NHL Rumor Mill – Monday, May 5, 2014

The latest on the Avalanche, a listing of possible offer sheet targets plus updates on Joe Thornton, Ales Hemsky, Johan Franzen, R.J. Umberger & more.

Can the Avalanche afford Paul Stastny?

Can the Avalanche afford Paul Stastny?

DENVER POST: Mike Chambers lists revamping the blueline, re-signing Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly and improving depth at forward as the Avalanche off-season priorities. Chambers also provides a sampling of defensemen the Avs could pursue, which includes Penguins’ Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik. He also notes former Av Kyle Quincey resides in Denver in the off-season and considers him “an excellent addition to any team”. Adrian Dater believes it was risky on the Avs’ part to wait until season’s end to talk contract with Stastny. Dater speculates Stastny could get an offer of $7 million on the open market but doubts the Avs will go that high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny has said he’s willing to entertain a hometown discount from the Avalanche, but it remains to be seen just how that discount could be. He made $6.6 million per season on his current deal. I don’t think the Avs are keen to bring back Quincey. They could look at Niskanen or Orpik but either one could prove expensive. I expect they’ll consider more affordable options and could also go the trade route if necessary. I expect they’ll try to re-sign O’Reilly before the due date (June 30) to qualify his rights.

ESPN.COM: Matthew Coller lists O’Reilly, Flyers center Brayden Schenn, Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello and Bruins forward Reilly Smith as restricted free agents who could receive offer sheets this summer.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wonders if the Sharks might try to move Joe Thornton, despite his no-trade clause. He also expects they’ll buy out the final season of Martin Havlat’s contract…He expects the Sharks, Avalanche, Capitals and Red Wings could pursue Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen if he tests this summer’s UFA market…With former Coyotes assistant GM Brad Treliving now Flames GM, Matheson can see ex-Coyotes Vernon Fiddler signing with the Flames this summer…He expects the Coyotes could pursue Ales Hemsky via free agency…The Red Wings won’t buy out Johan Franzen but Matheson speculates they could try to trade him for a top-four defenseman…He believes Blue Jackets’ forward R.J. Umberger could be available but with three years at $4.6 million per they’ll have to pick up part of his salary in order to move him…Matheson also reports 42-year-old Ray Whitney could be coming to the end of his career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton’s not going anywhere, but I can see the Sharks using a compliance buyout on Havlat…Niskanen will certainly attract a lot of interest if he become available via free agency…I don’t think the Flames want to in ageing veterans like Fiddler, preferring younger players…Hemsky’s fate could be determined by what the Senators do with Jason Spezza before July 1…The Wings and Blue Jackets would certainly have to pick up part of the respective contracts of Franzen and Umberger if they wish to trade them…It was obvious watching Whitney this season that age has finally caught up with him. I doubt he gets a contract offer. 


  1. With the amount of cap space available to the Avs, I do not see any reason why they could no maintain what they have, while adding some pieces to the blue line. Unfortunately, that won’t stop the insane talk of ROR getting traded to every other team.

    • ooops “not maintain”

      • Same with the whole nothing really available on the ufa market talk when it comes to defence, besides Nikanen and Orpik, there are some ufa D available that helps the AVs and that blueline which is not very good. Hainesy Robidas Fayne Niskanen Orpik, a cheap pick up of an RFA like Franson and some others while maybe not being elite are pretty substantial upgrades to that blueline.

    • I just don’t see the Avs being a cap ceiling team, yet. Could be disappointing for fans this upcoming offseason.

    • What will be interesting with Stastny will be what ***HE*** considers to be a home-town discount. I have read some suggest it means less than what he made this season, I suspect it means less than what he is offered on the open market, or expects to get on the open market; which may not be less than his current salary.

  2. Niskanen, orpik and hopefully Scuderi will all find new homes this off season and the penguins will promote some of their young guys to replace them. This will give them cap space to sign some forward depth which should make them a quicker, more fun team next season.

  3. Spector, quick question:

    Are there any rules in the CBA about a team “encouraging” a player to retire by offering him a front office job at a huge salary? I know there’s a recapture provision, but teams don’t get hit with the entire cap hit, correct?

    • I’m not aware of anything against a team “encouraging” a player to retire by offering a front office job. Who would you be referring to?

    • If the salary was out of line with the role performed, I expect the general circumvention prohibition in the CBA would allow the NHL to take action.

    • JDBiGC – Are you thinking Shanny should offer Phaneuf a front office job? lol

  4. The prospect of an offer sheet has become nothing more than empty threat in recent years, because they are invariably matched by the player’s current team. However, depending on what the Bruins elect to do with Iginla they could potentially hinder themselves if Reilly Smith is targeted by an opposing GM looking to make a splash.

    • Reilly Smith will be re-signed before the Broons address Iginla’s situation. I expect Iggy to receive another low salary but high bonus offer.

      • It was bonus money paid out to Iggy, Dougie Hamilton and Torrie Krug this year that have put Boston in this fix. The Bruins will carry a $4.5 million penalty into next season that will count against their cap space, due to exceeding this season’s cap because of the afore mentioned bonuses. As it stands, right now the Bruins have $62 million committed towards next year roster, with the cap expected to come in around $70 million. They can recoup $4 million by returning Marc Savard to LITR, but have to resign Krug, Bartkowski, Smith and Caron, not to mention a back-up goalie. Their only hope of resigning Iggy is if he is willing to sign another one-year bonus laden contract, but rumor has it that Iginla, who wants to play until he’s forty, wants something with a little more term.

        • They have a backup goalie in waiting anyways. I think they would also look into dealing Kelly to save cap room, cause they don’t really need him anymore. I also think they’ll deal a D-Man, since they have a boatload of them now

  5. I really think it is in the Avs best interest not to resign Stastny and spend the same money on a couple good dmen. The Avs will still have Duchene, ROR and McKinnon who can all play top 6 centre roles. As well if Stastny leaves I think others will step up their play in his absence, and be better overall.

    • Good point, but that would break up their best line.

  6. UFA D isn’t great. Honestly the most radical idea would be resign Stastny and trade one of the other 3 centres for better quality dmen.

    • Meyers for O’Reilly!!!

      • LOL, @Robert, You can keep dreaming and posting it. But it ain’t happening.

      • Tyler Myers won’t land you Ryan O’Reilly! Overvalued by some Sabres fans!
        Just imagine what comments a Leaf fan would get for posting Phaneuf for O’Reilly… 😉

  7. Once the Playoffs are over, I think Sather needs to make signing Kreider and the entire 3rd line his top priority. I could see someone sending an offer sheet to Kreider before Zuccarello.

    • You are correct, but instead Sather will sign another overpriced over-the-hill UFA. He can’t help himself.

      • It has become a much more wide spread problem than just in NY……I mean come on, How many teams in the league a a bad or 2 contract today? Almost all of them.

  8. What the Avs need is “just” another guy like Jan Hejda. Solid stay at home d-man with a little bit of offensive talent. But seems many teams (Leafs for example) need that kind of d-man.
    Orpik would be an option, but he won’t come cheap and is over 30.
    Maybe Umberger could be a fit for the Oilers? Big Winger for their 3rd line you could play 2nd line minutes if required and has multiple 20 goal seasons.

  9. “who could play 2nd line minutes….”

  10. Wandering if the Av’s might have interest in a guy like Coburn.

    Not expecting much back, but he would help the Avs instantly.

    The Flyers have 3-4 of the same mode dmen..and Coburn has the best overall game out of the group.

    Rumor has it that Edmonton had offered 3 #2’s last draft, but Philly declined…I’d take a couple of picks for Coburn just to free up the spot and have the salary gone. The Flyers whole defence costs $27.85 million if Timmo returns for another year. The other 5 guys are locked into at least 3 more years each.They have no cap space to fix the defence, and no room to put younger guys..like Ghost or Morin(not saying either is ready this year, but they should be before 3 more seasons are played.). I hope Timmo retires, and one of the other guys are traded, because we have too much locked up too long for too little.

    That is how I came to trading Coburn, and justifying drafts coming back.

    • That could work for Colorado. I think if they offered up a 1st in this year’s draft, and a mid tier prospect, that would work

  11. People talk about guys being “good guys.” Jonathan Toews is a good guy, Anze Kopitar is a good guy. It’s about performing up to your capability when it’s on the line. We will get into that with different people and we will make decisions accordingly.
    That’s from Doug wilson which pretty eludes to Thornton being gone

    • But it’s Joe Thornton that controls where he goes, since he has the no trade clause in his contract. And would teams want him anyways? He just can’t get it done in the playoffs. Just sucks to say that, since he’s one of my favorite players.

      • He’s still very tradeable, im sure toronto would love to have him. I’m sure wilson was talking about Marleau too, he’s also been deemed a good guy. But atleast Marleau has more GWG in the playoffs then gretzky

  12. PS NTC have proven to be worthless over the last few years, and Joe is a “team” guy he’d likely waive it if hes not wanted

    • i
      d trade richards and a 1st rd pick to SJ for Thornton. Put Thorton and Nash back together like on Team Canada few yrs back and in Swiss league during the lock out.

      • You may make that trade, but San Jose wouldn’t even consider it. A few of the problems with this trade. Thorntons cap (6.75) hit is actually about the same as Richards cap hit(6.66). Not to mention Thorntons deal ends in 3 years, Richards in 6. Same age, but Thornton is much more productive Richards 82 games played 51 points, Thornton 82 games 76 points. Last and most importantly, NY doesn’t have a 1st round pick this year and possibly next.

  13. For the Avs, the solution is to send Parenteau and Wilson for an experienced blueliner. I’m sure that the Flames would love to shipped Wideman to Colorado. This move will save some dough to resign players like Duchene and Stastny. Flames get forward depth. A win win situation.