NHL Morning Rumor Mill – Thursday, August 29, 2013.

Updates on Thomas Vanek, Cody Hodgston, Nazem Kadri, Michael Del Zotto and more.

Thomas Vanek denies requesting a trade this summer.

Thomas Vanek denies requesting a trade this summer.

WGR550: Paul Hamilton reports Buffalo Sabres winger Thomas Vanek denied speculation he asked for a trade this summer. He also said he wasn’t seeking a contract extension but didn’t rule out the possibility. “We’re a young team, we’re rebuilding and those are my words, so I’m keeping my options open”, said Vanek.

BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington believes Sabres RFA forward Cody Hodgson hasn’t earned a long-term, big-money contract like New Jersey’s Adam Henrique, suggesting Tyler Ennis’ two-year, $5.6 million deal as a better comparable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sabres are in playoff contention by the trade deadline, I believe they’ll not only retain Vanek (and probably goalie Ryan Miller) but could attempt to re-sign him. If they’re out of contention, Vanek and Miller will hit the trade block. I also agree with Harrington’s take on Hodgson. Like most RFAs coming off an entry-level contract, he has little leverage, and will most likely accept a two-year “bridge contract”.

SPORTSNET.CA (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): Nazem Kadri believes it’s up to the Toronto Maple Leafs what they do with his future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means Kadri will have to accept a two-year bridge contract, probably at $2.4 million per season. 

ESPN.COM: Victoria Matiash suggests the NY Rangers hiring Alain Vigneault as head coach could be bad news for defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Matiash notes Vigneault is wary of relying too heavily on his defensively weaker young players. Given the Rangers blueline depth, she suggests Del Zotto could see a reduction in his playing time under Vigneault.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If so, that could make Del Zotto the subject of trade speculation near the March trade deadline. It must be remembered, however, Del Zotto is the Rangers best puck-moving defenseman, so cutting his playing time wouldn’t be a wise move.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the Oilers need to add more physical wingers.


  1. Kadri should accept whatever Leafs offer him. 2.5-3M seems like a fair deal for him. Stepan on the other hand is a 5M a year player. Henrique just got 4 and imo Stepan is a better player.

    • I agree. Kadri was a pleasant surprise last season and needs to do it again. Stepan could be paid $4M over 6 seasons and I wouldn’t have any issue with it.

      • To me Henrique’s contract $4M a year average over 6 years is fair. I would have no problem with the Sabres signing Hodgson to the same. Thing is….Sabres have gone this route before, with Connolly and Stafford so they may just want to do a shorter deal. The problem for Stepan is that the Rangers don’t have the cap space to sign him to a “fair deal”. What we may see is NY signing him to a contract that pays him a hefty increase after year 1.

        With Vanek, he wants the best of both worlds – wants to see what the Sabres have talent wisee with the youngsters, but doesn’t want to commit. Thing is….it could be Vanek’s time……time for him to take on a leadership role and make help make the Sabres into “his team”. Vanek has the opportunity to become more than just a “top 6 forward”, but the question is will he commit and does he have what it takes?

        • It doesn’t matter if he get less money in year 1 then 2. The new cba cap hit is based on the average of the contract not per year. Eg yr1= 1mill and yr2=2 mill then the cap hit is 1.5 mill in year 1 and 2. The total dollar apmunt of the contract divided by the years of the contract gives you the cap hit

  2. It’s a false assumption that AV does not like young defensmen. He gave both Tanev and Corrado a lot of ice timein Vcr. In fact in the play-offs he played Corrado….right out of junior, ahead of Keith Ballard .

    • That doesn’t say much though. It’s Keith Ballard we’re talking about.

  3. Sounds like Kadri’s agent Brian MacDonald is pretty new at this NHL negotiating stuff so it’s looking more and more like a bridge contract. I’d still think in the $3M range.
    Now Franson on the other hand looks to be sitting in a much better position having Gerry Johannson of the Sports Corporation handling his contract. Same guys that got Getlaf his monster deal.

    • wow.. if $3M is the low end of the two, I cannot wait to see how this plays out. I think Kadri is a $3.5M-$4M player, but I’d be surprised if he gets over $2.5M. Similar w/ Franson.

  4. Spector your crazy if you think Miller will be resigned if the Sabres are in playoff contention. Look at how many goalies we have that are predicted to have pretty good NHL careers. Right now NHL ready would be Enroth and Hackett. In the AHL we have Makarov, Knapp, and Lieuwen; Makearov is the one out of the three that I think will be an NHL goalie one of these days. And Swedish goalie Ullmark seems he can be the real deal. Miller’s gone before trade deadline. Only way Vanek stays with Sabres is if we make playoffs and we give him the max per year or very close too. I think this time next year we will see him in a Wild jersey, and Miller I can see him in a Penguins jersey if Fleaury struggles if not I see him in a Blues jersey to share duties and tutor Allen.

    • Jes, I never said the Sabres would re-sign Miller if they’re in playoff contention. I said they would probably RETAIN Miller at the trade deadline if in playoff contention.

    • Blues don’t have any need for Miller.

      Philly might.