NHL Trade and Free Agent Rumors – January 18, 2012.

The latest on the Sabres, Red Wings, Blue Jackets and more.


Roy and Stafford still figure prominently in Sabres trade rumors.

KUKLA’S KORNER: Dave Davis cited a report by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun claiming the Buffalo Sabres are looking to change the makeup of their top two forward lines via trade, with Derek Roy, Drew Stafford and Brad Boyes among those believed in play, as GM Darcy Regier is trying to move one of his top six forwards for a top six forward.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the Red Wings management and scouting will be discussing their trade options during an upcoming three-day pro and amateur scouting meetings in Las Vegas. “We’ll go over all the teams, we’ll go over our team, the real emphasis is on the trade deadline,” general manager Ken Holland said. “But there’s also free agency on July 1. We’ll go over what we think we need and what might be out there for the trade deadline and also free agency.” The Red Wings are in the market for a goal-scoring winger and/or a gritty third-fourth line winger. They have over $5.7 million in available cap space, and are said to have interest in Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu and Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky. Khan also suggested the Wings might have interest if Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne were to agree to be dealt, and believes the Wings are more apt to chase a big name player like New Jersey’s Zach Parise this summer via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One not combine both needs in one and pursue Ruutu? I think he’d be a good fit with the Wings. As for Hemsky, given the decline in his offensive production and his lengthy injury history, I’d look at other options, but if there nothing better available, I wouldn’t give up much to get him. Selanne would also be a good fit with the Wings, provided he’s willing to accept a trade.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Bob Hunter speculates on what the Blue Jackets might do with goaltender Curtis Sanford, who has been arguably their MVP this season and exceeded expectations. Sanford is eligible for UFA this summer.

CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman yesterday “there’s a suspicion that if Ilya Bryzgalov or Sergei Bobrovsky doesn’t grab a stranglehold on the net, Philadelphia may look at someone else (on a short-term contract) to calm the position.”…Several teams (Anaheim is one) is believed interested in Toronto AHL defenceman Korbinian Holzer…It’s believed the Blackhawks have interest in Columbus center Derick Brassard, but Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said he won’t be traded after all…No truth to a rumor the Montreal Canadiens had interest in Sean Avery…

SPECTOR’S NOTE:Most of what Friedman’s reported here has appeared elsewhere… The Flyers primary need right now appears to be defense, but if they were to pursue a “short-term” goalie, there really aren’t many options available. No, they won’t get Cory Schneider from Vancouver or Jonathan Bernier from the Kings! Right now, the best option might be Minnesota’s Josh Harding, but the Wild are in dire need of offensive depth, and they’re not selling any players right now.


  1. Anybody have info on Toronto AHL defenceman Korbinian Holzer ?

  2. I posted it elsewhere, but the Sabres should move just one of those players and see if it changes the culture of the team.

    And seeing Parise going to Detroit or NY Rangers would banish me from hockey. Hate when I see teams like Detroit getting a “free” all star only to walk to the finals like they did with Rafalski.

  3. Holzer… 4th rounder, kinda big (6’3 200), 8 pts in 35 games, even. Might be a shut down or hitting d-man.

  4. Holzer is a stay at home kinda guy, solid vision, good bottom pairing guy IMO. But doubt he’ll end up top four quality from the Marlie games that I have seen, Though reports seem to think that Leafs management thinks he is ready to be called up which is why they are looking at shipping a defenseman for forward depth. I maintain if the Leafs want to shops defenseman make it Liles and Gunnerson.

    Phaneuf, Schenn, Aulie, Franson, Gardiner should be kept and if Komi and Holzer can provide internal depth its perfect. Gunnerson is overrated but has decent value and Liles is a UFA and Phaneuf, Gardiner, and Franson have enough offense plus Percy is an offensive guy for the future.

  5. Lightning and Blackhawks going to make a deal?

  6. I believe that the Blackhawks could be targeting Brassard. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years its that the Hawks keep their cards close, and will most likely acquire a player no one expected or predicted. So I always take these rumors about them with a grain of salt, doubting these reporters found some sort of “leak” unless it’s from the other end (in this case Columbus).

  7. It’s not likely to happen, but I think a Ryan Miller-for-Vinnie Lecavalier swap would benefit both the Sabres and Bolts. The cap numbers work out about the same and it fills a need for both teams. Tampa needs a goalie and Buffalo needs a top-line centre. Roloson certainly hasn’t been the goaltender he was last year and won’t be again at his age. Miller would give Tampa the top-level goaltender they need and Enroth can be “the guy” in Buffalo at a fraction of the cap hit. Lecavalier would fill Buffalo’s need for a big top line centre (and would bump Derek Roy down to #2 pivot where he is better suited) as Vinnie’s role as #1 centre in Tampa has been filled by Stamkos.

    One could argue that teams don’t trade their captains, but Philly moved captain Mike Richards last summer. If a team’s labeled captain isn’t the true leader in the locker room (as Richards apparently wasn’t and it doesn’t seem that Vinnie is), it’s easy to sew a “C” on another player’s jersey.

  8. Miller for Lecavalier, oh please!

  9. Sorry guys but you’re crazy if you think a struggling Sabres team would actually improve by giving up their #1 goaltender and taking back a contract worth $7.7M/yr until 2020. If this season ends up being a bust, having that sort of albatross contracts on the books would seriously impede future improvements. Not to mention that Vinny’s level of play seems to rise and fall depending on how much ice time he gets with St Louis, playmaking skills that Buffalo currently doesn’t possess.

  10. Why do people assume Lecavalier wants to be traded from Tampa Bay? And to a team that isn’t french-canadian no less ….

  11. “And seeing Parise going to Detroit or NY Rangers would banish me from hockey. Hate when I see teams like Detroit getting a “free” all star only to walk to the finals like they did with Rafalski.”

    I couldn’t help but notice this. In what way did Detroit get Rafalski for free? They had to give him a 5 year deal for 30 million dollars as a 34 year old. He was a great addition, especially in the first year of the deal, but most Wings fans knew they would likely have to take a hit later on (years 4 and 5) to get a premiere offensive dman now. Luckily Rafalski decided to retire and the Wings were able to see that Ian White would replace him admirably.

    This isn’t 2001. The Wings don’t get top players for “free”. They either draft and develop them or sign/trade for them at market value.

  12. im sorry. i had to make a comment. how many goalies in the nhl are better than miller? lundqvist? thomas? thats about it, and anyone who says luongo is a moron. to even think for a second that miller would get traded you have to have lost your marbles. secondly to think for a second vinny lecavalier is gonna leave the beautiful sunshine in florida, for a dirty filth town, u havta be crazy. if he wanted to leave tampa he would have went to montreal when he was a ufa. he signed a contract to end his career there has an nmc. miller is only gonna get traded for a legit number one goalie plus roster player or first rounder. miller for howard and a first makes alot of sense. for detroit. and thats the most fair deal i can think of. and i think theres 0 chance of miller being moved.

  13. One more thing: Rafalski is from Michigan so it’s not surprising he chose Detroit. Parise is from Minnesota so it won’t be surprising if he chooses the Wild.

  14. Goodness! How in the world does trading Howard (plus a 1st rounder no less) for Miller make any sense for Detroit? They already have the better performing goalie who is near the top of the league statistically at a fraction of the cost.

  15. While I like Enroth, I don’t think he is “starter” material. I don’t see trading Miller unless the Sabres receive a goalie in return – maybe Hiller for Miller – but I just don’t see Miller leaving and he is going to have to work himself out of his “funk” this year. I think the Sabres should look forward and try to clear some salary cap issues. We know that Boyes, Hecht and Gaustad can be gone by the trade deadline and next year – ok so it doesn’t clear up $10MM, but it does clear up at least $6. What I would like to see is the Sabres trade Stafford for an O’Reilly, Brassard or Bolland – we need some energy and leadership. I don’t think a trade will wake the boys up as they need to do that themselves, but I think a trade could change a little chemistry.

  16. @Steve; I’m sure you were just throwing the name out there but I have to say, Bolland is a far better player than Stafford. Regardless of stats, he is the guy that makes all the lines fall into place for the hawks. Constantly centers against other teams best lines. That cannot be replaced by an average winger.

  17. Mtl interested in Avery? Really? I would really question the sanity of Gauthier if he was traded to Mtl.

    As for Lecavalier.. I’m not positive but I believe Lecavalier has a NTC.. not sure he would want to leave TB.

  18. JJB how is Gunnerson over rated? No one knows who he is so explain, please.

  19. I think we can look at Buffalo and agree that those teams that really dig into a free-agency rarely do well.

    Although Parise would fit in perfectly in Detroit; it’s hard to see them pick up a scorer that they didn’t groom. They’d also be crazy to play with the chemistry of that team by making a big move at the deadline. I know the Ales rumours have been a plenty to Rock City, they won’t give up much for him (keep in mind, San Jose and Detroit have built a foundation a grabbing guys in late rounds and turning them into big time NHLers). Tuomo Ruutu, will cost a team badly… something I don’t see the Red Wings doing (When’s the last time you saw Detroit give up the future for the current? The team’s been built on drafting and developing, and then picking up players that fit in well when available).

    It’s sad that the Oilers are sellers for what seems to be the past decade at trade deadline. Derek Roy is a great player, that for the past few seasons has been dealing with injuries… I think if a team could get him out of Buffalo for a cheap price, they could really rob the Sabres. You don’t want to be Montreal, making knee jerk decisions that end up with you getting the lesser player in a deal.

    Also Miller to Detroit is unlikely. I know people say he “fits in perfectly” there, Michigan boy; who returns “home” to play with a team he most likely grew up cheering for; but the Wings have had a long standing history of not paying goalies, and instead lean on a strong defense and puck possession game to make up for it. They’re also on top of the NHL again, so I doubt they’d want to shake up their roster at this point of time, especially for a goalie that’s just been awful this season.

  20. About Rafalski: hence why I quoted “free”. They signed him right off the market. Sure they paid a lot, but they’ve been a dominant playoff force with him; he’s excellent in big games. He scored a very memorable insurance goal game 4 NJ vs Dallas that I’ll never forget.

    But I’m speaking my feelings about Detroit getting him. It’s not a hockey comment, it’s an MJR I comment. I just don’t like watching the Wings in the playoffs and I’m NOT watching another Stanley Cup run. I’ll just skip a few years and watch hockey again when things even up again. I don’t hate the Wings out of disrespect, I hate them because they’re good. It would just suck for me to see a player go from my team to a team I hate, and watching Devils migrate to the Rangers and the Red Wings stirs me.

    I hated seeing the Wings get him because I loved him in Jersey.

    If Parise goes to Minnesota, I’ll be fine with that 😛 And yeah, I know why Rafalski chose the wings. It broke my heart 😀

    If Buffalo is moving Miller, they better “test a deal” by moving one of their forwards and fast. Darcy’s horsing around when he probably should have tried a trade in December.

    See my comment in other blog about Ducks moving Getzlaf. It’s too risky to trade off an all star player while his stock is low.

  21. ive heard a rumour of Grabovski going to the blackhawks to fill that #2 centre role, with the leafs getting Frolik and Kyle Beach any truth to that?

  22. Holzer deserves a shot at NHL level. Great size and gritty. Leafs should make room for him on the roster and get rid of some dead weight, ie:Komisarek

  23. It’ll be true if it happens.

    Don’t think Toronto are peddling Grabovski though.

  24. For years now I have been arguing to my buddy’s that Miller will one way or another end up in a wings uniform. (My argument was primarily based around the fact that his brother plays for the Wings). Drew is not very good, and I strongly believed that the only reason Holland kept him around was to lure Ryan from Buffalo. The wings haven’t had an elite goalie in his prime for a long time. Hasek, but still old, Osgood, a very good average goalie. However, the wings now have a young elite goalie. Holland won’t trade for Miller. period.

    The wings will go after another winger before the deadline. I love the idea of Ruutu, Selanne is an interesting addition and I think Boyes deserves a look as well. I think the only way Detroit would land Parise is if they Land a No.1 Dman or Nick stays. I like to dream that we can sign both Weber and Parise in July. A pipe dream yes, but not entirely impossible.

  25. A goalie is as good as his defense. Put Tim Thomas or Jonathan Quick on this struggling Sabres team right now and they would be just as good as Miller is performing. I am a huge Sabres fan and watch every game and it is absolutely pathetic how the D and the forwards leave him out to dry on every single play. Also keep in mind Miller has suffered 2 concussions in the past year and whiplash, he is not as aggressive on the angles as he used to be. With time Miller will be back to his same self and if the Sabres trade him now they will not get as good as a return as they would if they trade him when he has re-gained his form

  26. THewes

    Lecalvier for Miller wouldn’t be a good fit IMO. Lecalvier is just another one of those forwards that underachievs from time to time and that’s what we are trying to get away from. Right now the best move would be to trade Miller and Roy to Ducks in exchange for Getzlaf and Parros and then involve Tampa in a 3 team trade and have Anaheim receive Lecalvier and Roloson and a draft pick for Hiller…

  27. RK

    that’s a nice dream but pretty impossible… Wings won’t have the cap to sign both Parise and Weber…

  28. JJB: I am curious as to how Gunnarsson is overrated in your opinion?

    He was drafted 7th round, 194 overall so that says “hey kid, if you can do more then tie your own skates we won with that pick”.
    He is paid 1.3 mil which is 900-400k more then a entry level contract. Overpaid? Hardly.
    He has put up 49 points in 155 games, how many of those is from PP? I doubt many.
    He keeps popping up in trade rumors as a asset, is that why he is overrated? Because surely, if GMs are showing interest in him, then he must be overrated.

    If that is not enough, lets have a look at Finger.
    He was drafted round 8, 240th overall.
    He is paid 3.5 mil which is 2.2 more then Gunnarsson.
    He has put up 33 points in 105 games with Maple Leafs.
    HE was overrated and NO, it isn’t and wasn’t his fault. He got offered money and signed, like eeeeveryone else would have.

  29. Say What? Anaheim gives up Hiller – Parros and Getzlaf and all they receive in return is Lecavlier? and a washed up Roloson? that is totally insane and will never happen, I am shocked you actually believe that is a good deal.

  30. Id hate to be aToronto fan because there’s never a surprise when a trade goes through. Brian Burke always announces what hes planning to do.I also hate being a sharks fan because Doug Wilson keeps to himself so you never no what to expect from him. Ah the issue With GMs in the NHL

  31. @ J.

    They have 13 mil in cap space now. UFAs next year are Hudler, Bert, Stuart, Lidstrom, Commodore, and Conklin. They have a ton of space, especially if Lidstrom hangs them up. And even if he doesn’t, if Holland approaches him and says hey we need you to take a pay cut so we can sign two all-stars so we can give you one last kick at the cup, he will take it. They money is there pal.

  32. Parise:
    I think he should stay in Jersey myself. The team has such a good culture and they named you captain, why ditch them? Quite honestly, I don’t think any team is FAR ahead of Jersey in terms of cup contention.

    I do hope they settle their financial woes, maybe deal off a bad contract, and get to sign Parise longterm. They aren’t exactly spent to the cap in the offseason. They’ll still be able to re-sign many of those players to deals, afford Parise and be at around 56-57 M. They just need to settle the ownership woes.

  33. Dice, I wasn’t just throwing a name out – I think either O’Rielly, Bolland or Brassard would be a gread addition to the Sabres, especially after watching tonights game against Chicago. I would even take Shaw for Stafford. You would think that these guys are making a great living out of playing hockey and if it were me, I would be giving my all and working my arse off. The Sabres were pretty sad last night and I feel for Lindy, Miller and Enroth because it’s not about coaching- it is about heart. It really is a shame that Pegula and the fans can’t get a refund for the majority of the team’s lack of effort. Tonight was an embarrassment for the all the team. As much as some would like to blame Leino for the Hawk’s scoring on his blind pass or saying momentum changed – that is just one play and the whole game was a fiasco.

  34. MJR and Steve, I would recommend getting more involved in forum discussion. Seems like we could go on all day about some of these issues, the forum’s the place to do it. Hope to see you there.

    MJR- Jersey is a solid team but yes, they are far off from cup contention. They need to focus on making the playoffs first which is certainly no lock. But a 7 game s tries against Boston, NY, Philly, or a healthy Pitt team seems daunting for the Devils. But a playoff appearance could entice Parise to stay so that’s the first step.

    Steve- I only said you were throwing a name out there because Bolland for Stafford wouldn’t be a fair deal, which I think you agree. Bolland isn’t a superstar or anything, but what he brings tot he team, especially in postseason play is irreplaceable. The game tonight was certainly embarrassing for the Sabres, who seem like they’ve just given up to be honest. Can’t imagine their having much fun these days.

  35. I think everyone’s forgetting that Weber will still be an RFA this summer. The Preds could go to arbitration again, could resign him or trade him….he’s not going to sign in Detroit unless they deal picks, prospects, and current talent for him. Last time I checked, Holland wasn’t the kind of GM that does that. Not impossible, but very unlikely!

  36. I don’t think any d-man is as frothworthy as Weber. Every single GM in the league would hunt him and yeah they’d give up picks and prospects to get him. Even Holland.

    I’d say what separates Jersey from playoff contention is defense. I like Fayne, Salvador, Larsson, I’m unsure about Greene, Tallinder, and I don’t know how Volchenkov will play. If they can solidify their D corps (dealing Tallinder away, pretty much), they’re going to be a very tough team to play, they’re nearly elite down the middle (four different guys could fill number #1 center role and do it competently, though I actually like Henrique there more than Zajac) and they have three gamebreaking players where most other teams have maybe one or two.

    Next three games will be a real test for them (Boston, Philly, the Rangers)

  37. @ Jeb I believe a team can only take a player to arbitration once according to the CBA. A player however can ask for arbitration an unlimited number of times.

  38. I hope Montreal does not go for Avery. That would be a huge mistake because he is a huge goon.