Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 29, 2011.

The latest from the Edmonton Journal, New York Post and The Sporting News. Happy Memorial Day to my American readers.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes it seems incumbent upon the Vancouver Canucks to re-sign UFA defenseman Kevin Bieksa, even if it meant losing Christian Ehrhoff…He wondered if the Calgary Flames would part with Robyn Regehr should the San Jose Sharks offer up winger Devin Setoguchi and blueliner Jason Demers…He dismissed talk of the Sharks buying out the remaining three years of Dany Heatley’s contract…Matheson also reported Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock believes his team not only needs to bolster their defense but also add a top-six forward. Jiri Hudler could become trade bait. The best potential UFAs by age and price for the Wings could be Washington’s Brooks Laich and Philadelphia’s Ville Leino. Another possibility: Calgary’s Alex Tanguay…Matheson believes the Minnesota Wild should retain UFA Jose Theodore and trade Niklas Backstrom but his $6 million per season salary makes him untradeable…

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I too believe if push comes to shove, the Canucks will re-sign Bieksa and let Ehrhoff walk, but I believe GM Mike Gillis intends to re-sign both…Calgary GM Jay Feaster several times this season ranked Regehr amongst his “untouchables”, so unless he’s changed his mind, don’t expect Regehr to go anywhere…I also reject the notion of the Sharks buying out Heatley…Hudler is the most likely of the Wings to be shopped, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be dealt…Laich or Leino would be good fits on the Wings, but forget about Tanguay, the Flames intend to re-sign him…Backstrom’s not going anywhere.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo recent re-signings with the NY Islanders sends a message to other clubs hoping to poach away their best young talent, though Brooks believes it’ll be interesting to see what path John Tavares takes as a restricted free agent next summer…Brooks wondered if NY Rangers GM Glen Sather might have interest in Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss if he fails to sign UFA center Brad Richards in July…

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tavares and his agent Pat Brisson have repeatedly said he believes in the Islanders rebuilding plan, wants to be a part of it, and is happy playing for them. The only interesting part about Tavares’ RFA status next year will be how much he re-signs for and how his contract is structured. He won’t become a target for an offer sheet, because the Isles will have him re-signed before July 1st, but even if they don’t, they’ll match the offer. Yes, I’m that confident about it, and so should Islanders fans….Weiss has maintained he wants to remain with the Panthers, and GM Dale Tallon wants to keep him. Unless either guy changes his mind, Weiss won’t be moved.

THE SPORTING NEWS: Craig Custance looked at several of the more intriguing potential unrestricted free agents this summer (after Brad Richards). He suggested Washington’s Brooks Laich wants to remain a Capital but there might be a temptation to test the market as he’d be the second-best available forward. Colorado’s Tomas Fleischmann could have more upside but comes with health issues. Ville Leino’s agent could have considerable options if the Flyers are unable to re-sign him. Tampa Bay’s Sean Bergenheim could cash in big after having a strong playoff performance, as could Nashville’s Joel Ward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Capitals will do everything possible to keep Laich in the fold. Fleischmann’s health is also a matter of concern for the Avalanche, who must decide if they want to keep him. Leino would attract considerable interest around the league. Teams interested in Bergenheim and Ward must be careful not to overpay them. Yes, they had strong performances this spring, but their regular season numbers pale in comparison.




  1. I wonder what Detroit can get for Hudler… I think a 3rd round pick? If they want to trade for a quality defenseman, I expect them to offer up Hudler and perhaps Filppula.
    If they want to replace Rafalski by adding a free agent, they probably don’t have the cap space for Laich and/or Leino.

  2. Leino? Very unlikely. He didn’t fit in Detroit and is not what they need. Hudler is basically a Ville Leino and he’s cheaper.

  3. 1) Leino’s just getting started. Hudler has peaked out. Leino will be a great signing for whomever gets him.
    2) Regehr for Demers alone would be a complete disaster for SJ. This just in: REGEHR SUCKS!!! This dude is on his last knees and Feaster really ought to move him while teams will still even consider it. Just watch this year…..Calgary will patch it together and tank again, and this piece will front and center.
    3) Bergenheim will stay in TB for sure. Ward is a heart and soul Pred as well (give him 2 mil).
    4) Fleischman dominated for the Avalanche so they’d be complete fools not to gamble with him again (these guys signed Forsberg, remember?)
    5) If anyone thinks that Ehrhoff isn’t as important to the Nucks as Kesler is, they haven’t watched too much of the last 2 years. All kinds of other players would be bought out or moved before he leaves. Bieksa is best friends with Kesler and they’ve played together for like 7-8 years…..neither are walking.
    6) I really hope Laich goes somewhere else, where he gets lots of ice, and where they don’t make documentaries of you. Like TO.
    7) It would be nice to see Setoguchi get a fresh start somewhere else.

  4. “If anyone thinks that Ehrhoff isn’t as important to the Nucks as Kesler is, they haven’t watched too much of the last 2 years.” I’ve watched 90% of Canuck games over the past two years and I couldn’t disagree with this statement more. I highly doubt the Canucks resign Ehrhoff and I am very confident they’ll be just fine without him, barring another season-long injury reserve carousel on the Canucks blueline.

  5. detriot at least 15 mil to play with this offseason assuming lidstrom retires as well… and with the cap rises at 3 mil….theyll have plenty of money to go after a big name dman and leino or laich

  6. well i’m leaning on the exaggeration side, but i guess we will see Jefferson. C’mon man, he’s their top puck possesion Dman.

  7. Whats with Larry Brooks and shooting out names of people who are apparently coming to play with the Rangers. For a team that apparently is going to roster the closest thing to an All-Star team next year, I might have to bet my house on them.
    But really, He has been spouting off about Richards for 6+ months now and all of a sudden it’s like reality check and everything everyone else has been saying is sinking in. What does he do next? Changes gears and starts talking Weiss. Like really?

  8. I believe Leino is happy in Philly and has found great chemistry with Hartnell and Briere, so hopefully they can get a deal worked out, but I’m prepared to see him walk. I wouldn’t rule out Holmgren attempting to trade his rights to another team so he can get something out of it. Maybe even package Leino’s rights with someone like Versteeg or Carle for Vokoun’s rights, in an attempt to free up space to sign Vokoun. But who knows what Holmgren has up his sleeve? He’s worked his magic in the past, so I won’t be surprised if he pulls a rabbit out of his hat again this year.

  9. Leino is a good fit with the Flyers, but if he’s seeking over $2.5 mil per season, he won’t be returning. Holmgren may not have much cap space, but he does have options to make room, though I don’t believe trading Carter is one of those options. He’ll find a way to get the goalie he wants, keep his core intact, and retain those affordable free agents.

  10. I don’t understand why anyone thinks that Erhoff and Bieksa won’t both get re-signed. Salo’s $3.5MM is coming off the books and that is going to leave plenty of money to lock both of them up. Even if you give both of them Hamhuis money ($4.5MM) there is still $1.35MM left. Give the rest of that, plus Alberts’ money to Salo and your defence looks like this:
    Bieksa/Hamhuis $9MM
    Erhoff/Edler $7.75MM
    Salo/Rome $3.15MM
    Tanev $0.9MM
    Of course, this only happens if Salo takes the pay cut but if he doesn’t want to then give Alberts a bit of a bump and spend the rest on forward depth.
    Pick a team in the league that wouldn’t want that as their back end.

  11. @tuxedoTshirt So being on TV is a bad thing? And having the most TOI/G of any Caps forward other than Ovie and Backstrom isn’t enough? Whatever, if you guys want to pay 4M for a guy who’s barely a second liner and have him be your 1C, go right ahead. I just hope you don’t stuff him in the minors when he fails to live up to expectations, because he’s really a very nice guy.

  12. I don’t think that HBO helped the Caps season and their obvious locker room problems too much. You might be right about Laich, but I think he might respond well to a bigger role. Also, I think that if he does test the market, he will get offers that approach 4 mil. Whether its a good move i’m not really sure; but it’s my prediction.

  13. @Poultsy Do you think the Flyers would trade Versteeg and the rights to Leino for the rights to Varlamov? Gives you a young, cheap goalie with a winning playoff record and some cap room (I’d assume he’d get the same contract as Neuvirth, 2 years at 1.15M). Varly and Bob gives you a cheap, good goalie tandem, and each of them gets a young Russian friend to talk to. If you were Holmgren, would you take it?

  14. @ Flash: it doesn’t make sense for the Flyers at all…Bob is the goalie of the future for them…why add Varly to the mix? Also, as talented as Varly is, he can’t stay healthy, so that’s a bit of an overpayment IMO. The Flyers need a mentor for Bob for about 2 to 3 years. So I think you’ll see either Vokoun or Nabby with the Flyers next year. More chance of Nabby than Vokoun.

  15. @Poultsy Ok, just checking. I’ve seen a lot of rumors about them trading for Bernier, so I figured Varly might fit also. Sort of an insurance policy in case Bob doesn’t progress like he’s expected too. I guess that trade looks a lot better to the Flyers fans that totally lost faith in Bob after his playoff performance.

  16. Vokoun could fill Russian mentor role. He’s pretty damn good too, just have to convince him that less dough is worth it to be on a contender. I wonder if they will address this need? I agree that a veteran makes sense as they have what looks like tommorow’s guy.

  17. There is no way that Vokoun would take that much of a salary reduction, especially to play as the mentor who will eventually be overtaken by the student type of role. I suspect that he could still make whatever type of money he wants and be on a contender regardless. Let’s face it, outside of Brigs in Phoenix, Vokoun is the top goalie on the market and team who feel they need an upgrade in goal which would put them over the top will kick the tires hard on Vokoun. Might get a 1 or 2 year deal out of it around 4-5 million which is considerably good (Maybe a touch more if there is a bidding war).
    The Flyers would be better off grabbing someone cheaper who is also talented but nearing the end of thier career (Nabokov if you could get him cheap would be interesting for example).

  18. Why are Poultsy comments highlighted in yellow like Spectors?

  19. @ Dino .. I’m an administrator for both of Lyle’s websites.