NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2016

by | Dec 28, 2016 | Rumors | 18 comments

Could the Chicago Blackhawks trade a high-salaried star such as Corey Crawford to clear salary-cap room for Artemi Panarin?

Latest on the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild in your NHL rumor mill. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: In a recent mailbag segment, Mark Lazerus acknowledged a reader’s suggestion of the Blackhawks trading goaltender Corey Crawford to free up salary-cap space to re-sign winger Artemi Panarin. However, Lazerus believes such a move would be a big mistake, citing Crawford’s playoff success and his place among the league’s elite goaltenders.

Re-signing Panarin could cost over $6 million per season, and Lazerus admits the ‘Hawks must shed salary to free up sufficient space to keep him. Leaving center Marcus Kruger exposed in the June expansion draft might help, but they’ll still need to trade another player. They could try to trade defenseman Brent Seabrook, but he’s in the first season of an eight-year deal with a no-movement clause and is having his best season in years. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks also risk losing backup goalie Scott Darling to next summer’s UFA market. With over $60 million tied up in 14 players, the Hawks won’t have much room to re-sign Panarin and Darling and still ice a competitive roster. They could do what they did with Brandon Saad and trade Panarin for an affordable return of talent. If they can’t move a high-salaried star such Crawford or Seabrook, trading Panarin could be their only reasonable option. Either way, e such a significant trade won’t take place now. If it happens, it’ll be in late June. 

FANRAG.COM: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Pierre LeBrun yesterday telling Ottawa’s TSN 1200 to keep an eye on the Florida Panthers now that Dale Tallon has taken over a bigger role. He claims the Panthers aren’t happy with where they are in the standings, speculating they’re a club that could add to their roster. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun didn’t get into specifics over what moves Tallon could make. The Panthers are among the league’s lowest-scoring clubs, so he could look at boosting their offense. However, first-line left wing Jonathan Huberdeau’s anticipated return from injury in January could address that issue. As long as the Panthers remain in the playoff chase, I think Tallon will wait and see if Huberdeau’s return sparks an improvement in their play. 

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun speculates over what moves the Minnesota Wild could make in preparation for June’s expansion draft. If they opt to protect three defensemen they risk losing a good young blueliner such as Matt Dumba or Jonas Brodin , but if they protect four d-men, they risk losing a forward such as Nino Niederreiter or Jason Zucker.

LeBrun suggests Wild GM Chuck Fletcher should contact Las Vegas GM George McPhee as the draft approaches, ask McPhee which player he intends to target and attempt to work out a trade. He also recommends trying to convince aging winger Jason Pominville to waive his no-movement clause in order to expose him in the draft. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher’s decision could also be determined by his club’s performance over the remainder of this season. So far, the Wild are flying high and in no need to make any significant moves right now. Should the club go into free fall in the standings between now and the March 1 trade deadline, perhaps Fletcher might attempt moves that could affect which players he protects in the expansion draft. Most likely, Fletcher will wait until June to address that issue. 


  1. The Blackhawks are the embodiment of the cap crunch! Losing another player like Saad, young and in his prime, to keep Kane and Toews is a difficult spot to be in; however, having Kane and Toews makes it more palatable. Of course having Keith, Hjalmarsson,Hossa, and Seabrook doesn’t hurt either. The list of players who had to leave Chicago in itself would be a great team! Tough to lose a goalie like Crawford as he comes up big when it matters most! But the Hawks need to find a way to keep Panarin.

    • $21 million for two players is the reason the Blackhawks are were they are cap wise. Personally I thought it was a bad hockey decision. Why they couldn’t get they two players signed for $17 million, I don’t understand. Some will argue they didn’t know the cap was going to be flat; I would counter precisely, you don’t know where the cap is going to be. R they being paid for what they did in the pass or what they are going to do in the future? 3 cups in 6 years, AWESOME; however they got paid for them years. Year one of 8 Kane lived up to his money, Toews did not. As far as trading Seabrook, who I absolutely would love in Boston, the term is to long for my liking, I think he could be a tough move.

    • what are the Hawks penalized for if Hossa retires early?

      • If Hossa retired this year it would be around 3.75 mill cap hit till the end of the contract basically take what he has actually earned minus his cap hit and divide it by the number of years left to find the recapture penalty. Hossa =
        53 mill earned cap hit is only 36.9 so it would leave 18.4 ish owed over 5 seasons 18.4 divided by 5 leaves 3.7 ish for 5 seasons…doesn’t help anything if Hossa retires really only saves around 2 mill in space his hit now is 5.75.

    • Chicago are always the most interesting team to watch in the off- season, simply because they’ve been on the salary-cap tightrope forever. Panarin is the latest and, as talented as he is, he could follow Saad out the door. There will be a good return though – it never fails.

  2. Think the wise move by Fletcher would be to protect 3 D and trade one for a young exempt forward. They may end up losing Zucker, but hopefully would have his replacement in hand. They really are in a spot when it comes to expansion.

    • My thoughts too especially considering the going rate for decent D, you could lose Zucker, then trade back for him with Dumba or Brodin and get Zucker ++.

      Not saying that will happen but I would rather hang onto higher end D than second line forwards.

      • Other teams will also be bidding on exposed players.
        I was wondering, can Vegas sign free agent players from the KHL prior to the expansion draft?
        The more free agents they sign, the more they can ‘wheel and deal’.

    • A buyers market?
      As long as the team is willing to expose an extra player.
      I can’t see too many teams willing to take on an additional exposed player while losing assets.
      Teams will not have to lose that player if they just deal directly with Vegas.

      • Depends on the ask, Vegas is in the drivers seat and I’m sure if there was interest in a player like Dumba or Brodin the cost for McPhee to not take a player like that is going to likely higher than what the Wild would recieve in a trade. In other words if say they were going to expose Zucker thus protecting Dumba and had to make a deal like a first round pick to avoid losing Zucker they may have been further a head to trade the D pick up another asset instead of still losing an asset for nothing…just depends.

  3. If I’m Minny I trade Brodin or Dumba which ever 1 brings the right return before the expansion draft but not before the playoff run.

    I then expose Scandella in the expansion draft protecting which ever Dman, Brodin or Dumba that isn’t moved. Suter, Spurgeon, Brodin/Dumba.

    The 7 forwards protected are Koivu, Coyle, Pominville, Neiderreiter, Granlund, Zucker & Staal. If Pominville would agree to waive his NMC then I protect Haula depending upon if the return for the Dman moved is expansion exempt or not.

    Losing Scandella is tough blow but not the end of the world. Scandella’s a solid #4 if not a #3 on most NHL teams but in Minny who currently has the best D in the NHL he barely makes Minny’s top 5. Anaheim would have the best D in the NHL if not fore the loss of Despres. There are a few other teams close to these 2 power house NHL D’s in you look at top 4 but no 1 can boast dressing a player like Scandella in the #5 slot.

    • Maybe MIN is the team TOR should speak to about JVR for a top-4 D.

      • Not JVR it would put Min in a worse pickle, now with a guy like Nylander or Marner (just an example) who don’t need to be protected in the draft the return could be quite high.

    • The issue you have is that wont work. You will either trade at the deadline or risk Vegas taking them. Why would a team take an extra Dman and then have to protect the guy they just traded for? Most teams have their 3 Dman they want to protect if they trade for another they are in Minny’s dilemma. Trade now or risk losing.

      • Depends I think a lot of teams like NJ Tor Col just kind of off the top of my head I’m sure there are more looking for a top 4 D and don’t really have an issue picking one up and protecting him depending on cost.

  4. I still don’t understand how people don’t see A.Emelin as a great D-Man the guy is a top 3 Dman in Hits every year ,blocks shots he’s a stay at home D-Man that is a hitting machine yet he gets no love or respect I’m sorry to say but Emelin is a number 3 or 4 Dman on any team .. Mark my words he will be part of the package that brings Duchense or Landesgok to Montreal or at least some scoring help like RNH … Also I’d like montreal to send a 3rd round pick or Andrigettho for Yakupov he would do amazing with radulov and galchenyuk and would benefit on being on a team that will count on him scoring not like St.Louis that has 6 guys ahead of him on the depth chart he will be top 4 or 5 in Montreal
    Paccioretty, galchenyuk, radulov and Galleghar. He’d come right in there … Montreal should go for Duchense the hardest and then go get RNH and Yakupov those three players will boost Offense … Players to obtain these 3 include Beaulieu , Emelin, Serghchev, Julloson, Fucale, Desharnais, Pleckanec, Andreghetto
    Also 2 2nd round picks

    • Matt Duchene would be a great pickup for Montreal but the Habs would have a ton of competition for his services. The talk today centres around Minnesota’s depth on defence – think Duchene would enjoy playing for Bruce Boudreau?

      • Depends upon whether he prefers the President’s trophy or the Stanley Cup!