NHL Morning Rumor Mill – June 8, 2013.

The latest on the Penguins, Sharks, Blue Jackets, Stars, Capitals and Wild.

Could the Penguins trade Evgeni Malkin?

Could the Penguins trade Evgeni Malkin this summer?

TRIBLIVE.COM: In the wake of the Pittsburgh Penguins humiliating sweep out of the Eastern Conference Final by the Boston Bruins, Rob Rossi believes Penguins GM Ray Shero has little choice “but to take on tough decisions with his roster”. He reports they current have “contracts committed to 18 players at a combined salary-cap hit of about $61 million for next season. The cap is set at $64.3 million.” Rossi noted Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke and Craig Adams, along with Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray, are UFAs this summer, while Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik and Chris Kunitz will be eligible next summer. He believes a new era is coming for the Penguins, which “will be led by Crosby and Malkin, the tandem ownership has instructed Shero to keep together at any cost.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on what moves I expect from the Penguins this summer in my Soapbox, but I wanted to highlight that last sentence by Rossi. It’s been suggested the Penguins might consider moving Malkin, but judging by Rossi’s report, that’s not the case. One good reason to retain Malkin is Crosby’s injury history. If Sid gets sidelined again for a lengthy period, they’ll need Malkin to fill the void as he’s done in the past.

CSNBAYAREA.COM: Kevin Kurz suggests San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson should test the market value of Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle. Of the two, Kurz believes Boyle would be the easiest to move, as he has a limited NTC, while Thornton has a full “no-movement” clause. Kurz also noted both will be eligible for UFA status next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A sensible suggestion from Kurz, though it remains to be seen if Wilson shares that opinion. The Sharks fans I’ve corresponded with on this issue believe Thornton will be re-signed, while Boyle probably won’t be dealt if there’s no one of comparable skill available to replace him. I would go a step further and also investigate Patrick Marleau’s trade value.

This isn’t about “assessing blame” for the Sharks inability to contend for the Stanley Cup with Thornton, Marleau and Boyle in the lineup. The Sharks won and lost as a team. It’s about common sense. The trio are in the mid-thirties, their best seasons are behind them, and it’s time for Wilson to think ahead. I’m not saying they should be dealt simply for the sake of doing so, but if there’s a good return to be had for any of those three, Wilson should pursue it.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Jason Brough cited an interview given by Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to Russia’s Sport-Express confirming he’s in contract talks with both the Blue Jackets and KHL team SKA St. Petersburg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE; St. Petersburg can offer up more money over a shorter term, but the Blue Jackets can offer long-term financial security and the opportunity to play in the best pro league in the world. Bobrovsky and his agent appear to be using the KHL as leverage to squeeze the Blue Jackets for a better deal. If “Bob” should win the Vezina Trophy, that value goes even higher.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: cited a report by TSN’s Darren Dreger claiming Sergei Gonchar, whose rights were recently dealt by the Ottawa Senators to the Dallas Stars, could agree to a two-year contract with his new NHL club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Gonchar signs with the Stars it’ll be interesting to see how much he gets. The KHL is reportedly offering between $6-$7 million for next season, and Gonchar earned $5.5 million this season with the Senators. 

**UPDATE** TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Gonchar has agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal with the Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: $5 million per season on a 39-year-old blueliner whose best years are behind him? Holy overpayment, Batman!

WASHINGTON POST: Katie Carrera reports Matt Hendricks agent said there’s been “no progress at all” in contract talks with the Washington Capitals. Carrera noted the contracts signed by comparable players like Montreal’s Brandon Prust (four years, $10 million) and Tampa Bay’s Nate Thompson (four years, $6.4 million) over the past year, suggesting Hendricks could fall in the range between those two deals. Carrera also recently reported the Capitals won’t be re-signing UFA forward Joey Crabb.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hendricks stands to at least double his salary ($825K cap hit), either with the Capitals or another club via free agency.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance reports goaltending will be the priority for Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher this summer, needing to either re-sign or replace veteran Niklas Backstrom, who is eligible for UFA status this summer.


  1. I think for the Penguins:

    1. Bylsma might be fired, this one was a tough pill to swallow.
    2. Paul Martin’s last year might be bought out to open cap space and roster space.
    3. Iginla, Morrow, Dupuis are all likely walking via UFA.
    4. Marc-Andre Fleury could be traded.

    This could be a good summer for the Penguins, more so if they can move Martin & Fleury’s cap hit to free up $10,000,000. The Pens have some good defensive prospects coming through the system in Pouliot, Maatta, Dumoulin, and Harrington and at least one of them should be read to play this year. They will also retain a sold top 6 core with Crosby, Malkin, Neal, and Kunitz. However the Pens need to add some more grit and real hardworking character to the team. The thing that killed them was they had too many people who wanted to do it themselves and not enough people who shared the character game. A couple solid affordable targets for the Pens via free agency would be: Boyd Gordan, Marty Reasoner, David Steckel, Maxim Lapierre, Matt Hendricks, Peter Regin, Bryan Bickell, Clarke MacArthur, and maybe Chad LaRose.

    • I don’t think they need to buy out Martin. He played pretty well this year, so there’s definitely some trade value. Tampa and Philly need to re-vamp their defense, and the leafs need someone to play alongside Phaneuf. Deals could be had. Maybe even Nashville would consider putting him alongside Weber. Carolina are in need of a top 4 d-man too. Then there’s Colorado and Minnesota who could also stand to add a decent defense man.

      • Yes sure those teams need someone, but not at a $5 million/season cap hit. Paul Martin is not worth that kind of $$. He did have an outstanding year this year, but it was outlandish and at 32 isn’t likely to become his new norm, but instead a one off year. However, if they can trade him that would of course always be the better option. I would say that Nashville and Colorado are the only ones who could do it and absorb that cap hit.

        • There is always one or two teams looking to make the cap floor. Martin is a 1 year investment that you could probably get for next to nothing. He might be a little over valued but a solid nhl de man is 4 – 4.5 so its not like his contract is that crazy.

      • No one is trading for Paul martins 5.5 mill cap hit unless the Pens hold salary or take some back…lol he played not bad this year granted but at5.5 it should be he played great…. Since he signed in Pits he has been inconsistent worth no where near 5.5…

        • That’s true about his play, and I just noticed he has 2 years left. He will be bought out. If pit buys out martin and Fluery (I don’t think he will be) they would only have Crosby, Neal, Bennett under contract for the 14-15 season.

  2. Gonchar was a 50 point player this season on an Ottawa team that did not have a lot of fire power, on the surface it seems like a lot of money, however he is going to put up points and make your power play dangerous

    • Should def work out for Dallas if they get him signed. I think for Ottawa they looked at Weircoch and said he was read and realized they wanted to spend the money towards getting a scoring forward. They will likely either try and make a trade to land Thomas Vanek or Bobby Ryan, or they could be looking at possible free agents like Bryan Bickell, David Clarkson, Pascal Dupuis, or Nathan Horton.

  3. I can see Miller traded to Minny. I remember Regier saying something to the likes of that they were talking about another player to Minny about but ended up trading Pominville instead. Could’ve been Miller?

    • If so, I’d like the Sabres to get Ganlund in return.

      • Miller for granlund will not happen. Granlund has top line potential and Miller is on the decline. I’m not saying Miller is horrible but he’s near the top of the league anymore.

        • sorry… he’s not near the top anymore

        • Jessh all these sabers fans need to take a look at all the Goalies that are available around the league and the numbers they put up compare them to Miller then look at the contracts! Miller is not getting a huge return, its a what have you done lately scenario… Emery Backstrome Fluery Khabi, Nabi, Smith, Theodore, Bernier these are just a few that are available that will all come with less baggage then Miller, stop with the “he used to be….” and move on…

          • LOL SHTICKY YOUR A RIOT!!!!!!

            Let’s get one thing out of the way first I personally hate Miller and have wanted him off the team for a very long time now.

            All those goalies that you have compared Miller to are nobodies. Emery along with Fleury play on pretty stacked teams. Yet they haven’t amounted to much, both currently in backup duties for there clubs. Smith had one lucky year. Plays on a pretty defensive system team thus his sparkling numbers, Khabi, umm are serious guys not even starter material no more at least Miller’s still in his prime. Theodore? Lol, man you gotta do your homework on your NHL goalies…. Only one that has any upside on your little list that CAN some day be better than Miller is Bernier. Nabokov is good but not better than Miller.

            Miller did pretty good for a goalie playing for a team who has absollutely no defense. Let’s not forget Sabres allowed the most shots on goal in the league. Sabres have been in disarray for these past two seasons. Miller is still in his prime. The only goalie I’d take over Miller right now is Bernier. Honorable mention goes to Luongo. But his contract just makes me wanna puke. If he gets bought out then you can add Luongo as the #2 goalie I’d go after.

  4. Does anyone think Danny Heatley could be bought out this summer. One year left on his deal. Salary is 5.0 m but cap hit is 7.5 m. Or could he be traded to a bottom feeder trying to make the cap floor. Does anyone know what the cap floor is next season.

    • he can’t be bought out right now because he is injured but if he was healthy enough to be bought out he’d be a great candidate. Heatley is past his prime and seems to wear out his welcome wherever he plays.

  5. Bylsma will most likely be let go. He failed to adjust, or even prepare for, what Boston was doing. He’s a good coach, a players coach, but that’s not what this team needs. A team like this needs a coach that will hold players accountable. A lot of what the Pens do this offseason will be dictated by what direction they go in.

    Letang will be traded. There’s depth in their prospect pool of puck moving d-men. Fleury will bounce back and get to his game, just not in Pittsburgh. I can these two being packaged together. Five of their top six positions are already filled with Kunitz being reunited w/ Neal and Malkin. Bennet will most likely play w/ Sid. The bottom two lines will be much of the focus. Sutter will center the third and Vitale most likely the fourth, filling out the bottom six will be critical.

    Goal will be a position of weakness in an 82 game season. Vokoun could most likely be their starter w/ Zackhoff being the backup.

  6. Gonchar had a good year in Ottawa.. especially with the long-term injuries to Karlsson & Cowen. He also helped those young D. He is well-liked on the team… and is a classy guy.

    I wish him nothing but the best in Dallas.

    He said his priority was staying in Ottawa and that salary never really mattered. Well I guess after that 7M offer from the KHL… salary did matter. He wanted to keep near 5M which Ottawa was not prepared to pay.

    That’s too much for him at this stage in his career…

    Now if Boyle is available… I would like him to come to Ottawa. I still think they need veteran D to help the young defense.. But 6.6M is too much for the Sens to pay right now..

    I think Dany Heatley will be bought out.. That will be a big hit to his ego… Question is, where will he go?

  7. I can’t see the Pens trading Letang.. He is the best they got..

    I think they need to upgrade their goaltending..

    Not sure what they do with their coaching. Bylsma is a good coach. You can be a players coach but still demand a lot of your players and come down hard on them…

  8. Unfortunately, Blysma will be fired. I still think signing Murry, Jokenin, Morrow and Iginla was a risk – IMO I think it broke up the continuity of the lines and chemistry of the team. Malkin isn’t going anywhere, but I do think it is important that the Pens also resign Dupuis, reason being he has chemistry with the team and found his “niche” in Pitts. I think if he leaves for greener pastures – whoever signs him will be disappointed. Pittsburgh also needs to improve their D – Murray was not the answer and in the Bruins series Martin was -3. While Martin was up and down – I thought some of his mistakes were game changers. At $5M a year, I think I would try to trade him to another team and save some $. Since there is going to be a “flood” of goalies after the season – I think Fleury will have some value and after this season, since Pitt has only 2 draft picks (#77 and 194) they might be willing to let him go for a couple of picks or maybe a youngster and a pick (thinking someonething like Bflo’s 52nd and Sekera). Reason being is I’m not quite sure about Enroth taking over the goalie position full time.

    I always thought of MN as a good place for Vanek, but trading Miller for Mikael Granlund and MN’s 46, 70 and/or 81 would be worthwhile. Granlund would be a player to complement Armia which is what I understand Darcy is looking for. Again we could also sweeten the pie with one of our youngsters or draft picks.

    • Miller isn’t getting Granlund and a pick…. And Minnys cap says they don’t get Miller at all unless salary goes the other way and a fair chunk of change at that….

      • 8 mill in room plus millers 6+ mill they do have buy outs but still I can’t see them giving up that much to be that tight to the cap…

        • Why if Goaltending is a Priority in Minny would they trade for Miller at 6.25 mill while he has been in decline when they could sign Smith trade for the rights to Kuhdobin who looked very strong in Boston and looks like is ready for a starter role Bernier the same thing….all these guys won’t have a contract like Miller’s will be able to be signed for longer better more cap friendly deals, have better numbers and won’t cost a prospect and a pick! Miller is not getting a whole lot in return…

          • your an idiot

            bernier would easily cost you a prospect and a pick maybe even a roster player. you gotta do your homework guy. he could be a future star goalie.

            Look what Staal cost last years draft def not worth all that. Especially with an important position like goaltending and the numbers Miller’s put up in the playoffs he’ll get a guranteed prospect and a pick. Something like a 1st rounder and a mid level prospect or a 2nd rounder and a top end prospect. Miller def won’t get the best of both. He won’t get a first rounder plus a top flight propect.

      • Shticky – Perhaps I’m wrong, but maybe MN buys out Heatly which frees up $7M + $2M from Granlund would give MN cap space of over $17M – enough to spend on Miller. Either way, Miller needs to go and there are enough goalies available for Bflo to get – Ray Emery would be a good signing to work with Enroth (shared duties).

        • Jeesh Luongo has a smaller hit granted the term is horrible but still…Miller is netting a good roster player that’s it nothing more 1 for 1 trade Maybe a late first round pick again 1 for 1, the market for goalies is flooded there are too many options that won’t cost 6.25 mill and that have simmilar if not better numbers then Miller….

          • Schtick – I still think there is a sense out there by many (GM’s) that believe Miller is an elite goalie who has just been stuck on a lousy team. I can see a team seeing that “potential” and believing that a new environment will invigorate Miller. Miller has one year at $6.25M, but I can see him signing a new contract for less if he goes to a contender. I’m not saying Fletcher will do that, but hockey is a funny business and we have seen some interesting deals go down. Darcy does know how to get the most value for his players – so we’ll see what happens.

        • Yes Miller needs to go. Yes there are lots of goalies available for buf to have an okay tandem in net. But Miller for Granlund will not happen. Minn needs Granlund more than Miller. Try trading Miller to stl for Perron, Halak and prospect or picks.

          • GH, St. Lou already has a pair of goalies that are pretty darn good and I don’t see them doing a deal for Miller. Miller will go to a Western Team – we can pretty much rule out most teams except Phoenix, MN, Edmonton, or Calgary. You may be able to throw Dallas or Anaheim into the mix. Out of those 6 – which team needs a “top echelon” goalie?

            Now, while Miller’s numbers may not be the best, the thinking is that he plays on a crummy team – one that doesn’t block shots. Over the past few years Miller has seen a very high percentage of SOG. So, a change of environment to a team that is more defensive minded would/could bring him to the elite “level” that most analysts believe he should be at.

            Personally, I don’t see Miller going to an Eastern Team, I think he would rather stay where he is and play a final year in Buffalo if a suitable trade isn’t arranged – one that gets him to a contender and closer to the wife.

        • Look I’m not saying he can’t or won’t be traded I’m just saying the packages that involve a top prospect and a draft pick are not going to be the return unless some salary comes back aswell. His save% under. 920 (and going down since 08) gaa above 2.5 since 2009 (not exactly elite numbers) and 6.25 mill cap hit is not netting a high end prospect and a pick…. A prospect perhaps, a draft pick perhaps a late first, or a roster player and possibly a decent one if the salary equals out but all 1 for 1 deals no packages involving top prospect and picks ect….

          • Lots of shot on goal? .915 save percentage and a gaa of near 3 lol there for he is seeing 30-35 shots a night and letting in 3…. These are average numbers not elite definitely not top 3 goalies in the game pay scale wise elite at 6.5 mill per year…then on top that send your best prospect and a first or second rounder away? Not likely unless a big contract goes with it. If Rimer was making 6.5 mill a year (he posted better numbers then Miller for the past 3 years on a team that is just as bad defensively) you all would be laughing if Leaf fans were saying he should be traded for picks prospects. Plus…just ridiculous…

  9. If they traded Fluery there can’t be much of a market for a goalie that known to choke in the playoffs

    • Hmm also won a cup someone will gamble on him, not sure who suggested it but I agree may be a fit in Phx. If Smith moves on…..

      • I could see Miller going to Phoenix – gets him closer to Hollywood and Phoenix has some high draftpicks or a d-man that could be attractive to Darcy.

        • I dunno isn’t there ownership still in shambles? Once that is fixed then we can talk about the possibility of that happening. But as of right now I’m with Shticky (I’m not sure if you said this) and Spector about Miller not being in PHX.

          • So I’m an idiot, yet you agree….ok then

  10. I give credit to Vokun for stepping in but Fleury is a major dissapointment , look at his stats of the 7 yrs he has been in the playoffs with Pittsburgh only 2x was his save % over .900. In fact his save % in the AHL and Q was crap too. Pitt won’t win a cup with Vokun in nets.

    D.Murray was fine in the reg season but man did he look slow in the playoffs.
    & can you really have a successfull team when you pay 27% of your cap to 2 players?