NHL Rumor Mill – December 19, 2016

by | Dec 19, 2016 | Rumors | 34 comments

St. Louis Blue defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is still a fixture in the trade  rumor mill.

On the eve of the NHL’s holiday roster freeze, here’s the latest on some of next summer’s top unrestricted free agents.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance recently listed his top-20 NHL unrestricted free agents for 2017. Among the highlights:

Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks aren’t that far off on a new deal. Custance wouldn’t be surprised if he re-signs a three-year contract for around the same annual cap hit ($6.75 million) of his current deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m guessing two years at no more than $6 million annually. 

While the St. Louis Blues moving defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk isn’t a certainty, Custance believes it’s possible if the right hockey deal comes along that helps the Blues’ efforts to win now. 

The trade speculation surrounding Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop could be contributing to his inconsistent performance this season. “One source raised this question: Who says no to a trade between the Blues and the Lightning built around Bishop and Shattenkirk?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues say no, because they’re content with Jake Allen as their starter. The Lightning, on the other hand, would make that deal in a heartbeat. 

There’s been initial contract discussions between Washington Capitals management and defenseman Karl Alzner, but GM Brian MacLellan could find it difficult to re-sign him if the salary cap remains flat for next season. 

Informal contract talks between the Pittsburgh Penguins and center Nick Bonino have taken place. To re-sign him, however, the cap-strapped Pens must move someone. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And we all know who that someone is. Wave to the folks, Marc-Andre Fleury. 

It’s a definite possibility the Edmonton Oilers could work out a contract extension with defenseman Kris Russell. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a second-half collapse in Russell’s play or a ridiculously high asking price on his part, I’d say it’s more than a possibility the Oilers re-sign him. 

If the Arizona Coyotes don’t have center Martin Hanzal under contract as the March 1 trade deadline approaches, he’ll become a strong trade option for playoff contenders. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed term is the sticking point for Hanzal. He wants a long-term deal and the Coyotes prefer a shorter one. 

No serious contract talks yet between the Philadelphia Flyers and goalie Steve Mason.

No contract talks yet between the Buffalo Sabres and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, Justin Williams and the Washington Capital,Scott Darling and the Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Marleau and the San Jose Sharks and Sam Gagner and the Columbus Blue Jackets.  

Custance wonders if there’s a chance for Dallas Stars winger Patrick Sharp to one day return to the Chicago Blackhawks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the potential of young Blackhawks forwards such as Ryan Hartman and Tyler Motte, I don’t think the possibility exists for Sharp to return as a player. 

Things are still playing out for the Calgary Flames with goaltenders Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And at this point, Johnson has to be considered the favorite to be re-signed. He’s outperformed Elliott thus far. 


  1. Johnson should be the one re-signed as he is younger and has played better. Bishop is becoming an interesting story as Tampa does not look like the team everybody thought they would be, but remember Pittsburgh last year? I am not sure trading Bishop is the answer just yet, even though I have suggested it several times, as other contributors on this site steered me in the right direction regarding my Trouba for Bishop suggestion. Why give up a good Dman for somebody who might not sign? So Tampa may get nothing in return for Bishop if he walks. But again his salary would free up cap space. Calgary must feel better at this point that they missed out on Bishop. Just my opinion, but I find the Bishop situation the most interesting considering the goalie needs around the League. Fleury’s situation is pretty straight forward. I like Fleury as a player, teammate, and person (seems like a good guy) and he hope he gets a chance with a contender. He has something to prove regarding playoff performance and could be a real motivated player on the right team.

    • Although Johnson may be resigned, possibly even Elliott depending upon how Calgary’s season plays out there is just as good a chance they end up with Fleury or other. They didn’t lose out on Bishop they pulled out. His salary demands just killed that trade discussion. Like hitting a wall.

      Johnson will need to show he can handle playing far more games than he ever has before at this high a level before he’s handed the keys. Not saying it can’t happen just no history of such. Part of being a starter is being able to handle a heavy work load. I hope Johnson can. He’s never been given the chance & he’s kicked the door open in Calgary. I love these stories of career back ups or goalies thought to be bad or career back ups stealing jobs. Talbot, Dubnyk, etc.

      • Johnson played what 46 games last season and did incredible with Buffalo so you’re worried if he can handle another what…10 to 15 games in a season???

    • Both Goalies…Bishop and Fleury are nowhere near the asking price or the worth money they want to get paid. Not a chance Calgary would have given up there first round pick this season for any goalie. Fleury has been lucky to be part of a team that can score more goals than he lets in and Bishop has not been in the league long enough to showcase how good a goalie he is. 3 and a half seasons in and he’s already worth 6 mil a season…ridiculous. I love that Vasilevskiy is doing better or as well as he is for a mil a season. Can’t wait to see which sucker picks up Bishop or fleury and pays their inflated salaries and actually think they are as good as their current teams allow them to be.

  2. The problem for Tampa is right now the goalie market is really soft. There’s way more goalies in the NHL who could be decent starters than there are teams. Look at teams who have a 1A and 1B situation or even a situation with a strong backup. There’s more than a few. I think that goaltending as a whole in the NHL is the best that it has ever been. That’s why the market is soft and why Tampa will struggle to get what they want for Bishop. Unless a team has a massive injury to a starter (LA) then I can’t see it happening. I could honestly see Tampa holding onto Bishop and trying to make a deep playoff run. How they would get a top 4 Dman is beyond me. They would need someone to eat some major salary and do them a favor or pay premium draft picks with 50% retention a deal. The other alternative is to have someone take Filpula’s contract and eat it for picks.

    • Yes I could see Yzerman holding the line with Bishop and keeping him for a playoff run. Tampa making the playoffs is still doable and having a 1 and 1A goalie tandem for a playoff run is a great place to be. I agree with your assessment regarding the strength of goaltending in general; however, there are certainly some teams in need of help.

      • There’s not a huge amount of teams that need help, are happy with their current tandem or are willing to pay the price to get Bishop as an upgrade. The following teams would be a possibility:
        Winnipeg, Vancouver (Pointless), Islanders (maybe? who knows what they’re doing), LA (for now), Dallas (don’t get me started) or Philly (are they happy with Mason?).

        Of these teams I think Winnipeg is the biggest possibility to try to land a rental goalie. They have a young tandem in net and they would be the only ones that I could see going out and trying to secure something for a push. Philly could and it’s a unique situation but they have some bad contracts on the books and Mason has been lights out as of late. It seems like he’s settled in and claimed the #1 job.

        Could see a Trouba for Bishop deal with some small parts or picks moving as well If Winnipeg is in a position to attempt a run of sorts

      • Winnipeg isn’t trading for a goalie nor needs 1. Hellebuyck; .911 SV%, has played great. Winnipeg is very close to icing a healthy roster for the 1st time all season. I would think early in the new year, Armia & Matthias are close, Myers their #2 Dman isn’t even skating though & has apparently plateaued in his recovery from what ever ails him. Everyone else returned or signed recently & is almost back up to full speed.

        Ditto Vancouver. Miller has played extremely well for a brutal team. No team has played more from behind all season. What has Vancouver lead for? Like 6 seconds all year. Vancouver is a mess, can’t scorer & the fact Miller has played as well; .907 SV%, as he has behind this dismal team is shocking. I say if he’ll take 4 or 4.5 for 2 maybe 3 years Vancouver may as well reup him to but time for Demko.

        Allen has been more brutal than good. His .905 SV% for goalies to have started at least 1/2 their teams games ranks him 31st. Like Gibson in Anh these goalies can play lights out for stretches then disappear for just as long & lose at the most inopportune time. Come the playoffs unfortunately.

        Teams in need of goaltending moving forward are few. Simple supply & demand. Bishop & Fleury will both be playing some where else in 2017-18 as starters as they should. They compensation received for either will be nothing to very little.

  3. Tampa does not look like the team because they are without their top 2 forwards (top 20 scorers in the league). Take that off any team and see what you get……Shattenkirk will not be cheap.

    • True and that certainly doesn’t help.

    • Weren’t there rumors that the Blues were asking the Bruins for Pastrnak, a 1st, + for Shattenkirk…

      That trade is wishful thinking for Blues fans. Would never have happened but still. It might give you an idea of what they’re looking for. High end player, likely already on an NHL roster, 1st round pick, and plus (maybe another pick or prospect).

      Too rich if you ask me, especially when the player may inevitably reach free agency and a team just signs him anyways.

      Teams overplay their hands all the time. I believe the Bruins overplayed theirs at the deadline last year with Eriksson. Likely had better offers close to the deadline, waited, then asked for more and couldn’t move him.

      • Suppose to have been for a comment below… disregard 🙂

    • true they hurt without stamkos for sure but it shouldn’t affect Bishop’s play

  4. If Larsson cost Hall just imagine what the blues would ask for Shatty. I wonder if there was ever a Hall for Shattenkirk deal about? Do you guys rate Larsson higher than Shattenkirk even? He’s a tad younger but his offensive production isn’t as good.

    Not saying that was a good trade either but certainly showed the market for a projected top line D.

    • The reason Shattenkirk will cost less is that he is a UFA after this year so no guarantee you keep him.
      Also moving forward he will cost $7M/year, where Larsson has a cap hit of 4.167 through 20/21.
      Totally different players, but from an asset management perspective Larsson’s low hit makes him more attractive

    • I think that was a massive overpayment by an organization dealing from a position of weakness that was recognized by every fan of hockey. I think the aftermath of the deal is showing that NJ did in fact win the deal as far as what a player brings to the table but it was the type of deal that Edmonton had to make given the makeup of their team and the needs of their team. I wouldn’t expect a payment like that to come for Shatty, I think you could expect a 1st rounder and a blue chip prospect in return but even then you’re looking at a player who will likely be a rental and then test the waters on July 1st.

      I think there’s more to come for the Oilers in the future, Mcdavid and Drasaitl are putting the team on their backs offensively and RNH + Ebs are ghosts. I think that between those two, one is on their way out of town for some form of help in a position of greater need. Oh, and wait and see in 3 years when that Lucic contract looks like a massive mistake. Mark my words, it will happen.

      • NJ sits 15th in the east, 26th overall & has a goal differential of -19. They finished last season – 26. Schneider playing behind this D has a .906 SV% good for 26th for goalies that have played a minimum of 15 games, essentially 1/2 the games played by the team having played the lowest # of games in the NHL this season, Columbus at 29.

        By the end of December NJ will be last in the East & most likely already have surpassed lasts seasons dreadful goal differential. NJ plays Nas, Phi, @Pit, Pit, @ Was & Was to finish out the month of Dec. They will be lucky to win any of those games.

        Nj is 10 points out of the last Wildcard spot in the East, 13 out of securing a division playoff spot. It’s not even Christmas & although not mathematically eliminated NJ’s playoff hopes are already over. Edm sits 6th in the West & 14th overall. A playoff spot isn’t guaranteed but I would be surprised if Edm misses. It will be tight but as long as they don’t lose McDavid, Talbot or 1 of their top 3 D, Sekera, Larsson or Klefbom should sneak in.

        Who’s winning this trade? Yes Hall’s doing exactly what Hall does. Posts a point a game finishes a minus player for 1 of the worst teams in the league.

    • Larsson didn’t cost Hall. Hall pathetically cost Larsson…due to edmonton needing to get rid of someone and New Jersey taking advantage of that.

  5. Larson’s position by nature brings more intangibles to the game than an impact player like Hall. I think over the long term this deal will not look so lopsided. Larson has great potential and if he had more offensive potential in his game the deal wouldn’t look so glaringly lopsided. On the flip side one now has to wonder what the Oilers would get for RNH or Eberle? The Hall for Larson deal could impact the market forcing the Oilers to get very little for these players. When you look at where the perspective teams sit in the standings after the trade it doesn’t tilt in NJ’s favor, but you could argue both teams have improved since the deal.

    • Having said all that I do think it is entirely possible that Edmonton could have gotten more for Hall. He put up impressive numbers on some very defensively shabby teams. It just makes you wonder what other “deals” were discussed around the League in regards to Hall. He is definitely an outstanding player.

      • I still look at Hall the same way that I did when he was drafted. A player who plays with reckless abandon. He’s been frequently injured in the league and that is largely due to how he plays the game. If he doesn’t play the game the way he does, he won’t be as effective. He’s a strong north/south player who plays with speed but I always feel it’s a matter of time before he’s clocked really good. I think he will give you a solid 60 games but Larsson will play the full 82

  6. So BigBoss it seems like you can see the merit of this deal from both sides? It’s a massive overpayment but Hall will not give you a full season. Do you think the 82 games Larson will play makes the deal more acceptable? I agree with your assessment that Hall can be a little reckless.

    • I completely understand the deal and it makes perfect sense for both teams. I do feel like Hall was an overpayment for Larsson but I understand why. Both deals addressed a certain need for both teams without hampering them too much from what they lost. I say good trade for both. I do think that the fact that Larsson plays a full 82 is something which goes unrecognized. Hall always seems banged up with something due to his recent play. Recently he missed 7 (i think) due to a knee injury. I just think that Larsson has slightly underachieved for what they thought he would. With Nurse out now he has to carry a little more mail than he did before. Not sure he`s up for the task.

  7. Pens need to wait on Nick Bonino. Make sure he’s the playoff warrior again that he was last year.

    With Guentzel and Sundquist ready to do his job on entry level deals, Bonino the regular season player is very replaceable.

    If he’s the same guy in this year’s playoffs as he was in last year’s, then yes, I find a way to keep him.

    But, the Pens need to get Dumoulin and/or Schultz done and get Sheary and Rust inked long term (hopefully cheap).

  8. Washington has some tough decisions upcoming. Oshie, Williams, Winnik and Alzner are all soon to be UFAs.
    Alzner is someone the Caps should definitely re sign , If you let Winnik go there’s the money to cover Alzner.
    Since the Caps are so close to the cap I think Mr game 7 Williams will not be back. The only way he comes back is by taking a pay cut or staying at the same salary.
    Which leads us to Oshie. He’s probably going to want a million or so more……where is the money coming from to re sign him ?
    The only skater ready to come up to the big club is Bowey. Since Kuznetsov and Burakovsky and Orlov require new deals as well, the Caps are in a real dilemma.
    Moving or buying out Orpik is going to help but besides this I’m not sure what else the Caps can do.

    • Random prediction…I think Alzner will sign as the first big name UFA to go to Vegas.

      McPhee drafted him, they’ll have money to toss around and they might want him to help form the leadership core.

    • I don’t see how Washington can possibly resign Alzner. RFA’s Kuznetsov, Burakovsky, Orlov & Graubauer; most likely lost in the expansion draft. UFA’s Oshie, Williams, Winnik & Alzner. That’s their top 2 RW’s & 1st pairing; with Carlsson, #3 Dman. If not able to be retained; the 1st 3, they will need to try & address on the UFA market; never cheap in cash, or trade for solutions.

      Washington can also reup Carlsson as of July 1st & will, just like TB did with Hedman. You get these guys signed long term as soon as you can.

      No way there is enough money for Alzner. He ill get 5 mil+ on the open market. Solid shutdown Dman that can play on a 1st pairing. Nor do I see Washington buying out Orpik with 2 years remaining. Just to expensive; essentially 1.75 per for 4 years, Washington will have to ride it out until he only has a year remaining on his deal or pays another team to take on his contract. He assumes some of the minutes lost when Alzner walks.

      The cap is stagnant. If the players hate escrow then they should stop voting in the escalator & maybe they don’t this summer, meaning the cap may not increase at all or potentially decline. I assume greed will prevail as always & the players will continue to show their intelligence, voting it in then complaining about it when they are the most significant cause of escrow.

      • I should qualify the Carlsson contract suggestion before being slagged about it not counting against Washington’s cap issue next season.

        Although Carlsson’s resigning won’t hit the cap next season it may effect the tagging space on contracts signed this summer to Kuznetsov, Barkowsky & Orlov, coupled with flushing out next seasons roster. A top 4 D of Carlsson, Niskanen, Orlov & Orpik should more than suffice following the expansion draft.

        In Bowey, Siegenthaler & Johansen Washington has help coming & there is enough 5 & 6 Dman available on the UFA market to flush out a bottom pairing on the cheap. Bowey should be ready for a an NHL cup of coffee as soon as injures open the door for him this season. He’s very close, another year of seasoning would be beneficial but he may have to take on a 5/6 spot next season due to cap issues.

      • I think Alzner will be a cap casualty. Sad to say, he`s a great shutdown dman that often goes unrecognized. I see him as someone the Leafs will target on a 4x5m deal. Fills the need they have. I`m not sure why nobody has talked about this already

      • At bigboss:
        Yeah, I’ve followed the caps since 06-07. And Alzner is awesome! He is a great shutdown dman and is unhuman with his pinches. I think he succed at those in about 99% – misses when you risk a bit more trailing in the end of the game – but never cleanly creating an odd-man rush.
        It’s been multiple games I’ve seen where he is the only player that does not fault.
        Mega-stable. I hope Oilers can get him, that would lift that d-core!

    • Caps must feel so helpless knowing they got to beat Pittsburgh to win the cup. The only way that happens is if Pittsburgh’s stars get injured just before the playoffs. Sad situation for the Caps. They only team that has a chance in the east to beat Pittsburgh is Montreal just solely because Price has the ability to steal 4 games in a series.

  9. Vatrano; just recalled from his conditioning assignment, finally ready to return to the NHL & Boston with a top 6 position at LW just sitting there waiting for him all season. Just add dropped him in both my fantasy leagues this weekend. Unfortunately he’s a C in our leagues. Sure hope he can score in the NHL. Boston needs help generating offense.

    • yes they do Striker. I read somewhere that they are leading the NHL is 5vs5 shot differential and last in the league in shooting %. 28th in PP %.
      You would think that can’t last and we should see the % go up to more of a middle of the pack rate with their talent up front.
      Will be interesting to see if Vatrano was a 1 year wonder or a top 6 type winger who can pump in 20-25 a year.
      Their save % is also really high which could level off but Rask has a history of being one of the top.
      If that turns around it should solidify a playoff spot.

    • Yeah another true center.
      What’s up with Boston having so many true centers on the roster.
      Might be part of the scoring problem.
      Wishing Vatrano the best though as he’s from my area.