Latest on the Canucks, Leafs & Kings – December 6, 2016
Updates on Ryan Miller, James van Riemsdyk and Teddy Purcell in your NHL rumor mill.
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports it’s plausible the Vancouver Canucks could re-sign goaltender Ryan Miller, who’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. Kuzma cites what he calls “mutual-admiration dialogue between Miller and management,” leading him to conclude the 36-year-old goalie won’t be dealt by the trade deadline, even if the club tanks in the standings.
While Miller’s numbers aren’t great, Kuzma suggests his experience might work best with Jacob Markstrom. Canucks president Trevor Linden said the club will reassess where they are at season’s end, adding goaltending is the least of their worries, claiming Miller and Jacob Markstrom gives the team a chance to win. If Miller stays, Kuzma believe he’ll have to accept a significant pay cut from his current three-year, $6 million per season deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuzma suggested perhaps a two-year deal worth $4 – $4.5 million per season. I think that’s a reasonable offer. However, it’ll depend upon whether Miller wants to stay in Vancouver or test the market. He’ll prefer to remain on the West Coast in order to be close to his wife, actress Noureen DeWulf.
The depth in talent in the UFA market for goalies next summer drops off significantly beyond Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Ben Bishop, and there’s no certainty the Canucks could win a bidding war for his services. The Canucks could be better off re-signing Miller to mentor Markstrom over the next two seasons.
THE STAR: Mark Zwolinski reports Toronto Maple Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk is ignoring the recent trade speculation swirling round him. As a big winger who can score and has only one season left on his contract, van Riemsyk’s popped up as a potential trade candidate, as has young forward William Nylander. Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said the club isn’t looking to move either guy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs obviously won’t move van Riemsdyk this season, and I doubt they have any plans to trade Nylander. However, van Riemsdyk’s UFA status in 2018 does leave him with an uncertain future in Toronto as they continue to rebuild. Recent trade chatter suggested he’d be the obvious trade chip to bring in a top-four defenseman. That’s a move that might happen in the off-season if the Leafs get the right offer.
SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman speculates that contract and budget issues explains why Los Angeles Kings winger Teddy Purcell cleared waivers on Sunday. LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen said he heard there may have been a little trade talk with another club prior to Purcell being placed on waivers, suggesting the possibility that talk might continues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Purcell has only two points in 12 games this season, was a healthy scratch in the Kings last four games and carries a $1.6 million cap hit. No surprise he went unclaimed. That trade talk could hinge upon how much of his cap hit the Kings are willing to absorb.