Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 23, 2014

The latest on Jason Spezza, Jaroslav Halak,  P.K. Subban, Tomas Vanek, Dmitry Kulikov, James Reimer, Cam Ward, the Staals and more.

Senators could face a decision this summer over Jason Spezza's future.

Senators could face a decision this summer over Jason Spezza’s future.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Nashville’s David Poile, Vancouver’s Mike Gills and Washington’s George McPhee are three GMs in danger of losing their jobs at season’s end…The Senators have to make a decision this summer with captain Jason Spezza, who attracted interest from the Ducks and Blues before the trade deadline. Garrioch believes if the Senators re-sign winger Ales Hemsky they should retain Spezza…If the Blues re-sign Ryan Miller and the Ducks re-up Jonas Hiller, Capitals goalie Jaroslav Halak could be in demand this summer. The Islanders, Flames and Canucks could seek goaltenders, so it would make sense for the Capitals to try to re-sign him…With the salary cap increasing, the Avalanche’s pending UFA center Paul Stastny could cash in this summer…The Sabres could shop forwards Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis along with defenseman Christian Ehrhoff this summer. They’ll also listen to offers for blueliner Tyler Myers…While there’s been talk of Thomas Vanek re-signing with the Canadiens many believes that’s not even a remote possibility. The Wild and Kings are possible destinations…It’s rumored RFA defenseman Dmitry Kulikov rejected a four-year, $20 million offer from the Panthers, preferring instead $22 million over four years…The Leafs could move RFA goalie James Reimer this summer. He’s been linked to Winnipeg in the rumor mill. The Hurricanes could move goalie Cam Ward this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the three GMs noted by Garrioch I doubt the Predators replace Poile unless he willingly steps aside. Gillis is in hot water in Vancouver and McPhee’s contract with the Capitals expires at season’s end…Spezza is eligible for UFA status next summer. The Senators can open contract talks with him on July 1…I expect Miller and Hiller to re-sign with their respective teams.  The Isles and Flames could have serious interest in Halak and Reimer…Stastny claims he’s willing to accept a hometown discount to remain with the Avs. We’ll see…Of the players the Sabres could shop I think they’ll try to move Stafford and Ehrhoff more than Ennis and Myers, preferring to stick with the younger players to build around…Even if the Habs were to march to the Stanley Cup I don’t believe Vanek re-signs with them. I see him signing with the Wild, as he lives in  Minnesota in the off-season…Garrioch mentioned the KHL regarding Kulikov’s contract negotiations, but the blueliner has said he has no interest in the Russian league…Reimer’s as good as gone this summer. Ward could be too, though his injury history, $6.3 million cap hit and no-trade clause makes him tougher to move. 

CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman and Glenn Healy reports the Canadiens contract talks with P.K. Subban will be addressed at season’s end. Healy expects Subban could end up getting a Shea Weber contract with a lot of signing bonuses. The Blues and Ryan Miller have agreed to wait until season’s end to talk contract. Miller’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. There’s talk of Ron Francis taking over as Carolina Hurricanes GM in the off-season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Subban could get a bonus-laden deal he can’t get a heavily front-loaded, extremely long-term deal like Weber did because they’re prohibited under the new CBA. I expect Subban gets an eight-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $8.5 million. If Miller’s smart, he accepts less money to remain with the Blues, where he’ll have the opportunity to play out his career on a Cup contender. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa speculates Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk could command Dan Girardi-type money on his next contract. Boychuk has one year left on his three-year. $10.1 million contract…Shinzawa also reports Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford could be replaced at season’s end…If the Jets fail to make the playoffs GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could feel the heat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boychuk and Girardi have similar stats, though Boychuk’s plus-minus is considerably better. Girardi’s new contract pays him $33 million over the next six seasons…Rutherford, Cheveldayoff, McPhee and Gillis are among the ten GMs I’ve recently listed  on Bleacher Report as facing pressure entering this off-season to improve their teams, provided those four keep their jobs. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Rangers GM Glen Sather dismissed recent speculation he might retire at season’s end…Brooks joins the chorus of pundits reporting the Hurricanes could replace Jim Rutherford as GM and could try to move goalie Cam Ward. With Eric Staal due to become a UFA in 2016, Brooks believes it’s time to ponder the possibility of Eric joining brother Marc with the Rangers…He also notes Senators’ Jason Spezza and Bobby Ryan each have a year remaining on their contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers want to be really bold, why not make a pitch this summer for Eric and Jordan Staal?  Sure, they’re both expensive (in salary as well as return) and have no-trade clauses, but they’ll be reunited with brother Marc.  That being said, I believe the Hurricanes won’t make Eric and Jordan part of their shake-up plans. Eric remains their franchise player and they gave up a significant return to land Jordan. They must build around the pair.  

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the market for Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer is limited, listing the Islanders, Flames and Sabres where he could start, and Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver where he’d have to compete for the starter’s job. Simmons doubts the Leafs get much of a return for him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Reimer remains with the Leafs. He’s clearly unhappy over his situation and has lost his confidence this season. He needs a change of scenery. I agree the Leafs won’t get much in return, unless they include him in a package deal. Regardless, I just can’t see Reimer agreeing to return for another season backing up Jonathan Bernier, playing for a coach who lacks confidence in him. 



  1. Reimer is just not a very good goaltender. He gets beat by playing way too deep in his net, seems susceptible on the glove side and gives up a lot of rebounds. He seems like a nice guy and if he gets a role similar to what Budaj has in Montreal he should be happy. It’s better than the AHL

    • Totally agree with you. I would like to see the Leafs move him at the draft. Take a team with a high pick like Edmonton or Buffalo and trade Reimer with their pick to move up.

      • And….when Reimer’s gone, contact NJ for the possibility of getting Brodeur as back up to Bernier. Any thoughts?

      • Edmonton just went and got two goalies. They have no interest in Reimer

    • Reimer has the 2nd worst GAA in the entire league. Only one worse is Devan Dubnyk. How are the Leafs going to move him when there’s no market for a goalie who give up an average of 3.5 goals per game?

      • My thoughts Ron, please don’t expect Buffalo to trade a player and a higher first round pick for Reimer and your first round pick. Or even the higher pick for Reimer and your pick.
        I like Reimer, but he is just not good enough with the poor defence of the Leafs and Buffalo wont be any better. He is 6’1″ barely 6’2″.
        He is hardly an upgrade for Buffalo.

        Just because they suck this year doesn’t mean they are stupid too.

  2. Why do you bother quote Garrioch? He sits in his Mom’s basement with two wheels, one has a bunch of players names on it and the other has the 30 teams. He spins the wheels to get a player and a team then makes up a rumour. Vancouver isn’t going after Halak because his numbers are marginally better than Lack’s stats from his rookie season. Gillis is in the 1st year of a 5 year extension and he just signed Torts to a 5 year contract. Assuming a new GM would want to hire his own coaching staff, the owners would eat 4 years of contract for both the coach and GM and that isn’t about to happen. Gillis will be in Vancity for at least 2 more years. Why fire him – he traded a contract you pundits have been saying was untradeable for over a year.

  3. I can see Bflo entertaining offers for Ehrhoff and/or Meyers – I think one could be traded but not both. I also see Ennis and Stafford staying with the Sabres. Stafford has changed his game around and he is back on track, albeit 2 years later. He is a Nolan type of guy and is now showing leadership. Makes me wonder if Stafford changed his game in order to adapt to the style of play to the core and Nolan has urged him to go back to his natural style of play – more physical, working the corners and standing in front of the net. Either way – it appears to be working. Ennis has also elevated his play and I like the fact that he is also playing more physical – so why trade him. The pickup of Conacher has really elevated their play. Can we say Leino anyone? Its time to cut bait.

    Next season I want to see Nolan start to develop our youth – bring in a vet or two that will mentor them – Jagr? Although I would be happy if Ott and/or Moulson returned – from what I read – they both wanted to stay. Or how about Callahan or Cammerelli – we’ll have plenty of cap room to pick up a UFA. Rumor is Ryan may be available – Murray should contact his uncle and see what he’s looking for.

    Miller, should resign with St. Louis – I don’t see any California teams needing a goalie, St. Louis is a contender and the city is a hub. Gets him closer to the wifey. Vanek, figured he would go to MN – the Wild lose Heatley, but gain Vanek – that’s a no brainer.

    • Nice ideas. I’m on board.

    • I agree as well. I doubt they would trade Myers. He is just getting better, so why not see where his limit is?

      Ehrhoff will probably be gone. Good salary + offensive defenseman = demand from other teams. Risto will be ready by next season to take his place.

      Stafford is becoming a leader, and while he is streaky, that might be someone you might want to keep, especially if Ott is not coming back. He has shown chemistry with Ennis, so I would say you keep both or trade both (if you can get a good price).

      Now if they don’t screw us over with the 2015 draft changes, the team should be in good shape by 2016.

  4. Sather retire…? Yes please!!!…. On a side note, is there no end to Larry Brooks BS? A week ago he had Marc Staals bags packed and heading to Carolina….Now he ponders Eric in NY? What an idiot! This is why I call bs on the Staal to Carolina in the 1st place. Brooks is better suited for a TMZ job than a beat writer for the post!

    • It’s unlikely any Staals move, but how could the rags possibly afford both Eric and Jordan? Marc moving to Car. is at least a remote possibility, as the Canes have a couple good young D-men and picks/ assets which makes a trade feasable!

  5. So I really had not studied Toronto’s cap space but what IF Toronto makes a push for E.Staal?

    To Toronto: Eric Staal + late round pick

    To Carolina: Bolland, Lupul, Franson and top prospect?

    I admit it is a weak offer but Carolina gets another scoring winger, moderate d-man and a potential 2nd line center (albeit a UFA).

    Thoughts? What changes on the Toronto side that they might consider giving up to gain access to E.Staal and still be able to under the cap?

    • keep dreaming bud the leafs will NEVER do that trade!

    • I think it is the Canes that would never do that trade. Bolland is a UFA, the Leafs don’t have any can’t miss prospects outside of Reily. Lupul and Franson aren’t going to get you an elite first line center. You’d probably need a package starting with JVR/Kadri and you might need to include Reily. If the Canes are going to trade Staal they will want young emerging star quality players in my opinion.

  6. Would like to see the leafs move Lupal to Edmonton for a first (leafs would obviously add). Maybe a 2016 one….not this or next years. I always liked rpeimer but he will get a third rounder from Winnipeg. The leafs will let bolland walk. They can’t pay him five million to play on the third line no matter how good he is. Smid for rpeimer will suffice in a calgary deal but I would rather see some of the leafs kids playing. Gardiner should go somewhere. If you can add picks or a guy like oleciack from Dallas, do the deal

    • Dont trade Gardiner….cut bait with guy like Lupul Kuli Bolland Orr McClemment to try and get cap space to improve the team with a D man or 2 start to bring up some of the Marlies to have a fourth line that can actually provide some minutes and possibly some kind of production Levio to play in the top 9 maybe resign Komarov. Let guys like Kadri Gardiner Rielly Bodie Holland continue to develop This team is exactly what most thought it was, a young team that will be in a fight to make the playoffs, still got some growing to do before they are a contender window is just starting to open you dont trade away youth.

  7. PK could get the modern equivalent of a Weber deal. Front loading is not prohibited entirely, but the lowest paying season cannot be less than 50% of the highest. Not as extreme, but still a real dollars savings in later years. Bigger difference is that PK will be 32 at the end of the longest deal he can sign while Weber has minuscule salaries in his late 30s and early 40s.