NHL Rumor Mill – Saturday, May 24, 2014

Latest on the Penguins, Islanders, Bruins, Flyers and Coyotes. 

Penguins winger James Neal denies rumor he requested a trade.

Penguins winger James Neal denies rumor he requested a trade.

NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford cites a tweet from Pittsburgh Penguins’ winger James Neal denying local rumors claiming he requested a trade.  Halford suggests Neal could be a trade candidate if new management (whoever that may be) decides to shake up the roster, but it won’t be because Neal wants out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Neal seems the Penguins best trade chip. His modified no-trade clause doesn’t kick in until next summer

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports Islanders GM Garth Snow will retain his draft pick for this season, rather than send it to the Buffalo Sabres as part of the Thomas Vanek-for-Matt Moulson swap earlier this season. However, Snow is willing to trade the pick for a return which can help his team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Snow trades the pick I think it’ll be to move up or down in the first round. 

CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty makes five offseason predictions for the Boston Bruins. Among them: Jarome Iginla could sign elsewhere if he gets a good multiyear deal from another club, and expects defenseman Matt Bartkowski to be traded.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi believes new Flyers GM Ron Hextall will have to move a high-salaried player or two to free up cap space, otherwise he’ll be unable to significantly improve the roster. He recommends trading Vincent Lecavalier to the Nashville Predators, where he could thrive playing under former Flyers coach Peter Laviolette’s system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lecavalier will have to agree to be dealt as he has a full no-movement clause. Carchidi’s also assuming the Predators are so desperate for offensive help that they’ll take on an ageing center past his prime under contract until 2017-18 at an annual cap hit of $4.5 million per season. If Lecavalier were four years younger, maybe they would. I doubt they do so now. 

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney has only held contract talks with Thomas Greiss. He said he will touch base with pending UFAs Radim Vrbata and Derek Morris, but this could be a sign the Coyotes might shake things up after missing the playoffs for the second straight year.


  1. AZ Coyotes:
    I doubt the Coyotes will re-sign Morris, he will likely become a free agent as well as Moss and Halpern. Greiss wants to be in a situation where he can get more minutes, to prove that he can be a starter.
    It’s getting close to being the 1st anniversary of new ownership and I expect they will want to field a very competitive team. They will be actively looking for trades, especially during the draft.

  2. Radim Vrbata has potentially the most value of any free agent. I’d argue he’s the best goal scorer available and will probably sign for less than he should. I’m hoping the Wings get him.

    • With Moulson and Vanek available in this years UFA market no way he is the best goal scorer on the UFA market.

      • I would probably say that Vanek is the best goal scorer but I agree with Liddy that value wise Vrbata could be the best forward available, scores, good defensively and will be far cheaper than Vanek. Moulson looked slow and not so great with the Wild . Id take Vrbata over Moulson

  3. Re: Islanders
    At #5 NYI seem to be in no mans land. Need some insight from fellow travers on how valuable that pick is.
    From the reading I have done there seems to be a top 4 that most agree on so at #5 NYI may be out of luck.
    If that is the case why did he choose to keep the pick and let next years go to Buffalo ? Adding something and getting to #4 might be expensive. Seems to me that they may want to trade back and gain picks.
    Wondering if Ducks trading the #10 Ottawa and #24 their own is enough to get to #5 ? On the other hand is the #5 pick going to be so much better than #10 that it will be worth it ? Sorry I am rambling on but I clicked in this morning expecting to get my Ryan Miller fix and am p.o. that there is nothing about him today, how can I make it thru the day. Oh damn I’m out of chocolate chip cookies, gotta run out to the store now to get a fix. All of you have a GREAT Long Weekend.

    • the “top 4 picks are only good this year” went away about 4 months ago as more prospects have established themselves and the top 8-10 picks seem very solid and the rest shake out as normal.
      Also, Isles expect to finish higher next year, so no reason to give up a lower pick when they expect to make playoffs next year and can give away a much later pick if they accomplish that.

      • by “higher pick” (i should have said lower), i meant worse than 5th – like 15th overall
        My bad.

        • Michael Dal Colle… enough said my friend.

      • Thank You

    • Top 5 are set IMO. With Ekblad, Reinhart, Draisaitl, Dal Colle and Bennett are all locked in as top 5 IMO.

      • The NYI moving the pick…..

        It depends on who is there and whether that player can join the team next year.

        NYI does not get #10 and #24 from OTT for #5. more like a 2nd would go with #10 to move up.

        NYI could move down if it means that add a player they need like a vet Dman under contract. Boston would be a good partner if they were a little higher than #25….If they were around #20 it could be #20+ Boychuck for #5. Arizona is another team who has some depth at Dman who could trade one and move up from #13.

        The goal would be to bring in a player who would help the team in 14/15.

  4. Vinny’s contract will be tough to move. Only option may be to open up the #2 centre position and hope he responds. This means trading B Schenn…this appears likely as he is looking for $3M per year as a RFA.

    • Hextall just announced that signing B Schenn was his #1 priority this off season.

  5. I agree with Flyerville. Moving Vinnie will be tough. Moving Braden (and possibly Luke in the same trade) and some salary pieces in a trade for a stud defenseman sounds like the best option to me. Weber isn’t going anywhere, so who does that leave? Byflugien would look good in a Flyer’s sweater, but that just may be wishful thinking….

    • Hextall says signing Schenn is a top priority.

      Can’t see the Flyers trading both Schenns plus…I think Hextall will try a small change first, and see if the team being in shape in the preseason helps things at all.

      • Hextall has also said he wants to be younger and build through draft and the system… I expect they will emulate a mid to late 90 Red Wings approach. I would expect some tinkering, but guys like Schenn arent moving.

    • Maybe Kesler, Edler for Schenn brothers. Mite take a Philly draft pick too! Just floating it out there…

  6. I’d rather the Pens try really hard to trade Letang! Neal is what the Pens need to keep! They are slim on wingers and pretty Deep on young “D”. So hope the new GM makes the right choice!

    • Going to be waaaay to hard to deal Letang IMO.

    • I completely agree. Shero may have gotten canned last week, but his policy of drafting blue chip defenseman and trading for whatever else you need should be paying off now that some are ready to jump up full time and Letang is an established top end D. Injury history will lower what you can get, but you should still get a top end player and picks/prospects to help re-stock the minors.
      For example (hypothetically), would Columbus look at RJ. Umberger (would be a great 2nd/3rd liner), Cam Atkinson (if he could find chemistry, could be a solid sniper), a 1st this year and a 2nd next year for letang? Dumping Letang’s 7.25M and picking up 5.7M in the rest which also gives you some savings.

  7. Alforducks. After signing Halak the Isles feel they will be better next year, and therefore that first round pick would be later, and less valuable to them Its a gamble, but they have to be optimistic

    • They still have a horrid defense. Halak played on a defensively sound team in the Blues. They won’t prove to be much better IMO. I’m thinking they will be picking 7-14 next season.

      • This makes no sense “wont prove to be much better” followed up with they could end up with picking 14??? Thats almost 10 spots int the standings and a playoff spot…pretty big improvement (Which I think is about right if th D improves a bit JT healthy and finnaly a goalie they could be a playoff team)

  8. Some other poster here mentioned that the Isles retained this years pick for “fan perception”. That is, it looks better to have our pick – we’ve signed Halak – things are moving up for us. So keep the pick this year and hope we’ll be higher next year in the standings. Problem is, if history has told us Isles fans anything, things will not be better next year. If 2015 pick is in the lottery mix (lets say top 5) and ends up being #1. Connor McDavid will look painfully good in a Sabres uniform.

  9. If John Tavares didn’t get injured in the Olympics the Islanders would be picking latter in this years draft, imo. Next year with stronger goaltending from Halak and a healthy Tavares it isn’t hard to believe that the Islanders could be fighting for a playoff spot. So keeping this years 1st round pick and giving next years pick to Buffalo is not a bad bet, imo.