NHL Rumor Mill – April 1, 2014.

The latest on the Canucks and an update on Nikolai Kulemin.

Will the Canucks buy out David Booth in June?

Will the Canucks buy out David Booth in June?

NEW YORK POST/VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Larry Brooks and Ed Willes expect Vancouver Canucks head coach John Tortorella will be fired at season’s end. Both point out Tortorella’s failed efforts to turn a Canucks roster built for speed and puck possession into a grinding, defense-first team.

VANCOUVER SUN: Brad Ziemer reports the Canucks must decide if they’ll buy out David Booth or retain him. Booth has one season left on his current contract, and in recent weeks has been among their best forwards.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s interesting how things have changed in just a few months. Entering December Tortorella was earning praise in Vancouver and New York when the Canucks were doing better than expected while Alain Vigneault was being questioned as the right coach for the then-struggling Rangers. Now, Vigneault is being praised and Tortorella is under fire. In my opinion, the Canucks can either fire Tortorella or rebuild the roster to suit Torts’ system.

As for Booth, while some Vancouver pundits suggest retaining him is only a one-year gamble, if the Canucks are serious about a rebuild, using their remaining compliance buyout on Booth is part of it. He’s a good scoring winger but his injury history suggests he’s a gamble which won’t pay off. 

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports Nikolai Kulemin’s agent had an informal chat with members of Leafs management. Kulemin makes $2. 8 million this season but Hornby doesn’t see him returning at that price. He’ll be a UFA this summer and his intention is to remain in the NHL.

15 Comments

  1. Tortorella in Vancouver made very little sense to me from the get go. I didn’t see the Sedin twins & co. as the type of shot blocking grinders that Torts loves. He was accepting a job that he had to know would go bad quickly. I think Vancouver needs to fire him. I cannot see a way they could successfully and quickly flip the core of the roster and bring in the type of players that fit his style of coaching. Not to mention the handcuff contracts that Gillis has handed out like candy.

    • Totally agree on Torts. He also seems to like to play his first two lines right into the ground. That looks real good for the first couple of months but then they get worn down and beat up and you stink at the end of the season. We’ve seen a lot of injuries for the Canucks this year and I believe that Torts management of his lines played a role in that.

      Of course if you are going to rebuild do you really fire the guy with 4 years left on his deal just so someone else can manage a substandard rebuild and lose? May end up being a financial decision if they think they will stink for a few years anyways.

      • Agreed. When Torts took the Rangers to the ECF’s he wore down his top 6 forwards and about killed Staal, Girardi and Mcdonagh before they even reached NJ. I think Vancouver should just cut ties now. Not only is he a terrible fit for the Vets on this team. Leaving Torts to build any youth they have is dangerous ….See Kreider, MDZ, Hagelin etc. The man is poisonous to youth.

    • I agree that Torts was never a fit, so why not place the onus on Gilles?

      • Ultimately I blame Gilles. But Firing Gilles and keeping Torts won’t help them much. If anything, fire both of them.

  2. while Booth has been playing better of late there are still huge holes in his game, he can’t even be counted on to clear the defensive zone, he’s hitting and scoring but really he’s not part of their future and he’ll be taking space from someone who is, they have to buy him out . nobody expects Vancouver to make the playoffs but you want to see them finish strong and show a little hope for the future, to that end they’ve seen improvement from Kassian, Jensen (when Tortorella has kept him in the top 6), and Matthias is showing he can be a part of the team going forward. for trade bait i would say that Edler, Schroeder, Hansen, Garrison, and even Dalpe could be moved for other assets.

    • Don’t forget Kesler.

  3. I don’t think that Torts gets fired unless the players express their dissatisfaction with him at the end of season meetings. They signed him to a five year contract so i think that they will try and build a team that suits his philosophy.

    But, you can’t put so much blame on Torts either. GM Gillis has completely trashed this team since taking over. Trading two quality starting goalies for questionable returns in 8 months and adding six…SIX players from a failing Panthers team? Garrison has been solid, but still….

  4. No point in talking about Kulimen. Plenty of 3rd/4th liners out there for much cheaper.

    • I like Kuli, but you’re right. Cheaper options are available. It’s time to take a serious look at guys like Ashton, D’Amigo and pehaps Leivo (although I think he would benefit from another year of AhL seasoning), but they’ve got to be given a legitimate chance to make an impression. That would involve playing them on a regular shift, not two or so minutes of spot duty a night.

    • Indeed and that’s a good role to start some of your young guys in.

      • @Styz….Off topic. NYI’s are for sale!!!! Islander fans should be glowing!

  5. Not sure I agree that they have to move Booth. If they are rebuilding or retooling and planning to move some of their experienced guys I think you keep Booth around because you aren’t expecting to win anyways and you’ll likely free up some cap space with other moves anyways. Now if they could get someone to offer something up for him, even if they had to eat some of the salary then maybe that’s a different story.

  6. atleast kuli puts an effort in there are a lot of ghosts in that leafs roster

  7. D’amigo is a good repacement for Kuli I agree and filling out a third line with Bodie or Levio and Smith while playing Ashton with Bodie and possibly McClemment is a good way to fill in some depth in an inexpensive way with guys who can actually play (unlike McLaren and Orr) allowing them to choose between Bolland and Kadri (Id take kadri but…) all relatively cheap and gives some options to move for a D man or 2. Guys like Franson, Reimer Kadri Bolland Lupul Gunnarrsson and picks to be moved for up grades on the blueline or to shed some salary and sign a ufa.