NHL Morning Rumor Mill – Wednesday, May 15, 2013.

Latest on the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Blues, and Ducks.

Leafs GM Dave Nonis faces a busy summer.

Leafs GM Dave Nonis faces a busy summer.

TORONTO STAR/TORONTO SUN: Kevin McGran reports Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis has his work cut out for him this summer. He must determine if he’ll open contract extension talks this summer with Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf (who’ll be UFAs next summer) and James Reimer (an RFA next summer). The cost of re-signing UFA center Tyler Bozak could spell the end of Mikhail Grabovski with the Leafs, suggesting the latter would have to be moved to free up cap space for Bozak’s new contract. McGran expects UFA tough guy Colton Orr to be re-signed, but Clarke MacArthur, Ryan O’Byrne and Mike Kostka will probably move on. RFA Mark Fraser could be on thin ice if the Leafs land another bruising blueliner. Grabovski, Mike Komisarek and John-Michael Liles could be compliance buyout candidates.

Lance Hornby, meanwhile, believes Reimer’s solid playoff performance won’t prevent Nonis from calling off his search party for an experienced starter this summer. Promising Jake Gardiner also means Nonis won’t need to shop for a puck-moving defenseman, but the Leafs could use a stay-at-home presence, “with a dash of first-pass breakout efficiency”.  While it won’t hurt the Leafs to retain Bozak, Hornby believes Nonis can find a better center via trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have over $45 million invested in 12 players, giving them around $19 million to invest in the rest of their roster. Komisarek will be bought out, and possibly Liles, but I think Grabovski could be shopped rather than bought out, though Nonis would have to pick up part of his salary. I think the biggest need is finding that elusive first-line center and adding an experienced physical blueliner. Reimer’s performance should take Nonis out of the market for an experienced starter. If he wants to add a more experienced backup, fine, but Reimer’s earned the right to return as the Leafs starter. It would be a waste of assets pursuing a starter via trade or free agency, which could be better invested in more pressing roster needs.

LA PRESSE: Richard Labbe recently reported Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin was quick to dismiss any speculation he might might find a replacement for starting goalie Carey Price, expressing confidence the 25-year-old netminder will round into a proven playoff performer.  Still, Labbe believes Bergevin should use one of his draft picks this year to find a “Plan B” for the future if Price fails to pan out as hoped. He also believes the Habs could use more size, and called upon Bergevin to start negotiations with PK Subban on a long-term contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Folks forget Price is only 25 and has yet to reach his playing prime. Still, Labbe makes a good point about looking toward the future long-term. As I’ve noted elsewhere, the Canadiens could use a big, physical blueliner, and another forward in the mould of Brandon Prust.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford reported Blues GM Doug Armstrong recently acknowledged calls for his club to add a proven scorer, but noted rival teams aren’t exactly giving those type of forwards away, insisting his “home-grown” players will have to step up. Armstrong intends on re-signing each of his RFA players and then survey the situation. UFA forward Andy McDonald isn’t expected to be re-signed.  Armstrong also touched upon his goaltending , noting it has become “cloudy” with Jake Allen challenging Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t surprise me if Armstrong quietly shopped Halak, singly or in a package deal, for a scorer. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Lance Pugmire reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray has a lot on his plate following his club’s disappointing early postseason exit. He intends to let Teemu Selanne have a few weeks to decide his future, planning to meet with him in June. Murray also intends to add more toughness to his lineup, claiming he’s still upset by the blindside hit by Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader on Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman. He also said he’d continue contract talks with UFAs Saku Koivu and Ben Lovejoy. Center Dave Steckel also said he hopes to remain with the Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hovering over this is the Ducks limited cap space for next season. Murray only has around $4.88 million in cap space, which won’t be enough to re-sign Selanne, Koivu and Lovejoy and still add some toughness to the lineup. Some salary must be shed, which could resurrect last summer’s Bobby Ryan trade rumors.


  1. Not sure how the habs are going to acquire another prust, those guys dont grow on trees. they would have to draft and develop one or make a big trade. guy hits, fights and scores not many players can do that to his level

    • I bet they could get Ryane Clowe on the cheap. IF he can get healthy, he’d be the Habs perfect answer to Lucic when the Bruins come to town

  2. My feelings are that Grabovski will be traded (Florida seems a good fit), Halak will end up on the Islanders, and Macdonald will return to Anaheim via free agency – Teemu Selanne finally retires.

  3. Grabovski, I think ends up in Phoenix as a cheap way to try and bolster their offense.
    Halak could end up in Philly, with them buying out Bryz and going Halak/Mason.
    Clowe would probably be a good fit in Montreal if he gets healthy.
    Ryan is a guy I feel is on the move, the Ducks need to add depth into their system. A deal much like the Gaborik deal would do them well, Phoenix, Nashville, Winnipeg, Ottawa are the teams that strike me having that depth but seeking that top scoring guy.

    • I like the idea of Grabovski to Phoenix – that makes sense, too.

      My feeling is that for whatever reason, ownership will stick with Bryzgalov for another year.

      If he fails again, I could see him leaving for the KHL – the goalie market is so tight in the league right now, it’d be next to impossible to find a club willing to take a chance on him. After being successfully out of the lime-light in Phoenix, Bryz and his off-kilter personality have come under big scrutiny in Philly. He definitely doesn’t seem comfortable – he’s called out the media in a big way a couple of times now.

      I could seem him getting a decent deal in the K, and embrace leaving the North American hockey media.

  4. I could see Grabo going to Anaheim, especially if Koivu retires. As for what would come back, who knows.

    Anaheim is also a very plausible option for Tyler Bozak if the Leafs do not resign him. While both these players would earn more than Koivu at 3.8 mill, remember that Lombardi at 2 million is also coming off the books and they will need an experienced and proven 2nd line centre.

    Most importantly, remember Grabo and Bozak were Burkie boys, and he loves trading with his former teams.

  5. i think grabo will go to anaheim or phoenix. both are good spots for him. they will eat part of his salaary but i wouldnt expect a lot back for him. i would be happy if they shopped him for a big tough Dman but they are few and far between now it seems. i dont mind them buying out komi, he will sign onto another team and be fine as a 5/6 defensmen. i never liked liles so he can go wherevere for what i care. i dont liek the idea of buying both out. i hate having that salary on our books. liles you kind of have to cause he has more term on his. but man if we move grabo and (please god) phaneuf. we wll have a big hole to fill either way. i like having gardiner and franson (im calling 3.5-4.25 over 5 years)play good minutes, rielly looks like he will be ready but to have a fallback, trade for a Dman! getting a shutdown guy will only help. we were a young team that did very well. if biggs or one of those guys are ready for the nhl then let them run with it. our d is the problem. lets get some big bodies to help out reimer and draft draft draft.