NHL Rumor Mill – October 5, 2013.

Several NHL teams facing tough UFA decisions, plus the latest on Thomas Vanek and Scott Clemmensen.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance recently reported on several NHL teams facing tough decisions this season regarding their star UFA players. Contract talks between the Buffalo Sabres and pending UFAs Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller are currently “non-existent”.  Vanek said he’s not interested right now in signing an extension but wouldn’t dismiss the idea… The NY Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist remain apart in terms of dollars and term, while Ryan Callahan could net at least $6 million per season on the open market… Dion Phaneuf doesn’t have a problem with contract talks with the Toronto Maple Leafs going on during the season…Marian Gaborik’s agent said his client would love to stay long term with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Blue Jackets president John Davidson said his club will analyze how things go during the season “and see how we are and how it goes”….The San Jose Sharks opened contract talks with defenseman Dan Boyle but so far no deal is imminent. Patrick Marleau said he’s already taken a hometown discount, which suggests he’ll seek full market value to re-sign with the Sharks. Custance believes Joe Thornton will be the easiest for the Sharks to re-sign, though both sides aren’t rushing to get a deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sabres are battling for a playoff berth, they’ll retain Vanek and Miller. If not, they’ll shop them…Does anyone honestly believe the Rangers would part ways with Lundqvist? Not happenin’. Sure,  they’ll quibble a bit over term and dollars but ultimately the Blueshirts will make him the highest paid goalie in the league on a six-to-eight year deal…I believe the Leafs will re-sign Phaneuf, and most Leafs fans probably won’t like it. I’m thinking five-to-seven years at $7 million per, though Nonis could try to talk him into accepting longer term for the same salary  he’s currently making ($6.5 million per)…If Gaborik has a healthy season and the Blue Jackets make the playoffs, he’ll be re-signed. He’s done the big market scene and seems happier in a smaller hockey market where the spotlight isn’t as harsh… Marleau and the Sharks always seem to go through this contract dance and he ends up staying, so we shouldn’t take it for granted he’s a goner this time. Thornton stays, and so will Boyle if he is willing to accept a two-year deal.

Could the Wild pursue Thomas Vanek in next summer's UFA market?

Could the Wild pursue Thomas Vanek in next summer’s UFA market?

TORONTO SUN: Chris Stevenson reports “the talk around the Minnesota Wild is they will target Buffalo Sabres sniper Thomas Vanek. There’s long been talk he’d like to play in Minnesota, where he lives, and Pominville is a buddy and former linemate from his Sabres days.” Stevenson also claims progress is being made by the Canucks in getting new contracts for the Sedins, with term (rather than dollars) being the sticking point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering Vanek played his college hockey in Minnesota, his wife is a Minnesotan and he spends the off-season in the state, the Wild seem a natural fit. Theycurrently have over $51 million tied up in 16 players next season, with seven roster spots to fill. If the salary cap increases to $70 million next season, they’ll have $22 million in cap space, but with over $27 million invested in Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville, are they willing to invest big bucks (even if he accepts a pay cut) in Vanek, who’s making over $7 million this season? Time will tell.

MIAMI HERALD: George Richards reports Florida Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen, who cleared waivers this week, will spend several game on a rehab stint with their AHL affiliate in San Antonio. It remains to be seen, however, if he’ll remain in San Antonio after that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams passed on Clemmensen because he’s coming off minor knee surgery. Once he fully recovers, if he plays well in San Antonio, he could be shopped if the Panthers are happy with the current tandem of Tim Thomas and Jacob Markstrom.


  1. Clemmensen will most likley end up in pittsburgh.. I don’t see how or why minni would sign vanek. To much money tied up in a few players already.. Phanuef is a tough one, I think a lot depends on the play of others this season such as reilly, gardiner and franson. As I’ve said before leafs need a true top shut down d man and that will cost either money or players that will also determine where phaneuf fits.

    • I think Clemmenson is going to be in tough to find a job in the NHL. KHL SEL are where I see him going unless he does a Bryz and finds some where in the ECHL to play.

      • I just don’t see this fleury and the young kid experiment working out. Clemmenson has been a good fill in/ back up guy his whole career. He’s carried the load for small parts of the season forboth NJ and FLA and don’t quite well. I’d take a shot if I was pitt.

    • Yep, if Wild get Vanek and pay him 7+ million they would have about 1/2 of a 70million cap signed up in 4 players. Too much money in two few players, it’s still a team game.

      • Super agree, heres a thought Winnipeg is not very far from Minnesota (maybe 500 miles?) Jokinen and Settoguchi UFA after this year Vanek could fit there pretty well no?

        • I would not trade Vanek for only Coyle or Granlund and then also have to take on Heatley and his salary thats lopsided for the Wild …I think Coyle and Granlund are exceptional players and should be part of the trade but not just one of them …especially after you dont resign Heatley …..Vanek is worth more to Buffalo on the ice than that when he plays for them !

        • Id say a Vanek ….Myers and Luke Adam …to the Jets for Sheifle , Bogosian and a 1st rounder !

          • Why would the Jets ever do this trade. Vanek always has a good start to the season but sucks after the first 20-30 games. Hes so inconsistent. Myers just absolutely sucks, just look at his plus minus rating last year. bogosian and Sheifle will be the future of hockey for Winnepeg.

          • @Back checking…That is a crap deal and you know it. It NEVER happens.

      • What I see is Vanek and a draft pick/prospect going to MN by the trade deadline in exchange for Heatly and Granlund or Coyle. Heatly essentially for the salary dump for MN. I just don’t see Vanek taking on the leadership role he’s been given and I don’t think he wants the pressure of being “the man”. My feeling is….if he wants to go – let him and let’s get someone in return that wants to grow with the team and help shape them.

        • Heatly has a no trade clause. I don’t see him waiving it so he can be a throw in on a trade that sends him to scenic Buffalo.

    • Highly agree with Aki on this one !!

      If I was Pitt Id be looking at Garon or Clemmenson

      Phaneuf is a tough one ..I have a feeling the leafs let him walk at the end of the season as he is a tough trade at this point unless he is a rental at trade deadline!

      Gardiner… IMO…. is available for a good trade as the Leafs need a shut down veteran D man and Id flip him for that ….. Reilly I feel is a non tradeable asset he will be a star!

      I feel Vanek is a top tier player and with Heatly coming off the books next year ( UFA) freeing up $7 million a year this is all possible you might even see a multi player deal with Miller involved as well as they need a goalie to compliment an aging Backstrum.
      The Wild have very good assets to get this type of deal done for sure !!

      If I was the Panthers id be looking to trade Markstrom to Carolina for Khudobin
      If Carolina was interested a trade.

      • Clemmensen is a 36 year old career back up now with knee issues, cant see anyone who would trade for him to come in and play for them even on the cheap with Garon and Bryz probably available just as or atleast almost as cheap with out having to give anything up. Clemmensen will stay in the A until his contract is done this year and will probably not see the NHL again.

      • “Reilly I feel is a non tradeable asset he will be a star!”

        Those were the EXACT same type of words every Leafs fan used when Gardiner broke out into a Leafs jersey.

        • Not my words ….
          I have been saying that a trade with Gardiner may be a good thing since last year if you’ve chosen to read my posts …don’t assume anything by reading one post …its best to follow someone and try and remember there stances on issues than to comment on one post and CLUMP me in with everyone else cause I have my own opinions !!

          And Yes copy and Paste
          Reilly will be a bonifide 1-2 D man in his career and will be a very well rounded player not one dimensional like Gardiner !

  2. Dion is going no where and Im ok with it but Im sure hoping Nonis and the gang can keep the cap hit down, tho Im not sure whats worse Dion long term at 6-6.5 (with in a few years our young D should all be developed making Dion expendable) or Dion at 7+ for 4 or 5 years (not sure he is worth more than he currently makes and this is creating cap issues down the road)

    Let the haters begin!

    • With young guys like macwilliam, granberg and percy ready to come up in the next 3 years I wouldn’t want to see phanuef signed to long or at to much.

      • I agree with aki berg again !

    • Phaneuf will get a home-town discount, something like a 6 year extension, $35M = $5.83M per.

  3. I cringe at the thought of Phaneuf re-signing with the Leafs. This will be Nonis biggest blunder if he does. It seems everyone is on Gardiner’s back about his defensive shortcomings – but his shortcomings aren’t that much different than Phaneuf’s defensive blunders, & some are turning a blind eye to this. If he re-signs Phaneuf then you can kiss goodbye to Franson. I believe Franson can easily fit in Phaneuf’s role. Sadly I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gardiner get traded before the end of this season, this will coincide with Reilly’s performance.

  4. Hopefully Marleau walks as does Thornton I only keep Boyle for 2 yr 4 mill a year otherwise he goes too.

  5. The only way Phaneuf will easily be traded this Season, is if something serious happens to another teams dman that will result in LITR. As for Vanek, I can see him being packaged together in a multi-player deal…just an example, mind you not likely a plausible one…but:

    To Sabres: Hertl + Marleau + Niemi + M.Mueller
    To Sharks: Vanek + Miller

    • A year ago I would have agreed with this but it appears that Wilson now understands that there is not much on the farm and his team is getting older. I don’t think he trades prospects until he has a chance to stock the farm.

    • Id say you can get a better impact player for Vanek than anyone of those guys in a different trade scenario ,,,Niemi is not needed in that trade and Marleau would not fit in Buffalo …IMO ….you have to go younger and get players in there prime who can grow with Hodgosn and Foligno

      I dont see any need for these two teams to make that trade ?? It doesnt do either team any good

    • I can’t guarantee much in life but I can guarantee that SJ doesn’t trade a Vezina nominee in Niemi for an old, disgruntled Ryan Miller. And do you think Marleau agrees to waive his NTC to go to Buffalo? Seriously??

      • Well said!!!

  6. can t see the Wild trading their good young assets for Vanek when they can sign him next year as a ufa. by then Heatley comes off the books, cap goes up as well .
    Sabres will be looking to get as much as the can at the deadline and will need to move him . however Vanek will turn 30 yrs old by then and might resign with Buffalo if they give him an 8 yr deal.
    Not sure too many GMs would pay him the big bucks and maximum term .