NHL Rumor Mill – September 13, 2016

by | Sep 13, 2016 | Rumors | 36 comments

Don't expect the Chicago Blackhawks to put Corey Crawford on the trade block.

Don’t expect the Chicago Blackhawks to put Corey Crawford on the trade block.

 Updates on the Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators, plus the latest on Kris Russell. 

CSN CHICAGO:  Tracey Myers recently field questions on the Chicago Blackhawks from her readers. She noted the Blackhawks have about $2.4 million in salary-cap space. While she won’t deny the possibility of them making another roster addition before the start of the season, she’ll be surprised if they do.

She feels backup Scott Darling has starter potential but isn’t there yet. Myers never thought the Blackhawks would trade starting goalie Corey Crawford this summer, pointing to his strong play and favorable contract compared to other notable NHL starters.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  The Blackhawks will look to within during training camp to find a replacement for forward Andrew Shaw, who was dealt this summer to the Montreal Canadiens. If that doesn’t work, perhaps they’ll look for an affordable forward via trade or free agency. Forget about them trading Crawford. He’s backstopped them to two Stanley Cup titles in four years and played well last season.  

TSN.CA:  Frank Seravalli reports player agent Allain Roy, who represents unrestricted free agent defenseman Kris Russell, says he’s in conversations with eight teams and believes a deal for his client is likely before the conclusion of the World Cup of Hockey. Seravalli claims a handful of teams are waiting to see if the Anaheim Ducks move a defenseman after they re-sign restricted free agent blueliner Hampus Lindholm. Russell could be a good Plan B option.

Seravalli also said the Russell camp and his former team, the Calgary Flames, are believed interested in a deal, but it would require moving blueliner Dennis Wideman and that could mean absorbing half of Wideman’s $5.25 million cap hit. His contract expires next summer. Much will depend upon the cost of re-signing rising star forward Johnny Gaudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I recently suggested Russell could be an option for teams hopping to pry Cam Fowler away from the Ducks after they re-sign Lindholm. As for the Flames moving Wideman to clear cap room for Russell, that might not be easy. There was talk prior to his suspension last season that some teams had interest in him. That may have changed now. Wideman also has to waive his no-movement clause. Picking up part of his cap hit for this season (the last in his contract) might be the best way to do so. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion might not be done tinkering with his roster. Garrioch said Dorion had been “kicking tires on signing another free-agent forward and repeated he may also bring in a free-agent defenceman on a professional tryout (PTO) or, perhaps, even sign one to a contract.” The Sens GM has inquired about UFA blueliners Kris Russell and Dennis Seidenberg, but it’s believed they’d prefer contracts rather than professional tryout offers. Going the PTO route might be less risky for Dorion. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Dorion could also keep an eye on those players who’ve signed PTOs with other clubs. Someone like James Wisniewski, who’s on a PTO with the Tampa Bay Lightning, might interest him. 



  1. If Ottawa brings in a D it would need to be a stay-at-home type 5/6 along the lines of a Quincey rather than a Wisniewski, known more for his offensive game. They already have 3 of that type in Karlsson, Ceci and Wideman. If Russell would sign for 2 years at $2.3 per and be content to play in the 5/6 role, with some PK duty it would be nice addition, but I seriously doubt he’s thinking along those lines. I don’t know what F they might be considering, unless it’s Versteeg whose Swiss plan didn’t work out out. After Ryan and Stone they are a tad thin along the right side with Neill and Lazar (who thinks he should be a C), so that might work for a season. But of course, if you read others, Dorion has to be careful that Skinflint Melnyk doesn’t step in and put the kibosh on any additions.

    • Did you just call Eugene cheap? You did, I googled it. Skinflint meaning: miser, penny pincher. Haven’t you been telling us for years that the Sens are merely ‘fiscally responsible’, that they would happily use that unspent cap space if only they could find a player who was worth the money.

      Incidentally, I agree they are in a pretty good position. There should be plenty of opportunities to pick up players coming off PTOs or exposed to waivers early in the season. They might find a very motivated depth player or two at very little cost. If, as you say Eugene will loosen the purse strings even a little.

      • I was being sarcastic, which you would have known had you read the exchange the other day between chrissms and I. Jaysus!

      • Whew, big sigh of relief. There’s no change to official policy, everyone back to your desks. The Senators are not, I repeat, not a budget team. They’re just very very choosy as to how they spend their pharma-millions.

      • And in that they are joined by these teams with millions to spare (albeit some still have prominent RFAs to sign – but not all): Nash ($5,414,166), Boston ($5,831,666), Dallas ($5,984, 167), TB ($6,272,499), Anaheim ($7,520,833); Buffalo ($7,612,976), Calgary ($8,594,600), Edmonton ($9,238,833), Winnipeg ($9,368,333); Florida ($9,829,167), NJ ($12,319,404), Carolina ($16,036,667).

        Above according to NHL Caphit or whatever the hell it’s called. So I guess Melnyk isn’t alone in being “frugal.”

      • I believe George said “if you read others….”

      • Right Jeff, I see that now, my mistake.

    • I dont get why ottawa is not pursuing a goalie. the goaltending depth in ottawa is embarrassing(much like my spelling abilities). After Anderson ottawa has no one better then a beer league goalie. I wish this would of been addressed at the draft rather then dafting more third line centers. I hope this issue is resolved with a new GM half way through the season.

      • Hockey’s Future described their top 2 goalie prospects as follows:
        Marcus Hogberg “is a big, competitive goaltender who excels at analyzing the play and positioning himself strategically based on the situation. He deploys a butterfly style, and at 6-foot-5, is an intimidating blocker with great lateral movement and the reflexes to excel both deep within and at the top of his crease. He has the potential to be a starting goaltender in the NHL … ”

        Matt O’Connor (6′ 5″ 205 lbs) “is a big, agile presence between the pipes. His lateral movement is impressive, he aggressively challenges shooters, and despite a few mishaps in exhibition play this fall, hunts the puck down through traffic. He led Boston University to the Frozen Four Finals last spring with a 24-4-4 record, 2.18 goals-against and .927 save percentage, and he is perfectly capable of becoming a reliable starter at the NHL level.”

        I don’t see the term “beer league goalie” attached to either.

      • i’ll compermise on hogberg (due to not seeing him play)but o’conners stat line last year on the baby sens was not impressive. the games i seen him in i was not encourgaed by either, he looked lost tracking the puck. i would like to see more depth in the position but we will see what happens this year and hopefully they show me that i am wrong.

  2. I thought Versteeg was in Edmonton. Can a player be signed to a contract from another club at anytime even though he has a PTO ?…..Eight teams for Russell sounds about right, 25% of the teams need defence.

    • A player on a PTO can be signed by another team at any time to a normal binding NHL contract. It usually doesn’t happen until exhibition games actually start & is still quite rare regardless.

  3. I would have loved to see Ottawa have addressed their #5/6 spots before the UFA D market got eaten up. There were some great signings at reasonable dollars that would have helped Ottawa in these slots as opposed to dressing, Borowiecki, over exposing Wideman or Chabot or possibly potential even dressing Kostka; 800K.

    Carle 700K; a 100K less than Kostka!, L. Schenn 1.2, Gilbert 1.4 & that’s just the bargain basement. Move into the 2 mil range & numerous Dman that would have helped.

    Quincey would make a great #5 but not a hope Russell is signing at 2.3 for 1 year never mind 2.

    Ottawa is a bubble playoff team as constructed. A lock if they addressed this D issue. I can’t see Ottawa spending much more cash. They are saving over 3 mil off their cap hit on Brassard; NYR paid his 2 mil bonus on July 1st, & Hoffman’s; 1.3 lower in real money, deals with some being eaten up by a few players who’s actual salaries are nominally higher than their cap hits.

    65 mil in real dollars not cap hit is about the top end for this payroll structure so they have a little room to do something but not much.

    • I agree, they could really use a Russell and that would likely put them over the top in securing enough depth to make the playoffs. But I don’t see Russell going at any lower than 3 mill and if he can’t net more than that he won’t be accepting more than a one year so that he may try to cash out again next summer.
      It’s hard to say what Melnyk has in store for Dorion for his first year, he may have untied the purse strings in a “show me what you can do, but you best reach the post season” strategy for him. I mean melnyk is cheap but he also would love his team see the post season a consistent basis.

    • Ottawa can sign all of the 4/5 D they want. They haven’t a single star to play on the ice with Karlsson. A terrible waste of talent Imo. Cupboards are far from stocked as well. I predict last place in the East. Depending on what NJ does going forward.

      • Phaneuf is a great #2, ceci is ready to assume #3 role & Method makes a solid safety net for Karlsson. The top 4 in Ottawa is solid.

      • Can’t see anyone being below the leafs in the east defence is still suspect

      • You’re bang on with the top 4 Striker. However that won’t help the kids up front unless they can repeat last year’s fluke of a goal total. As we have seen in past years it takes at least 3 dynamic players to even have a chance at competing for the cup. 1 center 1 defenseman and 1 goalie, and that’s only to start. Role players and snipers need to be had in order to round out the team. Sorry, but I just don’t see Ottawa as a very competitive team. Karlsson has unreal talent though. When he peaks, he will be something special to watch. One of the most exciting players in the NHL right now, and who knows where his ceiling is?

      • That smacks more of a “chain-yanker” than an honest opinion. Only 6 teams scored more goals than they did last season and that was without MacArthur and Turris for most of the year. They and the Rangers had 236 behind Dallas (267), Washington (252), Pittsburgh (245), SJ (241), Boston (240) and Florida (239). Hardly earth-shattering differences there. Hoffman had 29, Smith 25, Stone 23, Ryan 22 and Zibanejad 21 (his replacement this year, Brassard, had 27 for NYR). Pageau just kissed the 20-goal mark with 19. Turris had 13 in just over half a season. MacArthur has scored 20 or more 3 times in his career and, if fully recovered, could repeat. How many teams have the potential for 7 20-goal scorers? Sure, there are Ifs attached to the Sens, not the least of which is their 5/6 pairing on D, but they sure as hell aren’t alone with weak links beyond the top 4. Another big IF is Anderson in goal who, at 35, has to put in as close to 60-65 games as possible. But again, they aren’t alone with goaltending questions. Dallas ranks right at the top with their sieve pairing and when it comes to age Luongo is 36, Miller 35, and Smith, Rinne and Lundqvist 33, each with their own injury history. Yes, that is another big IF – but again, there aren’t too many teams that don’t have “keep-your-fingers-crossed” scenarios. Do I think they’re a lock for a play off spot? Hell no, not a lock, but all things being equal they will be in the challenging pack.

      • Not interested in yanking chains as you put it. I enjoy reading your comments and i understand your points however I feel that it will be quite a task trying to catch lightning in a bottle again this year. Solid point on Anderson as well. He’s such a workhorse. Just hope he plays like years past. Again, I’m not sold on them making any noise this year.

      • Might be in agreement there – except perhaps a difference of opinion as to what constitutes “making any noise.” Are they a Cup contender? Not by a long-shot – but they’ll be closer to a playoff spot – if not in 8th – than they will last place.

      • I don’t know that anyone here has claimed that the Sens will finish back of the Leafs, Bigbadbruins, but if they are I’d like to ask them if they think a D corps of Rielly, Zaitsev, Marincin, Gardiner, Polak, Carrick, Corrado and Hunwick is better than Karlsson, Phaneuf, ceci, Methot, Wideman, Borowiecki, Claeson and Chabot (maybe!). If they say yes, then there’s no point in taking the discussion any further.

      • Shore said the sens would be in last in the east that’s all George

  4. Chicago has recently done well with promoting players from within to compliment the few they have on bigger long term contracts. I can’t imagine they are in any rush to acquire anybody let alone trade a two time winning Stanley Cup goaltender. Crawford is not seen in the same light as other goalies such as Holtby and Price; however, one cannot argue his value to the team. He has a penchant for the big save when needed. Chicago will be just fine folks!

    • Schmaltz, Motte & Hartman are all ready for NHL duty & Chicago addressed what should have been addressed at last seasons trade deadline. Securing another top 4 Dman in Campbell & for peanuts.

      Had Chicago paid for Hamhuis instead of Ladd I assume they would have gotten by StL in round 1. van Reimsdyk was required to play minutes for which he wasn’t suited or ready & he got exposed repeatedly.

      Chicago is a serious cup contender, the issue is getting out of the west in this stupid playoff format which is no easy feat. Crawford is 1 of the best goalies in the NHL & simply doesn’t get the respect he deserves & has earned. In the last 5 years he sits 5th in wins with 2 Stanley Cups.

      Ranking goalies against their peers is virtually impossible. Some play for great teams some not. Some have world class defenses in front of them some not. Some teams play a dedicated defensive system some not. It really comes down to winning & getting the right opportunity at the right time.

      • Agreed Striker. Crawford puts me in mind of Billy Smith can sometimes seem out to lunch but jeez can he come up big sometimes!

        I am not sure if any one player or signing would have made a difference against the Blues last year. You can’t beat another good team every year.

        Having said that I think the blues will miss Backes. Did they lose Brouwer too? I do think the new playoff format is a little goofy too!

      • Brouwer signed a 4-year $18 mil deal with the Flames as a UFA in July

  5. I definitely watch a lot more west hockey so I’m a bit ignorant, but how exactly are you guys seeing ottawa as a potential playoff team…who has become worse in the east for them to leapfrog?

    It’s a lot like Edmonton in the west ( who I unfortunately cheer for).. The city is abuzz with the arena ( which I have been in now and it’ truly is amazing) and Connor mcdavid certainly is the real deal….but eve with these additions who is there to leapfrog in the west?

    St. Louis due for a fall from grace?
    Maybe L.A finally runs out of legs?

    I can’t see Chicago coming back down…nor San Jose..
    St. Louis still has the horses ( but maybe not the goaltending) to do damage.. Calgary should be much improved… Anaheim will be in those top 4 unless Gibson can’t handle the reins..
    So, much like Ottawa and their playoff hopes… Who gives in the east?


    • Let’s see

      In the north east


      All struggle giving ottawa 3rd in their division behind Tampa and Florida

      NY islanders

      Make the top three in the southeast

      NY Rangers

      All struggle at points


      Montreal manages to flip there season and bump ottawa out of third. They then lose the first wild card spot to the Rangers but hang on by earning 3 more wins than last year and six more points to get the last spot.



      As the teams who give

      This is just off of the top of my head. For some reason I am questioning if Columbus is in the east. They are aren’t they?

      • Left Boston out at the top. Oops.

    • In the west

      Anaheim and San Jose are locks in the Pacific.


      All struggle giving Edmonton 3rd

      The central is the tough spot as I can see


      All making it knocking any team in the Pacific out of a wild card.


      Edmonton trumps Calgary by winning their season series and the tough central causes winnipeg to faulter leaving Edmonton the last wild who the take from LA by a single point.


      Simply suck the season away

      Just off the top of my head on how the season may pan out for ottawa and Edmonton. Hope I didn’t miss a team or screw up the divisions

  6. Yes George, now I remember! Thanks. Great signing actually, a real compliment to a group of young forwards.

  7. I really hope I am wrong but IMO Chicagos time has passed.
    I see their lines being somewhat like
    Motte, Toews, Schmaltz
    Panarin,Anisimov, Kane
    Panik, Kruger, Hossa
    Desjardins, Rasmussen ?, Tootoo

    6 D Keith, Seabrook, Campbell, Hjalmarsson, Gustafsson, TVR

    G Crawford

    While obviously a tremendous amount of talent here there is also several question marks. Motte and Schmaltz may be NHL ready but overwhelmed even as 2nd liners never mind 1st. ( Even if you swaped wingers lines 1 and 3 Panik is not a top 6 LW in the NHL. ) Hossas age is catching up to him. Kruger, the 4th line do little to excite me.
    Their defence is still good but Keith, Seabrook and Hjalmarsson are wearing down year by year. Hopefully last years early exit has helped these players. Campbell is 37 and while durable and still a great skater, his age will catch up to him like Hossa.
    Stan Bowman has put this team in cap hell forcing them to lose a lot of good young talent over the last few years.
    Again dont get me wrong I love Chicago and their talent ( and coaching ) will keep them in the playoffs for a long time but I just dont see them being a top SC contender anymore. ( Prove me wrong Chicago I’d love to see it ! )

  8. Nice to see someone giving his due. He is a good #2 when you have a good #1 and Karlson is exceptional. Their top four matches up pretty good with the east.

    I am a Leaf fan who considers the Senators not Montreal or Detroit our biggest rival. I think that two years from now the Leafs defense will be in the top five in the east. They won’t have a Karlson but Reilly, Gardner, Zhaitsev and Carrick will all move the puck well plus Marincin has good analytics. It will be interesting to see which one of the prospects gets into the top six. After that there are some good prospects that could bump Marincin, Carrick or even Zhaitsev out. Based on potential that group looks good.

    Ottawa’s top four look good right now. I think Phaneuf will have a good year because the focus is on Karlson so he won’t have to try to do stuff he shouldn’t. He is a loss to TO and a class act. No one else put in the effort and heart he did the last couple of months the year before last. I really think he should be considered for some of these international tournaments played on NHL ice size?

  9. Phaneuf of this nonsense! You’re Senssationalizing. But really, there is some sort of Methot to their madness, to Borrowiecki a common phrase.

    • Oh my God!! Here we Pageau again. After these puns I’ll Ceci you in hell.