NHL Rumor Mill – April 10, 2014

Changes could be coming for the Maple Leafs, Canucks, Senators and Devils, plus the latest on Jaroslav Halak and Ryan Jones.

Could Jake Gardiner and Nazem Kadri become trade bait this summer?

Could Jake Gardiner and Nazem Kadri become trade candidates this summer?

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle believes changes are coming for the Toronto Maple Leafs this summer. He doubts coach Randy Carlyle will be back, and feels management (led by GM Dave Nonis) are on the hot seat. As for players, Mirtle considers Phil Kessel, Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, James van Riemsdyk and Jonathan Bernier are the only untouchables. He suggests key cogs Nazem Kadri and Joffrey Lupul could be moved for the right price, feels James Reimer will be gone via trade and only one or two of their crop of UFAs (Nikolai Kulemin, Dave Bolland, Mason Raymond, Jay McClement and Paul Ranger) could return. The top candidates among the Leafs defensemen to be shopped are Cody Franson and Tim Gleason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mirtle didn’t mention Dion Phaneuf, but quite frankly, he’s not going anywhere. His new contract is too hefty to move, even if he waived his NTC and the Leafs absorbed part of it. Otherwise, I can’t disagree with Mirtle’s assessments, though I’m sure there are Leafs fans who will.

ESPN.COM: Once the Vancouver Canucks find a new general manager, Craig Custance believes Washington’s Jaroslav Halak, Phoenix’s Thomas Greiss and Philadelphia’s Andrew MacDonald could be their potential UFA targets. He also suggests Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa, Alexander Edler and even the Sedins (if they’re agreeable) could be serious pieces to land high-end talent via trade. He believes Kesler should be used to land a good young forward as the centerpiece of a potential return. suggesting Kesler be shopped to the Anaheim Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I recently dismissed the notion of moving the Sedins. Kesler, Bieksa and Edler could land good returns, provided they’re willing to move their respective no-trade clauses. If so, there will only be a limited number of teams they’ll accept being dealt to. Pursuing an experienced backup for current starter Eddie Lack is a good idea. As for MacDonald, the Flyers intend to re-sign him. If they fail he could be worthwhile for the Canucks to pursue, provided his salary demands aren’t extravagant, and only if they move out either Bieksa or Edler before July 1.

OTTAWA SUN/OTTAWA CITIZEN: Bruce Garrioch and Ken Warren speculate on the possibility of the Senators trading team captain Jason Spezza this summer if he’s unwilling to commit to a long-term contract extension. They also note pending UFAs Ales Hemsky and Milan Michalek might not return. Warren claims Senators GM Bryan Murray hopes to dramatically rework the lineup, adding a two-way forward or two along with a solid, stay-at-home veteran defenseman. Garrioch claims the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues were interested in Spezza before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think if the Senators can at least re-sign Hemsky, who’s had terrific chemistry with Spezza in such a short period of time, that could sway their captain into re-signing. If not, Spezza could consider his future elsewhere beyond next season, which could force Murray to place his captain on the trade block this summer. 

NJ.COM: Randy Miller wonders if the Devils could pursue Paul Stastny or Ryan Callahan via free agency this summer. He also wondered if GM Lou Lamoriello might retire or be asked to step down, and if coach Peter DeBoer, goaltender Martin Brodeur and leading scorer Jaromir Jagr will return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Lamoriello will remain as GM as long as he wants to. I’ll be surprised if DeBoer doesn’t return. Jagr sounded willing to re-sign but he’ll want some assurances the Devils will bolster their scoring depth for next season. Brodeur won’t be back. He’ll either retire or sign elsewhere. As for pursuing Stastny or Callahan, if new ownership is willing to keep pace with the rising cap, the Devils could make a serious pitch for either guy.

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley believes goaltender Jaroslav Halak won’t be re-signed by the Capitals after he apparently declined to play against his former club (St. Louis Blues) in a recent game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Halak was merely a rental anyway. 

EDMONTON SUN: Oilers winger Ryan Jones, who’s a pending UFA this summer), doesn’t see himself returning with the Oilers next season.


  1. LOL this one should be fun….

    • Friedman seems to think that Phaneuf could be moved if they wanted to go down that road. Doesnt think Phaneufs contract would be that much of an issue because some teams may have been thinking/planing of signing him to a very simmilar deal as a ufa. I kinda agree, but doubt the Leafs move him. Freidman is generally pretty credible.

      • Good God I hope so! Yes, I’m very biased…

      • The only two other NHL GM’s stupid enough to give a deal like that to Phaneuf are Gillis or Snow. Sadly that list is down to one. Good luck trying to get rid of that contract and not such a great defenseman to begin with.

      • Amen. He has his faults but Phaneuf would have been snapped up as a Free Agent if he went that route.
        Spector’s notion that he has little value or we would need to eat a portion of his contract is silly.
        Freidman knows his (#*@$ and admits when he makes a mistake. That amounts to credibility.

  2. What I don’t get. Prior to Phanuef being signed was said by many pundits- “if Leafs didnt give Phaneuf money he would surely get it somewhere else…same money and term”…so why wouldnt someone want him via trade?- (assuming it was minimal return). I know it’s a moot point anyway..as a GM wont essentially admit an error and trade a guy recently signed…

    I do believe there would be many teams that would take Phaneuf.. he is not an elite defenseman…but he is a number 1..simply for fact that there must be 30 number 1 defenseman.!

    • Not so sure about many but I think there would be a couple for sure. I agree but Dion isnt going anywhere.

      • I thought they tried to move him last summer and there were no takers with his one year $6.5M contract. Why would someone want him now with 7 long years at even more money? LOL

  3. That was what he said on the fan590 this morning anyway.

  4. What do you do with Dion then? he is not a captain on this team. I think he is a good d man but he does not have what it takes to be a leader night in and night out. that being said. Can you take the C off his jersey and still have him play well for the team? I Dont think so. My opinion but thats how I look at the situation with dion.

    • Stripping the Captaincy from him would only work if they had someone else in mind, or brought in during the off-season. Otherwise he’ll get bitter and angry and play even worse…
      Currently the only other candidate in my eyes is Bolland, however I don’t think he’s sticking around.
      So, if changing captaincy is a priority they’ll need to bring in a veteran, question is, who? And would he be worth it?

  5. With many teams looking to improve via free agency this summer and the cap going up, this is the time to be a UFA because it looks to be a sellers market. The GMs will be throwing crazy money after mediocre talent. There could be some signings worse than the Clarkson’s and Phaneuf contracts which will make Noonis look like a genius (tongue in cheek).

    • I wouldn’t bet on that…

  6. My Senators wishlist for this year.

    1. Michalek & Hemsky walk via UFA
    2. Jason Spezza & Craig Anderson are traded
    3. Senators land a top 6 winger with size for Spezza
    4. Sign Steve Ott or Vernon Fiddler via UFA
    5. Either in the Spezza deal or part of an Anderson deal, land a vet shutdown D
    6. Audition Mark Stone and/or Matt Puempel in the top 6
    7. Bring in Broduer, Thomas, Emery, or Elliot to back up Lehner

    Adding one two way top 6 winger to the Sens top 6 joining Turris, Zibinejad, MacArthur, Ryan, and Puempel/Stone in my eyes will IMPROVE their top 6 w/Spezza missing. A veteran shutdown D to stick with the top four core of Karlsson, Cowan, and Ceci while using Weircoch, Phillips, and Methot in the bottom will add more depth and experience to the blueline. Lehner is ready for the reigns, but a good mentor back up who can play up to 30 games would not hurt.

    If not then somehow I hope Ottawa can attract Orpik, Moulson, and Fiddler via UFA (and I won’t hold my breathe on that one)

    • OK, this will get the Ottawa / Leafs fans going. If Ottawa needs a D-man and we all know
      Leafs want a #1 type center then swap Spezza for Phanuef. I’ll go into the witness protection program now.

      • Gasp, Nooooooooo!!!

        • Hey look everybody me and Ranzeir agree!

          • See I’m just trying to get people together.
            Next up a Ranger fan and a Philly Fan


        Apparently not even the team that just signed him. Or it may just be the fans.

        Would’ve been interesting to see if Phaneuf would’ve been resigned if the Leafs entered this downward spiral like a month before the resigning.

        • Geee a few guys in the media who talk to GMs Friedman and Kypreoss (Kypper kinda thought there was a possibility Phaneuf could be dealt aswell) think there could be some teams out there who might have soe interest in Phaneuf, do I kinda believe them or the kid that thought Richards still plays for the Flyers?..lol

          • Shticky, Shticky, Shticky….

            We in Philly have no desire to take on a guy like Dion…or his ridiculous contract. We couldn’t fit it comfortably, and quite frankly, Dion isn’t worth his contract…

            On second read..I see you aren’t proposing Schenn or Simmonds for DIon…sorry.

            I think Dion can be traded, but it would be for nothing, and the team taking him would want some of the contract picked up.

            Dion at 6 per is not as bad, but still…

            Nonis kinda blew it in my opinion.

        • Still a plus player on the worst defensive team in the league playing the hardest competition in the lague. Yep terrible.

          • Leafs playing the hardest competition in the league? Lol when did the Leafs move to the Western Conference? Lol…

          • Lol what are you talking about now? Do you even know? Dosent have to do with confrences its an actual stat. Phaneuf logs the most minutes in the league against teams top lines, and generally its in his own end. Its a fact you can look it up. Dion plays against the Crosby Stamkos Perry Towes type lines more than any other d man, probably a big part of his perception, that and the fact he is doing it with Gunnarsson, not a guy like Jbo or Chara Seabrook etc. Go ahead look it up. Phaneufs level of competion google it…

          • What’s your point? That’s what the best defensemen on your team is supposed to do? Did you know that every team puts their best defensive pair on to the ice when those Crosby, Ovechkin and Stamkos lines come on the ice. Or are you unaware of that? It’s common sense man. Something you may have to look up. Ehrhoff and others all do this. It’s an actual stat, look it up. Ehrhoff, Hamhuis, Sekera, Enstrom, Brodie, Hamonic are just a few that log more minutes then Phaneuf. Phaneuf’s not even in the top 30 I believe. So don’t go all Phaneuf has a raw deal, when he doesn’t. Google Phaneuf’s level of competition? And what read a big article that a Laughs fan wrote? Every player I mentioned above has played the same competition that Phaneuf has.

            Plain fact he sucks. Not worth the $6 mill he was paid this year and definitely won’t be worth the $7 mill next season and beyond. His worth is about $4.5 mill $.5.2 if your desperate. $7 mill is just a joke.

          • Man your an idiot… What’s worse defensively letting a few more shots a game or a more goals a game? LOL!!!! Keep talking though O’Shticky!!!

          • The teams that let more goals in dont have as good goaltenfing? Doesnt necessarily mean defence look at zone time and shots fool, Oilers let a lot of goals in because Dubnyk and Labarbra were there hoalies for a hslf season, and all those other guys thst play tje same competition dont play it as much as Phaneuf now do they or else wouldnt it make sense that his QoC wouldnt be so much more than the rest of them…lol nice to see you took my advice tho and actually looked something up before spouting off so even you aknowledge you dont know what you are talking about. lol

          • What do you think Ehrhoff doesn’t play against Crosby? I looked all that crap and it’s just over exaggerated numbers man. My point is Phaneuf does not have a raw deal. He’s the Leafs best defenseman so in reality he would play what? Yes there you go, play defense against the best offensive lines. All those other players I mentioned with the exception of maybe Enstrom are playing against the leagues best game in and game out.

            But you got your opinion and I’ve got mine just leave it at that.

        • It’s just the Leafs “fans” who don’t want Phaneuf. He may not be top 10 in the league, maybe not even top 15, but he is definitely top 30. There is no one available who is better than him to replace what he does.

          • Somebody once thought that trading for Scott Gomez looked like a good idea, and in the process sent Higgins and Mcdonagh + the other way. NEVER say never!

          • Ehrhoff is available and he’s better then Phaneuf. I’d take Ehrhoff over Phaneuf any day of the week. 33 PTS on the worst offensive team in the league by far. Phaneuf got what 31 on one of the best teams in the league. One of two defensemen who show up every game for the Sabres. Cost a good $3 mill less then Phaneuf a year and his contract just goes down after that.

            Shticky Leafs aren’t the worst defensive team in the league I believe Edmonton takes that title. Bottom 5 just like Buffalo.

          • Correction – one of the best offensive teams in the league****

          • Really I would say the team that allows the most shots is probably the worst defensive team, should probably look that up while youre googling that other thing there.

  7. Hiller and Miller
    Off topic but with Gibson playing the last two KEY games for the Ducks and not Hiller it will be very interesting to see (1) if Hiller plays in the last two meaningless games and (2) If he starts the playoffs. If he doesn’t play in the playoffs or if he bombs, aren’t the Ducks really saying that we have no intent of paying him big bucks and they will then either signRyan Miller or just go with Andersen and Gibson next year and hunt around for a vet goalie as the third guy in the mix ? The more I think about, the more I think Hiller ends up in Calgary with Burkie who gave Hiller his big break when he was GM in Anaheim.

    • I agree. Hiller unless does superb in the playoffs will not be resigned IMO. Which will open the door for Miller in Anaheim. He will take less to play there as well. If Hiller resigns then Miller will resign with the Blues.

  8. We certainly seem poised for an active off season. Only problem now is all these teams that sucked want to move the guys that sucked for really good players or great prospects :)

    • Isn’t that the situation every year?

  9. I can’t really see Callahan signing in NJ. He could take so much less to stay in Tampa. I doubt he lowers his asking price from what he wanted in NY for NJ. He has been a good fit with Tampa. I hope he stays put.

    • He’s going for the big payday IMO. HELLO BUFFALO!!!

      • In Florida 5.5 million is probably about the same as NY/NJ’s 7.0 million. I think if he wants to win, he stays either in Tampa, or a true contender. Right now, Buffalo is right in there with Edmonton as far as desirable destinations.

  10. Martin Brodeur controls his future. I know he would not want to miss the playoffs in the final season of his career. He can still play, but he does not have much time remaining.

    I would like to see Brodeur come back for one final season and retire a New Jersey Devil. Whatever it takes, I see it happening.

    The Devils will be better next season than this season. Lamoriello is very good at selecting the right players to win. He will look to set up the Devils to win now and for the foreseeable future while grooming his successor should the time come to move on.

    • Marty’s done. He’s like a Tim Thomas right now. Good enough to get you through the season for an average team like Winnipeg but definitely not the goalie you want to put your playoff hopes on.