NHL Rumor Mill – December 27, 2016

by | Dec 27, 2016 | Rumors | 46 comments

Trade rumors continue to dog the core players of the Colorado Avalanche.

A roundup of NHL trade & free-agent rumors from the last three days.

FANRAG.com: On Dec. 23, Chris Nichols cited an appearance by TSN’s Darren Dreger on Buffalo’s WGR 550 discussing the plight of the floundering Colorado Avalanche. While speculating over the future of Joe Sakic as the Avs’ general manager, Dreger also thinks Sakic might have to make a move following the holiday trade freeze, perhaps involving a young core player such as center Matt Duchene or left wing Gabriel Landeskog.

Dreger’s colleague Bob McKenzie, appearing the same day on Toronto’s TSN 1050, also weighed in on the Avalanche. He thought their offseason coaching change and efforts to address their blueline would improve the club this season, but so far that’s not the case. If the Avs are to move out a core player such as Duchene, Landeskog or Nathan MacKinnon, McKenzie said they better ensure they get a good return. He also thinks there’s a sense of urgency for the Avs to change something. He doubts they want to move MacKinnon, adding he hasn’t heard of anything brewing over Duchene or Landeskog. 

BSN DENVER: Stick tap to “Justin”, who sends in this link with the following: “AJ Haefele reports on his podcast that he spoke with an Avalanche exec and that Montreal has expressed interest in Avs D Francois Beauchemin, as are two other teams. They go on to say Avs are interested is some of Montreal’s young guys (no names mentioned) and discuss how that doesn’t seem possible with Montreal’s limited cap space but apparently it came from inside the Avs organization.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs are top of the trade-rumor charts right now. They’re in free fall and there’s anticipation a big move could be coming involving Duchene or Landeskog. The problem, as always, is pulling off a good hockey trade in-season when most NHL clubs have limited salary-cap space. The swap would have to be dollar-for-dollar to make it work. That could force the Avs to wait until the offseason to find a suitable deal.

Only four teams – Ottawa Senators, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes – have over $6 million in cap space to absorb Duchene’s $6 million annual cap hit or Landeskog’s $5.57 million this season. The Avs would obviously want a top-quality defenseman in return. The Sens, Panthers and Devils lack the suitable available blueline assets. The Hurricanes need scoring and have plenty of good young blueliners, but unless they’re willing to part with Justin Faulk, I don’t see a fit there.

I’ve heard it suggested the Avs dangle Duchene to the Blues to bring back Kevin Shattenkirk, but unless the latter’s willing to sign a long-term extension, moving Duchene for a pending UFA is a foolish move. A swap of Landeskog to the Anaheim Ducks for Cam Fowler might work, provided Sakic is willing to retain some salary. Of course, that’s just spitballing on my part. 

As for the Habs interest in Beauchemin, that also depends upon his willingness to waive his no-movement clause to return to the team where he began his NHL career. Even then, I don’t see how this is a good fit. The Habs have to move considerable salary, plus they lack significant available blueline assets that help the Avs now and in the future. 

THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle makes the case for the Toronto Maple Leafs to trade left wing James van Riemsdyk. Among the factors cited by Mirtle include the high cost of re-signing the 27-year-old van Riemsdyk ( who’s eligible for UFA status in 2018) and how it could affect the Leafs efforts to re-sign rising young stars Auston Matthew, William Nylander and Mitch Marner within the next couple of years. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs need a skilled top-four defenseman and van Riemsdyk is their best trade chip to land that return. Such a move, however, is likely to happen in late-June or early-July, when most trades involving notable players take place. 

ESPN.COM: Responding to recent questions from his readers, Craig Custance doesn’t see the Winnipeg Jets entertaining the notion of shipping defenseman Jacob Trouba to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury plus a pick or prospect. He thinks the Jets still believe in promising Connor Hellebuyck as a starter. While he think the Jets will trade Trouba before his bridge contract expires in 2018, Custance said the Jets still have plenty of time to find the perfect deal, which doesn’t include an aging goalie such as Fleury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve recently suggested, the best option (provided Fleury waives his no-trade clause) is shipping him to the Dallas Stars for Antti Niemi (who would also have to waive his no-trade). The move frees up some additional cap space for the Penguins and gives them a backup with Stanley Cup experience, while the Stars get an experienced upgrade in goal. While some scoff at the latter point by bringing up Fleury’s inconsistent play this season, he was outstanding throughout most of last season before his concussion and had a good start to this season until Matt Murray returned from injury. I think Fleury will be fine once he’s playing for a club where he’s the undisputed starter. The Stars could give him that opportunity. 

As for how the Chicago Blackhawks free up salary-cap room next summer to re-sign winger Artemi Panarin, Custance suggests moving either defenseman Brent Seabrook or goaltender Corey Crawford. He proposes shopping Crawford to the Dallas Stars and sticking with the more affordable Scott Darling as their starter. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving Crawford makes the most sense, but would the Blackhawks really want to ship him to a division rival, where he could come back to haunt them four or five times a season? It’ll have to be a healthy return, such as one or two of the Stars’ promising young defensemen, to tempt the Hawks management. Crawford must also agree to waive his no-trade clause. 

Regarding the possibility of Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray pursuing a top-six forward, Custance doesn’t rule it out, but cites a source claiming the Ducks intend to sit tight for now. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cam Fowler to the Avalanche for Gabe Landeskog, anyone? 

Custance believes the St. Louis Blues will trade defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk at the March 1 trade deadline. He’d love to see them add a center such as the Arizona Coyotes’ Martin Hanzal, but doubts they’ll have interest in a short-term acquisition like Shattenkirk, who’s a UFA next summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues GM Doug Armstrong rarely trades away pending UFAs before the trade deadline. Like Custance, I doubt the Coyotes will part with Hanzal for a player who will skate away come July 1. 


  1. Lyle, your observation re the Sens’ lack of “suitable blueline assets” to meet the Avs’ demand for “a top-quality defenseman in return” is not only bang on but interesting in lights of Ken Warren’s column this morning in the Ottawa Sun where he writes “Defensively, the Senators don’t have enough depth, as a December injury to Marc Methot and a December suspension to Mark Borowiecki proved. If and when general manager Pierre Dorion makes a move to improve his club, it should start on the blue line.”

    If Dorion hadn’t been twiddling his thumbs during the UFA span he could have landed Seidenberg or Quincy and fit either one comfortably under the cap with what he had at hand.

    • Passing on a guy like Quincey was a head scratcher not just for the Sens. For the contract he received he would have looked good in a number of different jerseys

    • For starters Seidenberg, and Quincey weren’t really needed in Ottawa. People are forgetting that they gave Bartkowsky a shot and took a pass on him. Seidenberg is not a guy known for moving the puck. Also factor in that at the time Ottawa was still wondering what they were going to do with promising prospects Chabot & Englund. As for Englund he has virtually been Bingo’s best defenseman, and Chabot is going to be a star in the NHL one day. The depth isn’t as shallow as it’s being made out, they are simply ensuring they don’t make another Ceci-like error in rushing a young defenseman.

      • Sounds like a reasonable assessment – except that I would take Seidenberg over Borowiecki as a “stay-at-home” D any day of the week – for one year or two while those kids you mention continue to develop.

      • Boroweicki seems much improved this year. I dont mind him in the line up.

  2. Call it intuition but I believe that JVR will get traded to the St. Louis Blues for an agreed upon extension for Kevin Shattenkirk. Dollar amount is moot and a good fit for both.

    JVRs’ jerseys are already on clearance..

    • Not of the Centrnial Classic variety, milk that cow NHL ML$E

    • Interesting option but why would StL want to take on JVR’s future contract demands? If they can’t afford to pay Shattenkirk where’s the money coming from to pay JVR? Not only are their salaries a wash today but Shattenkirk will only get nominally more as a UFA than what JVR eventually reups for.

      I can only assume Shattenkirk wants to move as it looks like StL could squeeze him in under the cap. It’s tight but doable.

      Are the rumors Shattenkirk wants to play in the eastern conference or on the east coast?

      • My best logical answer Striker is The shoe fits for both teams. Blues can use JVR’s offence now to go deep in the playoffs and Leafs add a top Defenseman in Shattenkirk (who’s also a righty)

        JVR is a commodity that the Leafs can forego with the youth movements; we are still fitting right pieces and Shattenkirk is young and a fit in every way..

        As far as re-upping, Shattenkirk will have already agreed to extend at a TBA salary with the TML and St. Louis has 1 3/4 season to test drive JVR and convince to re sign for a mutual $$ amount! Shattenkirk no longer fits the Blues plan because of Parayko who also needs long term contract.

        Win win for both teams now and in the future. It’s a “hockey deal” both can afford to make.

      • 1 of the best offers I have seen posted. It has merit, more for Toronto than StL but other elements could be added to balance it in some way. The UFA issue can certainly be overcome in signing & trade, trade & signing or futures added should Shattenkirk sign.

        Wouldn’t StL just be better served to resign Shattenkirk & keep a top 4 of Pietro, Bo, Parayko; expansion draft exempt, & Shattenkirk?

        With the following players playing LW in StL Schwartz & Fabbri, Steen having played all 3 forward positions this season but primarily as a LW up until Fabbri’s emergence & Perron having played both wings this season where does JvR fit into their top 6? No room at the inn from my perspective.

        StL top 6 in no particular order is Steen; just reupped at 5.75, Tarasenko; 7.5, Stastny; 7, Schwartz; 5.35, Fabbri; going to need to be resigned soon, & Perron; 3.75. That doesn’t account for Lehtera, Jaskin or Berglund, the other 3 players that make up the top 9 forwards in StL currently.

        StL is a cup contender & they have a better chance of winning the cup with Shattenkirk than JvR. Looking at their current roster/ salary make up & expansion draft issues, they have a ton of money committed at forward now & moving forward but only Pietro & Bo locked up long term at D as we discuss the merits of such a deal. Based on current construction if they were to retain Shattenkirk & sign him they would lose Gunnarson I assume.

        If Shattenkirk stays for the playoff run & walks as a UFA I assume Gunnarson will be protected & StL top 4 post expansion becomes Pietro, Bo, Parayko & Gunnarson. Gunnarson isn’t really a top 4 Dman & Schmaltz may be ready for NHL exposure soon but not ready for top 5 minutes in the NHL yet.

      • Trade really doesn’t make much sense for either team stl doesn’t need a top 6 and shattenkirk won’t want to resign with the leafs unless it’s a huge pay increase

    • Proposal makes some sense but I thought Shattenkirk was wanting to play in the US or am I confusing him with Trouba? I agree with some of the other responses that the Leafs may need to add something if they actually got Shattenkirk to resign based on the apparent value of D vs wingers.

  3. Still think the Dicks trade one of their up and coming D before Fowler…give up a bit of the depth for a little bit of depth (younger scoring forward) it’s far less risky than messing around with your top 4 for a winger who may not have the desired chemistry right away with new line mates. Especially for a team like the Ducks that probably have aspirations of a cup or a deep run atleast.

    • Whooops Ducks Ducks Ducks ?

      • I’ve got them as my “goals against team” in our pool. Dicks is appropriate. The guy they fired now has Minnesota as one of the best defensive teams in the league (along with Columbus !!!) while the guy they hired, despite being a Norris winner, proved he couldn’t teach D in TO and is underling it in Anaheim.

      • “underlining it” – damned faded script

      • I’m not sure Bruce Boudreau and his loveable bumbling uncle personality doesn’t have a real short shelf life once a team start losing…great while things are good but seems to me both with the Caps and Ducks once things got rocky he couldn’t really turn things around, just my 2 cents. Another great personality in the sport.

      • 3 game 7 losses in the playoffs making some questionable personnel decisions will cost you your job. Beaudreau is a great coach but couldn’t get Anaheim over the hump & out of the west. Not sure Carlyle is the answer either, certainly not my favorite coaching selection but time will tell. He might be the voice to help get this group over the hump.

        Anaheim has a solid team & I assume Murray will add a player or 2 at the trade deadline to improve Anaheim’s playoff chances. I have serious concerns about their goaltending. Gibson is to inconsistent for me. In the meantime kids like, Ritchie, Kase & Theodore are all getting fairly significant minutes, opportunity & development. A few other rookies a cup of coffee as injures require. Sorensen, Noesen & in some odd world, rookie Cramarossa is playing as a 4th line regular. Didn’t see him making the NHL.

      • Any team with Perry and Kesler can rightfully be called the “Dicks”. I accept your original naming of them.

      • Ha-ha! No kidding. It seemed rather appropriate to me as well.

      • Where you thinking about Ryan Kesler when you typed that?

  4. In 2004 Darrel Sydor came from Dallas to the Lightning & was a big part of the cup run. The D needs shoring up again, & I think something is in the works — Steve Y has proved better than most at keeping things out of the news but getting stuff done in a timely fashion. With 4 Fwd prospects on Canada in the world Juniors & DeAngelo gone, somebody from the front line & maybe a goalie prospect should bring a puck moving young D – with the Stamkos injury providing unwanted but useful cap space.

  5. If the sens do make a move at forward it will happen after MacArthur returns. Depending how he does may dictate what the sens do.

  6. I can’t see a Faulk for Landeskog trade improving Carolina. As a D, Faulk plays big minutes (23+), is on the PP and has 16 points so far. He scored 49 points 2 years ago. Landeskog is a LW, averaging 18+ minutes with only 9 points so far but 3 years ago he did score 65 points. Carolina already has Skinner (27 pts) and Terevainen (16 pts) on LW so in my opinion giving up your top scoring D for a player to play 2nd line me nurse is an overpayment that may hurt Carolina in the long run.

    • Sorry, me nurse = minutes

    • I don’t see these types of trades happening. You can never say never but you don’t give up a Dman like Faulk unless confronted with no choice. It would take Landeskog, Bigras & a 1st+ & even then I assume Carolina would say no thank you. Assets like this are so rare you only move them when you have no choice or the offer is to good to refuse.

      Carolina could entertain moving Slavin or Pesce but not before the expansion draft as both are exempt but even then I don’t see it happening. Carolina is building thru the draft & taking advantage of others teams cap issues. Numerous teams are going to need to make cap space before next season starts.

      Chicago will again have to pay someone to help solve their cap issues if they want any hope of resigning Panarin. Numerous other teams have serious cap issues post expansion as well. Their misfortune will be to Carolina’s advantage & they will acquire another solid young asset like Teravainen again for virtual nothing more than money.

  7. I’m with Bob Mackenzie. This summer I’d be offer sheeting Drouin & or Panarin to monies neither TB nor Chi can really afford to match & if they do would mean they have to gut else where.

    Going to be a great summer for hockey fans that like player movement. I love expansion & assume we will be adding another expansion team; Quebec, by 2019-20 no later than 2020-21. Certainly before the next CBA negotiations as the players will want these monies written into hockey revenue in the next CBA.

    Quebec gets the league to 32 teams & when Carolina relocates to the west when their current lease expires or the terms to buy themselves out are less onerous, at least 5 years out, the east & west will both be balanced at 16 teams.

    • CAR going nowhere.

    • Personally due to the expansion fee being 500 million so 600-700 million canadian Quebec will be a relocated team. Perhaps a never location expands. Say T.O, Seattle, Kansas city?

      • Never = different.

        I make so many spelling erors i broke auto correct

      • LOL, indeed there are some “erors” on here today Jeff 🙂 You’re definitely not alone.

  8. Starting with either Landeskog or Duchesne in exchange for Tanev, my preference being Duchesne….what do you guys think would have to be added either way for a deal to work?

    • What would need to be added? A healthy dose of reality. Tanev is a 27 year old who has only managed 70 games once in his career and has a career best 20 points. He has some value and is on a pretty good contract, but you aren’t in the Duchene ballpark.

  9. Niemi for MAF makes a ton of sense but Dallas would have to sweaten the pot slightly. Niemi has essentily negative value… If I was pens I might hold out for their first… but settle for their second.

    • If that was the case this deal would be done. But why trade for a goalie who is having a worse year? If this trade was MAF for Kari Lehtonen and a 2nd I would make that trade. But MAF stats are Sv%.905 and 3.25 GAA this year. Niemi is Sv%.911 and 2.85 GAA. Niemi is having a better year and is cheaper. No way Dallas trades him unless a younger much better goalie comes back and as you can see that wont happen so Niemi is the current #1 in Dallas.

  10. Francois Beauchemin will be 37 years old in June.

    Francois Beauchemin is in decline.

    Francois Beauchemin has a $4.5 mill contract going forward for another year. Where does the money come, then, to re-sign Radulov?
    And give Galchenyuk his pending big pay raise – he was 4th in the League in scoring when he went down.

    Francois Beauchemin is a +35 NMC player, meaning he cannot be exposed in the Expansion Draft without his release.
    If you were 37 would you want to be displaced to a third team within 6 months?
    Meaning Beaulieu would have to be exposed.

    All this on top of whatever it would cost to obtain him.

    This would be pur laine idiocy.

    There must be better options.

    • Great assessment rattus rattus!

  11. The main benefit to trading Fleury (besides protecting Matt Murray) is freeing up cap space to rent a defenseman for the playoff run.

    But does the player they need…essentially another Ben Lovejoy or failing that, Justin Schultz from last year…exist?

    What right shot veteran rental defensemen might be available?

    • Seidenburg? The Isles aren’t making the playoffs. Doubt they want MAF but I suspect he’ll be available if the Pens wanted him. Doubt he’d be all that expensive in terms of assets either, maybe a 4th or 5th rounder?

  12. “Craig Custance doesn’t see the Winnipeg Jets entertaining the notion of shipping defenseman Jacob Trouba to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury plus a pick or prospect”

    I don’t see them entertaining that trade either unless the package with Fleury fantastic, which I don’t see happening because the Penguins prospect pool is a bit weak at the moment. They do have picks though…

  13. The right shot veteran depth defenseman available would be Pollack. He is a third pairing guy. Maybe they should take Hunwick also? Those two make a credible third pairing.

    JVR is ideal for the Ducks. Moving him for Fowler would be good but for Linholm even better. The money would work out also. The Leafs need to move some contracts and/or prospects. the 2015 draft class needs to be signed. The other option is prospects. If Murray wants prospects the Leafs could give them a few offensive types. Kapinen, Leipsic, Bracco, and Lievo are some prospects that have showed good potential. If the Leafs could get Fowler or Lindholm for two or three prospects it would serve both teams well. That is not even mentioning if Corrado, Marincin or Carreck would be of interest. The rumour mill says Murray wants picks and prospects but in reality if they are going to make a run for the cup JVR, a prospect like Bracco, and a depth defenseman for Fowler or Theodore and Ritchie plus a bad contract coming with them makes more sense?

    Lou will find his defenseman by the draft but it will be interesting to see what he pays. JVR and Komorov are the ideal kind of veterans the Leafs will need in a couple of years.

  14. I am in the minority but I think the Leafs will re-sign JVR. Say what you will about the pressure cooker atmosphere in Toronto but the players who have success here don’t like to leave. A 5-year deal with annual salary of $6M, $6M, $6M, $5M and $4.5M might satisfy both sides ($1M raise for JVR, $5.5M cap hit). JVR would be 33 in the final season and, if necessary, could be bought out of the final year for $3M spread over two years.

    The reason I say re-sign him is 1. They have no other 1st line LW in the pipeline. Moving him for a RDH could fill one hole but create another 2. JVR has consistently scored at a 30 goal pace for the past 5 seasons. Players of that consistency are tough to find. 3. Moving JVR for a defenseman likely means exposing Carrick in the expansion draft, the 4th best defenseman in the organization, which is like one step forward, one step back 4. The market for defense is overheated. They need a top pair RHD and I don’t think JVR alone gets you one.

    Some will argue that JVR is too old and does not fit the demographic of the team. I see the team contending by 19-20. At that point JVR will be 30. Mature but not over the hill. I don’t think you need just want one age group on a team. Continuity and experience is important too.

    So how do they fill the gaps on defense? The Shattenkirk lottery is one possibility. Another is their 1st round pick, which promises to be part of another lottery. Bozak and Komarov appear to be redundant. They may not net you a top pair D, but they could produce 3-4 top 90 picks in the draft. Neilsen will be knocking on the door next season. Dermott’s not far behind. They’ll have plenty of opportunity to fill holes. Many of the pieces are in place, they just need to be patient.

  15. Would Trouba for JVR work? Sounds like a reasonable trade offer. I know nothing of the sort is in the works, just day dreaming

    • Trouba for JVR? This does absolutely nothing for the Jets. Jets are going to have to eventually trade a winger, they don’t need any more. IF IF IF Trouba is traded, think theres a real chance he’s not, It will be for LHD of similar skill or RHD of similar skill.

      Sorry but 27 year old Winger JVR does not get you 22 year old Trouba.

    • Short Answer: NOPE

      Long answer: Do you even pay attention to what the Jets need and don’t need? It’s quite apparent that you don’t if you think they need YET ANOTHER WINGER.

  16. I still see the Dallas for Ben Bishop being a reality and happening at the TD. They can move a couple of young assets and provide a back up for TB.

    Most likely I see a Nemeth, Neimi and Nichushkin as a package.

    Dallas young defenseman have started establishing roles and are starting to show the odd man out in their pipeline. I see Honka as an attractive piece of trade bait, but I dont believe the Stars will shop him. The other pieces could benefit TB and Nichushkin could honestly use the change of scene. We are going to have to eat salary on Niemi’s contract and will look at some type of young prospect or pick thrown in the deal as well. It just makes the most sense for both sides.

    Crawford for many reasons doesnt make much sense. I could see the Stars taking on Seabrook before Crawford. I wouldnt expect the Hawks to send Crawford to a division rival but they did give the Stars Sharp for peanuts.