NHL Rumor Mill – November 12, 2016

by | Nov 12, 2016 | Rumors | 68 comments

Anaheim Ducks remain keen to retain defenseman Cam Fowler.

Anaheim Ducks remain keen to retain defenseman Cam Fowler.

Updates on the Leafs plus the latest on Cam Fowler, Jimmy Howard and Ilya Kovalchuk in your NHL rumor mill. 

TODAY’S SLAPSHOT’s Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling TSN Radio 1050 on Nov. 10 that he hasn’t heard anything substantive on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ trade front. “I don’t get the sense that Toronto is in the heat of anything.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still early in the season and the Leafs have a respectable 15 points in 14 games, putting them only two points outside of a playoff berth. No reason to make a trade right now.

 If the rebuilding Leafs remain in playoff contention by February, perhaps management will look at making a trade deadline deal or two to bolster the lineup. And if they’re well out of contention by the March 1 trade deadline, they could attempt to move pending UFAs such as Jhonas Enroth, Roman Polak, Matt Hunwick and Ben Smith. 

Nichols also cites Dreger telling TSN Radio 690 on Nov. 10 that Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler is not on the trade block. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When the Ducks announced the re-signing of Hampus Lindholm, GM Bob Murray said he had no intention of trading Fowler. Perhaps he changes his mind later in the season if there’s a pressing need to address a roster weakness. For now, however, Fowler’s unavailable and could remain that way for the remainder of the season.

ESPN.COM:  Responding to a reader’s questions regarding the Detroit Red Wings’ plans for their goalies this season, Craig Custance said GM Ken Holland remains content on keeping the current tandem of Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek intact. Custance also cites the difficulty of moving Howard’s $5.3 million annual cap hit. He also expresses doubt Howard could bring the Wings a good young defenseman in return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Howard’s improve play this season, I don’t see the Wings moving him. His contract (which runs through 2018-19) is difficult to trade in-season, and with an expansion draft next June, they can simply leave him unprotected if they wish to shed his salary. Given the inconsistencies of both goalies, I think Holland prefers to retain Howard and Mrazek to spell each other off whenever one of them hits a cold streak.

NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports former New Jersey Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk isn’t ruling out a possible return to the NHL. Doing so, however, could be difficult. Kovalchuk filed retirement papers with the NHL in order to break his contract with the Devils and return to Russia to play in the KHL.

Now 33, Kovalchuk would need the approval of every NHL team to return, plus he can only return to the Devils. His best option would be to wait until age 35, which is when his contract with the Devils would’ve expired, thus making him an unrestricted free agent. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Kovalchuk returning to the NHL for another two years, when he becomes eligible for NHL unrestricted free agent status, if at all. 


  1. Sign and trade by devils.

    • Why?

      I don’t think 30 teams would vote to allow Kovalchuk to return early. The NHL later rescinded the draft pick penalty they originally levied against NJ for subverting the CBA.

      I don’t think we see Kovalchuk back in the NHL & really who cares. World class talent that beat to his own drummer.

      • 30 teams are losing a player in teh expansion draft. If the NHL wanted to see more star power return they would find a way. It benefits the nhl to allow players who return to russia or europe for personal reasons to return. Putting themselves between country and family and career dosnt bode well.

      • There are a ton of teams not happy that NJ was able to sneak out from under that contract. It only takes 1 to stop Kovalchuk from returning.

      • There are tons of stars & a ton more coming rapidly. The NHL has never been in a better spot. The growth of hockey in the US at the grass roots level is shocking. We have kids being drafted from places that have never had NHL hockey players in the past.

        In 10 years American stars will start to dominate the sport like they do all sports essentially but a select few that have no foot hod really in the US. A significant reason is sports funding; businesses are given tax right offs to do so but not in Canada & population obviously.

        I’d rather not be subjected to Kovalchuk again especially a 35 or 36 year old Kovalchuk.

      • so 31 nhl teams will be icing 4 lines of top players next year… gorsh. Kovalchuk never was a problem player and left to raise his fmiliy in his homeland. Not letting him come back hurts the nhl and helps their competitor KHL far more than it helps the NHL. I doubt that the GM’s would have an issue with it if it was done in offseason… especially if they think they might be the team to trade for him. The nhlpa could and should lobby the nhl to bring him back as well.

      • It’s in the best interest for the NHL to let the Russian players that can play in the NHL come and play. It just shows other khl players that they do have a choice

      • Here are some young NHL players from non traditional US markets who are playing in the NHL as I write this. I haven’t included older NHL players or player from the traditional NHL developing grounds for US hockey, MN, ME, MA, or WI where the lions share of US hockey players used to be developed.

        Even several NHL cities that have had NHL teams for decades like Pittsburgh haven’t had many NHL prospects make the NHL until recently. Kids there were still choosing football, baseball & basketball primarily. Times are changing.

        Carlo Colorado Springs Co, Gaudreau Salem NJ, Tkachuk Scottsdale AR; NHL family, Pesce Terrytown NY, Slavin Erie CO, Saad Pittsburgh PA, Atkinson Riverside CN, Jones Arlington TX, Johns Elmwood City Pen, Gibson Pittsburgh Pen, Dvorak Palos Il, C. Murphy Dublin OH, DeAngello, Sewel NJ, K. MIller LA CA, McCabe Eau Claire, WI, Nelson Wisconsin Rapids WI, Hartman Hilton Head Is SC, Trochek Pittsburgh PA, Dowd Hunstville AL, N. Shore Denver CO, Zucker Newport Beach CA, B. Bennet Gardena CA, Palmieri Smithtown NY, Merril Oklahomo City Ok, Prince Rochester NY, JT Miller East Palestine OH, Gostisbehere Pembroke Pines FL, K. Leblanc Brooklyn NY, T. Johnson Spokane WA, Matthews Scottsdale AZ, Lowry StL MO, & Myers Houston TX.

        This doesn’t include the Eichel’s, Werenski’s, Hanafin’s, etc. from the traditional hotbeds of US hockey nor does it even yet represent the tip of the iceberg that’s still about 5 years away.

        The NHL’s growth is staggering. Not by markets specifically, I can’t see a league with much more than 32 perhaps 36 teams eventually but by future star power & the popularity of the sport not just in Canada & the US but world wide. Sooner or later a good national TV package in the US will be secured solving the cash flow issues for the current have nots.

      • The biggest reason for the influx of Russians returning to the NHL is money. Oil prices are killing the Russian economy, most teams in the KHL currently are bleeding money & can’t afford to pay players what they were before this significant shift in their economy.

        I don’t care where players come from. If they can help an NHL team be them Russian, Korean what have you I’m happy.

      • the nhl teams would allow him to come back because they will view him doing nj a favour by retireing nj at the time were in financial difficulties,so that meant nj wasn’t on the hook cap wise and salary wise now as far as of loosing a draft pick that is on the team they knew what they were doing and got caught the reason they got the pick bk was they had a new owner who complain to the league that he was not responsible for kovalchuk contract. i would be in the interest of nj to sign him at 33.if they sign him at 33 lets say for a 4-5 yr contract and he got hurt at 36 and placed on ir the team would be able to get cap releif if signed at 35 wouldn’t get that releif

      • Maybe. I just can’t believe 30 GM’s will all vote in favor this summer to something that benefits only NJ.

      • oops forgot the the contract he sign would be in effect for 2 more yes but nj has the cap space to handle it and would be ableto sighn whe he is 34 on the last yr of the contract

      • Few fans showed up to see NJ play well Kovalchuk was there except in the lock out shortened season ironically. His 2 & a 1/2 seasons staring in 2009-10 they finished 20th; 88.1%, 25th; 83.8%, & 24th; 87.4%, in paid attendance. No shows people who paid that didn’t attend? Who knows.

        The Canucks have any where from 2000 to 4000 fans who paid for games last season not show regularly & that pattern is starting to repeat its elf this year.

      • The contract isn’t reactivated. That contract no longer exists & was to have run through 24-25. He would sign a new contract & his cap recapture penalties which are minimal & meaningless stay on the books till paid.

        I can’t see 30 GM’s accepting that as they think it will help the game. GM’s are tough mother f—er’s & aren’t giving another team a benefit if they have a choice. Doubtful the NHL & Bettman intercede to help sell this to all 30 teams. Bettman wasn’t happy Lou circumvented the intent of the cap & the NHL rewrote the rules in 2012-13 to penalize teams that did should these players retire early when the minies paid drop significantly. Lungo, Hossa & Kovalchuk had he not retired so early into his 15 year deal.

        NJ got lucky as they mutually agreed to terminate Kovaluck’s contract upon completion of year 3 of the 15 year contract. He was paid 6, 6 & 11. The cap recapture penalties on these long contracts that had the penalties added don’t really hurt when the player is making huge money at the front end but when the actual salary drops at the back end if they don’t play out their contracts.

      • NHL definitely intercedes because it sets a good precedent for future retrievals from russia and otehr countries. The growth of us is great… being from the burgh I’ve seen it first hand. But there still are grinders and tweeners bringing down overall team talent. NHLPA would likely also lobby for it. dont think one or two gm’s that would not want this would risk the repercussions of future nhl rulings over one player. I would be shocked if IK wanted to return it would be prevented from happening… it is just overall bad for the league.

  2. Enjoy the Flapping Wings Airline, Ilya.

  3. Can anyone confirm Kovalchuk last contract for $100 mil with two years left no longer exists ? If so and his rights are still NJD what is the offer ? Probably Radulov money.

    • Kovalchuk hits NJ’s cap for 250K for the next 9 years as a cap recapture peanlty. They mutually agreed to termination of his contract & he retired from the NHL getting NJ off the hook for a buy out & subsequent penalty.

    • Kovalchik’s contract was to have run through 2024-25!

  4. Budaj with a stellar appearance relieving Zatkoff who got reinjured last night. That would be cold. Ha-ha! That’s why LA is trading for a goalie at some point soon. Their not going another 25 to 30 games hoping Quick will be able to return & play.

    Again not happening tomorrow but certainly in the next 3 weeks. There is to much parity in the NHL to even give away few games you should win. It will cost you a playoff spot.

    LA’s organizational goalie depth may be the worst in the NHL. Lombardi trying to sneak Berube through waivers last season was a huge mistake he should have waived Enroth & let Berube be the back up.

    • Lombardi is a neanderthal & living in a different era of NHL hockey when player personnel, style of play & salary structure were significantly different.

      Winning 2 cups buys you a ton of leeway with ownership. Having Kopitar & Doughty doesn’t hurt either. Ha-ha!

      You look at the 1 constant teams that win the cup have. A dominating NHL center & a stud #1 Dman. Have these 2 ingredients, surround them with a little bit of solid depth, get great goaltending at just the right time & anything is possible.

    • Here is a thought I don’t see a goaltending issue and definitely not enough to go after a guy like Halak or Howard, but what about bringing back Enroth on his cheap 1 year deal early for a 2nd round pick? Leafs have Ramo practising with the team and Prust neither have contracts lol so they sign Ramo to a league min after Enroth leaves.

  5. Dreger reporting about his sense regarding a Leafs trade is irrelevant – he has zero information and insight on what the management group is thinking or planning under the no leak, no hint, no nothing for the press policy that is now in place.

    Having said that, I think, like many teams, they would like to bring in a youngish RHD via trade for a forward. That seems unlikely to materialize, I know.

    • I like Dreger. He’s well informed. His deductive reasoning skills are sound. This isn’t NJ where no 1 really cares & Lou has a small trusted group of advisers he controlled with a whip.

      Lou will strive to put the cone of silence on things but not certain in Toronto you can stop leaks. The Hockey operations department in Toronto compared to NJ is huge. No cap on off ice operations. Allot of straws in that drink & Lou may have the title of GM but Shanahan is the man truly in charge.

      • No team is leak free that’s just silly.

      • Agreed. Although some do far better at containing info than others. Did anyone care what NJ was doing? Ha-ha! The fans certainly don’t, few attend NJ games with or with out Lou. Not fun to watch.

      • Actually, there have been no leaks.

        And it is you commenting on a situation you don’t follow, BigBear, that is silly. Much like changing your name after being thoroughly repudiated and rejected by this forum instead of moving on from your childish trolling that is silly.

      • It’s all good not meaningful regardless. Who cares if there are leaks or not. Unless a GM comes out publicly & states he’s shoping a player or other which is rare it’s all hyper boil & the accuracy & validity suspect regardless.

      • Every team leaks. It just depends if its in a trough, a terlit, or just in the showers.

      • That’s right Chris it is impossible not to have leaks! Ppl are uneducated in hockey are the only one who believe teams don’t have leaks

      • If there were leaks as much as suggested then why when trades happen people say they never saw that coming ? You can’t tell me people knew of deals such as the Z bad one ib advance. Maybe a select few know but for the most part it’s a pretty tight group.

  6. Hey! I got a rumor for you. The leafs, there doing nothing. Oh, ok thanks. Dan39 totally agree with you, we will know if the leafs are doing something when it happens and no hint of it from the leafs before it happens.

    • Indeed.

  7. Honestly not sure why any team in the Leafs situation would be making any kind of major move at this point. Young team with no real expectations but to let young guys play and develop are 2 points out of a playoff spot? I agree with Lyle the reason Dreger likely hasn’t heard much is cause there will be little to hear until later in the year, and even then likely won’t hear much due to the way Lou runs things, simple look at the Phaneuf deal, that was a huge deal and not a peep out of the insiders prior to that the captain and highest paid player on the team moved to a provincial rival. Not saying that a leak would never happen but you would think if leaks were an easy thing to find it would have been done in a case like that.

    • And to Strikers point about who cares about what happens in Jersey? How many insiders were thinking Schneider was getting moved out of Vancouver to NJ at a draft? Trades generally involve 2 teams no? Funny how no one from teams with a Canadian fan base had these leaks prior to them happening. Maybe it’s just the way Lou deals with things?

      • Schneider to nj was talked about before the draft! Not a good example

      • Here is a clip from the draft big bear look around before you talk https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fqaGowQ16rk Schneider getting moved was talked about by a few of us of course because of Luongos contract but Luongo was the one most speculated about being traded and no one was talking about Schneider to NJ.

      • Take your own advice about looking before you talk, bob mac ” I see Schneider getting moved before louongo because of his contract and I’ve heard the Devils have been talking to the Canucks”

      • Link big bear? Back up 1 thing you say. Priove it putting quotation marks around it doesn’t mean a thing. That was never said.

      • Only if you do tanner all you showed was the trade nothing before

      • Shouldn’t be that hard to find if you are taking quotes from it. lol

      • Again tanner all you are shown me is after the trade keep trying buddy!

      • Dreger, Mackenzie and LeBrun talk to each other almost daily according to Dreger. If Dreger says he just found out about the trade minutes before it happened then Bobby Mac probably didn`t know anything either. Everybody has their ear to the ground at those events, always looking for a scoop

    • Lou has stated that if he is talking deal with another gm, he`ll pull the plug on a deal if there`s a leak. Shanahan is almost as bad, they won`t tell you what time it is let alone what transactions they`re about to make.

      • The Cone of Silence

        Besides building a franchise from a bottom-feeder to a perennial contender after he came on board, the absence of any leaks within the Devils organization was probably the most impressive accomplishment of Lou Lamoriello’s tenure in New Jersey. It has been especially remarkable in the last 10-15 years, when rumors and leaks have become ubiquitous through the internet and the spread of information is near-instant. Even under these conditions, Lamoriello’s organization was a tight ship and leaks remained extremely rare.

        Rumors fly with abandon in the NHL landscape, and while the sources vary greatly in reliability, often times if there is smoke — particularly from the more reliable reporters — there is fire. That rule hasn’t really applied to the Devils, though, as they’ve been nearly smoke-free for about 28 years now. The Cory Schneider trade at the 2013 Draft was a great example, as no one seemed to have any idea what was about to happen until Gary Bettman stepped to the podium and proclaimed that fans at the Prudential Center were “gonna want to hear this.” For New Jersey fans, the rule might as well have been “if there is absolutely no smoke at all, maybe the Devils are involved.”

        Here is a quote from the Devils blog all about the Jersey, it involves Lou’s view on leaks and the Corey Schneider deal.

        Still waiting on big bears article linking A NJ leak about Schneider…

      • Was that after the trade tanner? Lmao

      • Jesus your a fool if people knew the trade was happening before why would it not be said after the trade that people knew it was happening? Why would everyone say it was a surprise if it wasn’t? Where is your Bob Mackenzie article? Why does no one in any article say Bob knew? How is there going to be an article about being a surprise trade before the trade happens? lol that’s kinda the point no, that no one knew the trade was going to happen? Seriously you are a dolt. lol

      • That will never come

      • Find an article before a trade happens that says no one knows, or there are no leaks about a trade that hasn’t happened yet? ?

  8. Yes it was. There was lots of interest in Cory at the time. The more moving parts you have increases the odds of a leak.
    Still think Jersey won that deal. Horvat may still turn out ok but no where near where CS is. Apparently Edmontons deal had Nurse involved some how but Nonnis ? didn’t want to deal within the division.

    • Your right lots of talk about Schneider getting moved instead of Lou and nj was brought up numerous times

      • Show 1 of the numerous times it was brought up. If there were so many links to NJ and Schneider show one lol

      • Show one that it wasn’t tanner

      • I’ve showed several links including the draft itself and a quote from the Devils blog http://www.allaboutthejersey.com/2015/8/5/9094865/as-lou-lamoriello-departs-so-do-many-of-his-quirks that all say
        there was no hint that the Devils were trading for Schneider where is yours?
        You’re a joke buddy just yapping to argue. Lou doesn’t let these things slip out. If he does show something. No leaks about Phaneuf getting traded no leak about Schneider 2 huge trades 2 different places, no leaks. Sure doesn’t mean there will never be one but for the most part trades that involve Lou don’t get leaked until they are already happening.

      • Is that link after the trade?

      • Again Big bear explain, how is there going to be an article prior to (before) a trade about that trade not being leaked? It doesn’t make sense. Are you high? If there are reports of someone hearing of a trade like an insider and then it happens it is not usually hard to find the insider who reported hearing it first( it’s not a surprise to see “that as reported by…”)so where is the Mackenzie article? That says he heard Schneider to NJ? Or Schneider was traded to NJ as speculated by Bob MacKenzie or anything days prior or after the trade? There is never going to be an article about a trade that’s not leaked that comes before the trade or else the trade has been leaked now hasn’t it?

    • Nonis wasn’t apart of the Canucks organization then, Cory Schneider was traded at the 2013 NHL Draft, Nonis joined the Leafs in 2008 after leaving Vancouver and Anaheim and wasn’t relieved of his job in Toronto until 2015. The only significant move he made with the Canucks was getting Luongo from Florida.

  9. Clearly the the article I read was flawed. The author stated Nonnis was the GM,I didn’t not check. Goes to show anyone with a keyboard can post stuff.
    Shticky makes a good argument, BBB ( bigbear ?? ) isn’t putting up much of an argument other then to get under Shtickys skin.
    I do think there was some knowledge of a Schneider deal going down but only the teams approached knew. That’s why the schock hit everyone else.
    I also believe if there is a leak it is by design. Or by stupidity. ( see Benning Jim )

    • There was some talk of Edmonton and Philly having some interest in Schnider but not anything from NJ and for the most part it was believed Luongo was the one that was likely to be moved (he waived the NYC at the beginning of the season) which is what led to the owners going to meet with Lou and the mess that followed. Big bear is either just trying to argue or has absolutely no idea what he is talking about, possibly both either way. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  10. Still waiting big bear, when you find that article that says Mackenzie was speculating or reporting he heard about the biggest trade NJ had made in a decade before it happened let us know will ya?

    • It was a radio show geez you must be really drunk tonight hey tanner ????

      • Hey tanner when are the leafs d gonna step? As you have said numerous times gardiner is a top 10 d in the NHL!?

      • Quoting a radio show word for word over 3 years later about Bob Mackenzie breaking a trade like that and there is no other mention of it anywhere? No where yet I can find all this other stuff about insiders breaking trades but the internet missed this one time that was at the draft in NJ and NJ biggest trade in years? Ya I could see how that may happen ?. Quite often the media misses things like that or perhaps it was just some insider info projected in to your tin foil hat.

      • https://mobile.twitter.com/tsnbobmckenzie/status/351429193181048834

        Sure doesn’t look like Bob knew judging by his Twitter account when it was happening.

        I’d ask you to show me where I said Gardiner was anything but a d in Torontos top 4 but we all know you can’t back up a single thing you say it’s meaningless.

      • Guess he musta forgot he said that on a radio show?

  11. born and raised in los Angeles and born kings and subsequently a true hockey fan in all regards. i feel that the nhl should be happy to reopen its borders to former nhl players. also in the future (hopefully near) i wish to see the nhl expand past the us and Canadian borders and have competing teams throughout the world. i would love to see the nhl involve the khl in regular season competition

    • To make that kind of thing viable an NHL team would need to spend at least 2/3 weeks “on the road” with EACH segment in the home rinks of KHL teams. And I can hear the screams of GMs after scanning the upcoming season schedule after they see that their team plays most of their KHL games against the better clubs in that league, which could and would happen because there is no way you can work out a balanced schedule.

      The only possibility involving the 2 leagues is some sort of series following their respective championships, i.e., the Stanley Cup winner against the winner of the KHL. But they’d be playing into July.

      Forget that, it just isn’t going to happen.