NHL Morning Rumor Mill – May 23, 2013.

Latest on Loui Eriksson, Ryan Miller, Mike Ribeiro and Alexander Burmistrov, plus an update on the Phoenix Coyotes.

Stars new GM isn't worried about Loui Eriksson.

Stars new GM isn’t worried about Loui Eriksson.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika recently reported Stars winger Loui Eriksson’s performance helping Sweden win gold at this year’s World Hockey Championships helped soften the blow of what was for him a bad NHL season. Heika acknowledged recent trade rumors involving Eriksson coming out of Canada, but pointed out the winger still has three years remaining on his contract with the Stars, while new Stars GM Jim Nill praised Eriksson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before regarding those Eriksson trade rumors, if the Stars did shop him for a first-line center, they’d leave themselves with little depth on the right side, apart from a fading Erik Cole and some unproven youngsters. I’ll be very surprised if Nill trades Eriksson this summer.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports the strong performance by Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth backstopping Sweden to gold at the Worlds could heighten expectations starter Ryan Miller might be dealt this summer. Enroth feels he’s ready for the starter’s role, but Vogl pointed out he must improve his consistency. Moving Miller would free up $6.25 million could be used to fill holes elsewhere in the roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Miller himself pointed out, just because there’s an expectation he could be dealt doesn’t mean it could happen, noting the Roberto Luongo situation in Vancouver. Miller doesn’t carry as hefty a contract for as long as Luongo, but as I noted in a recent THN.com column, it still could prove difficult finding suitable trade partners for him this summer. Enroth might have to wait another  year, when Miller departs for sure via free agency next summer, to get his chance.

WASHINGTON POST: Katie Carrera examines the pros and cons if the Capitals re-sign center Mike Ribeiro.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For me, the biggest con is his contract would eat up most, if not all, of the Capitals remaining cap space, leaving almost nothing to re-sign Karl Alzner, Marcus Johansson and Matt Hendricks. Conversely, if they re-sign those three, they’ll have nothing left for Ribeiro. One way or the other, the Capitals must shed salary this summer.

WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe weighs in on a recent report claiming RFA forward Alexander Burmistrov doesn’t want to re-sign with the Jets, suggesting a change of scenery might do him good.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wiebe also noted rumors near the trade deadline which had Burmistrov linked to Buffalo’s Drew Stafford. Again, I believe if the Jets are serious about pursuing Stafford, the Sabres could accept Burmistrov in return.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Sarah McLellan examines how Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney could improve his club if he’s once again stuck with a limited budget.  She suggests if they re-sign RFAs Mikkel Boedker and Lauri Korpikoski and UFA center Boyd Gordon, it could leave around $5.75 million to re-sign Mike Smith and add a backup. If Smith walks and Maloney opts for cheaper goaltending, there might not be enough to lure a top-six forward via free agency, though she guesses it might be enough to lure in Toronto’s Tyler Bozak, New Jersey’s David Clarkson or Montreal’s Michael Ryder, but not Washington’s Mike Ribeiro, Boston’s Nathan Horton or Detroit’s Valtteri Filppula. She expects Maloney could shop defenseman Keith Yandle to free up cap space ($5.25 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I were Maloney, I’d avoid the UFA market and shop Yandle for a return to bolster my scoring depth, re-sign those players McLellan noted and hope to have enough cap space to re-sign Mike Smith. The best option would be if the Coyotes can get a new owner by June willing to spend a bit more to retain Smith and add a scorer. I don’t expect the Coyotes will be able to lure Clarkson or Ribeiro, Horton’s injury history is a concern, and Filppula hasn’t done enough to justify $5 million per season. The Leafs might re-sign Bozak, but Ryder should be available.


  1. At this point, getting anything for Stafford is a plus. While I do like the way he played the last few games of the Sabres season – he is inconsistent. Swapping Stafford for Bermistrov might do both players some good – Burmistrov at one point was slated to have a “breakout” season which never happened, but he is 21 and a Center. As for Miller, his contract really doesn’t have any similarities to Luongos. Miller becomes a UFA in 2014-2015 season and he wants to get closer to his wife. With Anaheim bombing out of the playoffs – they might be a good trade candidate and I’m sure that Ryan, to get closer to the wife, would offer a new relocation discount. What is going to make the offseason more interesting is the amnesty buyouts and deals teams might make to lower their cap hit. Buffalo has the assets and draft picks to make things interesting.

  2. Having Ryan Miller “out there” definitely just adds to the log jam of goalies.

    This would certainly be Regeir’s last chance at the “reset button”… I would not be surprised if he did what Gillis was unable to do and swiftly move Miller, however.

    How about a scenario with Anaheim where the Ducks would send Hiller and Bobby Ryan to Buffalo, with Ryan Miller, perhaps Drew Stafford, and a third component (maybe either centre Nathan Gerbe or Luke Adam) heading to Anaheim?

    • OK.. revision to the armchair GM proposal:

      And this is based on Hodgson\Grigarenko being 1-2 up the middle next season.

      Hiller and Ryan for Miller and Ennis.

      No good?

      • Grigorenko at #2? Got to be some joke.

      • At one time I was hoping for a Miller/Stafford ($10.25) for Hiller/Ryan ($9.6M) trade, but a more realistic scenario to me would be something like Miller/Gerbe/Adam ($8.4M) for Hiller/Ryan ($9.6M) – reason being that the Ducks need to lose some salary in order to either resign or replace Koivu, Lombardi, Selanne and Lydman (to name a few. But with such a trade they get 3 NHL players and save $1.2M. Buffalo could also offer a draft pick to sweeten the pie offering Miller/Adam and a draft pick in exchange of Hiller/Ryan.

  3. One move the capitals could make is to trade Ovie. Now I know some people would scoff at this suggestion because he is still a pretty dynamic player but that 9.5 million or so dollars could go a long way to bring in two or three very capable players. The fans in Washington would probably throw a rebellion but Ovies contract is very contricting. Add also Green, Backstrom, and a few others and management is handcuffed. A team should be able to surround a superstar with enough talent that his contract wouldn’t be an issue, just look at the penguins. They are running into problems now but haven’t up to this point. The issue of course is who to trade him too. Who would take on such a contract?
    The stars would only trade Ericsson if they improve their hockey club. At least now they wouldn’t. Nieuwendyk might have since he made some pretty weird trade choices when he was GM. I think the stars are going to take a couple of seasons to fix what Joe did. Perhaps a complete over-haul or even a re-build is in order. With that said, trading Ericsson might be the right thing to do provided its not the only move they make.
    I think Anaheim should think long and hard before they trade for Miller. The whole season should be taken into account not just the playoffs. Besides, losing to the wings was not solely because of the goalie, the forwards didn’t do their job and Howard was hot.
    The problem with Phoenix is obvious so why in the world would any free-agent sign there knowing that the next season he could be playing in Quebec City. The only way to make changes in the desert is through trade and call-ups. A solidified franchise could let Smith walk, and then trade Yandle to the sabres for Miller and Stafford or someone else(players and details could be worked out)

    • Yandle for Miller and Stafford???? Really?? Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

      • Why would the Sabres trade for Yandle – we really don’t need a d-man because we have quite a few in Rochester ready to make the jump up into the bigs. Although – Stafford sounds like a good trade!

        • I knew that proposal would get someones hackles up, lol

  4. With all the talk regarding the various relocation of some pretty big name goalies, I have to wonder If Pittsburgh becomes a rumoured destination for any of these puck stoppers, given M.A. Fleury’s post season struggles the past couple of years. If goaltending proves to be their undoing once again this post season, the Pens will have to address the issue.

    • I was thinking the same thing but the penguins have to sign some pretty big free agent guys this summer and next I believe. I was thinking Smith would be a good fit for the pens but improving their d-core is probably a bigger need. I guess they could trade Fleury but what GM is going to make that move with Fleury imploding the last two playoffs. If Vokoun leads them to the cup they will probably ride Vokoun until he can’t play anymore, and who knows maybe the pens buy Fleury out in order to sign some of the guys they want to keep.

      • Wow. Never thought of Smith in Pittsburgh. When I read that it was like a light bulb going off above my head. That makes total sense.

        But would that make Fleury a tagret for amnesty buyout? He’s got 2 years, $10M left on his deal. Vokoun will be back next year at $2M.

        • I don’t see Smith being a very good fit for Pittsburgh at all. Remember before he played on the D first team in Phoenix? That was Tampa and it wasn’t pretty.

  5. I wouldn’t want to trade for another goalie from a sabres fans standpoint.Hiller sucks and Enroth is primed to take over as starter. Plus Hackett is ready to be a NHL backup now. Plus with Makarov ready to begin his AHL career it’d just create a log jam. And right now we don’t want to give Enroth the idea that he may not even get a shot to be starter next year. Maybe Bobby Ryan and a 1st for St. Louis’ and Minnesota’s second rounders.

    Then I’d throw Vanek to Dallas for Eriksson. Another option is both Miller and Vanek to the Oilers for there 1st rounder this year and one of there young up and coming stars.

    • forgot to add miller to that first trade.