NHL Morning Rumor Mill – Saturday, October 19, 2013.

Latest on the Flyers, Ryan Miller, Robin Lehner, Michal Neuvirth and Matt Niskanen. Enjoy!

Could Sean Couturier become trade bait?

Could Sean Couturier become trade bait?

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector (No relation) reports on the Philadelphia Flyers early season woes and wonders if they might make a major trade in the coming weeks. Spector noted the equally struggling Edmonton Oilers have the scoring wingers (Ales Hemsky, Nail Yakupov) Flyers GM Holmgren seeks, “and a shopping list that includes size and grit (Wayne Simmonds), a defenceman (Braydon Coburn), or a young centreman with some size (Sean Couturier).”  Spector also notes the equally floundering Buffalo Sabres have a scoring winger in Thomas Vanek who’s a pending UFA next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: First off, I think the Flyers would have more interest in Yakupov than the injury-prone, expensive ($5 million) Hemsky. The Oilers would undoubtedly have interest in Simmonds, Coburn or Couturier. Of that trio, Coburn is now least likely to move because the Flyers have blueline issues of their own, and they like Simmonds gritty style. That could leave Couturier, once considered untouchable, as the more likely trade candidate.

Vanek would certainly help the Flyers offense, but his UFA status and the perception he’ll sign with the Minnesota Wild next summer makes him a risky acquisition, unless the Flyers could get him to first agree to re-sign with them as a condition of the trade.

Question is, would a trade among any of these struggling teams actually help them, or would it be merely rearranging the deck chairs on two sinking ships? 

TORONTO SUN: Chris Stevenson questions the speculation linking Buffalo’s Ryan Miller to the Edmonton Oilers, noting they’re on his list of eight “no-trade” teams. Stevenson noted Miller would prefer playing for a Southern California team to be closer to his actress-wife, but pointed out those clubs appear set in goal for the foreseeable future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Miller wants to be closer to his wife, but also wants to play for a winner.  At 33, he doesn’t have many seasons left, and I believe he wants a chance to win a Stanley Cup.  If he could land with a Western team that’s at least a perennial playoff team (unlike the Oilers), he could okay such a move.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Ken Warren acknowledged Senators backup Robin Lehner’s name popping up in recent trade rumors but doesn’t believe the club will move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Warren noted, the Senators are grooming Lehner as their future starter. He’s not going anywhere.

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley observed a high number of scouts (representing 16 teams) attended the recent NY Rangers- Capitals game, as well as recent rumors linking Capitals backup Michal Neuvirth to the Edmonton Oilers. Gormley wondered if Neuvirth might fetch left-handed Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smid’s among the few reliable blueliners the Oilers have. I’m not sure they’d be willing to part with him for an unproven starter like Neuvirth.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen, who’s done an admirable job filling in for the injured Kris Letang, hopes to re-sign with the club after this season. Niskanen will be eligible for UFA status next summer, but the Penguins don’t negotiate contracts during the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Niskanen was the subject of trade speculation this summer, but his strong performance this season probably means the Penguins will retain him for the rest of this season.


  1. Today I am going to take a different approach!!

    There is no way that the Flyers will tarde B Schenn or Cotourier….thats just noy going to happen you have to be crazy !!! LOL

    No way in the world The Oilers will trade Yakupov …hes got way to much upside !!!…LOL

    Iam just saying this becuase all these teams mentioned really need to make a trade and there really should not be any untouchables if the right deal presents itself …….

    Flyers should not be interested in Yakupov at all !!! There needs run deeper than that and Voracek is a much better player than him right now so getting Yakupov for the Flyers is taking a step back …thats almost rebuilding mode at that point !!
    Flyers need quality players who have been in the league a few years in ANY DEAL not a potential player …..again !!

    Any deals that will happen will most likely happen with teams you would not expect to make a trade partner !!

  2. Yakupov would not help the Flyers at this point, at all. Yes, Hemsky is injury prone, but his offensive abilities are a dire need. If Hemsky can give the Flyers 60 games and 50 points, that could make a huge difference.

    Vanek is either a trade deadline acquisition, or the Sabres may as well throw in the towel in the coming weeks and trade him. Yes, his UFA status is worrisome, but i also think that the presumption that he will sign with Minnesota is premature and does not hold much ground.

    The Wild ownership put their money, and lots of it, into Parise and Suter. Yeah, Heatley will most likely not get re-signed, and that will free up cap space for the Wild, but it is not a question of cap space, but rather a question of funds. Signing Vanek to a $7M deal per season for at least five to seven years? I am not sure that the Wild will have the ability to do that.

    Also, it’s not like Vanek is a Minnesota native. His only ties with the state of Minnesota are his college years.

    Vanek will be a money player. The highest bidder will get Vanek.

    The Flyers fired their coach, no changes. They can make a couple of trades, but guess what? No changes.

    The problem with this team is the core. GM Holmgren should be, and will be, fired. I am not sure how far a team will go when it trades two star players that are now Cup winners and a goalie that is a Vezina trophy winner.

    Flyers need to go through a retooling process that nearly mirrors a rebuild.

    • The ties of Vanek to Minnesota are more than that. He lives there in the off season and his wife is from there also.

      Certainly there would have to be a contract agreement in place before any team would take a chance on Vanek and give the Sabres what they deserve in return.

      • Ehhh….but how many times do we see a player’s wife make an impact? Money is money…. and i don’t think that the Wild will be able to make such an offer.

        • exactly micky. money talks.

        • Micki – we are seeing two wives that have the potential to make an impact – Miller’s wife who lives in LA and his desire to go to a “western” team and the swirling of rumors of Vanek signing next year with MN – both impact each players trade value.

          I see the possiblity of Miller going to St. Louis – both Halak and Elliott are questionable – Halak because of previous injuries and Elliott’s save % is low. Miller has always been considered an “elite” goaltender – both Halak and Elliott are not considered such. I also can envision the trade being Stewart/Halak or Elliott for Miller/prospect/draft pick Stewart’s playing time has been cut down to 13 minutes a game and St. Lou has been a contender – never quite getting past the first rounds. Another thing is St. Louis is a hub and travel time is 3 hours to LA – makes it a little easier than getting to Edmonton or Bflo which could be most of the day.

          Anyway, those are my thoughts

          • Buffalo would not want Stewart.They would rather get a younger player or pick.

            Stewart + Halak salary > Miller salary

            Buffalo would rather do Miller at 50% for Halak + quality prospect/pick+ additional pick if he resigns

            Other compensation could be tied to playoff advancement.

        • Minnesota has 22 mil in cap space next year before the cap goes up so money for vanek is no issue. Plus pominville, vanek’s best friend, will be in Minnesota for the next 5 years. Add in the fact that vanek lives in mn during the off season and that his wife is from Minnesota clearly puts the Wild as the front runner for vanek if he becomes a UFA.

    • Vanek lives in Minnesota during the off season.

  3. The Flyers or the Oilers both don’t have bad teams….just not playing up to potential.
    Oilers are deseperate for a Goalie which can help improve them far better and quicker than the Flyers.

    Flyers actually have a great team on paper ….no spark right now !!!

    Mason has played unexpectedly very well for the Flyers with no or little support ….their guns are not firing ..
    Giroux – Cotourier – Voracek = NO GOALS …Simmons 1 Goal.
    how do you win when your 3 best players have yet to score??
    The Flyers have a very solid team which makes a trade a very hard thing to swallow , its just giving up on players at this point !!

    Vanek will NOT be a Flyer ….his cap hit makes that almost impossible ..Flyers would have to give up 3 players for him to make it work and being a UFA that would be insane !!
    Buffalo would have to eat a lot of salary still not a win win for a good trade

    Potential trade partners for Flyers & Oilers would be ( IMO ) :

    Oilers – If the proper deal presented itself Id say that Brian Murray may part with Graig Anderson ….
    were talking a real good deal …
    but I think its possible especially if he can land a Yakupov …Lehner is right there to take over anyways !!

    My money is that the Caps land Yakupov

    • there is not a snowballs chance in hell of the flyers making a big move with the rangers and caps. the jets or oilers seem like a possible dance partner right now, but you will not see a big move between two patrick division teams this early.

      the flyers need ego on this team. i would think a large move with the jets makes the most sense. if they can keep the roast pork and chez steaks away from Big Byf that type of a move makes sense.

      two other issues that no one is talking about is timonen simply looks terrible out there and vorack is obviously still hurt. the voracek issue will straighten itself out and they have the depth at defense now to take minutes away from 44, but again what this team needs is confidence and swagger. Byf will bring that.

    • @ Back checking


      you have no idea what you are talking about if you think Habs and the lightning are looking for trading partner right now. they have absolutely no reason to make a pitch for a trade unless there getting a pretty good defenseman back in return from Philly or Edmonton. And if you do not know what’s up with the defense situation on Philly or Edmonton then you should study up.


      It’s Craig Anderson guy lol.


      Why aren’t the Sabres on that bizarro list of yours? They are one of like 5 teams that are itching to make a deal right now.

  4. What the Flyers need most is for Claude Giroux to get back to his best level of play. He seems to be getting stronger and more like himself but he’s not there yet. It’s pretty tough for any team if your best player, one of the top centres in the NHL, isn’t producing. The Flyers need to score and Giroux is the guy that makes that happen.

    • Flyers have the GM to blame. Too much change from year to year. He has made some bad decisions and not addressed the real issues with that team. I think he has been playing fantasy hockey.

  5. I absolutely LOVE it when Flyers fans say they won’t trade anyone. They’ll NEVER trade Richards! They’ll NEVER trade Carter! They’ll NEVER trade James van Riemsdyk – LOL

  6. To Edmonton: Vanek + Miller
    To Buffalo: Yakupov + Hemsky + Dubnyk + 1st in 2014

    (Miller = Dubnyk + Yakupov)(Vanek = Hemsky + 1st)

    To Philadelphia: Elliot + Paajarvi
    To St. Louis: Emery + Couturier

    To Calgary: Neuvirth + Laich
    To Washington: Ramo + Glencross

    • First, Edmonton would be giving up a first and a very good young asset for two guys who are free agents next summer and would have no intention of re-signing in Edmonton. Bad deal, and MacTavish would be shot.
      IMO Elliot and Emery are a wash. Emery has a injury history and if the Blues got rid of Elliot it wouldn’t be for another goalie as Allen would step right in. Coutuier also has a much bigger upside than Paajarvi.
      When Calgary makes a trade they will be looking for picks and prospects. not veterans in return, they have enough of those they would like to move. Neuvirth who has shown some flashes of brilliance has also struggled mightily at times and Laich is aging and injury prone.

      • Miller is on his list of he won’t accept a trade to. St. Louis has been struggling in goal. Halak and Elliot are done I believe. I see something like…

        Halak and Ty Rattie to Buffalo for Miller

        Vanek to Minnesota for Granlund, 1st rounder and Coyle. Take back some of Vanek’s salary to make the trade work, which would automatically get Minnesota to give up more.

    • Don’t see a Miller/Vanek deal to Edmonton. Ed is on Miller’s “no fly zone” and even more importantly, Edmonton really doesn’t get him closer to the wife. Again, in this instance the wife plays an important part of the decision making. So, instead of you’r Philly to St. Louis scenario – change it to Bflo/St. Lou.

    • Calgary stated multiple times already this year Glencross is untouchable. Why would they move a played putting up his points they are only paying 2.55m a year for the next
      two seasons. Not to mention his No Movement Clause. If they were going to make a trade for a goalie it would likely be for a proven starter with atleast a season of starting under their belt.

      • Neuvirth has played 123 games and is 56-36-11. And is only 24 years old!!!

    • We are all aware that Miller and Vanek are set to be UFA’s, but MacT can get permission from Reiger to speak to both Vanek and Miller and tell them that if they accept a trade to Edmonton, they’ll be signed to long term contracts and will be a playoff team if they sign there.With that said, a guarantee that they’ll sign there, then the draft pick and Yakupov being given-up, would be worth it. Unless Edmonton can work out a trade with St. Louis to acquire Halak. Yakupov + Dubnyk & 1st for Halak.

      • Not to mention that Miller and Vanek bring a combined 13.4 mill cap hit.

  7. miller is going to st. Louis. no California teams need to have an upgrade in goal. st. Louis although a great team are struggling in the goaltending department and kif they want to win in the playoffs they will make that upgrade to miller.

    • An option in California is Anaheim where Hiller is a UFA after the season. Other teams that could trade for Miller is Colorado. sorry not convinced of Colorado goaltending.. St Louis is another option as are Washington, Philadelphia, Edmonton, and Dallas

    • Struggling in the goaltending department? Halak is one of the best goalies in the League. Heck, he has proven to be better than Miller, and is younger than Miller.

      • And they have Allen…

    • Agree with Jes. I don’t see Miller or Vanek agreeing to fore go free agency and do a sign and trade. Miller probably isn’t going to find a job in California, unless Anaheim wants to make a change. I don’t see San Jose having any interest. L.A. has a Quick. Colorado…could see that as possible if they want to spend the money and upgrade. St. Louis would be a little more likely if they feel he can be an upgrade for them. They are a little closer to being a serious contender. I think he will be a playoff rental if he makes it easy on Buffalo to trade him and then go to free agency. Miller and Allen could be a nice tandem next year in St. Louis.

  8. I have been thinking that the Minnesota Wild could be the perfect team for Ryan Miller. Backstrom and Harding aren’t the answer, they are a competitive team on the rise, have a solid defensive corps, everything is pointing to Vanek possibly signing there in the summer, and they are located closer to the West Coast.

    • Agreed this is a pretty realistic idea I think especially when Heatly comes off the cap next year and they will have at the very least 22 mill in cap space possibly closer to 30 depending on what the cap goes up to and 17 guys still under contract.