NHL Morning Rumor Mill – Valentine’s Day, 2013.

The latest on Phil Kessel, Ryan O’Reilly, Jarome Iginla, Stephen Weiss, and Tomas Kaberle, plus Flyers GM Paul Holmgren discusses his trade plans.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports agent Wade Arnott, who represents Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel, said his client would love to finish his career as a Leaf. Kessel will become an unrestricted free agent in July 2014, and his offensive struggles earlier this season sparked some calls for the Leafs to trade him. GM Dave Nonis has given no indication as to his plans for Kessel, though he cannot officially start contract talks with him until July 2013.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe Nonis will trade Kessel this season, and if the winger is sincere about being a Maple Leaf for life, Nonis will do what he can to re-sign him. I’m guessing it could take a seven-year, front- or back-loaded deal to get it done. Kessel makes $5.4 million per season now, and could easily make $7 million on the open market.

DENVER POST’s Adrian Dater claimed via Twitter he didn’t expect the Colorado Avalanche would move quickly to trade holdout center Ryan O’Reilly, believing they’ll wait for the best offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given that the Avalanche’s season is quickly going down the tubes, there’s no reason for management to rush into a trade. O’Reilly value could certainly rise by the trade deadline, but the Avs could also wait until this summer if they don’t get any offers to their liking by April 3rd.

ESPN.COM’s Pierre LeBrun reported the following via Twitter: “For Boston fans who keep asking me, I do not believe the B’s have any interest in Jarome Iginla. I don’t think they’ll go there.”

Bruins not interested in Iginla.

Bruins not interested in Iginla.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov recently weighed in on the trade rumors regarding Panthers center Stephen Weiss. He believes Weiss, eligible for UFA status this summer, could command a four-year, $24 million contract, but suggested the ponderous contracts of Scottie Upshall, Ed Jovanovski, Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg could make it difficult to re-sign him. Fialkov also wondered if the reason the Panthers didn’t award Weiss the captaincy was perhaps they believe they can’t afford to re-sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fialkov also noted Weiss loves living in Florida and told Tallon he wants to help make the Panthers a Cup contender. GM Dale Tallon has denied rumors claiming he’s shopping Weiss and insists he wants to re-sign him. Should be interesting to see how this eventually turns out. 

CANOE.CA: Jean-Francois Chaumont reports Tomas Kaberle has become the Montreal Canadiens seventh defenseman. He’s been a healthy scratch of late, but hasn’t gone to management seeking a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At 34, Kaberle’s best days are behind him, and with another year at $4.25 million left on his contract, I doubt the Canadiens would find any takers in the trade market. If Kaberle remains the odd man out this season, expect the Habs to use their remaining amnesty buyout on him.

CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports Flyers GM Paul Holmgren says he’s not going to pull the trigger on a major deal to bolster his struggling club. “I don’t anticipate doing anything. Obviously, there is lots of talk going on right now. Everyone is doing their due diligence, but I don’t foresee us making a move.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The last time I heard Holmgren say something like that,  Jeff Carter wound up shipped to Columbus and Mike Richards went to the Kings. Just sayin’…


  1. Seems pretty obvious about Weiss, they’ll try to re-sign him within their price range.

    If they can’t, then it all depends on if Florida is in playoff contention by the deadline to trade him or play him fo the rest of the season/playoffs before becoming a UFA this offseason.

  2. Weiss is wroth 4 years 24 million? Really?

  3. I saw some of the Panther’s game the other night on the NHL network,the building was shockingly empty.Hockey is back? Oh really!

  4. @ backchecking (as I know you’re out there)

    Looks like kessel does want to stay a leaf, so no chance he resigns eh? Leafs should keep him.

  5. I have Weiss rated a 74 (74 O [2nd line proficiency], 73 D). I’d pay him 4.5-6M/y. That rating warrants second line center, but he has a decent 2-way game.

    In comparison, I have Grabovski rated 73 (74 O, 67 D), and he’s getting paid 5.5/y. His 2 way game is in question. If Weiss goes to the open market, yeah, I could see him making high 5s from a desperate team.

    He may end up liking Florida and accepting 5-5.25M/y over 5 – 7 years.

    As for what may end up dealing O’Reilly, reference the Turris deal. Ottawa ended up giving Rundblad (a high end prospect at the time) and a 2nd rd pick. Turris was also “question marks” and “unproven” but because he has a high ceiling, yes, he’s a gamble, but it DOES NOT DIMINISH his value (ahem, Leafs fans). So yes, if you want O’Reilly (whose potential is 1st line center), you will probably be giving up Gardiner AND more (roster player like Bozak or a 2nd rd pick).

    I still think he gets moved for Yandle.

    • I do believe you are grading O’Reilly way to highly. He has produced seasons of I believe 26, 26, and last years 55. He has proven exactly nothing especially that he could be a first line centre. Granted he MAY develop into a really decent player but to give up what you suggest is ridiculous. First, Bozak(who gets no respect) has improved dramatically every year he has been in the league. He may only be a second line centreman but he hasn’t done a horrible job as no.1. He can play the wing, kills penalties, and does whatever hes been asked to do. Gardiner, although struggling this year because of injury has great potential and may turn into a star. And also a 2nd rounder, wow. The leafs should offer Gunnarsson and a 3rd and maybe a middle of the range prospect. Leafs won’t get him for that as some GM will eventually over pay but to give what you suggest is totally over the top.

      • O’Reilly did what he did not playing first line minutes. My system takes into account the type of minutes that a player plays, not the amount of games they play in.

        At 22, 55 is not his peak. Look at Giroux for example: 27, 47 (at 22), 76, 93. It means that he’s putting up the points so his ice time, quality of offense, and perhaps players he’s playing with, gets better. O’Reilly, therefore, has the potential to get into the 70s and the 80s since he is ONLY 22. Don’t look at his points, look at his age and his contract situation. You’re getting a young second line center with first line potential…

        What Colorado wants is a first line potential prospect and a roster (top 9F or 3-4D), and that’s satisfied by Gardiner (first pairing potential) and someone like Bozak (who I have at 72, but he’s at his peak, he doesn’t get better offensively and he establishes himself as a veteran).

        It’s Bozak OR a 2nd rounder, not AND.

        Rundblad is first pairing potential and the 2nd rounder. It will be O’Reilly’s worth and exactly what the Avs asked for.

        Gunnarsson is 2nd pairing potential and a 3rd isn’t worth much more than a depth draft (4th – 7th) while the Avs are loaded with mid-ranged prospects. You don’t like it, but someone will pay the Avs asking price and possibly more since centers are in demand.

        • Colorado would also have interest in Korbinian Holzer.

    • you are joking right? ottawa got rid of a high end prospect and a second rounder for a failed one. and that was worth it to you? while im not a major fan of his, you would trade gardiner for a guy who had one good year? on the plus side, you now have met all pre requisites to be the calgary flames gm

  6. I would be shocked if kaberle isn’t bought out. No one will trade for him he sucked when the leafs traded to boston and has been worse since.
    I don’t know how florida can not re sign weiss at some point they have to start trying to win now instead of just getting prospects and throwing a team together to get lucky like last year.
    The leafs roster will depend a lot on how this year finishes. Will reimer come back and continue to be a #1, will gardiner return to a top dman, and can they make a play off push. I’d like to see the leafs go after oreilly and give up a matt finn, not a gardiner. Gardiner is at the age group of the rest of the core right now and to wait for finn to be ready will be another 3+ years. When the forwards will most likley be gone. I don’t see oreilly at a #1 centre but I guess he is still very young. To get him though the leafs would need to unload grabo and I don’t know if anyone would take that contract.

  7. Players like to say “i’d love to” or “i’d like to” in terms of remaining with a club. That doesn’t mean that they will or it doesn’t even say that they prefer to stay with that club over other clubs.

    I think Kessel would love to hit the open market more than anything. But, if Nonis wants to really rebuild then he either signs Kessel long-term, or he trades him, and i think Detroit would be ideal.

    I think this pride game between the Avs and O’Reilly is idiotic. The Avs say that they are waiting on a better offer. Ok, could be true, but no GM will trade their top prospect, and a solid roster player, for a guy who just proved to be a contract headache, has zero loyalty to the franchise, has no contract, and really had one 55 point season. Good luck finding a good offer for that kind of player. The Avs are a failing franchise under this management. The Erik Johnson was an epic failure.

    The Panthers won’t have money issues to re-sign Weiss. Panthers are a $55M budget team. Upshall could either be bought out, waived and picked up by a team that needs to reach the cap floor, or traded for that same reason. Also quite possible is that Jovanovski may retire after this season. Both of these players could potentially free up just over $7.5M in budget, so that would leave plenty for Weiss.

    If the Panthers had interest in Luongo, and maybe still do, it means that Luongo’s contract is affordable for the franchise. Luongo’s contract compared to what Weiss will ever get is humongous.

    Holmgren and the Flyers? Holmgren keeps playing fantasy hockey with this club.

    • Phil Kessel is saying all the right things public relations wise but what he is truly thinking is anyone’s guess. I believe he would like to remain a Leaf as long as he becomes the highest paid member of the team and gets somewhere close to what he would have been offered on the open market.
      As far as him being a good fit on the Red Wings, I have to disagree. Mike Babcock insists, no make that demands that all of his players check and that is not one of Kessel’s strong suits. He could be a good fit on any one of the thirty NHL teams but if Nonis were to trade him he would have a hard time replacing his offensive production with what he got back in return. Personally, I would rather Kessel remained a Leaf and was able to be a part of what Nonis is building, which is a contender once he gets a couple of other pieces in place.

  8. As a leafs fan; I hatethe idea of Bozak, Gardiner + for O’Reilly. I dont see what is so great about this guy. He could be an 80 point guy, then again Gardiner could be the next big thing on D. Bozak puts in a consistent game every night, kills penalties, is lights out at the face off circle and has a pass first mentality since he knows that his wingers are better scorers.
    This deal has little upside for the Leafs specially because O’Rielly comes with no contract security.

    • GM’s have to be careful about trading two for one at any time but especially with unproven players. There have been many one or two season wonders who when they got the big paycheck just mailed their games in from then on.
      Botyh Bozak and Gardiner have proven value and still lots of upside while O’Reilly has had a 50 + point season.
      I guess the old adage rings true: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

      • Gardiner is a “prospect” and has little proven value at this point. O’Reilly is a year or two ahead in terms of development and ripe for a bridge contract and a long term deal afterwards, hence the roster player going back the other way to pay for that “year or two”. Fowler, for example, had 40 some points in his rookie season and dropped off last year. D-men don’t really hit NHL-readiness until they’re 21 or 22 and you won’t see who they’ll truly be until they’re 23. Forwards aren’t the same.

    • I am not a leafs fan…..but I know Bozak AND Gardiner is too much for ROR alone. I see only one of those plus something lower like a pick/prospect. If Both then from Colorado you ask for their #1 along with ROR. ROR is not a #1 center. He is a 3rd line Center checking line center. Its a nice asset to have—but at what price?

      • 55 pts is not a third line center, especially from a 22 year old.

  9. i think colorado will be looking for a young forward in return .they have been shutout a few times already this year .buffalo needs another centre besides hodgson. would they part with foligno and brayden mcnabb.
    o reilly had a brake out year and was their best player and he isnt going to come cheap as good young centers are hard to come by, but he should be cheaper to get then an a bonifide number one center

    • nope. wont part with either. they have waaaaaaaaaaay too mjuch potential. we don’t need another center. we’ve got ennis as 2nd line center and grigorenko will soon surpass o’reilly in talent so no point in aqcuiring him. depending on the return i only see regher, leopold, mccormick, stafford, gerbe, pardy and ennis available.

    • I could see Marcus Foligno being included in a deal going the other way, and Buff would probably try to give them Ville Leino but Colorado would want a pick (2nd) instead.

      As for Ennis, I have him rated a 79. I don’t think he’s available, and if he is, and Buf sees him so lowly, Colorado would take a one for one swap on him immediately.

      • Additionally, it’s worth noting that Colorado would actually prefer an active PP d-man at this point, which is why I don’t see Buffalo being an ideal trade partner.

  10. I don’t know about 6 mill a year for weiss? kind of steep no?

  11. Why do all the Maple Leaf fans and reporters think that they can get top players for nothing. Luongo, O’Reilly etc.
    O’Reily and Turis is a great comparison and what Ottowa had to give to get Turris.
    If TO wants to get either Luongo or O’Reily they will have to give up Gardiner ++++
    Why would any team give something good up for nothing? Would you give something for nothing?
    In order for TO to succeed they need a few miracles where they pick a few players off of waivers and they become NHL stars or they go on to a rebuild mode. Otherwise TO will be in the bottom of the pack never getting the top 3 picks and in order to succeed you need to have those top picks.

  12. If I was the Isles GM, I’d offer up Kyle Okposo and a 3rd round pick/ Aaron Ness

  13. I don’t see how this comment from Kessel’s “AGENT” (not Kessel himself) means he wants to stay in Toronto. How many times has an agent came out and said “I think” and “but”, blah blah blah and then the player doesn’t re-sign. Read this quote and tell me why anyone would think he is even close to being a lock to re-sign

    “This young man lives and breathes hockey. He was very excited to come here four years ago. I think if you asked Phil today, he’d love to finish his career here in Toronto. But it’s still young in his career right now.”

  14. What most people fail to realize is that who ever gets Oreilly gets a 2nd line center that will demand $5M per season. With the cap being reduced to $64M next year that one unproven player will account for 8 percent of your payroll. Why would you give up anything significant to get him unless you are a shit team trying to hit the cap floor.

    • Same stuff people said about Turris, who demanded a trade… didn’t affect his trade value.

  15. So now we believe what agents say publicly? I dont think there is enough money in TO for Kessel to resign there, and be objective. If you are everyone’s favorite kicking boy, who hates the limelight, and you had finally earned the chance to sign anywhere you wanted…..anywhere…are you going to stay in TO? He ends up in some hockey anonymous market like Carolina or Columbus.

    Why would the Bruins, who have virtually the same lineup that won the cup, want an aging winger who is on pace for 4 goals this season? and who is UFA. Now if you are talking a younger player who can fit in long term, maybe, but no way for Iginla……and to the Flames fans out there, what in the world do you think Iggy gets you this year? And forget the Nash type deal of players, prospects and picks, you might get one of those, not all three. Same for Kipper…..the time to trade those two was two years ago….to late now.

  16. @ 604mike,
    I realize some Leaf fans often over value their players but I think you are undervaluing Gardiner. He had 30 points as a rookie defenseman and then was almost a point a game player in the AHL playing against a higher competition than normal due to the lock-out. He had 30 points last season as a D-man while O’Reilly had 55 as a forward. I know the comparison to Cam Fowler is out there with a good rookie season and a slump in the following year. Alex Pietrangelo went through something similar and now might be one of the best young Dman in the league.

    Even Bozak had almost 50 points and while playing 1st line minutes so it would be a gamble to trade Bozak and too much else for O’Reilly given the situation.