NHL Morning Rumor Mill – October 16, 2013.

The latest Oilers goaltending speculation, an update on Jake Gardiner plus the latest on the Flyers.

Could the Oilers pursue Jonas Hiller?

Could the Oilers pursue Jonas Hiller?

TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie reports Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish is working the phones to determine the market for goaltenders, claiming the Oilers are looking at every possibility, including Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller, Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, St. Louis’ Brian Elliott and Washington’s Michal Neuvirth “and beyond”. Nothing is imminent and the Oilers could find it tough to convince teams to part with their surplus goalies at this point in the season.

Darren Dreger claimed the Sabres were hoping to wait until Christmas to assess their situation. He noted Miller’s modified NTC in which he lists eight teams he won’t accept a trade to. If the Oilers aren’t on that list, it could cost them one of their young forwards to land him.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports no one on the Sabres has approached Miller yet about a trade, and gets the sense GM Darcy Regier wants to wait until later in the season to shop him in hopes of building up his trade value. LeBrun also doubts the Ducks rock the boat this early in the season by shopping Hiller.  With Braden Holtby entrenched as the Capitals starter, Neuvirth might be an option for the Oilers, while the Blues might wish to wait until the off-season to make a decision with Elliott unless somebody forces their hand.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Miller would be the better choice over Hiller if the Oilers pursue a goalie, and also speculates Neuvirth could be available. Matheson isn’t sold on Elliott and is no fan of UFA goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. He also claims the Oilers aren’t looking for a top four defenseman but instead a rugged third-pairing blueliner. He doesn’t see any of the Oilers young guns being moved and believes Ales Hemsky will be in play by the trade deadline. He suggests blueliner Nick Schultz could be in a little trouble given he’s making $3.25 million as a third-pairing blueliner right now, but there’s probably not many takers at this point in the season.  He considers rumors of Nail Yakupov being dealt to the Flyers for a defenseman or forward as “fantasyland stuff”.

CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman wonders if it’s worth it for the Oilers to give up an asset to land a goalie who is an unrestricted free agent next summer (Miller, Elliott, Hiller) without trying to sign them first. He considers Ottawa’s Robin Lehner a perfect target  but doubts the Senators part with him…One reason for the cool trade market is the strong start of Colorado and Calgary, who were willing to explore ideas but don’t have much reason now to do so…The eventual return of Kris Letang will give the Penguins a glut of defensemen. They could either sent Olli Maatta back to junior, demote a blueliner or make a deal…A few teams appear to have made inquiries about Kings defenseman Alec Martinez, who’s been in and out of the lineup…

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Sabres or Ducks are willing to give Miller or Hiller away (and we all know that ain’t happenin’), the Oilers will have to give up one of their good young forwards to land either guy. It’s a risky move if neither player is willing to talk contract until next summer. Elliott and Neuvirth would be more affordable, but both are streaky. Lehner would be the best option, but I also doubt the Senators move him. Ditto  the Leafs with James Reimer, who’s  clearly not gonna give up the starter’s role in Toronto without a fight. Bryzgalov would only cost them dollars, though it would max them out at the 50 contract limit. If the Oilers aren’t willing to move a young forward for Miller (provided he’s willing to go to Edmonton, which I doubt) or Hiller, and if Lehner, Elliott or Neuvirth aren’t available, then it comes down to two choices for the Oilers. Sign a UFA like Bryzgalov, Jose Theodore or Rick DiPietro, or stick with your current tandem.  Right now, I’d be on the phone talking to those UFAs’ agents.

TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports the Maple Leafs continue to get calls about defenseman Jake Gardiner, but unless a substantial offer is made, the Leafs won’t move him, nor are they shopping him. “It’s believed last week’s interest was generated by the ongoing media speculation”, writers Dreger. “To date, Toronto has not received an offer for Gardiner.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the obvious defensive concerns and the ongoing need for a first line center for Phil Kessel’s line, the Leafs strong start means they’re in no hurry to make moves right now.

COURIER-POST: Dave Isaac recently addressed some Flyers’ fans questions about their struggling club. He doesn’t expect there’s much interest around the league in older players like Adam Hall or Hal Gill, claims Kimmo Timonen isn’t going anywhere and doubts anyone would have interest in Mark Streit’s expensive contract. He also doubts Braydon Coburn is available anymore.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers GM Paul Holmgren will undoubtedly keep his eyes and ears open for anything which might help his team but for now he’s probably willing to give new coach Craig Berube an opportunity to improve the current roster.


  1. If the Oilers are going to continue to have another season like this and its mainly because of Goaltending …
    I am at a loss for those who say they will have to give up on a young forward ….its not giving up ????
    ITS A MUST at this point to try an move forward and establish and strong backend …this is just emabarresing at this point ….if you have a ton of young depth at the forward position and you have a HUGE hole in net you need to sacrifice something to get something ….you can go out and score 5 goals a game but if you keep getting beat 6-5 every night its pointless to say well that player is going to be a star you have to keep him ….thats a crock of crap ….you have an asset as all players are to get better and round out a team …you have to take a chance to improve the team as a whole …one player is not going to be the end all be all on this team !!

    It takes BIG balls for Mactavish to make his BOLD move …if he doesnt the ship will sink !!

    • Yup…sometimes you have to trade one type of asset to address another area on your team. If the Oilers want a shot at the playoffs sooner than later then they need to address their goal tending situation and bolster their defense. Simple as that.

  2. I think Edmonton better make a better 1st over all pick at next years draft…..cause we all know they will have the 40% chance of getting the #1 pick. I didn’t like the Yakupov pick at all. They knew they needed Defence then and they went against it. I also didn’t like the RNH pick. Knew he would be fragile. If there were a weight restriction to play in the NHL…he would be it. This team is worse then ever with 3, 1st overall picks and seems to be going backwards at this point. I hope organization wakes up and starts realizing BALANCE is what wins in this league and not trying to build 3 top lines with no Defence or Goaltending or a good leader. Ryan Smyth looks like he is just coasting to retirement in a city he wants to be in out there.

    • @DChamp:
      The problem with Edmonton management (and their fans) is they think 1st rd pick (or 1st overall) in this case = superstar. Therefore we have superstars and should just win. While their players are gifted offensively (I’m not saying they are not), they have glaring flaws like the ones you mentioned above.
      The Oilers have 6 1st rd picks in their top 6. In fact I believe at least 10 out of their 12 forwards are 1st rd picks.
      The Bruins have 1: 35 year old Iginla. All the rest are 2nd rd picks.
      As soon as the Oilers learn balance and chemistry, they have a chance. As soon as they drop the arogance of our players are 1st rd pick and your players suck, they will have a chance. As soon as they realize you can’t whine for a no. 1 goalie and refuse to trade any player of value, they will improve. Trust me a good goalie is worth much more than Yakupov.

  3. I have a hard time believing that MacT will trade any of the five young players for a 30+ UFA who could take off next season. a package that includes Hemsky yes, but nothing that includes Hall, Eberle, Yak, Schultz, or RNH.
    Also there is a reason that those three goalies are not signed by anybody yet. They are not an upgrade.

  4. I agree it is not the Oilers “giving up” one of their forwards to make a “hockey trade”. They have too many forwards who can play offensively but not a 200 ft game. Wishful thinking that Yakupov will ever fit that mold. Hall is -7 and Nugent-Hopkins is -9 through 7 and 5 games respectively! MacTavish wants to make a bold move but picking up an older goalie like Miller or Hiller might not be the best move especially with having to use a young asset. Not sure Hiller fits that either. OTT and Lehner seems like a good idea but OTT may want to move Craig Anderson before Lehner.

    Maybe the Oilers need to think outside the box at some young goalies like STL Jake Allen, or ANA Gibson or something like that. Maybe they should sign Jose Theodore in the interim while other teams goaltending situations shake out.

    Anybody thinking that the NYI should get in on this goalie market? They along with FLA also need a goalie.

    • What hinders Miller is his modified NTC – I’m sure Edmonton is on his list – if not, then Darcy should take a look at what Edmonton is willing to offer. I wouldn’t mind taking Hemsky, Hall or RNH and Labarbara for Miller/McBain and Grigorenko. One thing that needs to be considered would the effect that taking one of Edmonton’s youngsters does to reset the salary scale that has been implemented by Darcy, ie long term, $6M/yr. contracts).

      • Hall is about as untouchable as you can get in Edmonton I would think. RNH Hemsky and LaBarbara is for Miller and Grigorenko would make Darcy laugh I would think. Basically breaks down to either RNH for Miller which leaves Hemsky and Labarbra for Grigorenko or vice versa Hemsky and LaBarbara for Miller. That just looks awful, Id want no part of that deal.

  5. I would like to see Winnipeg in this discussion for Miller. They are a good team being held back by bad goaltending and they have the pieces to get Miller. Here’s my deal:

    Winnipeg gets: Ryan Miller

    Buffalo gets: Pavelec and prospects Adam Lowry (LW) and Brenden Kichton (D)

    • Why Would Buffalo want Pavelec when they would be dealing Miller so Enroth can be the number 1 guy?

      • Enroth has been marginal so far and with his small size is not your typical NHL goalie. Plus if you are going to aspire to be a good team you need to have at least 2 HNL caliber goalies. Pavelec would give them that and create a real competition for Enroth and a decent fallback should Enroth not be a real #1. That’s not counting the two highly regarded prospects coming back as well.

    • Pavelec is one of the most under-rated goalies in the NHL. His save pct is always over 90.
      The guy has tons of skill and is an absolute workhorse, yeah there are better goalies out there, but I think Wpg has other needs to address first instead of a goaltending change.

  6. Hey Lyle

    I hear that the Oilers and Fliers are talking. Have you heard anything? Also do you think that Emery could be involved?


    • As Jim Matheson noted above, it’s “fantasyland” stuff.

  7. You know it’s kinda too bad teams are waiting to make a move to fix a glaring hole that they have. By taking their time they are essentially wasting away points that they could have used at the end of the year. Those points may be all that separates them from a playoff birth.

  8. Hemsky doesn’t make sense being traded to any team that doesn’t have Cup aspirations, as he’s also a UFA coming up. The Sabres would have no need for him, as he’d be a rental to a (likely) non-playoff team.

    For the Blues, I’d say Allen is as ready as he can be, which would make Elliott expendable. I think the Blues hold onto Elliott until the trade deadline and assess their needs, which would be too long for the Oilers.

    So, I think a deal of Hemsky for Elliott makes some sense, but the timing is not right. However, one injury to the Blues’ forwards might change that.

  9. I think the one thing people are missing is that Ducks need to move a goalie, They tried to move Hiller during the summer and could not. That means they either lose him next summer or sign him, keeping the log jam in net. A better move may be to trade Fasth instead. He is signed for a few years, reasonable money, and would be a cheaper price. Oilers / Jets or whom ever, could then go with the two goalie system of splitting the games in a 40/40 or 30/50 fashion. Ducks could then resign and keep Hiller with Anderson or Gibson as backup

    • Agreed Fasth would probably be the best option for a decent return. Then resign Hiller for a few years till one of the young bucks take over.

  10. Its is true the Ducks have goaltender depth that they are actually looking to move. The Oilers might not need to giveup so much. You might be able to move a Hemsky for a Hiller there. If the Oilers were to ever to offer the Sens one their forwards for Lehner they would be set (he is going to be a star.) Although I don’t necessarily think they bite since they have interesting young depth at all positions.

  11. If Edmonton doesn’t get some points soon. Why bother trading for a Goalie as the season will be lost. You cannot win the Stanley Cup in October but you can blow your invitation to the Playoff Party. The West is very tight and if you’re 10 points back of a #8 spot why give up any young talent. Just sign one of the 3 available free agents and bit the bullet. Ryan Miller has a “No Trade Clause” meaning he gave a list to his GM I’m guessing Edmonton and Winnipeg are not listed as teams he would go to. Miller wants to be on a winner he is done with small market losing teams. I’m sure Miller would love to play in Detroit, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, or Pittsburgh.

    • I still wonder: I would agree that Edmonton could be on Miller’s NMC, but considering how it’s only for less than one season (and then he’s a UFA), I wonder if he’d say, “Fine, trade me anywhere. I can choose where I want to go in the summer.”

      I think there’s still a *chance* he’d go to Edmonton for a season, if the Oilers came knocking, regardless of his NMC.

      • Ya but if the Oilers know he is going to bolt or at least are not sure he is going to stay why give up as much as Miller is going to cost them? Also if Im Miller no way do I want to move to a young team with bad D in a contract year. If things dont go well and Miller looks just kinda average (or possibly worse) with the Oilers and after a couple so so years in Buffalo he is not going to command as much on the open market as a UFA. Compared to if he just stays where he is comfortable or moves to a stronger team and puts up decent numbers. It could be a really bad move from Millers point of view career wise. Duby and Labarbra have looked pretty bad but its not all goaltending there are other issues in Edmonton aswell.

        • Really good point about the contract year numbers.

          That said, I’m not sure Miller is going to fetch a great deal in the trade market unless some team has a big injury to their starting goalie. As great as Miller can (sometimes) be, not a lot of teams will be interested in a rental goalie.

          It’s the goalie’s conundrum: if a team is good enough to be a contending team, they’re very likely good enough in part because of their goaltending. In which case they don’t need another goalie. So how does a goalie get himself traded to a good team? (barring injuries)

          • Not sire we’d have to wait closer to play off time but right now there could be some teams who are kinda of on the cusp of being good or later going into the playoffs that have some questions for instance Pitsburgh if Flurey starts to choke it up again, Dallas could be better (pretty decent team on paper) if they were to get close, really is Lehtonin for real? If he gets hurt is Dan Ellis good enough? Minnisota if Backstroms injuries continue they are right there on the cusp looking in they could use playoff revenue Im sure. I could see someone taking a gamble but not till far later in the season and youre right as a rental for a relatively lower cost than what the Oilers would be looking at when they right now are not exactly dealing from a position of strength.

          • Judging by Darcy’s track record for trades, even if Miller could be moved to Edmonton I bet the Oilers would be looking at at least Yaks plus (maybe one of the other big 3 instead of Yaks). Im not sayin its fair or thats what the Sabres should get, Im just saying Regier has a knack for hosing other GMs for players that are on their way out of town anyway. Its a very steep price for a guy who is probably going to leave after a season.

      • Lets see, trade to get Miller. Give up some assets and then have to look for another goalie in the summer when Miller decides he rather live on the moon than resign with Edmonton. Great move. Miller does not want to play in the east or in Canada, I think he’s pretty much made it clear he wants to play in the western states.
        Imo the oilers need to get Dubnyk a psycologist to help settle down while playing goal. It might be something very simple to get him playing at least as well as he did last year. Just a thought. Another thought would be to get some better d in front of him, and better still have the forwards be a lot better at backchecking. Its an obvious problem when after a handful of games your top forwards are -7 and -9.

        • Yep

          • Funny how alot of people put down guys like Kuli when they get mentioned in trade talk but honestly how good would he look with Boyd Gordon and a pretty good example of the type of player Edmonton seems to be missing. Big winger who can play kinda physical and against good players and not be almost a double digit minus in 5 games..lol might never get thirty goals again but isnt getting beat or caught up ice 3 or 4 times a game.

  12. Edmonton is too soft of a team, lmao, and yes, softer than Toronto. They need to trade Yaks for a harder nosed RW’er.

    To Edmonton: Simmonds + 1st Rounder
    To Philadelphia: Yakupov

    • I would not trade Simmonds for Yak, straight up, let alone for a 1st rounder that cpuld be top 10 next year. Flyers do not need a small. offense only wing who would be hurt all the time playing in the more physical east.

    • Flyers are not trading their 1st. Draft is in philly and by looks of it we maight be drafting in top 10…

  13. Oilers should just sign Bryz !!