NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2014

Latest on Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller, Mike Richards, Matt Moulson, Jonas Hiller and more

Thomas Vanek's postseason struggles could hurt his free agent value.

Thomas Vanek’s postseason struggles could hurt his free agent value.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Eric Duhatschek believes the Penguins made a mistake firing GM Ray Shero. His replacement will have to improve the quality of the Penguins’ goaltending, try to trade defenseman Rob Scuderi to free up cap space, and explore Kris Letang’s trade value…He believes the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks provide Ryan Miller with his two best options to sign with a West Coast team…Duhatschek wonders if the Kings could use a compliance buyout to shed the remainder of Mike Richards’ contract, thus freeing up room to re-sign winger Marian Gaborik…He doubts the Canadiens re-sign struggling Thomas Vanek and wonders if the Minnesota Wild will sign him after watching his poor performance in this year’s playoffs. He also suggests the Islanders kiss and make up with Matt Moulson, who they dealt to Buffalo earlier in the season for Vanek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins could find it easier to move Scuderi ($3.375 million per season for next three years) than Letang ($7.25 million annually for the next eight years), unless they’re willing to pick up part of the latter’s contract. Even then, Letang’s health issues will make him tough to move…I’m not sure the Canucks would take on Miller unless he’s willing to accept a short-term deal. Besides, their biggest concern is their lack of scoring punch. The Sharks would have to trade away or buy out Antti Niemi if they’re to add Miller, who isn’t an improvement over Niemi…Richards’ play has improved of late but his declining speed should be a concern. If the Kings re-sign Gaborik I’m guessing it’s a short-term deal for just over $5 million per… Vanek’s performance isn’t exactly attracting rave reviews, and it could adversely affect his efforts to land a lucrative new contract, especially if he’s hoping to go to Minnesota. As for Moulson and the Islanders, I think that ship has sailed. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES/VANCOUVER PROVINCE/CBS EYE ON HOCKEY: Lance Pugmire reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray might revisit his trade deadline attempt to land Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler or pursue other upgrade. Jason Botchford wondered what Murray offered up for Kesler, and doubts Devante Smith-Pelly is available. Brian Stubits reports Ducks long-time starting goalie Jonas Hiller is sad knowing his time with the club is coming to an end. Hiller joins Ryan Miller on the free agent market, and wonders if the Ducks could consider Miller as a replacement for Hiller.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray also reportedly has interest in Ottawa’s Jason Spezza, but Kesler would be more affordable and a better fit as a second-line center. Murray must also decide if he’ll stick with his current tandem of Frederik Andersen and John Gibson or bring in Miller to tutor young Gibson while shipping Andersen elsewhere. 

USA TODAY/SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS/THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Brehm recently examined possible free agent destination for Ryan Miller, listing the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota Wild as possible destinations. David Pollak doesn’t believe Miller is a fit with the Sharks. Bucky Gleason believes the Buffalo Sabres should resist the temptation to sign Miller as a free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sharks do sign Miller they must trade Antti Niemi. I don’t believe the Capitals will pursue Miller, preferring to stick with Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer. I also don’t see Miller as an improvement over Marc-Andre Fleury, while the Wild could go with Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper next season. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher wants to ensure he has sufficient cap space for long and short term signings.


  1. Holmgren can be criticized for some of his long term contracts. But give him credit he extracted good value in the Richards trade in SImmonds and Schenn. I realize the Kings have won the cup, but if the Flyers would of had Quick, Philly would of won one or possibly multiples.

    • Multiple what? games? Holmgren was an idiot with the contracts he offered. He got lucky with the return for Richards.Too many dumb decisions. 7 year 35 plus for Pronger!?! 4 year 35 plus for Streit?!? 9 year 51 mil for Bryz.That is why he is out as GM.

      • 4 year $35+ mill for Streit? Lol 4 years for $21 mill was the contract.

        • I think he meant that Streit signed his contract after 35 years of age. Thus, his contract (like Pronger’s) is on the books even if he retires or can no longer play.

          As for Holmgren’s trades…..there are always intangibles involved over and above the goals/assists stat lines. Even though LA only traded directly with the Flyers for Richards, they realized that both Carter and Richards are winners. LA is built on guys like that and that is why they are in their third straight conference final and a perennial Cup favorite.

          The Flyers are lacking depth in the leadership department. I am not talking about outspoken guys (ie Pronger) that need to have the spotlight on themselves. But, they need the depth guys that go out on the ice and let their play inspire their teamates to pick up their own game. You will not find that in any stat sheet.

    • The Flyers chances of winning the Cup were destroyed by Prongers injury. Quick would not have made any sort of difference at all. The trades of Richard and Carter were both good ones for the Flyers and necessary.

      Holmgren gets props for the majority of his moves, sometimes you gotta blame the players.

      • MM: The Pronger trade and signing was generally praised in Philly. Doesnt really matter what y’all think. If he stays healthy, the money would have been well worth it.

        You can question Bryz but in the end the signings of Vinny and Streit will be fine. They are now hamstrung by hartnell and a logjame at center which I am hopeful the new GM will resolve. When Vinny returns to the middle he will be fine.

        Our goaltending is set and our team is really young once you factor out Timmonen (gone) and Pronger (LTR) whose contracts will not be on this cap…….all I am saying that things look good in Philly. The draft is in Philly this year. Look for the Flyers and the new GM to make headlines.

        • Streiet and Vinnys contract suck and if things look good why make a splash? I’m thinking Hextall does things similar to the way they did in LA. Patiently smart moves nothing overly splashy for the sake of headlines, not sure he is going anything like Homer.

          • 2010 without Quick level goaltending, they lost in Game 6 in OT vs Chicago. With Quick, they win the cup, even the most rookie fan can see that.

          • But they knew they didnt have great goaltending sooo, if you atr suggesting that they should or could hsve acquired “Quick like gosltending” they would have to have given up something to get it…speculating like that makes no sense. woulda coulda shoulda, even as a Leaf fan (and the Leafs have tonnes of em) these kinda scenarios are a stretch.

  2. The Canucks have $11.7 million in cap space and have yet to sign Tanev, Santorelli and Kasian. They can free up an additional $4.25 million if they buy out David Booth but the way he and Kassian meshed at the end of the year I think they’ll keep him for the last year of his contract. No way they can afford Miller.

  3. Moulson is money between the dots but is not very effective everywhere else. He’s too slow for the up tempo team the Islanders are building.

    • He couldn’t keep up with the Wild lines either and wasn’t a good fit with us, but heh, he was worth a shot as a rental at the trade deadline based on his performance during the year. He has talent and will fit in somewhere, possibly with the Panthers, Red Wings, Sabers, Penquins……

    • Ducks need a goal hound LW to go with Getzlaf & Perry.
      No more than 4 million a year, no more than 3 years.
      Otherwise let Garthy the snow have him back

  4. Bucky’s work sucks lol

  5. still Pi$$ me off that the Mario & Co. fire Shero! as a DieHard Penguins Fan! im not looking forward to what is coming! Doesnt look good! I see NO POSITIVE to there firing the GM! Dont really care what the new GM wil bring, as the new GM has BIG SHOES TO FILL

    • I would love to see the Isles sign Shero as a replacement for Snow. Of course I’d take darn near anyone as a replacement for Snow.

    • He should have replaced Fleury. Burke lost his job over Cloutier, and Muckler lost his over Lalime.

      Moral is, don’t put your faith in mediocre goaltenders.

    • New GM has to make a big shake up in Pittsburgh. They cannot win in the playoffs since they won the cup. Regular season is usually dynamite but goaltending, defense and lack of hard noises play in the playoffs killed them. All fans knew Fleury was a problem so Shero definitely blew the goat there. He also knew his team would be lacking cap space yet he still tossed out NMC’s like nothing. Only one I would give a NMC is to Crosby. They really have no depth. Shero was responsible for that yet he didn’t bring in the right pieces IMO. Bylsma should’ve been fired before Shero. They should’ve kept Therrian.

      First thing on the new GM’s list should be finding a new coach followed by a couple trades including Letang and Fleury.

      Any new candidates for Pittsburgh GM job?

      • Pierre McGuire.

        • Yes, please god, have Pierre get the job. That would be like Christmas in May/June/July to get that butthole off of the national broadcasts.

  6. If the Sharks have interest in Miller, maybe they could work out some sort of deal with the Canucks to ship Niemi up there? Niemi could be a stabilizing force between the pipes for Eddie Lack and would be affordable enough as he only has one year left on his contract.

    • Niemi would be an upgrade over Lack or Markstrom IMO.

  7. If I’m the Sharks, I keep Niemi as a backup and give the job to Stalock. He’s better and cheaper than Miller. Look for them to make a run at signing Statsny and try to trade for Marchand using Stuart as part of the deal. Add depth to the D by going after Bieksa or Oduya for one of our young D men like Demers.

    • Boston wouldn’t trade the league’s best pest outside of Corey Perry.

      • Best pest? If you mean bad penalties at costly times yep I agree Marchand is the best at that…Cant see anyway Marchsnd stays in Boston with the guys that will need deals there. Id guess Kelly and Thornton aswell, too capped out with a lower than expected ceiling coming and tweaks needed.