NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2016

by | Sep 15, 2016 | Rumors | 56 comments

What will the Pittsburgh Penguins do about their goaltending this season?

What will the Pittsburgh Penguins do about their goaltending this season?

 Latest on the Penguins goalie situation plus an updated status of currently unsigned restricted free agent stars in your NHL rumor mill.

TSN 690 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Bob McKenzie was questioned Wednesday about how the goaltending situation between veteran Marc-Andre Fleury and young Matt Murray plays out in the coming season. Citing Fleury’s no-movement clause and Murray’s rise to prominence as a No. 1 goalie, McKenzie believes the Penguins want a little more time for things to shake out.

Depending upon how things go over the course of the season with injuries and overall team performance, one of them could be moved before the trade deadline. While the Penguins at some point could approach Fleury about waiving his movement clause and going to a team where he’ll be the starter, McKenzie doubts that’ll happen before the start of this season. He believes it could take a couple of months, perhaps even up to the trade deadline for this to sort itself out. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As McKenzie points out, the Penguins also like the insurance of having two capable starters. However, if Murray continues playing well and sees the bulk of the starts this season, I think it’s only a matter of time until Fleury gets dealt. If not at the trade deadline, he could be traded before the expansion draft in June.

Teams can only protect one goalie, and players with no-movement clauses must be protected unless they agree to waive their clause. Fleury can list 18 teams he’ll accept being dealt to, which gives the Penguins some flexibility with his trade status. If they do decide to move him, they’ll obviously try to move him where he’ll want to go. 

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox provided an updated status listing of 10 key unsigned restricted free agents. 

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman remains hopeful of re-signing winger Nikita Kucherov before the start of the season. The Calgary Flames and winger Johnny Gaudreau are reportedly $1.5 million apart in contract talks. The Gaudreau camp seeks up to $8 million per season.

The Winnipeg Jets and defenseman Jacob Trouba’s camp are keeping mum on the status of their contract talks, while negotiations between the Buffalo Sabres and blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen have reportedly ground to a halt.

Nothing new on contract talks between the Anaheim Ducks and d-man Hampus Lindholm, while illness has knocked forward Rickard Rakell out of the World Cup of Hockey. 

Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov sounded uncertain about the possibility of being re-signed before the start of the season. Dallas Stars RFA winger Valeri Nichushkin was reportedly in talks with his former KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk, but Moscow Dynamo owns his KHL rights and set too steep a price for Chelyabinsk to buy back his rights. 

The Arizona Coyotes continue playing hardball with forward Tobias Rieder. The New York Islanders have a rule that players who aren’t signed by the start of training camp will sit out the season. That could affect RFA forward Ryan Strome. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not really much new here, other than Nichushkin’s talks with his old KHL team and the reminder of the Isles rule about unsigned RFAs at the start of training camp. Otherwise, still a lot of staredowns going on. In most cases, the late start of training camps and the participation of some players in the World Cup of Hockey are likely why these negotiations are dragging on. Most of the World Cup participants (Kucherov, Gaudreau, Ristolainen, Lindholm, Orlov, Trouba) probably won’t be re-signed until after that tournament is over. 


  1. Moving a goalie for any team at this point; specifically Pit & TB, prior to the expansion draft is going to be challenging. If you consider teams can only protect 1 goalie, then factor in the contract situation of teams with their existing goalies & the quality of goalies teams all ready have, few teams are in a position to take 1.

    There are more than enough goalies being developed world wide to stock 31 teams. That said teams that might be interested based on what we know today.

    Calgary should Elliott not work out, Carolina, Dallas if 1 or both of Lehtonen or Niemi are bought out or Pit or TB take 1 back in trade, although I can’t see a team taking back either, Ottawa, if Pit would take back Anderson; at 35 & with only 1 year remaining after this season getting Fleury who’s 4 years younger with 2 years might be a consideration & Philadelphia; both Mason & Neuvirth are will be UFA’s after next season but I assume 1 will be resigned eventually.

    A serious injury could alter the landscape but moving Fleury or Bishop especially considering Bishops rumored salary demands is going to be challenging. I think Pittsburgh has a far better chance of moving Fleury as his contract at 5.75 for 2 more years following this season is reasonable based on his age & abilities but the return won’t be substantial; 2nd round pick/B grade prospect, & they probably have to take a goalie with a 4 to 4.5 mil cap hit back. Like a Niemi or Anderson.

    Going to be interesting as to how this plays out.

    • If they take a goalie back the return better be better than that. But it depends on when it happens. The closer to the expansion draft the more likely those tables will be turned and it will be the Penguins having to give up an asset to move Fleury. I think taking back Niemi or Anderson is a very real possibility and they are in better shape than Tampa as they have no fas to sign and are bringing back the exact same roster that won the cup. If they did take back a Niemi I wonder if they would send him down to the AHL to get some backup minutes for their other promising rookie goalie Tristan Jarry? Tampa with Bishop, Vas, and Gudlevski and Pittsburgh with Murray, MAF and Jarry are the 2 deepest teams in the NHL at goalie and both can get rid of high priced gets and play young tandems without missing a beat. 2 teams that are very deep at forward and have underrated d corps as well. The class of the eastern conference for sure.

      • King B.

        Where does the money come from to resign Bishop?

        TB needs his salty off the books to sign, Johnson. Palat, Drouin, Sustr & Koekkoek. They will also need to resign or replace Boyle a UFA.

        Bishop will eventually be traded or allowed to walk as a UFA. Barring a significant trade to free up about 7 mil to allow for Bishop being resigned he’s a goober. If they keep Bishop in that scenario they would have to trade vast or they would have 10 mil + committed to 2 goalies. Not likely especially with all the other cap issues.

    • I must be missing something on the logic of Tampa moving Bishop because of expansion. If they can’t sign him ok but it is possible that Yzerman knows the price range requested and has said “ok that is in the ball park so instead of us losing a goalie asset , lets agree to talk after expansion and I know there is a slight risk we cant agree and I get nothing for you” So expansion comes and bishop is not protected , he is picked and free to sign with TB july 1 or Vegas does want a free agent and no goalie lost.Tampa needs to worry what other player they are losing besides a goalie. Trade market at deadline is better anyway , so if you decide to go without Bishop you get more then.

    • I can see where you are going with the Fleury to Ottawa scenario. That would be a good for for both.

      • It makes more and more sense when I think about it. MAF should be open to coming to Ottawa one would think. Pretty good defense and a good mix of veterans and young guys. Think Ottawa is a better team than they are given credit for.
        Beyond Tampa, the other two spots in the division are wide open, although I think Florida is pretty close to a lock as well.

      • I think that on the surface that would make some sense, but I suspect that Management in Ottawa are more interested in seeing Anderson play out his contract which should allow O’Connor the time to make his way to the team and eventually (they hope) to take the top job. As a Penguins fan, no problems with taking back a goalie on a deal with MAF (I think a Neimi or Anderson is just good insurance and bait to leave unprotected), but I would be curious to see what the market would pay for the other asset coming back (Assuming a mid to higher tier prospect).

      • I completely disagree. Even when fleury has shown flashes of brilliance , he’s also shown head scratching moment. I think Anderson has shown a much better effort being left high and dry with very little in terms of defence for years. You ask me who’s capable of being the best goalie and I will answer Anderson. Fleury is a diminishing asset and so is Anderson likely to be but he’s only got a year left. He’ll play it out and then Ottawa will reevaluate. No thank you on fleury.

    • MAF return wont be huge. A back up goalie with salary and a 2nd or middle 10 prospect. Could be almost Iginla Revenge if he goes to CAL. only one option means the other team doesn’t have to pay up

  2. Since this is a business – as some love to keep pointing out – I kinda like that NYI rule about sitting out a season if your name isn’t on a contract by the start of training camp.

    • George, I’m interested in watching this one unfold. Does Strome camp call their bluff? would the ilse change their mind if they fall behind. If anything can’t say there no line drawn in the Snow.

      • Strome will lose his job to barzal in a heartbeat if he’s not careful

      • Darth Snow does not compromise.

    • So if their rule is “If not signed by training camp the player sits for the season” what will they do if another team sends an offer sheet after training camp starts? If the Islanders match then isn’t that considering braking their rule?

      • The chances of that happening are about the same as seeing Sean Avery offered a PTO.

      • I know the chances are slim, but yet there is a chance. Especially if their is an injury on another team and Strome would be the type of player needed to replace the inured player.

        No matter how slim the chance of it happening, IF it does, it would make things very interesting.

      • They either don’t match the offer sheet and take the compensation or sign and trade.

      • Jeff you either take the comp or keep the player. No sign and trade

      • Yogi. Well that narrows it down. Thanks

      • Or match & I would assume it’s completely different. The didn’t negotiate they protected their asset.

        I’ve always assumed Snow’s stance to be he stops negotiating when camp starts.

    • I fully agree

  3. Ryan Strome often looks like he wants to be elsewhere. He has a chance to take the 2nd line pivot spot-he should be signing any one year deal to try and rebound from last season to increase his next paycheck.

    I cannot see him having my leverage right now

    • I don’t see him playing C but RW. Tavares, Nelson. Grabovsky & Cziskas. Barzal may push Grabovsky to the wing if healthy; Grabovsky that is & is a lock to make the team if not.

    • Strome to Calgary for Mikael Backlund.

      • The Islanders don’t need a C’s they need RW’s.

  4. Goaltending as a position should only have about $8m or 10% assigned of cap space and that’s for two. Pit should not be in any hurry. How many times over the years have we seen a flash in the pan or at least very short careers. The Net Detective in Was, Craig from Miracle on ice, Penny from MTL….the list goes on….where is the Ham Burgler sitting these days ? Be patient Grasshopper…

    • The “Ham Burgler” is sitting right where he’s supposed to be – in a back-up position ideally playing 15-20 games a year. What he did 2 years ago was go into a pressure-filled situation as an emergency replacement for another emergency replacement and make the best of his opportunity. No one expected any more from him.

    • Great idea – let’s start with Montreal. Carey Price is only 8-10% of that team’s success. He’s easy to replace.

      • 7.3m nothing to do with anything else- money ball. Pay him $10m and see where that takes you. Not to the cup.

    • Murray is hardly a flash in the pan. He won just about every award possible in his first year in the AHL and broke the consecutive minutes without being scored on record by a large margin. His second year as a pro he wins the Stanley cup and played very well in the games he played in the regular season and was a huge part of the Penguins strong finish to the season. Penguins fans have known for at least 3 years that he was going to take MAFs job some day. He did it all with little fanfare and hype. There is no doubt in our minds that he is the Pens next superstar. Keeping Fleury for now is not a bad idea but soon enough Murray will play Fleury out of town.

      • Couldn’t agree more. Following the kid in the minors since he showed up there. He’s the real deal and the track record proves it. Jarry is more of a flash in the pan than he is, and Jarry still have fantastic junior and AHL stats. What we will be seeing is the natural changeover of star goaltenders, only amped up due to the expansion. Expansion doesn’t happen and MAF likely plays out his contract with the team.

  5. There is absolutely no need in my opinion for either Tampa or Pittsburgh to even be remotely concerned about goaltending at this point. They both have two quality starters going into the season. Why is that a problem? I know it’s all about asset management, but just let it play out in both cases to see which goalie can carry you the farthest. Both of these teams are definite Cup contenders. I would be more concerned as a GM about the here and now when this close to realizing the ultimate goal of winning a Cup! Even trading somebody at the deadline could be a mistake if one of your two starters gets injured. I know it’s nice to get an asset for a player who’s contract has expired, and this is the case for Yzerman with Bishop, or to get something in return rather than expose a goalie to the expansion draft as is the case for Pittsburgh. where Murray would be the target because of Fleury’s no trade. But still, in the end, for this season you are locked in at the goaltending position. Many people here talk about the “what have done for me lately?” attitude in pro sports. Well if that is the barometer of which to measure oneself than Yzerman, and Rutherford; if fortunate enough to win it all after losing a goalie, can point to a big shiny silver Cup!! And in Yzerman’s case he can say, “Yes Bishop is gone but we still have Vasileskiy!”, and Rutherford can say, “Yes Murray is gone but we just one back to back Cups (insert name of starter in this scenario here) and still have a quality starting goaltender!” This is not a problem for either GM folks!

    • “won” not “one” back to back Cups sorry! In short, when this close to winning it all don’t get too distracted by next year!

      • It’s not next year they have to worry about but the expansion draft. TB can simply let Bishop walk. Cap space alone justfies it & having him for the playoffs makes sense.

        Pittsburgh’s situation is similar except that Fleury has to be moved at the latest before the expansion draft. I agree keeping him for the season & playoff run makes sense but not sure Pittsburgh could buy their way out of Las Vegas selecting Murray if push came to shove.

        Again, very interested to see how this all plays out.

    • Another thing a lot of Pens’ fans will say is “imagine” what you could do with Fleury’s cap hit gone!!!”

      While it’s fun to play armchair GM and dream you’ll get a first line winger or top 4 D, the reality is they don’t have a capable back up in their system right now. Leaving Murray without a legit backup would be foolish. So right off the bat you need to cut into that cap relief by spending 1.5-2.0 million on a GOOD backup, not just a warm body at minimum salary.

      In the big picture, the Pen’s cap hit versus skill level at the goaltending position is off the charts in a good way. You’re not going to get a good return to for Fleury due to the market anyway, might as well roll with both guys for this season and see what happens.

      • And you could say the same regarding Bishop with respect to what you could do with the cap space. I think Pittsburgh’s goalie situation is a little more complicated, but still in all, if I was the GM for either team I would be happy regarding the goalies I have on the roster for THIS year. Especially when I am in a position to contend for a Cup. In my opinion one of these two teams is your Eastern Conference Champ. Obviously Washington could as well but given past performance I would not bet on them.

    • First of all Murray is not going anywhere and if they were to lose him in the expansion draft that would be horrible asset management and unforgivable in fans eyes. You don’t lose an up and coming future star for nothing. It’s Fleury that is going to be moved, that makes the most sense. His cap hit is high and he’s much older. AND saying the Penguins don’t have a backup in their system is just ignorant of the teams assets and not one bit true. They have Tristan Jarry who projects as another NHL caliber starter and is just 21 and will be entering his second year as a pro. Last year he split starts with Murray at the beginning of the year and had a 14-4 record with a .940 save pct before going down to injury. He struggled a little when he came back but was still solid. He lost his starter job for the playoffs because he was up with Pittsburgh backing up Zatkof for the first 2 games of the playoffs and WBS backup Casey Desmith was playing so well that they kept him in net. This year Jarry will be the stared at the AHL level and Desmith or first year pro Shawn Maguire will be he backup. Both are quality players and could play backup at the NHL level in a pinch. They also drafted Filip Gustavson in this past draft who was considered the best, most complete goalie in the entire draft. So to say they have no one who can handle backup duties in the system is just a completely incorrect statement. 29 other teams which they had this much depth at that position.

      • Well, there are a number of NHL teams who, like the Pens, do have goaltending depth in their system. However, you can’t depend on that depth to meet your backup requirements at the NHL level. Goalies can look great at the AHL level, but are far from ready to perform at the NHL level. For instance, look at Malcolm Subban, who was playing fine in the AHL, but was far from NHL ready. I don’t want to pick on Subban, but he is a good example of a young goalie who needed more experience and was clearly not ready for the big time. I would suggest that the Pens would be in a similar situation, should they test some of their young goalies at the NHL level. So, no, you can’t depend on young prospects in a pinch, unless you get lucky. If the Pens move Fleury, they would clearly have to bring in an experienced back-up NHL goaltender (for at least a year), while their prospects developed at the minor league level.

      • Laurie, I hear what your saying about Subban, but injuries more than anything have slowed his progress. When healthy he has played well, and may well be ready if had been able to play more games.
        If he has a healthy and productive year I can see Vegas picking him up in the expansion draft as one of their 3 tenders. Cheap, young, with big upside.
        Hypothetical question; if the Bruins struggle this year (which they very well could) and miss the playoffs for a 3rd straight year do they begin a full blown rebuild? What does that mean for Rask if you are moving to full blown rebuild and have Subban playing well, ready and unprotected?

      • Murray wont go… but devils advocate I would definitely lose Murray for 1 more cup. That’s the ultimate goal. Especially with the depth your throwing out there.

      • Yeah you never know what will happen ultimately but you can still have a plan based on how your prospect is trending and right now the Penguins have a plan that 17-18 the net will belong to Murray/ Jarry. It’s been the plan since last year and there is no reason to think that has changed at all. I’m spending the weekend in London Ontario at the annual NHL rookie tournament, well if I can get tickets for Sunday vs the Leafs that is otherwise it will just be Friday(Montreal) and Saturday(Ottawa). This is the 4th year in a row I am going. The level of hockey is excellent and its normally the only hockey to be found this time of year. Last year 7 guys who played in September played varrying degrees of significance in winning a Stanley cup in June. Last year the Pens captain was Brian Dumoulin(3 years in a row actually) and he was the best player on the ice for any team. I actually think Jarry played better than Murray last year. I’m really fascinated with the whole draft/ development side of the sport.

  6. I seem to remember a while back, a player was traded to one of the Western teams, Nashville maybe, and his contract with the team trading him to Nashville contained a movement clause of some sort. At the time of that trade, said clause was no longer valid and the team which acquired him turned around and traded him again.

    Assuming this is accurate, would it stand to reason that a team on Fleury’s list could acquire him along with another asset, then expose him to the expansion draft?

    • I find Fleury’s modified NTC & NMC confusing. If you have an NMC why need an NTC?

      • Double-whammy for the GM to unfold.

      • It’s not a NMC it prevents him from getting waived or demoted and gives him 12 teams that he can refuse a trade to. Nothing confusing about it.

      • Well Deeeee for the purposes of the expansion draft it’s an NMC as he would be required to be protected by what ever team owns his rights come the expansion draft unless he waives it to be made available.

  7. Pittsburgh would be crazy to lose Murray under any circumstance. But they are in no rush to trade Fleury until at least the trade deadline. Keeping them both all season does not hurt either. Fleury is a proud player and would likely entertain a move knowing he may never be considered the starter in Pittsburgh if Murray continues to progress as expected. All I am saying is that neither Pittsburgh or Tampa have to act as though the sky is falling regarding their goalie situations; Tampa even less so. Remember Stamkos was not signed before his UFA status kicked in so why would anybody think Yzerman will panic regarding Bishop? Could you imagine if he let Stamkos walk without getting any assets in return? If he signed elsewhere that’s what would have happened. If I owned either of these teams my GM would be given a very clear memo on how to proceed! The memo would clearly state the need to hold still for now.

    • Pittsburgh is just using Fleury as a safety net right now in case Murray has a let down. Once it’s clear that’s not the case they will move him. He can only block a trade to 12 teams and I bet he would love to go to Dallas and be a difference maker there. Tampa is a different story though because they are up against the cap already and still have to sign Kucherov. They have to love someone before the season starts.

      • Not necessarily. Callahan will miss the 1st 6 weeks of the season providing significant LTIR monies to spend. It all depends on what Kucherov gets in cap hit.

  8. seems to me if I was Fleury I would not include any team on my list that needs a goalie if he wa stay. He earned this right If Pit can’t do a deal with MAF then they need to do a deal with Vegas not to pick Murray. That would probably cost them at least Jarry? If wants more say in his trade he can just ask Pit to bring options and he will look at them.

    Bishop is a whole other story. He can pick where he wants to go after July 1. Tampa will know what it will cost them to keep him. I think the best they can do if they cant trade him is trade his rights after the season is over and before the expansion draft. When you think of history you have to remember that he seems to get hurt at the worst time during the playoffs?

    It gets funny sometimes when a team is worried about losing a guy like Bishop even when there is a good replacement. They should look back at what it cost them to get him. I believe it was Corry Conacher ad a pick. So although he is viewed as being worth more if you get more than you paid that is a good deal. Tampa may not have the luxury of signing him to a deal similar to what he has now because they have cap issues. Bishop and maybe another of their roster players need to go to provide cap space to sign others over the next coup of years. Tampa needs a few more players on entry level contracts which means if you haven’t drafted any that can make the roster you trade for potential in young players or you draft them. That is here picks acquired in trades come in.

    You can bet that Dallas will make a deal for MAF or Bishop by the deadline if their team is looking good for the playoffs. I would think that about twenty other GMs would love to have that roster even with the goal tender problem so the only real issue is how do they move one of these guys?

    • The cost to potentially having Vegas pass on a player will be far higher than in any previous expansion draft due to the far more restrictive player protection options.

      Vegas isn’t taking Jarry as compensation for passing on Murray. If Murray were on the board due to MAF having to be protected it would cost Pittsburgh far more than a 1st round pick for Vegas to pass on selecting him.

      Regardless this scenario isn’t playing out. Pittsburgh will protect Murray & Fleury will be traded at the latest before the expansion draft.

  9. I’m in of wondering if either of them would consider going to Winnipeg. That team is close. Really close. Talk about Big D all you want, but Manitoba; the “backwaters” of the NHL – the place no one says they want to go….. well could be a player.

    Would Pavelec and a Brendan Lemieux really look so bad as a return????

  10. To me Dallas has to fit with Pittsburgh or Tampa Bay. Its a question of who moves their goalie first. Both teams are eventually going to go with their young stud so the sooner the better IMO. Niemi is also on the books for only 1 more year after this one. There is still gas in his tank and he is a former Stanley Cup winner. If Vasilevskiy or Murray get injured then you have a capable back up.He can be exposed.

  11. From the information in this story. I can see a possible situation arising in which the Penguins could lose Matt Murray to expansion if Fleury can’t be traded because none of the 18 teams that he accepts being dealt to wants to deal for him. I can also see why the Penguins would not care about being in that situation: If either Fleury or Murray is injured, they have no qualified starter. I don’t know any NHL scouts, but sports writers who do say that Tristan Jarry projects as no better than an NHL backup, and after him, their best bet is probably the guy they drafted in the second round this year.

    Not only that, but Murray is still largely an unknown quantity. He is 6′, 4” and 174 pounds. If that’s not
    skeletal, it’s certainly frail. Can he stand up to a full season of NHL punishment? Will he wilt by mid season? Sure, his AHL accomplishment are outstanding, but let’s put that in perspective. Four of the AHL’s top 15 scorers last year were Chris Bourque (1). Dustin Jeffrey (5), Mark Arcobello (10), and Eric Tangradi (15), all of whom should be familiar to Penguins fans. Right now, all we know for sure about Murray is that he can win big games if his team limits its opponent to about 21 shots.

    • Fleury will willingly waive his NTC to go to any team almost if Murray plays 60 games a year & he’s sitting on the bench watching. These are proud athletes that want to play. You have to know Fleury didn’t like doing so when the Penguins won the cup this season.

      Given a choice of playing as a starter almost anywhere or being a back up in Pittsburgh Fleury will choose to be a starter.

      • It’s likely that events will develop as you say, and for the reason that you sited, But don’t you think that the Penguins’ chances of winning another Cup are diminished without both Fleury and Murray on the team? If the Cup is the ultimate goal and the Penguins feel that having both players gives them the best chance of winning it, would they be willing to risk losing Murray and keep Fleury no matter how irritated he might be? Murray has immense promise, but a short track record, and he could falter. Maybe that is why Jim Rutherford said he would prefer to keep both goalies.