Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 1, 2014.

The latest on Thomas Vanek, P.K. Subban, Ryan Callahan, Paul Stastny, Martin Brodeur and more.

OTTAWA SUN/NBC SPORTS/NEW YORK POST: Montreal Canadiens winger Thomas Vanek repeated his intent to test this summer’s unrestricted free agent market, but his poor playoff performance has raised questions about his value. It’s the first time Vanek’s been eligible for UFA status. The Post’s Larry Brooks believes Vanek isn’t remotely worth the seven-year, $50 million contract he rejected from the NY Islanders before he was dealt to the Canadiens at the NHL trade deadline. However, he notes pending free agents rarely pay the price for having underperformed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Though we should never underestimate the ability of NHL general managers to succumb to auction fever at the start of the NHL’s UFA period, especially in an offseason when the salary cap is rising, but this summer could be different. The lack of depth in star talent in this year’s UFA pool is giving rise to trade speculation involving notable stars (Spezza, Thornton, Staal, Kesler, Neal), largely because of the ability for teams to retain a portion of a traded player’s salary combined with the aforementioned cap increase. Vanek could find big-money offers from playoff contenders few and far between.

TSN.CA: Montreal Canadiens superstar P.K. Subban hopes to re-sign a long-term contract with the Canadiens and remain with the team for his entire career. Subban is a restricted free agent this summer and is expected to receive a significant raise. Subban wouldn’t elaborate as to what type of deal he’s seeking, leaving that in the hands of his agent Don Meehan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Subban will get the maximum term (eight years) for between $8 -$9 million per season. Wouldn’t surprise me if the bulk of his salary is paid out in the latter half of the deal, within the guidelines of the league’s salary variance rules. He could receive an offer sheet, but given his stated preference to remain a Hab, he might not sign one even if it could force the Canadiens into matching.

It will prove costly for the Rangers to re-sign key free agents like Chris Kreider.

It will prove costly for the Rangers to re-sign key free agents like Chris Kreider.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers will pay a price for their success this season, as it will be difficult to re-sign all their key players this summer.  Brooks points out the Rangers will have to pay to re-sign Brian Boyle, Anton Stralman, Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider and Benoit Pouliot. They’ll also have to re-sign defenseman Marc Staal or risk losing him next summer to free agency. Brooks believes management will have to decide if they’ll use their remaining amnesty buyout on center Brad Richards.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have a projected $17 million in cap space (based on the cap rising to $71 million), which won’t be enough to re-sign all those key players, especially Zuccarello, Kreider, Brassard and Stralman, who will seek significant raises. Something’s gotta give, which could involve losing a couple of those players to free agency, a buyout of Richards or another player (Rick Nash?), or salary-dumping trades. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa wonders if Ryan Callahan could become this summer’s David Clarkson, an unrestricted free agent grossly overpaid for his services. While Callahan’s a better player than Clarkson, his style of play has given him a lengthy injury history….Shinzawa believes the Canadiens need to bolster their defense in the off-season…He points out Alex StalockChad JohnsonRyan MillerAl MontoyaThomas Greiss,Justin PetersJonas HillerTim ThomasCurtis McElhinneyIlya BryzgalovJonas Gustavsson, and Ray Emery have better save percentages this season than Martin Brodeur, suggesting Brodeur could find it difficult signing elsewhere this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  The Lightning or another NHL club will be taking a big chance signing Callahan to an expensive, long-term deal. Still, somebody will likely pay up… I agree with Shinzawa’s assessment of the Canadiens’ defense corps. GM Marc Bergevin must avoid adding more slow-footed blueliners like Douglas Murray. Size is important but it won’t help if they lack speed…Brodeur’s a certain Hall-of-Famer but he’s at the end of his career and could find it difficult signing elsewhere. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports the Sabres could be tempted in selecting defenseman Aaron Ekblad in this year’s NHL draft. The Sabres hold the number two pick. Harrington cites two sources claiming Sabres GM Tim Murray was chatting with Panthers GM Dale Tallon last week. Tallon is willing to shop his pick (first overall). Harrington speculates over what it could cost the Sabres to land the first overall pick, including packaging a couple of second rounders, offering up next year’s first round pick acquired from the NY Islanders, or shopping a current roster player like Christian Ehrhoff or Tyler Myers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray could stand pat and hope the Panthers select another player if they retain their pick. The danger, however, is the Panthers trade away the pick to another club which uses it to select Ekblad. 

DENVER POST: Adrian Dater reports nothing is imminent in contract talks between the Avalanche and pending UFA Paul Stastny.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika wonders if the Stars will pursue a younger backup for starter Kari Lehtonen via free agency or trade, suggesting Chad Johnson and Devan Dubnyk as free agent options. Tim Colishaw believes the Stars should pursue a shutdown defenseman.

NJ.COM: Rich Chere reports Devils coach Pete DeBoer would welcome back Martin Brodeur next season to share the goaltending duties again with Cory Schneider. Chere believes Brodeur must accept a lesser role as backup for it to work.

17 Comments

  1. Re: Broduer
    Said it before, will say it again. Ducks should offer Broduer 2.5 to 3 million for one year. That’s a lot for a backup. His role would be to get inside the heads of Gibson & Andersen. Who better ? If not the best goalie ever, then he is A1, A true winner and level headed. He would play maybe 20 games and be there to help the kids when they get into the rough streaks. Even at 3 million the total Ducks goalie cost for the 3 of them would be $ 5 million.

    • Not sure Id go 3 mill but I do agree he could be a great choice in that role, Id like the Leafs to do the same and have him spend a year with Bernier as a contingency plan.

    • I think this is a great call, al. I don’t think Brodeur will have an issue being signed, but it’ll be to help lead a “cusp” team to the Cup with his locker room presence, more than his games on the ice. The Ducks fit that bill nicely.

  2. If Im the Sabres noway am I giving up Myers and the 2 for Ekblad, for 1 there are lots of strong D prospects in Buffalo already and Bennet will be a good 1 c (maybe not next year but…) 2 there might be a quicker way to pick up a younger player who will impact the team by dealing the other no.1 pick or going back in the draft order. 3 could possibly deal Myers for yet another 1st round pickall on his own.

    • Agree
      If Panthers are telling the world that they are willing to trade down from #1 to #2 are they not saying we don’t plan to draft Ekblad so let’s see how much we can get for not drafting the guy we don’t want ? Buff should pass and let the team that is desperate for “D” Edmonton make the pitch and over pay to move two slots. At #2 Buff will get a potentially great forward. Now if it was a team 15-30 that wanted #1, yea then I can see asking for an arm and a leg for the #1

      • I don’t see Murray trading Myers and #2 for #1 – that would be insane. In my mind there are a couple of clubs that need D – Florida, Edmonton and Calgary who are in the top five selection range and I see Bflo trading Myers or Ehrhoff and an early 2nd rounder to get either 3 or 4. If Ekblad is available at #2, I can see Bflo grabbing him even though we need a Center, but then again it opens the door to moving Myers and/or Ehrhoff more of a possibility. Based on what I have read, I don’t think Bennett did that well at the combine with his physical tests – not being able to do a pull up is very telling and he is going to have to improve his physicality. The more I read about Ekblad, the more I really like this guy – maturity, leadership and skill. If there is a way Murray can pull off drafting him and Reinhart, Draisailt or Bennett (any two of the four) than I would say Murray is a miracle worker.

        • Saw Ekblad play in the last couple of 67′s games to close the season here in Ottawa in March. He was slick with the puck, very responsible with the two way game in both zones, had enough hockey sense to join the rush at the right times, easily QB’d the PP and came across with a maturity you don’t see too often in juniors, much less in D under 24. This guy in my opinion is the real deal and I would compare him to a Pronger type with a bit more offensive upside due to his size and smart play. Likely could make the jump to the NHL next season. Why Edmonton isn’t on the phone trying to get the 1st for him immediately is beyond me – he is EXACTLY what they are lacking,

    • I agree… if I’m drafting second… if someone else deals for Ekblad (an increasingly likely scenario as Florida’s starving for offense and some marquee players are available), take Bennett.

  3. Not sure there is much in the way of a hometown discount coming from Stasny for the Avs if nothing is imminent.. 7 mill player they could let walk. Might be the smart move anyway imo Duchene ROR Mitchell and Mckinnon is still very good center depth and they could use the space in the future and to upgrade the blueline.

  4. Riemer and Franson to Dallas for a second…time to replace a pick or 2.

  5. Subban’s not getting an offer sheet. Not because it’s Subban, but nobody’s giving up four firsts (average salary 8.4m+/y) these days unless they’re getting a franchise player, and maybe six people in the league have that status right now (Tavares, Malkin, Crosby, Toews, Weber, Stamkos). There might be a couple of other guys.

    The guys who people target for offer sheets are going to be really good role players or young guys about to break out… such as Detroit or San Jose or Philadelphia chasing someone because it screws someone else’s salary structure. For example, Adam Larsson is a restricted free agent… what happens if Detroit throws a 28M/7y contract at him? They give up a piddly first rounder (mid-to-late for them) and a third. Won’t happen cuz NJ have the cap space… but other teams don’t have the cap space and might be pickpocketed a pretty good player rather than an all star.

    Brodeur’s signing is a culture signing, not a talent one. And his save percentage is not what’s important; he wins games even still, which means he adds an element to a team that makes them play different in front of him. For some reason, NJ simply scored more in front of him than they did in front of Schneider.

    I thought Vanek was a lock to rejoin Montreal… then the playoffs happened. He’ll get long hard looks from teams like Florida, Nashville, NJ, that’s for sure…

    I think the Rangers will try to trade Nash and will need to eat salary in the deal (meaning they shed 6M and get something in return). It’s a better option than buying out Brad Richards (they shed salary but get nothing in return). They could trade Brad and retain salary, too, but not getting as much for him as they would for Nash…

    • I don’t see Nash sliding that far. If Ny has to make a choice between a Richards buyout, or a Nash swallow salary trade, NY will opt to buyout Richards. Nash hasn’t fallen off the earth as far as value goes. He averaged nearly a point a game year ago, and .70 pts per game this year…..hurt, new system, new line mates. I doubt Nash goes anywhere. But I wouldn’t mind seeing him flipped for some much needed young talent.

    • You don’t think Philly is crazy enough to do that?

  6. Absolutely no way Murray is dumb enough to trade Ehrhoff/Myers along with the 2nd overall for the 1st overall. We’ll be happy with either Bennett, Ekblad or Reinhart. I don’t see Sabres looking for another defenseman in the first round. Our main need is at forward. We have a prime group of young defensemen already in the system (Pysyk, Myers, McCabe, Zadorov and Ristolainen.) Florida needs defense so I don’t see them selecting anybody but Ekblad.

    • Jes, if Ekblad is available at 2, Murray has to take him. I think Ekblad goes 1 or 2 – with Edmonton needing D they either trade #3 and a prospect to Florida for #1 or like I said – I can see Murray trading Myers and either #30 or #39 for the #3. My reasoning is Meyers is 24 and a veteran presence. He has won the Calder cup – so we all know what he can do and what his potential is. In addition – Edmonton doesn’t have another pick until 110 Round 4 – the trade gives Edmonton the NFL ready D they need and an early 2nd rounder. Now Jes, I know you are really high on Myers – and would rather see Ehrhoff go – but with our youngsters we need his veteran presence and if we trade him his contract could come back and bite us further down the road.

  7. The Sabres should play it this way: If Florida (or whoever) picks a Sam, Buffalo then asks for a prospect or solid player from Edmonton to switch picks. If Edmonton declines, the Sabres take Ekblad.

    This way the Sabres will get a top 3 pick and possibly more.

  8. I see no value in back loading PK’s salary. It offers no benefit on the cap and means if for a currently unforeseen reason the Habs need to deal him later in the deal (e.g., injury that restricts his play) there are fewer teams that might be interested. Front loading creates options towards the end of the deal as it includes “free” cap space (i.e., more cap hit than salary).