NHL Rumor Mill – August 8, 2016

by | Aug 8, 2016 | Rumors | 60 comments

Marc-Andre Fleury remains hopeful of sticking with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Marc-Andre Fleury remains hopeful of sticking with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

 Latest on Marc-Andre Fleury and Antoine Vermette, plus an update on the Colorado Avalanche in your NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS:  James O’Brien cited a recent interview by Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury expressing his hope of winning back his job as the club’s starter. During the 2016 playoffs, Fleury was supplanted by rookie Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to the Stanley Cup. That prompted considerable trade speculation about Fleury, who hopes to spend the remainder of his career with the Penguins. 

O’Brien notes a trade is possible, but Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford still seems intent on starting the season with Fleury and Murray as his goalie tandem. He also notes the veteran netminder’s $5.75 million annual salary-cap hit and modified no-trade clause (listing 12 trade preferences) makes it difficult to swing a deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leading up to the 2016 NHL Draft in June, there was talk the Calgary Flames inquired into Fleury’s availability, but Rutherford apparently wanted the Flames’ first-round pick as part of the return. The Flames instead acquired Brian Elliott from the St. Louis Blues.

It’s been suggested the Dallas Stars could come calling, as they reportedly had some interest in Tampa Bay Lightning starter Ben Bishop during the draft weekend. However, the Stars must move one of their current tandem (Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi) if they’re to take on Bishop or Fleury. As O’Brien suggests, questions about Fleury’s long-term future in Pittsburgh could carry over into the upcoming season. 

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa notes the Colorado Avalanche’s recent re-signing of defenseman Tyson Barrie leaves the club with less than $1 million in salary-cap space for 2016-17. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  The Avs could shed some salary via trade before the start of the season. A more likely option, however, is demoting one or two players currently carrying two-way contracts for the upcoming season (forward Rocco Grimaldi or a defenseman such as Nikita Zadorov or Chris Bigras) if they don’t perform well during training camp and preseason play. Patrick Wiercioch ($800K) could also become a demotion candidate.

Center Antoine Vermette, recently bought out by the Arizona Coyotes, probably won’t have any difficulty landing with another NHL team. Shinzawa notes the 34-year-old Vermette tallied 17 goals and 38 points in 76 games last season, suggesting he could be an affordable pickup as a third- or fourth-line center. 


  1. as much as I like MAF! I think the Pens trade him for not much but a bit of Cap Space

    • anyone who thinks Murray should start ahead of the veteran Fleury has absolutely no hockey sense at all. Murray was a rookie on a bit of a fluky run. He has not been tested over a season. Jones in that final series way out played him. The only reason they won the cup was because of their speed and talent ahead of him. Only a moron would not start the season with Fleury and the only reason they entertained any sort of trade talk at all was to see if they could get a high first round pick out of it. they couldn’t and that was that.

      • You’re dillusional. MAF has choked in the playoffs for years. Murray is their starter now. He proved all he needed to. He was exceptional and he won the hardest trophy (with his team) in all of sports.

      • Question remains: is Matt Murray going to be Patrick Roy or Cam Ward?

      • Mike you obviously have no Hockey Clue….Murray had the easiest time any goalie has ever had to the Stanley cup final. In that series Jones out played him so bad it was no contest. All he had to do was make the easy saves. Pittsburgh had twice as many shots on Jones. Jones should have won the MVP over Crosby for sure. No one has the guts to give it to the best player of the tournament if they’re on the losing team unfortunately. He was the only reason the series wasn’t a sweep.

  2. If I’m Rutherford I’d hold on to MAF as well its not a terrible amount of cap on 2 goalies and if the young guy has some hiccups a decent vet to back him up, yes expansion is coming but the priority should be this sesason not next..unless someone offers exactly what I want then I’m not moving him expansion or not Pens don’t need the cap room that badly currently.

    • The problem with hanging onto MAF is not this season it’s just really risky hanging onto him the closer the expansion draft comes. With his contract status making him a must protect if there is no deal to be made the Penguins risk losing their only superstar caliber player under 25 or they risk giving up something substantial to sweeten a trade for MAF when teams know they can put the squeeze on the penguins. Right now there are deals to be had with Dallas if they take back Niemi, Ottawa because Anderson is 36 and Hammond is not a starter, Nashville if Rinne is injured for a long period of time yet again, Calgary if Elliot can’t hack the minutes, and Edmonton is they realize that Talbot is just a backup. With any of those teams the return could be lucrative and in some cases they could include Kunitz in the deal. Kuni still has good hockey left in him he just pouts when he’s not on Crosby’s line and having he and Hornqvist on the same line is redundant and Hornqvist is better suited with Crosby than Malkin. I know everyone wants Vesey but I also know Pittsburgh is on his short list(as they should be.) Moving MAF and Kunitz and signing Vesey, Pirri, and Enroth(if they don’t get a goalie back in the trade) would make the Penguins every more formidable and more importantly younger.

      • Rutherford isn’t forced to protect Fleury for the expansion draft – Only players with full NMC clauses automatically qualify for required protection status.

        Those with limited NTC’s (Fleury) can be left exposed; mind you that might mean the Pens get nothing in return, but Rutherford might be willing to accept that just to shed MAF’s cap and term…

        As for Bishop? If Yzerman’s willing to gamble on Ben’s need to stay in Tampa/stay with a team with an open “Cup window”, he may simply leave him unsigned and unprotected; counting on the possibility that Vegas won’t draft a goalie (no matter how good) on an expiring contract, that may not re-sign with them for ANY amount if the playoffs seem YEARS away.

        Yzerman may say “Ben we’re not protecting you, but come July 1 we’d definitely want to talk a new deal to keep you in town, and keep the team together…”

        Seems to have worked, so far – “You don’t want to sign with another team. This is the team you want to stay with. This is the contract you’ll be willing to accept.”

        The Yzerplan Jedi mind-trick.

      • Just swing a deal with Vegas to have your goalies not selected

      • sorry sonny. MAF no movement clause protects him from selection. It sucks but that’s the scoop. I hope pens challenge the league legally if they cant find a solution. Deee… moving MAF gonna be tough…moving almost ten mil in space for kuni and MAF? nope. Kuni has value to the pens… not most other teams. pipe dream

      • Some really good points here! Never thought of Ottawa as an option, but it could work. I do think Fleury will be dealt as he is the most likely goalie to be taken by LV

      • Calgary Flames have more talent now in their system at goaltender with Gillies and Parsons then any other nhl team in the league. Did you not see what Parsons did to Team Canada at the Summer Showcase? Why would Calgary pay another 5.5 million to back up a goaltender they think is playing too many minutes? That’s just DUMB. Why do you think they hired Chad Johnson as back up? That’s an awful lot of if’s regarding Fleury and other teams. what if what if…you might as well say what if for every team in the league. I guess Fleury is potentially going everywhere by your account. Pittsburgh doesn’t need to change a thing. with or with out hornqvist or Kunitz they are the same team that could easily win the stanley cup next year. They have been a team capable of winning the stanley cup every year over the last 10 years. they only problem they’ve had is Fleury choking in the playoffs. You can take him in a season pool and win but when it comes time for playoffs you lose if you pick him. Why would anyone want a playoff choker.

      • CHRISMS…What right does any team in the league have to challenge the no movement clause. they agree to it because if a contract has that they don’t have to count the entire players salary towards the cap. they’ve been doing it with their high paid stars to screw the system so it’s all on them. Now that an expansion team is coming in they want to challenge it when it doesn’t work in their favor. I hope they all get screwed. Las Vegas is set up to have one of the best expansion teams ever due to this and for the amount they paid for that team they deserve it.

    • I think he blew the opportunity to move MAF to Calgary. I’m assuming Rutherfords price was too high. This smell’s of Gillies in Vancouver with Luongo.
      The Flower is huge in lockeroom, and if he’s traded mid season it’ll break some hearts

      • Very true, Fluery isnt wkorth a first round pick. Especially when its the Penguins reportedly looking to deal for cap room. A decent prospect and or a 3rd should suffice. Course, it is like you said with Vancouver, if it were the Nucks theyd be asking for a first liner, a prospect and a first round pick. I stil laugh how the Canucks went from Luongo and Schneider to Miller and Markstrom. Vancouver wasted Schneiders career by not playing him.

    • Goalies typically have more value in the offseason. Playoff teams won’t need him and neither will rebuilding teams by the trade deadline. You’re relying on a team’s starter to get injured or a bubble team (that happens to be on his list) willing to pay a high premium. The time to trade him is this summer when most teams are optimistic about their chances.

    • With you on that Schticky. There have been plenty of 1 year wonders in the past. And as many have said below, you will not get much for him. He has to submit a list of 12 teams, and if he doesn’t want to leave, pick teams that are obviously not going to be able to trade for him. IE – Washington, Montreal, Boston. Or exactly in the geographical area he wants to live, which may or may not include teams that need a tender.
      He earned the control he has and will use it, as he should.
      This leaves Pittsburgh with very little leverage when trying to make a deal. Unless their is a key injury, and he agrees to go, they will get very little for him. Other than the cap space.
      2nd round pick?
      It is not worth the risk for that return when you are trying to win a cup.

  3. With vermette available there is little to no hope of moving a guy like Bozak till later in the season if at all.

    • In some ways I wouldn’t mind seeing a return of Vermette to Ottawa. Strength down the middle is a proven NHL commodity and with Turris, Brassard, Vermette and Pageau they’d have a pretty solid core to roll out every night. Kelly could also fill in there when needed as could Zach Smith, although in his case, with the season he just had at wing, it becomes “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

      Signing Vermette would also make it easier to trade someone like Lazar, perhaps in a package with Borowiecki for a decent stay-at-home 5/6 D.

      • Yikes I don’t think Id want to move Lazar for such little return it may seem fine now but to me anyways it seems like one of those deals that you regret a year or 2 down the road

      • Shticky, Lazar’s been grumbling openly about his “development” being crimped by not playing him at C. Since there’s already a log-jam at that position, which would only increase considerable IF they did sign Vermette, it just seems he’d be the best available chip to deal for a solid 5/6 D – hopefully someone with a lot of experience who could mentor Chabot – assuming, of course, he plays well enough during training camp to make the make the team this time around. I hope he does because another year of junior isn’t going to do much for HIS “development” – much like Marner in T O. What the heck does he have to prove back in junior? If Lazar does stay with the Sens I can see him getting some “development” time at C – but in the AHL as he does have options there.

        Bozak, at $4 mil +, would need to be seen as a 2nd line C to justify anyone committing to that cap hit for 2 seasons, although I do think he could fill that role admirably for a number of teams.

        On the Leafs there is the start of a good log-jam at that position, especially if Marner stays with the team, with Kadri, Komarov, Holland, Matthews and Nylander all capable of playing that position. How do you see Bozak fitting in there? 2nd Line?

      • I think that is where he would slot in, yes George as the 2 or 1b 1a kind of thing with Kadri but I find this to be a rather big issue, for the same reason as Lazar. I m of the opinion guys need to develop at the position you want them to play so now with Nyander Mathews Kadri and Bozak I think there is too much up top at c and I’m not sure Nylander develops to reach his ceiling on wing, Imo they need to move a C can’t have Mathews playing as a 3 c gotta let him make his mistakes and learn from it I don’t think Nylander should be playing wing if you hope for the future to be Mathews and Nylander as your 1, 2 C. Have to see how it all shakes out but it’s odd for a team like them in recent years have next to no depth or youth at the position to now seemingly to have to much mid tier type Cs taking up roster spots from young guys who may (I only say may) turn out to be quite good on top of all that you mentioned there is still Liach as well as Frose who looked ok at times last year

      • agreed Shticky…Lazar was a superstar in every junior tourney he played in and was in the WHL as well. He went straight from WHL to NHL which i disagree with strongly. with out take at least a one year trip to the AHL these young players are being given no time to mature. There’s an age limit in the AHL there also should be one in the NHL maybe every team could apply for a special under age player every year that would go against a board who would decide whether or not the kid can play but it’s wrong to have 18 year old very impressionable boys playing with old men. I can only hope that Calgary sends Tkachuk back down for another junior year. Arizona and Toronto did it right sending Marner and Strome back for another year. Don’t worry about Lazar he’s only played at this level for 2 years. He is still too young and hasn’t matured to the great player he will become. I find it so funny when fans want to give up on a player so quickly because the team has rushed him to the league.

      • No one is “giving up” on Lazar Hockey 83. At least not in this corner. The issue is, if he wants to continue his career at what he considers his “natural” position – C – how does he do that in Ottawa with Turris, Brassard and Pageau ahead of him in the pecking order and, so far anyway, Kelly possibly slotted in the 4th line C? It’s a question of positional need and right now Ottawa needs a veteran addition on D or else they are going into a season with a Borowiecki-Wideman pairing as their 5/6 set. That does NOT bode well. If they have to trade to get a decent veteran D to play in the 5/6 pairing who exactly do they offer? Won’t get much – if anything – for the likes of Puempel or Robinson. with the log-jam at C (and Colin White, Nick Paul, Filip Chlapik and Ryan Dzingel all developing in the minors at that position), the one commodity that would bring back the best return is Lazar.

    • Unless he did something like Bernier, Where there is practically no return but might as well keep him if that’s the case.

    • That’s a good point Shticky but this thread so far today isn’t about the Leafs.

      • Sorry this should be under your Vermette comment.

      • I’m not only meaning Bozak (hence why I said a guy like…) I mean a middle 6 centre.. Vermette is a quality 2 or 3 c on a lot of teams that is going to cost nothing but a cheap contract the same as Gagner in Columbus Zbad and Brassard swap….seems like the market for this type of centre (like Bozak) is tapped out if you want to make it about the Leafs it’s up to you

      • Also Yankee not sure if you noticed or not but it’s August and there isn’t exactly a pile of topics burning up these threads and I’m not particularly fond of being talked down to like some child save the sanctimonious crap bout it not being a Leaf thread. Pretty sure subjects have changed or gone off topic here before.

      • Sthick I really wasnt talking down to you. If you took it that way,then take another look. I said you made a good point about Vermette but I questioned why you used Bozak as everyday threads get hijacked by people bringing up the Leafs. You could have used a non leaf but you didn’t.
        It could have been you or whoever was the 1st to bring up the Leafs, I’m not being sanctimonious, just stating a fact that it gets old real quick when a lot of what you read if Leafs thus ,Leafs that. Regardless of month it is nice to read about other teams and not always the Leafs.

      • Then skip it Yankee I’d be just as happy to discuss Lazar or Emilin or Galchenyuk Staal… all I was getting at was with a 2nd line centre who is pretty much free available and the way things have gone down so far this summer with others I just mentioned there isn’t likely to be much movement I used an example of a team I follow get over it. Why not tell George this isn’t a Sens thread so no chirping in about Lazar… Don’t want to hear my opinion or what I’m talking about then skip what I am saying.

      • Wow. 1 comment about you being smart on here and it’s gone to your head.
        Have a nice day.

      • Sorry if I seem crusty about it Yankee normally We see things kind of similar but your comment today seemed like you were patting me on the head saying good boy but don’t chew the furniture… Ridiculous, that this time of year when talking about 2nd or 3rd line centres who have been bought out someone else who mentions a second line centre is out of line or off base. There has been lots of movement at the position this summer it’s similar to goalies that at some point the market starts to dry up, what difference does it make as to who the example it is that may not move? Again apologies if I seem crusty but to me the way you came across was sanctimonious.

      • Np shticky. You were just using a leaf as an example I understand and apologize for what may have seemed like I was jumping on you.
        Nothing personal I’m just tired of reading the leaf crap spewed by the trolls on here.
        I should have waited before leaping

  4. A few injuries around the league or a team floundering could lead to a MAF deal early in the season.

    No reason rush a move especially if he is important in the room. December watching Murray play most games could force MAF to request a move.

  5. I don’t know why the leafs would move bozak at this point. Great on the face off and a not bad play maker. Not to mention his contract isn’t terrible. With so many young players coming in at forward, it’s good to have a vet to help them out

    • I guess it all boils down to who the brain-trust want to see (and think they are ready to) develop. Bozak will certainly gobble up a lot of ice-time if retained. Would that be better spent on the kids like Nylander and Matthews and maybe even Marner (I see NO advantage to making him play another year at junior).

  6. Stupid. You have to keep MAF. Murray could fall on his face next year. This may sound crazy but hes unproven. He played more games in the nhl playoffs than in his nhl regular season career. Get real

    • Yeah – there’s absolutely NO room for a different opinion. Right Jammy? Especially if it doesn’t jibe with yours.

    • I love MAF…but it is time to for him go….he can help a lot of teams..he is that good…but Matt Murray is no fluke he has been killing it in the AHL for a couple years and been good in the NHL and will only get better..

      I hope MAF goes to a winning team like Dallas he can put them over the top of Chicago, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim.

  7. I really think the NON-trade between Pittsburgh and Calgary will be regretted by both teams.

    The Pens won’t get more for MAF the closer it gets to expansion draft time. The #35 pick would have be a decent return.

    Plus, the Pens have created locker room drama where it doesn’t need to exist. MAF is the most popular guy on the team. But Murray needs to be the 60 games a year #1 goalie.

    And I think the Flames accomplished very little by getting Elliot, who was a product of Hitch’s system and no real upgrade for them.

    • MG, I think you are right about #35 being as good as it will get for them as a return.
      Assuming MAF would agree to go there, big assumption.
      As much as I hate to agree with a rude dude like jammy jams, I do agree that Murray is unproven. Rutherford has see many a one year wonder in his long career. Too risky for a cup contender.

      • Ray…he is not a fluke he had been killing it in the AHL was goalie of the year last year. He has come up to the NHl and played well and will only get better…..

        Flukes do happen like The cable guy having a salad…but its rare. Murray will get better with more time and coaching…and I love MAF.. the writing is on the wall..

      • It is absolutely crazy that as a fellow pens fan I can’t read anything you write John and not cringe. I either strongly disagree with it… or in most cases its just flat out factually wrong. Sometimes I can’t tell if its all tongue in cheek and I’m missing the sarcasm… sometimes I really hope so.

  8. Leafs Will Rock This Year

  9. From one thing to another – I have an off-topic question.
    Some teams deal for cap space, such as Datsyuk. Could you deal the cap hit you with hold in another deal? Ex; could the leafs deal the 1.2m cap hit of Kessel to say NJ?

    • I dont think they can, Lyle?

    • No, that’s not allowed.

      • I’m sure if there had been THAT kind of loop-hole, Lamoriello would have jumped on long ago.

  10. To Vancouver – Evgeny Malkin, Marc Andre Fleury, Chris Kunitz, 2017 1rst round pick, 2018 1rst round pick. Conditional 2019 pick.

    To Pittsburgh – Jakob Markstrom, Lucas Sbisa, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Jake Virtanen. 2017 3rd round pick, 2018 & 2019 2nd round picks

    Sedins waive no trade to go to contending team.
    Conditional 2019 pick becomes 1rst round if either Sedin wins Art Ross, Hart, or Conn Smythe Trophies or if Sbisa wins Norris, Hart or Conn Smythe Trophies.

    Frees up cap space for Pittsburgh, adds depth to forward, defence and goalie position. Gives Vancouver first line center, first line winger, goaltending depth and picks for the future.

    • This just in…..per reports Jim Benning went to ownership for approval on deal. Unsubstantiated rumor is ownership demanded Crosby be added to deal. Penguins decline. Deal is off the table. Bungling Jimmy rides again!!!


    • Ron…Ok as much as I think Malkin is lazy, streaky and moody and he is….. im not trading for the washed up SEdins…KUnitz has value to the Penguins and played well in the playoffs and three picks cmon now

      other way to free up cap space we want to stay young and get younger not older sedins////

      • Malkins the Penguins best player. Carried the team until Christmas when Cindy decided to play.

      • Aww, stuff that juvenile jingoism crapola.

      • Have to agree George. Spewing more crap then a septic truck.

  11. Move Bozak so you have Kadri, Matthews and Nylander as your top 3 centres. That turns into three scoring line plus a fourth line that could get more than 5 minutes a game. With Laich, Greening and Holland it is a pretty good sized line. Personally I would like Nylander to play with Matthews and Martin and let Holland be the third centre with Brown and Lievo but Holland is not playing consistent enough. I would prefer that guys go on a line that reflects where they fit. Why put a scorer on the fourth line when he wasn’t signed to be a checker? Babcock used Nylander and Soshnikov properly last year. It was good to see. I think the Leafs need this year to determine who is a real prospect then go from there? On paper the defense has lots of potential but let’s see if they live up to it?

  12. Isles could use Vermette. Only if its a 1 year deal though.

    • Barzal wont be ready & Grabovski, if he returns, will only break himself again cause he cant learn to keep his head up.

  13. Vermette won’t get a serious offer until after Jimmy Vesey has found a home. The teams with the cap space likely don’t need him, though I would not be shocked to see a couple of teams willing to jump enthusiastically if he’s offering a cheap year.