players once they come here) But I do think Moulson will go – at a very good price (I hope).

    • Agreed. Ott has some trade value, but he’s got much more value within the organization.

      As for Moulson, it all depends on whether the Sabres are certain they can sign him. I think they’re going to have a difficult time moving Miller, so rather than lose both players they might have to cut their losses and get what they can for Moulson.

  16. Breaking: Dubnyk to Nashville for Hendricks

    • Which can only mean Rinne is out for the season…

      • Oilers 3rd to LA for Scrivans as well.

      • Both players are washed up so who really cares, right?

        • With Nashvilles defence Dubnyk will shine.

          • Will be better at anyrate “shine” might be a stretch, so it boils down to a third round pick and Duby for Hendricks and Scrivens, could work out to be an ok deal for the Oilers, but Im not sure why now. Scrivens is UFA at the end of the year if they wanted they could probably “lured” him back to play for Eakins pretty cheap. That being said I think he is an upgrade to Dubnyk and a center who is more suited to be a fourth line centre than Lander or who ever else they may have to play that role. Its a start, least they did something.

        • Im not so sure Scrivens is washed up.

          • Shticky, no, definitely not Scrivens. I was responding to the trade of Dubnyk for Hendricks. Dubnyk’s GAA is 3.36 and SVPCG is .894 and Hendricks has 2 G and 2 A in 44 games. KevJam said Dubs would shine with Nashvilles defense and we know the only thing that will shine with Dubs is the back of his head from a sunburn from the goal light going on all the time. Peace.

  17. Did someone say Briere to the Pens? Yikes! That’s the savvy kinda move the Pens make often, get a guy cheap (i.e. Jokinen) and watch him tear it up in the playoffs. And that is where Mr. Playoffs excels.

  18. Iceman…that made me laugh out loud. Funny stuff…. But I think Nashville’s defensive game is far far better than the Oilers ( cue more Capt. Obvious comments), so his numbers will probably improve.

    • Bnucks1, Nashvilles D is pretty good and yes, better than the Oilers for sure. What happened with their superstar D man Justin Schulz, he sort of dissapeared from radar shortly after the season started. The Oil need some ajusting, thats for sure. Peace.

  19. Yup. Poor Jason. I love him and can’t stand him at the same time. But, on the wrong side of 30 with a bad back I don’t know what the Sens will do. He’s gonna be a LeCavalier type player in a year or so.