NHL Morning Rumor Mill – September 23, 2013.

The Blues are interested in Brenden Morrow, the Penguins options to become cap compliant, the Oilers seek a heavyweight enforcer, and the Avalanche claiming a center off waivers prompts speculation over John Mitchell’s future with the club.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford reports the St. Louis Blues have contacted UFA left wing Brenden Morrow and are awaiting his response. The Blues currently have around $1.8 million in cap space. Morrow does have connections with Blues GM Doug Armstrong, coach Ken Hitchcock and VP of business operations Brett Hull during their time with the Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morrow claimed he wants to play where he can contribute to a winner. The Blues could be a good fit, provided Morrow is willing to accept less than the $4.1 million he made last season.

Could the Penguins trade Matt Niskanen to become cap compliant.

Could the Penguins trade Matt Niskanen to become cap compliant.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW/PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: examine the Penguins options to become cap compliant for the upcoming season. One could be placing goalie Tomas Vokoun (recovering from a blood clot in his pelvis) on long-term injury reserve. A trade is also possible, as is demoting waiver-exempt players like Simon Despres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins will have to get creative in juggling salaries to get under the cap. Defenseman Matt Niskanen was thought to be a trade candidate this summer but the Pens apparently prefer to retain him. We’ll know by October 1 (the start of the NHL season) how the Pens will address this.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who claims the Oilers are ramping up their search for a super heavyweight enforcer.

DENVER POST: Adrian Dater noted the Colorado Avalanche claiming center Marc-Andre Cliche off waivers from the LA Kings. Dater pointed out Cliche has a one-way contract worth $550K, and wondered if the Avs envision Cliche as their fourth-line center, which could make John Mitchell expendable.


  1. I Think the Penguines are seriously behind closed doors reflecting on possibly trading Fleury …
    If they do and get a true quality bonifide starter back it may help with a few dollars there on the return goalie at a lesser dollar value it would save them $2 million a year in the deal.
    i.e Tim Thomas at maybe $3 million this year and next !

    Another deal I would look at is Niskanen to Carolina for Anton Khudobin as Carolina maybe still looking for a Quality young D man and Khudobin who I think to be a future star and # 1 Goalie… IMO
    He also comes with a less than $1million dollar cap hit !
    They also have a trading past to help service Stall to Carolina …this would be my first choice if I was Pitt

    Anahiem also has a log jam at the Goalie position with 3 future starters and they too are looking for a NHL D man to fill Sourays spot and round out there team with cap space open Fleury and Niskanen for Hiller and prospect.

    3rd option would be Fleury for Anderson from Ottawa …gives way to future Goalie Lehner to be a bigger piece and gives Murray a great trade chip and a top tandem !

    Just throwing it out there ….there is limited options in this category around the league

    • Nobody’s going to want anything to do with Fleury and his contract.
      As a GM would you seriously trade to get him?
      He has a high cap hit, and currently has issues with his game.
      Calgary would be the only team in my mind who might take that risk, but I think they’d prefer to try their luck with MacDonald and Ramo splitting the workload.
      Fleury is not going anywhere unless he improves his game, and if he does, why woult Pit move him then?

      • After checking the league average salaries for goalies and non stanley cup winning goalies ….Fleurys cap hit is actually well below the goalie average for non winning goalies in the league !!

        • Yes but his skill has wavered significantly, if you look at his GAA and his save % it’s rather average for $5 Million/year.
          Teams will be reluctant to give up anything of value as his come-back is not guaranteed.

    • Luongo for MAF

    • @Back checking:
      I swear a good MAF for Anderson? Senators fans will rout. Murray will be fired and killed or both.

      My god.. What a imbecile…

      • I can see some of the other ones … but the Senators have one of the top duo’s in the league in Anderson/Lehner … MAF is a massive downgrade for Ottawa. They also have this kid named Nathan Lawson who is going to be a solid guy as well.

    • Why in god’s name would Ottawa trade for MAF? He is not an upgrade over Lehner or Anderson at this point in his career. Hell if Anderson could have gotten 5 or 6 more games, he would have probably won the Vezina. MAF lost his starting job last year to a career backup. Just looking at the past 3 years, Anderson posted .939 .914, .941 Sv% and .933, 918 Sv% PO with the Sens, while MAF posted .918, .913, .916, with .899, .834, and .883 in the PO.

      So far MAF is not looking any better with his SV% of.829 this preseason. Even their own website is all doom and gloom with this guy. They can keep their own garbage.

  2. There is no way Fleury for Anderson would ever happen. Fleury is a goalie who has to prove he his NHL capable again and he has a big salary and cap hit. Anderson has two years at an excellent value of cap and salary. He can mentor Lehner for a couple of years. If the Pens want Anderon, it will cost James Neal, who’s no trade doesn’t kick in for two more years.

    • I disagree …Rob

      • NO WAY Ottawa does that deal. Why would they take a lesser goalie/higher salary in trade and give up a better less costly goalie? MAF is almost $2Mil more per season. If Murray did that, I would fly to Ottawa and TP his house.

        • Wow !!!!

          Fleury has no trade value being an Stanley Cup winning goalie and a former first Round number 1 over all !!! ….OK THEN !!

          The salary cap is an issue but Anderson is good he is a journey man not a stanley cup winning goalie !! Just saying !!

          • If Fleury is so awesome, then why trade him at all?

          • Then how else is one to waste our time with great trade ideas like you would find at HB.

          • It helps with the salary cap issues they have and is still a good time to trade him before his stock falls any lower !

          • Who cares if he won SC and who cares where he was drafted… He is not worth 5M a year today and that’s the bottom line…

          • @ RON MOORE

            The Pens can not go all season like this again with all that talent to the cap and then some and keep moving forward with Fleury if hes not giving them a chance every night !!

            They have no solid # 2…. his cap hit is hurting them ….so its a battle with both money and playing consistent ….

            as stated I went through all the teams and scenarios for both money and quality in net for a return and those 3 teams are the only teams that can do a deal …IMO …

            If Ron Moore has any quality input other than
            LIP SERVICE …please make a suggestion as to what you would do MR Wonderful!

          • @ NITRO

            are you saying that a stanley cup winning goalie is not worth $5 million a year in his progression and where he sits as a veteran and his pedigree …SERIOUSLY …check the league Goalie salaries and let mne know where he sits …in the second tier level after non winning goalies like Luongo, Lundqvist , Bryzgalov , Miller, Lehtinen , Rinne , Price all well over $5 to 6 million a year on average and have won nothing !!!

          • AT NITRO ….Anyone who knows Hockey knows that having a Stanley Cup winning Goalie is the quintessential piece to being a successfull team in the playoffs and that a past winner especially a Goalie is very highly sought after in the league !!!!

            There is only these goalies left whom won a cup in the league today !!!

            Tim Thomas

            Only a few of those guys are worth high trade value today !,

            Fleury is one of them !

          • Fleury may have won the cup and be a former first overall pick but that means nothing right now. He’s being judged on his recent performance.

            There’s no question he has a strong pedigree, the potential is definitely there but he has yet to really establish himself beyond the regular season since Pitts back to back cup runs.

            Let’s put it this way, he won a cup 5 years ago. What has he done to justify his cap hit since? Has he stolen a series, a stretch of games in the post season? No. He’s been mediocre at best, and it could be strongly argued that goaltending was the pitfall in Pittsburgh’s last couple post season exits.

            Anyone who knows anything about hockey understands the NHL is a “what have you done for me lately?” atmosphere. If you are making 5million a year because you scored 35 goals in 2009 and haven’t come close to that level of play since, your value as a player is going to be reassessed.

            My personal opinion – I think the Pens would be smart to ride MAF until the remainder of his contract. I believe bringing in Scuderi is a step in the right direction and ultimately believe Fleury can succeed if he gets his confidence back.

      • I am so tired of back checking…. Stop posting.. You post so much garbage people cannot even reply to your trash. MAF is not a good goalie, he never was. He is a classic example of overrated goalie with very good team in front of him. Do not even put in in teh same line with Brodeur, Quick, Rask etc etc..

        • Backchecking MAF might have been a first round pick, and has a cup, but has done nothing since other then loose the starting job for the playoffs to his backup. For the goalies you mention their average SV% in the PO since they won the cup is Quick .934, Tim Thomas .923, Antti Niemi .909, Giguere .902, Ward .915, Bordeur .914. They have all been solid since. MAF .880 One of these things don’t look like the others or maybe your fanboy hat is on to tight

  3. Orpik. He doesn’t hit as much as people this he does. He doesn’t play the puck. He doesn’t play the man. He plays zone, which does not work.

  4. Wonder if Buffalo would be a fit for MAF? make a package for Miller! throw in a “D” MAF and a Prospect for miller! as a Pens Fan! i love that! Just thinking!

    • Buffalo doesn’t need another D-man – what might be interesting would be a Miller for Fluery/Dupuis scenario. Pitt needs to get under the cap, not add salary. Swapping Miller for Fluery adds another $2M – so it just doesn’t make sense.

      • AGREE !!!

        I went through trade scenarios with every team and the only logical scenarios that came to light was with Ottawa and Anahiem and Florida

        • So your ‘likely’ trade scenarios involve two teams who are overloaded in net anyway? Anderson/Lehner is a far superior tandem then Lehner/Fleury (in every way possible) … The Ducks? Hiller has been a solid netminder, John Gibson is considered to be one of the best goalies not playing, and Viktor Fasth shocked the world last year.

          I could maybe see Florida, however if they were going to do that they would have just picked up Luongo this summer for virtually nothing anyway.

          You sir are not the authority on all trades, just because it makes sense to you doesn’t mean it makes sense to everyone else or that your word is the gospel truth. Sometimes you manage to get lucky like Eklund, but the majority of the time you are off base and your goalies are even worse. Kipper isn’t in Philly he retired and Bryz … he doesn’t have a team and is certainly not in Calgary.

          As a matter of fact, both those teams are going forward with probably the most questionable starters in the league. Fleury isn’t going to fetch you an improvement in net when you are trying to trade him because he hasn’t been good for your team … that doesn’t make sense. The best you get if you are looking for goaltending is to swap for another struggling goaltender and hope a change of location helps.

          If the Blues had the space I’d say Halak for MAF … I’d do MAF for Carey Price, Pavelec for MAF or maybe the Islanders picking up MAF and taking the chance, however there would be no goalie coming back.

    • Eskimo, why would Sabres trade perfectly tradable Miller for washed up MAF and his 10M 2 year deal. If Sabres need a goalie they can just resign Miller instead of trading for MAF.

      You probably forgot to take your vitamins again.

  5. Fleury is a bit cap hit. Maybe they should have bought him out this past summer. Well, there is next summer because the Pens are stuck with him for this year. His confidence is shattered.

    With Vokoun out, 2 possibilities are Theodore and Bryzgalov. Both could be had cheap!

  6. Pittsburgh trading Niskanen, Jokinen, and Adams to Toronto for Franson, Kulimen, Brennan and Smith solves Pittsburgh’s cap issue and joins up Malkin and Kulimen, who’ve had good chemistry in the past in the KHL and international tournaments, and also solves Toronto’s Franson issue with a reasonable replacement (if not an upgrade). Thje Pens could let Franson play a year in Europe and sign him next year when the cap rises or flip him now if they feel Depres is ready for top four duties. I post this as a Pens fan.

    • There is no benefit for the Leafs returning in that trade.

      • I would argue that Niskanen is an upgrade from Franson and he is under contract and ready to play. The locker room would not have to deal with the distraction of Franson’s contract situation, as minor as it may or may not be. Jokinen is more offensively gifted than Kulimen but gives up two-way responsibility as a trade off and is cheaper. Adams, Brennan and Smith are throw ins to make the dollars work for both teams. I disagree with your assessment that Toronto does not benefit.

        • I agree with Brandon, I wouldn’t do this if I was Nonis, Toronto does not require anymore scoring talent. Their top 6 are good enough to get the job done so what would be the point of an “offensive talent” like Jokinen on the 3rd line? Kulimen’s 2-way game is excellent and is perfect for 3rd line duty with the occasional 2nd line fill in if any injuries were to occur.
          Also, if I were Nonis I’d be looking for stay-at-home responsible d-man. Not Niskanen. They already have Phaneuf, Gardiner, and Liles as offensive d-men with Reilly chomping at the bit for a spot as well. Now if you said Oprik instead of Niskanen, that would be more likely. Oprik can adjust his game to play more of a physical defensive role and let the others handle the puck moving.

          • meant Orpik, quitting time for the day methinks…

  7. Why don’t the Penguins sign Bryzgalov? (or however you spell it)

    • Then that screams to the league that you’ve given up on MAF and will never get anything decent in a trade.

  8. I still can’t figure out why the Bruins let him walk an sign Chad Johnson. I don’t even think the money was to far apart between the two

    • Probably (and I’m guessing here) a personality conflict somewhere. Maybe with Rask?
      If I recall Khudobin was pretty fiery the few games I saw him in action.

  9. I don’t know why they let him walk but I think his addition to Carolina is huge and they won’t part with him. Cam Ward is a solid net minder, not an all-star but an all around solid workhorse to have. I think the fuel of trying to earn the starter role for team Canada as well as finally having a goalie who can push him for the starter role will motivate Cam Ward this year. Look for Carolina to have one of the best goalie tandems in the league this year. Actually, my bet on the teams that are going to end up with the best goalie tandems this year would be:

    1. Anderson/Lehner (OTT)
    2. Hiller/Fasth (ANA)
    3. Ward/Khubodin (CAR)
    4. Bishop/Lindback (TB)
    5. Reimer/Bernier (TOR)

    (Teams like NYR, NAS, LA, BOS, MTL … don’t really have ‘tandems’ as their back ups will be lucky to see 10 games)

  10. I’m not to sure about Chad Johnson but I think the other guy can’t remember his name
    I think he is a swede he looks pretty good