NHL Morning Rumor Mill – Tuesday, August 13, 2013.

Could Tim Thomas follow his former agent to Columbus? Could the Predators add more depth at forward this summer? Which Oilers castoffs will sign next?

Could Tim Thomas follow his former agent to Columbus?

Could Tim Thomas follow his former agent to Columbus?

SI.COM: With now-former player agent Bill Zito joining the management of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Allan Muir wondered if Tim Thomas, who was a Zito client, gets a training camp invitation from the Blue Jackets. Muir believes Thomas would be a “clear upgrade” over current Blue Jackets backup Curtis McElhinney, but doubts Thomas would get much playing time behind starter Sergei Bobrovsky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets could give Thomas a tryout, but it seems at this point they’ll go into training camp with Bobrovsky and McElhinney as their tandem and evaluate them during preseason. If McElhinney struggles, perhaps they give Thomas a look, provided he’s still available by that point.

ESPN.COM: Tim Kavanagh noted the Nashville Predators have over $4.6 million in cap space, and wondered if they might use it to bolster their depth at forward, noting Brad Boyes, Brenden Morrow and Damien Brunner remain available, as does Teemu Selanne, who hasn’t ruled out playing for another NHL team if he doesn’t return with the Anaheim Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having added Viktor Stalberg, Matt Cullen, Eric Nystrom and Matt Hendricks earlier this summer, I doubt the Predators will bring in another forward at this point. That could change during their training camp/preseason roster assessments, but for now they seem content with their current forwards.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples examined the status of Oilers castoffs Ryan Whitney, Mark Fistric, Lennart Petrell and Linus Omark. He believes Whitney could end up waiting to earn a job via a training camp tryout, noted Fistric’s agent said last month there was a market for his client, Swiss League team Geneva-Servette could sign Petrell, and believes Omark could earn himself an NHL contract before the starting of training camps.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staples believes it’s down to Fistric or Omark who signs first and feels both should be under contract when training camps open. Where is anyone’s guess.


  1. Any team looking for a physical presence to clear the front of their net should be looking hard at Fistric. He’s not a “key player” or a big name, but he is just entering the prime years of his career (27 years old) and possesses the kind of hitting instinct that forces opposition forwards to pay attention when entering the attacking zone.

    • I love Fistrics game and have been saying for awhile now I want him on the Leafs playing beside Gardiner he would make a good 4 guy. He skates better than Fraser but another Physical younger D guy like you say coming in to his prime years exactly what we could use, as opposed to all these pmd.

    • You make him sound great but what is his weakness that made him a Oiler castoff?

      • The fact he wants 2mill per year and they used him as a bottom pairing guy he is not very good with passing not really a points or a possession type player he hits very hard and can sometimes injury himself in doing so. Oilers cast off because besides Shultz

        • Not sure what happened there with my last comment but, besides Smid and Schultz just about the entire d is getting revamped. I think the major reason he didnt go back to the Oilers tho is money. His numbers are decent for a bottom pairing guy and like I said if you play him with a good puck mover it would really help his game alot I think.

          • Agreed. I was able to see Fistric play firsthand a number of times last year and the guy loves to hit. He is tough to play against and you need to earn your space. Biggest drawback (besides asking price) is that his foot speed is not great. The Oilers are a young and fast team and his lack of mobility is amplified around them, versus that if he were on a grind ’em out kind of team/division.
            Fistric will land a job as he is a good depth signing that can play 10-12 minutes a night. His price needs to come down to 1.25M/yr though. With the new cap most teams are considering the pipeline of talent they have in-house to save cap-space and are willing to give those guys a chance to crack the team. Smart move is to sign an affordable one-year deal, prove yourself, and wait for cap to come up next year to secure a better payday.

  2. Ryan Whitney used to be #5 pick right behind Joni Pitkanen. wow..

    • To be fair to Whitney, his first three seasons in the NHL looked very solid (though one could argue his numbers might have been inflated playing on a team with Crosby & Malkin) until the trade from Pittsburgh to Anaheim (with the Pens going on to win the Cup a couple of months after his departure) seemingly derailed his career, not to mention the injuries & surgeries he’s had. If he can stay healthy, I could see Whitney being a valuable contributor as a support player (as opposed to the key role he was supposed to play on Edmonton’s blueline), especially if he agrees to a reasonable “show me” contract.

      • He was never “solid”.

        • @nitroglycerin101

          Yes Whitney was solid. He’s still good on offense. The only nag on him WAS his salary now that can all be changed.

        • A 60 pt defenseman is “solid” and Whitney put up 59 in 2006-07. Even the 40 points he put up in 76 games in 2007-08 is considered half-decent by my count.
          Granted, I think more was expected of him when he was drafted #5, but one can certainly make that argument for Pitkanen at #4 and any number of 1st round picks who fizzle out or never live up to the hype.

          * I also inserted a notion that perhaps his offensive numbers were artificially inflated playing the point on a power play unit that also featured Crosby & Malkin.

        • With Pittsburgh Whitney handled the puck like it was a hand grenade … plus he’s soft …

    • *was the #5 pick. “used to be” means that it has now changed.

  3. I will be stunned if Ryan Whitney doesn’t find a 1 yr NHL contract in a bottom 3 role. I really think health is his issue. Carolina or Colorado seem like good fits for Whitney, Fistric and Hainsey.

    • Colorado certainly has the available slots on defense, but the organization doesn’t seem willing to go out and spend on 2nd tier (or lower) UFA players. This might change with Sakic & Roy running the show, but they seem to be content to ride out “the big picture” and develop what they have. I could see them parlaying Stastny into a half decent blueliner and a prospect, but like I said, I don’t expect them to go shopping for free agents just yet.

  4. SI.com can speculate about Thomas getting a tryout with the Blue Jackets, but that possibility has already been denied by Jarmo. Besides, McElhenney is on a one-way contract. So, the only place Columbus could fit Thomas in would be in Springfield with their AHL team.