NHL Rumor Mill – September 3, 2014.

The latest on Ryan Johansen, Dennis Wideman and Matt Kassian,  five interesting unrestricted free agents and the latest on the Flyers. 

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun returns from summer vacation to analyze Ryan Johansen’s contentious contract talks with the Columbus Blue Jackets.  LeBrun believes the Blue Jackets remain focused on re-signing Johansen to a bridge deal. It’s possible Johansen could receive an offer sheet, though the Jackets have stated they’ll match any offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers wonder what it would take to acquire Johansen via trade, but I don’t believe the Blue Jackets will consider that option. I don’t believe it’ll do Johansen any good to stage a holdout. It’s believed the two sides are willing to accept a two-year deal but money appears the sticking point. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline speculates Johansen could be signed to a two-year deal worth between $9-$10 million. 

Would Dennis Wideman be a good addition for the Dallas Stars?

Would Dennis Wideman be a good addition for the Stars?

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika responded to a reader’s question suggesting the Stars acquire defenseman Dennis Wideman from the Calgary Flames. Heika believes Wideman, a right-handed shot, could make the Stars better. However, his salary cap hit ($5.25 million per season) is expensive and his addition could potentially diminish the opportunity for Patrik Nemeth, John Klingberg or Jamie Oleksiak to make the club. Heika also doubts the Flames would be interested in the reader’s suggested return of Sergei Gonchar and Shawn Horcoff for Wideman and David Jones. He also believes Stars GM Jim Nill could set his sights on acquiring a number-one defenseman next summer, when they’ll have more cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Heika. Though one shouldn’t rule out the possibility of Nill expressing interest in Wideman, other options should become available over the course of the season and into next summer. 

NBC SPORTS: Ryan Dadoun lists Dustin Penner, Scott Gomez, Martin Brodeur, Daniel Alfredsson and Ilya Bryzgalov as five interesting players still available via unrestricted free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the five, Alfredsson seems the only one guaranteed of an NHL contract to start the season, as the Detroit Red Wings remain keen to sign him if he decides to return for one more season. Brodeur could be waiting a while for a goaltending spot to open up. Gomez, as Dadoun noted, was invited to the New Jersey Devils training camp for a tryout. The future remains uncertain for Penner and  Bryzgalov, though they could end up signing with NHL clubs at some point this season.

CSNPHILLY.COM:  Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall doesn’t anticipate the need for any sweeping changes to his roster.  His “wish list” would be to add another playmaking forward and a prototypical, number one defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If we take Hextall at his word, he won’t be making any major trades in the near future to bring in either player. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports former Senators enforcer Matt Kassian has received offers of two-way deals and training-camp tryouts four or five teams. He won’t be returning to the Senators.


  1. Wideman to the Stars would make a lot of sense. The Flames could retain salary and take back a cap dump at the same time like Gonchar. The Stars would have to give up some prospects and/or picks at the same time though. The Stars seem to be “going for it” and Wideman makes them a lot better while the Flames are in year 2 of a rebuild and this won’t really hurt them now or long term.

    • A lot of teams looking for a right handed D man, and a lot of teams really not interested in Gonchar. I suspect the return would need to be a lot higher than the generic picks and a prospect. I’d suspect the Flames would want a #1 pick plus to send Wideman and take back Gonchar.

  2. Alfredson put up 49 points in 68 games last year. If he decides not to return, and IF Mantha is given an opportunity to play this season, (all season) and I know it’s not Detroits style to throw a rookie to the wolves so to speak)is it possible that if given the right amount of minutes and linemates, he could achieve a 40 point season?

  3. I don’t know why the stars would want to give anything up for a defensemen who shoots right. They’re are plenty of ok to good defensemen still out there. Instead of risking the future or current roster just sign couple of those guys to tryouts see what they can do.

    • There are no defensemen of Wideman’s calibre available right now. Wideman would quarterback the Star’s PP and would get a lot of points on that team. The Stars would give up part of the future to help take a shot at the cup now.

    • Especially give up anything for a d-man as lame as Wideman …

  4. I wonder what it would take, in addition to Wideman, for the Flames to pry Jamie Oleksiak away from the Stars. The Flames need a big, shutdown D-man for the future.

  5. There is no way the stars are giving up Oleksiak. Wideman would step onto the Stars lineup and be their most offensive defenseman. If they’re looking for someone to produce points, he’s the guy they want. If they’re looking for someone to play a physical defensive game….keep looking.

    The Stars are making a push and they’re going to want to win now so Widmeman would make a lot of sense for them.

    • You forgetting about Goligoski?

  6. Why do teams broadcast that they’re going to match any offer? You’ve basically told the agent and the player that you’ll pay any amount to keep the player. So if management is trying to explain to Johansen that they need him to take 2 years at $4M and prove himself, they’ve already stated publicly that they’ll pay more. So it diminishes your bargaining position. They actually would be better off not commenting of suggesting that they’d have to see what team makes an offer sheet. If a team like Buffalo made the offer, maybe you’d rather have Buffalo’s 2015 draft picks than Johansen.

    • They say that for a few reasons; it tells the player that they want them and they value them a lot but it also stats a game of chicken with other teams. If a team makes an outrageous offer just to try and hamper your cap situation, you have the chance to match or take the picks from them.

      It really isn’t a bad thing to say that they’ll match any offer.

      • I Would also say it increases the value of the picks that could be invloved, if CBJ doesnt say they would match an offer other teams might kind of put in lowall offer sheets if the situation was particularly contentious. Yes CBJ would of course match, but if they say they will match right from the start other GMs will have to greatly overpay tohave any thought of getting the player increasing the number and position of the pick which may help the team dpown the road more than losing a player the Buffalo example listed earlier I think would be a good example. CBJ says they will match any offer but do you really think there would be no hesitation if Buffalo offered up 6 or 7 mill per to Johansen and CBJ was loooking at a chance of McDavid Eichel or Hanifin along with a second and a third pick atleast possibly another first if it was more than 6.7 mill? No question they would be thinking (maybe they would match but..) of letting Johansen walk.

        • Sabres aren’t going to trade any of their number ones in 2015 for Johansen or any other player. Murray has a plan. Like I said yesterday – if I were Columbus, I would sign Ryan to a long term deal now because he will cost you a lot more later. The kid is a stud.

          • I don’t believe Shticky is saying Buffalo will trade their 1st round to get Johansen. He is saying if Buffalo signed Johansen to 7-8 mil and CBJ DID NOT match, it would cost Buffalo compensation and it will be a 1st due to dollars

  7. I said this many times. I love Johansen. He can be the face of the franchise. I have no idea why Columbus doesn’t give him 6-7 million a season fro 5-8 years and be done with this. Do they really think their best player will regress so suddenly or not develop greater. Johansen is 22, going into his 4th year and is big and skilled. This is a no brainer to me. But yes if another team thinks the way I do and offers 6+ million for him. Yes all those subsequent draft picks will be tempting. That is the only thing I think that is actually holding this up, for if they sign him for 2 years at 4-5 million. He will earn himself a 8-10 million contract once the cap goes up and he proves his doubters wrong.

    Its a gamble yes. But the odds are in Johansen being a solid top line player are far greater than him only being a 20 goal 2nd line centre.

  8. if i’m bergevin, I sign kassian, with orders to dent kreiders head when they play the rangers.still can’t believe how passive the habs were in response to carey being knocked out of the playoffs.

    • I am with you 100 per cent. We need someone that can intimidate the opposition and stop our stars from being targeted.

  9. Jets should trade Evander Kane for Ryan Johansen and give Johansen what he wants. Columbus gets a young guy in return with term on his contract.