NHL Rumor Mill – December 16, 2016

by | Dec 16, 2016 | Rumors | 55 comments

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman could seek a top-four defenseman.

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman could seek a top-four defenseman.

Latest on the Lightning, Red Wings, Blackhawks and Leafs in your NHL rumor mill.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman acknowledges his club’s recent struggles. It’s not just the absence of captain Steven Stamkos that’s the issue, as he cited the club’s defensive play has suffered of late. Starting goalie Ben Bishop is also struggling between the pipes.

Considered a Stanley Cup contender entering this season, the Lightning are current outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture.  Yzerman said he’s constantly looking to improve his club, but it’s difficult to find a trade partner and a deal that makes sense, especially with so many teams having salary-cap concerns.

LeBrun speculates landing a top-four defenseman is atop Yzerman’s wish list, but there’s no guarantee he can land one before the March 1 trade deadline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop is Yzerman’s best trade chip, but the market for goalies isn’t that great right now. The Lightning GM could have little choice but to wait for the trade market to improve whilst hoping his team can overcome their current difficulties. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Red Wings GM Ken Holland isn’t pleased with the play of his struggling club. Salary-cap concerns, however, are handcuffing many teams and making it difficult to swing trades. Holland admits he’s been in conversations with other GMs seeking a deal to help his club. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the trade market doesn’t improve soon, Holland could become a seller at the trade deadline. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: In a recent Q&A session with his readers, Chris Hine said he’d heard trade speculation earlier this season regarding Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. However, a source told him van Riemsdyk “would be very hard for the Hawks to move considering he makes a small salary (just $825,000) and the Hawks are pressed up against the salary cap.”  If they were to move the blueliner, it’ll have to be for a forward carrying a similar salary. With the Blackhawks playing well, Hine notes there not a pressing need to make a move right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk’s status could change later in the season if the Blackhawks struggle, but their limited cap space makes still makes trading him a difficult move. 

THE ATHLETIC:  David Alter reports little-used Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Frank Corrado is worried about his future. He’s played only one game this season and spent the rest as a healthy scratch thus far. While Corrado hasn’t demanded a trade, he has voiced his unhappiness with his situation. Alter suspects the blueliner wouldn’t mind following his buddy Peter Holland out of Toronto via trade. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For whatever reason, Corrado doesn’t seem to be in head coach Mike Babcock’s plans. At some point, I expect Corrado will be either traded or placed on waivers. He could be a decent pickup for clubs in need of blueline depth. 


  1. I dont get this whole Corrado thing. If the Leafs think they will lose him on waivers then he cant be that bad of a player. If other teams are interested in him then why dont the Leafs play him ? Wait he’s not good enough to crack the Leafs D yet he may get a shot at another team ? Somethings make no sense.

    • I don’t get the intrigue – this is an irrelevant, 7/8/9 Dman on one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Here’s what we have:

      Gardiner – Carrick
      Hunwick – Polak

      There is essentially nothing behind that on the farm that is NHL capable at the moment, with Valiev and Loov being the closest.

      So, you can’t afford to lose Corrado without a replacement and he’s simply not good enough to replace any of the players you see in the lineup.

      When he has been in games, he’s struggled on his offside on the right side and as you can see, there’s more depth on the left side.

      • Corrado is right shooting Defenseman.. Babs must really dislike the guy! He will thrive just not with the TML period just like most of the jettisoned players.

      • No one is saying he is anymore than that Dan what people are saying is that it’s a d!ck move not to either play him or let him go somewhere where he can play, and if you think that Hunwick, Polak or Marinicin are so superior that this guy is incapable of replacing them for more than a game or 2 a season then I guess the intrigue would be how did this guy end up in the NHL in the first place? This is not a question of skill it’s a stubborn coach with a player in his dog house.

      • Polak is trash he shouldn’t be in the NHL after last years cup finals. He must have PTSD after the Penguins lit him up.

      • Shticky, he didn’t make the Canucks out of training camp who are also a terrible team defensively so it’s not like we’re holding him back here. He was always going to be a 7/8/9 depth option in the NHL.

      • With Schticky on this. Stubborn coach, and agree it is a d!ck move. Likely just keeping him as they will move a D or 2 at the deadline to a contender looking for depth for picks in return. Again.
        They should at least play the guy once and a while.

      • Ray, good point – they may be able to move a depth D at the deadline, but the issue is that you need 8 NHL-capable D for depth.

        You need that because of, among other things, injuries, like we have right now after Krejci injured Marincin – he’s going to be out a while, by the way.

      • It’s not it a dick move. The coach ices players he thinks gives him the best chance to win. I don’t know about you but I think babs know a bit more about hockey then all of us put together.

      • Polak does exactly what he’s paid to do. Hit, block shots & play as the #6 Dman for Toronto. Yes he & Dillon were terrible against Pittsburgh. The whole SJ team was.

        He & Spailing returned 2 2nd round picks at last seasons trade deadline. 1 in 2017 & 1 in 2018. I assume Polak will return a very similiar pick this season. A late 2nd. In the meantime he plays a reasonably reliable role in limited minutes.

        Leads Toronto in hits, 6th in the entire NHL & has only played 24 games. Not fun to play against & 1 of the few physical Dman on Toronto’s roster. He is an NHL Dman, a bottom pairing 1 but 1 non the less & certainly isn’t trash.

        Almost every team in the NHL has a Polak on their roster or worse with a few minor exceptions.

      • Think you pretty much nailed it Striker, and as a footnote, I’d add that he’s actually number 2 in average short-handed time on ice behind Reilly, who Babcock is trying to develop a better defensive game in. So there’s a specialist element there in addition to the hitting you noted.

      • This one of those cases where i say good gms are made. There is more than managing a team. They have to manage players and hopefully torontos gm does qjat ka beat for Corado

    • This is a ton of communication about a border line NHL player. Who cares about Corrado! He will be given away for free like Holland was or be waived & picked up by someone desperate for D help & barely play there. He is the perfect #7/8 dman. Makes no money & can sit for ever. He has no NHL future, never has.

      Expansion will keep players like him, Clendening, Holzer, Falk, Tennyson, Harrington, McAlrath, etc. warming the bench as insurance in case of a last minute injury or illness that forces them into the line up until a better player can be brought up from the minors. Almost every NHL team has 1 of these Dman sitting on their 23 man roster. They are called cheap insurance. They play when no other options can be had fast enough or the coach wants to send a message.

      • Striker, that’s a dumb idiotic statement to make! Every team cares about their 7 and 8 dman, that’s why they have them. More so, not sure if you are familiar with the term depth. This is no different then why Boston won’t put Morrow on Waivers because they know there is other teams out there that care enough to claim him. Teams are not just built on Super stars, teams in the NHL win because they have 4 lines and 3 d pairs they can roll over the boards. More so nobody is saying what the player is or isn’t, just simply its a dick move not giving the player an opportunity.

      • Caper.

        You misunderstood me.

        I didn’t mean teams don’t care but why do we care? You need this type of player as an insurance policy noting more in today’s cap world. His development isn’t being stunted. He has no NHL future. Teams need depth Dman making no money who do just what Corrado is doing. Nothing.

      • I think very few hockey fans who pay attention did not believe that Babcock would dip down into his ego to let those who pissed him off at some point wither on the vine. He did it in Anaheim and in Detroit. Why would he be any different in Toronto?

      • “… did not believe that Babcock WOULDN’T dip down …” Damned faded script (grumble, grumble)

      • You just added to my position against expansion! This league should be contracting in my opinion!

    • Sure it is imo, ya coaches ice their best line up and if you feel this player isn’t part of that then move on, I’m sure that a guy who is waiver exempt playing for the Marlies down the street would make a capable 8th (not 7th but 8th) D
      No one is questioning Babcocks hockey iq just saying that this player isn’t getting a chance to prove him wrong now is he? If he isn’t good enough fine move on.

    • Agreed Whiskey Jack. It’s very similar to Peter Holland. It’s so Leaf like to see him get the winner against us. I think what’s happening is players like these are being flipped for picks. Although the pick for Holland wasn’t much! Google O’ Dog’a impression of Lamoriello regarding Corrado’s situation as, “An unfortunate set of circumstances”. It’s hilarious.

  2. Even though it’s still early the wings don’t look like a playoff team, salary cap is an issue for making deals but I think it’s time holland starts moving some vets to playoff contending teams

    • To early to write them off but I don’t disagree with you. They always find a way 7 may yet. I have them to miss but be right in the hunt. The Atlantic is fairly weak & still only 5 points out but injuries are hurting what is already a soft roster.

    • Vancouver should be doing the same BBB.

  3. Corrado is not the only defenceman on Toronto who should be concerned about his future.

    I have been suggesting all along that Winnipeg should deal Trouba for Bishop. Winnipeg is often spoken of regarding their D. Well if you look at Winnipeg right now they are letting in a lot of goals and either give up leads or have to play catch up, which they are pretty good at. A proven goaltender in return for a defenceman who doesn’t want to play for you could help this situation. The other young goalies could learn a lot from Bishop.

    • Helleybuck is the goalie of the future in the peg, and I don’t see bishop re upping with the jets can see him going to a win now team

    • Winnipeg is 1 point out of the last wildcard spot in the west & has yet to play with a healthy roster all year.

      Hellebuyck has better #’s than Bishop across the board & plays for a far worse team. You don’t move players like Trouba for a goalie. The market for goalies is never great. A 1st round pick & some other asset is the best you can hope to acquire generally & not when your a pending UFA wanting Lundqvist type money.

      Not a chance in hell Winnipeg is trading for any goalie never mind Bishop. Winnipeg is a playoff bubble team. They are young & transitioning in a ton of young players.

      I think when all is said & done Bishop will end up signing some where as a UFA; no compensation coming to TB, & he will have to accept far less than Lundqvist type money. Probably 4 or 5 years at no more than 6 mil per unless of course he takes them to the cup & stands on his head well doing so.

      • Striker, agree they are not moving Trouba for a goalie unless it a premium one who is still young like a Rask. Even then not so sure about that.
        Bishop is not close to enough.
        I am not so sure teams would invest that much in Bishop, $6M for 4 or 5.
        There are not many goalies that I would invest that much or more in.

      • Winnipeg has 1 of the best young stud goalies in the game in Hellebuyck. Hutchinson also appears to have starter potential. Just reaching the age most goalies even become starters. Comrie is waiting in the wings. Winnipeg has zero needs in net.

        I assume Winnipeg will lose a forward in expansion as currently constructed as they will be exposing some solid young prospects not expansion exempt. Hutchinson will be exposed but I think there are numerous better options than Hutchinson as goalies in the NHL.

        I don’t pay any goalie more than 5 mil per on a 4 maybe 5 year deal. More than enough solid goalies being produced world wide that you shouldn’t have to spend more of your precious cap space to fill this position.

        Winnipeg is right on the cusp of significant improvement. 1, perhaps 2 years away from being a serious playoff contender. To early & murky to know if they are cup contenders but a solid foundation in place & they are building through well thru the draft.

      • Rask is 29, Bishop is 30? Their career numbers are similar and Rask already costs 7.0 against the cap.

        I seriously doubt Bishop gets a better deal than 7 per

      • 1 pt behind LA who has 4 games in hand, 1 pt ahead of Nashville who has 4 games in hand, Dallas 1pt behind 3 games in hand. Wpg has played more games then anyone else. Yes still got to win the games in hand but safe to say Winnipeg isn’t as close as it appears.

      • NYR, I guess where we disagree is on the premium part of my statement regarding Rask as opposed to Bishop.
        And I did say even then not sure about that.
        I consider Bishop as a good goaltender. Better than average.
        I consider Rask a premium tender because he is the leader in all time save % (most of the list is active players). Done for longer than Bishop. Won a Vezina. Bishop is not having a good year and has a save % of 905. Is a UFA at the end of the season. Has had some injury problems.
        Even with a minor blip last year (but still not bad) Rask has proven to be consistently a top 5 tender. Not many as consistently good for a long time as him in the NHL. Which is why I don’t like paying to much for tenders or giving up good assets for them.
        Unless they are named Price, Rask, or Lundquist.

      • That’s the more likely option for Tampa regarding Bishop; let him walk and redirect his salary elsewhere.

    • Given the price of goalies in the market (really low) and the price of d men in general (really high) and young controllable right handed D in particular (stupidly high). I’m assuming you were meaning as part of a package from Tampa which would include first round picks and prospects. Also given the contract status of both I can’t see the Jets biting on this unless Tampa included Yzerman in the deal.

  4. I’m willing to bet the Islanders over pay for Bishop this offseason.

    Snow either signs very team friendly deals or gross over payments, he has no in between.

    • Cant see it as they have a great future in Sorokin. That being said it is Garth so anything is possible.

    • In an Isles fan dream scenario Snow is no longer making decisions for the Isles when free agency arrives. I think Snow’s preference would be to make a bad decision on Bishop but his previous bad decisions on Ladd, Grabovsky, Chymera, and Kuhleman have him strapped for cap space.

  5. You have to wonder if the Leafs are playing these young waive exempt defenseman in order to get them to 39 games played, which is 1 shy of 40 leaving them lottery draft exempt and then sending them back down and letting a guy like Corrado get his 40 games and becoming a draft lottery pick guy

    • ? The only waiver exempt Dman on Toronto’s 23 man active roster is Zaitsev. He isn’t being sent down. Everyone else would need to be waived.

      I’m with Raybark. Later in the season near the trade deadline possibly sooner if injuries create a market, Dman like Polack, Hunwick, possibly even Marincin although unlikely as he is still young, Babcock seems to like him & he has some undeveloped skills as a #5/6 guy, will be moved for futures & Corrado like last season will get a chance to play then if not moved sooner due to roster issues forcing Toronto’s hand.

      • After seeing polak last yr and his play this yr I think a team would have to be pretty desperate to take another chance on him for a playoff run

      • BigBruin, he’s a bottom pairing guy so you can’t expect to fall in love with what you see out of him.

        However, he does bring a bit more to the table than a regular 6/7 guy in terms of setting the tone with a physical game, sacrificing his own body blocking shots, sometimes his face, while also being one of the two best penalty killers on the Leafs, which I know isn’t saying much.

        Having said all that, I acknowledge he’s an offensive black hole and he doesn’t look pretty playing the game.

        At the end of the day, if you’re a playoff team, you’re trading for him to bring a physical, defensive element to your group and to provide depth – not for an all-round game or offense.

      • Dan he looked very bad last year with the sharks what he brings will not be an improvement over what a contending team has, injuries might be the only way

  6. Marincin is injured now, out at least 6 weeks, maybe Corrado plays now? Carrick not waive exempt?

    • Yes Marincin going down may create an opportunity for Corrado to make some starts. Although Marincin has already missed 13 games & that hasn’t helped Corrado’s opportunity. Toronto may just well bring a Dman up & he gets a better shot than Corrado. Time will tell.

      Carrick isn’t waiver exempt. Would have clear waivers to be sent down. Not a chance in hell he isn’t being claimed.

      • Corrado is number 8 on the depth chart so now he’s promoted to 7 and is still likely going to be scratched, as he was yesterday.

        Carrick is unlikely to sit for Corrado to play his offside. Carrick actually has more games than Polak, but it’s Hunwick who plays Corrado’s side.

        Hunwick/Polak actually had a great game yesterday, as well, going plus one on the night and contributing offensively.

        Don’t hold your breathe for Corrado to draw in.

  7. Random prediction:

    Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be a Maple Leaf within a year.

    Nylander and Toronto’s 1st round pick (unless it’s top 3…and maybe even then considering this draft) to Arizona.

    Chyka is likely influenced by the various baseball rebuilds (Cubs, Astros, etc.) who tear it down to the ground to compile a pool of young assets. Trading OEL is how you tear it down.

    • I think this is more wishful thinking than prediction.
      Domi ,Duclair, Crouse, Dvorak, Reider, Stome are all very young promising guys.

    • Put. The pipe. Down.

    • ZERO, I mean ZEEERRROOOOO chance Chayka is stupid enough to take that return for OEL. Top pairing bona-fide #1 dmen are hard to find, especially one that is only 25 years old with a very good cap hit.

    • If he did trade OEL, don’t you think 28 other teams would be lining up to make offers – some a helluva lot better than anything TO could offer.

  8. While I think the OEL dream is just that,a dream it got me thinking.
    Would you trade the top draft pick this year ? It’s not a franchise pick ..I would trade it.

    • Really depends what you get back. Other teams are also going to realize it’s not a franchise player draft. If it’s the Leafs we are talking about, and really when aren’t we for the most part, I’d say keep the pick and continue to build depth. The Leafs have a few players that seem to have some skill but to win consistently you need depth. You need a third line that’s better than other teams third line so they have a hard time matching.

  9. Trade JVR for Trouba / Hamonic / Other + ?

  10. I think ARZ needs a goalie and would have to involve one (on the younger side) as part of a package. Smith has had a good career but I think is body is breaking down. OEL is a reeeaach. It would have to be an overpayment. Duclair may be in play ?



    • And outside of Pittsburgh – who the hell cares?