NHL Morning Rumor Mill – September 12, 2013.

Updates on Nazem Kadri (yes, Nazem Kadri), Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller, and Matt Niskanen, plus the latest on the Hurricanes, Panthers and Oilers.

TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox speculates Nazem Kadri and the Toronto Maple Leafs will eventually part ways. Cox noted Kadri has butted heads with coaches and general managers since joining the Leafs, plus there’s apparently concerns over his lifestyle and performance. “Other players call him “The Dream” in the Leaf dressing room, and not necessarily in a complimentary way”, writes Cox. Though re-signed for two years, Cox doubts Kadri has a long-term future in Toronto, suggesting the Leafs could move him like the Boston Bruins moved Tyler Seguin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kadri struggles with consistency and has similar “lifestyle” issues like Seguin did in Boston, then sure, the Leafs could dump him between now and July 2015, when he’ll again be a restricted free agent.  Then again, Kadri’s off-ice “issues” could be much ado about nothing, he matures a bit and shoots out the lights on the ice and the Leafs open the vault for him.

No trades imminent for Thomas Vanek & Ryan Miller.

No trades imminent for Thomas Vanek & Ryan Miller.

WGR550: Paul Hamilton reports Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier claims the trade window for Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller is “closed”.

CBC’s Elliotte Friedman reported via Twitter he was hearing Buffalo “has told teams it is willing keep some of Thomas Vanek’s salary — providing Sabres get a deal they like.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doesn’t sound as though the Sabres found a deal they liked. I believe there are teams interested in Vanek, but considering he’s a UFA next summer and the Sabres aren’t expected to be a playoff contender this season, those clubs probably prefer to wait until the trade deadline (when the bulk of Vanek’s salary has been paid out by the Sabres) to make offers for him.

PUCK DADDY: Sean Leahy speculates over which defensemen the Carolina Hurricanes could pursue to replace Joni Pitkanen’s, who’s out for the season with a heel injury. Leahy listed Toronto’s John-Michael Liles as a trade option, as well as UFAs Ron Hainsey and Tom Gilbert.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes could probably get Hainsey and Gilbert combined for less than Liles’ salary right now. Liles also has a modified no-trade clause, in which he lists 18 teams he won’t accept being dealt to. If the Hurricanes are on that list, forget about that move.

MIAMI HERALD/SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon confirmed he’d contacted UFAs Tim Thomas, Ilya Bryzgalov and former Panther Jose Theodore to gauge their interest in trying out for the club. Theodore reportedly declined the offer as he’s seeking a contract, while Tallon is waiting to hear back from Thomas and Bryzgalov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thomas and Bryzgalov likely want contracts as well, and probably aren’t interested in being preseason backups. 

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Rob Rossi reports of ongoing speculation defenseman Matt Niskanen could soon be dealt to clear cap space, but that’s not a certainty. Assistant GM Jason Botterill “hinted Wednesday the Penguins have more cap space than some believe”, so they’re feeling no pressure to move Niskanen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: CapGeek lists the Penguins as being nearly $1.1 million over the salary cap. While the site has a proven record of accuracy and legitimacy (they’re the “go-to” reference for fans, bloggers and pundits alike), they do note that “contracts not verified directly through NHL channels are listed as estimates until confirmed.” We should see some clarification on the Penguins cap space by the end of the month.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites a “tweet” from TSN’s Bob McKenzie claiming the Oilers are in the market for an enforcer.



  1. I think Cox is turning into Simmons here in Toronto, stoking sparks and turning them into flames.
    Kadri is young, he has time to mature. There is a bridge contract, but if Toronto gets rid of him it’ll be because of performance issues. If they could handle Grabovski as long as they did, they can handle Kadri for a lot longer IMHO.

    • Agreed to a point Cox is striking while the iron is hot and stirring the pot alot like Simmons and alot of the Toronto media, but Kadri is far from a saint an a bit more then just a little immature. Not unlike a lot of guys in their early twenties would be if they made that type of money, but some of it is a little ridiculous like getting busted for parking in a handicap spot and being a douche tweeting about it similar to his tweeting back to reporters, some of the rumored stuff of problems in the locker room during World Juniors, refusing to shake hands after games, his commitment and fitness level etc. Kadri’s questionable attitude problem has always been around Cox just waits to now to write about it.

      • Agreed on the tweeting back to reporters. I was not against Kadri until he called Mckenzie ‘Bobo’. Totally unacceptable behaviour, I have trouble believing a guy who can’t hand reporters can handle the rigors of an NHL career.

    • Exactly. Sometimes I wonder why people even bother to read The Star. Could we see how the kid’s first full season in the league goes before starting with this crap?

  2. For those of us down her in California, can somebody please elaborate on Kadri’s “lifestyle” issues? This is the first I’ve heard of it.

    • To be honest, this is the first I’ve heard of anything about Kadri’s “lifestyle” (other than showing up to camp overweight couple of years ago) and I live in Toronto.
      As I mentioned above, I think Cox found a stick and a turd pile and decided to have some fun…

      • That’s funny!

    • Arrogance (aka being high on himself thinking that the world revolves around him), not listening to coaches, & constantly being in the media spotlight. Other players frown on that. Don’t listen to that report though as it is false. If the Leafs were going to move him they would have already done so during his contract squabble. He has plenty of time for maturing off the ice and on the ice as well. David Clarkson & other veteran leaders will see to that. He got better and less vocal at the end of the contract squabble which was good and he also stated he had learned some lessons

    • They say he eats too many Wendy’s double cheesburgers. That is not BS, I seriously saw that reported somewhere.

  3. I think Niskanen will be traded to Carolina or maybe Franson. I doubt Canes go after Liles, too much money.
    Maybe Canes will show interest in Meszaros, I do not want to trade Meszaros for some 3rd round pick.

    • u think Carolina will pass on Liles for $3+ Mil but take Meszaros at $4 Mil, really?

      • I do not look at Lieles at $3+ I look at him as $4-. I also said MAYBE they will look at Meszaros. Meszaros makes 4M in his final year and can certanly play top 4 role when healthy..

        In 2010-11 Meszaros won Barry Ashbee award “outstanding defenseman” on the team.

        and yes, REALLY!

        • Your point was about money, Liles is $3.88 Mil, Meszaros is $4 Mil both have injury histories, wishful thinking on your part. As for the award, who was he up against? Liles in 2010-2011 accumulated 40 points in 76 games with an abismal Colorado team, in comparison Meszaros got 38 pts in 81 games.
          You can’t dismiss one and praise the other, they are virtually the same.
          Carolina will most likely sign Hainsey as a replacement.

          • The thing everyone is missing about Liles is that he has 2 yrs left on his current contract. where as I believe Mezaros is UFA at seasons end. Mezaros is an injury waiting where as Liles is a healthy player and usually misses very little time. However I believe Franson would be much more prefered by Carolina. Pitkanen is a top 4 as is Franson.

          • Yes about money.. 3 more years at 3.8M a year of 32 year old d-men vs one year at 4M with almost the same production and a better physical output from Meszaros..

            What point are you trying to make.. Liles got 4pts in 76 games vs MEszaros 38pts in 81.. whoopty freaking doo …

          • The point comparison is a valid one Nitro, Liles got 40 pts in 76 games (53% scoring) in Colorado who finished 2nd last in the entire league!
            Meszaros got 38 points in 81 games (46% scoring) on Philadelphia who finished 3rd in the league. That’s not a “whoopty freaking doo” if you ask me.
            The only saving grace to your argument is the contract length, but if Carolina wans a longer lasting asset, then Liles would be the more attractive option.
            A moot arguments, since I’ll be very surprised if they don’t go the UFA route

          • Konstantine, depends how you look at it, glass half empty or half fool. Meszaros scored all those points playing behind TImonen, Pronger and Coburn. Getting worse ice time and limited PP minutes and his d-sive partner was Lilja.

            I also never said or hinted that Meszaros is better than Liles or wise versa. I mentioned money that Liles will collect in next 3 years vs comparable Meszaros and possibility that Canes might be interested I n one year deal. Wth is your problem Jack?

            Relax, stop trying to hit me with your purse 😉

        • In Carolina Liles would probably give you the same offensive output as Meszaros, probably around 35-38 points. Liles would probably play more games then Meszaros as well. The point I`m trying to make is that Meszaros might be more to Carolina`s liking because he only has 1 yr left on his current contract. Most believe that both Meszaros & Liles are over paid, but with Meszaros your only overpaying for this 1 yr, where as with Liles you`re overpaying for another 2 yrs. Liles is a good offensive d-man, just that Toronto has too many of those type and he doesn’t play Randy Carlisle`s type of game. Pitkanen & Liles play a similar offensive game. Pitkanin will be back next season so maybe Carolina wants a 1 yr commitment and that is why they might prefer Meszaros. If they want someone around longer than maybe Liles or Franson would fit the bill. Carolina might not want to pay Toronto`s asking price for Franson, so they might pursue Liles knowing it won`t cost them as much in terms of assets.

          • For the record, I was addressing Konstantine.

  4. is anybody noticing the times being listed for each post. I live in Toronto and right now it’s 10:36 a.m. Yet look at the time being listed. Any ideas as to what’s going on?

    • Not sure but I think Spector is on the East coast, the time could reflect Atlantic Standard Time

      • Sorry but its only an hour later on the East Coast.

        • I stand corrected, even with the 1.5 hr difference to NF and PEI, that still doesn’t explain the 4 hr difference. Web admin prob just didn’t setup proper setting.

  5. I still think we’ll see Vanek traded around the deadline to MN basically a swap of Heatly/Granlund for Vanek/Prospect maybe someone like JT Compher, Cantenacci or Baptiste. Essentially Heatly would be a salary dump with Granlund and Vanek being the main pieces of the deal. The odds are very high that Vanek is going to sign with MN next year – so why not do the deal now.

    As for Miller – there really isn’t a market for him unless he wants to go down to Florida. He’s gonna have to play lights out to even make the Olympic Team and unless a West Coast Team gets into Goalie trouble – there really isn’t a place for him. I think he could end up in CO or St. Louis, but it will depend on how well their current goalies play. St. Louis has two descent goalies, but neither have been able to get St. Lou past the 1st round of the playoffs. CO has an unproven commodity – so it depends on how Varmalov does the first part of the season.

    • Both Heatly and Vanek are UFA`s next summer. Why would Buffalo dump Vanek for Heatly when Heatly makes more money than Vanek

      • And why would MN give up possibly their best young player for a player who will be UFA at season’s end?

    • The Sabres have no need of Heatley as part of their rebuild, so that deal makes no sense.

      I think the best they can do is to get a young player (not a rookie) + a draft pick for Vanek.

      Miller may end up walking…it’s a very real possibility.

  6. I work at the Trudeau Montreal Airport and saw Simon Gagne landing this morning carying hockey gear.
    Considering he’s UFA and Montreal has only 1.6M left on cap… Can we suppose Gagne is secretly invited at main camp and will first clear medical? We know Gagne-Briere duo worked out in Philly, could Gagne ink a largely reduced contract?

  7. From what I heard reported on a Pittsburgh radio station today, the Pens can avoid cap problems by sending Simon Despres to Wilkes Barre Scranton. If that’s true, it could explain why the top pairings at camp today were Letang-Scuderi, Orpik-Martin, and Niskanen-Bortozzo