NHL Morning Rumor Mill – Saturday, July 13, 2013.

The latest on Dion Phaneuf, Mikhail Grabovski, Jaromir Jagr, Mason Raymond, and more.

Are the Oilers interested in Dion Phaneuf?

Are the Oilers interested in Dion Phaneuf?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis cited a recent interview with Bill Watters on Oilers Now claiming he’d heard a rumor the Edmonton Oilers could be interested in Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf. Watters also had harsh words for Phaneuf, questioning his play and leadership. Bob Stauffer, the show’s host, doubts the Oilers have interest in Phaneuf.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some in the Toronto media want to run Phaneuf out of town on a rail. While I think the Leafs captain faces an uncertain future in Toronto, I agree with Stauffer that Phaneuf is unlikely to land in Edmonton this summer. Phaneuf’s cap hit ($6.5 million) for next season and his UFA status next summer make him a tough sell.

SPORTSNET.CA: Luke Fox compiled a roundup of recent NHL rumors. He wondered if the Anaheim Ducks might be a destination for former Leaf Mikhail Grabovski, citing the fact former Leafs GM Brian Burke now works as a pro scout for the Ducks…Jaromir Jagr might have interest in the Carolina Hurricanes, but they might not have interest in him. While GM Jim Rutherford is rumored to be seeking a “big name”, Jagr apparently isn’t his target…Brenden Morrow’s camp reached out recently to the Montreal Canadiens…Former Canucks winger Mason Raymond was interested in joining the Calgary Flames, but they were reportedly cool to the idea.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grabovski to the Ducks might not be a bad idea, as he’d certainly be more affordable now, plus there is the Burke connection…The guessing game over Jagr’s destination could continue for a while…Morrow’s wife is from Quebec and he apparently wouldn’t mind playing for the Habs. He could be a good addition in terms of leadership, but age and injury have taken a toll on his skills…Raymond struggled to regain his former 53-point form from three years ago. Still, for clubs seeking scoring depth on the wing, he could be an affordable option.

NJ.COM: Rich Chere wonders what moves Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has in mind to replace the now-retired Ilya Kovalchuk. “Do the Devils sign someone like Jaromir Jagr, who has slowed down but is still capable of scoring goals? Do they try to make a major trade, perhaps having to give up some of their top prospects?” asks Chere.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The options aren’t the best. Still, Damien Brunner, Mikhail Grabovski and Mason Raymond are available if Lamoriello prefers to use his new-found cap space on affordable, short-term free agent measures. 

CSNWASHINGTON: Chuck Gormley reports Capitals GM George McPhee doesn’t intend to spend his remaining $3.9 million in cap space right away, preferring to wait and see what develops over the summer. “McPhee seems to think that by waiting, he might be better able to address the Capitals’ needs when they become more apparent in training camp or at the start of the regular season”, wrote Gormley.


  1. I’m really shocked there is not more discussion around Brad Boyes, he saw increased playing time this year with the Islanders and showed he can still play. He was on pace for around 18 goals and 50-60 points over a full season. I think there are a strong handful of teams in the NHL right now who could use him playing right wing on their second line and helping their powerplay.

    Personally I don’t believe that Phaneuf is going anywhere, as a matter of fact I think he signs an extension in Toronto and takes it at a bit less money even $5.5 million area. Phaneuf is not a bad defenseman, he has a big body, can hit, and has a booming shot. He is just 28 and coming into his prime, it is the contract and high expectations that are dragging him down. His offensive flare came back last season as he was on pace for 50+ points. Maybe he shouldn’t have a C … but get him a not AHL d-man to pair with and Phaneuf will be worth the money.

    • Totally agree with your take on Boyes and most about Dion Im not so sure about the extension for him because they will try and get a contract done for Phil first if they dont have room for Dion after that (I cant see him signing for less, maybe the same but not less) he will be gone by the trade deadline.

    • Boyes IMO sucks. Playing alongside a Hart Trophy candidate will up your play no matter what.

      • The problem with Dion is that he plays too many minutes per game. A slight reduced roll and he holds his own just fine. Thus the reason a Scuderi would have been a perfect pickup. I agree that if he does not want to accept less money he will be trade bait, but which team(s) in the league will be interested in him at 6.5. If the leafs decide to move him this year they might have to retain some of his salary because they definitely don’t want to lose him for nothing next summer. Then again we are assuming he wants to stay, he may want to leave the fish bowl and play somewhere where his every move isn’t scrutinized. The leafs priority will be to sign Phil and IMO will get done this summer or no later than the new year.
        I agree Jes that he succeeded due to playing along side Tavares but if he truly sucked he wouldn’t have taken advantage of the situation. Surprized the Isles didn’t give him one more year.
        Grabovski in Anaheim would be a good fit but what is the ducks cap situation like? They probably don’t want to dish out 5 mil per which apparently is what he is seeking. I guess the ducks have old veterans coming off the books soon(Selanne may play till he is 50) so they do have some leeway but he is probably seeking some term as well.

        • True about the Boyes. He however doesn’t suck I guess but playing on a line with a player like Tavares will easily double a not so great player’s production. Plus chemistry has a lot to do with it.

          5 Mill per is way to much for Grabovski. I’m sure he can get it but it is too much. If I were the ducks I’d wait until next season and do my spending then. Much better UFA’s then and they have Californian life to dangle in front of these players.

        • take your fish bowl and go to he ocean toronto is going to be alright

          • sick beak bud…

    • All these wonderful qualities for Phaneuf was when he played in Calgary …he is terrible infront of his own net and can not hit the broadside of a abrn from the point and should NEVER be on the Power play ….thye really need to move him for a more reliable asset for the money …as well as the Leafs need some cap room for the signings of some other and better players to round out the roster …they also need to make room for some D men who will be knocking on the door such as Loov…. Grandberg…Percy and Reilly …Dion is not a mentor to any of the players with his style of play ….Leafs need a more cerebral defense man and a stallwurt on the back end thsi is not Dion he only eats minutes thats it !

      • Again I will point out he was top 10 in d scoring…cant hit the broad side of a barn and should never be on th pp, and as far as give aways go did you watch any playoff games besides the Leafs,? If you did you may have noticed the runner up for the norris the guy who just got an 8 year 56 million dollar extension giving pucks away to the Bruins like the salvation army on Christmas, or Chara in the finals with his spectacular play doing the same with the Hawks, when you are on the ice as much as these guys are as D men you are bound to have a few more give aways and notice their mistakes a little more, because they are on the ice more then any other player!

        Also unlike Chara or Letang Phaneuf is usually paired with a guy who for all intensive purposes is an AHL defenseman, Kokstka Holzer, Gunnarson who was hurt and at the best of times is sketchy 2nd pairing type D. You bring up Dion when he was with Calgary, he played with Regher when he was at his best there, Letang plays with Orpick, Chara plays with Sidenberg, Keith plays with Seebrook or Hjalmersson the odd time. Phaneuf puts up great numbers with alot less help then the other big name D around the league.

    • You could put a crash test dummy on a line with Tavaras and get goals….Boyes sucks.

    • Saw Boyes play in Buffalo where he was given the opportunity to play on different lines – perhaps he was out of his element, but he really didn’t show my that he was worth the $3M he was paid. He did a credible job on the Island, but I’m liking the moves LI made. If anything they could probably get someone one like Mason Raymond, Brunner or Steckel to add in the mix.

      • “he really didn’t show my that he was worth the $3M he was paid. He did a credible job on the Island,”

        Probably because he was really making 1M. 😉

    • “I think there are a strong handful of teams in the NHL right now who could use him playing right wing on their second line and helping their powerplay.”

      Or, help the other team score more goals – he is/was a turnover machine on LI and that is why he was not resigned.

      • If every single player who was a turnover machine according to fans didn’t get a contract the NHL would have about half the players they do now. Boyes is an offensive minded guy who yes lacks some defensive instinct but proper linemates can allow that type of play to excel as we’ve seen in many places in the NHL.

        Unless people forget Boyes has also had 40+g & 30+g seasons in his career so he does have talent. He won’t ever reach those numbers again, but he will come at an affordable $2-$3 million a year contract right now and is IMO capable of putting up a 20g 50pt season if given the right conditions. He at the least should get some training camp invites.

  2. Devils used their Ilya money on Clowe and Ryder. They have yet to re-sign Henrique.

    • I wonder if Lou said anything to Clowe or Ryder about Kovalchuk before they signed. If not, would they have signed in NJ.

  3. So teams were lining up to get letang who only had one year and wanted big money but no one will touch phanuef for those reasons? I know they aren’t the same talent level but phanuef isn’t an awful player either he is still a top d man in the league and I think would dramaticly help a team like edmonton.

    • I don’t like Phaneuf much – I think he’s a poor leader that makes way too many defensive mistakes at this point of his career.

      But he scores, hits and works hard. I’d still love him as a #3 on my team. People overpay in free agency and the cap will rise. So $6.5M won’t be ridiculous for a solid #3 in 3 years. With that in mind, I think he’s still potentially tradeable now (because he’s only somewhat over-priced).

    • Comparing Phaneuf to Letang is just moronic, face the facts Phaneuf is terrible and NO team is going to trade for him. I have never seen a $6.5 mill d man get burned soooo many times. Worst captain in the NHL bar none. I personally wouldn’t give him a dime over $4 mill, then maybe he would be worth his contract, MAYBE!

      • What about him makes him the worst captain in the league?

      • I am a Leaf fan and watch every game. Phaneuf is extremely overrated and definitely over matched in a top 1-2 role. He is terrible on the PP. In Calgary I think he used to quickly slap one timer the puck on net low. In Toronto he takes forever to wind up and the puck can go anywhere. He is not creative at all with puck in terms of QBing on the PP either. He gets his points from just excess ice time.

        Defensively he does get burned all the time and has defensive lapses. Never clears the nets, always loses his coverage, ignores passing lanes. He doesn’t try to make the big hits anymore… what truculence (thats why he was given the C but he doesn’t even embody it.)

        If Edmonton wants him they can have him.

      • Comparing that they both had one year remaining on their contract is not moronic.

      • Facts based on what? That he was top 10 in scoring for D? That he was top 5 for minutes in the entire league? Top 25 for blocked shots? 6th in hits for D-men…. I think lots of You have been drinking the Toronto media cool aid too much Dion may be a little overpriced and not maybe eveyones first choice for a captain but he is an elite NHL defenceman top 20 atleast in the league if you look at his numbers, If you have those kind of numbers in a 30 team league you cant say he is not a top pairing guy maybe not on every team but definitely on most, alot of same people that say Dion suck couldnt name 20 other D men let alone 20 that are better then him with the stats to back up their arguement.

        • Wow, I actually agree with you.

          • Believe it or not we have agreed a few times…lol
            Im not sure if people think Im beer goggles or what but most the time Im not that far out in left field.
            I just dont mind calling people out on their opinion or is all so sometimes I get a little pissy with folks.

            No hard feelings…lol

        • I agree with Shticky people who say Phanuef flat out sucks doesn’t know hockey. He’s a good dman. He’s def not worth the money he is making but he is a good dman. He does make constant mistakes and stuff but nobody is perfect.

          He’s still not worth a top 10 draft pick though.

          • At this point I would say he is btter than Meyers – wouldn’t you love to swap?

          • Depends where your team is at the trade deadline I think if you were on the bubble and needed a strong eat minutes up kind of D man I could see a couple teams outside the top 5 but in the top 10 giving up one of those picks they got this year for Dion maybe you dont want to wait or have the 3-4 years for your pick to develop so you peddle it off for an immediate fix.

      • @canadian king.. Learn to read I said they are the same talent but the contract status and $ demand for letangs new contract.

        • *Arent

      • “face the facts”

        Yet you provide no facts!

        But here are some for you in favour of Phaneuf. He plays a crap load of minutes, puts up decent points, hits and fights. That is very valuable to any team, you may or obviously do hate it, but you cannot deny what Phaneuf brings. Oh and another thing for ya, he is an offensive dman, they all make errors more-so than any other players. Because they are the last line of defense, and the pinch plays many times don’t work in their favour. This is teams have defensive dmen.

    • Phaneuf is a #3-4 that’s being paid like a #1. That reason, compounded by his status as Captian, makes him a huge target in the TO media. If the leafs are out of the playoffs by the deadline then someone will pick him up as a rental but his next contract won’t be 6.5 mill. It should be 3.7-4.2 mill for 1-3 yrs. anything more in contract and term are mistakes for him at this point.

      TO has some big core decisions to make regarding Phanuef and Kessel. They will likely have to over pay to keep both. I’m thinking they try to keep Kessel and let Phanuef go.

    • Personally, I think Letang is way over rated. His defensive capabilities are barely average and gee look at who he gets to pass too, only two of the best players in the game and a couple more who are not all that shabby as well. Dion would help the oilers I agree but what assets would they be willing to give up for a guy who is a free agent next summer. An extention of some sort would have to be part of any deal. Gagne could have been part of the deal but I’m not so sure the leafs really need him now. What would you as a fan be willing to give up?

      • I think that Dallas would be a team that could be a team that may have some interest in Dion there are a couple more out there as well that I could see kicking the tires later in the year NYI SJ possibly Ana I just cant see the Oilers giving up the assets that Dion is worth to make a workable deal or it would already be done imo

  4. If anyone gives Morrow a contract bigger than 1-yr, $2M, I think they’ll regret it. He’s good for leadership now, not much else.

    (and I also think Morrow wouldn’t accept that contract. So he’ll sign a regrettable contract with someone.)

    • Personally I would like to see the Sabres sign Morrow and I wouldn’t begrudge him $5M for a 2 year deal. Morrow has skill and will play in the dirty areas but more importantly, I think Morrow brings a lot of tangibles that the Sabres need – leadership, work ethic and mentorship. I also think the Sabres would send a message to other teams by signing him – “that we are serious about developing our youth”. I thought that Morrow added more to Pittsburgh than Iginla and his hockey history speaks volumes (staying with one team). I hope Darcy makes this happen as it would be a good signing.

      • I think 2x $2.5M is the deal Morrow will get. And I agree, his intangibles make him very valuable. But I think by yr 2 of the contract, he’ll fall into the Ryan Smyth situation: not enough skill/speed to be on the ice, making the intangibles less relevant.

        I agree he’ll get two, but personally think his value would expire after one year.

  5. I think Hal Gill skates faster than Phaneuf. I’ve always been a supporter of Dion but after he got torched in OT of Game 4 he’s since been dead to me! No way he gets extended or traded at the deadline as we’ll need him to blow more playoff games this season. His cap hit will go towards locking up Kessel for 8 years and signing a good stay at home DEF in FA next year. Gardiner, Franson and Reilly will be all the offense we need from the back end.

    • Correct Josh ….Lefas need a shut down D man who can play a smart game and think the game as well as use size and skill tough to find but sometimes you need to sweeten a deal to get it done …Leafs have so many young D in the system that are almost ready they should swing a deal that can help them in this area IMO

    • Toronto has a plethora of d-men coming up through the ranks, therefore I believe Nonis will try to move Phanuef before the new year at the latest. For all you Dion haters, do you actually think that a coach in the NHL would play a guy as much as Dion does if he sucked as bad as you seem to think. No, I don’t think so. The TO media is very influential and they continually find someone on the leafs to take out their frustrations on, if it wasn’t Dion it would be someone else. Try switching the channel from CBC once in awhile and watch some other teams and see just how much other teams defenders screw up. Subban won the best defender trophy this year(what a joke), and yet he gives up the puck continually.

    • with wings and blue jackets coming into the east there’s no guarantee the leafs make the playoffs this upcoming season.

  6. I would love to see Morrow join the Habs for 1-2 yrs 2.5-3 mill per. With gio leaving having a couple high character guys to replace him in the rooms would be huge. He could easily play 2nd-3rd line and second PP. 14-15 mins. Ready for playoffs :)

    • I think that is too expensive especially given his minutes will come at the expense of up and comers, however, I agree he’d be a great short-term upgrade IF the Habs could shed some bodies and, yes, I am thinking of Desharnais and Moen.

      Obviously, I am a Habs fan but I got to watch the Leafs at the ACC a few times this year including a playoff game. Seeing the whole ice rather than just a TV feed really changes your perspective. Phaneuf would be a solid 3/4 pairing but might find himself Komisareked before he can get on track.

    • I think you and Paddy are both circling the right call regarding Morrow. My question is where would he fit in the line up? Montreal seems pretty much set at every position and I do not see Morrow as a player who shares time with the press box. It makes me wonder if Gionta’s injury is more serious than we have been told, and is he at risk of maybe retiring???? Pure speculation of course but Morrow would be a good replacement if Gio was not on the team.

      • I wonder who’s replacing Ryder? Briere fills that roster spot, but that’s another centre. That leaves them with Desharnais, Plekanec, Briere and Eller as 4 guys for the top 3 centre positions. I don’t know who would get moved to the wing there. I think it’d be a waste to move Eller (the most likely choice) and hinder his development.

        If that’s the case, Morrow (or Penner, if low enough cost?) could fill the wing position. It still doesn’t answer the glut of centres issue, though. (DD for an ok draft pick?)

        • Brierre actually can play wing.

          • Thanks, DJP! :)

            My bad, I thought he was purely a centre.

    • Montreal has $3.4M in salary left – the question is….are they going to sign Armstrong, Halpern or Nokelainen? Or perhaps they should sign someone like Mason or Brunner or maybe a stay at home D like Hainsey. I think at this point Montreal should stand pat and see what shakes out during training camp.

      • I think there is definitely a trade coming. It would prob be Pleks or DD. maybe bourque. Maybe markov, if another decent D is coming back. But I think morrow fits on the third line (2b?) with Chuckie and Eller. Briere will slot into the number 2 line with Pleks and Gio/bourque.

        I think Eller is going to replace Pleks this year. So if u can’t move DD then move Pleks after the season or trade deadline (if out of the playoffs). The biggest “?” This year is the D. So hopefully that sorts itself out in training camp.

      • Armstrong is not, MB said as much. Nokelainen will not be back either. Halpern is a maybe.

  7. Rumour that New jersy would not trade Henrique for Vanek is out there …but I for the life of me can not undedrstand how Lou L. would shoot this down …Henrique is a QUALITY player but Vanek is elite and is one of the best forwards in the league , he IMO would be a great center piece in replacing a Kovolchuk type player ….I would include Henrique in that deal for a multi player swap of 2 players for 2 players

    • Then have Vanek walk at the end of the year? NJ wont have the money to keep a guy who has already said he dosent want to be part of a rebuild in Buffalo so what makes you think he wants to be part of one with an owner with money problems and by the looks of it it may be a worse situation in NJ? Lou should be looking at keeping the young and somewhat affordable assets he has, Vanek is not going to improve this team a whole lot, they have no draft pick this year so you may not want to be giving away the youth you have, sign some affordable UFAs and try and make it work till the trade deadline, if you are anywhere near the 8 spot strip it down and deal the vets for youth and picks, this is going to be worse then Calgary if someone soon doesnt wake up uncle Lou.

  8. I think the Sharks would be very interested in picking up Raymond for a third line winger. He’s quick and has always looked good playing against them. However, I think the caveat is his injury history. After the Havlat situation, I think Wilson is very leery about picking up another player who might be out for injury time more than on the ice…

  9. Grabovski to Ducks is an outside possibility but pieces have to fall together first and fast.
    Part of trading Ryan was to get some cap relief, Ducks to not have the resources to spend to ceiling and Murray has stated that he hates waking up in the morning wondering who does he move to create cap space before he can add another piece.

    1) Kyle Palmieri needs to be resigned, he is the one that needs to be worked on now.
    2) Selanne needs to make up his mind, getting tired of this every year but it is what it is.
    If Selanne comes back then Grabovski would not be signed.
    If Selanne does not come back then maybe yes but one year only like Roy got in St. Louis.
    Of course by the time Selanne makes up his mind it may be too late.

    3) Ducks also need a 7th D-man. Someone sitting in seats waiting to give one of the regulars a
    night off or fill in for injury. I’m thinking maybe Lydman who is slowing down or Ryan Whitney.
    In either case has to be less than 2 million and one year only.

    • Actually Anaheim could sign Grabo to a cheap 1 yr contract for maybe $2M base with bonus dollars. They have a few players they dont sign in 014 and resign Grabo if he proves his worth. Selanie would sign for less money if it means signing a player like Grabo, The issue that Anaheim lacked was a 2nd line Center with size….Grabo fits that.

      • Grabo is a 2nd line center with offensive skills for sure … but he is not a 2nd line center with size. The guy is 5’11” and 180lbs and he doesn’t play much bigger than what he is. He is a brave dude, will sometimes go into the corners, but the Leafs played him on a checking line which was out of his role and why he got burned so bad by fans and media. If the Ducks want him to fill that type of role they will be disappointed … let him carry the puck and be offensive and he will be happy.

        • I said on this site as soon as Grabo was let go that he would be in Anaheim. You know Burke and all. While I think there is mutual interest I think Grabo wants to stay on the east coast to be able to play against Toronto more. My betting is right now
          1 – Buffalo
          2 – NJ

          then Anaheim

  10. Why would a team clearly in a rebuilding mode trade a younger player for Vanek???
    Where they finish next seaosn doesn’t impact where the draft in the first round, and if vanek WAS this elite player who was a “stand alone impact player” why would Buffalso be so hot to ride him out of town?

    It amazes me how homers ALWAYS try and sell their wares like they are designer.

    • Jersey isn’t in a rebuild…why? Because they have a strong systematic play, where all players get tied in and play as a whole.

      • They should be, Zidlicky Elias Ryder Clowe Brodeur Zubris Salvador, Half the frickn team is on the verge of retirement, no number 1 pick. This is going to to get ugly in a hurry This team needs to be blown up. If they are such a system team teach it to some younger guys these Vets should be dealt by the trade deadline to help rebuuild this team I know they have some youth in the system but really its time to move on. This will be worse way worse then Calgary if something is not soon done.

  11. Anyone who takes Bill Watters seriously should get a life. His next sensible statement will be his first.

  12. Don’t rule Grabo out of Tampa or Florida either. Both teams need skilled depth at second line centre, if he is looking to stay on east coast. As I have stated many times, I think Anaheim is a perfect fit. But as they just resigned Koivu, they would have to ask Koivu to play third line centre, or convince Grabovski to play in the # 3 spot for a year. That may be a tough call. Remeber the rant. Most important fact about the rant was that he was 100% correct.