NHL Rumor Mill – April 29, 2014

The latest on the Blues, Red Wings, Blue Jackets and Stars. 

Could the Blues pursue Paul Stastny this summer?

Could the Blues pursue Paul Stastny this summer?

ESPN.COM/BUFFALO NEWS: Craig Custance believe the St. Louis Blues shouldn’t bother re-signing Ryan Miller and instead promote promising Jake Allen. He also suggests re-signing Brian Elliott as a possibility or perhaps signing Anaheim’s pending UFA Jonas Hiller if the price is right. Custance also believes they should pursue Colorado’s Paul Stastny if he hits the UFA market and promote Dmitrij Jaskin. Mike Harrington wonders what the future holds for former Sabres and Blues’ pending UFAs Ryan Miller and Steve Ott. He believes the Sabres could be interested in bringing back Ott for a reasonable price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s performance against the Blackhawks will certainly hurt his market value. At 34 and with his best seasons seemingly behind him, he could have a tough time finding a club willing to invest big bucks in him over a long-term deal. I fully expect Allen to be promoted by the Blues, but it’ll be interesting to see if they retain Elliott (who’s also a UFA) or look at a different, short-term option like Hiller. As for Stastny, he claims he’ll accept a hometown discount to remain with the Avs. Given his solid performance in this year’s playoffs, it wouldn’t shock me if the Avalanche re-sign him.

MLIVE.COM/DETROIT FREE PRESS: Ansar Khan reports the Red Wings biggest need this summer is adding a top-four right-handed defenseman. Free agent options could include Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen, San Jose’s Dan Boyle, Phoenix’s Derek Morris, New Jersey’s Marek Zidlicky and Florida’s Tom Gilbert. They could also use a “decent-sized winger with scoring ability”. Options could include “Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, Jarome Iginla, Jaromir Jagr and Devin Setoguchi.” He doesn’t believe the Wings will buy out the remainder of Johan Franzen’s contract and doesn’t expect David Legwand to be re-signed. Daniel Alfredsson could return if he doesn’t retire. Todd Bertuzzi, Daniel Cleary and Mikael Samuelsson won’t be back and Kyle Quincey could also depart. They would like to re-sign Jonas Gustavsson but he’s injury-prone. Other backup options include Boston’s Chad Johnson, Nashville’s Carter Hutton and Winnipeg’s Al Montoya.  Forward Joakim Andersson and defenseman Jakub Kindl could become trade options. Of the Red Wings pending UFAs, Helene St. James believes only Alfredsson could return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some significant changes could be coming this summer for the Red Wings, who are in the midst of a transition period as they promote more young players into key roles. They’ll certainly pursue a top-four right-handed defenseman via trade or free agent. With so many veterans coming off their books, they’ll have the cap space to address their needs. The issue is finding the right players. 

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance reports the Columbus Blue Jackets must decide if they’ll re-sign breakout RFA star Ryan Johansen to a long-term contract or a short-term, two-year bridge deal as they did last summer with Sergei Bobrovsky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fortunately for the Jackets Johansen is the only significant free agent signing they must make this summer. As they did a bridge deal with Bobrovsky, they’ll likely offer Johansen the same, as he has little leverage other than to threaten a holdout this fall. He and his agent could hope to receive an offer sheet if he’s still unsigned beyond July 5, but I think the two sides will work toward a new contract before then.  They’ll also have over $22 million in cap space (provided they spend to the cap) to re-sign Johansen and perhaps bring in another skilled veteran or two. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Rick Gosselin believes the Dallas Stars are one player away, believing they lack a true top-two defenseman like a Zdeno Chara, Chris Chelios or Nicklas Lidstrom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landing such a player would prove very costly via trade or free agency. Management must bolster the defense corps, but those changes could come from within or more affordable acquisitions. 


  1. The AVS should sign Stasnty and OReilly and trade Duchene for a top end D-man. The Avs have soo many centers and Duchene just doesnt fit in anymore and he has the best return availablity. They cant trade Matt until they get the others signed though.

    Dallas- Vanek to stars. Great center and former coach who knows how to use him.

    Wings- I have no idea who they get. Nisky? maybe but I think they pens will throw money at him since Orpik will walk and letang is an injury problem. I would like to see them go after Ryan Miller to compete with Howard. Howard just isnt good enough right now.

    • Some pretty good ideas, not sure Id choose Stasny over Duchene but ya could be a very good piece to move for the elusive top pairing guy. If I was a Wings fan Id want no part of Miller but could be very interested in Hiller or Hallak (dending on cost of course) youre right Im not sure how much more time do you keep going with Howard, just an average NHL goalie. Vanek would be a great addition for Seguin after what experienced Habs players have been saying about learning from him he could really help elivate Seguins game even further. Good call.

    • Think the Avs would be interested in trading O’Reilly for Tyler Myers? Sounds like a win/win in my book. I know they’d rather trade Stastny instead, but that would be a more lopsided deal in their favor.

      • Myers plus first round pick or cant miss propect may start the ball rolling (ROR is far and away the better player). If the Avs entertain the idea of moving ROR there would be better offers than just Myers multiple parts required unless it was a proven successful type 1/2 type d man. Myers has been too inconsistent.

      • Sabres fan are you?

    • What makes you say “Duchene just doesn’t fit in anymore”? Super curious about that!

      • I dont see him as a first line center and he isnt really a winger either. Mackinnon, OReilly and Stansty are all much stronger down the middle. He is great when he plays but he misses soo much time and he doesnt strike me as a Roy guy. Also they could get a decent return based on his point production.

  2. The stars could trade for phaneuf. Wouldn’t break the bank, a deal around faska and oleckiak for phaneuf (plus of coarse). The deal would help both teams. How about this reduculous offer from a leafs fan

    Phaneuf, kadri, right to franson for faska, oleckiak and a conditional first or second

    • Although I would love for this to happen, I sincerely doubt it.

    • (accidentally posted reply before I was done)
      What people need to keep in mind when making proposals is the optics to the players and owners.
      When Nonis re-signed Phaneuf, he touted him as a pivotal foundation to build on.
      To trade him would be to say “Nope, I was wrong and you can’t trust my word or my expertise at assessing players any longer”
      As much as I hate it, he’s here to stay for at least the next 3-4 years. This also includes Clarkson. Neither guy is going anywhere any time soon.

    • never ever ever happen

  3. Vanek I believe will sign in Montreal, he is having a lot of success there and his teammates love him.

    Dallas shouldn’t hold their breathe if they are looking for that type of defenseman. The Stars are better off being patient and putting extra coaching and training behind Oleksiak, guy is big, shockingly agile, and has great puck skills. If they could get him playing with a bit more of an edge and work on his shot, he could become a Victor Hedman type player or even better.

    • I think it’s going to be Minnesota who is signing vanek .. Only way vanek stays in Montreal is if they challenge for a stanly cup which they have a great chance if they beat Boston which they always seem to have Boston’s number when they are healthy .. Last couple of times Boston won but Montreal were not healthy this time around is a different story … MB picked up good pieces in weaver, weise, vanek , briere…..
      I think miller will be going to Anaheim as a mentor for the young duck goalie .. Mark my words Tampa will not make the playoffs next year bishop is a fluke year will never be a number one … Also varlomov should win the vezina better stats then any goalie including rask

      • Not sure if Bishop will never be a number one..but I totally agree that this year was somewhat of a fluke. People forget that every year someone overachieves…remember when Brian Elliott had the best stats in the league a couple years back? I didn’t buy that and I’m not buying this Bishop stuff either.

  4. Dallas is ONE player away? You don’t lose in the first round of the playoffs (after barely making the playoffs) when you’re ONE player away…

    • I’d have to agree. Dallas is much further than one player away. To me they aren’t drastically better than teams like Toronto, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Phoenix. Those bubble teams that have some nice pieces, but some glaring holes. Bit of luck either way is really what separated these teams in the standings.

      Dallas needs at least another top four defensemen, realistically they need a top pairing guy. Lehtonen is a good goalie but not spectacular, and isn’t going to develop much further, so a decent goalie and ok defense core, doesn’t inspire greatness. Their top line is there, but they don’t have enough skill at this point for a threatening second line, or enough balance to take any pressure off the first line. They do have enough useable forwards that they don’t need to overplay the top line, but it would be nice to have a couple guys that could really provide a great offensive threat.

      So I think they need a minimum of a very good 2nd line player (and hope Nischuskin and Chiasson take good steps forward), a good 3rd line guy to add some offensive punch to that line, and a top pairing defensemen. I don’t see anyway they become cup contenders without adding at least those 3 pieces, and even then they would be far from favourites. Not that there is anything wrong with this team as is, they have youth and can afford to wait for guys to develop and just try and be more and more competitive, but I just don’t think they are as close as the article indicates.

  5. They say that free agent options could include Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen, San Jose’s Dan Boyle, Phoenix’s Derek Morris, New Jersey’s Marek Zidlicky and Florida’s Tom Gilbert. They could also use a “decent-sized winger with scoring ability”. Options could include “Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, Jarome Iginla, Jaromir Jagr and Devin Setoguchi for Detroit. However….

    On Defense, I can see Detroit wanting Niskanen more than the others. Boyle is a bit older, but that never seems to bother the Red Wings. Brooks Orpk might be of interest, even though he is the wrong hand.

    On the forward front, I believe that Moulson, Iginla, and Callahan would be the top of the list. Vanek is nice for sure, but he is pretty much priced out of the picture. I could see them trying to sign Callahan and Moulson if they move out Franzen in a trade for a defenseman.

    On the goaltending front: I like the “Monster” but his health is not the greatest. On the FA front for the goalies, I can see strong interest in Halak, Brodeur, and Giguere.

    What do you think Spector?