NHL Morning Rumor Mill – May 20, 2014

The latest on Ryan Miller, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle, Matt Niskanen, Kevin Bieksa, R.J. Umberger and more. 

Where will Ryan Miller end up this summer?

Where will Ryan Miller end up this summer?

STLTODAY.COM: In the wake of the Blues re-signing Brian Elliott and promoting Jake Allen to their goaltending tandem for next season, they won’t be re-signing Ryan Miller. Jeremy Rutherford reports if the Blues re-signed Miller before the NHL draft next month, they would’ve owed the Buffalo Sabres their first round pick (24th overall) to complete the trade with the Sabres for Miller. The same thing will happen if they trade Miller’s rights before the draft. If they deal his rights after making their first round selection, the third round pick they sent to the Sabres becomes a second round pick. Jeff Gordon speculates the Pittsburgh Penguins might be willing to give Miller a lucrative long-term deal.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl speculates there’s won’t be much of a trade market for Miller this summer as interested clubs can simply wait for free agency to sign him. He speculates Anaheim, San Jose and Vancouver could pursue Miller.

NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough lists Anaheim, San Jose, Vancouver, Minnesota and Pittsburgh as possible destinations, with an “honorary mention” to the Washington Capitals.

CSN BAY AREA: Kevin Kurz believes Miller to the Sharks could make sense if they move out Antti Niemi, who has one season left on his contract. It would also depend on what other moves Sharks GM Doug Wilson has in store. Contract term could be a sticking point, as Kurz doubts the Sharks would go beyond three years for an aging goalie who could command between $5-$6 million as a free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because of those conditions tied to the Blues’ deal with the Sabres for Miller, I don’t expect the club will shop his rights until after the draft, if at all. I’m not sure the Penguins would be interested, while the Canucks could stick with Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom.  The Wild could be an option but that’ll depend on Josh Harding’s health and if they can shed Niklas Backstorm’s salary. The Ducks and Sharks are likely atop Miller’s wish list, as he could prefer signing with a California-based team to be closer to his wife, actress Noureen DeWulf.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson speculates the Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes could have interest in the Florida Panthers first round pick (first overall), which they’ve publicly acknowledged they’re willing to trade for the right deal…He speculates the Sharks might move Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau, believing the Maple Leafs and Lightning could pursue Thornton…Matheson also wonders if the Bruins could have interest in pending free agent defenseman Dan Boyle…He feels the Sharks could take a strong run at Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen if he hits the UFA market in July…He wonders if the Blues should zero in on Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa…With Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane due for raises after next season, Matheson speculates the Blackhawks could dump salary as they did following their 2010 Cup championship…He also wonders if the Bruins might shop center Chris Kelly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers seek pieces which can help them now, so any team interested in that first overall pick should be prepared to part with a good player as part of the return…I doubt the Sharks shop Thornton or Marleau. Sure, it’s possible, but both just signed three-year extensions with full no-trade clauses…The Bruins have limited cap space for next season, which could put them out of the market for Boyle…The Sharks have decided to move Brent Burns back to the blueline, so they might not be keen to bid for Niskanen…The Canucks won’t make any roster moves until a new GM is in place…If the Blackhawks do dump salary it probably won’t happen until the end of next season. The difference is they won’t be as squeezed for cap space as they were in 2010. 

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets president John Davidson has confirmed forward R.J. Umberger requested a trade but said a move would be made only if it would strengthen the Jackets.


  1. I have a feeling the Flyers will be active on draft day. Ed Snider will want to make a splash in front of his own fans. Flyers move number to one for Erin Ekblad?

    • I don’t see FL moving from the #1 pick and I don’t think they will be disuaded from taking Aaron Ekblad – the best defensive prospect of the class and physically is ready to step into the NHL. The Panthers improved their goaltending and they need an offensive d-man to shore up their defense.

      With Ekblad being gone, I still see the opportunity for Bflo to trade Myers and #39 to Edmonton or they can trade Myers and Enroth. Thus Edmonton gets a young, veteran D-man, who has won the Calder Cup and a early 2nd round pick or a pretty good young goalie.

      I don’t know where Miller will end up – he kind of blew it in the playoffs. I can see him maybe signing a deal with Anaheim to mentor their youngsters, but I don’t see him getting the big $ long term contract. Maybe he could go down to Dallas because Lehtonen is always getting injured – but I’m not so sure that Lindy wants the drama/attitude.

    • I see the Flyers making a big move to get the nr. 1 draft position. I see them offering whatever it takes because they believe that Ekblad is the second coming of Pronger.

  2. The Hawks wont be as squeezed but its Towes and Kane…they are going to be some pretty hefty contracts. 9 for Towes 8 for Kane ball park with 50 mill on 10 guys commited they are still going to have to trim a substantial ammount of salary this year or next.

    • Good riddance. The sooner that team gets dismantled the better for the rest of us.

      • LoL True but I kinda like the idea of franchises building dynasty type teams.

        • Me to Shticky

    • I could see Toews and Kane taking a bit of a hometown discount. Something along the lines of 7-7.5 per would not surprise me one bit. They wont have to to trim much next year anyways. They have 4.5 million to determine what to do with Raanta, Morin, Smith, Handzus and Regin, which are the only current players not under contract. I expect Regin to walk and the rest to be resigned for around a million except for many Handzus who they may decide to let walk.

      • Not a chance, some money on the table for sure but not going to get the pair for 15, mill 8.75 atleast he is not going to price himself out of the top 10 contracts in the game it would screw with the order of things same with Kane looking at around 18 mill for the pair. Loyalty will be them staying.
        Again right now its hard to argue that Towes isnt the best all around player in the game Ovi makes 9.75 MILL forever lol if you have to think of the future 7.5 for 8 years? Its only 60 for the best player in the game while a whole bunch of guys got contracts for close to 100 million what if he gets hurt?
        The cap could be 80 million in 3. Towes will make north of 70 mill easy or the union will be pissed and he will be looking for another agent.

        • They took almost $5 million less than Crosby/Malkin per season on their second deals, who’s to say they wont do something similar? You really think money is that big of an issue for these two? It’s a pretty easy sell job for Bowman. These players have the chance to go down as some of the greatest players of all time, which will be strongly reinforced by winning multiple cups and building a dynasty. They take less and Chicago can sign the appropriate depth. At max they sign for 8 million a year.

  3. Cant see Miller in SJ Wilson has said he would like his goaltending to get younger part of the reasoning for possibly dealing Nemi and he is pretty happy with Stolarz. Not sure how Miller fits there unless he gives a real big discount.

    • I agree regarding Miller. He has played himself into the doubters hands unfortunately.
      He will likely have to move to somewhere he is not happy about playing and then work to re establish himself.
      I can Vancity as I viable option for the new GM, if he is reasonable and doesn’t expect to make $7-8 million per year.

      For all the Sabre fans…sorry he is not coming back.

      • Wow you must think Sabres fans are ignorant. We liked him but we are glad he is gone.

        • Wouldn’t that be like taking a sip of milk finding out its sour and putting it back in the fridge to see if it tastes better tomorrow?

        • @siller

          Not ignorant, just a fan favourite. And I am a Sabres fan.

          Not everyone wanted him gone either.

    • The Sharks have Alex Stalock. Stolarz is the Flyers prospect currently playing for the London Knights.

      • Ahhh ya thats it thanks, same thing tho Wilson likes his younger goalie and was thinking of moving towards a younger goalie rotation. Miller doesnt really fit that description, but then again I think alot of people knew he didnt really fill a need in ST.Louis either and he still ended up there. Maybe if he took a cheaper short term deal otherwise dosent make a whole lot of sense.

  4. I wonder what happens with Umberger, his production has taken a steep decline the past two seasons that makes me question if he is still that 50 point a season guy, which I doubt he is. At $4.6 per season cap hit for the next three years, being 32 years old … I am not sure the Jackets will get much for him. He is physical, decent on the PK, and brings leadership to the table, but if he is done then the Jackets might need to pick up part of that contract and/or accept a lower pick or player in return. I think they could get maybe the Oilers or Islanders to bite.

  5. I think Florida will be active leading up to the draft, and more so in UFA. They have to do something to get people interested. Even if it is only in the off season. They need to utilize a heavy influx of snow birds and northern transplants in Florida to start building a fan base, much like Tampa did. But in order to to that, they are going to need to draw more than just Philly, NY, Montreal etc fans. Start winning!!!!

  6. All this Matt Niskanen talk is just another example of grossly over-paying a player based on nothing with the domino effect of even more inflated contracts, thanks to blind GMs and “I want more” players. Niskanen is a 7 year vet and has only 2 seasons of 30+points, including this season in which he hit a career high of 46 points, which, just like so many players before him, happens to get during a contract year. Now he is being linked to so many teams as a cream of the crop (for me I think it says more about the rest of the crop) because of his skills. I can see the prediction now: signs a big multi-year deal worth something like $5-6 million a year (all based on one season of production) and then reverts back to the way he’s played 6 out of his 7 years.

    • couldn’t agree more on Niskanen … saw practically every Pens home game this year and although he had a decent season he is soft and for every ten shots on goal he hits the net on three of them … Pens should let him walk … they have too many just like him … soft and inaccurate …

    • I was pretty shocked Girardi and Macdonald didn’t want to test the waters. They could have got much better deals on the open market.

  7. The interesting part of the Toews Kane resigning is they know they are guaranteed lifetime jobs as retired ambassadors of the game and Chicago team and want to continue to win. They understand teams win championships and probably are going to be very amiable to deals that ensure depth. You don’t have to look further than Nik Hajarlmasson who took 4.1 long term and compare to other UFAs…you will see Justin Faulk making more than a half million per season more, Dan Giradi making 1.4 mil more, Andrew MacDonald making 900,000 perseason more.
    If these Toews & Kane decide and as Hammer said, “We all make really good money, but I just want to stay and play with these guys and try and win…” the Hawks may be in a nice position.

    • I agree, I don’t think they are going to go out and try and break the bank. They are in a great place to continue to win in Chicago, if they win the cup this year they will have THREE cups on their resume at only 26 and 25 years old. They will have plenty of chance to win more cups and continue to play at a high level. I say 8 years $7.5 million each home town discount!

      • I dont doubt they leave some money on the table but youre still talking about probably the best player in the game and one of the top skill forwards, 9 and 8 mill might be leaving so e on the table if yo look at where the cap is and what others around the leagie make Crosby Malkin Getzlaf Perry Ovi, I highly doubt its millions below market value they sign for. The Hawks will be looking at at least 17 mill for the pair qnd personally I wouldnt be surprised if Towes is a 10 mill per guy especially if they get another cup.

  8. Re: Miller / Ducks
    July 1 Murray sits down with Miller and his agent, explain to him that future for Ducks is Andersen / Gibson.
    Offer him one year deal @ 5 million. Explain to him that he is the goal tending insurance policy in case something goes wrong with the kids. He can expect to play maybe 25 games. On the bright side he gets to go home to his wife just about every night and as an added bonus Ducks can leave him home when they make the two or three long east of the Mississippi road trips that west coast teams do every year. That allows Miller more time at home and he is still getting 5 million a year. At the end of the season he is free to go and do what ever he wants. One sticking point, Ducks have the right to trade him in the month of February 2015 just in case all is well with Andersen / Gibson and Ducks can then trade Miller for a pick or prospect. Ducks will have somewhere around 20 million in cap space July 1 so there is plenty of room.
    If Miller says no then move on to one of the the UFA goalies as an insurance policy. Hum $ 5 million, play 25 nights a year, live in California, go home to an Hollywood actress, no long travel trips, we should be so lucky.

    • I am not a big Miller fan. But I can’t imagine he takes that deal. I do not believe he will get offers from (deep) contending teams. But I think there will be a lot of on the playoff cusp teams and bad teams lining up to give him a much more lucrative / long term deal. He is heading toward the end of his career. Not so sure he will want a backseat job playing 25 games with no long term security for the sake of being near his wife. Lets face it, his wife isn’t exactly a busy “A list” actress with no time on her hands, and they aren’t scraping for change to get on a greyhound to visit each other. Multiple flights for them effects their wallets, like me or you buying a pack of gum.

      • You may very well be right but looking at it from the Ducks view point ( not Millers) this is what I tell Miller July 1, take it or leave it. I am going with Andersen / Gibson long term but I do want an insurance policy just in case etc. He’s got 48 hours to say yea or nay, after that I look elsewhere for my insurance policy and at a cheaper price. My goal for late June / Early July for goaltending is secure an insurance policy for one year and draft a goalie who will go back to juniors or college for 2 years then AHL for a year or two who would be the LONGER TERM plan. By the way, I offer Hiller the same deal now, if he says no, then I try and trade him for a low round pick for his signing rights up to July 1. Something is better than nothing, I hate letting anybody walk and getting nothing for him. This is a business and players are assets of the business.

        • I agree, but from the player business prospective, both Miller and Hiller will be looking for more than 1 year for security reasons. Neither are young and both could be looking at July 1st as possibly the last deal they ever sign. I could see NYI’s, Minnesota, Vancouver, and possibly Ottawa or Pittsburgh making a pitch at either of them.

          • NYI expects to keep Halak who will be the cheapest of the 3 big name UFA’s. Hiller or Miller would improve Minnesota’s goal tending but they have a Ton of money invested in Backstrom & Harding hard to see them running out and signing anyone to biggie dollars. Vancouver signing either to big bucks long term just may start a city wide riot. I have a gut feeling that Hiller winds up in Buffalo. He is just the type that can steal games and for a young team that is a real plus when your goalie steals wins for you. He may fit well while their young goalies are developing.
            Hiller & Miller and Halak just may find out that the demand for a goalie just isn’t as big as they thought, they are a dime a dozen. Now a top 4 d-man, that is a whole other world, there is where the over payment will be.

          • I think Minnesota will be able to LTIR Harding who only has one year left on his deal. But it very much looked at the deadline they they weren’t happy with Backstrom going forward. If picking up Bryz at the deadline didn’t show desperation, I don’t know what would. lol. Plus they pick up about $12 million with Heatley , Moulson and Rupp’s departures.

          • NYR4LIFE
            Heatley / Departure – Somehow those two words just go together like sugar & spice

          • Come on’…….everyone just likes the Miller Hiller rhyme!!

    • I can’t see Ducks paying that much for a goalie to play 25 games.

      Miller wants to be a starter so no way he signs on for that.

      • One Year
        Insurance Policy
        Trade him at deadline for picks
        He can always say no, but then he will rarely see actress wife
        Life is full of tough decisions

  9. I think Miller will be going to Vancouver. Anaheim will give it a go with Andersen and Gibson. Miller’s main trouble though is Hiller as he will hit the market. Vancouver could go after Hiller as well.

    I’m surprised that the Sharks did not fire the coach. They are not trading their main point producers, but to me it’s obvious that they lack determination and the willingness to take that extra step and play harder rather than just rel on their skill level. Sharks need to deal to get some clutch players.

    The Panthers will want either a first line winger or a 1st pair d-man for that 1st overall…..OR….or….. they will make a more significant blockbuster trade. My hunch is that the blockbuster deal will be with the Jets.

    And Niskanen is a very good d-man. WIll he get overpaid? Obviously…like most d-men hitting the market. He is still good though.

  10. Doug Wilson has said he has windows and options to move both marleau and Thornton so they don’t have full NTC’s and as dan boyle learned with Tampa NTC’s are worthless. I think Thornton is gone

    • Boyle is a little different. Tampa management threatened to put him on waivers if he didn’t agree to a trade. He didn’t want to end up in Atlanta, so he agreed. I doubt SJ puts Thornton on waivers and eats half his salary to watch him end up on a division rival.

  11. Hey guys, I know its a bit off topic but I just wanted to hear all your haters thoughts lol. I was on cap geek today looking at the leafs as usual and pondering next season. It just occurred to me what this team may look like if they don’t resign any ufa’s, and fail to sign any new ufa’s. here potentially what it will look like again no signed ufa’s but rfa’s resigned.
    Maclaren -Orr-Ashton

    Phaneuff- Gunnerson
    Gleason- granberg

    I don’t feel to comfortable with this line up. This is a line up that could help the leafs get Mcdavid. Alas, I am sure that is not the route the leafs ownership will allow. So now I’m thinking how are the leafs going to screw this up. I’ve seen people say the leafs need a #1c and 1-2d man. But this line up looks like we need 2-4 bottom line wingers, a #1c, a top d man and a bottom d man. Anyone worth anything on the team we ant trade, by that I mean jvr kessel, Bernier and Reilly. I can’t really see how any trade or signs will make the leafs competitors for the present and future. You can bring in Boyle and resign our ufa’s but I don’t think it’s enough. If anyone has any ideas of what they can do I would love to hear it. I for one think we draft #8 this year, tank next years get a top 5 , by then your hoping gauthier, Kadri, and holland are all #2-3c, reilly and gardnier are entering their prime, and all of a sudden in 2-3 years from today the leafs would have a competitive team.

    • Forget Holland between MCkegg & Abbott. Holland is purely a offensive forward. He needs to play with offensive players. Put Kadri on left wing / Holland Center / Luphl right wing. Put three offensive guys together. This opinion and a dollar will buy a small cup of coffee.

    • Ya, i knew someone had to talk about the Leafs on here

      • That’s right Jason, and it’s going to be me!

        First of all, I can see the Leafs going after Joe Thornton if they are really serious about getting him and possibly trading Dion Phaneuf in return. Other than Phaneuf, another big salary (and bigger problem on the ice) that is more likely to get moved is UFA Nikolai Kulemin. I’m hearing that he could go to Pittsburgh after their new GM gets named to play with his friend Evgeni Malkin, with whom he’s had success before in international play whenever they’ve been on the same line. In fact, I believe that Malkin himself may be promoting the idea to Pens management. It may be awhile before we find out if they’ll listen to him.




        The Fourth Period


        • Another thought based on what I posted yesterday:

          I wonder if the Penguins would trade James Neal for Kulemin. It might take one other player along with Kulemin to make the deal. It’s too lopsided in the Leafs’ favor to go one-for-one.

  12. I think Miller will be in San Jose, Anaheim, Minnesota, NY Islanders, Pittsburgh or Washington next season.

    He boycotted every Canadian team on his no trade list during the season so I doubt he ends up in Canada.

    • What is the source for the information in your last sentence? I don’t recall his no trade list being publicized in any way.

  13. I don’t see why the blues would want beiksa they are already stacked on d if anything would be using one to bring in a top scoring forward.. I could see beiksa going to the leafs if he was made available. Leadership and a steady top 4 d man. Something they could use