NHL Morning Rumor Mill – June 15, 2013.

The latest on Kris Letang, Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Bernier and Bryan Bickell, plus updates on the Calgary Flames off-season plans.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Ryan Dadoun cites a report on the Penguins website where GM Ray Shero acknowledged his focus turns to re-signing defenseman Kris Letang, though until contract discussions begin, he doesn’t know what Letang’s expectations are. “Does he want to be here? Somewhere else? It’s hard for me to know what Kris’ intentions are until I get into some sort of discussions with his agent and Kris”, said Shero, who added he didn’t know if Letang would be dealt if there wasn’t an agreement in place by the draft. RDS’s Renaud Lavoive reports contract talks are expected to begin in the next ten days.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance considered the Penguins options with Letang, including trading him, citing a Western Conference executive who believes 29 other teams would be interested in the blueliner if he’s put on the trade block. Custance speculated at possible fits, including the Tampa Bay Lightning (who hold the third overall pick in this year’s draft), the Oilers (young forwards, seventh overall pick), Ducks (winger Bobby Ryan, goaltending depth), plus the Sharks and Rangers, though they lack the assets to acquire him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shero showed a willingness last year to move out a key player he was unable to get under contract when he dealt Jordan Staal to Carolina. The difference, however, was Staal was never going to get the opportunity to become a top center playing behind Crosby and Malkin in Pittsburgh, whereas Letang is the Penguins best defenseman. I think Shero tries to get Letang to follow the example of teammates Crosby and Malkin and leave money on the table to remain a Penguin, where he’ll have a chance every year to contend for the Stanley Cup, rather than pursue big bucks elsewhere on a team where he might not get that opportunity.

Canadiens could pursue Bryan Bickell.

Canadiens could pursue Bryan Bickell.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin could have serious interest in Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell if he tests this summer’s UFA market. Bergevin, who used to be part of the Blackhawks management, knows Bickell and was part of the staff which scouted and recruited the forward. LeBrun claims the Canadiens “covet” Bickell, but doubts they’ll overpay to sign him…LeBrun expects the Boston Bruins will re-sign center Patrice Bergeron this summer to an eight-year contract extension. Bergeron has one season remaining on his current contract…The LA Kings have spoken with ten teams regarding their backup goalie Jonathan Bernier. LeBrun anticipates Bernier could be dealt “before or at the draft”…Ignore the rumors of the Canadiens trading Carey Price. Not gonna happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron’s previous association with the Blackhawks and Bickell could give the Habs an edge if Bickell becomes a UFA, but a number of teams will be interested in him, and ultimately it could be the highest bidder who lands him. The Canadiens will free up cap space by buying out Tomas Kaberle, but they still have to keep an eye on the future, as PK Subban, Lars Eller and Alexei Emelin must be re-signed next summer…Bergeron is making $5 million per season on his current deal and could see a raise to $7 million per on the open market next summer. Should be interesting to see how much the Bruins are willing to pay…No surprise Bernier will be on the trade block this summer. The question now is where he could end up. He’s been linked to the Flyers, Flames, Maple Leafs, Penguins, Wild, Oilers, Coyotes and Avalanche…The Carey Price trade rumors seem more the result of wishful thinking by some of his critics than of any rumored effort on the Habs part to move him.

CALGARY HERALD/CALGARY SUN: Flames GM Jay Feaster finally admitted the obvious: his club is rebuilding, and there’s no quick fix for the Flames roster needs, which include depth at center, bolstering their physical play, and adding a scoring right winger. He also acknowledged a need for more size on defense and depth in goal. Feaster has nine picks in this year’s entry draft, including three in the first round. Unless he gets a solid offer, he intends to retain the sixth overall pick, though he has spoken with the team’s ahead of him in the draft order. Feaster will also keep an eye on possible compliance buyouts by other teams, and acknowledged centre Mikael Backlund and defencemen T.J. Brodie and Chris Butler will return next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rebuild is long overdue but is at least finally underway. Feaster should be able to land a very good prospect with that sixth overall pick, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to peddle the 22nd and/or 28th overall picks for a good NHL player who can address one of his team’s many needs. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the UFA market for compliance buyout players, as there could be one or two good players who could be had for affordable prices. The rebuild will take time, but it’s important that it be done right. No quick fixes.


  1. If NJ doesn’t make some moves this year to bring in some young talent they are going to be on a downward slide like the flames. They have gotten lucky over the past couple years with broduers play and health. They should be taking a hard look at Bernier or any of the other dozen top goalies that are available this year.

    • What has crossed my mind is why would the Devils maybe not think of letting Clarkson walk and replacing him with Bickell who for sure would be cheaper and using the saving for an upcoming Goalie like Bernier Kuhdobin ect They are not really a big spending team which is why I was thinking along these lines. Also it seems like they are a team with some assets or atleast enough of them to deal for the rights to some RFAS to possibly replace Guys like Marty Clarkson and Ellias with some talented younger guys while not messing to much with an already pretty good younger core. I don’t think New Jersey would be in the same position as the Flames if they made a few minor type deals.

      • What I could see happening is NJ trading away the rights for Clarkson for a 3rd or 5th round draft pick from Toronto. Also NJ needs to look towards their future with goaltending – that needs to be a priority – have Brodeur maybe work in tandem with someone like Bernier or Greiss – mentor a youngster.

        • Greiss why?????

          • Because he may be a backup goalie that has starter potential?

      • Exactly. Just like that is what calgary should have done 2 – 3 years ago. If nj waits it will be past the point of good young core and be just a few pieces with an old retiring goalie and nothing else

        • there are a lot of younger backups atound so was curious when you mentioned Griess who was considered hot 3 years ago but is now a lifetime backup]]
          In 4 years he hasnt played 60 nhl games lets in too many softies and at 27 I would not consider him a futyre 1

  2. Great update: My only concern is that Malkin left money on the table??? Really?? How much do you think he could have made elsewhere?
    He is now the second highest paid player, but only by a paltry $38K per year.

    • I don’t think he left a lot on the table but there is no question he left some. Let’s face it the Rangers, Philly or about four other teams would have gotten into a bidding war and paid him more if they got him for free as a UFA. He would have ended up the highest paid player in the NHL (not that he deserves to be).

    • Honestly I thought he’d sign for more after seeing the deals Getlaf and Perry got…I really thought closer to 10mill per year for the extension so yah I guess you could say he did. Cap hit is comparable to the others so (I cant believe I’m going to say this but…) I guess Shero got a pretty decent deal relatively speaking.

      What has the world come to when 90 million dollar hockey players don’t seem to far out of the question. Thanks for the lock out Garry glad we got this fixed…lol

      • And if for what ever reason he made it to UFA could you imagine the deal he would get playing for the KHL? Easily 100-120 million tax free dollars.

  3. I see the Leafs made a big signing yesterday inking Orr to another two years. Very surprized it didn’t make it in the headlines here. lol

    I don’t understand this signing when they still have to get McLaren under contract. Better fighter, more speed and overall toughness then Orr. I don’t remember McLaren chasing after guys taking any dumb penalties either.

    • With the contract Orr got you can dump him back to the Marlies with 0 cap hit plus at that price he wouldn’t likely clear waivers anyway…really its a pretty good “just in case” deal if they need the roster spot because they pick up a better option they can dump him for nothing.

      • I thought I read it was a one way deal somewhere. It so it would mean the cap hit stays at the NHL level. Hopefully I misread it because if it’s a two way deal that it’s good insurance.

    • I agree with you about Mclaren, but I think orr earned his contract extension. I mean seeing Komarov leave for khl , nonis probably did not want to see any more agitators leave, and at 900k hes a good signing. now if we can get clarkson under contract we will be tougher to compete against

      • 900,000 gets taken off the books if a player is sent to the minors, so Orr’s cap hit would be 95,000 if he was sent to the Marlies. Also, there’s nothing wrong with having two agitators if most teams are only carrying one. That way your first guy can fight the opposing teams tough guy and when they’re both in the box for five, you can send out your other agitator to rough up anyone he wants.

        • No the way the hit works is ….if he goes to the minors it is 0 against the cap his contract is under 950 k as I said probably wouldn’t matter someone would probably take him on waivers. The way it works is..

          Cap hit = 925 000 – (league minimum 550000 + 375000)

          Cap hit = 0.

  4. Tampa has a big decision to make with LeCavalier. He has $45M left of salary to be paid with a total cap hit of $54M. Tampa will have a hard time staying under the cap if they don’t use their compliance buyout this year or next. Worst part is he will be owed 2/3rds of his remaining $45M so they will have to pay him out $30M to go home. I’m not sure if Tampa can afford to throw this kind of money away but I know a team that just happens to be the wealthiest team in the league that could afford to buy him out.

    Toronto takes LeCavalier and pays him out $30M to relieve Tampa’s future cap issues
    Tampa give Toronto ?????? to do it.

    And before anyone says Toronto needs to use one of their compliance buyouts on Komi. I say no way he is only owed $3.6M for this year so why waste a huge compliance buyout provision on such a small buyout salary. I’m sure the buds could trade him somewhere and retain half his cap hit of $1.8M buy giving up a 3rd rounder with him or something. Toronto needs to utilize their deep pockets on this buyout provision.

    • Their pick nothing less unless they are willing to take one of our cheaper buyouts…lol 30 million is alot of money, not to the leafs but if Tampa (or any team for that matter) has the idea another team (Leafs or not) should fix their problems for them the price will be steep. Think about it Gretzky cost the Kings 100mill he was a proven player perhaps the best ever to play the game and maybe a bit past his prime but not much so if you want us to essentially buy a guy for 30 million you are going to give up a big piece.

      • What would be nice is to get in the position of maybe doing it twice for two teams pick up Vinny for Tampas pick then offer the Isles the same type deal for Ricky D and come out of it with 3 picks in the top 21 could possibly package a couple or the three of them to move into the top 2 before all start screaming about it I know it’s a pipe dream not going to happen but dosent mean they might not try or think along those lines.

        • ya u can tell your a homer. go leafs go right? lol

          • Yes and everyone pretty much knows it if it you’ve been following along much, but it dosent really matter in this instance, if it were any of the financially stable teams that make loads of money I would think they might look in to the idea of picking up one of the weaker teams buy outs and using their finances to pick up assets in the Leafs position with their ownership Bell and Rogers they would easily have the ability to maybe do it twice with out even feeling it really, and make a huge splash. I’ve said it before they will do something large this summer, too many new guys running the show. What ever it is I am not sure it will be for the better but I can’t see it being business as usual in Toronto. That’s not Lewickies style if you look how he has operated so far.

          • Actually being a homer does apply in this instance. A team isn’t going to give up a top 21 pick for someone to buyout a player. Ya Leafs will do somethin. I can gurantee you that you won’t see any of the top 10 picks traded to Toronto. I’d bet anything on that. Maybe an addition of a Clarkson or Weiss and maybe another mid level forward but thats about it.

            They finally just got back into the playoffs Nonis won’t do nothing to dramatic to change chemistry.

          • If they in effect want you to hand them 30 million dollars if not more, you think they are going to ask for someone playing in the AHL a 5 or 6 Dman perhaps? it’s 30 million dollars!…. They are not trading Vinny to play for the other team they want them to buy him so they can resign him. same as Depietro 10s of millions of dollars buys you something either 2 bad contracts go back or you are getting something of high value…very high value it has nothing to do with being a Leaf fan It has to do with millions of dollars in contracts they don’t want to pay because really they can’t afford it.Just because a team leafs or otherwise has lots of money it dosent make any of those dollars less valuable its still 30 million dollars. Jeesh Malkin makes 9 milliotn if you said we will trade you 3 malkins you don’t think that is worth the second pick? Are you simple?

          • And replacing 3 guys in the top 6 like you mentioned with Clarkson Weiss and a middle of the pack winger would probably be considered by most tl be a pretty big move, lol

    • Steve Yzerman should be fired by Jeff Vinik if Yzerman gave up Tampa Bays 3rd to Toronto just so that LeCavalier can be bought out that’s stupid and fool hardy I just dont see Yzerman being that desperate and foolish.

      • Like I said not sure anything like that would ever happen but teams like the leafs rangers flyers Canadians ect I’m sure would be very willing to clean up some of these huge contracts if it helped them get out of some of their shorter and smaller bad deals or to pick up some big assets.

        • To the Leafs: Vinny (to be bought out) Tampa’s first rounder

          To Tampa: Komi, Frattin and Toronto’s first rounder (Then Tampa resigns Vinny to a new deal at 1/3rd his current salary and cap hit (if they want him).

  5. Why would the Sabres not be interested in Bernier too? Enroth is not a proven commodity and having a tandem of the two would act as an insurance policy.

    • they got hackett a very good young goalie uncle jeffs nephew,,

  6. I don’t think Bickel leaves Chicago… That’s one player they will keep.

    29 other teams would be after him. Bergeron has ties to Chicago and knows Bickel well. He played his junior hockey in Ottawa and his wife is from here…

    If he wants to keep getting chances at a Cup run… he is better off to stay where he is…

    • If he wins the cup this year I could easily see him taking the money and running.

    • By the time it’s said and done he will get a 5 year deal around 20 mill (I don’t really think he is worth that much) after his playoff run someone will over pay and for him it will be a chance to play more in the top 6 he will move on

      • come on guys he is a flash

        look at his toi in the last 2 games

        he will have a hard time getting 1.5 unless calgary gets on it

  7. Leafs would be happy to have vinny for gtabo straight up

    • Yeah to bad that Vinny will never in a million years accept a trade to Toronto.

      • He may if he knew it was to be bought out…30 million bucks then sign for another 25? He just pretty much doubled his money… You think that might not persuade him? Lol

        • I’m not sure the dummy guy gets the concept of trade should have somewhat equal value to the teams making the deal not just swaping parts for the hell of it.

  8. NJ still has to give up one of there 1st round draft picks (this year or next) because of the Kovalchuk signing. Last year they 29th and took Stefan Matteau. Stupid move. Should have gave that pick up. Luo Lamoriello has lost his touch. Yes they had a great run in the 2012 playoffs but before that miracle run they have been a below average team and same with this year. Its time to really think about a change. Someone who can give the team some new life. He could have got a good pick for Praise’s negotiating rights (he had to know by then what he wanted). Same with Clarkson this year. They know if his demands are reasonable in the NHL or not. Sign him now or trade him for a pick.

  9. Bullshit did you watch Enroth play in the worlds and he was far better then millerlite all year

    • Agreed enroth was a monster at the worlds had a good year last year he might work out to be very good, another younger type goalie for him to battle might no be a bad thing either tho.

  10. Beer goggles

    to buy Komi out will only cost them cap hit of 800 grand a year…wake up buddy

    • That’s why I say just keep him buried if you can’t trade him, BG and I don’t usually agree but on this I think we do you use your buyouts to your advantage. There are worse contracts out there for a longer term that need to be sorted. If you can trade 1 of them Garbo or Lyles then ok buy out Komisarek but if you are stuck with 3 why buy out the guy who only has 1 year left? Lyles. And Garbo clears 8 mill plus if you look down the road if Komi is the buy out you are only up between 3-5 milli off the cap next year depending who you buy out.

      • No sense in explaining it to him he has no clue about simple math.

  11. I like the idea of vinny for grabo

    • I’m sure that Lightning GM Steve Yzerman does’nt Vinny with his lousy contract still has far more value then Grabovsky does.

  12. Rangers just got a lot better….goodby asshole tort

  13. Why does the article mention Letang for Ryan ?
    Won’t happen.
    1) Ducks not interested in a potential 7 million dollar a year player, they just signed
    two 8 million a year players, they need to Shed salary not add.
    2) Why would the pens want Ryan, they are loaded with EXPENSIVE guns up front,
    trading their best defenseman makes no sense.
    3) I don’t think Pitts will get as much for Letang as they think, the last two defenseman
    that they trade did not turn out so well for the teams receiving them, Ryan Whitney for
    Kuntz / Goligoski for Neal & Niskanen. I think GM’s will look at Letang and wonder if
    his stats will turn to dust once he is away from Pittsburgh.

    That’s not to say Bobby Ryan won’t be traded. While I’m not a big Bob Murray fan, he’s no
    fool. He knows that he will have a hard time re-signing Ryan in two years for money reasons
    and the fact he does not appear to be the happiest of campers. Also he will never get more
    for Ryan than right now. Anyone who trades for him knows they have him for two years
    at about $ 5million a year, that gives them two years to sign him long term, Third point Ducks
    need a little salary cap relief to fix other problems. Fourth point Ducks are loaded with young
    forwards and Pallmieri or Etem look ready to take Ryan’s spot. Point #5, the biggest need
    the Ducks have is a young defenseman. Since St Louis has to resign Pietrangelo and
    Shattenkirk and Blues have said that they want to add scoring winger up front, I can see
    these two talking deal. Lastly Bob Murray recently said that he has had some tempting
    offers recently for Ryan. You can’t tempt someone if he doesn’t want to do it in the first place.
    You can only tempt someone if they want to do it but just waiting for the right offer.

  14. Bull they got another good young goalie in the minny dea;

  15. agree they dont need 5 mill forwards
    they need a Bernier etc plus a Begosian type
    could move Neal to get Begosian
    Kunitz and a 2nd for bernier

    • Kunitz and a second for a backup man half your name is right….

      • Bernier is a good gamble and a good fit with fleury
        Kunitz is replaceable with a ufa vet like Elias

    • Back to BS rumors out of canada. Penguins arn’t trading Neal at all. Kunitz maybe if there is a trade that makes sense. These trades are the dream of a idiot.

      • I’m not sure thatvguy is from this planet let alone Canada….lol

  16. I am thinking Kessel to Minny for Coyle and Setoughci
    No way he wants to resign with leafs next year even at 7
    wants to go home with the rest of the minny boys

    • Keep going Coyle is a good start Settoguchi is not even close

  17. I got Ryan Kessler and a top 3 D
    to Florida
    Gudbranson and 2nd pick

    • Give your head a shake Gundbranson is top 3d in Van and Kessler isn’t getting you the second pick…lol

  18. Minimum Penguins will have to give to retain Letang will be 3 years $24 million or 4 years at $28M. They can’t afford it and keep Martin and Orpik. Shero will be dealing this summer, the only question is who?