NHL Morning Rumor Mill – Wednesday, March 6, 2013.

Are the Penguins eyeing Jack Johnson of the Blue Jackets? Are the Blues close to signing Jason Arnott? What’s the latest on the Blackhawks, Red Wings, Flames, Wild, and Sharks? Read on to find out!

Penguins interested in Johnson?

Penguins interested in Johnson?

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Rob Rossi recently reported three members of the Columbus Blue Jackets management, including new GM Jarmo Kekalainen, took in the recent Penguins-Tampa Bay Lightning game. Rossi believes the Penguins seek to bolster their defense,” preferably with a player under contract who could serve as either a long-term partner for Kris Letang or possible insurance if Letang is traded before his contract expires in July 2014.” He speculated Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson could fit the bill, and reports Penguins young d-man Simon Despres is available.  There’s also speculation the Penguins have interest in Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Michael Arace reports Kekalainen downplayed his presence at that game, and dismissed the rumor of a Despres-for-Johnson swap as “silly”. “I went to watch a game. Ray Shero (the Penguins’ general manager) is a friend of mine”, said the Blue Jackets GM, who was using an off-day to take in a game between two teams he otherwise wouldn’t see.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Kekalainen could consider moving out pending UFAs like Vaclav Prospal or Adrian Aucoin by the trade deadline, but I’ll be shocked if he actually moves Johnson, unless of course the blueliner demands a trade.

CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedmann once against speculates over Jay Bouwmeester’s future with the Calgary Flames, wondering if they might move him before the trade deadline and if he’d accept a trade. He also noted Bouwmeester’s salary ($6.68 million) could prove tough to move…The Florida Panthers could be a team to watch near the trade deadline, but they won’t move young players like  Jacob Markstrom, Erik Gudbranson, Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad….Marian Gaborik might (emphasis on “might”) be available near the deadline if the NY Rangers can get back depth which improves them.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the Chicago Blackhawks are in the market for a John Madden-type center…He speculates the Detroit Red Wings are only interested in acquiring a top-four defenseman…The Philadelphia Flyers seek a top-four, puck-moving defenseman…The Minnesota Wild could also be in the market for a defenseman, but aren’t willing to part with veterans like center Matt Cullen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings and Flyers could be potential destinations for Bouwmeester, provided they could make the dollars work, and he were willing to accept a trade…You can add Dmitry Kulikov to the list of players the Panthers won’t trade…Given the Rangers wouldn’t get back the depth to improve them by shopping Gaborik, and his $7.5 million salary for next season, I don’t expect he’ll be dealt.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has yet to open contract talks with pending UFAs Matt Cullen, Niklas Backstrom and Pierre-Marc Bouchard or pending RFAs Cal Clutterbuck, Jared Spurgeon and Justin Falk. He expects to be patient and see how things shake out over the next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, he’ll see where his club sits in the standings before deciding which (if any) of his potential free agents he could shop before the April 3 trade deadline.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford reports Jason Arnott has passed his physical and is on a one-week tryout with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If they like what they see, the injury-ravaged Blues could sign Arnott to a one-year contract.

CSN BAY AREA’s Kevin Kurz reported the following via Twitter:” Lots of Eastern Conference scouts at the game again tonight, including Boston, who some think are scouting Ryane Clowe.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg for the link.


  1. JJ is the type of player the Blue Jackets need to build their defense around and he would look good alongside Seth Jones. Future UFA Letestu should garner interest if the BJs can’t re-sign him.

    • No NHL team wants to build their D around JJ. He’s at best a top-4 defenseman.

    • CBJ have been in enough rebuild modes, they need to prioritize and start building from the core players that they have right now, JJ being one of them. Then they have players signed to contracts that shouldn’t be (Wisniewski, Tyutin, Umberger). They should keep:

      – Johnson
      – Johansen
      – Dubinsky
      – Brassard
      – Anisimov
      – Goloubef

      Right now, they should be in a selling mode and trying to get prospects and draft picks back.

      – Umberger for a prospect and late round draft pick (3rd)
      – Tyutin for a 2nd round draft pick
      – Wisniewski for a 3rd round draft pick
      – Foligno for a prospect and late round draft pick (4th)
      – Prospal for a 3rd round draft pick
      – Aucoin for a AHL player
      – Mason for a 3rd round draft pick

      Then try to make a big splash during UFA.

      • i actually completely agree with you. the only thing for me out of your whole post was i dont think you could get a 3rd for wiz. i think they’ll have to buy him out al la komi in toronto. no one will take wiz’ contract. they are a team that has some peices, some decent depth itll just take time for them to become a decent team. dansk and ryan murray. ryan johanson etc. these guys will be good hockey players. but i still believe they need an american star to put on all their billboards throughout ccolumbus. that team is going to move if they dont

        • Yeah, I was kinda hesitant on Wiz and his contract. But who knows what’ll happen before the last minute before the Trade Deadline is over. Maybe a team will lose a star or important d-dman and take Wiz and his phyisical presence and hard point shot. As for his return value, I know that his salary is out-of-whack, but maybe a conditional 4th rounder (if team makes playoffs, 4th becomes a 3rd). Then for Umberger, make it a conditional (4th rounder, if playoffs = 3rd rounder) and Foligno (5th rounder, if playoffs = 4th rounder). As for you CBJ Paul (down below), Tyutin isn’t worth his contract, on any other team, he’d be making $3M – $3.5M. I’m not saying it is outrageous, just saying that he isn’t worth what he is making. lol at Mason’s bloated contract, he is only making $2.9M. I’ll talk about how the Leafs suck, when you talk about how it was a mistake at putting a team in Columbus and why they should be relocated!

      • What drugs are you on? Tyutin not worth his contract? He’s only been the Jackets most consistent d-man since he arrived and is the backbone of the current d-corps. Wiz isn’t going anywhere, being most often paired with Johnson. Foligno has been a key component of out 8th ranked PK. Prospal isn’t going anywhere since he has an agreement with the team to move into the front office after retiring as a player. And no one is going to take on Mason’s bloated contract. Besides, as John Davidson, president of hockey operations, has noted, the Jackets don’t need to be torn down and rebuilt, but built up from th solid core they already have and that core includes several of the players you listed to be traded.
        Do yourself a favor and talk about something you actually know something about. Like why the Leafs suck, or how to live under several feet of snow.

        • Leafs suck?….Coming from a Blew Jackets fan?….. Classic lol

          • Ya know they sit 6th in the league right?….Remind us all again where that unrelivent franchise sits?

        • I was with you till the ignorant snow comment.

          If you live in Columbus, you’re no better off, the 49th parrallel is not a snow forcefield dough head, you know we use the Metric system up here right?

          We report zero, you report 32 degrees, same thing,different system of measurment. Consider this is your first free lesson on the rest of the planet
          and not your tiny little world of USA.

          This is the kind of commentary the rest of the world gets a bit disgusted with, FYI- your not that smart.

          BTW- They’ll never admit the Leafs suck, so he’ll know nothing about it.

          • Actually yes for many years I as a Leaf fan would admit they sucked…bad management poor drafting terrible coaching bad attitude players you name I’ve complained about it…but as a realistic hockey fan I find it funny to hear from a fan of a franchise that has made the playoffs once in its existence and has drafted in the top 5 or so countless times and still has a last place team well rather amusing especially when as I will happily point out again the leafs sit 6th 2 pts out of first in the east….

  2. Keith Ballard from the Canucks has been playing excellent defensive hockey when paired with Tanev this year. For some reason, their coach their still refuses to play him top minutes. It is baffling to an outsider how mistake prone dmen obtain big minutes over someone who has obviously played well enough to slot in.

    Pry him out of that city and you could have a way cheaper version of Bouwmeester. He’s a great skater as well.

    • Great skater, great hip checker and overall, a good guy in the room, but his defensive play is inconsistent and Ballard admitted it after his recent 2-game benching. Could he benefit from playing more minutes? Sure, but who wouldn’t?

      • agreed, and Nucks need to shed his salary. A bit of a strech calling him a top 4, but maybe Philly or Det. would be interested?

  3. The Flames will do nothing as usual. In the event they do something….It will be stupid.
    I think EVERYONE is linked to the Penguins a little more then they are linked to the Leafs.
    I predict yet again this year, Canadian teams will get the dirty end of the Q-Tip.

  4. The Kings could make this trade deadline pretty interesting. They have Mitchell and Greene out with injuries. When they come back, they’ll have too many defensemen. Muzzin is playing really well and will probably stay. So a pretty significant defenseman will be heading to a new team.

    • Not to mention $9.5mill in cap space. In saying that though there is nothing set in stone that either Mitchell or Greene even come back at all this year.

  5. I wonder if The wings or Philly would be interested in Liles. I know he’s hardly a top 4 d-man on a decent team. He has shown the ability to move the puck and maybe play the 2nd power play unit. A 3rd rounder in return is about all you could expect

    • No way. flyers dont want your sloppy seconds on JML!

    • there will be a team out there that will make a move for him. i dont know if toronto would get back the second they paid for him. if they do it”ll probably be a 2014 pick going back. btui the more he sits in the press pox the less he is worth

      • Unless they package him with another player like Bozak, they might get a better return. But I don’t think Liles is the odd man out, Komisarek is…but that won’t be till this Summer when they buy out his contract, then some team can take on his 1/2 salary ($4.5M – $2.25M).

        • agreed, but with gardiner in the minor’s playing a similar style, you can afford to move liles, maybe get a draft pick for him and continue to add to your base

  6. The Blue Jackets trading Jack Johnson is just plain stupid. D men take years to perfect their craft unlike forwards so Jack is just coming into his own and should be a force for the next 8 to 10 years on the blue line. The Blue Jackets could end up with two top five picks this year and most likely the number one overall. The difference in age between Jack and these new young picks will work out perfect for the Jackets.

  7. It’s still difficult to know what to expect.

    Rangers will be active for D if Staal’s eye injury will keep him out long-term.

  8. Comparing Ballard as a cheaper version of Bouwmeester ? I’d say cheaper version in dollars,defensive play and physical play. Bouwmeester is a rock on the blue line and Ballard cannot be compared to him.

    I can’t see any war room in the NHL targeting Bouwmeester then indicating oh wait Ballard is available and is a replacement for Bouwmeester at a reduced dollar amount. I think there would be lots of blank stares!

  9. Hear a lot of rumors about Iginla going to Pittsburgh. Who/what would Pittsburgh offer to facilitate that?

    • doumillon(sp?) and a first. dupreas and a second.

  10. I’ve been wondering that myself. Sure Pittsburgh may have interest in Iginla, but what do they have that A) they are willing to give up; and B) Calgary needs or wants?

    I’ve always imagined that if Jarome Iginla gets traded, it will be a similar deal to the one that brought him to Calgary in 1995.

    • i have been thinking the same thing, but i dont know who is out there that they would be willing to do a 1 for 1 deal for. calgary needs so much in terms of prospects/youth. i’d rather then add as many pieces as possible

    • Calgary would be getting back Pittsburgh’s 1st round pick and a prospect. some say Iggy is not worth the 1st but keep in mind what he brings to the table and how he would complete the right side for the Penguins, something they lack. As well, Pittsburgh’s first overall pick will be high 20’s which is something they could do without.

  11. Keith Ballard is a awesome player which I wish phx would have kept !! Those hip checks are amazing

  12. No comments on Dustin Byfuglien. If any team needs to rebuild it is the Jets. They need some extra first and second rounders on they will never shake the Thrashers look or record. Flyers have the roster players to get a deal done for Dustin Byfuglien.

    • talk about a potential deal that would work well for both teams eh. it’ll cost the flyers a small fortune to get him but if they are willing to get rid of their 1st and laughton, it’ll be a good starting point

  13. Why on earth would the Jackets trade Jack?

    And what are the Penguins sending the other way? Despres and a first?

    The Flyers and Red Wings can have Zidlicky… please… take him… 😛 Give us a 7th rounder. He’s “top 4″ … material 😛

  14. Sad truth is if this was LAK Johnson, then maybe. But CLB isn’t gonna give him up for nothing, Pens aren’t going to give away prime prospects for a struggling D-man who may just add to Pens defensive problems. Especially considering right now the most promising long-term partner for Letang, is just the man who everybody seems to think is availible. Simon Despres and Letang have been awesome together, and that has been during Despres’ yearly NHL career, growing pains period. Imagine in just 1-2 years.

    I think things just may play out with the Pens adding no big blockbuster deals, but instead more depth players and working with what they have in-house. They simply aren’t going to have the major James Neal type deals every single year, that just isn’t feasible. Especially for a team so limited by major long-term contracts and with minimal amounts of top prospects.

    • i agree dupres does no where. but i do think that iggy is who they should go after. they have so many defensive prospects they can get rid of one for him. they can afford to get rid of for him.

    • Letang and DePres are not paired together … ever watch a Pens game?

  15. flip franzen and white for perry…. get something for an underachiever, a streaky lazy player and a casualty of over crowding on the blue line

    hahaha i wish

  16. If Columbus moves any D it should be Tyutin. He is vastly underrated being buried on a bad team but would look like gold as a second or third D on a top team. The Jets new GM surely realizes he needs to rebuild and it will take 2-3 yaers to even thing they could be a top team so why not move the aging Tyutin now at his peak value?

    I also find it odd that over th alst week there have been various reports of teams looking for puck moving D yet Visnovsky is not mentioned. He is an UFA and will re-sign with NY when pigs fly so there is no way he is still on the Isle come the deadline. He’s probably superior to Bouwmeester and would be much, much cheaper to aquire (compensation and salary).

    Would love to see the Flyers send Fedetenko and a pick to the Sharks for Clowe and Grossman and a pick to NY for Visnovsky.

  17. I love listening to the Canadian fans cry and complain about there teams..Canadians come up with unrealistic trades that only benefit there team.such as..Domi and wade belak(god rest his soul) for jagr and Lemieux .Or one dumb Canadian said Crosby to Montreal for 2013 – 2024 first round pics which you can’t even do…come on guys…get a clue..you may get us in the Olympics but facts are facts..every good Canadian player plays on a USA team….

    • Umm not so sure who you seen or heard those kinda trade scenarios but chances are both were from the same guy cause well it definitely would not be from many informed fans…as most Canadian fans are. Oh most wise and all hockey knowing American as most teams are in the US and most players are Canadian your point would be? The Pens sucked for alot of years and got lucky to win a lottery to win Sid? The Lightening sucked for many years and drafted Stamkos? Or perhaps after a decade of losing the Hawks Drafted Towes? Maybe it’s because that storied franchise on Long Island that has remained in the basement for the better part of 20 years (you know the one that draws almost 6000 fans per game) drafted Taveres yep facts are facts….you shouldn’t be calling anyone dumb

    • “every good Canadian player plays on a USA team….” Maybe it’s because there are 23 of them? Odds are pretty good that solid Canadian players (of which there are many; and way more than American players) are going to be playing in the US.

      Also, to make a sweeping generalization of a group of people is flat out…well…American. (doesn’t feel too good does it?)

    • Using the fact that every good Canadian player plays for a US team as a point of personal pride is really funny. I’m sure John Tavares is loving playing for less fans in Long Island than he did when he finished up his OHL career in London.

      If you want to use all the fact, the American teams these guys play for had to suck for years to build up the rosters. Remember when the Blackhawks and Pens could barely attract fans?

      I’m sure some Canadian players playing in the US would have gladly chose to stay in canada if the draft didn’t exist. A lot of them don’t/wouldn’t want to deal with the added fan and media pressure, but that’s their choice. It’s not like these players became united states citizens and swore off the maple leaf. I don’t see how the NHL draft can create patriotism. But if those teams that won the lottery sucking so long and getting good players makes you proud to be an American,good on you. Maybe you can use Florida, Columbus, Phoenix, NYI, et als poor attendance as a point of personal pride that the united states has cheaper hockey tickets, rather than a lack of interest in those markets.

    • Hmmmmmmm, lets see. You have 23 NHL Teams, if you knew any bit of math, you’d know that the odds are that the American Teams will have more good Canadian players playing for them. But lets see, how many of those 23 NHL Teams are struggling financially to stay afloat, or getting hand outs by Canadian Teams to stay in the League? On top of that, if it weren’t for our good Canadian players, you definatley wouldn’t have 23 NHL Teams. Now be a good little American and go watch some Football, Basketball or Baseball…if not, then go watch some American Idol, because the only thing we’re crying and complaining about, is your singing of a post you just wrote!