NHL Trade and Free Agent Rumors – May 29, 2012.

The latest on Ryan Suter, Tomas Vokoun, Barret Jackman and more.


Suter's agent to meet this week with Predators management.

THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper reports Ryan Suter’s agent will meet with Nashville Predators management this week to discuss his plans. Suter is eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1st.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Cooper noted on his blog, the fact Suter is willing to talk with Predators management can be considered a positive step, as he could have instead simply said he was testing this summer’s market.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons recently reported the Maple Leafs could have interest in Washington Capitals UFA goalie Tomas Vokoun as a stop-gap signing as they maintain their commitment to James Reimer, rather than entangle themselves in the lengthy, expensive contract of Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs trade for Luongo, that pretty much guarantees Reimer and Ben Scrivens have no future in Toronto. If Burke still believes in Reimer as his future starter, someone like Vokoun would be a better alternative.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators goalie Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop could attract interest from Toronto, Columbus and Tampa Bay in the coming weeks, perhaps as early as this Wednesday during the GMs meetings in New York. Garrioch believes it’s doubtful GM Bryan Murray moves either guy but suggested it could give Murray pause for thought.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible, but I also doubt Murray moves either guy. He’s under no pressure to do so, and it appears the plan is to let Lehner and Bishop battle it out for the backup job this fall. After that, he can demote one of them or field trade offers.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford reports long-time Blues defenseman Barret Jackman faces an uncertain future with the club. He’s eligible for UFA status on July 1st, and hinted he’d be willing to accept a “hometown discount”, but there would be other issues besides money that would determine if he stays.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jackman is more concerned about where he fits into the team’s future plans, that they wouldn’t be re-signing him as a favor, or that he’s doing something out of a comfort level. Sounds like there’s a chance for the two sides to get a deal done, but ultimately it could come down to what his role would be, rather than salary.

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports gritty forward Brandon Prust wants to stay, but that depends on how much of a discount – if any – he’d give the Rangers, compared to what he might earn as a UFA. Cyrgalis also reports it appears Mats Zuccarello won’t be back.


  1. Leafs Assistant GM Dave Nonis maintained in a recent interview that they were committed to having Reimer on the team next season, and that they would be exploring roster options via the trade route. I agree with Lyle that any move to bring in Luongo spells the end of the line for one or both of Reimer and Scrivens, unless they are happy to play second fiddle for the next 10 years. If they are truly committed to Reimer, Tomas Vokoun makes the most sense as a goalie addition for the Leafs. They could always hope that Reimer has a bounce back year and that Scrivens could transfer the success he’s had in the AHL this season into the NHL next year, but for a team and fan base that is so hungry for the postseason (even if they don’t want to squeeze in as an 8 seed – it’s not like a #8 seed ever went to the Cup or anything…..) I think they need to bring in someone experienced and part ways with Francois Allaire to start fresh with their keepers.

    Depending on a team’s needs, Ben Bishop could be more easily acquired than someone like Bernier, Lindback or Elliot (who I think will be moved by the Blues for some help up front). Considering that Ottawa has Lehner waiting in the wings, it would have made much more sense for a team like Tampa to look at Bishop and/or Elliot between the pipes in 2012-13 if they’re serious about taking another run at the postseason.

    Jackman has definitely lost a step over the last few seasons, but he’s still a serviceable 5-6 guy on the back end. If he’s willing to take a bit of a cut, there’s no reason why he can’t return to St. Louis on a short-term deal for another season or two.

  2. Do you have any news as to what My Calgary Flames are planning leading up to draft and free agency? Updates on Jokinen? Will Bouwmeester stay? Backlund? Stajan? Sarich? Moss? Karlsson? GlenX? Kiprusoff+ iginla? Or is it all best guess at this point still?

  3. Lehner isn’t going anywhere. I’m starting to see why Sens fans don’t put much stock into Garrioch’s musings.

    I really hope Vokoun plays for the Leafs this year. Of coarse it’s entirely up to him where he plays, but he’s the perfect stop-gap solution for the next couple if years while we figure out if Riemer is the real deal or not.

    • I certainly agree… All I say is it had better NOT be Lehner. Lehner will be the better goaltender in the future. Bishop is good… but Lehner has had more success in his first year in the AHL winning the Calder Cup and the playoff MVP at the age of 19. Bishop has not had the same success.

      The Sens franchise has made some mistakes on player decisions in the past… most of them from the Muckler era… but moving Lehner in my opinion would be one of the worst. Sure he’s a hot head.. but he’s only 20 yrs old. Bishop is more NHL ready.. and should be the option to move.

      Garrioch is an idiot if he thinks for even a second that the Sens move either one of them to Toronto. For one.. it’s a bitter divisional rival.. and two.. Toronto has two good young goalies in Reimer & Scrivens.. why would they deal for another one?

  4. Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop are not the answer to the problems in Toronto thats for sure. Probably not even Columbus or Tampa. Toronto needs a vet and the other two teams are better off finding goalies just as good if not better than Bishop and Lehner through the draft (where they don’t have to give up anything).

  5. There are a couple of outlets saying that Yzerman will take another run at Bernier during the draft. It appears that Luongo may stay in Vancouver, which would really handcuff the for the future. These same outlets also say that Yzerman would make pitch for Suter, but that he would need assurance that a legit #1 goalie was in place.

  6. Leafs need to use their picks and prospects for elite forward talent. Vokun is a solid vet goalie who can be signed not acquired for those picks and prospects you need to use else where. I think a lot of those teams in need of goalie help missed the boat last year in not trading for bishop. He only cost a second and look at all the upside he has. I honestly hopes the leafs do not trade for luongo. Big contract and lots of years left not kardi good scenario for a team that already has some big contracts for a non playoff team.

  7. Luongo to Toronto just for them sake of argument makes sense in a number of ways. First, the key to any winning team starts in goal and Luongo has proven that he can give the team stability in that position as well as steal games. His contract while expensive and long gives the team a number one goaltender for the long term and he has proven to be a good teammate and can help his backup mature and excel, somewhat like Marty Brodeur. He also has a good history with goaltender coach Allaire who has helped him overcome some difficulties in the past. Depending on whether the Leafs want to keep Reimer and try to make a number one out of him or choose to go another route Luongo has the ability to help the Leafs in both the short and long term. He has the ability to get them into the post season and as we all know, anything can happen then.
    What else can you ask of a goalie, other than of course win the 7th game of a Stanley Cup final?

  8. Luongo stays put in Van for the near future for sure. No team will want to assist VAN by releasing them fom Luongo’s long and expensive contract, and giving something in return. The rumor mill will keep turning, since its entertaining to speculate, no matter how ridiculous, but there’s no way he is playing for another team in 12′-13′.

  9. I agree with most commenters in the fact Luongo might be a lot harder to move than thought. Teams might just be playing hardball with the Canucks knowing if they refuse Luongo, and he stays in Vancouver, then it’s inevitable that Schneider eventually becomes available, either via trade, or if he signs a one year deal with the Canucks through UFA next summer. To be honest I think the only way someone takes Luongo is if the Canucks sweeten the deal and take back big money as well.

  10. The Leafers will not get Luongo for the very reasons mentioned above- they do not want to take on an older goalie with so much contract left. There has been no word out of Calgary on their rebuild plans, but Kippursoff would be the best ift in Toronto for 2/3 more seasons to mould the younger goalies.
    The Leafs need to continue the rebuild, and not try to push into the plyaoffs with the wrong team. Don’t think short-term. At the end of the day, there is no harm in picking top-5 again next season… (sure Burke’s job security is on the line b/c he should have done that 3 years ago- but it is still in their best interest to continue to stockpile young talent). Vokoun is a good idea for 1 season only.

    Luongo may not be traded from Vancouver if someone throws a boatload at them for Schneider… would you trade Luongo for a 2nd rd pick, or Schneider for 2 1sts and a 2nd?

    Brian Murray is among the smartest and most patient GMs… he will not trade Lehner. He wil be the backup next season. Bishop is an AHL goalie for now.

    Ryan Suter is gone. Adios.

  11. While everyone is bemoaning the so called huge $5.333 million
     contract Luongo has, people need to remember that he is not the highest paid goaltender, nor the oldest and locking up someone of his caliber for a number of years could actually be the smart move and lead to long term team success.
    Philadelphia is on the hook for more than Luongo and I would venture to say that Bryzgalov is not as good as Luongo. Buffalo pays even more for Ryan Miller at $6.2 mil a year and while it is only for a couple years more he will still fetch big dollars when he hits the open market. Where would Pittsburgh be without their $5.0 mil a year goalie Fleury and how much will he bring come next contract time?  While Boston’s Thomas is 35 he still makes $5.0 mil a year and on the open market would get at least that if not more for another couple years or so. Kiprusoff makes over $5.8 mil, while the Ranger’s Lundqvist is a million dollars more than Kipper. Vokoun’s cap has been $5.7 mil and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne goes to the bank with $7.0 mil a year.
    So you see that in dollars and cents the top goalies, of which Luongo Is certainly one, demand top dollars and it really comes down to how bad a team wants to win and how much they are willing to pay to secure the toughest position on the team and start worrying about other things than the goaltending.
    Yes, Vancouver can and just may keep Luongo and they also can and again just may keep Cory Schneider,  but if the Canucks decide to go with Schneider and Luongo is made available I would venture to say that he could and in all likelyhood will take whatever team he goes to, to the playoffs for years to come.

    • Ahab, nobody has said that Luongo’s $$$ doe snot make sense.. in fact, he is at a very good annual rate. The problem is the years attached. the only goalie with a worse contract, DiPietro aside, is Bryzgalov. Kippur, Lundqvist, Flury, Rinne etc are not signed until 41 years old….

      Luongo, even with the contract, could be a good fit for some teams, but as suggested above, Toronto is not one of them given their good young goaltending depth.

      Perhaps the Islanders are a better fit.

      You also can’t say that Luongo will for sure get his team to the playoffs. He didnt do it in Florida, and he was equally as good back then as he is now. Also, this past season, Cam Ward, Carey Price, and Mikka Kippursoff all missed the playoffs.

      Nothing is guarenteed.

  12. Regardless of what the Canucks do with Luongo, they should make a pitch to Barret Jackman. He may be a little long in the tooth, but he’s got the stability and sandpaper the canucks need on the back end. Plus he’s a BC boy and it’s time the pride of Fruitvale comes home!

  13. There is a real disconnect going on here. Why is it that it is OK for Lehner and Bishop to battle for the backup spot but not Reimer and Scrivens? Having both plus a veteran, identified # 1 goalie is not a bad thing.

    I know Durt is a huge Vokoun fan, for many valid reasons, but I am concerned with his inconsistency.Thomas makes sense to me because at his age he will be a 2 to 3 year stop gap, but damn reliable, and I personally think his confidence would help Reimer and Scrivens for the future. Same thing with Luongo, and who says Burke keeps him for 5 years or more? In 5 years, 5 million a year for Luongo may be a bargain for a goalie in the NHL, how do we know? My biggest concern with a big name known veteran coming to the Leafs is goalie coach Francois Allaire. Will that be an incentive not to come? Especially for a goaltender with their own defined style of play? Captain Ahab alluded to Luongos’ history with Allaire. Can you expand on where and when this was? There is another goal-tending Coach named Benoit Allaire…are you perhaps thinking of him?

    What about this deal..Krejci and Thomas for Schenn, McArthur and Bozak?

  14. Hi Murph:
    I had heard talk of Luongo’s relationship with Francois Allaire but in a Vancouver Province newspaper article dated September 27, 2011 it was confirmed that a relationship has existed for quite awhile and the article said and I quote, “the short offseason curtailed his (Luongo’s) training by a month, but he still had workouts with long-time goalie confidant Francois Allaire and his fitness testing was as good as last season an in some cases even better.”
    I have no idea if that would factor into any decision regarding Toronto and Luongo but it sure wouldn’t hurt to have someone on the Leafs staff that Luongo was not only familiar with but also trusted if indeed going to Toronto was ever considered.

  15. Thanks Captain,

    That sure is an interesting tidbit that I bet very few people are aware of, and might be a very big reason why Toronto is on Roberto’s list.