NHL Morning Rumor Mill – January 4, 2014

The latest on Daniel Briere, Michael Del Zotto, P.K. Subban, Jaromir Jagr and Michal Neuvirth.

Could Daniel Briere be shipped to the Sabres?

Could Daniel Briere be shipped to the Sabres?

985SPORTS.CA: recently reported of rumors linking Montreal Canadiens forward Daniel Briere to the Buffalo Sabres. Reports from Toronto claim Steve Ott would be headed to Montreal in the deal.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported the following via Twitter: “Daniel Briere is a proud guy and obviously isn’t happy with his situation. How long before both the player and team look for a better fit?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Sabres president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine agrees to swap Ott for Briere he should resign at once. Briere is clearly past his prime now and overpaid at $4 million per season until the end of 2014-15.  Ott is a gritty two-way forward who would be a good addition to the Canadiens’ checking lines even as only a rental player this season. Briere may be a proud guy but he’s no longer the star he once was during his glory days with the Sabres. Unless the Sabres get a good young player included in the return from the Habs, acquiring Brierewould be a big mistake. I also believe the Habs will have to eat part of Briere’s salary to make a trade happen.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the representatives for NY Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto hope to meet with Rangers GM Glen Sather today to accelerate his efforts to trade the 23-year-old blueliner. Brooks cites league sources claiming the Rangers haven’t been aggressive in their effort to move Del Zotto.

DENVER POST’s Adrian Dater reports the following via Twitter: “Hearing Rangers have asked about Barrie”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s really quite simple: Sather must lower his rumored asking price of a top-four defenseman.  There’s interest in Del Zotto but nobody wants to pay that price to get him. As for the Rangers interest in Tyson Barrie, if that’s who they’re seeking from the Avs in exchange for Del Zotto, I believe the Avs hang up the phone.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance doubts Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban receives an offer sheet from a rival club if still unsigned this summer. He believes the Habs, with their deep pockets and cap space, would match any offer for Subban. He also doubts the New Jersey Devils shop Jaromir Jagr at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Canadiens should re-sign Subban before July to avoid another club forcing the Habs to match an offer sheet worth far more than what they’d prefer to pay. I have no doubt, however, they’ll match any offer for Subban.

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley reports Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov wants to remain with the Capitals.  With Brooks Laich soon to return, Gormley believes Martin Erat’s ice time will diminish, which could push his agent to once again ask management for a trade. The longer Philipp Grubauer remains with the club the more likely Michal Neuvirth will be traded. He speculates the Islanders and Flames could be possible destinations for Neuvirth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Orlov merely wanted the chance to play. Now that he’s getting it, he’s a happy camper. I doubt the Caps will find any takers for Erat, meaning they’ll have to buy him out this summer. They should have better luck moving Neuvirth, who’s under contract for $2.5 million per season through 2014-15, but shouldn’t expect to get much back in return.


  1. Thought the Leafs were the only team with bad contracts?
    Briere should retire after this season. I hear Sportsnet may need an analyst.

  2. Briere is not being used in the correct way and due to the Habs being a much smaller team all around upfront there is less chance that power forwards can get him the puck where he is best ….in the slot ….hes not 24 years old and isnt going to fighting in the corners for pucks …hes a play maker and goal scorer and should be on a top line to get production out of him …he has one great skill that has not left him and thats his skating …….get him on a skating line with an aggressive big winger to cough up loose pucks into the middle and you might see a bigger difference of productivity, hes also been hurt with concussion issues so he has not found a rhythm yet that may come in the second half of the season …hes a HUGE Habs fan and is totally committed to the club …its the club that has not been committed to him …they need to give this a better chance ….

    If I were the Leafs I would offer sheet Subban if he has not signed !
    They should have done that with Stamkos when they had the chance too!

    as a side note the Sabres would be making a mistake to move OTT for Briere….I think the Sabres can get a better impact player for the future instead.

    • As a side note :
      Briere might be better served taking up Giontas position as he has only 5 goals this season as the captain

      • Back checking at his best

      • the habs will either trade gionta at the deadline …or they will let him go to unrestricted fre-angency that money saved will be used to add to the team

    • What would be the point in the Leafs giving an offer sheet to Subban besides looking like an ass? The Habs have more cap room than the Leafs do you think they are going to let a norris wining Subban walk to their biggest rival in their own division for a couple draft picks? You dont think they would match? Plus I thought you were all about not tarnishing the heritage of the Leafs…Looking like fools doesn’t apply to that philosophy?

      • And finnaly Prust Moen Pacioretty Bourque Parros…the Habs dont seem to small to me and Danny was playing with Borque (not exactly small ). Briere is not a top line center and if he is your top line center you have bigger issues than not having a “big aggressive winger”.

        • OK Shticky….whatever you say master

          • Its a question for an out of the box thinker who doesn’t see things in technacolor such as yourself…dont you think the Habs would match? Why wouldn’t they? Norris winning D men under 25 come along all the time don’t they? Same as guys like Stamkos I’m sure Tampa Bay wouldn’t have matched an offer to have possibly 1 of the top 5-10 guys on the planet playing for them.

      • If you want to play dirty then have Nonis offer sheet Subban since it can only help the Leafs. Make it something huge and let the Habs match. Anytime you can make a rival club over pay for a player in this cap world it can only be a benefit. Problem is if they don’t match your team is now saddled with the massive bad contract. It’s risky and not worth the dirty play since there are only 30 GM’s you can deal with.

        • then the habs wait until kessel or rielly are in that position and offer sheet them

          • Be waiting a while to offer sheet a guy who isnt an rfa and just signed a big extension…but yes I understand what you are saying.

    • I don’t have a problem with the Sabres picking up Briere – just depends on the price. I think if the trade involves someone like Leino or Stafford – why not. Right now what the Sabres need is a mentor for their youth – Briere has leadership qualities, can teach them how to pass (which is non-existent), play in front of the net and in the slot. Ideally – Montreal should put him on waivers – I’m sure the Sabres would pick him up. As I said, it depends on what Montreal is asking for him.

      • Leafs24/7 hit the nail on the head. Offer Subban $10/per year 7 year via offer sheet and watch them scoop it up. What is the worst that happens? 1 that Habs match it and they are now paying Subban 10/year and you’ve lowered their cap space, or 2 you sign him?

        Okay, so now you are stuck with the big cap hit … Leafs can let Kulemin, Ranger, Fraser walk, the buy out hits of Armstrong & Tucker disappear and bam $7/million freed up, rising salary cap, and enough farm depth to replace. Heck at that point they can trade Gunnerson for another $3 million in space.

        So end of the day Leafs could either force the Habs into a big contract or take a contract they can absorb and end up with Subban, Phaneuf, Gleason, Franson, Rielly, Gardiner, MacWilliam, Percy, Finn, and Granberg for defense/defensive future.

        Not a Leafs fan, but for them it makes a lot of sense and would give them IMO one of the best D cores in he league.

        • the habs have gionta’s 5 million off the books,markov’s 5.75 million off the books,murray’s 1.5 milion off the books money that’s easily there to match any offer and still be able to add to the team

      • the rumored trade would be steve ott coming to the habs …this will be a fleecing for marc bergevin if he pulls this off…i’ve also heard moulson ‘s name mentioned not saying it briere but the habs are looking at moulson on the sabres

    • 1. Leafs don’t have $10 million in cap space to offer sheet subban.

      2. The habs would get 4 leafs first rounders.

      • Edit: they do have the cap space per say, but it’d leave them with $11 million to fill 9 roster spots.

        • Exactly

  3. Caveat: I figure the Habs sign Subban before he receives an offer sheet.

    But an interesting question: Star players probably want an 8-year contract from their current club. However, other teams can only give them 7 years. I wonder if there will be a time when the club intentionally wants to match an offer sheet, because they’d rather sign the player for only 7 years? (I can see a situation where a player won’t sign with his current club for “only” 7 years out of principle, but would sign with someone else)

    If that made sense at all… lol

    • I think I see what youre saying…but an 8 year term for a few dollars less (not much) over the term can really be a difference for both parties adding security plus a few bucks to a players deal and by reducing the over all cap hit to a team which in the case of a team like the Habs is way more important than actual dollars I would think. Now for some other teams that have tighter budgets that could be the plan of attack.

      • Good call. I’d agree with that. I’m curious if there’s ever a situation where that came into play, but probably not.

        • Im sure lots of situations where ufas are concerned…as far as rfa the player has no choice if a 7 year offer sheet was matched.

  4. If pk isnt signed look at philly to maybe go after him if any team would love to add a dman of that caliber it would be them

    • Again the Habs have tones of cap room…if they were really not interested in tying it up for Subban than they would trade him for a better package than a couple of picks. There is absolutely no way an offer sheet would work.

    • and the habs would return the favor by offer sheeting giroux and forcing philly to match ,which they’d have a difficult time doing so for arguement sake; say the habs would then have giroux,galchenyuk,gallagher,eller,pacioretty plekanec as their top 6 forwards

      • except for the fact that Giroux signed an 8 year 8.25M a year extension in summer 2013

  5. How about Ott for Kulemin? Cap numbers work and both are UFA’s

    • If they are going to resign Bolland no need for Ott.. Imo and I think the Sabres get a way better deal than that for Ott at the deadline if they go that way, good young player reasonable contract and a pick. Is what I see him being worth as a rental. Say someting like Kuli Levio and a pick atleast, I think is what would be more in the ball park but I dont think its something the Leafs need or would do.

      • Ya, I figured it would be slightly more then just Kuli, say plus a pick but Bolland may take months to regain his skating and timing (according to Karlsson) so Ott might be what the doctor ordered. The Leafs could definitely use him.

        • It isn’t a bad idea. Kulemin (who even as an Ottawa fan I love) needs a fresh start and Ott would be a good fit for the Leafs. A package of Kulemin + a prospect or pick could be good. If the Leafs could then resign Bolland and Ott then that is great. However something on Leafs centre has to give next year as Bozak, Kadri, Bolland, Holland, McClement can’t all be retained and since four of them are all 2nd/3rd line centres?

          I could see the Leafs trading for Ott, retaining him and Bolland then allowing Bolland to play 2nd line next year, Holland to play 3rd with Ott and flipping Kadri.

          • Thats what I mean by Ott not really much of a fit. Toronto has enough 2nd 3rd line centers. Ott would make 5 or 6. of them all slightly different in what they bring but none clearly better than the rest.

    • Ya just because there both UFA’s doesn’t mean it’ll work. That trade doesn’t work at all for the Sabres. We are looking for young established players and NHL ready prospects with high potential, Not players ready to become UFA’s.

  6. Ott for Kule…wouldn’t that be sweet if you’re a Leaf fan.

    • Both are second third line type guys… I dont think its as sweet a deal as you may think.

      A little one sided perhaps but, Kuli is big physical and plays a very good 200 ft game something not many Leaf players can say, and is starting to chip in some goals again finally.

      I just think the Sabres will continue to get younger and Ott is not really a fit in Toronto.

    • Yeah, I’d say the Leafs get the better of that deal, though not by a tonne. The bigger problem with it is that the Sabres have no need for a UFA forward. It doesn’t help them long-term and is no use to them short-term, with a team that’s been out of the playoffs since October.

    • Leafs have enough bottom 6 forwards

  7. Why no matter the subject matter, do leafs fans talk about nothing but Leaf trades, offer sheets etc? Did I miss something here? Not once in this rumor thread are the Leafs even mentioned, other than the 60 comment threads of trades that are never going to happen.

    • No, but PLAYERS are mentioned to be on the move. I am one of the first to call Leafs fans out, but they saw discussion of a moveable player and posted that they would like him and what they would offer for him. They also poised something for Subban which you can exert Toronto and add any other team in the league and the same logic applies.

      You are more than free as a NYR fan to discuss a deal for Ott, offer sheeting Subban, telling us maybe what you would like to see for Del Zotto. Instead of complaining about the other fans, make a proposal or open a conversation for people to talk about.

      • LOL, I don’t have a right to complain? Although it really wasn’t a complaint….read on my friend, it is on every thread on this site. I am well aware I could jump in with NYR possible transactions, however I like to live in this place I call reality. In the last week I have seen Tavares, Girardi, Callahan, Subban, Stastny ,Cammalleri, etc etc etc. I think I seen about 4-5 at the same time inserted into Toronto’s lineup. It would be one thing if some of these “pipe dream” transactions weren’t so one way. Like I said, not really a complaint ……More of a reality check.

        • P.s. Thats not to say some Ranger fans don’t have a lot of one sided pipe dream trades, but it doesn’t seem to be overdone on this particular site.

  8. So I want to make my position clear again that even if the Rangers lower their price I am not sure I want Del Zotto in Ottawa. Its not that he isn’t a good player it is just that I don’t think we should be giving up assets for a player type that we don’t need. We need another Methot like player, a shutdown guy but just one to play the 3rd line.

    I would love to see Ottawa however get in on the Ott talk. We need more leadership and size on the team and I would love to see Ott come in and bring that to the team. We could perhaps do:

    Erik Condra, Shane Prince, 2nd Round for Steve Ott

    Would only make the Senators take on around $1 in cap, provide a decent pick and prospect for the Sabres.

    • 1st rounder is what we are looking for in return for Ott, Moulson and Miller. We are already loaded on defense so no need for Condra at all. Prince is ok but I’d rather go after one of the better more established youngsters on the Sens then Prince.

      • Condra is a forward and there as a lateral salary move and I have my doubts that Ottawa would move Conacher, Zibenajad, Lazar, Puempel, Ceci, or Stone.

        If Sens move youngsters they will start with Prince, Da Costa, Pageau, Borowieki. Unless the deal is for a more established top 6 scoring forward.

    • I don’t understand all the excitement over Steve Ott. I understand teams like to have an aggitator or two. But from what I have seen he’s a more of a liability to his team than an asset. He has 11 points in 42 games (4 in his last 24) and is -18 and he take a lot of penalties. I’m hoping the Habs or Sens can swing a deal for him and I hope they pay generously.

  9. As a Habs fan, I’d be elated if Bergevin could swap Briere for Ott. But I can’t see that happening.Brieres not worth his contract. I’d be happy if they could rid themselves of briere for anything, or even nothing.

  10. Briere being swapped for Ott is laughable at best. Unless a 1st round pick and a prospect is coming back with Briere that’s an absolute joke at best. Briere isn’t even half the player he was. No need for another overpaid player in Buffalo.

    • I agree the swap is a bit of a joke. But adding a 1st round pick & a prospect for Ott is also a joke. Steve Ott is a career minus player, with a career best 46 points, one season of more than 20 goals and he plays bigger than what he is. He is a great player, has started to play more responsible … but he isn’t the next coming of anything special either. He is also on the wrong side of 30 and hasn’t shown any type of clinch playoff performance.

      He is a role player, that will fetch a decent pick (late 1st from a desperate GM) and a mid level prospect likely with a servicable contracted player in return.

  11. I think the Sabres most valuable trade assets are: Moulson, Ott, Erhoff, Meyers, Stafford and Ennis. I’m not so sure about Miller because there are a number of young goalies who have stepped up and done a good job for their teams (LA, Wash, Chicago). I think the only team that really needs a goalie right now is Nashville and I don’t see Miller leaving right now. If anything, I’m not even sure if Enroth is the replacement for him – perhaps the Sabres might be wiser to keep Miller and put Enroth on the trading block and use Hackett as the backup.

    As for the other tradeable assets – Buffalo is going to have to get some value for them, not just a salary or personnel dump. Right now Buffalo has a hard time attracting UFAs, so perhaps trading a couple of those assets for players that have a few years left on their contract might make more sense. Maybe like trading Ennis, Adam and McNabb or a draft pick for Evander Kane, or Ott/Sulzer for Chris Stewart.

  12. ERAT
    He will only make $2.25 Mil in actual money next season. I can see that as being appealing to some teams. Is McPhee willing to spend $750,000/ for each of the next 2 seasons to get rid of that cap hit or would he rather retain a % of the remaining contract which would only result in a cap hit for the rest of this season and next? At 20% the Caps would have to pay the 20% for the rest of the season (prorated) and only $450,000 for next season. The cap hit for next season would be $900,000 and Erat’s actual salary would be $1.8 mil. I can not only see that as enticing to a team asking about Erat, but to acquire an asset for just a $900,000 cap hit seems to be more prudent in asset management for the Caps.

  13. Ott is coveted by 29 teams and would improve any team. Ott is also a great leader and spark plug I wish the Leafs had a guy like that instead we are stuck with Clarkson who is failing in that role.

    Briere was already past his prime and pretty useless when the Habs signed him. I’m not a Habs fan but I think most people thought it was bad to sign him in the summer.

    • I think you are making Ott out to be a little more than he actually is…on a contending team as a rental he is a third line role type checking center. Briere is overpaid but Ott’s best days are behind him as well I’m not sure he is a guy “coveted by 29 teams”.

      • Aim in Shticky. Great role player, solid 3rd line guy but he is no second coming and has never shown any clutch playoff performance that often makes these character players coveted.

        • Great win by those Sens tonight JJB.