NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2014.

Is a Sam Gagner-for-RJ Umberger swap in the works? Will the Capitals buy out Brooks Laich and Mike Green? What’s the latest on the Red Wings? Read on for the latest. 

Is a swap of R.J. Umberger for Sam Gagner in the works?

Is a swap of R.J. Umberger for Sam Gagner in the works?

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports there’s a rumor floating around which has the Blue Jackets shipping winger R.J. Umberger to the Edmonton Oilers for Sam Gagner. While Portzline acknowledged Umberger has requested a trade, the winger also submits a list of ten teams to which he won’t accept a trade, suggesting it’s doubtful the winger accepts a trade to Edmonton. He also suggests not paying much mind to those who suggest Umberger’s contract makes him difficult trade, noting players with worse deals in the past have been traded.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples assesses this rumor, reaching the conclusion it makes more sense to move Gagner for a younger player than an ageing veteran still carrying an expensive contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Umberger agrees to be dealt to the Oilers. 

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley reports forward Brooks Laich and defenseman Mike Green appear to be compliance buyout candidates, but assistant GM Don Fishman doesn’t anticipate the club will use their remaining compliance buyout. Gormley also interviewed new Capitals GM Brian MacLellan, who doesn’t know at this point if he’ll be busy in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Green only has one year left on his contract so it would be wasteful to use their remaining compliance buyout on him. Laich seems a better candidate as he has three more seasons at $4.5 million annually left on his contract, but if Fishman’s comments are anything to go by, they’re not about to go that route with him. 

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan recently addressed questions from his readers over the Red Wings possibly pursuing Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen via this summer’s UFA market. He doesn’t view the Wings overpaying for him, and noted the risk the spike in Niskanen’s production this season could be a one-time thing. He  suggests Andrei Markov as a free agent option or Vancouver’s Alex Edler via trade. Khan also feels the Wings could go the trade route to add a scoring winger.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance examined the effect of several general management changes could have upon this summer’s trade and free agent markets, noting new GMs like Dallas’ Jim Nill and Columbus’ Jarmo Kekalainen made big splashes last year.  It’s believed six teams are very interested in the Florida Panthers first-round pick (first overall), which GM Dale Tallon is willing to shop.  It could be worthwhile keeping an eye on the Canucks, Sharks and Islanders, as they could be busy looking to make changes.


  1. Hey Spector
    Just wondering if you were going to address all of the phaneuf rumours floating around yesterday. There seemed to be a lot of talk yesterday about it.
    Wherever Andre markov signs I hope that he can end his career on a good note. Always had a lot of respect for him.

    • You mean the one whereby the Leafs ship Dion Phaneuf and Nazem Kadri and their first round pick (eighth overall) to the Panthers for Ed Jovanovski and the first overall pick, to be used to select Aaron Ekblad? Sorry, I don’t do fantasy trade rumors.

      • My bad. Thanks Lyle.

        • No problem, it was a fair question. Just that the rumor itself is ridiculous, plus the person who started it doesn’t realize that, if Jovanovski retires, the Leafs aren’t off the hook because his contract falls under the over-35 category, meaning it still counts against the Leafs cap.

      • What about the ones involving Phaneuf and E. Staal, courtesy of Josh Rimer (of Sportsnet & Hockeybuzz)?

        They’ve been brought up in other places today as well, including TSN 1050.

  2. Really ? Where?

  3. Edler and 2nd round pick this year to Detroit would be a good fit. Not sure what comes back- Sheehan , Tatar + D

    • how about Jurco, Sheahan, Andersson, Smith, kindl and this years 1st for Edler and Kesler?

      • Done! As a canuck fan if you want out ,”let me show ya the door”. As for edler I personally would have traded him at the begging of last year

      • Nope. There’s a good chance Smith outproduces Edler next season and Sheahan outproduces Kesler. Not happening.

        • I disagree with smith and sheahan outproducing either. Plus both are what Babcock covet and the wings have plenty to replenish from their top 10 farm system.

          Kesler and Edler would have made a difference against Boston. Smith was being run every 5 seconds and looked lost, so did Sheahan. They will both be quality players, but Kesler and Edler are in their prime and are what the wings need to compete with the Boston’s today

          Also agreed Mantha is untouchable unless your talking about a top 5 player in the nhl IE Stamkos Weber types which will never happen

          • Buffbry. I agree with you in that the ‘kids’ looked totally lost against the Bruins. I like Edler and Kesler alot, who wouldn’t, but I just don’t see Holland giving up what Vancouver would want in return. Unfortunately, we are stuck with Weiss and Holland is convinced that he is a 2nd line center. If Weiss cant play this season, it could make Holland take a stronger look at it.

        • I highly doubt that. Sheahan showed great promise but is still no where near the player Kesler is. Smith hasn’t quite developed the way most of us anticipated. Both are not going anywhere. Holland seems to have a lot of interest in bringing in Edler and after last season his value is at an all time low, now might be the time to pounce.

          • if the trade did happen hypothetically for what i said earlier here is what we are looking at. I like that more than sheahan jurco kindl and smith

            Abbie,Weiss,Aflie(if he comes back)


            Howard, Gust/Mrazek

          • @Buffbry, I’d plug in Mantha on the 3rd line if Alfie doesn’t come back, I think Nisky would be better than Sproul, and not that impressed with Lashoff.

          • @thunder i agree and do not like lashoff, rather see sproul/oulette as 3rd pairing but unless they sign someone it will be one of the kids and Lashoff.

            Niskanen will cost to much for a 3rd pairing, he will get 5 million over 5 years easy.

            Holland went on record saying if Mantha doesn’t make top 6 he will be in GR, so pulkinen or helm can move to that line and callahan can take spot on 4th line.

          • Hypothetically, sure. But I think it will cost a lot more then that to land both players. Kesler alone will likely cost something around Sheahan, Jurco and a first. Personally I would be really reluctant to trade Sheahan. I think he will continue to develop into a very good top six player. I like the idea of trading for Edler. Holland had interest at last years draft but the price was way to high.

          • I also think Holland should look at signing Nikitin to replace Quincey. And Lashoff isn’t terrible. He’s a decent 6th/7th inexpensive option.

          • @RK, I was thinking Sulzer to replace Quincey, has a huge shot

      • That is an over payment cor Elder and Kessler. Jurco, Kindle, Anderson and a 2nd would be right.

  4. Agree that Umberger isn’t going to agree to a trade to Edmonton. Probably the least desirable destination for a lot of American players.
    What I do like is if Laich gets bot out-bring him to Edmonton. Good character guy who would help the young stars with leadership.

    • MacT has done a good job thus far. He isn’t about to deal Gagner for Umberger. Not happening. Umberger’s value is already low and with him asking for a trade it is even lower. Remember Hemsky? A third and a fifth is what they got back. Umberger = a fourth rounder not Gagner a former top ten yet to hit his prime. I love how everyone piles up on the Oilers. 3-4 years from now they will be a perennial contender.

      • Isn’t that what people were saying 3-4 years ago?

  5. Someone is going to overpay for Niskanen but it won’t be the Wings. Though the Wings have been interested in Edler in the past, I dont think he comes to Detroit either. I think that the Wings will go after Dan Boyle for a 1-2 year deal until the kids (Sproul, Ouelette and Marchenko) are ready.
    Up front, the first question is what is the health of Steven Weiss (hold the laughter). He had been penciled in to be the 2nd line center. As of today, very little has been said by the team regarding his health and availability. If he is unable to play, then you have Datsyuk, Zetterberg moves to 2nd line center, Sheahan and Helm at center. I think the 2 wingers that will be pursued are James Neal and Radim Vrbata.
    Bring back Gus to back-up Howard for 1 more year.

    • I think the Wings should consider signing Niskanen (to a 2 year deal only at around 4M per) and getting Edler or Markov or even Gilbert.

    • Why do you think the Wings won’t overpay Niskanen? They overpaid Weiss, anything is possible.

      • Jes, never said anything about overpaying anyone, 2 year contract is all, then see how things are going after that. I’m sure he’ll get overpaid and MIGHT not live up to his contract, happens all the time.

        • Yup agreed. Niskanen definitely won’t be the same without Crosby, Malkin and Neal. Guy should just stick it with Pittsburgh.

          On Pittsburgh… Anyone hear Pierre McGuire may be the new GM in Pittsburgh? Plz be true so we can stop listening to this guy lol.

      • Jes. I cant defend the Weiss scenario. I still don’t understand why the Wings thought that he would be an upgrade over Fillpula. Hopefully, the Weiss signing was the exception rather than the rule. As far as Niskanen, he has had 1 season over 40 points. For me, it doesn’t warrant a 5 year – 5 mil/yr deal. Half of the teams in the league are looking for help on D and because the FA pool is so shallow this year, someone is going to overpay for him. You are right though, anything is possible.

        • Wings wanted more production out of their second line C so they could play Z and Pav together. At the time of the contract Weiss had a better proven track record than Filppula. I don’t think anyone expected Weiss to be hurt for the whole season. I know I am going to hold off judgement until I see what a healthy Weiss can bring to the team.

  6. How about jurco, mantha and a first for edler and Kessler. Detroit throws in Weiss and too too for salary purposes and we are done.

    • Mantha is untouchable. So is Nyquist. Holland will not trade them.

      • Mantha is beast and should be able to make the big club and contribute right away, can’t see anyway they trade him.

        • He can’t make the big club right away. He will spend a year with Grand Rapids at least.

          • is that because of his age, correct?

          • Well he is yet to play against pro players. Throwing him to the wolves would be an awful idea and not how the wings do things. Plus, he has had a great year at the junior level, lets see what he can do against better competition that are more defensively sound and take away his time and space at the AHL level. Rather then just plugging him as a regular right away with the big club.

          • Detroit’s management and coaches a very smart they won’t just throw the kids in front of the bus. Another half season or a full season to have a fully developed Mantha is the best way to go.

    • Martha won’t move unless they get a good top line player in return.

  7. IT would be interesting if the teams could trade their compliance buyouts and part of trade packages…..The Flyers could use an extra.

    • Who would you target as the extra compliance buy out-Hartnell?

      • Prolly Hartnell, Streit or Lecalvier

        • Streit is fine at his doallar figure.

          He started slow, but meshed well with Giroux and Voracek on the break out, and with Kimmo probably retiring, he will be the veteran presence on defence.

          I am fine with his contract and Hartnells for that matter.

          I think Lecavalier will have a bounce back year where ever he plays, but I do expect him traded.

          And no, it is not impossible, and neither would be trading Hartnell if the Flyers wanted to. I went into depth about there numbers a few days ago, and can’t be f’d to do it again.

          The Flyers are fine right now.

          If anyone or two guys are traded, I would think it would be Coburn and Grossmann.

          Easier to move contracts for players, plus a return of at least draft picks for them.

      • Why would the Flyers have to buy out Hartnell?

        • I didn’t get that one either, he’s a good power forward.

          • That is my point-there aren’t many compliance buyout candidates. The worst contract (IMO) is Vinny and he isn’t eligible for a compliance buyout since he was signed after the new CBA-as was Streit.

  8. God, I love how spoiled some athletes are becoming. Here’s the potential scenario:

    Umberger: I demand to be traded!
    Kekäläinen: Ok, we’ll accommodate your request. I have a deal to get you to Edmonton.
    Umberger: I refuse to be traded there! [Pause] Now, I demand to be traded!

    I’m not sure RJ gets the train of thought here: He’s asking to be traded because the Blue Jackets dhealthy scratched him because, well, he’s not that good. I’m not sure he’s in an exact position of strength.

    Having a limited NTC doesn’t mean you get to decide when you get traded to which of those teams!

    • Actually, yes it does. He requests a trade but can list ten teams to which he won’t accept being dealt. That was negotiated into his contract and he has every right to use it. Besides, it’s not as sweeping as a full no-trade. The Jackets get 19 teams they can shop him to.

      • I respectfully disagree, Lyle. What the NTC does is make it so he is obliged to accept a trade to any team on his limited NTC.

        What no GM is *obliged* to do is trade anyone, just because they demand it. And if they do demand it, the player should be told, “we’ll do what we can. But if getting out of here is the important thing, then open up your NTC, or enjoy riding the pine next season”.

        I agree with limited NTCs, but they’re safety for the teams, too (allowing them to get rid of a player when desired).

        • I agree. A NTC’s should only come into effect if the GM goes to the player and asks for a list of teams. If a player goes to the GM and says “trade me” then the NTC should be thrown out the door and the GM can deal with any team he wants. Just my opinion.

          • What that would say, and say loudly is, “It’s okay for us to change our mind about the direction of our team, but you have to go along with it no matter what”…I’m not a big fan of ntc’s, nmc’s but if they make the deal it needs to work both ways. If a Gm can approach a player and ask him to waive it, why shouldn’t a player be able to do the same? It is a business on both sides, both sides should equally be able to protect themselves. Simple solution….Don’t hand out Nmc’s and Ntc’s. To be brutally honest, I’m not so sure handing a five year ntc/nmc to a player like Rj was anything less than stupid move from management to begin with.

          • IMO as long as you sign a contract with a NMC or NTC or LMTC it should be honoured. If the GM is going piss and whine about it tough luck. Learn your lesson from the signing and move on.

          • What that says is, with a full NTC a GM asks the player of a list then the player can say “No I do not want to be traded.” Like Sedin did with Toronto years ago. With a limited NTC then the player has a say on were they want to be traded as the contract says, when the GM ask for a list. That to me is what the NTC’s were meant for. Not for if the players who are tired of playing for a team and requesting a trade and picking and choosing where he wants to go, like Heatly did with Ottawa.

  9. Good afternoon, Lyle. In your opinion, with the Islanders having signed Halak, how do you see Snow/Wang addressing their remaining needs? It certainly appears that they’re intending on piecing together a competitive squad for next season. Do you see them addressing those needs via free agency, trade, or, “filling from within” like they attempted to do with Donovan last season. In my opinion, they need to address their need for a #1 DEF and a 1st line LW. Thank you for your time and look forward to hearing back!

    • They’ve got to spend nearly $10 million to be above the cap floor for next season. I would assume they’ll pursue an experienced puck-moving blueliner and a top-six winger via free agency. They could also go the trade route. They don’t have to blow things up but they need to address those needs

      • I would think-with the # of suiters decreasing-Thomas Vanek may look at returning to the Isles.

        • With word of an Ales Hemsky contract breakdown with the Senators, he is an interesting consideration to put on a line with Tavares and Okposo. The Islanders fit Hemsky’s desired market and his speed could prove lethal with a creative Tavares. His lengthy injury history would be a huge deterrent. Vanek is a frustrating player to have on your team. I can’t count the amount of backhand passes that slid off his tape, negating an odd man rush. Tavares was definitely frustrated with the on ice ethic of Vanek.

          Thank you for bringing the cap floor fact to light, Lyle.

  10. I think this years draft and free agency will be the busiest, for player & draft order movement, in years.
    It seems that a lot of good NHL players, prospects, and top 10 draft selections are available for trade.
    Even if Florida doesn’t trade the # 1 pick; many of the other top 10 teams may do so.

    As always, there will be more talk than action but, I expect a few conversations prior to teams selection on draft day; as well as, a few trades to develop.

    Should be an interesting playoffs, draft and free agency period.