Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 7, 2016

by | Aug 7, 2016 | Rumors | 48 comments

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov remains among this summer's notable unsigned RFAs.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov remains among this summer’s notable unsigned RFAs.

Check out the recent updates on the notable unsigned NHL restricted and unrestricted free agents. 

TSN.CA: Gary Lawless and Jamie McLennan recently examined the list of this summer’s notable unsigned restricted free agents. Among those still awaiting new contracts are Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, Calgary Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, Ottawa Senators blueliner Cody Ceci, Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, New York Islanders forward Ryan Strome, Anaheim Ducks d-man Hampus Lindholm and Buffalo Sabres rearguard Rasmus Ristolainen. 

Lawless claimed things were quiet between Trouba and the Jets, though that’s not unusual given the time of the summer. He claims they’re apart on money, term and how he’s used, as the blueliner no longer wants to play on the bottom-three defense. The Jets want to retain him, preferably for a long time. Lawless doubts Trouba will be dealt.

McLennan tried to calm Flames fans who might be nervous over Gaudreau and Monahan not being re-signed yet. He points out it’s going to take time to hammer out new deals for these twin pillars of the organization. He believes there’s still plenty of time for those players and Flames management to get new contracts worked out. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One thing all those players have in common is they’re coming off entry-level contracts. They don’t have as much leverage as they would if they had had arbitration rights. As a result, their respective teams are willing to take more time working out new contracts for them.

Some, like Gaudreau and Kucherov, are already full-fledged NHL stars and will be compensated accordingly. Monahan is on the verge of joining them. His value to the Flames as their first-line center will also ensure he gets a lucrative long-term deal. The others could get shorter terms for more cap-friendly dollars.

With unsigned players insured for the World Cup of Hockey, that eliminates the pressure for those RFAs to get a deal done before then. Given the limited leverage these players have, I doubt we’ll see any lengthy holdouts stretching into 2016-17. All should be signed when the curtain rises on the upcoming season. 

TSN.CA: Jamie McLennan believes the reason several notable unrestricted free agents, such as Jiri Hudler, Kris Russell, Radim Vrbata, Brandon Pirri and Jhonas Enroth, are still unsigned is the market reset after the initial signing frenzy in early-July. He suggests Russell may have out-priced himself during the start of free agency, just like Cody Franson did last summer. 

Darren Dreger recently reported Russell is still waiting for a few teams to clear money. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Russell’s situation is indeed similar to Franson’s last summer. There were reports claiming his camp sought long-term deals worth between $5 – $6 million annually. He’s certainly not getting that much now. I expect he’ll have to sign a two- or three-year deal marginally higher than the $2.6 million per season of his previous contract. 


  1. You’d a think if RFA offer sheets were really still a thing then some of these guys would have had them.

    • Agreed. I can’t see why a team wouldn’t throw a 5.4 million aav at one of these guys. Lose a first and third. Good trade for a guy like Ristolainen or Gaudreau. Or any of them really.

      • In someways I wonder if it’s not a bit of unity when it comes to GMs on 2 fronts.
        1 no one wants to be “that guy” and possibly singled out and face repercussions when it comes to their own RFAs and 29 other GMs
        2 Maybe at a meeting someone said hey guys if you want to screw your team with ufas up go nuts but let’s not blow the league up by beating each other over the head with offer sheets on contracts we have some kind of control over…there is going to be another lock out let’s try and keep the issues between teams to a minimum.

      • Shticky it’s like collusion between all the GMs. The GM who puts an offer sheet on the table is subject to being ostracized and no one will deal with them any more. Potentially lots of damage coming,even if it’s legal.

      • 1 none of these 3 players are signing an offer sheet at 5.4 other than possibly Trouba. Winnipeg would simply match. It would have to be 5.4 at 5 or the cap hit goes up as does the compensation requirement as salary can only be averaged over 5 years.

      • I would tend to disagree with you striker. You think all those guys are worth over 5.4? Ristolainen is still somewhat unproven. And I think Monahan is a gamble still at this point. And Ceci? What do you expect him to receive?

        Kuch and Gaudreau may already be worth 6-7, but not the others.

      • 5.4 is easily matched…but I believe you could go a little over 7 and pay only a 1st and 3rd. what about devils going 7 for gaudreua and when its matched, 7 for monahan? they would likely get one.

      • sorry 1st 2nd and 3rd… great pay for a top liner

      • NJ doesn’t have it’s 3rd round pick next season so it can’t. I already covered that off but 7 for how many years?

      • third rounder could be recouped pretty easy… 7 mil for 7 years? all these guys are young… worth it in m mind

      • 1. For NJ to reaquire their 3rd they would have to upgrade the pick, player or asset going to reaquire it from Carolina. NJ has very little depth. Not impossible but unlikely.

        2. 7 years at 7 mil per works out to 49 mil. That 49 mil needs to be divided by 5. That makes the cap hit 9.8 or 4 1st round picks!

        I don’t want to be rude but I already explained this. Better yet go here maybe that will make it easier for you to comprehend.

      • I said 3 players which were Trouba, Gaudreau & Monahan. I wasn’t implying Ceci.

        Ristolainen & Monohan aren’t unproven. Both are studs just scratching the surface of their vast potential. Both are very close to being superstars now. They are stars now & what they have shown this early in their respective careers is very impressive.

        If someone offered Ceci 5.4 Ottawa would match. Do you see anyone offering Ceci 5.4 for 5 years? I don’t although in 2 more years that would be great value for Ceci over the final 3 seasons of that deal. A future stud, developing right on schedule.

      • I would throw 5-6 million for 6 years at Gaudreau if I was pretty much any team in the league with cap room. The kid is young fast and goooooood.

      • Well I’ll disagree on them being proven. I don’t believe anyone is proven after one or two good seasons. Way too many flops that happen after those kinds of seasons. Committing 5.4 million per year for several years for any of them has to be seen as a risk. Especially for a team like Buffalo who has several players with pay days coming in the next couple years. I just don’t think because Monahan scored 60 points on a first line on a mediocre Calgary team that he qualifies as a stud. None of these guys should make over 4-5 million. Too young, not their time yet.

      • I disagree jroc monahan is well worth over 5 million I can’t see him signing for 5 or less

      • Gee. Sorry striker. Thank you for using your superior online blogging powers to help me comprehend. I am forever in your debt.

      • Hate disagreeing with a fellow Bruins fan haha, but I digress. I still believe that those players will mostly sign under 5. We will see.

      • Monahan Will more than likely get 6 mil per…not because he’s worth it but because that’s what he’ll get and Gaudreau will get 7 mil per…not because he’s proven himself but because that’s what it will take to sign him

    • Yep. Go after an RFA from a cash strapped , close to the cap team. Force them to make a move. I wouldn’t go stupid but the action needs to heat up again. I know Vesey is holding everything up but at some point someone has to blink.
      Not sure if it will happen as RFA offer sheets are rare and GMs don’t forget so there may be no sheet.
      Dog days are here !

      • That’s such a bs move weather it’s legal or not it’s basically saying I can’t draft or trade well but I can buy my way out of it! Hopefully it will be abolished next cbs

      • Cba not cbs

      • Yankee fan not directed at you just part of the thread & hate to cloud the issue with facts.

        According to Capfriendly there are 13 teams who have more than 5.4 mil in cap space. None of these RFA’s are signing offer sheets at 5.4 or less. Gaudreau, Monahan, Ristolainen, Trouba, etc. It’s just a waste of everyone’s time. All would be matched. That pushes you to the next threshold requiring at a bare minimum a 1st, 2nd & 3rd in next summers draft & they need to be your own picks. That eliminates. Bos, Edm, NJ, & Ott. leaving 9 possible teams.

        Of the remaining 9 teams potentially in a position to do so, bid for RFA’s TB; Kucherov, Anh; Lindholm & Rackell, Win; Trouba, Cal; Monohan & Gaudreau & Buf; Ristolainen & Girgensons, 5 have RFA’s of their own to sign, that leaves 4 teams, Carolina, Dallas, Arizona & Nashville that have the ability to bid in this compensation range maybe.

        Which of these 4 teams do you see doing so? I don’t see any. Dallas certainly needs help at D & in net, Arizona is set as is Nashville & Carolina is losing buckets of money & simply can’t afford to.

      • Good info Striker ty. I never investigated that far. Not 1 of the 4 left would put in a sheet as you mention. Maybe Nashville depending on where Vesey signs but I think Poile has too much respect to do so.
        Next CBA will be interesting to read.

    • The way the rules are structured for RFA offer sheets virtually precludes any team from doing so. In the last round of CBA negotiations the final death nail was the 5 year term implemented for determining annual average cap hit. The cost in compensation to get to a dollar amount that might have the team owning the players rights let him go is so onerous it just doesn’t happen.

    • I dont recall anyone making an offer to a UFA since the Flyers threw a trainload of dollars at Shea Weber a few years ago forcing Nashville to match. Fortunately for the Predators the fool in Montreal was willing to trade his defenceman with more speed skill younger age and contract length in Subban just to show him who’s the boss.

  2. If Russell wants to get a 3-year deal marginally higher than the $2.65 mil he just completed, it will likely have to be with a team with – obviously – the cap space AND probably not one currently regarded as a serious contender for anything.

    As far as Ceci is concerned, I just hope he doesn’t have an agent with the same “strategy” as the one who convinced Cowen to sit out training camp. He was never the same after that fiasco.

    • Not directed at you George but just part of the thread. If Russell is comparable to Franson & Franson got 3.325 for 2 then Russell probably falls into similar range although neither are the same player if you follow that train of thought.

      Russell is a shot blocking machine. He leads the league 2 years in a row & has played big minutes in his last to stops since leaving StLouis. I don’t want him on my team at even 3.325 but I assume he’ll get around Demers money; 4.5, but on a shorter term 2 or 3 years. At 29 with 573 games of NHL regular season experience that seems to be the going rate for a #4 Dman.

      • Anyone interested to look into a shot blocking machine should take a VERY good, long look at how that worked out for Girardi.

      • I’m not as down on Girardi as many are. His 195 blocked shots placed him 5th last season. He finished plus 18; I know, I know, most don’t like this stat but it still works well for comparing players on the same team it just doesn’t extrapolate well when comparing to other teams & has numerous other faults but still provides a good reflection of a players defensive value to his team 5 on 5. He logged the 3rd most TOI/GP for Dman & started 60% of his shifts in the Dzone; 1st for NYR, & was their #1 penalty killing Dman. He saw 0:07 PP TOI/GP last season.

        The only issue with Giradi is his salary & that brings us back to the business side of the game I keep trying to get others to factor in. Back when Giradi signed his contract in February of 2014 the Canadian dollar was at 91 cents & this was the going rate for this type of asset. Unfortunately the market changed significantly following the 2014 season & some didn’t plan for it well.

        I like NYR’s D next season. Just losing Boyle makes it better. McDonaugh moves back to the #1 PP Dman spot with 4 forwards & Holden, Skjei; even Girardi has shown he can put some points up given PP time, help the 2nd unit which probably rolls 4 forwards as well. At least until Gorton can try to address in some other way. With only 3.4 in cap space & having to move salary back to make work I think what you see is what you get.

      • ny4life I agree… more shoots blocked equals more shots against taken during your sgifts… and the chance for injuries?

      • Just curious.

        When you start 60% of your shifts in your own zone & are your teams #1 penalty killing Dman might you be more likely to face more shots than say a Dman that starts 60% of his shifts in the offensive zone & gets 1st line PP time?

        Analytics are loaded with flaws & unless you understand how to extrapolate the data it’s worthless. I’m not saying I do, I try but frankly old world stats & the eye test suffice just as well.

        All stats simply provides a reference, a possible comparable but wrought if deficiencies as far to many factors to boil down to 1 thing. Rest assured coaches break down all game tape & determine what went right, what went wrong & who was responsible.

        What about quality of competition? Their is a significant difference between going up against the other teams 1st line every night than say it’s 3rd or 4th. How are you factoring that into your assumptions on players blocking shots? Or how do you factor in assignments missed, causing quality shots, goals, etc?

        The game is really very simple, the team that scores the most goals wins. How they were scored, when they were scored, the quality of said shots, etc. are virtually meaningless.

        The NHL is brutal at tracking simple stats like shots on net, hits, blocked shots, take aways, give aways etc. how accurate do you think analytics are?

        I suggest everyone watch 1 game & count these basic stats, you would be shocked at how different your #’s are from the NHL’s. On the hit Salomaki delivered to Wideman that lead to his suspension the NHL didn’t even award Salomaki with a hit. Go check the game report on

      • it took some time but I am starting to se analytics as a very useful tool… shouldnt be the end all be all. personal judgement such as scouting, basic stats, and analytics all should be used. But there is a whole league, to use him as an example, that hasnt gone after russel for what he wants. I’m sure they are using all the stats and their own eyes to tell them he isnt worth what he wants. shot blocking can be useful… but it does imply the person blocking that many shots isnt doing enough to clear the puck or make solid first passes. I’ll take the player who has high rates of own zone starts, and higher possession numbers with far less blocked shots than the one with higher blocked shots.

      • I follow it all but none of my pools or fantasy leagues account for anything but points & bonus points for D goals, PPG’s, SHG’s & OTG’s.

        In the real world you need some of everything. Ottawa allowed the most shots at 32.8, Nashville the least at 27.3. The median average was 29.7.

        How are you gauging shots blocked with shots allowed by 5 players well on the ice or how that interrelates to shots on net or goals scored & whether on the pp, short handed or at even strength? Just because a player blocks a ton of shots doesn’t imply he’s on the ice for more shots against. That’s another stat in & of its self & then quality of competition needs to be considered. If you can hold Crosby to 2 shots in a game that’s awesome. If your giving up 4 a night to say a player like Reeves I have an issue with that.

        These stats provide a reference. Russell is the best in the league at what he does. Throwing his body in f4ont of pucks with no care or regard for himslef personally & is very proficient at it. This has value as teams get an average of 30 shots a night no matter how well you play on average.

        Russell blocks over 3 shots a game on average & that has to have saved some goals a significant # I would assume.

        He will sign for ok money & term. Nothing earth shattering & obviously he shot to high & for to long or would have been signed by now. A mistake by he & his agent as opportunities have declined & he will pay for having done so now.

      • Exactly, NYR4LIFE. And Girardi is 6′ 1″ 208 lbs. Another in that vein is Anton Volchenkov, a 6′ 1″ 225 lb “shot-blocking machine” – for a short time anyway in Ottawa. After leaving the Sens at age 27 following the 2009-10 season (when he missed 18 games) he missed close to 70% of his games over the next 5 seasons in NJ (4) and Nashville (1).

        People can toss around all the fancy “justifying” stats they want – but only an idiot GM will sink big money and term into this accident-waiting-to-happen. And let ‘s face it, if he wasn’t notable for his shot-blocking, Russell wouldn’t even be given a second glance as an NHL D. He does that as well as anybody – but it will catch up to him soon.

      • I like Girardi, I hate both the term and $$$’s on his contract. The guy was a warrior for years. Top 5 in blocked shots every year, missed about 3 games his first 6-7 years. But that game came with a hefty price. His right ankle is completely shot and he has to have it drained a few times a year. His knees, etc. he literally fell off a cliff last year and is slowing down tremendously. Maybe he bounces back a little, but he’ll never be close to the same.

        That’s what I was getting at, that’s not a safe game to play year in and out. Eventually, it will catch up with Russel.

      • Its a shame for Russell that GMs don’t use fantasy stats alone to build their teams. He’d have it made. Fortunately for fans of those teams the GMs arnt lining up to give the best in the league at what he does, a skill going the way of enforcers in irrelevance, a decent deal.

    • Yeah, I realize that Striker. But I also know that guys who are 5′ 10″ and 170 lbs soaking wet and who play that style with heavy minutes are in for a short career. I’m not forking over close to $4 mil (or anything over $2 mil) for several years for someone whose best bet for a decent career is to accept a 5/6 role and be happy with that. Even in a 5/6 setting and approx 10 minutes a game, that’s close to 14 hours of being a “shot-blocking machine” in an 82-game schedule.

      One shot from a Shea Weber could land him on the IR pretty damned fast.

      • There is nothing to suggest Russell is currently a 5/6 Dman nor will he be anytime soon. He lead Dallas in TOI/GP in his 11 regular season appearances, was 3rd in his 12 playoff appearances. In 51 games in Calgary last season he was 3rd for TOI/GP, in 2014-15 4th just nominally behind Wideman, 2013-14 in Calgary; his 1st season as a full time NHL player after leaving StL, 3rd.

        He will be a top 4 Dman for many years in a 31 team league. Yes playing his brand of hockey; blocking shots willingly, will lead to injuries which has nothing to do with being 170 lbs socking wet, but other than that he plays to his size. Not a physical player.

        Since becoming an NHL regular in 2013-14 after being acquired by Calgary he has missed 34 of a possible 294 games over 4 seasons. That’s probably better than the vast majority of Dman in the entire league.

        Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t like or want Russell on my team at virtually any cost but someone will eventually & it will be for more than the 3.3 Franson signed on for, it just won’t be a long term deal. 2 or 3 years max but it certainly won’t be any where near 2 million. Top 4 NHL Dman that just turned 29 can’t be had for 2 million. He would go play in Russia before signing that deal.

      • Well, then, Udači!

  3. Still would love the Penguins to sign Pirri with the tiny bit of cap space left. They are weaker at the LW than any other position and he would look nice playing on Malkins wing. I love Brian Rust and he stepped up big time in the playoffs but is he a long term top 6 option? Pirri and Scott Wilson with Malkin and Sheary and Hornquist with Crosby and obviously HBK makes a pretty lethal and balanced top 9. Kuhnhackle and Rust with Fehr as the center is a good 4th line as well. I want Fehr to have a good season so LV picks him in the expansion draft. Oskar Sundqvist can replace him without any drop off. Still need to find MAF a new home.

    • Agree on Rust, and I put Sheary in the same boat. I love what they managed to do during the playoffs, but it’s hard to imagine either guy being in the top 6 in the long run.

      I think Sheary will either be top six or back to the AHL as I don’t think he can do enough without a very good centerman due to his size. I don’t see him cutting it as a third or fourth liner in the NHL.

      If HBK remains intact, that’s a good thing for both of these guys.

    • if vesey doesnt sign I would look at pirri too… that also means cullen doesnt sign. but faer could center kuni2 and sheary/rust for a damn good 4th line.

  4. Lawless claims “they’re apart on money, term and how he’s used, as the blueliner no longer wants to play on the bottom-three defense”. I’m not sure what’s left, when to go to the bathroom? Trouba for me is the one guy the can’t trade unless it’s for another d. Winnipeg is stacked with lots of good forward and goaltending prospects but thin in the way of prospects or some one to take Trouba spot and the skill set he brings to the jets. Listen to the sports radio in Winnipeg and some radio personalities along with some fans blame Trouba decline in production and whats seem to be a step backwards (I would add in numbers only) is he playing with Mark Stewart on the third pair and he has to cover up for Steward mistakes. Personally I say baloney to that. You make your own way in life and hockey. Stewart is a third pairing dman therefore; he isn’t playing out of position. Maybe the jets but Trouba there because they want him to concentrate on the defensive side of the game, but the main reason is he has Byfuglien and Myers ahead of him on the right side. Debate could be had if you feel Myers is a better fit then Trouba or can one play his off wing? because the left side isn’t nearly as strong. But hey, there only $, terms and how he’s used apart. All good.

  5. Trouba didn’t play as a bottom 3 Dman. By TOI/GP he was 3rd for Dman in Winnipeg at 22:03. 34 seconds behind Myers at #2 & 1:12 more than Enstrom at #4. That comfortably places him as the #3 Dman & almost top 2. He also got reasonable PP time 1:17 per game, 4 seconds less than Enstrom. Unfortunately Winnipeg uses a 4 forward configuration on the #1 unit with Perreault manning the point with Buffy. Leaving 2nd line scraps for Enstrom & Trouba.

    Trouba has zero leverage. He shuts his mouth, earns his money & opportunity like virtually every player in the NHL.

    2012 was the year of the Dman draft. Murray 2nd, Reinhart 4, Reilly 5, Lindholm 6, Dumba 7, Pouliot 8, Koekkoek 9, Ceci 15, Maatta 22, Matheson 23, Schmaltz 25 & Skjei 28 & that was just in the 1st round. These players are in various stages of development & several are just getting ready to step into the NHL.

    There are a ton of comparables just from that draft class. Maatta 6 years at slightly more than 4, Reilly 6 years at 5, Dumba took a 2 year bridge at 2.55. Ceci & Lindholm are both awaiting contracts like Trouba.

    Look forward a year to 2011 or back to 2013 & it shows several more comparables.

    2011. Larson drafted at 4; 4.167 for 6 years, Hamilton 9, 5.5 for 6, Brodin 10, same as Larsson 4.167 for 6, Klefbom 19 same as Larsson & Brodin 4.167 but for 7 years, Murphy; Arz, 20 3.85 for 6. In 2013. Jones 4th overall 5.4 for 6, none of the other Dman drafted in 2013 have signed new deals as yet & most aren’t due to Ristolainen being the only exception. Nurse, 7th, Ristolainen 8th, Morin 11th, Morrissey 13th, Pulock 15th, Zadarov 16th, Mueller 18th, & Theodore 26th.

    This really gives perspective as to how long it takes NHL Dman to get to the NHL & develop into full time NHL players. The majority of these Dman signed have shown better offensive abilities than Trouba & those that have played similar all are in the 4 mil range. If Trouba wants a big pay day he had best take a 2 year bridge deal & show better or he signs long term now for no more than the 5 reilly got in TO. Otherwise he’ll sit until he capitulates or demands a trade. Hoping Winnipeg accommodates his request. I doubt it unless the return is to good to refuse. Extenuating circumstances. The only time these types of Dman get moved.

    Cheveldayoff can’t afford to be pressured by a player this young 5 years from UFA status, no team can. You use your leverage when you have it, as you only have it once. Chevy will do what Yzerman did if necessary. Trouba hasn’t yet earned what he thinks he’s worth. He is going to be a stud, he’s very close to being 1 now but Winnipeg can’t afford to overpay players so we wait.

    • Striker, not sure what your arguing but yes Trouba played 3rd pairing dman most of the year, he played earlier in the season with Byfuglien and got pp time then got moved down. You can always quote numbers but that doesn’t give you the picture. If you looked at his ice time last 20 games you’ll notice they’re not top 3 more like 5th.

  6. when I typed in Trouba spellcheck put up Trouble. Kind of ironic…. He should take a 2 year bridge deal for a little bump to Dumba money. If he is as good as he and his agent say he is.

    • If he wants more than 5 mil long term; 5+ years, I agree with you. There is no guarantee that he is better than he has shown in his NHL career yet. He did regress last season which isn’t uncommon for young Dman. He is better than last season but is he better than he has shown in his 1st & 2nd seasons in the NHL? I assume so as he’s only played 211 NHL regular season games in 3 years & it takes most Dman 6 years or in or around 400 games to show who they really are but that’s just playing the laws of averages.

      Players get bigger money if they can help drive offense more consistently than defense with a few slight exceptions, the very limited # of Dman that can play both ways just as proficiently. The Keith’s, Doughty’s, Suter’s, Weber’s, Hedman’s etc. of the world.

      Trouba hasn’t yet been given top 5 PP time & he may never but if he does you would assume that a serious spike in points would follow.

  7. In regards to Russell and his shot blocking ability. With this stat numbers mean little, how the player blocks a shot is what really matters, some players go down flat right of their feet, do anything to block he shot. Sometimes it is a good move, often times it takes the player completely out of the play and the offensive team can retreive the block shot and then execute a quality scorin chance.

    Players who don’t turn their backs to the shot. Stay at least on one knee and don’t put their blades between the shooter and themselves are better shot blockers than those who flop all over and take themselves out of the play even if the flopped blocks 200 shots and the more stable blocker only blocks 50.

    Quality of how a shot is blocked matters and I find never even thought of let alone discussed in regards to shot blocking.

    Shot blocking is a skill.