NHL Rumor Mill – September 30, 2016

by | Sep 30, 2016 | Rumors | 52 comments

Still no word on progress in contract talks between the Lightning and Nikita Kucherov.

Still no word on progress in contract talks between the Lightning and Nikita Kucherov.

 Latest on Nikita Kucherov, Hampus Lindholm and Jaroslav Halak in your NHL rumor mill. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports Lightning restricted free agent winger Nikita Kucherov won’t report to training camp until he’s signed a new contract. GM Steve Yzerman said this was simply part of the process, adding he has no intention of trading Kucherov.

The Lightning currently have between $5 – $5.5 million in cap space. Yzerman said whatever Kucherov’s contract ends up being will determine how much cap space the Bolts might have to clear.

Jones specuates Yzmerman could move another salaried player to make room for Kucherov’s new deal. He doesn’t anticipate this contract standoff to last for long. Jones also wonders if Kucherov might accept a short-term bridge deal with plans to hit a bigger payday later. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s anticipated Kucherov could seek a long-term deal worth at least $6 million per season. Even if he agrees to a bridge deal for $5 million per season, it won’t leave the Bolts much cap space for the upcoming season.They will get some short-term cap relief by placing sidelined winger Ryan Callahan ($5.75 million) on long-term injury reserve, but they’ll have to clear some cap space when he returns in late-November. Smith has suggested center Valtteri Filppula or defenseman Jason Garrison as possible trade candidates. Both carry no-trade clauses

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports Anaheim Ducks  RFA defenseman Hampus Lindholm won’t report to training camp until he’s got a new contract. Lindholm’s agent, Claude Lemieux, sees his client as comparable to that of Florida Panthers blueliner Aaron Ekblad, who recently signed an eight-year contract extension worth $7.5 million per season. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Lindholm camp seeks at least $6 million annually, perhaps even as high as $6.5 million. The Ducks prefer something between $5 – $5.5 million per season. A two-year bridge deal currently isn’t up for discussion.

The Ducks also face a contract impasse with winger Rickard Rakell, who’s reportedly seeking a six-year, $24 million deal. While Rakell also hasn’t reported to training camp, negotiations between the two sides are believed to be making some headway. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  With $7.5 million in cap space, the Ducks will have to shed salary even if they get Lindholm to accept $5 million per and Rakell to accept less than $4 million per season. This will only heighten speculation that Cam Fowler ($4 million cap hit) will hit the trade block in the near future.  

NEWSDAY: Responding to a reader’s question regarding the New York Islanders goaltending for the upcoming season, Arthur Staple thinks management has changed its mind over trading Jaroslav Halak following his superb performance for Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey. He suspects they could once again start the season carrying Halak, Thomas Greiss and J-F Berube.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Halak’s ability isn’t in question, but rather his injury history. When healthy, he’s a solid, reliable starter.  If they’ve changed their minds about moving Halak, they’ll have to deal with that logjam between the pipes again. 


  1. Rickard Rakell expects 4-5 million after 1 20 goal season…

    • Well he has only played 2 full seasons. Depending upon term the market has been set. Some where between Rask in Carolina at 4 & Trocheck in Florida 4.75 if signed long term, 5+ years. Significant less if short term, R. Strome 2.5 to JT MIller 2.75 both 2 year deals.

      • With the salary cap barely moving up seems like 2nd contract terms and dollar amounts being pushed thus making this the ‘younger and younger’ NHL that keeps getting talked about.

        When is the next strike Striker?

        These ‘bridge’ contracts have become cap killers

      • The next lockout will be 2022 & as usual it will be all about money.

    • The sad part is that someone would pay Rakell that.

      • It’s always a risk after 1 good season but he plays a good 2 way game

    • I was thinking the very same about Hampus Lindholm, and i realize the price for accomplished defenders is high, and down right crazy in UFA. But am I missing something with Lindholm? Is he ALREADY and over SIX MILLION accomplished sfae to put out in crucial situations player? Maybe my eyeball test is missing it. Rackell, on the other hand seems like the real deal…it isn’t both these guys faults Bob Murray bought Ryan Kesler their 3rd round centre pretty high in UFA.

      • I see Anaheim play a ton, numerous times each season live as well. Lindholm is a stud that logs hard minutes. Rielly, Jones, Hamilton, Ekblad, etc. are setting the market.

        Kesler is actually Anaheim’s #2 C & 1 of the best checking C’s in the NHL today who’s face off skills are world class. He’s also a serious pest or dirty player to play against in you prefer.

        Rackell, Getzlaf, Perry.
        Cogliano, Kesler, Silfverberg.
        Ritchie, Vermette, Garbutt.
        Raymond, Wagner, Boll.

        I assume once a Dman is moved to elevate some money issues a forward on ELC or great contract is coming back but 1 could simply be expended for futures & Anaheim promote a player from with in.

      • I don’t think the salary for Kesler is the issue, but the term is too long. We’re starting to see the 7 or 8 years deals, when the average career is less then 10yrss. The contract I believe in the latter stages will be the downfall of teams losing out of players because they’ll be stuck with. They’ll be moving prospects to get rid of contracts…Oh never mind they are already doing that.

      • This only gets worse for Ducks as far as the cap goes. With a lot of young players coming up down the road, if they plan to keep them and pay them it has to be more than dumping Fowler.
        The cup window for Getz, Perry, Kessler is closing fast. It is decision time, screw the future and take one last shot or take a step back and do a mini rebuild. This team has a LOT of young talent and would not need a MAJOR rebuild. They can fix this years cap problem by trading Bieksa FOR ZIP. It’s a 4 million cap hit and solves this years problem. Down side is that he has a NMC and would have to agree to trade but he waived it coming to Anaheim, perhaps he would again and anyone who got him would have to protect him expansion draft. He is still very useful and he would be a top 3 on several teams. If not him then give away day for Stoner or COGS. Past this year, the only solution I see on the cap problem is trading Getz, Perry or Kessler, that gives you 7 to 8 million in cap relief, it would have to be a Kessel type deal, getting a draft pick back and a couple of maybe some day prospects.

      • Not a single contract on the horizon in Anaheim after signing Rackell & Lindhold unless they are bridged. The next & only 1 is Fowler in 2 years who many are assuming is a goner in trade.

        Trading Bieksa with an NMC unless he commits to waive it to the team acquiring him come the expansion draft is a non starter. Stoner should have been bought out, Anaheim would have to eat salary & possibly still add a sweetener to trade him.

        What you see is pretty much what you get in Anaheim for the next 3 to 5 years with Murray doing his usual additions through the system. Ritchie, Theodore & a forward this season. I had assumed Kerdiles but a concussion may mean someone else. Nattinen, Noesen, Soreneson?

        If Folwer or another Dman moves which appears obvious something is coming back, what that is who knows it won’t have much salary who ever it is.

  2. No way is Hampus Lindholm comparable to Aaron Ekblad. Maybe in the stats dept ( I haven’t looked ) but Ekblad carries so much more in qualities that cannot be measured ,such as leadership skills. 5.5 million per year on a 5 year deal is what I would offer. Max.

    • I wouldn’t say better but I would say comparable, and I definitely don’t believe that he would be worth 2 million dollars less per year.

    • There are alot of similarities between these 2 Dman. Ekblad shouldn’t have been given so much so quickly, it skews the market. Stats are similar although Ekblad’s are better by offense which relates to deployment.

      Ekblad starts 55.7% of his shifts in the O zone seeing the 2nd most PP time on the team barely playing short handed 0:44 SH TOI/GP. Lindholm starts 49.7 % of his starts in the O zone see’s 2nd line power play time & solid penalty killing time, 2:09 SH TOI/GP.

      Lindholm doesn’t lack for leadership or character but he won’t be getting Ekblad money. Florida threw money around this summer like drunken sailors.

      These are both young stud 2 way Dman that can do it all. Lindholm being a far more willing shot blocker than Ekblad. I assume if Fowler is moved Lindholm will see a nice bump in PP time if another Dman moves he’s stuck behind Fowler, Vatanen & soon to be Theodore for offensive minutes.

      • Lindholm is one of the best dmen in the NHL, he’s very underrated like Ekman-Larson. The Ducks have a very good young defense but he is by far their best dman. Vatanan, Manson, Despres, Fowler, Theodore and soon to be Montour as well. There is no other team with that many stud dmen.

      • I will throw it out there again, 3 way deal, Fowler ends up in WPG, Trouba in Boston.
        ANA can’t take on any significant cap $$ in return so it will be prospects/picks.
        WPG needs a LD in return, here ya go.
        Bruins need a young RD with upside that can also help them now.
        Only question is what goes back to ANA? Boychuk and Leddy went for cheap in early October whe BOS and CHI were painted into a corner.
        Or the B’s just keep Fowler.

      • Raybark.

        I would just prefer Boston make a deal with Anaheim for Fowler. Spooner & something. Fowler having only 2 years remaining although with a decent cap hit at 4 per reduces his trade value nominally. Boston would have the resources to resign him when necessary.

        I don’t have issues really with the whole leftie rightie thing. Good defensemen can play either side effectively.

        We already dealt away 1 headache in Hamilton I’d prefer not to take on another in Trouba who’s sense of self worth is questionable & he wants to dictate his playing time & which side he plays on. Those decisions are for coaches & general managers to make.

      • Stiker, I agree that D can play either side, but I would prefer they play on their natural side. As a D myself I see the benefit, especially now with players having less time than ever to make a clean first pass and more and more teams trying to exit the zone up the middle of the ice. Better angle and not forced to be a backhand at times. It is often the only outlet that is available with today’s schemes.
        On Trouba, is he a headache? More likely now than this time last year. Depends how the communication has been with WPG. If it is really about money and they have been low balling him, then I kind of get it. It is a business for both parties and about leverage.
        If he is just pouting because he doesn’t want to play in WPG? then ya avoid him.
        I am a big believer that character matters, so you do your due diligence and have your players talk to players that know him. As a player, I like him.

      • We’re totally on the same page. Not holding any longer term grudge against a 22 year old. Ha-ha!

        I would happily take Trouba depending upon cost in trade & salary. Fowler to. Anything would be better than playing Liles who’s signing made no sense to me especially when you factor in Sedeinberg’s buyout. They may as well have just kept Seideneberg & bought him out next summer.

      • Exactly on Seidenberg, I think Caper and I discussed that a while back? It takes a year plus to recover from the surgery he had, just keep him, now they pay him for 4 years. Only plus is it opens a spot for younger guys so a decision can be made on Morrow and C Miller

      • What about Liles doesn’t he just eat up games they should be playing. Why was he brought back after a brutal showing late last season? He played as a regular. Julien seemed to like him.

      • Ya, take that spot with Seidenberg. They needed 7 NHL D, looks like Sweeney simply preferred Liles.

      • RayBark i through the same idea yesterday with fowler to winnipeg and then trouba traded to a team needing a defence, i would maybe see leafs having more to offer then boston though in prospect and players on elc depending what leafs are willing to give up though, i’m a habs fan so would rather leafs and bruins not get trouba but that’s the only way i see trouba leaving winnipeg for a defence is in a 3 way deal like you mentioned.

  3. Hampus must be going for the future buyout plan if he wants 7.5 per season. He’s just not worth that money in comparison to other D that make that dollar amount on a whole.

    • Lindholm is a very good young dman he will get a very good pay day

      • again, teams are being asked to PAY for more on the job training. What the Ducks win?

      • Ya Bill, they are more and more and it is risky for the GM. I think what the players and agents are leveraging is that you get more of the players best prime years when they are 22/23/24 and asking for the big $ long term.
        If you are the GM do you want to pay a large portion of your cap to players that are 23 to 30 or to 28 to 35?
        Which has more risk and more upside?

  4. I didn’t take Kucherov as the hold out type. That’s a bit surprising to me. Neither Kucherov or Lindholm are bridge contract types. Looks like Tampa and Anaheim are open for business via trades whether they want to be or not. As for Halak he is always so sharp in tournament and playoff hockey. If I were the Islanders and he were healthy and they were comfortable with Greiss and Berube I would be calling Dallas at the trade deadline. If they meet in the Finals then deal with playing against him at that point. The asking price could be significant as it could be likely that Dallas will want an upgrade in goal.

    • I think kucherov is the hold out type only reason he knows he can go to the khl and make a boatload

    • I don’t think there is any acrimony between TB & Kucherov. Yzerman just needs to find a solution. He painted himself into this corner signing Coburn & then Killorn before Kucherov. He should never have signed Coburn. A luxury TB can’t afford & he should have made Killorn wait being an RFA as opposed to Kucherov.

      Curious to see how this plays out & how long it takes Yzerman to resolve.

      • Good point Striker,

        Yzerman has demonstrated a willingness to wait things out though when you consider Drouin, and to a much greater extent, Stamkos. Maybe he trades Bishop earlier than anticipated, despite the comment, somewhere on this site the other day, that there is no market for starting goalies right now. I think there is a market for Bishop!

    • I think their agents would advise them to stay away. No sense risking an injury without a contract.

      • Buffalo has allowed Ristolainen to attend camp regardless of a contract. He won’t play in any games until 1’s signed though. The NHL won’t allow an unsigned player to do so. He would require at least a PTO.

        We see this every year we a few players. I like Snow’s model. It gets the players signed & in camp or if the test Snow, the 1st & last 1 was Bergenheim who played a year in Europe before returning they simply don’t get signed or play.

    • How must Kucherov feel when he is offered less or same $ as Callahan….

      • I don’t think he’s being offered less money. I haven’t even heard a #. The best comparable for Kucherov is Tarasenko who’s #’s are slightly better. That should put Kucherov at 6.5 to 7 on an 8 year deal or 5 to 6 on a 1 or 2.

      • The other thing you need to look at and accept is when these contracts were signed. Callahan’s was signed in June of 2014. The Canadian dollar was at 93.8 cents & the cap still in run away mode. Teams had been warned that the Dollar was under significant pressure but some didn’t heed that advice.

        Callahan had played 20 games for TB following the trade of StLouis, scoring 6 goals, 11 points & facing UFA status.

        Today’s cap world & monies available are less. Callahan scored 24 goals & 54 points the 1st year of his new deal & had a solid playoff run, playing with Stamkos & Killorn. Last year he got moved to the 3rd line with Brown & Filppula playing in a defensive role seeing limited PP minutes. When put back with Stamkos & Killorn for 10 to 12 games during the Drouin debacle & injuries to Johnson & Palat he was the usual Callahan.

        Expecting Callahan to score 20 goals & 50 points getting 3rd line minutes, almost zero power playtime & #1 penalty killing time isn’t happening. That’s a coaching decision not the fault of the player or his skills & management shouldn’t put themselves in a position to be paying 3rd line checkers 5.8 mil per season.

  5. Most of these contract holdouts resolve themselves very quickly each year. Trouba being the potential exception this year as he’s requested or demanded a trade depending upon how you read his reasoning.

  6. Strange how they accepted Bernier

    • I think that was all part of the Andersen trade, Anaheim & Toronto just waited until after Bernier was paid his 2 mil bonus on July 1st to complet that portion of the trade separately but agreed to prior. Anaheim is only on the hook for 2.1 mil. Bernier provides solid insurance for Gibson who hasn’t been able to stay healthy.

      I know I’m in the minority but I like Bernier.

      • In a back up role, I think he is a good pick up for 2 million bucks…Ducks not going to worry about the cap hit for 1 year.

  7. Leafs will be all over these guys and as every1 would give there left nut to play there look out NHL.

    • Getting it in here a bit late today. I’ll check back later see if you got any equally nonsensical responses. Haha

  8. I don’t understand all these teams with cap trouble and players they can’t afford. These players won’t report to camp. They should be looking at teams who have assets to trade that will keep them under cap. Today’s NHL GM’s way of business is absurd they need to get their heads out of their rear ends buckle up get prospects/picks for the players they obviously can’t afford. Ducks for example with Rakell/Lindholm/Fowler. Take a team like EDM with 1st round pick and prospects they could give.

  9. Why are all these restricted free agents trying to get unrestricted money.
    If I was a GM I would let them sit.
    Offer them 3-4 million a season take it or leave it.
    Trade requests are also a joke. Play for the team that owns your rights.
    If you don’t like it do what Vesey did.

  10. Bob Murray as usual has no idea what he’s doing. At this point he better play hardball otherwise he will have to give away Fowler for nothing, which is not an option. He not only needs to get Lindholm and Rakell signed, he needs to add a top six forward in return for Fowler.

    This is the mess Murray put himself in by giving terrible contracts to Bieksa, Stoner, before that Bryan Allen and many others. Jared Boll was an unnecessary addition. Paying 2 mil to a backup goalie when you’re up against the cap is a joke. Almost 2 mil for Antoine Vermette another unnecessary, old, slow, replacement level player that he is paying 3x replacement $ to.

    Between Bieksa, Stoner, Vermette, Nate Thompson and the backup goalie, that’s 12 mil in salary right there lol. You could fill their roles just as easily for less than 5 mil. Way to waste 7 mil in cap space on nothing Bob!

    • Not clear about how this works, so thought I would present a thought to you guys. Could it be possible that Murray (or Yzerman) has a trade in place already and is simply waiting for the start of the season so other teams can put players on LTIR, like Toronto or Arizona. Once done, he can make the move and resign the FAs?

      • Very possible.

    • Murray was hired in July of 2005 to be Sr. Vice President of Hockey Operations under Burke; his right hand man. Took over as GM in Nov 2008.

      In his time in Anaheim they been 1 of the most consistently successful teams in the NHL in win loss record both in the regular season & playoffs.

      He was named GM of the year in 2013-14.

      I’ll give Bob the benefit of the doubt & judge him later when he’s completed tweaking the team for this season. Unless I missed a memo we are still 12 days away from any meaningful games, 13 for Anaheim.

      No team has a better defense in the entire NHL than Anaheim & 1 of those assets if not 2 will get traded between now & the expansion draft & not under value. Stoner was signed in a different cap world. July of 2014 when the Canadian dollar was 93 cents & we we’re still in a run away cap world.

      Thompson will be going on LTIR lost for the season.

      • Murray sucks. He has survived as a GM off of running Getzlad and Perry into the ground with no offensive support, and off the amateur scouting of his staff on defense which he has nothing to do with.

        He let MP go for nothing. Traded Bonino & a 1st for Kesler then gave him a terrible contract. Signed Stoner to an awful contract which has has been an albatross ever since. Before that it was Bryan Allen. Since taking over as GM he has not made ONE good trade for a young top six forward. Not a single one it is incredible. Meanwhile his rivals were trading for the likes of Brent Burns and Jeff Carter, signing Panarin, but he did nothing. Nothing.

        In the latest example of his incompetence he traded Kyle Palmieri, a 30 goal scorer, for a measly 2nd round pick. Just unbelievable. He traded just as much for Kevin Bieksa (LOL!) then re-signed him before he ever played for the Ducks. Bieksa was awful last year because he is past his prime and injury prone. Guess Murray didn’t know that even though the rest of the league did.

        Murray sucks, period. He inherited two elite forwards, and his amateur scouts built a great young defense for him, which he has lived off of. Otherwise, he has done nothing to help the team beyond what was already given to him. All his moves at the NHL level range from average to awful. The Bobby Ryan return was average at best and addressed no needs. The Ryan Kesler deal was average at best, perhaps plain bad when you consider the younger, cheaper Nick Bonino may already be a better player, and Murray gave up a 1st in addition. But even if the trade was good, it was ruined by an awful contract extension that will ruin the team sooner than later. The Ducks will be paying 7 mil a year to an old 4th liner pretty soon. Great job Murray.

        I could go on and on. Why doesn’t Getzlaf have a left wing to play with? It’s been over 5 years that Murray has been the GM, and all he’s done is trade away good wingers like Mcdonald, Bobby Ryan, and Kyle Palmieri, never signing or acquiring any to replace them.

        That is Murray’s MO. Trade away talented forwards to make cap room to sign old, slow, defensive defensemen like Allen, Stoner, and Bieksa. That makes him an awful GM.

  11. Boston signed Christian Ehrhoff to a pto, nothing gained nothing lost? not sure, playing time for C.Miller and Morrow could be at risk.

    • I see K. Miller and Spooner moving to California soon. I don’t have a crystal ball but I’m a little clairvoyant on my mother’s, father’s side.

  12. Anaheim and toronto are talking trade…..stay tuned! !!…mind you Anaheim is talking about trades with 29 other teams!