NHL Rumor Mill – December 29, 2016

by | Dec 29, 2016 | Rumors | 53 comments

Artemi Panarin’s new contract could force the Chicago Blackhawks to make a salary-dumping deal.

Artemi Panarin’s new contract could force the Chicago Blackhawks into a salary-dumping deal this summer, latest on Marc-Andre Fleury and an update on the New York Islanders in your NHL rumor mill. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE/CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Chris Hine and Mark Lazerus anticipate Artemi Panarin’s new two-year, $12-million contract extension will force the cap-strapped Chicago Blackhawks to shed some salary. Hine suggests center Marcus Kruger ($3.1 million) could become a trade candidate. Lazerus speculates Kruger or defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk ($825K) could be plucked away in June’s expansion draft by the Vegas Golden Knights. Both expect another salaried player will also have to be moved. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks currently have over $66 million invested in 15 players for 2017-18. They’ll also have to re-sign or replace notable free agents such as goaltender Scott Darling, defenseman Brian Campbell and forward Richard Panik. Assuming another marginal increase in the salary cap to $75 million next season, that leaves the Hawks with less than $9 million to work with.

Stars such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and Artem Anisimov all have full no-movement clauses. I don’t see any of them being asked to accept a trade.

Corey Crawford and Niklas Hjalmarsson also have no-movement clauses, as well as modified no-trade clauses. I don’t expect them to ask Crawford, one of the NHL’s elite goalies, to waive his clause, but I can see them approaching Hjalmarsson ($4.1 million) about doing so.

Assuming Kruger gets selected in the expansion draft, trading Hjalmarsson would free up over $7 million in cap room for the Blackhawks, giving them more room to flesh out the remainder of their roster for next season and still remain cap compliant. Don’t look for any significant salary-dumping trades to happen before March 1. Those moves will take place at some point in the offseason. 

FANRAG.COM: Chris Nichols cites NHL analyst Darren Dreger’s recent appearance on NBCSN in which he suggests the St. Louis Blues as a possible destination for Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. While Dreger believes the Blues have “made their bed” with current starter Jake Allen, he wonders if they might look at acquiring Fleury if they’re among the Stanley Cup contenders or if their goaltending struggles. Nichols notes Allen’s four-year, $17.4-million contract extension kicks in next season, while Fleury is still under contract for two more seasons at a cap hit of $5.75 million annually. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think Fleury, who has a no-movement clause with a modified no-trade, will accept going to a team where he’ll once again have to share the starter’s job with a rising young netminder. He’ll want to be the clear-cut starter.

I also think the Blues priority right now is improving their depth at center. If they want to bolster their goaltending, I think they’ll look at someone other than Fleury. Maybe they consider pursuing Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop as a rental player by March 1, but even that scenario appears unlikely. 

NEWSDAY: Responding to a reader’s question regarding a possible trade by the New York Islanders, Arthur Staple believes if a deal were to be had, GM Garth Snow would’ve made it by now. Staple thinks the Isles explored the possibility of acquiring Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene but balked at the expensive asking price.

Regarding their three-goalie situation, Staple feels they’d love to dump the final season of Jaroslav Halak’s contract and retain Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube. However, there’s no change yet in the current situation. Staple also doubts defenseman Johnny Boychuk will waive his no-trade clause. 


  1. With Murray going down last night, the “trade Fleury” talk should die down for a while – and maybe longer if Murray is out for any considerable length of time. And whether or not it picks up again when Murray returns will, of course, be predicated upon how Fleury performs in his absence.

    That is Murray’s second injury this season – you have to wonder when the “brittle” talk starts popping up.

    • George O., I agree with you on this one. Murray was also lit up by Columbus in that 7-1 debacle as well. But I agree with you for a different reason, perhaps. I think the Penguin management owes it to the team to stay intact for another run; Fleury included. Pittsburgh has the best chance to repeat since the 97-98 Red Wings. They are virtually unchanged from last year and still have two quality goalies that can support each other. If they win the Cup and Fleury walks then so be it! Contract completed; services rendered; 3 Cups later! And then you have over $5000000 to add to your team! The Penguins should not trade Fleury!

      • Fleury is signed for 2 more years atter this one so I’m not sure what contract complete means.

  2. depending on cost, I would like to see the pens target NH from Chicago in the offseason. They would want a low salary back and pens have that in spades with DP, and several of their young upcoming wingers.

    • Hammer would agree to trade if it is to a West Coast team. The Blackhawks may attempt to try and drop closer in the top of 2017 draft order with any trade, since they host. Unless the majority of the NHL owners & GMs whine the CAP up substantially, this might truly be the start of a close on the Blawkhawk playoff strengths, if the big three are turned into a big two of Keith & Seabrook…

      • Hammer wife is an actress.

  3. All Fleury has to do is use his partial no trade to block any trade to a team that would actually want him. Then because of Fleury’s no move clause Pittsburgh will be forced to protect him in the expansion draft and then either they have to trade Murray or lose him to expansion. Either way Fleury becomes the lone starter in the place he’s always wanted to be.

    Pittsburgh has no leverage and Murray has no future in Pittsburgh.

    • What does a partial no trade clause mean? isn’t it a limited number of teams? therefore Fleury could only block the teams on his ptc not all trades. Or am I not understanding ptc?

      • Ignore mst. He is the jeolous type who wants to try to find a way to rile up pens fans. Mst stands for most silly troll.

    • Even if that true pens could buy out maf as a last resort. It won’t come to that but ultimately pens have total control of the situation

      • If I’m not mistaken the 1st buyout period starts June 15 or 48 hours after the season is over, whichever is the later date.

        I would think Fleury would prefer a buyout.

    • Fleury has to provide a list of 18 teams he’s willing to be traded to every July 1st.

      Incredibly unlikely Fluery will be in Pittsburgh when the 2017-18 season starts.

  4. So I post a comment of the acceptable variety and am told it is awaiting moderation and then see it doesn’t make it on? Strange!

    • And I’ll admit some other comments I made on this site should have suffered the same fate! Maybe that’s why. I’ll try to play fair from now on?

    • Actually, Steven, the reason why the comment went for moderation was because you entered a different e-mail address.

      • Oh thanks Lyle! I enjoy the site and didn’t want to be banned!

  5. So 9 mill assuming cap of 75 mill Move Kruger and TVR would put them at close to 14 mill in room. Could be tight but I think Bowman plans his moves 2 turns in advance the way he has been dancing around this cap thing for the past couple seasons….I’m not sure moving also Hjalmarsson is needed but if that was the direction the Hawks decided to go there would be ample cap space.

    • Shticky,

      I’m inclined to agree as well that Bowman plans his moves well in advance, however, I don’t think it makes Chicago’s situation any easier. They’ve put themselves in a difficult spot now with the cap and will NEED to make moves. Also, with the amount of trade clauses handed out on that team I don’t foresee many players willing to waive their trade clause to be moved… especially from a Stanley Cup caliber team. Players waive to go to a better situation not from a cup contender. Bowman will have his hands full.

      • But will they stay a Stanley Cup caliber team if they are committed to too few players cap wise? Might entice some to leave? This comment is meant for Shticky about Chicago.

    • I think there is a chance Chi could move Hossa if someone wants him. Although he hits the cap at 5.25 for 4 more years his salary drops to a mil per. Chi is on the hook for any cap recapture penalties regardless of where he plays should he retire early. As is Van for Luongo.

      Should appeal to numerous teams that play the salary cap game. See Arizona & NJ.

      I think given a choice of moving Hossa or Hajlmarsson moving Hossa makes more sense.

  6. One of the things one learns with the hockey package and no life is that there is an impression around the league, an t least among the commentators, that Montreal gets the benefit of the doubt more often than not when it comes to the officiating. Seemed so last night on a questionable no-call on Weber, and a real questionable too-many-men with 3 minutes to go eliminating a breakaway — even an ‘illegal line change’ and no penalty would have been controversial. I suppose everyone not a Habs fan has perception bias — the calls looked less egregious on replay this morning than they did in the building last night. And as a terrific skating team mayhaps the Habs are in a position to draw late penalties from a tired opponent more often than not. But the suspicion remains. If it was just this Lightning fan – given our history and some highly memorable playoff goal-overturning calls… but it seems to me that there are suspicions across the league. Seriously, is anyone surprised when the Habs get a late call, or Price gets the benefit of the doubt around the crease (arguably getting consideration due the best goalie in the world — star protection is arguably OK). I’d like to see the challenge system, if we are going to nit-pick offsides, extended to too-many-men, and potential concussion producing hits(a la “targeting” in NCAA). Although I’d gleefully throw out the whole momentum killing challenge system in favor of a formal and reported-at-end-of-season referee accountability system. I’d live with the bad calls (both ways) if I knew the referees were being held as accountable as players, including a rating of calls that gets around the late even-uppers that are predictable & disgusting. Deducting a huge percentage for my home town bias, I still think there is something here to fix.

  7. If Boston loses to Buffalo night, I believe CJ would have coached his last game for the Bruins.

    • Caper,

      Although I do agree that Julien is on his shortest leash he’s likely ever had in Boston. I would think it would take a real embarrassing game tonight to get him canned before next game. Even then I would say the chance is still lower.

      A coaching change before the season is over is possible though. The team is lacking motivation, preparedness, and drive. Can’t simply rely on Rask and Pastrnak every night to get you wins.

      Don Sweeney and Cam Neely have their work cut out.

  8. “(Matt) Murray has no future in Pittsburgh”

    …except being their #1 goalie for the next 15 years and breaking Brodeur’s wins record.

    I wouldn’t trade Murray for any goalie in the league. For one game or one season, I’d take Price, sure, but Murray is 10 years younger.

    And I tend to think from Jim Rutherford’s confidence that they won’t lose Murray that Marc-Andre has made a handshake agreement to be exposed in the expansion draft.

    Fleury has two very young kids at home. I’m sure he doesn’t want to live in a hotel in Dallas or Calgary for months while they are at home in Pittsburgh. Perhaps the Pens agreed to not move him in season in exchange for waiving to go into the expansion draft.

    Worst case scenario, and this would be really bad but better than losing Murray, the Pens can buy out Fleury.

    • Only what? 670 more wins until he passes Marty? To assume he will go on to a healthy 20 year career and an average of 35 wins per season….. When he has been already sidelined twice this year? Yikes!!!!

      I guess it’s not entirely impossible , but HIGHLY unlikely.

      And I highly doubt Fleury has any such agreement / Handshake deal in place , nor do I believe LV will come calling.

      • maybe not Marty… but no doubt he flys by Lundy.

      • No doubt? Lol. So now we’re assuming #1 he can stay healthy, and #2 Pittsburgh will always ice a good team in front of him. I think Pens fans have lost their minds a little.

      • I’m just taking the absurd “Murray has no future in Pittsburgh” comment in the other direction.

        And Murray has already passed Lundy in the one category that matters: 1-0

        And despite your baseless incredulity, it’s very possible the Pens have worked out a gentleman’s agreement, otherwise they would have dealt him. Marc is a class player and the Pens are a class organization. Such a deal makes sense for both sides.

        And there is no single player that would help Vegas more than Fleury. He’d be a team leader, instant fan favorite and the cover of their media guide.

      • Lol. I’m sure that 1-0 had nothing to do with having Malkin, Crosby, Letang, Kessel etc. And why in the world would a team trying to build a frame from the ground up start with a guy who will be 33 going into next year? Or is it only Lundqvist who’s “window was closing” starting at the age of 32?

        I think Pens fans are talking themselves into believing MAFs value is MUCH higher than it actually is today. If I know, you know, and any outsider knows the pressure is on Pittsburgh to move that cap hit and settle this before expansion draft time…… I’m pretty sure every Gm knows it as well.

        My “baseless incredulity”? And your willingness to believe this sort of deal in place is beyond reaching….. Lol!
        I should believe it….. Because YOU said it? There is absolutely ZERO credibility behind this fantasy!!! ZERO!

      • “And there is no single player that would help Vegas more than Fleury. He’d be a team leader, instant fan favorite and the cover of their media guide.”

        And people poke at leaf fans for overvaluing players…. Jaysus!!!

      • So, you are saying that the Penguins are just a superior team to the Rangers? Fair enough.

        Can you name a player likely to be included in the expansion draft that would be of more value to Vegas than Fleury on and off the ice?

      • First of all, I’m not measuring a guy with 30 NHL games under his belt by the one cup he has. I mean Mike Rupp not only had a cup, but he had a game 7 cup winning goal to boot. So, he’s better than Joe Thornton, Iginla, Nash, Etc.?

        As far as who would be of better value, there will be 100s of options. First and foremost for building a foundation, and a team from the ground up. Vegas makes no sense for either side. Him or the team (Vegas) I think you’re overselling his leadership abilities and Vegas’s need for them. I think Girardi or Staal are good leaders but I’m not talking myself into Vegas taking them (doing NY a solid in the process), or them willing to go there on handshake wink wink , behind closed doors deals either.

        I think your want to rid Pitrsburgh of this problem, and yes, it IS a problem …. are outweighing the reality of it all.

        As I said a few weeks ago about this situation , nobody is doing Pittsburgh any favors here. Just to move Fleury and his cap hit will be a gift in itself . They have 2 options. Option 1, move him and his cap hit for whatever it gets. 2, chance exposing Murray in the expansion draft.
        They aren’t getting anything exceptional in return, and I don’t see Vegas building around a 33 yo making 5+ for the following year either.

        Ps. Pittsburgh became a “superior team” by being a very ugly team. Something NY hasn’t exactly had the luxury of doing. Sure Ny had some miserable years…. (Cough cough 97-04) But not miserable enough to pick #1,#2,#1 , #2 back, to back, to back…. To back .

      • Exactly NYRForLife. Johnson went DELIBERATELY into the tank – to the point of demoting a goalie who actually had the temerity to play good enough to win a game late in the season – to make damned sure he got Lemieux in the draft – then the SOB wouldn’t come down when his name was called to put on the Pens sweater. And they got s*&t lucky when they got # 1 to get Crosby in a year when they didn’t deserve a # 1 pick. Fair enough – everyone has tried to diddle the system to get the best possible position in the draft – but don’t come gloating about how “great” is the organization when they start to win.

      • But agreed George. Pittsburgh fans seem to measure all players by Crosby, Malkin, Jagr and Lemeiux standards. Yet they seem to forget how they got that elite talent dropped on their lap.

      • You don’t get brownie points for being mediocre. It’s not our fault the Rangers tossed money at the Bobby Holik’s of the world for years.

        Every single team in baseball now follows the Penguin’s model of rebuilding. Even the Yankees.

        And it’s worked (4 Cups and 15 scoring titles later) rather well, thanks.

        I’m still curious as to the name of the player that would be of more value on and off the ice to a (likely) young and (likely) bad team than a goalie who can make big saves and not give the Carey Price glare when his teammates (likely often) fail him. Marc plays well behind bad defenses, something even many good goalies can’t do.

        And Fleury’s ability to remain affable amidst the long nights and long season is of great value to an expansion team in a fledgling market with fans who might have to be won over on personality before performance.

      • Brownie points for mediocre? LOL you have an owner that wouldn’t put on a jersey or shake the GM’s hand!!!! TANK TANK TANK ….1,2,1,2!!!! Not even trying!!! LMFAO! Just when I thought you knew nothing and had homer opinions about the Pens, you throw out Yankees comments? NY remained in the hunt until late…. Traded Chapman , Miller and turned one of the worst prospect pools to a top 5 pool in ONE deadline!!!! Did you want to talk baseball? Or just keep up the Pens Homerism?

        You’re obviously a delusional fan…. Marty? Please!!!!! Let him have 30 wins, or maybe reach the top 500 before you even speak of him reaching the top of the mountain!!!

        I can’t WAIT until you or co-pens fans pick on another fan base here!!!

        Absolutely DELUSIONAL fan base!

      • Fleury has got wins because of the pens Offense his numbers aren’t good every gm knows that the pens have to trade him the return will be minimal

      • So, getting good players in the draft and winning…BAD!

        But, buying every steroid ridden slugger and pitcher on the market to win in 2009 (after the same strategy failed year in and year out for a decade)…GOOD! Yankee PRIDE!!!!

        K. Got it.

    • Hell will literally freeze over before ANY NY (NY, NY) team goes through a tank job / conventional rebuild. Especially under Dolan ( See the NY Knicks) . New Yorkers Don’t have the patience to wait on line for a coffee. Can you imagine a rebuild like Edmonton in Manhattan? They would burn MSG to the ground 1st.

  9. I believe Fleury will be moved off season- at the draft.
    Something needs to happen in Col and I think Duchene would be a good fit in Phil. Take on the salary of McDonald and add Sanheim and Laughton with Col throwing a pick back.

    • Ha Ha Ha sorry you guys are making the leafs fans look great. Keep up the good work

  10. Landeskog and Iginla to Boston for
    Spooner,Krug and Hayes.
    Something along those maybe a pick also to Colorado.
    Boston could move Backes to third line center.
    Can do without Krug. Lyles is returning and Morrow can fill in.

    • a top line winger and a rental that will get at least a third round pick… for a guy that has minimal value, an ok 2nd pairing d man, and another guy with minimal value. sign me up says Sakic!

      • I like to think of Krug as 1 of the best young offensive Dman in the NHL that is still is over 100 NHL regular season games away from being fully developed at the NHL level. After a brutal start to the year due to major off season shoulder surgery is starting to come around & back into form. He is now tied for 16th in D scoring in the NHL.

        I’m not moving Krug for Landeskog in any package. Boston can’t survive with out Krug he is 1 of the very few Dman we have that can help drive offense.

      • The next highest points total for a Dman in Boston are Chara & Carlo with 8 each. Boston is struggling to score now. Remove Krug & what little offense Boston can generate will dry up even further.

      • Hey striker
        Was wondering your thoughts on a trade like this.
        Read a trade rumor about Colorado and Spooner.
        I like Krug also but don’t see him playing up to the contract.
        I was just thinking Iginla and Laneskog would really help the top 9 forward group.
        When Iginla’s contract is up we should have some cap space next year for a decent defenseman.
        I know Iginla is getting older and a rental at this point.

  11. Hey!
    This isn’t about hockey as much as It is about this website. I’ve been reading off an app called Breaking Sports, and I haven’t been able to locate these exactly when they come out.
    I also don’t know when people respond to the few comments I’ve left. I can’t find this anywhere else.
    Isn’t here some way for me to subscribe or something like that? Please help. Thanks! 🙂

  12. Like George, and probably like Penguin’s management, I wonder warily about Murray’s sructural integrity. Brittleness has to be a concern when evaluating an athlete who is 6′ 4” and weighs only 178 pounds.

    I’m not as sure as some others, though, that Fleury is readily able to be traded. It takes at least two teams to make a trade. Not many teams seem to be so disenchanted with their starting goalies that they would look on the erratic Fleury with his $5.75 salary as an improvement, let alone an attractive trade candidate.

    Moreover, what Spector wrote some time ago (paraphrasing, not quoting), is worth remembering– what we know about player contracts is largely what sites like CapFriendly publish, and may not be accurate.I inferred that he was suggesting that Fleury’s contract may be more restricting than what most believe.

  13. Chicago will be fine, you have to remember that after this Season, they’ll rid themselves of overages against their cap hit with Runblad, Scuderi & Montadore coming off, that’ll free up an extra $4.195M. Then Campbell’s $2.25M & Kempny’s &1.137M will be off the books. In the Off-Season, Bowman can sign a couple of $750K or $900K dmen to fill their D roster.

  14. hmm, no response to the Isles suck and couldn’t make a trade if they wanted to huh? I appreciate you including some Isles news Lyle 🙂 I get the sense that teams just aren’t willing to give up much, if anything, for a goalie. This has been a trend for a while now even though having a bad goalie can completely sink a team. Fortunately my Isles have an abundance of this darn near useless asset, sigh.

  15. Detroit gets – Halak, Boychuk, Strome
    Islanders get – Mrazek, Nyquist, Ericsson

    Leafs get – Kulemin, Bailey, Barzal, Greiss
    Islanders get – Lupul, JVR