NHL Morning Rumor Roundup – January 15, 2013.

The latest on Roberto Luongo, Keith Yandle, Ryan O’Reilly, Phil Kessel, Ales Hemsky, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and more.

CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports there were lots of jokes within NHL circles regarding the Flyers rumored interest in Roberto Luongo, but one executive said no one should be surprised because they’re seemingly involved in everything big…Oilers GM Steve Tambellini denied rumors suggesting he was shopping winger Ales Hemsky for a defenseman…the NY Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks denied the Rangers had interest in Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson…Friedman wondered if the Phoenix Coyotes might be interested in bringing back Matt Lombardi, currently with the Maple Leafs. The Coyotes are believed willing to shop a defenseman for a scoring forward…He also wondered if a rival team might send offer sheets to Montreal’s P.K. Subban, Dallas’ Jamie Benn, Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov and Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly.

Tim Wharnsby reports the Colorado Avalanche could have trouble luring Ryan O’Reilly back from the KHL this season. He’s playing with his brother Cal on Metallurg Magnitogorsk and is earning a pro-rated $4 million to play there this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t fully dismiss the possibility of the Flyers pursuing Luongo, but I only see that seriously happening if Ilya Bryzgalov plays poorly this season, forcing them to buy him out and seek a replacement. Luongo could be that replacement if the Canucks decide to retain him for this shortened season, then try to move him this summer…Having just acquired defenseman Mark Fistric from Dallas, I don’t believe the Oilers are now in the market for another defenseman, let alone shopping Hemsky to get one…Lombardi played well with the Coyotes, but that was several years and a concussion ago…I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of one of those aforementioned RFAs getting an offer sheet, but we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out leading up to the start of the season. General managers are still reviewing the CBA and of course have to keep an eye on the lowered salary cap for next season…As for O’Reilly, the Avs are reportedly still talking with his agent, in hopes of getting him under contract for the upcoming season. It would be interesting, though, if he decides to stage a holdout and continue playing in the KHL.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the Vancouver Canucks aren’t in a rush to move goalie Roberto Luongo. Toronto remains the “most obvious destination”, and a source told LeBrun the Leafs and Canucks had recently touched base since former GM Brian Burke was fired, though he doubts much has changed. The Canucks asking price is reportedly an NHL player and a high-end prospect, leading LeBrun to speculate the Canucks have their eye on Nazem Kadri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s also possible the Canucks could retain Luongo throughout this shortened season as insurance, then try to move him in the off-season. Much will depend upon their performance this season, especially with Ryan Kesler still sidelined.

Does Kessel have a long-term future in Toronto?

Does Kessel have a long-term future in Toronto?

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle wondered if the Maple Leafs should retain Phil Kessel long-term.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I weighed in on Kessel’s future in Toronto in a recent Soapbox column

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan reports Coyotes GM Don Maloney won’t pick apart the core of his blueline (Keith Yandle, Oliver Ekman-Larsson) to bring in a scoring forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would take a hell of an offer to pry Yandle away from the Coyotes. I don’t believe Bruins forward David Krejci would be it.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Jason Brough lists five UFAs that could be of interest to NHL clubs. Topping the list is Jason Arnott.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Tom Gulitti reports the loss of Zach Parise to free agency and the decision not to bring back Petr Sykora could push Devils management into the trade market for a scoring forward. The Devils have depth on defense, leading Gulitti to suggest Andy Greene, Mark Fayne, Henrik Tallinder and Peter Harrold as the likely trade candidates.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports the Sabres currently have nine blueliners, which could see one of them not named Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff to be dealt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is T.J. Brennan could be dealt or demoted.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Bryan Murray has decided to hold off on making any trades for the time being for a defenseman, as blueliners are at a premium and a lot of teams are looking.


  1. I agree the Sabres will make a move to trade a defensman, but don’t expect that to be Brennan. He is our most skilled offensive defenseman prospect. He will not be sent down either, because they know he wouldn’t clear waivers. Look to see Sekera or Leopold to be traded. Neither one deserves to be sent packing, but with Brennan coming up that makes Sekera expendable and with Leopold an UFA next summer he would be next on the list. Regehr and Pardy could also be put in there because of their contracts ending. Pardy likely will get sent down through waivers. I could see a package deal with a defenseman and someone like Luke Adam.

    • One part of the new CBA is that the waiver rule was changed. You can now send players down without worrying that they will be scooped up by other teams.
      At least that is how I read it and I stand to be corrected.

      • Not true. Joe Finley was put on waivers by the Sabres and taken by the Islanders.

      • They eliminated re entry waivers I believe but regular waivers still exists

    • I believe Regher will be kept for the remainder of the season. With McNabb and Pysk having about same physical output plus more offensive output add the fact that they’ll have a much lower salary I don’t really see Regher staying after this final year of his contract.

      With Leopold for surely leaving next year I’d try to get another pure goal scorer on this team. My mind goes back to Bobby Ryan. Adam, Leopold & 1st for Ryan?

  2. Luongo < Kessel & Benn

    The time has passed on this deal …..Leafs need to stay the course and see what Frattin and Kadri can do this year ..both have been superb on the Marlies ….I feel Scrivens & Reimer may be able to carry the load ..Scrivens was the Marlies MVP last year in the playoffs and Reimer is totaly healthy…there may be a better less expensive option in a few weeks when some teams faulter or have some special needs where as they can give up a !A gaolie if they have two.

    Leafs need to put more energy into making a better deal for a power forward Centerman…Colorado has plenty to choose from a deal for Jamie Benn is definitely out there to be had as I think so are some other deals ……I think to bring in a legit 1AAA quality center the Leafs should trade Gardner its a simple need for a need …gardner was a winger up until his mid career at Colleg and has only played Defense for a couple of years …hes a naturtal winger ….so over time his defensive game will faulter …so long term its better to flip him for a franchise player upfront ….the Leafs have very and abundance of very skilled D man to fill the role anyqays …he may not be missed and could be better in a deal right now ….Rielly will fill his role longterm and they have…. Blacker… Holzer …Kostka …Ranger …Gunnarson… to support the deal !
    Its a need for a need ….I hate to say any deals …as its better not to I dont feel like getting roasted ….here …..but Edmonton, Colorado or even Minnesota for ( Grandlund ) ….

    I would do a Kessel for Benn deal staright up …today !!!
    Is Duchene available in Colorado for Gardner Komisarek and Kadri and a second??
    Would Edmonton lgive up Yakupov to get Gardner to play with Shultz ….

    Just a topic of conversation!

    • Success in the last several years has come to teams that have built from the back-end out. Leafs need a complete rebuild…5 year plan. Piecing a team together has not worked in the past nor will it in the future.

      • agreed. they need a full rebuild. it just do happens there is a very good draft this year…go for it

    • @backchecking
      You shouldn’t get roasted for the way you wrote this post buddy. Definitely some things to think about.

    • While not a Maple Leaf fan I have always liked the potential of Kadri and believed that he was not allowed a real chance to showcase his skill by Ron Wilson. I don’t know if Carlyle is the right coach for him either as he preaches defense, which is not always bad, but sometimes at the expense of offense, which is Kadri’s forte.
      As far as Reimer/Scrivens, I too think that they should be given a chance but the trouble there, as I have posted previously, is that they will not be allowed the usual amount of leeway as far as going through a slump. Most goalies experience a slump for a few games each year but with the pressure to make the playoffs along with proving that they both deserve to play in the NHL, management might pull the trigger on a trade rather than let either or both of them work through the slump.
      I am inclined to wait and see what combinations Carlyle has in store for the Kessel line before making any trades. I am not in any way shape or form a Kessel fan but I do recognize someone with natural goal scoring talent and he can put the puck in the net. The downside is on the defensive side of the puck and being responsible in his own zone. If he had two players who could be responsible and was paired with defensive defensemen his line might be just what the Leafs need.
      Wait to trade him until he has a full season or as full as this season will be, under Carlyle and then make a decision.

    • Wow, very imaginative, but respectfully not realistic.
      Toronto realized they have a gem in Gardiner, the only reason they gave up on Luke Schenn is because Gardiner had taken the spot of top dman prospect for Toronto.
      Kessel is not going anywhere, in a line with Bozak (a 3rd line centre, let’s not lie) he managed to come 6th in the NHL in scoring.
      Toronto will see if VanReimsdyk can rediscover his role as a Centre (he played centre in jr hockey) as reported here:
      If JVR can perform at centre then that issue is resolved, and Toronto can focus more on goaltending.

      • Jvr is not playing centre leafs already have to many centre and jvr isn’t going to take over for any of them as I don’t see him being a better centre the winger. As for the leafs doing a rebuild no way. They already have a long list of good to great d prospects they have 4 or 5 decent forward prospects on top of kessel lupul jvr grabovski, honestly they do need a true # 1 centre but after that what do they need a goalie and they are so hit or miss that drafting one isn’t worth doing a total team rebuild over. Give Reimer and scrivens a chance if they can’t do it you have plenty of options come the offseason via trade. The team really isn’t as bad as the results they’ve had over the past few years.

    • Granlund is slotted to be the #2 Center in Minny. He is not going anywhere
      Yakupov I don’t see getting moved this season
      Duchene I can’t see them moving if O’Rielly is not signed.

      I think the Leafs should just ride the season out. Use it as a season to let some contracts expire and see where the other kids are at. Reimer, Kadri, Gardiner etc.

      • agreed. but should add they should be dumping expiring contracts too

  3. No way is Brennan going to be demoted and having to clear waivers. If Darcy does lose him to a waiver claim he should be fired immediately. I agree with Adambuffalo that Sekera should be traded. He is weak defensively. adds no grit and is a disappointment offensively. The Sabres have a lot of pieces to put a deal on the table for what ever need they want to fill. But do they have a gm to pull the trigger on one?

    • In Regier we trust.

    • if the right deal is there Darcy will pull the trigger. No reason to make a trade for the sake of just making a trade

  4. I do not think Nonis will trade Kadri for Luongo.

  5. I like Campoli back to the Sens. Though not quite what they need, he’s been there before and is pretty dependable. Luke Richardson looks good enough in practice at Bingo to come out of retirement.

  6. With the recent trend by the Penguins on drafting defenseman high in the draft, the Pens may be looking to trade Ben Lovejoy, as reported on 92.7 the Fan. Lovejoy doesn’t seem to fit into Coach Dan Bylsma’s plans. He still has options left but with the younger and more valued defensemen in the system, he seems to be expendable rather than sent to the Baby Pens.

  7. Wow. Kessel has got to be one of the most underrated players in the league at this point. Not just from that blog, but also the TSN top 50 players: He was ranked somewhere in the 40’s and surrounded by 50 point players. I dont get it? You have a 24 year old that annually scores over 30 goals a season, and is coming off his best year to date, the final year of a string of seasons in which he managed to continue improving on his offence production. Kessel is only getting better at this point, and people would be willing to trade him for Benn or Luongo even? Give me a break.

    The Leafs haven’t been able to land a bona-fide #1 centre over the past 3 seasons and have still failed to do so, and we’re already talking about shipping out our only bona-fide first liner (on any team in the league). How do these hockey writers even get their jobs?

    • Hi Sean:
      I have to agree with you on Kessel even though I am not a fan of his. I don’t know why they rated him so low. Anyone who can score 30 or more goals in the NHL and 55 + points since 2008/09 should be rated a lot higher. It looks to me as if he is getting better each season and if he had a strong centre I imagine he would easily get 40 or more goals and 70 + points. If they say it is his lousy plus/minus that ranks him lower then I don’t buy that either. Plus/minus ratings do not tell the whole story and a better defense or steadier goaltending can skew the stats of other players as well.
      While I would not want Phil Kessel on my team I do respect his goal scoring ability and believe that he deserves to be ranked in the top twenty.

      • We all recognize Kessels goal scoring ability but we all know goal scoring cannot be the only part a player brings to a team. The problem is he is always on the ice for more goals against and all Leaf fans have seen him disappear when playing a tough teams like Boston. I think Bachchecking and I believe he is a fantastic goal scorer but would be better suited for a different team, probably a contender who has all the right pieces but needs more goal scoring. The Leafs need other more important parts before they get to this point.

  8. Sabres never officially recalled Brennan, he is invited to training camp but still apart of the AHL team. Also during the off season players don’t need to clear waivers the current waivers are those who were just placed on waivers. No more re-entry waivers

  9. I would love to see the Leafs make a trade or offer sheet for Benn or O’Reilly to centre the top line. I think Benn might be a grittier and more impactful player but O’Reilly overall game and playmaking would suit Kessel more. Also O’Reilly might be had at a cheaper price.

    I’d be willing to centre a deal around Gardiner. I think the Leafs have a lot of offensive style dmen in the system. Gardiner might be the best among them but you need to give talent to get talent.

    Also I would let Scrivens and Reimer get 4 games each before making a rash goaltending decision. I really think Scrivens could be the next Cujo.

  10. I totally agree with you Sean. What are these people smokin… Phil Kessel is our only real asset TML has at this point. Straight up for Benn …give me a break. I say bring in a decent center man to play with Phil, then you will see Phil becoming one of top 5 in NHL scoring. Everyone preaching defense defense defense, cut the crap, I don`t care if Phil cherry picks at the blue line all night, cause he is the only one who can put the puck in the net. We have 20 other guys on the roster who should be thinking defense defense defense, because none of them knows how to put puck in the net. As for Gardiner and Kadri leave them alone, just let them play their game. I think we can all acknowledge these two have great set of hands, so why not let them just play. So what they make mistakes here and there, they are still young. I rather lose with these young skilled studs then lose games with “i`m scared to lose my job“ old duds.
    GO LEAFS GO GO LEAFS GO …by the way, I would save money and shed cap space for bona-fide centre man in Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry. Common LEAFS bring in the real deal for a change not ready to retire stars of old.

    • perry isnt a center