NHL Rumor Mill – June 2, 2014

The latest on the Blackhawks, Sharks, Blues and Red Wings, possible draft day trades, plus updates on Kris Letang, Mike Green, RJ Umberger and more. 

Blackhawks should re-sign Patrick Kane & Jonathan Toews this summer.

Blackhawks should re-sign Patrick Kane & Jonathan Toews this summer.

ESPN.COM: In the wake of the Chicago Blackhawks’ elimination from the Western Conference Final, Craig Custance doesn’t suggest any major changes for the club. He feels Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews must be re-signed this summer (they’re both eligible for UFA status next summer) and shoring up their backup goaltending. He also suggests more seasoning for Teuvo Teravainen might address their second-line center position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Blackhawks don’t have to shed salary if they don’t want to, they’ve got over $66 million in cap space tied up in 19 players, leaving over $4 million (assuming the salary cap rises to $71 million) to re-sign or replace Ben Smith, Michal Rozsival, Peter Regin, Sheldon Brookbank and Antti Raanta. Patrick Sharp’s offensive struggles this spring had a few of my readers calling for the ‘Hawks to trade him, but I have my doubts they’ll go that far. Yes, Sharp will attract interest in the trade market, but he’s also considered a core player. It could cost a combined $16 million per season (at least) to re-sign Kane and Toews, so they can’t afford to take on too much salary this summer even if they wanted to. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson doesn’t believe the NY Islanders will trade prospect Griffin Reinhart to the Oilers for the third overall pick, believing he’ll play on the Isles blueline next season…It’s believed the Florida Panthers want a top-four defenseman from any of the teams directly behind them in the draft who want the first overall pick. Unless the Oilers part with Justin Schultz, Matheson doesn’t see them getting that pick. He wonders if the Calgary Flames might part with Ladislav Smid…He wonders if the Oilers might make a pitch for winger R.J. Umberger, who wants out of Columbus.

Matheson also speculates the Penguins might trade Kris Letang to free up some salary…He believes the odds are good the Capitals shop defenseman Mike Green. Despite Green’s injury history, Matheson thinks the Lightning, Panthers, Red Wings and Flyers might be interested…He also doesn’t see many destinations for Martin Brodeur if he’s unwilling to return to the Devils as a backup to Cory Schneider.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I realize the Islanders have a reputation for making big, sometimes puzzling moves, but I agree with Matheson they won’t move Reinhart. It’ll take more than Ladislav Smid and the Flames first round pick to land the first overall pick from the Panthers…Umberger has a full no-trade clause until June 15, then a modified one. He’ll have to agree to join the Oilers.

I think the Penguins must pick up a big chunk of Letang’s salary to move him, and they’ll have to do it before his new deal (with its modified no-trade clause) kicks in on July 1. Perhaps a club needing to reach the cap floor will take him on, but if I were an NHL GM, I wouldn’t bite. Letang’s injury history,  big salary and questionable defensive play screams “buyer beware!”…Same goes for Mike Green, though he only has a year left on his contract at $6.25 million with a modified no-trade clause. The Caps would have to pick up part of it, but given a choice between Letang and Green, the latter would be a more affordable acquisition…I also agree with Matheson regarding Brodeur, who I believe should retire rather than drag this out. 

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Tim Kawakami reports Sharks GM Doug Wilson said he wants players who want to play for the Sharks, not just live in San Jose. Kawakami’s been critical of the Sharks for sheltering their players from criticism, making San Jose an “undemanding place to live and play”, believing they’ve attracted players who prefer comfort first and foremost. He also believes Wilson’s message is aimed at several long-time Sharks veterans, especially team captain Joe Thornton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg. If the Sharks dump Thornton and perhaps Patrick Marleau, they won’t get equal value, which could adversely affect their performance for the next couple of seasons as the club rebuilds around younger players. That may be for the best over the long term. Still, it’s one thing to make statements, it’s another to back them up. We’ll find out very soon, perhaps within the next three-to-four weeks, if Wilson will indeed try moving Thornton and/or Marleau.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon recently listed several players the Blues could target to boost their scoring next season. Among them: Ottawa’s Jason Spezza, Colorado’s Paul Stastny, Montreal’s Thomas Vanek, Philadelphia’s Brayden Schenn, Pittsburgh’s James Neal, Winnipeg’s Evander Kane and Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guys like Stastny and Vanek will cost them Blues money but at least they’re not parting with other assets to boot. If they do pursue an established scorer, I think they’d prefer a younger guy like Kane or Schenn, provided they can pry them away from their current teams. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS/MLIVE.COM: Helene St. James reports the Red Wings staff will meet this week to discuss trade and free agent scenarios. In addition to addressing their backup goaltending, they’ll also look at how to add a top-six four and a top-four defenseman. Possibilities could include Matt Niskanen, Dan Boyle, Andrei Markov, Thomas Vanek and Paul Stastny via free agency, while Vancouver’s Alex Edler could be a trade target.


  1. I think where Brodeur ends up has more to do with him deciding if he wants to play with a contender for the cup, or if he wants to be a regular starter, either as a number one, or share more games than he would in Jersey. If he wants to help a team be a contender, I could see him in Washington with Holtby, provided they do not sign Hiller or Miller. Another option IMO is Buffalo. While they already have Enroth and Neuvirth, neither are as good as Miller. A goalie like Brodeur could give a young rebuilding team confidence. Depends on how long the Sabres want to be cellar dwellers as they rebuild.

    • His decision is more playing time. In his interviews he was always saying he wants TO BE the #1 goalie. Sadly he’s more of a backup now more then anything else.

  2. I believe Kane and Towes will be higher than 16 mill, if you look at Getzlaf Perry, Malkin and Crosby and what other guys have and are expected to sign for, Kessel Vanek Nash Stasny Subban… 17 atleast for the pair at least seems more likely with the cap probably over 75 mill the year they turn ufa. Im not sure there is a better player in the game than Towes right now and he is still just coming in to his prime years.

  3. I agree with Schticky, They will each get 9-10 million a year for 8 years. that’s a lot of money tied up in 2 players.

    Just want your guys opinions on this, see what the Arm Chair GM’s of the world think. Now before you go crazy read my logic behind the trade and see if it makes sense.

    To EDM- Seabrook, Sharp and Versteeg
    To CHi-3rd overall pick and Yakupov or Gagner

    Chi is going to have to free up space to resign Toews and Kane, Sharp is redundant with Saad and Tero, Versteeg is to get rid of more salary and Seabrook although it’s a huge loss, they are going to have to dump salary somewhere. Chi will be able to have cheaper younger players to learn and grow from Toews/Kane/Hossa how to play the game and develop correctly. Getting Bennett or Reinhart with the 3rd pick will help them down the road as well.

    Edm needs a top 2 Defenseman and Seabrook brings stability and 2 stanley cups to the team along with his winning ways and leadership, Sharp brings in a top 6 winger with 2 cups and winning ways/leadership as well. Versteeg will prob be a 3rd line player on this team.

    • What about Instead of Seabrook you put Hjalmerson and a 2nd rounder?

      I don’t think Chicago will be giving up Seabrook or Keith.

      • I wouldnt give up Hjalmerson or Seabrook along with Sharp and a pick for Gagner or Yaks and a pick…no thank you. Either Seabrook or Hjalmersson I think have almost that much if not more value than that by themselves, let alone adding a pick and Sharp on top of that too. A draft pick no matter top 3 or not is just that a draft pick un proven young players are not worth potential top pairing d men and top 6 forwards. I think if you look around the league Hjalmersson is a top 2 guy on alot of bluelines. The deal breaks down in to a top 2 d guy a good top 6 guy and a pick for at best a 3 rd line center (on the Hawks) and a pick or a potential still very unproven top 6 guy you dont need compared to Hossa Kane or Saad, and a pick? Imo not a very good deal at all.

        • Chicago would have to add more then just Seabrook or Hjalmersson for the third overall.

          • Not a whole lot imo, its a draft pick for a top pairing D man that 1 has won a cup or and 2 immediately improves your team. You dont give that away for 1 pick. Especially in a draft class like this one, you are caught up in the hype. BEST CASE SCENARIO You traded a top pairing d man today (Seabrook) for a top pairing d man down the road (Ekblad) there are no guarantees that the pick develops in to better than what you just dealt away. Ill take a proven D man every time over potential. Remember Yakopov being the next big thing? Still could be a great player but I wouldnt trade Seabrook or Hjalmersson for him. Picks always involve risk Jes.

    • That trade would be an absolute steal for Edmonton as Chicago isn’t getting nearly enough in return.

      • Depends on if you count the cap space as part of the return for Chicago. In the cap era, cap space is just as valuable as the assets on any deal and in this case, if you can bring back enough space to sign your core assets without creating a crisis, it should be considered.

        • Not cutting loose those players to make space maybe Sharp but Hjalmersson has a very good contract, and Seabrook has 1 year left on a pretty decent deal aswell. If they were to deal Seabrook it would be for the same kind of return as yaks and the Oilers first. Sharp would get an affordable young player on his own aswell. The proposed deal is a massive overpayment for capspace.

          • A big fly in the Ointment would be the fact Seabrook is in the last year of his contract and we all know he would most likely bolt out of Edmonton so he would end up being a one year rental. Oilers need a D man that is locked up for four years so he’s stuck and has to make a home in Edmonton.

          • My mistake Seabrook has two years left on his contract. Still Oil need a longer commitment with all their youth if they are going to give up the farm.

  4. Smid and Flames 4th overall for the first overall is pretty laughable.

    • Not so much I think if the Flames added their second or maybe another good young player or prospect to the deal

      • What if Tallon likes another guy in the draft that he is pretty sure he can get in the top 10 say without using the no. 1 pick? Hayden Fleury could be a guy that intrests him wouldnt be the first time a gm has his mind made up about a player before the draft, Fla. Is already set up with some good young centers and forwards, Fleury is another d man with some size that could help the Panthers down the road and is the next d man ranked 9 in prospects. Maybe another reason he is shopping the pick so hard.

      • Your crazy Schticky. Sorry to say bud, not far off? Yes it is pretty far off. If it was that easy to get the 1st overall pick there would be more picks traded. Bennett, Ekblad and Reinhart easily the better all around players then the at #4 and beyond.

        • I personally really like Dal Colle and he will be around when Calgary picks, or even Draisaitl who would be a good prospect. I think the 4th pick, Smid and maybe a prospect like Wotherspoon would be a good starting to point to try and work out a deal. Especially if Tallon isn’t to high on Ekblad.

          • Agreed RK there will be good picks 4-10 maybe not like previous years but I think that could be said about the top 3 aswell this draft as a whole it is not as good as some other years. I m not sure Ekblad Bennet and Reinhart are the next coming of Weber Crosby and Kane while everyone else is second and third liners the way Jes makes it seem.

    • I don’t see the Flames gunning for first overall, but they might want the Sabres’ spot. I’m pretty sure they want Reinhart.

  5. Toews will be signed up soon. Kane on the other hand I see maybe testing free agency. I could see him signing in his hometown of Buffalo next summer (I hope).

    • Toews and Kane will retire as Blackhawks, no way Kane leaves for the Sabers. Schticky is right about their possible contracts, just look at what the Wild gave Parise, Toews and Kane are better players IMO.

      Smid and their first for the first overall pick is absolutely laughable.

    • Can’t see any situation where Kane does not re-sign will the Hawks. Why leave such a strong franchise to go to Buffalo.

      • Because in Chicago he has won basically everything he can… But if he goes Buffalo and can win Stanley cup there he will be a hometown legend!

        • Lol like Scott Norwood or Steve Tasker??? I cant see Kane going to Buffalo the Hawks will be contenders for years before the Sabres will be. Kane wont give up the chance to be part of a dynasty type team in the prime of his career. He will get his money in Chicago, plus better endorsement deals in a much bigger market.

          • Is Kane taking a taxi there ??
            No way it’s happening !

        • He has a lot more that he can accomplish in his career and a much better chance of that happening in Chicago. His career is still in it’s early stages. Chicago should challenge for a cup for at least the next 4-5 years. Buffalo will be lucky to be in the playoffs anytime in the near future.

        • Buffalo WILL BE a big time team in about three years time that’s one reason why he’d be willing to go to Buffalo and another is he’s a Buffalo native. Sabres can also match any offer that Chicago or other teams throw at Kane.

          Shticky I don’t see how being on Chicago will get Kane more endorsements. If he’d been playing with Florida he’d get the same endorsements.

          Hockey dude what do u mean take a taxi there? Lol

          • ??? Chicago is the 3rd or 4th largest television market in north america not sure that Buffalo is even in the top 50. Its a huge difference in endorsements Jes huge. Bigger than Florida unless he takes up monster trucking part time. Yes Buffalo has a rich owner but endorsements wise Chicago would make him far more than his salary cap payroll

          • I am a Sabres fan, but I know it’s a big stretch to think they will be a ‘big time’ team in 3 years. A lot of good things need to happen. Hit on all draft picks, make excellent trades and hope the prospects in the system reach their potential quickly. That’s an awful lot to hope for. Even the best run teams can’t expect all that to occur. I like Tim Murray but he is a rookie GM, and I’m not sold on Nolan as a long term solution at coach. He’s never been a long term success in his career.

          • Ooops sorry for the live link.

          • Im not talking about people watching NBC hockey, I mean the ammount of tv stations radio newspapers and business that all pay for advertising to a way bigger population, its a bigger market than Buffalo.

  6. If the Blues are looking for a young forward such as Schenn-would they part with Shattenkirk. Flyers need help on D.

    • Schenn himself is not worth Shattenkirk…Flyers would have to add a lot to make that work.

      • Ehh Im not so sure that B Schenn for Shatenkirk is far off tho Flyers wouldnt have to add too much more imo. Salary could be an issue again tho think Shatenkirk would just about take the rest of their space up with his 4.25 added and nothing really going the other way Schenn is an RFA, it may make sense to do both Schenns or add Coburn possibly, opens up a roster spot and makes some room salary wise. I think there could be the makings of a deal there at anyrate with the main parts being Schenn for Shatenkirk.

    • No way Schenn is worth Shattenkirk. Definitely would have add to that. Blues need a primary scorer and Schenn will not deliver in that type of role. Coburn + B. Schenn for Shattenkirk + a draft pick would work IMO.

  7. Couple of unrelated points.

    If Oilers were to trade Schultz + something to Florida for the #1 pick, how would that be karma coming back to bite Justin in the butt.

    Blackhawks – Am I the only one who thought Quninville was terrible as a coach. In three games they had a 2 goal early lead and it was bombs way for their D-men. No thought what’s so ever of hey we have two goal lead, let’s make sure we at least TRY and protect it. I’m not blaming the forwards, their back line was more interested in padding their point total than in winning.

    • I think there is something to the bombs away approach to the dmen you were mentioning but I am not sure thats as much on coaching as it is on the goaltending. There were more than a few times in that series where there were stops that Crawford had to have that just plain beat him. I think he is a goalie that you can win with but not a goalie who will win you games I think this was shown in the previous series aswell not just against LA. Carters goal last night prime example just a brutal rebound at a terrible time…Riemer-ish really.

  8. Lyle … Does NHL CBA provide any opportunity for a Player / Coach? If so, how would prospective salary be distributed relative to salary cap?

    • To my knowledge there’s nothing regarding an opportunity for a player/coach in the NHL CBA. If the opportunity arises, his salary would count against the salary cap because he’s a player.

  9. I think both Toews and Kane are going to sign for a lower then people believe. These are the type of guys who take the hometown discount in order to keep the team intact and competing. I believe $7.5-$8/season with front loaded contracts is what they will end up signing for in an attempt to stay on a competitive team. Seriously, $64 million plus all of their endorsements and the chance to compete for the cup every year should be more than enough to keep them grounded.

    • I’m with you man. The lack of Chicago depth was really evident this series. I really think these two players will sit down with Bowman and discuss a friendly deal that works for both sides to ensure that they can go out and get the proper bottom 6 players to improve the depth. I think Bowman locks them up long term for something close to 15 million for the pair.

      • The cap could be 80 mill in 2 years paying your top 2 guys 8 and 9 mill is nothing still room fo depth even tho besides Handzus playing 2 c Im not sure Id say they have depth issues.

    • See the Ducks.

    • beyond wishful thinking. their are cities that will pay them more, offer as good or better endorsment, and be just as competitive. each no less than malkins 9.5… and thats a hometown discount. I believe they each will offer that discount to the hawks but that the hawks only keep toews.

  10. Id say there are a couple other places they could have a chance to win cups if they wanted to make more money and still have endorsements. They are 2 of the premiere players in the league they will be paid like it. Think about if another team in the westen confrence added a player like Toews, they are going to have the chance to be contenders for a while aswell. Again the loyalty to the franchise would be shown by staying, it doesn’t need to be by giving them a huge discount also, sure they might leave a bit of money on the table but 7.5 mill is pricing them so far below their market value that the PA and agents alike would likely not be overly enthusiastic with it. There are other factors involved aswell to think about such as compairing other salaries around the league, injuries etc….8.75-9 for Toews, 8 for Kane is the least I can see. Crosby’s contract is 104 mill over 12 years (thats with leaving some money on the table) Toews is not going to accept nearly 40 million dollars less money, there will need to be a higher hit than Crosby because he can not have the same security of a 12 year guaranteed contract. It very well could be 78-80 mill if not more.

  11. Lyle, given the financial landscape for young puck rushing offensive D-men, I am mystified over your continued position that the Pens would have to take money back on a Letang deal.
    If he were a free agent today he would command the exact same deal. Watch Niskanen’s forthcoming deal as a comparison.
    I understand the reluctance associated with the stroke but this guy was every bit the Norris candidate as P.K. was a year ago. Yes he has his challenges defensively but you can’t honestly think that a young D-man that can eat 25 mins per game and rack up 70+ points has no marketplace simply because he signed that long term deal??? On the contrary that makes him that much more attractive.
    Oilers/Flyers/Sharks/Flames/Canucks/Panthers/Tampa……….I could go on but I’m sure you know better than I the number of teams that could use a Letang.

    • 1. Letang’s career high is 50 points, he’s never come close to 70.
      2. He’s missed time with various injuries in each of the past 3 seasons.
      3. In light of the Cherepanov and Peverley situations, there is a general “sense” that GMs would be scared off by Letang’s heart issue. Fair or not, it is likely to decrease demand.
      4. He’s one of the highest paid d-men in the league with a lot of term left. There are not many teams that can make that contract work.

  12. Beyond irresponsible for pens to pick up part of letang salary for so long. best to keep him and hope he plays up to the expectations. and 16 million is a pipe dream for CHicago. they each should ask for and receive at least the same deal as Malkin, or 9.5 million per year. Definately teams out there that would pay them 10+ with the cap expected to continue to rise. 9.5 each would be a big hometown discount.

    • Like I mentioned on an earlier post, look what the Wild gave Parise, Toews and Kane are BETTER players, they will get at least 9-10M per season each.

  13. Yes Buyer-Beware for both LeTang and Green…BUT…both have that Brian Campbell feel about them. A change in scenery just might perk them up a bit.