NHL Morning Rumor Mill – September 6, 2013.

The latest on Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller, Cody Hodgson, Alex Pietrangelo, Marcus Johansson and more.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports former Sabres Brian Campbell offered up some advice to old teammates Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller on how to handle the constant questioning over their trade status they’ll receive entering this season. Vanek hasn’t closed the door on a contract extension but it’s unknown if Miller feels the same. Vogl also reported Sabres RFA center Cody Hodgson remains confident of getting a new deal in place.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hodgson’s situation will be resolved well before Vanek’s and Miller’s. I doubt we’ll see either guy moved during preseason or early in the regular season. Whether or not they’re moved by the trade deadline depends on where the Sabres are in the standings by then.

Could the Blues sign Ryan Whitney?

Could the Blues sign Ryan Whitney?

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported via Twitter there’s speculation St. Louis Blues are considering former Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney as a backup plan if Alex Pietrangelo remains unsigned when training camp opens next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whitney, or another UFA blueliner, would receive a professional tryout offer (PTO), with the possibility of landing a new contract even if Pietrangelo is re-signed.

WASHINGTON POST: Katie Carrera reports the Capitals hope to re-sign RFA winger Marcus Johansson before training camp opens next week. It’s believed Johansson seeks a deal comparable to NY Rangers forward Carl Hagelin (two years, $4.5 million).

CBC SPORTS: Doug Harrison reports agent Pat Brisson (who represents winger Brad Boyes) back in July said he was waiting for the right setup for his client, as did agent Brad Devine, who represents Brenden Morrow. Matt Keator, who represents Ron Hainsey and Ryan O’Byrne, is preaching patience for his unsigned clients. “As we get into September and rosters start defining themselves and teams start to see where they are, things will change,” Keator said. “It happens every year.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Over the course of this month I anticipate a number of those remaining notable UFAs should be signed. Preseason always exposes roster weaknesses which leaves some GMs scrambling to the free agent market to address.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports former Red Wings forward Damien Brunner might be headed to Swiss National League A club EV Zug on a game-by-game basis as he awaits a new NHL contract.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Luke DeCock reports the Carolina Hurricanes could have a ready replacement for Joni Pitkanen in UFA blueliner Ron Hainsey if Pitkanen remains sidelined to start the season with a broken left heel bone.


  1. I find it interesting that Vanek comes out and says he hasn’t closed the door on an extension – to me it speaks volumes. I’m somewhat disappointed because I hoped Vanek would step up and make the Sabres “his team”. I really wanted him to step up and be “the man” – assume the mantle of leadership and commit to not only the Sabres, but the fans and our youngsters/prospects. Vanek’s words are just that – words. Perhaps he just doesn’t have the ability or desire to become the “face” of the team. Seems to me, that his “wait and see” attitude gives him enough wiggle room to keep the “fans hoping” and the media at bay. Ultimately, my bet is that we’ll see him, along with a youngster/prospect traded after the new year to MN for Heatley and hopefully Granlund. Heatley basically to clear up salary with the real piece being Granlund. I say…..why wait – pull the trigger now.

    • I think he’s probably afraid of becoming another Alfredson, the minute you make such a declaration management tries to low-ball you because they now have the leverage.
      Gone are the good ol’ days when there was mutual dedication from both players and management.

      • Lowball offer to Vanek? As far as I’m concerned he has robbed the Sabres I think it’s been 7M over the last five or six years. Considering his streaky production I would say during that time Vanek was a 4.5-5M per year player. Sabres management shouldn’t want him back at all. I will say this about him seems like a classy guy and he always showed up to give my B’s fits.

        • Read again, what I said is when a star makes such a proclamation that management has the leverage and (like Ottawa) could lowball them. If they decline the lowball offer then they look like they are hollow and their words meant nothing.

        • Vanek had performed much better than a $4.5 to $5 million dollar player. He has been streaky as you say and I hate his lack of back checking, but he has scored a ton of goals on a crappy team that has given him very little to work with. On any other team, with talent, he would be easily one of the top scorers every year.

      • Konstantine – its not a matter of the Sabres lowballing Vanek – he received a very lucrative offer of $7M a year for 7 years (the Sabres matched the offer from Edmonton). I’m not criticizing Vanek’s play or the effort he has given the team and fans over the year. Was he worth $50M? Maybe overpaid by $8-10M but I accept it.
        What I guess I am questioning is his maturity – Thomas is a very emotional player and no one gets down harder on himself than Thomas – which we have seen doesn’t normally elevate his level of play, if anything it hinders it. When Thomas misses a shot or doesn’t get a call – we’ve seen him take a stupid penalty, slam his stick, talk to himself on the sideline – either way……he wears his heart on his sleeve and it is exemplified in his body language. As a result of his maturity or lack of control – when Pommer was traded both he and Miller came out and questioned their desire to partake in a rebuild. As a result, I believe this statement had an effect on his value – no trade partners. So Tommy comes back with – I’m in a holding pattern – I’ll wait and see, but I don’t know whether I want to resign or not.

        To me…..that speaks volumes. Evidently, Thomas doesn’t want to be “the man”, maybe he doesn’t have it in him. So……time to move along and save our $7M and pay it to someone who wants to be in Bflo and be the “man”.

        • @ Steve
          I have to agree with your assessment of Vanek and his situation. He obviously doesn’t want to lead the team.
          A true leader is the one thing Buffalo needs more than anything else. Those character guys are so hard to find.
          At this point as a Sabre fan/mark, I would be overwhelmed with trading him for picks and more young kids. Then spending the money on a guy who can really lead this team and teach the young guys to be the leaders of tomorrow.

          • You know that is why I wouldn’t be adverse with Darcy signing Morrow. I think right now Vanek’s value is pretty low – reason why – a lot of teams are at their salary cap….so Vanek really doesn’t have any choice. He needs to play hard, get his value up and will be traded as the season moves along. Another thing fans need to consider is – when making a trade its not as easy as you think because of NMC.

  2. I think Vanek is as good as gone.