NHL Rumor Mill – August 14, 2014

Latest on Ryan Johansen,Martin Brodeur,  Evander Kane, Cam Ward, Brent Seabrook and Jordin Tootoo, plus the latest on the Flyers.

Would Cam Ward be a good fit with the Jets?

Would Cam Ward be a good fit with the Jets?

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin examines the burning questions which remain in this NHL off-season. Larkin suggests the Columbus Blue Jackets could live to regret a bridge contract with Ryan Johansen if the young center blossoms into a superstar…He suggests Winnipeg as a possible landing spot for Martin Brodeur, but feels he’ll either wait for an injury to open a goalie spot with a team or retire…Larkin believes Evander Kane seems to want a trade out of Winnipeg. Such a move could benefit both sides…Mike Green to Detroit would make too much sense…He brings up Winnipeg again, this time as a possible landing spot for Carolina’s Cam Ward. Larkin feels he won’t cost much in return and is an upgrade over Ondrej Pavelec…It remains to be seen if the Red Wings reach an agreement with Mike Babcock on a new contract. Babcock has one year remaining on his current deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johansen had a breakout performance last season, but it seems the Blue Jackets are determined to get him signed to a bridge deal. While Johansen could cost far more down the road to re-sign if he continues to improve, I understand why the Jackets don’t want to commit too much money for too long in a promising young player. While Larkin cites P.K. Subban as a cautionary tale over how a team can regret signing players to bridge deals, there’s also many instances where teams overpaid for young talent who either failed to pan out or took longer than expected to develop. As for Subban, one reason behind that bridge contract was the Canadiens needed flexibility during the summer of 2013, when the salary cap was dropping by $6 million…

Brodeur could be waiting for a while to land with a club, but I believe he’ll eventually get signed by someone. It could indeed take waiting for a starter or  backup to get hurt…The Jets seem willing to start this season with Kane in their lineup to see how he performs in a full season under coach Paul Maurice…Ward might be better than Pavelec, but his injury history is a concern. The Hurricanes could be forced to absorb part of his salary to move him, be it to the Jets or another club…Same goes for the Capitals if they shop Green…As for Babcock, if the Wings can get him re-signed before the season begins they can avoid nagging questions over his future dogging the team. 

NJ.COM: Randy Miller reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall doesn’t anticipate making any moves before the start of the season. There’s speculation linking the Flyers to Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian. Hextall wouldn’t address that directly, maintaining he doesn’t expect anything to happen. While acknowledging his defense lacks a true number one guy, he notes 20 other NHL clubs also lack that type of blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those who are generating the rumors of the Flyers chasing Bogosian (or Shea Weber) will dismiss this by saying (correctly) that Hextall won’t tip his hand as to his plans. That being said, I’m taking Hextall at his word. He’s repeatedly stated his intent is to build from within, plus he’s got limited cap space to work with, even with Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen going on LTIR. Let’s face it, if Hextall was going to make a big trade for a number-one defenseman, he would’ve done so in late-June or early-July, when there was more cap space and more teams willing to deal. The fact he quickly signed Michael Del Zotto after Timonen was diagnosed with blood clots says all we need to know about his plans for his defense.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika, in a rolling chat with his readers, acknowledged a question about the Stars perhaps trying to take advantage of the Blackhawks limited cap space to pursue Patrick Sharp or Brent Seabrook. Given Sharp’s cap hit ($5.9 million), Heika doesn’t consider him a fit with the Stars, who have considerable salary invested in forwards like Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky. Seabrook could be a better option, though Heika believes nothing will happen with him until next summer at the earliest, when Seabrook will be a year away from UFA status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Blackhawks put Seabrook on the market next summer he won’t come cheap, and the Stars will find themselves in a bidding war with several clubs. There’s also no guarantee the ‘Hawks will move Seabrook next summer. They could shed salary elsewhere to free up room to retain him. 

WINNIPEG SUN’s Ken Wiebe reports via Twitter: “Source said offered Jordin Tootoo a 2-way deal but UFA RW turned it down. bought him out this summer.


  1. Just waiting for leaf fans to say “it’s only a matter of time until Babcock goes to the leafs”….

    • Thanks for the great comment Paul. Nice piece to read. What team do you cheer for? I’m going to need time to prepare a proper response.

      • Your piece is no better Gikmore78:)

    • Babcocks daughter still has 2 more years until she graduates from High School and he’s already said that he’s not leaving Detroit until she graduates so he will be around at least two more years.

      • As much as I highly doubt Babcock signs with the Leafs, let’s not forget HOW CLOSE Toronto and Detroit really are.
        This is a coach used to logging lots of distance travel due to the Wings being part of the Western Conference.
        Now that they’re in the East, that travel could easily be done.
        My reason for doubting is that the Wings just resigned Holland , who Babcock has a strong relationship with.

        • Don’t forget Shanney, In a couple years Stevie Y will be their GM, only makes sense for Babcock to be the coach, So there, I’m a leaf fan, and I just said it.

  2. Ron Hextall…….” 20 other NHL clubs also lack that type of blueliner.” Really? Seems like a bit of a hyperbole imo.

    • lol quite a bit

    • I don’t know, I guess it depends on what you consider to be a true number one guy. I’d say the following teams are the only ones who have that kind of guy:

      LA – Doughty
      MTL – Subban
      NAS – Weber
      CHI – Seabrook
      OTT – Karlsson (questionable)
      BOS – Chara
      STL – Pietrangelo

      Granted, it’s subjective, and I’m sure I’m forgetting one or two, but that would be my list of true top-flight defensemen in the league. So I tend to agree with Hextall.

      • NYR-Ryan McDonagh; MIN – Ryan Suter
        Also, Marc-Eduard Vlasic is that guy on San Jose and by the end of the season the Isles’ Calvin de Haan will also be the guy.

        • While we’re at it Keith is CHI’s #1.

        • Vlasic is a true #1, not just for his stellar D, but his making the rest of the team accountable.

      • NY- McDonagh/Girardi
        PHX- OEL/Yandle
        Minnesota Sutter
        Chicago Seabrook (you mention)/ Keith
        On and on…….Now I agree that it is subjective, however Hextall saying something like that seems a bit like he’s underplaying his dire need for a #1-2 guy. There are some teams I’d take the 3-4 guy over what Philly currently has in their top 2.

        • It doesn’t make much sense to make a lateral move like that. Boychuk was available out of Boston for a while, but Hextall didn’t pursue him because overall it doesn’t improve his depth; all a move like that does is offer cap relief for the Bruins. And who really wants to help those guys anyway.

      • Its like saying there are only 10 true no.1 centers in the league, yet every team has one. You cant say 25 teams are with out a trie no.1 because they dont have Stamkos Crosby Towes Giroux or Getzlaf, of course there always going to be more talented guys. Doesnt stop other teams from paying developing or using guys for that role. There are 30 teams some teams of course are going to have 2 and 3 defenceman would be better suited as no. 1s on other teams, depending on the situations but every team has a top pair that plays more than the others. Kieth JBo Suter more guys like OEL Matta Trouba Jones all down the road Id say there are more than 10 guys that are no.1 type D men. I think just because there are teams that want to be better and have the “best” guy doesnt take away from the fact that there are still 30 teams and everyone of them has a no.1 D man. 20 teams looking to improve their D yep deffinately maybe even 30 but saying your team dosent have a no.1 of anything because its not 1 of the 10 best players at that position is a stretch, with 30 a team league you are not able to have 20 “allstar” teams.

        • If you play top minutes at centre for an NHL club you ARE the top centre…and NO one would dare say there are ONLY TEN ELITE Centres…where the debate evolves is when you have to judge how well one teams “top centre” is able to overcome and be dominant in games against top clubs and ones with excellent checking match ups against that centre and his line.

        • Just because a guy is playing top-pairing defense minutes — or number one centre minutes — does not automatically make them a true top-pairing guy. I’m an Oilers fan, I know this better than anyone. No matter how much time we spend with Jeff Petry in our top pairing, he’s not and will likely never be in the Weber/Keith/Chara class. And that’s the kind of player I’m assuming Hextall is talking about. Someone else mentioned Muzzin and Yandle. I quite like both of those players and would auction off a testicle if it would get them to Edmonton, but would anyone even consider putting them in the same class as Chara or Weber or Doughty?

      • Not sure how you can say Karlsson is “questionable”.

        I guess Phaneuf no longer makes the cut?

        • @Da lil guy. I don’t think Karlsson is a questionable #1 D-man, But I also think he is not the type of d-man Philly needs either.

        • Karlsson just simply is so offense, that he is out of much of the play as it goes abck to his end in transition. No one things he can lock down defensively, but teams, throughout NHL history, at both forward and defense, have allowed the offenseive generators the room to be offensive.

          • I find he cheats and pinches too often which makes him easy to be beat to the outside. The Sens have to give him the room to be creative, but invest in him through a pairing with a solid, responsible stay-at-home type. Methot fit the bill reasonably well last year, so we’ll see where they go this season.

        • I’d hazzard to say Phaneuf has never made the cut. But you’re right, I probably shouldn’t have listed Karlsson as questionable.

      • I am with you …there are simply few elite all around franchise defenders, and even in that group you have some offensivemen typles who hurt you in their own end.
        It is easy to look at stats and list your hometown defenseman as one of the ten, and I am sure the local and team media will help you with that. But those guys just aren’t dominate game in and out. So the statement is true, not exaggeration…the home town press clippings are what is the hyperbole. Lots of teams with rtue number two guys and nice solid trios on the backline, but there is a huge difference in them having good games, season, then what the true top guys do and are able to do game in and out.

        • Bill, I completely disagree. I think as Shticky pointed out, even the best teams would obviously look to improve their defense if possible, but to say 20 lack that type (#1-2) of d-men…..a bit of a stretch. I think we just rattled off 20 teams who aren’t in the same position as Philly.

          • I think his view of a true #1 is very different from what is here.

            He gets asked alot about Weber…and there are at least 20 teams that doesn’t have a Weber type on their teams.

            I agree with him…there are many teams , like Toronto, NYR, Vancouver, Anaheim, etc that has a guy playing #1 minutes, but isn’t really a true number 1 in the real sense of the word. Philly also is that group.

          • hextall said a top dman. not a guy that plays 24 minutes because he is the best option a team has (think amac on the isles). he also did not say a top 2 dman. he said a top dman. huge difference. so he said there are 10 top dmen in the league today. his idea of a top dman and yours may vary.

            since he helped build the team that just won a couple of cups in three years, I will go with him.

            btw – the flyers have some outstanding d prospects coming up that will change the face of their d and might prevent them from approving a trade where they mortgage future for a guy like Bogosian who is a number two dman and not a number one.

            he is thinking of a dman who can play when down a goal or up a goal at the end of a game. who can lineup against the other teams best players and run a top pp unit. playing 25 or 30 mins a night and dominate at both ends of the rink.

            I see 7 of the kinds of dmen the flyers would mort their future for:


            i dont think Subban of Karlsson make that cut.

          • He says a 20 teams are lacking a TOP number one guy.
            Teams simply don’t have one…they call on their top three to fill the roles the true top elite defenders can handle game to game, play to play.
            I an not saying that brilliant play can’t been viewed by many other NHL defenders…just that the attackers pretty much know which guys REALLY are tough each play….and that if you asked the NHL forwards they would gravitate to a small list of names, so essentially Ronnie Hextall is saying “Most teams have to get it done by committee, and don’t have a true #1.” It doesn’t seem to be a item up for debate, but more “how it REALLY is” in Hextall’s view and mine too.

        • @Gary Mcdonagh is not a true #1 d-man? Really? aye aye aye!!!!

          • He is close…not quite on the same level as Weber…Mcdonaugh needs to maintain last year for another season or two before I throw into the top 10 true #1 guys in the league.

            He’s very close.

          • We’re not talking top 10, (But if we were, Mcdonagh makes that cut all day!!!) ….we are talking #1-2 d-guys. NYR’s have 3 – #1-2 guys. Staal, Girardi, McD. The guy is 25 and has been in the Norris candidate talks twice, in a 4 year career!!!! I think you are completely alone in your opinion of him.

          • As soon as he wins a norris buddy.

      • If you question Karlsson as a top line defensemen, i guess that is why you left Giordano, McDonagh, Muzzin, Keith, Hedman, Ekman-Larsson, Suter, and Gogligoski of your short sighted list. My opinion, if I ran a team and could get anyone one of the guys, those you mentioned and/or those I listed, I would put them all on my top pairing. Ummm How many makes a pair. lol

      • How is Karlsson questionable and Subban isn’t?

        And Keith is the Hawks #1

        Go Hawks

        • Yeah, you’re right — I actually meant Keith, but for some reason typed Seabrook.

      • There are many more you have not mentioned. Also Keith is better then Seabrook.

        • A lot of comments out there in response to Hextall’s innocent #1 Dman quote. Point is the Flyers are looking and needing a stud Dman. There prospects won’t be NHL ready until maybe 15/16 or 16/17. And at that time only be contributing players-not anywhere near top pairings. I can see them making a pitch for a true #1 over the next 10 months.

  3. Funny how the only “dumb Leaf Fan” comments on this site come from dumb fans of other teams.

    • HAHA, so true. Its THEM that make up leaf rumours now!!

      • Well there have been rumours and reports that the leafs will be interested in Babcock and it’s laughable. Other fans aren’t making up the rumours, we’re making fun of leaf fans. It doesn’t matter the player, there always seems to be some report of the leafs being interested. The leafs aren’t run to win anything, they’re only run to make fans happy and that’s why you get horrendous contracts like Clarkson’s.

        Everyone makes fun of the leafs and they’re fans because for the most part, they’re the joke of the league.

        • Who starts those “rumors”?…its not all the fans, its the media.
          Or how bout those horrendous contracts like Dipeitros Bryzgalov or Leino Bolland Orpik Mallone Clowe or…every teams has or has had bad contracts tool, you just hear more about Toronto because of the coverage of the team and the size of its fan base, last week there were Shark and Caines fans on here with just a joke of a deal for Malkin (none from a Leaf fan btw) every team has fans that overvalue player so it would probably make sense that a team with the largest fanbase would have more of them, yet . Joke of a franchise? name another NHL franchise in Forbes top50 of valuable sports franchises name a team in the original 6 besides the habs that has more cups than the Leafs? Name one besides the Redwings that has half as many? Its been 50 years yet all these teams that are soooo much better than the Leafs are not catching up any, the Rangers have 4 cups 1 in the past 40 years. The Flyers have 2 and none in the past 40 years…. The biggest joke are idiots who post stuff who have no idea what they are talking about…like you and yes SOME Leaf fans.

          • Step away from the edge SHticky.

            The Leafs are viewed as a joke due to the incompetence of the management. They are making strides to fix that, but it has taken a long time to address.

            You mention the NYR and the Flyers…well at least those teams make the playoffs more often than not…at least they have a chance to win…

          • the flyers have also made more finals than any team since they joined the league and they have the best winning percentage since they joined the league. How does that compare to the Leafs?

          • Shticky, I can completely understand sticking up for the Leafs- you’re a do-or-die T.O. fan. But yes, please step back from the edge. Since the big expansion in ’67, the Leafs have been largely an afterthought on the ice. Not one Cup Finals appearance in nearly a half-century, which is by far the worst showing of any Original Six franchise- even the hapless Rangers have managed to win one in that time. As for the Flyers, they’ve won two and made it to six other Cup Finals in that time. And best not to even think about that one playoff round in ten years- surpassed by the Wild and Blue Jackets, both of whom have barely been around a decade.

          • I am not saying the other teams are not sucessful, I agree the Leafs for the past decade have not had success but they are hardly a joke of a franchise. The past 10years how successful have teams like the Oilers, Islanders been? They have a fair ammount of suceess and anyone knowing the game or its history would probably not be saying they are a joke same can be said for the Hawks and Bruins remember them in the 90s? They had some rough spots too how bout the Wings in the 80s? Just because teams go thru bad spots doesnt mean they forever the joke of a league. How long the Canucks and Sabres been around, how many cups they have? I meant no disrespect to the Rangers or Flyers. Just to call a team a joke for 10 years for one it gets tiring, for 2 just generally shows litlle knowledge for the game.

          • Shticky Leafs fans are notorious for making crap up. Probably most of any pro league team. I have never seen another teams fan base so lost in their own web of wishful thinking. It’s quite comical really. This is why some readers just save us the time and say “hey I hope a Leafs fan doesn’t come on here and say blah blah blah…”

          • 50 years ago there was only 6 teams so every team had a one in 6 chance of winning a cup. That’s not the same as a 1 in 24 chance 20 years ago or a 1 in 30 chance now. Leaf fans live in the past like there’s some relevant argument to be found there. Who cares how many cups how many cups they won 50 years ago? Let’s seed them contend in this era with a salary cap. The modern nhl is 25 years old and the leafs have won exactly as many cups as the panthers and the blue jackets. So thanks for the history lesson but your point is meaningless.

          • Lol right on shticky. You hit that nail on the head as usual. Go leafs Go and keep defending us real leaf fans!!!

          • @Deeee also the same number of cups as the Blues Sharks Canucks Stars Caps Preds Coyotes Jets Sens Wild and Sabres…in otherwords about half of the league.

          • My mistake The Stars have won a cup…there are currently 12 teams with out a cup win since the last time the Leafs won one. Which is 46 seasons close to the same number of seasons the Blues have been around, and time between cups still isnt aslong as the Rangers had between their first win in the Modern era, previous to their cup win in 93 their last cup was in 1940…53 seasons, the Hawks waited 47. took the Kings 43 seasons to win a cup Sabres and Canucks been around 43 seasons 0 cups….yes the Leafs have been bad but, still no more of a joke than other teams around the league…sometimes teams fall on bad times.

    • Well Shticky, if you’re honest you will agree that, for the most part, Leafs fans have become essentially a collection of “my team do or die” types who (understandably) are forever looking for that silver lining in a dark cloud. Take this off-season for example. A collection of uninspired signings that would be shrugged off by fans of most other teams (or even severely criticized) are now being spin-doctored by Leafs faithful as improvements.

      • Besides maybe 2 or 3 decent UFAs who all got over paid where are all these “inspired” (whatever that means lol) signings? I dont think many smart Leaf fans are spinning it like any of these guys make the team a contender, they are good signings that adressed needs (like depth) and didnt overpay for it horribly. The majority of their signings were for 2 million dollars or less.

        • Only leaf fans have to defend rumours regarding their team. Must be because they always are rediculous.

          • Rediculous? uhhhhhh yeah…………………. Ridiculous ……but who am i to school you?

          • Yep because no one os questioning Washington giving Orpik a contract like that,,, smh. Jeezus only the Leafs make bad moves yep you are right lol.

        • While I’m not defending or justifying any of this year’s UFA signings, th e fact remains TOP UFA’s will always demand – and usually get – what seems like way too much money. That will never change. But spending less than $2 mil per is not a formula for success either. They got lucky last year in getting Raymond for a “paltry” million and he wound up with 19 goals and 26 assists. And then left when the Leafs made no move to give him a better deal than the 3-year $3,150,000 deal he got from Calgary. That’s hardly out of line for his production and certainly better value than the contract handed to Clarkson last year. I doubt very much they’ll miss Kulemin, Gunnarsson, Ranger and Boland (who IS grossly overpaid) but if they (Leafs Nation that is) expect any changes brought about by Komarov, Santorelli, Winnik, Booth, Kontiola, Polak and Robidas will make them appreciably better they are dreaming in technicolor. Imagine, if you will, the snide comments we’d be seeing if Robidas had been signed by either of arch-enemies # 1 Montreal and Ottawa.

          • There would be no snide comments if Montreal is replacing Douglas Murray with Robidas…it depends on the situation, again no one is saying Robidas is the key to the Playoffs they are saying Robidas and Polak are better and cheaper options than Gunnarrsson and Gleason and Ranger, and might not be as bad a contract as say a guy like Orpik going forward.

      • Well George, if you’re honest you’ll agree that, for the most part..Signing Booth, Santiorelli, Komarov and Kontiola for reasonable money and 1 year term(minus Komarov) without crippling the team long term is probably a far better option than letting Colton Orr and Fraser Mclaren play one more game in a leaf Uniform.

        if fans think that makes them a cup contender then thats where i stop them, but to say its not an improvement…i would question who hear watches the leafs rather than just comments and reads about them online. Most people know these are bottom 6 guys, not crosby.

        • Yeah, those guys are solid additions and will make a difference; lots of different jobs on a hockey team.

  4. It’s all speculative on Johansen. I think the move was fine.

    Brodeur should retire.

    I think that as far as the Jets and Kane go we will see how well they do within the first 25 games or so of the season. There’s a good chance that a future deal could be based around Ward for Kane.

    Babcock is a patient coach. The Wings have been abysmal is signing UFA players and injuries are plenty for this aging team. That’s exactly the problem. It’s an aging team. The bright spots are Nyquist and Tatar, but they will need more depth. If Babcock leaves it will be due to GM Holland not providing him what he needs.

    • i love this comment “That’s exactly the problem. It’s an aging team”.

      They have been saying that for 20 years, and it’s actually very untrue today. almost their entire team is young now. Minus Datsyuk and Zeterberg who are stars, you got Franzen and cleary besides that everyone is right around 30 or under. I would not say that 2 super stars a good power forward and a useless guy who probably won’t even make the opening day roster constitutes this team being old.

      As for babcock the Red Wings have their contingency plan if he leaves. Jeff blashill is waiting in the wings for Babs to leave and take over the wings.

  5. Ken Holland signs a 4 year deal with Det…. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm curious

    • Does this mean the person here saying an “assistant coach” told him he was a 100% lock to coach Toronto was lying? SHOCKING!!!!! LMAO!!!!

      • Wasn’t that Babcock?

      • ooops…. it was Babcock, not Holland ….wrong bs story. My bad.

  6. Its a shame Tootoo turned down an offer to play for the Jets, assuming these rumours to be true.Being Borne in Manitoba I’m sure there are close family ties through out the province and winnipeg would of been sort of a home coming as although it is a large province geographically those who live/d in Manitoba know how small this open space actually is.

    • Tootoo sucks I doubt he gets another offer. A monkey could do what he does.

      • Well maybe a gorilla.

      • Tootoo will be bagging groceries at the Hi-V in September.

        • I believe your right. I don’t think he’d get a shot from the Co-op!

  7. What did Ward do to deserve being sent to Winnipeg, LOL! I wish Vancouver had grabbed him…

  8. As a side note… I don’t think that’s Cam ward in the photo.

  9. Is Cam Ward really any better then Pavalec? Honestly Ward is DiPietro 2.0. Winnipeg should be wise and stay away. Should’ve signed Chris Johnson when he was available.

    • I believe you mean “Chad Johnson” and I don’t think putting Dipietro and Ward in the same category is quite right. Ward played a huge part in a Stanley cup run and a gold medal. People break down over time. He may not be in the best shape of his life but to compare him to a garbage, overpaid never-was is wrong.

  10. Tomorrow is the first day for the Hayes kid with Chicago to be a ufa right? Any word on him?

    • Aki, yes, and he can sign a contract with any team on the 16th if he doesn’t sign with Chicago on the 15th.
      I have read that the Rangers and Jets are interested amongst a few others.

  11. Thank you Spector forosting the comment about cap flexibility as part of the reason PK Subban was not signed long term two years ago! I was telling people this at the time and people would say they did not see it anywhere in the media. Thank you again for typing it.