Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 4, 2013.

The latest speculation on Phil Kessel, John-Michael Liles, and Tim Thomas.

No buyout for John-Michael Liles?

No buyout for John-Michael Liles?

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons noted the Maple Leafs must free up salary if they hope to re-sign defenseman Cody Franson and forward Nazem Kadri and stay under the salary cap. Simmons believes “the Leafs will go to training camp over the cap and figure out what to do with John-Michael Liles or someone else after that”…”Why Tim Thomas seems a fit with the Colorado Avalanche: He can play and may not have to leave his compound on off days” …

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have until the end of August 4 to buy out a player (like Liles); otherwise, they’ll have to look at trades or demotions to free up cap space to re-sign Franson and Kadri. And if they trade Franson, they could regret it.

Good luck trying to move Liles, who has three-years at $3.875 million per (and a partial NTC) remaining on his contract.  The safe move would be demoting one or two players on contracts of $1 million or less. Then again, buying out Liles seemed a safe move, and that hasn’t happened yet.

As for “Thomas to Colorado”, Simmons is joking. The Avs already have Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere as their tandem.

BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa speculates the San Jose Sharks have spoken with greybeards Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle about contract extensions, but it’s possible not all three are re-signed. The Sharks re-signed Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture this summer, and must allocate future dollars for 2013 Vezina Finalist Antti Niemi, who has two years at $3.8 million per season left on his contract…Blake Wheeler’s new contract (six-years, $33.6 million) underscores the fact Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel will become very, very rich. Kessel is eligible for UFA status next summer, and Shinzawa speculates he could get $8 million per season from the Leafs or on the open market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of that trio of ageing Sharks, my bet is Boyle is the most likely to go. They’ll try to re-sign Thornton and Marleau to short-term deals for a bit less than they’re earning now.

I chuckle whenever I hear or read from Kessel’s critics dismissing the possibility he’ll earn over $7 million per season on his next contract. He’ll easily get that much; if not from the Leafs, then certainly from another club next summer. 


  1. 7-7.5 sounds about right for Phil hope they dont leave it for to long before they try and get his deal done crazy things can happen in contract years….See Franson

    • ^ $7 – 7.5 I believe would be great as that would be Phil giving the ‘Hometown Discount’. I would really like to see Phil sign a $7.5/8 year contract … however I am expecting it will be about $8-8.5 to get him under contract. Nonis should be starting these conversations now.

      As for Marleau & Thornton if you HAVE to resign them, then do it on a two year deal at max. I’d preferably look to trade one of the two to bring a good return in and some more youth. Couture-Pavelski can be a strong enough #1 #2 down center ice so for me I am trading Thornton and keeping Boyle/Marleau.

      Toronto, Columbus, Winnipeg, Montreal, and Nashville IMO would all be knocking on the door pretty hard to get Thornton in to be their #1 center for a playoff push/run come trade deadline or even now. Sharks could easily get a 1st round pick, young NHL ready player (wing or defense), as well as a prospect or two … maybe even a small depth dump to balance salary.

      • I agree…time to get some youth signed. Marleau will be a Shark to the end. You know exactly what you’re getting, and he still has good wheels.

      • Obviously, you haven’t looked at Columbus’ roster in the last year. We have an over-abundance of centers. Nor is Scott Howson the GM anymore, so don’t expect anymore trading of young talent for aging, almost washed-up veterans.

        • Very true. They will be my wildcard for picking up players. That them in incredibly deep everywhere. While they lack high scoring they will be good

    • Parise Nash, Stamkos, Gaborik…. All around 7.5 Phil would get the same

  2. If Nonis is to re-sign Kessel long term, they’ll have to seriously prove to him why he should stay with the Leafs. They need to address a true 1C, despite Bozak being his close friend. They’ll need to address a bonified #1 Goaltender, despite Reimer showing signs of being just that, or the hopes on Bernier. I think they’ll all wait till March 1st, 2014, to try and pry O’Rielly out of Colorado. If Reimer can prove that he is a #1, they’ll use Bernier to get O’Rielly.

    • Cant see Bernier for O’Reilly at all one they are not going to trade a guy they just traded for and signed at the deadline. 2 to make a qualifing offer on ROR (RFA this year) you would be looking at 6million bucks at the end of this year (clearly not worth it) If there was that much of a need for a center at that time it would probably be wiser to wait to see what comes available thru UFA or another possible trade for a little more affordable or proven center.

      • With the salary cap projected to go up to about $71M, $6M isn’t that expensive, especially if it is an upgrade over Bozak.

      • Colorado won’t dump that level of talent for another goalie, after what they gave up for Varlamov. Not this year at least.

  3. Kessel is not an 8 million dollar player, but some dopey GM will give it to him – what lockout?

    • I refer you to the past 5 years where he is in the top 10 in scoring and points… ahead of Ovechkin I may add, but ya sure he is only really worth 5 or 6… speaking of dopey

  4. The worst thing about Free Agency, you’ll overpay for what you want. At least via a trade, you get what you want (hypothetically). I wouldn’t mind:

    To Toronto: ROR
    To Colorado: Bozak + Bernier

    • No no no. Reimer maybe not chance bernier gets traded for an overpaid 3rd line center.

      • I honestly cant see the Avs getting much for an RFA who is going to need 6 mill just to qualify maybe prospects and picks maybe with some salary going the other way back to the Avs…If they did decide to move him ROR has done absolutely nothing to prove he is worth anywhere near 6 million bucks, Stasny at least has some good seasons not in a while but still

  5. The Avs would have to believe that Bozak was worthy of being their No. 2 center for the next several years, with ROR gone to T.O. and Stastny likely gone after this season as an impending UFA.

    • No, because they need to down grade at Center, because they’ll be making Duchene their 1C, MacKinnon 2C, Stastny 3c, and ROR is the odd man out. Bozak would work perfect at their 3C.

      • Problem being if Kadri has a good year and ends up as number 1 you going to have atleast a 6million guy on the second line possibly third? No even with the cap rising I cant see them giving that kind of money to ROR not like they would trade for him then 4 months later take him to arbitration.

        • The only way Kadri moves to 1C, is if he outbeats Bozak on the faceoff circle.

          • Not nessicarily I dont think if he improved on the dot or Bozak gets hurt and Kadri isnt terrible on the dot but puts up really good numbers he may move up. Randy could still use Bozak for faceoffs in their own end etc when he got back similar to the way he uses McClemment. I think as long as Kadri dosent regress this year he may get a shot to play center with Kessel.

      • Wrong.
        Nobody’s going to pay Bozo 4.2 million per year to be their 3rd C.

    • Boz has a no movement clause. Can’t see him going anywhere now unfortunately.

      • Honestly Id rather have Bozak and 2 mill more room then ROR. If Kadri works out to be a number 1 just over 4 is a much better hit for a second line center then 6+….

        Buy out window is over! Finally… :-)

  6. Franson yes we could maybe regret it if we have to trade Franson, on the other hand if he deal him to another team who decides to pay him 4 million bucks and give us a good center or Defensive prospect and a pick in the deal for a guy who gets 20-30points and ends up being a bottom pairing D man which he has done 3 out of 4 years who would regret it more?

  7. I LOVE the prospect of bringing Thornton in for the #1 C spot. Give Bozak and Kadri time to develop further and determine who takes over the reins in two seasons. Brings a second TRUE all-star to the team. Both former Bruins too. Imagine beating Boston in the playoffs with 2 of their former players leading the charge. Thorntons still plays a physical game and has a couple of great years left in him. He’s a monster for assists so imagine him with Lupul and kessel. That’s potentially 210 points on the season for the first line. Maybe good enough for the best first line in the NHL. We can always dream…. Sigh

    • Keep dreaming both Thornton and Marleau will retire as Sharks and I wouldn’t be surprised if Boyle does too. Doug Wilson is not only building a younger faster Sharks he is setting up some legacy for the Sharks. Wilson has been very supportive of this team and bottom line the reason the Sharks don’t go further in the playoffs is NOT either Thornton or Marleau’s fault, they have been some of the most productive players the Sharks have. Look for more from 3 and 4th lines this upcoming season with youth and speed. They should be fun to watch.

  8. With the new mgmt team in Colorado, I believe Stastny will be the odd man out, probably traded at the deadline as a pending UFA. ROR is going nowhere. Franson is not a bottom pair D. He is easily in the Leafs top 4 along with Dion, Gunnar and Gards. They have some intriguing D men in the pipeline for sure but for the immediate future, they need Franson on the team if the expect to be competitive.

    • Most of his “breakout” year was spent on the bottom pairing. He looks great offensively and on the pp but when he plays 5 on 5 against better lines he dosent look so good and he is brutal in his own end, another of the Leafs “top 4″ you have listed there played nearly a half season in the AHL he will be very good too but to say he is in the Leafs top 4 isnt much to write home about (well he is better then Fraser Kostka and Holzer? And skates better then O’Byrne! Those are some real accomplishments) and certainly dosent make him worth what he is looking for, if they can sign him for 3 mill or less keep him if he thinks he is worth more let him be someone elses mistake.

      • Again everyone thinks we should get rid of Liles (me included) but lets look at it kind of reasonably we want to get rid of Liles because he makes too much money and has a bad contract at 3.75 after 1 short bad year. if you look at his past 2 seasons he has 38 points in 92 games or .41 ppg which is pretty much the same as Fransons ppg over his career with 1 very good year that in all likelyhood wont be duplicated and if you look at Liles career he is way a head of Franson with over .5 ppg. so why would we pay someone asmuch or more then the guy we know has a bad contract that has numbers atleast as good probably better then Franson? Giving out that kind of contract after 1 season his best season by far could and likely will be a mistake if he gets anywhere near 3.5-4 mill