NHL Rumors – May 3, 2011.

Recent speculation from the Edmonton Journal, and an update on the Phoenix Coyotes roster plans for next season.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently reported Alex Kovalev didn’t do his free agent value any favors with his performance in this year’s playoffs, noting Penguins coach Dan Bylsma kept him on the bench during a late power-play in Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Matheson suggested we shouldn’t be surprised if Kovalev ends up in the KHL next season…Matheson doubts the Bruins make a big pitch to re-sign Tomas Kaberle, who’s been a disappointment since they acquired him from Toronto…He also feels the market value for Chicago goalie Corey Crawford was set by what Jimmy Howard received from Detroit (two years, $2.25 million per season).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it’s possible Kovalev might return for one more season I doubt that’ll happen. His skills have deteriorated to the point where he’s no longer a reliable scoring winger…Kaberle’s poor play since joining the Bruins, especially in this year’s playoffs, has been surprising, and will unquestionably affect his value as a free agent this summer. The Bruins will likely pass on keeping him…I guessed Crawford might get around $2.5 million per season, and agree with Matheson that Howard’s contract is a good comparable.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Jim Gintonio recently reported Coyotes GM Don Maloney revealed his roster needs for the upcoming season in a recent chat with Coyotes fans. Maloney said his team lacks a star player and needs more depth at forward, particularly at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect the Coyotes to land a star player this summer. They’ll have to look to within to find one, and that means via the draft. They used to have a star in Daniel Brier years ago but previous management dealt him away. Rest assured Maloney won’t make a similar mistake if another Briere emerges in his system. He can find more scoring depth via trade or free agency, depending of course on how much he’ll be allowed to spend next season from the team’s new owner, be it Matt Hulsizer or True North Sports and Entertainment.


  1. I think Kovalev will find work in the NHL this year, but around the $1-2 million dollar range. I think that in the right environment (Montreal 😉 ) Kovalev can still contribute. I would take him as a 3-4th line winger and 2nd PP unit at 1.5 million. Gotta be better then Pouliot!!! lol. Seriously, I don’t think Guathier touches Kovy with a TML pole and Sabres pushing it, but you never know. Affordable depth PP help is always valuable. Personally, I’m eager to see how this summers FA period looks because I am feeling that there are going to be a decent number of trades this off season which will affect the FA’s out there. Interesting indeed….. Oh, and Kaberle for a prospect and a late first rounder almost (ALMOST) evens up the Kessel trade (as a Habs fan admitting that, it kinda stings lol). Now, if Toronto swings that pick and Phillys pick for a actual 60+ point NHL center then the trade is even. I don’t know why I went off on that tangent while talking about Kaberle, but I just threw it out there.

  2. The Bruins gave up a 1st rounder + a prospect for Kaberle and have not received much in return.

    Kelly on the other hand was a steal for them. 7 pts in 9 games.. not too shabby. Murray you should have asked for more.

  3. I don’t see why anyone is surprised by Kaberle’s play. He has been an ineffective defenseman for a number of years now. That had been partially masked by his PP points… but when you strip it down to the basics, he isn’t an elite NHL defenseman. It baffles me why supposedly bright hockey people and GM’s are constantly attracted to the Brian Campbells and Kaberles of the world.

  4. agrred Bob. I thought everyone knew something i didn’t when Kaberle fetched a high price; now it looks like what i thought: he’s just not that great, or inspired (although Julien wouldn’t inspire me either).

  5. @Bob – “He has been an ineffective defenseman for a number of years now.” I’m tempted to reply “Obvious troll is obvious”, but I’ll bite…

    Outside of the 2008-09 where Kaberle played particularly poor, do you have anything to actually substantiate that? I’m not arguing that he isn’t playing HORRIBLY with the Bruins for his last 33 games, but saying he’s been ineffective for a number of years? Since the lockout he has ranked as low as 31st (in a tie) for defenseman PP points. In terms of even strength points, yes, he’s weaker, but he’s still been within the top 30 for even strength points for four of the last six seasons. Admittedly, he did decline in stats this year, yes he dropped from 8th in PP points for a defenseman to 10th, and from 20th in even strength points from a defenseman to 28th. Based on his stats against the other stats of defensemen in the league, he is still a top pairing guy and a top PP producer.

  6. Ok so kaberle got 9 points in 24 games with the Bruins. I for one give him a mulligan on his first couple of games, seeing as though after 12 seasons with the only pro club he’s known, he gets traded to a different team with a completely different system. I’ll say 9 points over 21-22 games where he should have been hitting on all cylinders. Pro rated that’s on pace for 35 points. In the playoffs he’s got 3 points in 9 games for roughly 27 points pro rated over an 82 game schedule.
    Now I’m not saying that’s great, but it’s not horrible either. I agree he’s not really fitting in, but you guys are making it sound like he’s terrible. Boston is still up 2-0 in the quarter finals, and look like they’re handling the flyers pretty well. What’s with all the kvetching? You act as though Boston was ousted in the first round and it’s all kaberle’s fault.
    I guarantee Kaberle will sign next year with NY or Buffalo next year for similar money and rack up another 50 point season with a team that appreciates his style of play more. So go ahead and not sign him Boston, this is merely a speedbump in his overall career.
    2 things I’ve learned so far since he’s been traded, 1) he thrives better in a run and gun offensive team and 2) nothing like saying the word Kaberle to get all the trolling Leaf haters to chime in there two cents.

  7. Durt, I suppose by “NY” you mean the Rangers, and that hurts a lot because you’re probably right, especially if Richards becomes suddenly unavailable. But here’s why I think that’d be a horrible mistake.

    McCabe came from a Florida team that has been in rebuild mode since 1996. He played the offensive defenseman role on a team that struggled horribly in their own end. When he moved to the Rangers, he was there to improve their power-play. He had no tangible effect. Fortunately, he was a relatively inexpensive bust. I’m okay with that, because the Rangers’ playoff performance was just about what I expected (granted I was hoping for another game, but I was also hoping for another round!).

    The difference between McCabe and Kaberle is the expectation. If the Rangers’ power-play was bad, then the Bruins’ power-play was terrible-godawful. There was a ton of expectation that Kaberle would join the team, make some slick passes and be the catalyst for some neato goals. In other words, be Marc Savard on the power-play. Big shoes to fill, for sure.

    Meanwhile he came from a city that expected better of him, even though he was already delivering gold. He really got worked over and the pressure there was intense, particularly after the last round of cleaning-house, which saw the aforementioned McCabe shipped off to Florida and captain Mats Sundin headed for Vancouver. All the expectations shifted squarely to him. In moving on to Boston this season, that pressure never really went away.

    So the problem I see with him signing in New York is really simple. The Rangers and Bruins play a surprisingly similar system. They are defense-oriented with a team first mentality. Protect the house, protect the goaltender, play disciplined, take care of the puck and block shots. Protect a lead after capitalizing on a mistake or two. I feel like I’m describing Montreal too. Which is fine and it makes sense to me. Boston struggled against teams that played a similar style to them all season. The Rangers beat them three out of four tries because they scored first, and we all saw the first round.

    Bottom line is, everything I’ve seen of him and the Rangers tells me it’s a horrible idea. So when Sather goes out and signs him to an 8-year $55 Million contract with a no movement clause, you won’t see my ‘shocked’ face… Just look at the farm team and relive history with me.

  8. Ya I suppose you’re right chass. As soon as I submitted the post, I started thinking how kaberle playing for torts might not be a good idea. But I still stand by buffalo. Maybe Carolina, Washington, Pittsburg(depending if they can fit him under the cap) or maybe he suprises even me and heads out west to Dallas or St.L to mentor Shattenkirk. Either way my point was made, he’s not doing HORRIBLE like some people are saying, just not as good as expected. He will regain his 45-50 point touch again though, just not with Boston.

  9. Don’t rule out San Jose or LA making a pitch for Kaberle.

  10. I think Buffalo and the Rangers could be a good fit for Kaberle. Some of his (and McCabes) best seasons came on the blueline together in Toronto, so I would never rule it out. They would obviously not be the 1-2 pair, but anything after that is reasonable to me.

    I could also see Tampa, Washington , Carolina or the Habs picking up Kaberle if no one else did. All high speed run and gun teams that can never have enough great puck moving ability on the back end.
    I think he expressed no interest in moving to the Western Conference, but that was when he was a more prized commodity.

  11. If Richards walks int he off season like some think he will, Dallas might be a decent fit for Kaberle. With Richards gone, they now have a couple of extra million that was not planned and have needed a puck moving defenceman since Zubov retired a few years ago. Dallas is not a bad team, albeit one in limbo due to the ownership situation and could really benefit from Kaberle’s skills and experience.

  12. Plus Newy used to play with him so he probably has a good repor
    with him.