NHL Playoff Rumor Mill – May 1, 2014.

Latest on the Avalanche, Stars, Sharks, Flyers, Sabres and Devils. 

Re-signing Ryan O'Reilly among the Avalanche's priorities this summer.

Re-signing Ryan O’Reilly among the Avalanche’s priorities this summer.

ESPN.COM/DENVER POST: Craig Custance believes the Colorado Avalanche must re-sign Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly, plus add an impact defenseman via trade or free agency. Considering the lack of skilled defensemen in this summer’s free agent market, a trade might  be the best way to go. Custance suggests revisiting talks with the Florida Panthers over Dmitry Kulikov. Mark Kiszla, prior to Game 7 of the Avs-Wild series, noted the pressure upon Paul Stastny, wondering if he re-signs with the Avs if they fail to advance beyond the first round.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny has said he’d consider a hometown discount (down from his current $6.6 million per season) to re-sign with the Avs, who reportedly want to keep him. We’ll see if that actually comes to pass. It will cost over $6 million for the Avs to qualify O’Reilly’s rights, perhaps more to re-sign him. Given his solid play they have little choice but to do so. I also expect they’ll draw from their depth in young talent in hopes of landing a quality defenseman via trade this summer.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports the Stars probably won’t re-sign pending UFAs Ray Whitney and Vernon Fiddler. There will be cap space for make a significant trade or signing but GM Jim Nill doesn’t expect to go crazy with those options. Heika also reports Nill and coach Lindy Ruff will examine their defense corps in the off-season. Heika wonders if they’ll buy out or trade Sergei Gonchar or Aaron Rome. He also suggests Buffalo’s Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff, Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov and Vancouver’s Alex Edler as possible trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While they should look to bolster their defense, I believe a priority is landing another top-six winger. The bulk of their offense was carried by Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin this season. While they have some promising young forwards like Valeri Nichushkin and Cody Eakin, they’re not fully ready for prime time yet. 

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance believes the Sharks should seriously consider a goaltending change (St. Louis’ Ryan Miller could be available) and adding a top-four defenseman. Custance also believes the Flyers should try to squeeze another season out of Kimmo Timonen, get faster and make a call on Brayden Schenn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  I would stay far away from Miller if I were Sharks GM. He’s 34 and his best seasons are obviously behind him. Look elsewhere for goaltending help if necessary. As for the Flyers, Timonen’s done. Shop Brayden Schenn and see if you can use him to land some blueline help.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports winger Drew Stafford could still be part of the Sabres roster next season but Christian Ehrhoff might not.  The Sabres lack depth at forward which would make retaining Stafford worthwhile, while their defense prospects could push out Ehrhoff. “I think if they want to move me, they can move me,” said Ehrhoff, who thinks he’ll be back next season. “So far, I do. We’ll see. Obviously, it’s not up to me and that remains to be seen.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres could move Ehrhoff if they get a decent offer. There’s some teams that could use his puck-moving skills. As for Stafford, his stock has fallen so much that it would be difficult finding an interested club to take him off their hands. 

NJ.COM: With Jaromir Jagr now re-signed, Rich Chere reports the Devils will shift their focus to re-signing goaltender Cory Schneider, who has one year left on his current contract.


  1. “Timonen’s done”……..must have the inside track on this one because nobody else said it. He may have been hinting but also hinted abput another year.

    • Flyers need to turn the page on 44. He has been a warrior for a long time, but simply is not quick enough anymore for a dman that small. This is extremely evident when he trys to keep pucks in at the blueline. He has to make up for his lack of speed by backing off the line in the event there is a rush the other way. It killed them in these playoffs. They can replace his 35 points with Gost coming up.

      His current strength is a decent point producer, but has limited size, speed and is nowhere near the defender he used to be. Rather see Morin and Gost in there.

      That team needs a number 1 d. Coburn and MacD are both good second pairing guys, but Coburn cant play 25 minutes a night.

  2. “After the Kings fell behind 3-0 in the series, Los Angeles Times’ columnist Helene Elliott wondered if they were approaching the end of an era. She commended the Kings’ solidarity and sacrifice but pointed out rivals like the Sharks, St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks improved this season. She felt their struggles against the Sharks suggested the roster – particularly their core players – could use a shakeup, though she didn’t single out which core players should be moved”
    Talk about jumping to conclusions.

    • It was a “Jump to Conclusions” mat. You see, it would be this mat that you would put on the floor… and would have different CONCLUSIONS written on it that you could JUMP TO.

    • I am not trying to be sarcastic , but I’m asking because I did not catch 1 single game from this series. Did LA win this series because LA is still good / a top contender in the west, or is it just one more choke job, in a long line of choke jobs by San Jose. I can’t imagine losing 4 straight after being up 3-0 in the series wasn’t at least a partial, if not total and complete melt down (once again) by San Jose.

      • Last night was a total choke, the other 3 losses after being up 3-0 still had some effort and was pretty well played for the most part on both sides. Not liking this new playoff format. Good teams beating the hell out of one another too early out west anyway.

        • I agree, the new format sucks. Not sure why Bettman feels the need to to screw with things that don’t really need to be changed.

        • The Sharks constant choke remind me of the Leafs except the Leafs choke trying to actually get into the playoffs. HAHA

          • That and the Sharks have Amazing depth and are constantly good throughout the regular season and have a team that should go deep in the playoffs but can’t seem to put it together, while the leafs are just terrible…and i’m a leafs fan :P.

            SJ collapse is just an added chapter to their failure parade that i just don’t understand.

    • Wilson has some big decisions to make, he is not the type to trash the roster and start over but clearly the vets like Boyle and Jumbo Joe lack the leadership skills to get them over the hump. With Boyle and Stuart up in age on the back line they need to get a young, mobile, up and coming D-man to go with them. Support cast is ok but no stand out star on the way. While I think Miller is a LONG TERM risk in goal, it would be just like Wilson to go out and pay him big bucks for a year or two and see if he can strike gold fast. Besides if Miller wants to be on west coast SJ is TODAY his best chance and it will cost SJ nothing but money. One more year has rolled by and SJ main core is getting older.

      • While, as a Sharks fan, I am very disappointed once again, I am happy everyone here is civil about it. That being said, I expect Boyle, Stuart and Hannan to be gone over the summer. Love Boyle for leadership, and maybe they’ll keep him one more year, but…..

        If I were the Sharks, I would trade Couture and their first round pick to try and get Engblad (sp?), the big D-man….Sharks need a few pieces up front too. I think they buy out Havlat’s last year, and maybe Burris too. They have some tough guys, but need a few more scoring guys for second line. Nieto and Shep were very good in the playoffs, need a couple more like them!

    • How about the person suggesting that Richards should be bought out?

      And @NYR4LIFE, I thought the Kings were the better team going in. I believe the Kings won the season series, and they are deeper in terms of no name guys who can pick it up and score.

      The Kings got back to playing the way they’ve been playing for several years now. The defense and goaltending stepped up and they got timely goals when needed.

      The game was actually pretty close. 2 of the 5 goals were empty-netters. Personally, I was nervous up until the first empty net goal.

  3. It’s being reported that Torts is out today.

    • I kinda wonder if Torts isnt done for awhile simmilar to Wilson and Keenan. Guy needs to step away awhile.

      • I agree. I don’t see a team out there that could benefit from his services at this time. Not only does he have some fundamental system flaws in his coaching game, but personality flaws I can’t see him fixing in the near future. Out of the 3 vacancies in the Nhl (I think just 3?) I can’t see him in Washington or Florida. Nashville may be the only vacancy suited for his style, But I think he passes because he hates MDZ! LOL

  4. I think the Sharks should consider firing the head coach.

    Avs have depth and should look to trade O’Reilly to get a solid young d-man that is already established in the NHL.

    • Out of the games I watched of the Avs this year besides McKinnon or Varly ROR was maybe their best player, he is not going anywhere, I doubt very good defensively dosent take penalties physical big play wing or C decent hands….no way this guy is going anywhere.

      • I figure they will let Stastny go if they know what’s good for them. He did not play up to expectations after he signed his last contract slipping from 70+ points down to the 50+ point range and just now pulls up his socks somewhat in his UFA year .Watch out this is another player in a long line of pending UFA over achievers (it will be the same BS as Brad Richards). I bet Stastny slips down to the 40 to 50 point per year range for the next few years. Paying him more then $4M is a stretch but maybe Nonis will come to the rescue like he did with Clarkson and give this guy $6M+ on a new seven year deal to wrestle up a consistent 40 points.

        • you think Stasny is a 4 mill player???

          • If you look at his healthy seasons he is closer to a 60-65 point per season over his career. If you break down his games played down into complete seasons he is close to 70 points per. Health had been a bit of an issue and now at 28 he is probably close to his peak and will of course regress some but Stasny is probably going to get around 6 mill, more if he is ufa. Find a 60-70 point ufa center making under 5 mill.

        • Stastny is a better player than you are making him out to be. A very good 2nd line C, border line 1st line guy. The 6.6 million cap hit was a bit much, but given the cap is now much higher than when he signed that deal, and he isn’t as far off the player he was supposed to be as people make it sound, a 5-6 million dollar deal is solid for this guy. Throw in the fact that Colorado has no cap issues, and I think he stays.

          ROR will be going nowhere, unless he decides he desperately wants out. 6 million is an easy deal to sign for a guy like him. To me he is a guy in the mold of a Pavelski or Bergeron. Really does everything at a very high level. There isn’t a team in the league that he doesn’t improve. His defensive play is great, and improving, likely good defensive forwards get better in their mid to late 20’s ala Bergeron. For him to be as good as he is now, makes him indespensible. The fact that he can do all that while taking just 1 minor penalty all year is very underrated. You take it a guy like Corey Perry who had 17 more points while taking nearly 30 minor penalites (usually up around 40) and isn’t as versatile or good defensively gets 8 million, I think it’s an easy case to make for ROR getting 6+ and being worth every penalty. I am not saying ROR is the same level, or that Perry isn’t worth his deal, simply that it’s easy to make a case that ROR is worth at least 3/4’s of what a guy like Perry is worth.

          • Word…lol

          • You said the same thing about Clarkson. Time to wake up and realize these guys play over their heads the year of their pending UFA status and can’t live up to their new crazy salary . It’s so obvious time and again.

          • ??? About Clarkson …I said Id rather have Bickle or Penner same types of players that would be far cheaper, said all along Clarksons deal was too long at first I didnt have a huge issue with the cap hit becsuse I understand you are going to overpay for a UFA but it turns out Its worse than I thought I admit that. That being said with the year he had it cant get much worse than this. I think Clarkson may improve, still not worth it but no sense whining and moaning about it now.

  5. A few thoughts:

    1. Say what you will about Bettman, but we’ve seen last night there were three game 7s. In four years we’ve seen two different teams come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the series. With proper drafting, trades, and cap management teams can turn their franchise around in a short period of time (see Colorado, Columbus, and Minnesota). If you want close exciting hockey, you got it, and you can thank Mr. Bettman.

    2. The Kings aren’t trading Brown, buying out Richards, breaking up the team or anything else.

    3. San Jose on the other hand… Ouch. And looking at their team on capgeek, they may have some cap problems next year, and Boyle is a UFA. If I’m San Jose, I’d probably see if I could move some of the older vets and bring back some younger players and draft picks. Maybe they could package Thornton and Marleau to Toronto and take back Van Reimsdyk and Gardiner or something like that. The Sharks have some really good young players (Couture, Hertl, Demers), and if they could swap out a few older vets for some younger ones, they’ll be good for a long time to come. This current team is obviously going to run out of gas soon.

    • Hard to picture Wilson taking a step back to get better in future. He has always seemed to me to be a GM that spends to the cap and except in a FEW cases was willing to trade the future to be better now. Have not heard anything about his job being at risk , any rumors the past few years about Wilson being on thin ice ?

    • no thanks cant see giving up JVR ( young, 30 goals, great contract) plus for older players making big bucks. I think there could be some other fits tho between the Sharks and Leafs.

      • Shticky – I agree although TO does make some pretty stupid moves and Thornton and Marleau for JVR might be attractive to them. Thornton looked pretty bad out there last night and Boyle didn’t look much better. I think the main stat to look at is PPG and last night they had how many power plays? Thing is Thornton, Marleau, Burns and Havlat have NMC. Luckily – Hannan and Boyle drop off.

        • Pretty sure the guy that the Leafs would want most out off the Sharks would be Pavelski out of the players that wouldnt be considered almost untouchable. Not Thorton or Marleau.

          • That’s what the Leafs need is Thorton another choke leader to join our current choke captain Phaneuf. They can both be interviewed after a eight straight losses and talk about how great the team is playing. lol

          • I kinda understand the choke thing this year with blowing the 3-0 series lead but maybe making it out to be a little more thsn it is. The Sharks have made the playoffs 9 straight years only 3 of those are first round exits 4 second rounds an 2 confrence championships is pretty good for a team that doesnt spend to the cap. Not everyone wins a cup. You make it sound like they never get anywhere.

          • That record is head and shoulders better then the Leafs but a far cry from the Wings. The problem is they were expected to challenge for the cup in most of those years and came up way short.

          • How many the Flyers have? teams that are considered pretty successful over the past decade making the play offs dont have as good a record as the Sharks have had. They have success and lost to some pretty good teams. Funny you mention the Wings after their cup in 08 the next 2 years the Wings lost to the Sharks in the playoffs lost twice in the past 5 years to the eventual cup Champs once in the confrence final CHI and LA Again dropping a 3-0 lead is a bit of a choke but the Sharks are a pretty successful team.

    • I think you are giving Bettman a little too much credit for things that really have little or nothing to do with his service. I don’t think you can credit him for 3-0 deficit comebacks, 3 game 7’s last night. Or the turnaround of Colorado. The Avs had 3 bad years, but prior to that they were a contender every year, pretty much since they moved to Denver. Bettman has 3 lockouts under his belt. Two 1/2 seasons lost and one full season lost. One of those lockouts costing a TV deal with ESPN. Expansions into markets that really made no sense. Not to mention some of the ridiculous ideas and rule changes under his tenure that were designed to bring in new fans while pushing lifetime fans out of the way…..GLOW PUCK? I’ll say no more.

      • Have to agree NYR4Life. Colorado just happened to get remarkably lucky in the draft positions they held as well. Watching them draft just ahed of the Isles has been torment. Landesgog, Mckinnon, Duchesne are all very nice pieces to build around. Bettmnan doesn’t deserve any credit for that. For every Colorado there is an Edmonton or Florida or Isles team that has languished.

        Revenues have grown remarkably under Bettman but the same has been true for every other major sports league in North America and no one else has had the labour strife the NHL has gone through.

        • With regards to the Oilers, Islanders, and Florida, they have management and/or ownership issues.

          As for Bettman, I think he deserves credit for creating a league that is competitive. The fact that we had three game 7s last night and the second team in four years beat a 3-0 deficit seems to prove this is the case.

          We don’t have a handful of teams with fat wallets throwing outrageous money at free agents while others are relegated to minor league status (unless poor management and drafting relegates them to such).

          Even the worst teams in the league can turn it around in a few years without having their talent poached by the big spenders.

          According to Capgeek, the highest spending team (Washington) has a payroll of $64.9 million. The team with the lowest payroll is Florida at $50.6 million. That’s a little over a $14 million variance from top to bottom.

          The team with the second lowest payroll in the league (Colorado) won their division, while the team with the highest payroll in the league (Washington) missed the playoffs entirely.

          When I look at hockey, the quality of the product is really good and any team that has the proper game plan and drafts well can turn their franchise around (provided they have an ownership willing to do so and the right management in place).

        • Plus Im not completely sold on the Avs being all they are made out to be just yet, I think it could be argued they got great goaltending and some career type years from depth guys. Have to see next year but lets not lose sight of the team that beat them in 7 was not the Kings Hawks Blues etc. Some great pieces there but if Varly goes back to playing like he did in Washington not sure they are a playoff team let alone division winners.

          • not a playoff team???? give your head a shake they are loaded with good young talent!!

          • Yep a team loaded with great young talent but a bad defense a goalie who had a .927 save percentage (unsustainable) a couple guys with crazy shooting percentages (unsustainable) pretty lucky relatively with injuries and the worst corsi stats of anyone who made the playoffs in the west…so in otherwords a team that scores lots doesnt defend well or posess the puck and gets great goaltending. Hmmm where have I heard this before? What happened when Varly stumbled? They lost a 7 game series to a team they should have beat.

  6. Alforducks how do you like your chances? I had your team picked to win the West but I’m a little worried now that you drew the Kings on a huge roll.

    • If I had money on it, I’d pick LAK in 6 or 7 games. The LAK are more experienced and better in goal & on “D”. That being said I would not trade the Ducks roster for the Kings as Ducks are loaded with youth. Not even I picked the Ducks to finish first in the west, I picked them 4th in Pacific. The young players responded well and players like Bonino and Lindholm and Andersen played well and with Rakell, Etem, Smith Pelley, Gibson playing more next season the future looks bright, win or lose against the Kings they had a great year. To beat the Kings they need good goal tending and take advantage with their speed, which has been their big asset all season.

      • @ Alforducks

        I think your problem is that you’re going to have problems with Getzlaf’s and Perry’s contracts. I think your GM made a mistake waiting to re-sign them. He had to overpay to prevent them from getting to unrestricted free agency. That may hurt you in the long run when it comes time to resign the kids.

        If I were GM, that would be one of my absolute rules. I would never go into the season with a major player in the final year of his contract. Re-sign or your gone before the puck drops.

        • For the most part I agree, as a GM my #1 rule would be if you are an up coming UFA we start talking at Christmas, if we can’t come to a deal by March 1 ( trade deadline) I trade you for whatever I can get, I’m not letting you walk for nothing.
          That being said I was concerned that the 8 million for 8 years would screw them but (1) we are now down to 7 years and each year that passes makes it easier to trade them (2) They should have plenty of cap space the next 2-3 years and if they do not bring in any big UFA’s should be ok (3) the cap is going up and if it does every year, the contracts will be less of a burden (4) there are more and more big contracts being signed meaning that more of a chance a trade can be made, even through your cap may not go down you still may be able to deal for a need, like I’ll trade my over priced forward for your over priced d-man. This is exactly why I do not see Hiller returning, no way does Murray want to give him 6 million for 6 years, not while he has Andersen and Gibson here.

      • Alforducks
        Wow, well I guess you are hoping I’m right. The Ducks have been special all year and were on a roll going into the playoffs which is usually a nice boost. LA now has momentum so it should be a good series. The Ducks are fortunate to have a few days rest but not too much to be rusty.
        Go Ducks!!

  7. The only way the Avs are going to get the D-man they need is through trade. I STILL say an O’Reilly/Meyers trade would help both teams. But if they won’t give up O’Reilly, good luck. You have to give something to get something.

    • lol you wont get him for Myers, and realistically they could go out and sign a guy or 2 thst could really in the short term help them out quite a bit I think Fayne Hainsey or even a guy like Robidas I think would get them closer than sending one of their best players away for a d man who still has some questions about consistency. There are some options out there that dont require such a drastic trade.

    • You still say it, but it still is a real long shot trade. Giving something, would require a lot more than Myers straight up for ROR. O’Reilly isn’t going anywhere imo. But if he was to be shopped around, I think he would the Avs could get a much better return than Myers straight up .

    • Myers alone won’t land you ROR! In my opinion Myers is overated by Sabres fans as many other players by the fans of their teams :-)

  8. So Snow goes out and trades a 4th round pick for the rights to Hallak…wouldnt it be funny if he cant sign him or still ends up overpaying him? Ahhh just Garth being Garth

    • Yes, but we love having him around. He like the girl in high school who will make out with any guy, even the ugly guys can use her in a pinch.

    • It looks like Snow wants to hold on the Isles pick in this years draft, so he has to do something to get the Isles better. IMO it is a step in the right direction to aquire the rights of Halak.
      I’m a leafs fan and there was a lot of talk what Reimer is worth. Reimer is a RFA not a UFA and will be cheaper to sign than Halak, but is not anywhere near the goaltender Halak is. Snow got Halak for a 4th rounder! If he can sign him it looks like a good move, if not the Isles loose a 4th rounder in this years weak draft.

      • I agree Juss, If the Isles can re-sign him this is a low risk high reward move for NYI’s. Even in a deep draft, a 4th rounder for a starting goaltender is cheap. Now, my only concern is will he want to stay? The Islanders have kind of become the ugly girl nobody wants to take to the prom.

        • I hate the whole idea of giving picks up for rights to negotiate with a ufa…it makes no sense, the whole show him you are serious about signing him is dumb or that you believe in him…I think cutting the guy a cheque for millions of dollars or out bidding another team for a guys services is a pretty decent indication you believe in him and want him on your team. If he wants to play there he will, its not crossing his mind “gee the worst gm in the league gave up a fourth round pick just to talk to my agent…Im so flattered I think I owe him my services…”