NHL Trade & Free Agent Rumor News – October 1, 2011.

In this morning’s collection of MSM-generated rumors: Could Alexander Radulov return to the NHL soon?…The Maple Leafs are shopping for help…Ray Whitney to Boston?

YAHOO! SPORTS: “Puck Daddy” blogger Dmitry Chesnokov recently wrote Alexander Radulov is butting heads with the head coach of KHL team Salavat Yulaev, which is fueling speculation he might return to the NHL (and the Nashville Predators, who still own his NHL rights) sooner than expected. Chesnokov also reported there’s a “gentleman’s agreement” between Radulov and the GM of Salavat allowing the winger to return to the NHL next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Radulov is currently in the first season of a three-year deal with his KHL team. It doesn’t appear as though he’ll be leaving the KHL this season, but the door appears open for a possible return next season, depending of course upon which KHL team he’s playing for by then.

TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reported the Toronto Maple Leafs are “keenly interested in adding another top forward”. He claimed the Leafs are willing to part with a couple of younger players to make this deal work, but nothing is imminent and it could take until at least November until they make a move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No specifics on whether it’s a winger or a center the Leafs seek, but given the injuries to Connolly, Bozak and Kadri, I’m guessing center. As for availability, we might have to wait, as Dreger suggested, until November at least for the picture to become a little clearer. Feel free to offer up suggestions, gang, but please, keep it realistic. No claims of Malkin or Staal to Toronto, ok?  I’m genuinely interested in hearing rational, reasonable possibilities.

BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont tweeted of “lingering chatter” Phoenix Coyotes left wing Ray Whitney could become a Bruin, if there’s a need to fill the void left by Mark Recchi’s retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first I’ve heard of Whitney linked to the Bruins, or for that matter, that he might be available. There’s been nothing from the Phoenix hockey reporters about this. On the surface, I can’t see why the Coyotes would be willing to move Whitney, who’s in the final season of his contract. His absence would leave a significant hole on the left side for the Coyotes, unless they could get a suitable replacement from the Bruins.


  1. It’s not Malkin or Staal, it’s both…….Oh and a first rounder for a 2nd round pick and Brian Burke

  2. Whitney, who last summer requested to be a Coyote to GM Maloney, has a NMC, so I seriously doubt he will waive it.

  3. Maybe we start with Colorado’s Stastny? I just don’t know how the Leafs would be able to afford the $6.6M this year.

    I also don’t see why Toronto would be looking to add another center with 5 capable guys (I admit they are all 2nd to 4th liner centermen). Sure a top line center would be a nice addition but why did they go out and sign Connelly at $4.75M for two years? They certainly don’t want to be paying a 3rd line center that kind of money which will create nothing but problems next summer when Grabo becomes a UFA and Kulemin is a RFA. They already have an over paid 4th line center in Lombardi at $3.5M for two more years. None of this makes sense. I don’t understand any of this “Leafs looking to add another centerman” talk??

  4. I agree with everything DLS said.
    But IF I where to target a player, strictly fantasy, I would see what Dallas would want for Brenden Morrow. They are rebuilding, and if memory serves me correctly they are still selling there team (which means they may want to shed salary) and Newy knows the Leafs prospects. Far fetched considering he’s a great winger, and it will take a lot to get him. But if someone told me that the Leafs where close to landing a top 6 winger, I could see it happening, then again I can see it not happening. It’s hard to predict trades as a Leaf fan, usually haters step in and rip your proposal. So maybe I won’t offer up a proposal, and just say I (personally) would like Morrow on my team, and would give a good package to get him.

  5. I can’t see the Bruins going after Ray Whitney. There really isn’t a void left by Mark Recchi because with Chris Clark looking for a contract and Jordan Caron who also plays the wing, looking for a roster spot there is no room for Ray Whitney? Tyler Sequin will also have a bigger roll this year, and when M.Ryder left B.Pouliot was signed to fill his spot. I think its just someone trying to raise some eyebrows, but its not working on me. It doesn’t make sence, and it just doesn’t fit.

  6. The problem is that the Maple Leafs can’t accept their situation and just rebuild. It’s always quick fixes and free agent grabs. If the Leafs were smart they’d try to find a younger unproven player that could potentially be the cornerstone of their franchise.

    I know Buffalo sent Kassian down but he’d cost a fortune to get in trade. The Kings just sent Loktionov down and he wouldn’t be as expensive. He had 7 points in 19 games last season. At this point the Kings are so deep he may never make the roster. Maybe they could pick him up for a third round pick.

    The problem is teams like the Leafs and Rangers are like the kid who can’t wait until Christmas to open their presents. They want everything now and they aren’t willing to go through the low points, draft high, and then build a good team. Instead they bring in over-priced mercenaries who have no loyalty to the team. The result is always the same. They underachieve and the team looks for the next over-priced mercenary.

    Another Daniel Brierre is probably out there floating around the minors. The Leafs would be smart to take a chance and try to find that guy.

  7. Leafs and Oilers make good trade partners. Leafs need F and Oilers need d after loosing 3 last night. It would make sense that Sam Gagner move to Toronto, maybe for a guy like Cody Franson. With Gardiner pushing for a starting D and RNH pushing to start with the Oilers makes sense. And the fact that it might be held off until Novemeber may be due to see how Gagner comes back after his ankle injury.

  8. Morrow has a NTC, if he was to lift it, a destination for him, could be Montreal, as he is married to former Habs captain and coach,Guy Carbonneau’s oldest daughter,Anne-Marie.

  9. Maybe the Leafs would like Stajan back. We’d gladly give him up for a prospect. Or a player. Any player. Pleaassee take him!

  10. JDBGiGC, although I understand why you said a lot of the things you did, I think you are forgetting a couple of things. 1) “If the Leafs were smart they’d try to find a younger unproven player that could potentially be the cornerstone of their franchise.” they have, Jake Gardiner, Grabovski, Mac, Aulie, Bozak all come to mind. These where all unproven players that the Leafs picked up for dirt cheap, and have become very valuable pieces to the puzzle.
    2) “They want everything now and they aren’t willing to go through the low points, draft high, and then build a good team.” talk about low points, we haven’t made the playoffs since the lockout. We drafted Schenn and Kadri 5th and 7th respectively, missed one first rounder (Seguin, but we now have Kessel) and drafted Biggs and Percy last year. That’s 4 first rounders in the last 4 years. And that’s not even including Colborne and Gardener who where also first rounders that we got in trades. Aside from Connolly, the last free agents we signed have all been roll players. Beauch, Komi, Army where not brought in to save the franchise. Burke has done an excellent job of not over paying for guys like Kovalchuk and Richards.

    The Leafs are at the tail end of there rebuild. We have guys developing, and internal competition at almost every position. The Leafs have been patient, things will be fine. No need to blow it up and tank.

  11. CoachBowman_2003, didn’t know the relation to Montreal, interesting point. Doesn’t change the fact that I want him on my team lol! But a good take on my post cheers!

  12. Personally I’d like to see if we could strike a deal for Wojtek Wolski. There were a lot of rumors floating around about him last year, the Rangers could use some cap space (even though the Leafs are floating close themselves.) but I think packaging to get Wolski could be good. I’d love to see a Leafs line like

    Wolski – Connolly – Kessell
    Kulie – Grabo – Mac
    Armstrong – Bozak – Lupul

    Be a pretty decent top 9. I’m not sure what we’d have to give up to get Wolski, or if he is a true possibility. Another one I wouldn’t mind exploring would be Rene Bourque out of Calgary.

  13. JJB, I like the Wolski suggestion. Also Scott Hartnell has been in and out of rumors for about a year now. There are a handful of guys who could make an impact with the Leafs. I’m hoping if they are looking at possible trades that they look for a big winger.

  14. Also, I’d keep Lupul on the top line and have Wolski out there with Armstrong. I like how Lupul played with Kessel last year, good combo.

  15. To me, Toronto signing Tiny Tim was a big mistake – giving him a raise, paying $4.75MM based on his previous inconsistency, injury history and management panic. Toronto always has tried to take a shortcut instead of rebuilding – now they have a frequently injured Connolly injured again. What they need to do, aside from developing their youth, is find some leadership and consistency – someone like John Madden, Steve Begin or even Adam Mair (someone who has a great work ethic). Wouldn’t be too pricy and could help mentor their youngsters.

  16. @ Durt

    Well said. The problem I see though is that the Leafs have continually tried patching the team together by chasing big name free agents or trading for big name players. This started in 2008 when Burke took over. I think in 2008 the Leafs were in the trough and beginning the rebuilding phase. But instead of allowing the process to play out, Burke immediately started trying to turn them into a contender overnight by bringing in the big name guys. Burke had Schenn fall in his lap, and he could turn the team around in a year and ended up with Kadri in 2009. I think the Leafs would be better in the long term if they would have drafted Seguin, but we’ll see.

    In my opinion the worst thing a sports franchise can do is be mediocre. You get neither good draft picks nor deep into the playoffs. I wonder if the Leafs may be falling into this trap. But I do agree with you that Burke has recently avoided overpaying for guys like Kovalchuk and Richards.

    And I really like Gardiner too. That kid looks lights out. That was a hell of a trade. And I like him even more because he’ s NOT playing for the Ducklings.

  17. I don’t know a lot about the injuries to Connolly & Bozak.. but are they really long-term injuries? Kadri is out 2 – 4 wks… with almost half that time frame in pre-season.
    So how long will these injuries be in the regular season… 2 weeks at most? Are the Leafs that desperate that they can’t wait for these guys to get better? They have some good young prospects that seem to be doing enough in the pre-season to cover for these guys. Are they that scared of missing the playoffs.. they would give up young talent for another player?
    The Leafs are sort-of still in a re-build. Why would you give up your youth for a quick fix… that will fix itself within 3 weeks of the regular season? Don’t they have any faith in their current prospects?

  18. How about Sam Gagner for Gunnarson?
    I immediately thought of Stajan and laughed, but it might make sense…..he played his only good hockey there.
    Durt – Morrow is the captain.
    Rene Bourque is a big part of the plan in Calgary.
    Steven Reinprecht, Fernando Pisani, Marek Svatos, Mike Comrie, Owen Nolan are all on the free side.
    On the high potential, lower cost side are Shawn Mattias, Matthieu Perrault, Victor Tikhonov, Alex Bolduc, Jake Dowell, Chris Porter, Landon Ferraro…..

  19. I can’t see the Leafs being interested in Gagner. Young guy with lots of promise but he’s to small to be their number one Centerman. Kessel is already a non-agressive outside floater so they need a guy that will get in a goalies face. Plus he’s heading into his 5th full season and hasn’t cracked 15 goals or had a positive plus/minus. Can’t see Burke being interested due to these reasons. I would think he’s looking for a Vet.

    Morrow is interesting but again the $4.1M cap hit would mean freeing up about that much space. I believe the Leafs are about $2.0M below but Burke will want to keep that $2.0M for insurance incase of late season injuries or potential trading partners later in the year.

    To free up anything I think either a blockbuster involving Kessel (highly unlikely) or dangling MacAurthur or Kulemin to help free up a roster spot and some cap room. None of this makes any sense as I said earlier. You may improve slightly or you could screw up the chemistry and take a step backwards unloading one of those guys and screwing up your only consistant line.

    Kessel $5.4, Connolly $4.75, Lupul $4.25 and all have NTC
    Mac A, Grabo, and Kule are the only consistant line and are slighly under paid therefore I would think untouchables and Bruke wouldn’t want to break this line up.
    Armstrong $3.0, I keep hearing how we can’t live without him so doubt he’s going anywhere, Lombardi $3.5M with concussion issues no one wants

    That my friends is why I can’t see where the Leafs will fit in another top 6 forward especially since I can’t see Bruke breaking up the Grabo line. Who is Burke going to demote from Kessel’s line to be a third line guy at those salaries? and if so then possibly have to demote one of the expensive 3rd line guys to the forth line.

    Defence is shaping up to be an interesting problem. Brurke may finally have to admit his UFA mistake and sit Komi in the box for the whole season. Nothing would make me happier. These guys demand the big pay day and end up waaay underperforming so pay them to sit in the press box for the rest of their contract which will spell the end of their carear. Cheers to Edmonton for doing it to Souray and boo to Stars for paying him $1.65 this year. That’s why I always loved Kab’s. He signed for way less then he was worth and pretty much played above expectation for most of his contract. Then you had McCabe who held out for the big bucks, underperformed and should have been banished to the press box to finish out his carear.

  20. Gilbert Brule for any d except Komisarek

  21. P.S. Lyle you need spell check on this site. I can’t be bothered going back through to check everytime. lol

    That’s Burke not Bruke. Brutal!!

  22. Has anyone from the Leafs stated to one of these sports reporters that they were looking into making a trade, not the usual “we are always looking to make a trade if it makes us better” rhetoric but actually stating a trade is needed? I don’t think they have so in short, its just another lazy effort by the MSM to sucker us in with another story around the most loved/hated team in hockey. Like who told Dreger “Toronto Maple Leafs are keenly interested in adding another top forward… the Leafs are willing to part with a couple of younger players to make this deal work…” Sounds like a lazy reporter to me cashing in on page views due to what I said about the Leafs.

    Once the season plays on, and they find that maybe Connolly isn’t working out and neither is Lombardi nor any of the kids (Kadri and/or Colborne) then I can see a trade. They don’t even have to worry about the surplus on the D since there really ins’t much need to have Gardiner up playing but it would be nice to see him from a fans perspective. The only person that would benefit from a trade to get an established top line player would be the coach since we all know it’s time that Ron pulls this team in the post season or else he’s gone.

  23. With the points been raised about not needing another centre, they may have the bodies, but no where near do they have the depth at centre. Connolly is ot the answer to their offensive woes, a 60 point man at best?
    It’s no surprise that Burke see’s the need to move one of his D men. They do have an over abundance of ‘offensive ‘ minded D, with only Schenn & Aulie as their only true ‘defensive’ minded D. It would be disastrous in my mind if Aulie gets sent to the farm.
    It would be a pleasant surprise if BB can move Komisarek, most likely not to Edm. I would not hesitate to see Gunnarson moved in a package that would include Gustaffson as well & ‘possibly’ Kadri to get a good (young) top 6 forward. If Edm isn’t the right trading partner, then I’m sure there will be another taker.

  24. It appears to be widely viewed by the fans that Tim Connolly is kind of a band-aid solution, if so why give him 2 years at 4.75 million? There’s a reason to all of this. Burke will resign grabo and kule next year while letting Liles go to free agents, or possibly dealing him at the deadline if the situation is right (aka gardiner). This will effectively push the leafs to the cap limit. In the following year the team will rid themselves of Komi’s contract and TCs contract as well as Lupal at which point Burke will break the bank in order to get what he wants; Perry and Getzlaf. Both of their contracts are up in that year and Anaheim is honestly about to go through a rebuild. Toronto could have the assets to deal the Ducks in order to acquire these two players prior to the 12-13 deadline and then sign both to extensions.

  25. In my opinion, any deal for a centre, which, in my opinion is what they desperately need, depth or no depth, would have to involve a “damaged goods” centre. Someone like a Marc Savard (concussion) or Paul Stastny (overpaid). Subsequently, an equally depressing player would/could be sent the other way however this may also cost the Leafs some type of decent prospect/player.

    We have crazy blueline depth and I suppose the most palatable deal for the Leafs would involve Gunnarson (or maybe even a prospect like Blacker if we could get away with it). I don’t see an easy solution to the Leafs woes but I unlike most will not get wrapped up in Kadri/Bozak, I couldn’t care less if Bozak was traded or 4th line centre and Kadri spent the next 2-3 years learning how to stand on skates…

  26. @ Pixie

    Listen, I like what you’re saying about adding a veteran leader who can help with the younger players, but the one’s you listed (Begin, Madden, Mair) are all done. Maybe Madden could still be somewhat effective as a 4th liner, but that’s about it.

  27. I would say Scott hartnell the Flyers need cap space and there has been a few players that have impressed during camp so hartnell may not be needed. Plus for the first time it wouldn’t kill to lose his size. He does have a ntc but he was willing to waive it before.

  28. Only problem with Hartnell is that he’s a winger, the Leafs are in desperate need of a natural center with ability. Briere is more likely although with Philly having traded Richards/Carter, that seems highly unlikely. Buffalo might be willing to part with Boyes already and Marc Savard (via Bob Mackenzie) has agreed to waive his NTC to go to Ottawa or Toronto.

  29. The Leafs have enough ‘top 6′ forwards and potential top 6 forwards. They have plenty of depth and a few prospects knocking at the door. What they are lacking is an elite forward. Kessel is a great goal scorer but not a franchise player. They also have no-one in the system who can be the first line centre of the future. I don’t believe Colborne or Kadri are ever going to fill that role. Unless they can find a player of this caliber (please no Stasny no Morrow or Wolski) I think they would be better to keep the young players that they have and actually let them develop. A lot of things can happen during the season, teams are slow out of the gate and owners get in financial trouble. You never know what players may become available. Burke will be watching.

  30. Marc Savard is done. Great player, but there is strong doubt he will ever play again. Unfortunate.

  31. Did someone say Connelly was a band-aid?

  32. komo and bozak for spezza

  33. Maybe Ontario boy Sam Gagner from Edmonton, looks as those RNH has secured a spot on the Oilers.

  34. I have to think that a guy like Anton Lander is looking pretty good if you are talking Oilers, but he lacks the experience and size the Leafs need. If I am reading the tea leaves correctly, I see Toronto giving Colburne some time in the AHL before deciding if he will be ready to come up in November or December. Otherwise, perhaps the best bet might be to deal Gunarsson or Aulie to Columbus for a guy like Vermette, a great two-way game and has shown flashes of elite skills, but who has been bumped down the depth chart with Carter coming over.

  35. I also like the idea of signing Madden if he is available. This team needs a leader up front and big help killing penalties.


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