Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 12, 2013.

Latest on Sergei Bobrovsky, Valtteri Filppula, Dion Phaneuf, Tomas Kaberle, Niklas Backstrom, and more.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports contract talks between the Blue Jackets and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky are ongoing, pointing out the leverage Bobrovsky gained with his Vezina-nominated season. Neither management or Bobrovsky’s agent would discuss the talks, but Portzline believes his new deal could be two or four years in length, with the dollars around $4 million per season on a two year and $3.5 million per on a four-year, though those numbers could be rising.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is the Bobrovsky camp awaits the results from the NHL Awards before committing to a deal. If “Bob” wins the Vezina, he could get well over $5 million per season.

Will the Wings re-sign Valtteri Filppula?

Will the Wings re-sign Valtteri Filppula?

DETROIT NEWS: John Niyo reports Red Wings management is still trying to determine the future of pending UFA forward Valtteri Filppula, who is reportedly seeking $5 million per season but has struggled this season and in the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay the reason the Wings didn’t trade Filppula at the deadline was he wouldn’t have fetched much of a return, and the Wings needed all the able-bodied players they had to clinch a playoff berth. Given Filppula’s inconsistency and injury history, if he doesn’t lower his asking price, the Wings will look elsewhere, especially if the UFA market becomes flooded with compliance buyout players.

TWINCITIES.COM: Chad Graff reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher acknowledged there will be some changes to his roster for next season, but nothing as dramatic as last summer’s signings of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise.  Given their cap constraints, the changes could come from within, as promising young talent is promoted into the lineup. Fletcher also confirmed head coach Mike Yeo would return next season.

Brian Murphy reports goalie Niklas Backstrom, slated to become a UFA this summer, hopes to re-sign with the Wild. Fletcher intends to meet with Backstrom this week to discuss a possible contract. Murphy also reports Pierre-Marc Bouchard seems the least-likely of the Wild’s notable UFAs (Backstrom and Matt Cullen the other two) to return next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the limited options in the UFA market, it might be best for the Wild to re-sign Backstrom to a shorter, more affordable deal. They could try to bolster their depth via trade, perhaps by targeting Jonathan Bernier of the LA Kings, but it’s expected there will be lots of interest in Bernier, and the Wild might not be able to outbid rival clubs for his services. I expect they’ll re-sign Cullen but Bouchard (because of his concussion history) is likely done in Minnesota. The Wild need more scoring punch, but given their cap constraints, they might be forced to promote their younger, affordable talent next season and see how they do.

STLTODAY.COM: Dan O’Neill doesn’t expect Blues UFA Andy McDonald to be re-signed, citing his age (36) and injury history. He also wondered about the futures of Chris Stewart, David Perron, Ian Cole and Jaroslav Halak, who got into an argument with head coach Ken Hitchcock prior to Game Four of the Kings-Blues series over his playing time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stewart’s inconsistency could make him a trade candidate this summer. Halak’s unhappiness could also see him hit the trade block. Cole is likely the odd man out now that the Blues have Jay Bouwmeester. They could part with Perron, but given he’s only one year into his new four-year contract, I suspect they’ll keep him and hope he rebounds next season.

PHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli recently made the case for buying out Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, suggesting the Flyers acquired Jonathan Bernier from the LA Kings and pair him with Steve Mason for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported the Flyers front office is divided over Bryzgalov, with some wanting him gone and others wishing to give him another chance. Could go either way in my opinion, making for another intriguing summer for the Flyers.

LA PRESSE: Marc Tougas reports Montreal Canadiens defenseman Tomas Kaberle expects to be bought out of the remaining year of his contract, while fellow defenseman Yannick Weber (a restricted free agent this summer) hopes to stay with the Habs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE; Kaberle was a healthy scratch most of this season and in the playoffs. The Habs have one compliance buyout left and it’s got Kaberle’s name written on it. As for Weber, I expect the Canadiens will try to package him in a deal for either a big scoring forward or a physical defenseman.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: David Shoalts, in the aftermath of Game Four of the Leafs-Bruins series, recently added his voice to the chorus calling upon the Leafs to trade Dion Phaneuf this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fortunately for Phaneuf, GM Dave Nonis won’t base his decision on the blueliner’s future upon what the media wants.


  1. The Toronto Media Circus is disgusting. It seems like these pundits think they’re the center of attention rather than the athletes themselves. Trade Phaneuf? Are you kidding me? We make the playoffs for the first time in 9 years, with him as the only cornerstone player on the blueline, and we should trade him?

    • I don’t really seee Toronto unloading Phaneuf as he is one of the main players in TO. I think the Leafs need to find a stay at home Dman to pair with Phaneuf – maybe like Reghr or Leopold. But in all honesty I have been impressed with the play of Sultzer and Pardy, reasonably priced – consistent D men.

      I think with St. Louis they are a tweak or two away from going to the “final”. I like their style of play and the direction Hitchcock has taken them. I wouldn’t mind trading Vanek and Stafford for Perron and Stewart. I think Hitchcock would be a good coach for Stafford and maybe a new environment would light a fire under him. I like the grit that Steward has and I think Perron could be a reasonable 20+ goal scorer for Bflo.

      • @Steve

        As a Sabres fan a do not like that deal at all. Vanek for two very streaky players? No I don’t think so.

        Vanek with his scoring ability should fetch a much bigger package than that. If St. Louis wants him they’ll have to give up at least one top flight prospect and a 1st round draft pick and that’s added to Stewart and Perron.

        Stafford honestly I do not care what we get for him. Bag of pucks would be nice.

        • The clock is ticking on Vanek. I think Buffalo is between a rock and a hard place.
          First they must decide on, are we going to do a complete rebuild or are we just going to add a few pieces and go for it. If a complete rebuild then Vanek must be traded before start of up coming season to get max value. His new team will have him for a full year and can have that time to work on resigning him.
          You could trade him at deadline next February but what if he is injured ?
          You get nothing. If Buffalo wants to add a few pieces and go for it now,
          then sign Vanek before start of season to an extended contract. Don’t wait,
          look how much the Ducks had to give Getzlaf and Perry by waiting until the last minute with a gun to Murray’s head. Sign him during the summer or trade him
          before next season starts.

        • Jes, I agree that Vanek should fetch a bigger package, but I don’t see Brown, Ryan or Pavelski being up for trade – although stranger things have happened. I have always like Stewart as a gritty 20+ goal scorer and I think Perron has the capability of being a 20+ guy. Both are around 25 and I think they could mesh well with our “retool” and bring some “leadership” qualities. Let’s face it, as much as I like Vanek and wish he would stay – he definitely wants out. Throwing in Stafford with Vanek being the main component would get him off our books and give him a fresh start.

          I think this off season the trade and UFA market is going to be different. With the cap being lowered and teams being allowed 2 amnesty buyouts – I think the trade market will be a little flooded – Briere, Richards, Lacavalier to name a few with those who can still bring value -add Riberio, Iginla, Morrow and Clarkson – I can’t see any team offering the Sabres 2 – 20+ goal scorers, a “top flight prospect” and a 1st round draft pick for Vanek – not for one year.

          Darcy will get top value for Vanek – that I’m sure of. So, it will be an interesting offseason.

    • As I’ve stated many times that I am a Sabres fan and therefor I hate the leafs but Sean I believe you are right all this talk about trading Phaneuf is total nonsense. He has bad plays here and there just like every player. It’d be stupid move if they do trade him.

  2. The problem with much of the pundant types in TO is that they think they have a say in the operations of the club. Thankfully, the GM and his team don’t particularily take much notice of what is being said unless its important enough to respond.
    I like Phanuef most of the time but some of his gaffs are eyebrow raising. Trading him wouldn’t make much sense unless that first line centre is coming back. The leafs have to concentrate a little bit more on finding another real steady stay at home type. They have Gardiner, Phanuef, Franson, Liles, and upcoming Reilly and others who have a more offensive mind set. A couple of these guys are rounding into all-round d-men but they can’t expect Frasor and O’Burne to handle all the net clearing as guys like Gunnarsson, Liles, Gardiner are not tough enough.
    Bobrovsky will not win the Vezina, but he does deserve a nice raise.
    Filppula just needs a change of scenery but I think the wings may just sign him again to a one or two year contract for a reasonable home discount.
    Yes there will be major interest in Bernier, again. But what makes everyone think they won’t trade Quick and keep Bernier. If, or should I say when the Kings are eliminated from the post-season there will be a decision to be made. The salary cap is going down and if I’m not mistaken the Kings are close to the cap already. Of course they will buy someone out, I guess it all depenners on the playoffs.
    The Wild should re-sign Backstrom to a short term deal. Harding played well but if they let Backstrom go they would be taking a big risk. Harding as we know has a very serious illness and who knows if or when it may cause problems(hope it never does). Are they then going to sign another free-agent, or rely on rookies to carry the load.
    The Sabres have started a re-build not a re-tooling. At least thats the impression I get. They will probably make more moves at the draft and during the summer. They need to load up some more even though they had a decent draft last year. They will be a good team again but sabres fans are going to have to be patient, and so will the owner.

    • Drew, I agree with you on the “Stay at home D-man” that is why I think Reghr would be a good signing for TO. I also think the playoffs is where we are going to find out where Miller will go – his desire to go West will be fulfilled by the team that gets eliminated in the next round – San Jose, LA or Anaheim. Thing is, Quick, Hillen and Niemi are good goalies, but they have never been considered in the same “elite” class as Miller. Niemi has been underrated for the past couple of years in SJ and while they just completed the 4 game sweep of Vancouver – the media and fan base will turn once the Sharks falter.

      The interesting thing about the Sabres is that while we use the term rebuilding – in my mind the team played better once Pommer, Leopold, Reghr and Roy were gone. IMO we need additional leadership/mentoring. Buffalo’s weakness this year was special teams and confusion on D. Weber played strong, Sultzer is consistent and some of the kids really shined like Pysyk and Ruhwedal. I think one factor that will be indicitive on how Buffalo does next year will be who Rolston decides to bring in for Special Teams and how he coaches. Do I think he was the right choice? Not really, but I’d love to seem me proved wrong.

      • Last I checked Quick won the Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup not one year wonder Miller. Just because he wants to come out west doesn’t mean the Cali teams want him. Miller was good in 20120 and has been an inconsistent head case at best since.

    • You obviously know nothing about the Kings do you? for starters they have $14 mill in cap space next year and don’t have any RFA’s that will command big $$$ other than maybe Voynov (and I don’t see him making any more than Subban). Second no one will be bought out cause they have NO bad contracts and don’t need the money. Finally Yes I see where your coming from on the Quick or Bernier front but seriously how can you trade a guy who plays out of his mind in the playoffs and already has a Stanley cup, Conn Smythe and Vezina runner-up. Not going to happen.

      As for the Kings getting eliminated I’m not so sure on that, who is built to defeat them at playoff style hockey? If the Kings play their game they will repeat, St. Louis will be their toughest opponent IMO.

      • Obviously a kings fan. Hey don’t take things so personal, it was just an opinion. By the way, want to make a bet on the kings repeating.

  3. Phaneuf needs a healthy Carl Gunnarsson beside him. Next year perhaps but in the meantime…….. here’s hoping.

  4. Sitting in the ACC for the overtime loss to the Bruins suggests that much of the fan-base has no love for Phaneuf and he deserved less than he got that game. The two guys behind me had me in stitches with their heckling, but Phaneuf’s most egregious error on the night was far from his overtime pinch. It is not so much his level of play that is the problem as both his captaincy and the minutes he gets.

    • There’s a direct correlation between that and the lack of depth on the team. Regardless of whether or not he’s a top defender in the league, he is the best they’ve got. And there’s a huge drop-off on the depth chart after him.

  5. I am a Leaf fan, that is usually pretty honest about the team. I didn’t think they would make the playoffs this year. Watch Phaneuf tonight. His issue is that in the defensive zone he takes too much time to make outlet passes and gets himself trapped. An injured Gunnarsson has been slower and gotten into similar trouble. This leads to situations where he has too long shifts where he gets tired and loses coverage like last night when Lucic scored. Also he is a deficit on the PP. For some reason he can no longer one time the puck, and he has no idea where his shot is going. Phaneuf was definitely put into too prominent of a role that he cannot handle. I’m suprised he wasn’t torched like Komisarek years ago because he gets in the same kind of trouble.