NHL Rumor Mill – May 16, 2018

by | May 16, 2018 | Rumors | 48 comments

Latest on P.K. Subban, Kris Letang and more in your NHL rumor mill.

NO BIG MOVES EXPECTED FOR THE PREDATORS

THE TENNESSEAN: Joe Rexrode doubts we’ll see any major offseason moves by the Nashville Predators. Short of either a major trade offer or defenseman Ryan Ellis’ contract extension talks going south, Predators general manager David Poile isn’t expected to shake things up. If Poile makes a move or two, Rexrode speculates it’ll likely be for a depth free agent, someone like Vegas’ Ryan Reaves or New Jersey’s Patrick Maroon. He also feels the club’s fortunes next season could depend upon promising forwards Eeli Tolvanen and Ryan Hartman.

Rexrode also dismissed recent speculation out of Canada suggesting the Predators could trade defenseman P.K. Subban. The club isn’t actively seeking to move the Norris Trophy finalist. During the season-ending interview with the media, head coach Peter Laviolette sang Subban’s praises.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban’s not going anywhere. The recent speculation hinting that he rubs some of his Predators teammates the wrong way appears to be a carry-over from his days with the Canadiens. Rexrode, however, points out the Predators voted for Subban as a finalist for the King Clancy Trophy. “Diabolical, pretending to respect him like that!”, sneered Rexrode.

There’s also some speculation floating around suggesting the Predators could move Pekka Rinne, who’s entering the final season of his contract and eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Poile does have a recent history of making bold moves, but I believe he’ll retain the Vezina Trophy Finalist for one more run at the Stanley Cup next year.

Don’t expect Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang to be traded this summer (Photo via NHL Images).

PENGUINS NOT SHOPPING LETANG

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reports Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said he’s not actively shopping defenseman Kris Letang, who struggled at time this season after missing the second half of 2016-17 recovering from neck surgery. While Rutherford said he can’t project the future, he still considers Letang a great player and expects he’ll be part of their roster next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford might be willing to listen to offers for Letang, but it’ll take one helluva pitch to convince him to part with his top defenseman.  I don’t expect any club will be able to make a  proposal that’ll sway the Penguins GM. He’ll keep his core intact in hopes of another Cup run next season. Letang, 31, is signed through 2021-22 with a $7.25-million cap hit and a modified no-trade clause. He’s not going anywhere. 

UPDATE ON THE BLUES

STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon recently addressed some offseason speculation about the St. Louis Blues from his readers during a recent live chat. He suggests Pittsburgh Penguins center Derick Brassard could be a trade option, noting the center didn’t shine with the Penguins following a trade from Ottawa in February. He could become a salary-cap casualty. 

Gordon also thinks former Blues center Paul Stastny could seek $5 million annually on a three-year deal, making it difficult for the Winnipeg Jets to re-sign him. He also doesn’t see many goaltending options available that would be better than current Blues starter Jake Allen. He also speculates the Blues might look at bringing back gritty winger Ryan Reaves, now playing with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Asked if New Jersey Devils winger Patrick Maroon might be a piece that could help the Blues, Gordon projects him as a third-line winger.

Gordon believes landing Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres would be expensive. He’s not sure if the Blues have sufficient depth in prospects to land him. While Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk would be a buy-low possibility, Gordon speculates Blues GM Doug Armstrong might prefer a more proven option. 

Asked if the Blues could move Patrick Berglund or Vladimir Sobotka, Gordon would be surprised if both were dealt. However, Sobotka could be the more likely trade candidates as he lacks no-trade protection. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Blues GM Doug Armstrong will attempt to bolster his club’s scoring punch this summer, preferably by adding a center via trade or free agency. He could consider bringing back Stastny but I feel he has other options in mind.

With over $62 million invested in 18 players, the Blues have room to pursue New York Islanders center John Tavares via free agency. Still, that would be a very expensive addition for Armstrong. More affordable options could be revisiting his rumored interest in Montreal’s Max Pacioretty or Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman. If the Penguins decide to dump Brassard, Armstrong could come calling.  O’Reilly would be a great fit but the cost of acquiring him is likely too high. 

 








48 Comments

  1. Brassard was hurt. Still played poorly but gmjr ain’t going to get back in line for the third line center roller coaster unless he has something else planned. So unless a taveres 🙄 or a Stastny is signed brassard stays. A pens major trade would be letang or kessel and that’s not likely.

    • Brassard isn’t going anywhere….we gave up a terrific young goalie for him…and Brassard was hurt he will be good next year with a full year..

      • I agree & at 3 mil he provides solid value.

        Pit has very little wiggle room; in or around 10 to 12 mil when the cap rises to 80 to 82 mil next season, to get it’s 5 RFA’s resigned, Sheahan, Simon, Rust, Kuhnhackl & Oleksiak. Can all 5 of those guys be resigned under 10 mil? I don’t think so.

        Not sure what happens to UFA Rowney but I assume Hunwick will be bought out, although that only leaves Pit with 6 Dman so 2 are being added to the 23 man roster either via trade, UFA signing or promotion.

        There is a chance Pit might find a buyer for Hagelin, really it would just be a salary dump as most teams don’t like to pay checking wingers 4 mil in cap hit, he might yield a 2nd most likely a 3rd round pick if they even choose to move him, he has been stapled to Malkin’s LW for a very long time at 5 on 5. If they ate salary it would get easier & the return improved slightly.

        If they want to bring in a better #6 Dman than Ruhwedel something has to give salary wise.

      • I do think so. Kuhnhackel gets essentially minimum wage. Same with Simon. Rust is 3-4. Oleksiak is 2-3. Sheahan is 2-3. At the max pens looking like 12 mil but average would be less than ten.

      • Oh and once again false malkin hags narrative

  2. If Nashville wants to be a cup contender next year, then sitting back and doing nothing isn’t an option. They didn’t have the scoring depth to compete. Kyle Turris was a no show and Nick Bonino didn’t bring the depth they were hoping.
    Trading Rennie, who took them to the Stanley Cup finals last season and trading him away hoping that Saros can jump right in and handle to emotional side of playing 65 games isn’t a good strategy and the return for a 35yr old goalie 1yr removed from UFA isn’t bringing back anything of significance.
    The Jets who pushed Nashville to the sidelines are trending up, depending on what happens with Trouba, the indications are Winnipeg will be better next season then they are this. If Nashville decide to stand pat, then it’s very likely they have another early playoff exit next season.

    • I think it would be an overreaction to say they need big changes. They won a presidents trophy, made a Stanley cup final, and only got put out by a very good Winnipeg team in game 7 because of an off game. Rinne is capable of playing better than he showed in these playoffs, and if he plays even average, it’s likely Nashville in the conference finals right now.

      That isn’t to lay the blame at his feet, but the reality is in a hyper competitive league, you will sometimes lose because of an individual not having their best game. It doesn’t mean you throw everything out, you just continue with a plan that keeps your team competitive for the long run, to give yourself the most opportunities at winning.

      Tampa, Winnipeg and Washington have all shown this patience. None of them panicked after varying levels of disappointment, all made some tough decisions along the way, and all of them at some point, stuck with rosters and key players that were part of the disappointment because they realized that judging things on a small sample size wasn’t a good decision. One of those teams will be rewarded this year with a cup final appearance, and likely one of them wins a cup.

      • Danny, you say you don’t want to lay blame at Rinne feet, yet you lay blame at Rinne feet.
        If Helleybuck had of played better Nashville would’ve been out in 4 straight, If Nashville got more scoring they might have advance. The reality they didn’t and Winnipeg was the better, deeper team.
        Winnipeg added Stastny at the trade deadline, brought in Mason and Kulikov in the offseason.
        Tampa added McDonagh, JT Miller and traded for Sergachev in the offseason.
        I wouldn’t say them teams didn’t add anybody, Nashville brought in Turris and Reaves.
        They made stand pat but I doubt it very much, they need to add more scoring depth.

      • Rinne, no scoring from their 2nd line of Fiala, Turris & Smith & Josi not having a good playoff killed Nashville. Although sitting Hartnell to play the long past due Fisher was probably not a great decision & that falls to management & coaching. Ideally, the 4th line should have been Hartnell, Jarnkrok & Hartman, they could have wreaked some havoc & contributed offensively, not Fisher centering some combination of those 2 or Salomaki & Jarnkrok. The 4th line was a mess.

        Anyone of these things plays out differently & we aren’t having this discussion, nor will Fisher be returning next season thank god. That was a terrible decision based on loyalty. Allowing Fisher to potentially be part of a cup run. He retired & that messed with chemistry & line combinations on the 3rd & 4th lines. Lines that had worked for most of the season.

    • Unfortunately, the bracket format isn’t leaving next season, so the best team in the NHL playing the 2nd best team again in the 2nd round is possible as stupid as that is.

      Nas will continue to improve from within. Fiala, Watson, Scissons, Salomaki & Hartman are all just kids not yet fully developed. All will keep getting better for several more years.

      Turris will have had time to better adjust to Nas’s system & his linemates. This is a solid roster & they will be right there again next season.

      Forsberg, Johansen, Arvidsson.
      Fiala, Turris, Smith.
      Scissons, Bonino, Watson.
      Salomaki RFA, Jarnkrok, Hartman RFA.
      Spare. ?.

      Josi, Ellis.
      Ekholm, Subban.
      Irwin, Weber.
      Bitetto, ?.

      Rinne, Saros RFA.

      Their entire roster is in their mid 20’s, Bonino & Irwin are the oldest skaters at 30, next is Smith at 28, Rinne’s the old man at 35 but not an issue for goalies, the stud goalies play well into their late 30’s.

      They have 1 of the best prospects not playing in the NHL in Tolvanen, waiting in the wings for a roster spot to open up, barring injury or an unanticipated trade the business side of the game is forcing him to the minors until a roster spot opens up from 1 of the 2 options above.

      They have 18 players signed & 7.5 & change in cap space at today’s cap hit of 75 mil. That gives Nas 12 to 15 mil to sign their 3 RFA’s in Hartman, Salomaki & Saros no big raises coming there. That will get them to 21 players leaving room for 13th forward/Spare & ideally a solid shut down Dman with PK skills to man the 3rd pairing. They have the monies to go UFA shopping.

      There is no shame in losing in game 7 to Win. This series could have gone either way. Rinne played poorly. All goalies go through hot &* cold spells unfortunately for Rinne his was at the worst possible time but no guarantee that repeats its self-next season & the torch could be passed at some point if it does next season.

      • I started writing and realized you pretty much just hit my response.

        The goal is to build a team that is regulary competitive and hope that things go right, and players get hot at the right time.

        Nashville should make some minor changes, but the core is insanely good and changing it for the sake of change doesn’t make a lot of sense. Good deals are borne out of patience, not forcing them. The reason Poile’s big deals come out of nowhere are because he doesn’t go around hard shopping player, but isn’t afraid to get involved once something very appealing comes up.

      • The current playoff model is great.

      • I & most people I know hate it. I assume it won’t be changed until the next lockout if at all.

      • hopefully not. the conference finals and the cup finals dont need to sell themselves. the beginning rounds do to not hardcore fans. win nash was good for business.

  3. Letang? Who in their right mind would trade for a concussed stroked out turnover machine that makes 7 million dollars Per year?

    • The cunucks, hahaha

    • Stroked out? Man that’s just disgusting. Also, calling him a turnover machine is just misleading.

      He didn’t lead the league in turnovers, and per minute of play his rate of turnovers was the same as Crosby’s. Players who have the puck a lot turn it over more, but it’s a worthwhile risk.

      Players like Subban, Carlson, Klingberg, Petry Ekblad, and Burns all had higher turnover rates, and guys who are perceived as defensive minded “safe” defensemen like Alzner, Hainsey, Chara, Russell, and Seabrook had far worse rates than Letang without providing the same offensive upside.

      He had a down year compare to what he can bring, but that still put him safely in the territory of a top pairing D, and he is still one of the better offensive defensemen in the league.

    • If Letang were made available & being shopped numerous teams would gladly step up to bid. Nor is he a turn over machine, he’s an offensive Dman with a reasonable defensive game. His job is to transition the play & help drive offence. This isn’t Rod Langway but Paul Coffee.

      I thought considering you trumpeted out goalies from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s & 80’s the other day this would be a better reference for you.

    • Yawn Dull with yet another bitter, uninformed comment.

      • Jealousy’s a bitch

      • You spelled Coffey wrong genius.

      • Did it take you a long time to come up with that? Same old line all the time from you. Must be lonely in your mothers basement.

      • wow… complaining about old lines then coming up with the oldest line in online hockey blogging. Was that deliberately done as tongue in cheek or are you just that lame?

      • Autocorrect on the phone but thank you.

      • I provided him with a reference he might understand. It’s not a line but 2 Dman from another generation. That was after his comparing Sawchuk, Plante, Esposito, etc. to Rinne.

    • Exactly….Letang was amazing in 2016, but he is fragile, and has become a turnover machine, but some clubs like Buffalo, Edmonton and Arizona need a puck carrying d-man. Arizona will lose Ekman larson in a year he wants $9 million per so

      • Oel resigning in zona.

      • I assume Arz gets OEL extended on July 1st for in or around 8.5 give or take for 8 years.

      • TSN actually projected OEL to be traded to Detroit in a deal for Hronek and Athanasiou.

        Would be interesting.

      • Meaning that is not the whole trade.

  4. I could see the Pens using Brassard as a trade chip. I like him a lot as a player, he was hurt in the playoffs and people underestimated the adjustment needed to go from Boucher to Sullivan, but…

    With only one year and a $3 million cap hit, he would have real appeal to some teams. I’d listen.

    Riley Sheahan proved he can play as a number 3 center.

    • Riley Sheahan has been a nice fit, but if he could play 3rd line center i doubt the penguins would have gone after Derrick Brassard c’mon now…

  5. Glad to hear Trouba wants to stay in Winnipeg. Going to be curious as to term, salary & cap hit. Living in Winnipeg for essentially the worst 7 months of the year isn’t ideal but why wouldn’t you want to play for this team. They will be a cup contender for years now.

    • His role is expanding as well, which really clears up a lot of his reason for wanting to leave (or at least what was stated).

      Winnipeg has a ton of value contracts on their books, and their contracts are relatively staggered as well, so they have a nice flow of at least one contract coming off their defense each year for the next 4 years. That way they always have money freed up with the flexibility to make change, but at the same time, never have to make more than one change at a time.

      It shouldn’t be too hard to justify whatever contract they end up giving him, as he is likely their most valuable D right now, and they pretty much just buying his prime years, but he is likely to become their highest paid player.

      They have some tough decisions coming up, but I would rather have tough decisions on talented players than just not have enough talent to compete.

    • Scrolling through comments. Where did you hear Trouba wants to stay in Winn?

      • Lyle posted to his News feed this AM.

    • I’m going to toss this out their as I grew up in the Maritimes and lived their till I was 25. Lived in northern Canada in churchill will ive seen the thermometer out side my window read -60 Celsius. Now for almost 2 years in in winnipeg.

      The winter here isnt that bad. It’s dry, I don’t shiver like in the Maritimes. It’s easier to manage if you simply put layers on. Sure it gets cold -40 is dang cold but Winnipeg wi get reputation to me is a bit exaggerated.

  6. ROR played 81 games took only 1 single penatly(smart player), led NHL in faceoff wins setting alltime record for wins in a season and had 61 points, Many teams didn’t have a center with 61 points. Plus, ROR goes against other teams top lines with majority of his starts in D zone. But yet fans claim he has no value, forgetting that Buffalo has an owner who doesn’t care about money and would pay half or whatever they could of his salary after a trade.

    • Trading ROR wouldn’t be smart. He’s just below the elite level 2 way C’s in the NHL. Worth every penny he’s making & the cost to acquire him.

      I’d move Eichel before I move ROR but neither should move. Eichel should find a way to check his ego for the betterment of Buf, this division that apparently exists on the team between his group & ROR’s is a concern if rumours are to be believed.

      The issue is going to be Mittelstadt. No reason he can’t play as the #3 C for at least a season if not 2 but then what? Does ROR return to LW like he played often in Col? As Mittelstadt comes out of his ELC the monies may not work with all 3 of those players at C.

      A great problem to have & still several years down the road regardless, at least 3 before Mittelstadt will be coming out of his ELC.

      • I wonder if Middelstadt will play left wing this year with Eichel. Possibly, he did skate there near end of season at least one game. I don’t want to trade ROR either but if they did we better be getting a top 7 draft pick, I like Wahlstrom

  7. Re Trading Letang– I’m against it as per most posts here. He is not the turnover machine mentioned in these posts. Glad to see others listed in same or worse numbers. Good in dressing room, large minutes– worth it— Keep. Re: Brassard— he did play hurt (and quite a substantial injury per Penguins Radio(????)— so decision on keep/trade is premature. Keep. I still say IMHO — it is Kessel that must be traded. I’ve actually watched Kessel in more than 500 games (probably closing in on 600). He has progressively got physically worse. He has progressively added weight and is winded MORE and MORE after every shift. His raw talent is undeniable. His ability to shoot and pass crisply has compensated for declining Cardio (IMHO). If you watch carefully, the amount he actually skates on each shift, has progressively declined. He paces for massive bursts of speed. Most of these bursts (again I say most instead of all— so don’t dump on me) are one way — towards the opposition goal. His stats and his ability with the puck this year has shown other teams his ability and I truly believe they value him quite high. I truly truly truly believe that this upcoming year his declining cardio, extra weight, declining fitness will regress to the point of overtaking his fantastic individual hockey skills and he will begin a rapid decline in points and other stats; and hence his value will decline rapidly. There is NO WAY IMHO that his value past next season is absolutely anywhere near $6.8 M (let alone the actual $8.0 AAV). 30 teams are now over-valuing him. GMJR— make the move— trade at the peak— you will definitely get a very strong 3D for him right now; and very likely at less than 6.8. This shifts down current 3,4,5 D to 4,5,6— imagine Pen low man 6D as Oleksiak— bonus!!!! For the bone head brutal D (whose name we shall not say) that spent 2 months in the press box— do NOT buy out. Cheaper to retain 50% and get something (4th rounder???). Do not re-sign Khun– unless 2 way. Bring up Sprong (for sure). Cap savings from Kessell trade (see above) and from 50% reduction from That Who Shall Not Be Named– should be used for free agent signing of top 6 winger. Last major(?) move IMHO that I would make would be (if reasonable trade) would be to trade Hags. Like his play, great on the PK— however too much for 3rd line winger/PK specialist— again all IMHO

    • And somehow kessel was a dominating player all season and only slowed down due to injury in the playoffs. Best season in some time. Yet he is getting progressively worse?

      • Kessel stays 92 points best penguins all season that includes 87 and 71. So he doesnt look great and he is a tad heavy still scores and produces un like 25 year old connor sheary..

      • He IS getting progressively more winded and out of shape. I didn’t say his production had progressively declined… on the contrary … his excellent skills have over compensated for the additional weight and regressing cardio.He’s at max now … full peak IMHO…. I truly believe numbers will decline starting in the fall and dramatically and rapidly in subsequent years …. trade the asset at its peak…. GMJR has to take the likeability and loyalty out of the equation regarding PK… the return will be big and well worth it IMHO by playoff time next year…..if he can get a 26/27 year old 3D with term AND a savings in Cap… GMJR must do it…. risk reward…. long term potential upside of that trade will far outweigh the potential downside

      • its not about loyalty… kessel gives them the best chance to win now. this aint a team building for the future. this is a get as many cups as you can with this core and then be mediocre for awhile type team. GMJR is like 120 years old… he dont care about the team in 5 years or so. even 1 cup is worth it with this mentality… just ask most of the rest of the fans in the league. 2 he has so far. pens will continue to trade futures and spend to the cap while malkin and crosby are in their prime. then it will be quite dry around playoff time for some years. but soooo worth it.

      • First year with Pittsburgh 59 points, second year 70, and 92 this year. This season only 6 forwards scored more points than Kessel but 57 saw more ice time per game. He hasn’t missed game in the last 8 regular seasons and he’s played 31 playoff games in the last three seasons. He should be tired. A lot of GM’s would want a player like that.

  8. If Kessel gets 80 plus points next year I will eat my words (gladly if he remains a Pen against my current desire; and regrettably if a trade happens and my supposed 3D fails miserably