NHL Rumor Mill – January 23, 2017

by | Jan 23, 2017 | Rumors | 19 comments

Could the Tampa Bay Lightning listen to offers for center Tyler Johnson?

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

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports there’s many moving part involved in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s trade scenarios. The next several weeks could determine if Lightning GM Steve Yzerman becomes a buyer or seller, plus it could determine the futures of several Lightning players.

A stagnant trade market and salary-cap limitations are hampering Yzerman’s efforts to improve his roster via trade. What’s available in the trade market could involve Yzerman sacrificing the long term for a quick fix, which he’s reluctant to do.

Smith believes the Lightning need to retain veteran goaltender Ben Bishop if they hope to reach the playoffs. He also notes the goalie market is “flooded”, with the Islanders’ Jaroslav Halak and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury potentially available, so the Bolts probably won’t get a significant return for Bishop.

Smith also notes the Lightning could find it difficult re-signing restricted free agents Jonathan Drouin, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson. He doubts Drouin will be moved, but wonders if Yzerman might listen to offers for Johnson. Smith also notes the St. Louis Blues need depth at center and the Bolts need a top-four blueliner. He wonders if Valtteri Filppula will consider waiving his partial no-move clause if the Bolts are out of playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some will suggest Yzerman offer up Bishop for Shattenkirk, but I’m not sure either club is keen to make such a short-term swap. Johnson would certainly attract considerable attention in the trade market, but I think Yzerman prefers to keep his core intact for this season. He could shop Filppula if the center is willing to accept a trade and he might bring in a rental defenseman, but I doubt he’ll land someone like Shattenkirk. 

THE DENVER POST: Terry Frei believes Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic cannot fall into the trap of making an okay trade just for the sake of making a deal. Unless Sakic gets a great offer for center Matt Duchene and/or left wing Gabriel Landeskog, he should not move them. Frei feels Sakic will get good, but not great, offers for either player leading up to the March 1 trade deadline. He also doubts the expansion Vegas Golden Knights will be interested in oft-injured goaltender Semyon Varlamov in the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Base upon recent reports, Sakic’s set a high price for Duchene and Landeskog. The asking price for the latter, according to one report, is a top-level defenseman, a first-round pick and more. I think the Avs GM knows he’ll have to wait until this summer to get a big offer for either guy. I’ll be very surprised if he moves either guy for lesser returns at the deadline.  

DETROIT FREE PRESS:  Helene St. James reports Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek’s recent performance suggests he’s snapping out of his first-half funk. If Mrazek continues playing well, St. James suggests the 25-year-old goalie might be in play if the Wings become sellers at the March 1 trade deadline. She notes promising Jared Coreau has played better than expected and points out Wings sidelined starter Jimmy Howard still has two years left on his contract and his $5.3 million cap hit could be hard to move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an interesting suggestion. However, I think Wings GM Ken Holland prefers exposing Howard in the expansion draft in hopes the Vegas Golden Knight select him and go into next season with Mrazek and Coreau. Still, if Holland gets a decent offer for Mrazek, perhaps he consider it. 


  1. ?

  2. Duchesne or Landeskog sure r nice pieces fir a new team.

  3. The Lightning could win 70% of their remaining games and probably not make the playoffs. Little reason to be a buyer. As a seller , the needs are pretty clear; even if the “quality” of the defensive corps doesn’t improve much, you can’t coach speed and mobility. The lighting have several Dmen who aren’t very effective any more in open ice, & spend time chasing plays. They are deep at forward. What may look like a bad deadline deal could be good this year, if it allows an extra core player to be protected. Since some of our players who can’t play effectively in open ice still could play an insurance role for a contender, I see Garrison, Coburn, Filpulla, moving for prospects, and possibly JT Brown, Brian Boyle, and, less likely, Killorn moving in value trades. I see the Lightning re-signing Bishop after he skates through the draft as a UFA…probably to a cap friendly contact like Stamkos/Hedman. I think, looking two years out, he is worth more to the Lightning than to anyone who wants to trade for a goalie. With the signing the Bolts are protected against his injury history with Vasieleski, who is developing but more slowly than thought, or maybe not as he has just turned 22. I see Callahan on LTIR, which reduces the team’s cap problem considerably. And Yes, Johnson might be available given the performance of rookies Pointe & Peca & growth of Drouin. Though not an actual trade, in terms of value I’d see something like Johnson for a Trouba value DMan.

    • Slice it anyway you want to Tampa really misses Stamkos…period….. yes goal tending has been up and down defense so -so that team has talent…but the pulse of that team is Stamkos…that’s why they are struggling.. i agree they should sell…

    • Hello? Everyone hungover from football yesterday?

      • Seems so FD!

    • Richard.

      Solid thought process. I have my own opinion on why TB is struggling. Essentially it boils down to the loss of Callahan’s leadership, penalty killing & him playing with Filppula & Brown on the 3rd line in checking roll against the other teams best players. That’s followed closely be the decline of the 2nd pairing D of Garrison & Sustr. They haven’t played well. These 2 issues have exposed the goalies who haven’t been able to provide the big saves that this solid defensive play helps eliminate leading to more goals against. There are other factors as wellnot the least of which is Stamkos but these are the main issues for me.

      I don’t really know what Yzerman can do to address all that ails TB currently. Yes losing your #1 C is devastating for any team but in the last 4 years they have done so often & been far better than this, including in the playoffs.

      I don’t see Bishop being retained. Purely a financial issue. He will be moved for something before the expansion draft & a veteran back up brought into buffer Vas. TB can’t afford him. Filppula will be moved or bought out so TB isn’t confronted with having to protect him for expansion. Like you I think Callahan is essentially a LTIR issue the for the rest of his contract & as such won’t need to be protected for expansion either he will qualify for exemption just like Horton, Clarkson, Clowe, etc.

      Baring trades expansion keepers are. Stamkos, Johnson, Palat, Drouin, Kucherov, Killhorn, Namestnikov, Hedman, Stralman, 1 of Sustr/Coburn/Nesterov/Koekkoek & Vas.

      I see Yzerman making some minor tweaks to try & make the playoffs if come the deadline they appear close enough but nothing major. If out of it Boyle & Bishop should be moved.

  4. Tampa Bay is an interesting case study for sure. They currently sit last in the East, but actually not terribly far out of the playoff picture. I think Yzerman has demonstrated great patience in the past and will do so again. I agree Richard that it’s more likely players like Garrison , Coburn, Filpulla et al get moved. Tampa still has a strong core and has had some big injuries this year. And I also agree that keeping Bishop at this point solidifies the goalie situation. Look at Columbus as an example of a team having a bounce back season. Tampa could certainly do this next year with making smaller trades than proposed by many.

    • I agree. Yzerman as really demonstrated how well he can handle the pressure. Also need to look at how deep tampa has gone in the last few playoffs. Eventually that catches up to your players and sometimes you have a worse year then you hoped.

      • They can handle all the pressure they want, but the window closes year after year with impending cap hell. Time is ticking

      • I don’t agree with Tampa being worn out. They haven’t really been a very consistent playoff team over the last decade. 3 straight playoff appearances, 1 first round exit, 1 elf exit, 1 cup appearance, And look at other teams who’ve been competitive much longer than Tampa. Chicago, Pittsburgh, NYRs. Etc.

      • Oops …*ecf exit* not elf exit!

      • Time will tell. I see numerous scenario’s that could potentially elevate the cap issues & they certainly aren’t alone nor far from the worst. Not even in my top 6. Most cup contenders; something I thought TB was when the season started but certainly not today, face.

        If nothing changes between now & the expansion draft. All hypothetical based on factors unknown today.

        Let Bishop go either in trade or he walks as a UFA. Assuming a UFA 5.95 removed.
        Filppula buy out. 3.3 saved.
        Callahan LTIR. 5.8 saved in credits?
        Player lost in expansion. Savings?
        Condra buyout 770K saved.
        Garrison buy out 3.7 saved.
        Numerous other scenario’s & tons of flexibility due to contract structure on roster.

        Yes they need to be replaced but TB’s prospect pipeline is 1 of the strongest in the NHL across the board. Have players ready at every position & the top 9 is virtually set with the exception of a replacement for Filppula but could be Point, Stephans, Namestnikov etc.

        Post expansion core less Filppula & Callahan.

        Killorn, Stamkos, Drouin.
        Palat, Johnson, Kucherov.
        Brown, Namestnikov, Point.

      • SANTA!!!!!!!

  5. I’d like to see Boyle stay & @ 2MM he is probably worthwhile for penalty kill/power play/ third line/ defensive swing man as he has taken defensive shifts this year due to penalty or injury. Also good hands and maybe 12 goals, or more and lots of playoff time.
    Watch the Bolts on the ice & he and Hedman are giants in a sea of smurfs. I like Paquette, Namnestnikov and Boyle as a third line heavy, and Brown, Point, and possible Erne as a third line light. Course a lot of this speculation works less well for the Lightning because Cooper likes to dress 7 D, then play one, like Nesterov, at forward on a lower line. With several players under 180 lb, you may need a rotation, though not the 35 (gasp) players than have seen the ice so far this year.

  6. This is another reason to scoff at any leaf fan who thinks they are being shaded on. No leaf rumor little comments . Yins all domestic mate (error in auto correct but funny). Dominate all the sites yet act like a minority. Maybe the confidence comes back now that a solid Arizona boy will lead yins all out of a major funk?

    • ?

  7. I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of Mrazek being traded. With Coreau and Howard as a tandem and the Wings likely (hopefully) doing a more thorough rebuild, if they can get a good pick for him, you pull the trigger. Losing Howie or Coreau to the expansion draft is unlikely given the other goalies available. A Mrazek trade to Dallas and taking one of their goalies and a good young defenseman or 1st rd pick. Wings have a leg up on other teams because they will take a goalie off their hands.

  8. is Garrison the veteran Dman Chicago may want? Money/cap hit can always be worked out… I am sure TB can eat 1.6 mill a yr…. Or even Coburn….where TB takes back Rozival (UFA end of yr)

    Seems to me STL, Chicago and TB should all talk because there are components each have for each other if they can work out the dollars and asset protection come draft time.