Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 1, 2017

by | Jan 1, 2017 | Rumors | 36 comments

Could the Avalanche listen to offers for Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog?

Latest on the Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins in your NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the struggling Colorado Avalanche are receiving trade inquiries, but they are telling interested parties not to ask about center Nathan MacKinnon or promising right wing Mikko Rantanen. However, they are apparently willing to listen to offers for forwards Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog, provided teams come at them with good, young defensemen or good young defensive prospects.

THE DENVER POST: Terri Frei reports salary-cap constraints will affect any efforts by the Avalanche to shake up their roster, at least in the short term. The Avs have about $52 million invested in next season’s payroll. The buyout of former defenseman Brad Stuart will be completed at season’s end, but Frei suggests other buyouts are possible. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Duchene or Landeskog are available, but as Friedman notes, the Avs aren’t going to just give them away. It will take a quality return to land either guy, not draft picks and castoffs. Teams with depth in blueline talent, such as the Anaheim Ducks or Minnesota Wild, could be interested, but they don’t have much room to pick up their annual cap hits. Duchene earns $6 million per season, Landeskog over $5.5 million. 

As for contract buyouts, inconsistent starting goalie Semyon Varlamov ($5.9 million annually through 2018-19) could be a candidate, provided he’s healthy during the June buyout period. Forward Blake Comeau ($2.4 million through 2017-18) could be another.  

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets are carrying some bad contracts. Fourth-line winger Scott Hartnell is earning $4.75 million per season, second-line center Brandon Dubinsky ($5.85 million annually through 2020-21) doesn’t look like a good long-term bet and sidelined winger David Clarkson’s $5.25 million cap hit through 2020 “is just about impossible to scrub from their books.” Shinzawa believes Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen will likely have to move a player to free up cap space for pending restricted free agent center Alexander Wennberg’s raise this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wennberg’s coming off his entry-level deal and could seek something in the neighborhood of $6 million per season. The Jackets have over $67 million invested in next season’s payroll. Hartnell seems the most likely trade candidate. However, the Blue Jackets tried to shop him last summer without success. Dubinsky could attract interest, but that cap hit and contract length are serious stumbling blocks. Yes, Clarkson was moved once before, but I doubt the Jackets can find any takers. 

Shinzawa believes this season will be the last for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are committed long term to Matt Murray as their starter. With Murray currently sidelined, Shinzawa speculates Fleury “could make a case for his next destination” based on his play in Murray’s absence. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s widely assumed Fleury will be dealt before the March 1 trade deadline. A market will have to open up for him between now and then, as there’s not much call right now for a starting goalie carrying a $5.75 million annual cap hit through 2018-19 with a no-movement clause. I’ve previously suggested a swap with the Dallas Stars in exchange for Antti Niemi, but that’s just me musing out loud. I have no idea if the Stars and Penguins would consider such a deal. 


  1. Never realized how long Dubinsky was locked up for wow, the hits not great or terrible but the 6 year term seems a little excessive. It may actually make a team a decent pick up if the Jackets could hold some salary. Even with term probably still easier to move than Hartnell.

  2. If teams want the Pens to be less competitive than no one should trade for Fleury forcing them to loose Murray and forcing them to go with an expensive declining option in net.

    • Pens can buy out maf as a last option.

  3. Hartnell @ 2 more seasons after the current season hurts. Hextall took heat for trading for Umberger, but the rationelle was to get rid of Hartnells salary. Extra painful is the NMC that will force the jackets to protect him in the expansion draft. A buyout would be painful as it extends the cap it out 4 years-but I don’t see what other options they have.

    • Hartnell has posted solid #’s yet again this season. Has 9 goals & 22 points in 35 games already playing 4th line minutes getting 2nd line PP time. Columbus’s #1 PP unit is so efficient the 2nd unit barely see’s the ice. Only 1 of Hartnell’s 9 goals has been scored on the PP.

      23 goals & 49 points last season, 28 & 60 the year prior. His on pace to score 20 goals & 45 points again this season in a limited role. at 4.75 seems like great value & his actually salary starts to decline next season.

      Hartnell could play on my team any time, take Belesky please. He makes 3.8 & has 1 more year on his deal than Hartnell’s but Hartnell can actually score even apparently playing on a 4th line only seeing 12 mins a night.

      • I like Hartnell also definitely a Bruins type player.
        Maybe if Columbus retained 1-2 million many teams would be interested.

      • If you want a slow ageing forward that takes way too many obstruction penalties Hartwell is your man.

      • Sold.

      • I was thinking the same thing. And just in case nobody noticed Columbus just won 15 in a row as presently constituted! Sure the contract(s) might be long by worry about it right now while Hartnell is playing decently? What the hell is Tortorella doing with these guys? What a roll? And did players like Wennberg get such little fanfare prior to this?

  4. Thanks for running a informative site Lyle.
    I enjoy your takes on the daily rumblings in the hockey world.
    All the best in 2017!

  5. Point of interest.

    I understand Hall is injured currently; fairly common occurrence over his 7 years in the NHL, but when does he help NJ’s scoring struggles? NJ is scoring .002 more goals per game this season than last. If that pace doesn’t change they will score 1.6 more goals this season than last. Unfortunately they are running a minus 28 goal differential. 2 worse than they finished all of last season.

    Now sitting 15th in the east. Thankfully they just completed their worst stretch of games they see this season & may actually start to win some games. Not many but some. Does anyone see this team stringing together 4 or 5 wins in a row? I certainly don’t. They can’t score & now can’t stop the other team from scoring. What a shock. Ha-ha!

    • NJ went 0 for 9 on the PP last night. Uglyyyyyy

      • To me, it just looks like they have no one on the backend to get the forwards the puck quickly, & effectively .

        Maybe if, Kovalchuck can comeback this year, & get the OK from everyone in the league . Maybe the Devils, & the Blues can work some sorta deal between Shattenkirk, & Kovalchuck .

        Of course there would be other picks, & or prospects involved but, it could be a basis for something .

    • Stupid thing is if they were in the Atlantic instead of the metro I think they are very close to being a playoff team.

      • Yea its been pretty weak atlantic lately.

      • 9 points out of the 3rd & final playoff spot if they were in the Atlantic. I don’t think that’s close.

        With the NHL’s stupid points system unless you can go on a significant winning streaks consistently of 6+ games with very few losses in between, virtually impossible to make up ground on those in front of you unless they completely go into the tank.

        NJ would have to play about 800 over the remainder of the season just to make the playoffs.

      • If they were in the Atlantic they would likely have different results right now vs the metro they are somewhere around 3-4-3 vs the Atlantic they are above 500 at 5-4-2…not to argue but if the Devils were in the Atlantic playing that division more than playing Philly the Ranger Jackets and Pens I think they would have a pretty good shot at making the playoffs.

      • I have made that same argument about the west for decades. No seems to potentially care but you & I. The schedule is fairly balanced now by conference.The games played disparity by division with in a conference is nominal. Only playing 2 games against the opposing conference is certainly significant.

        Before playing Pittsburgh & Washington back to back in the last 8 days they had played significantly more games against the Atlantic. Now they are balanced at 11 & 11. So much for that discussion. Ha-ha!

      • The only solid teams that could do some dameage in the playoffs are the bolts and habs

      • The Habs have won 3 regulation wins out of their past 10 games and have won 9 of their last 20..that’s solid? Besides the streak at the beginning of the season I don’t think they are that “solid” the Atlantic is terrible. That’s why the Metro has both wild card spots and 1 of the wild card teams (Caps) are just 1 point back of the 1st place Habs with a game in hand. If they don’t get their game going soon the Habs could easily be 5th in the conference I like the Habs too but that’s not what I’d call solid. lol

      • Again shticky maybe look beyond the leafs for a second and look at the injuries the habs and bolts have! Geezus man sure u can replace a third 4th liner but top line centre man and dman don’t grow on trees as half the the league is looking for them

      • The habs are 5th in goals for and 5th in goals against I’d say pretty solid! Lol but throw some useless stats at there I’ll be waiting lol

  6. Not too many teams will give up a young promising defenseman for Landeskog. Duschene might get one.
    Might depend on a team that can’t protect one in the expansion draft.

    • I just don’t see how moving Landeskog or Duchene solves anything. Colorado is devoid of talent across the board. They need to continue the rebuild, retain picks, develop prospects & ship out aging veterans for picks & prospects at the trade deadline as able.

      There is no quick fix to right this ship. The ship is dead in the water currently & has been taking on water rapidly for several years. It will take at least 3 more years for Colorado to get what few prospects they have to the NHL & continue developing the young players already there before they will have any hope of even contending for a playoff spot.

      Build around the young core of Duchene; 25, Landeskog, 24, McKinnon; 21; Rantanen; 20, Barrie; 25, & Zadarov; 21. The only other player on this roster that is a solid NHL player is Johnson; 28, & after that the next best skater is Soderberg; 31, who is a 3rd line C at best. Grigorenko; 22, may be a decent player eventually but Buffalo may have destroyed this prospect but at 6’3″ having only played 176 NHL regular season games he’s still 3 years from showing us what he will be at the NHL level. Taller player take longer to fill out & develop than smaller 1’s.

      After this Colorado has nothing that should even be playing in the NHL other than Iginla; last season, & Beauchemin. Iginla should be moved at the NHL trade deadline for what ever they can get. Beauchemin the year following for the same.

      Why people think Colorado should be better than they currently are makes no sense to me. This may be the 2nd worst team in the NHL currently on paper after NJ but at least there is hope. NJ is a mess.

      • In the very near future when Colorado adds Jost, Bigras, Greer, Compher, Beaudin, Mirinov, Morrison, Butcher, Meloche, Biokov & Spencer their fortunes will start to improve significantly as they develop their NHL games over the next 3 to 5 years. It’s unfortunate Colorado moved Wood in the Boedker deal. He’s tearing it up for Tucson as a rookie Dman in the AHL.

      • here we go building thru the draft since Sakic took over, sent a 2nd a 6th away for Stuart, 6th for Sodderberg, 4th for Mathias 3rd for Gelinas and 2 prospects away for Bodeker…nice job Joe 7 picks or prospects out the door for 2 rentals and a bad contract that won’t be moved easily. And you say Benning has terrible asset management?

      • I think Stuart for a 2nd & 6th at the time was a solid price to pay for Stuart especially considering how brutal Colorado’s D was & still is. Stuart had a solid season for Colorado before getting injured & never returning to being the same player he was, age also factoring in significantly.

        Soderberg for a 6th; nothing, that’s free, was fabulous value. He played great for Colorado last season & has been a 2nd 1/2 player since getting to the NHL. Doesn’t appear to be the coaches favorite & Colorado can’t ice 4 forwards to fill out the top 2 lines so who is Soderberg supposed to play with?

        Gelinas for a 3rd, Matthias for a 4th. Who cares, 2nd rounders barely make the NHL so giving up a 3rd or 4th is inconsequential & again essentially free.

        Sakic & Roy; he was a significant part of the decision making, shipped Talbot out for a 6th. A 2015 2nd to SJ for a 2nd & 6th, making it possible to expend these other picks to try & plug holes on the roster.

        I have already expressed my distaste for the Boedker trade & agree with you fully. What we don’t know & probably never will is who was responsible for these player personnel decisions as Roy’s authority was essentially equal to Sakic’s. Both Matthias & Boedker were acquired to make a playoff push. If I had to wager that was Roy pushing not Sakic. Roy wanted to win now, Sakic build through the draft. 1 won the other packed up his toys & quit.

        None of these trades you mention are or were of any consequence. Lets address the only 1 that was.

        O’Reilly for Zadarov, Grigorenko, Compher & the 31st pick in 2015. Flipped that pick to SJ for 39 in 2016 & 6th in 2017.

        That’s the only meaningful trade made by the tandem of Sakic & Roy. The only others were the 1’s you mentioned. O’Reilly wasn’t signing nor staying in Colorado. That bridge was burnt before Sakic took over as EX VP of hockey opps in may of 2013 or GM in the summer of 2014.

        Benning gave away Garrison for a late 2nd, same for Bieksa. Both have continued to play as solid top 3/4 Dman in the NHL since moved. Benning essentially excepted the same pick as TB’s & Anh’s 2nd’s; Colorado’s 3rd was within 10 picks of those 2 draft picks for 2 Dman way mor valuable than Gelinas. If you want me to list the remaining trades made in Benning’s era I’m happy to do so. He hasn’t won a single 1 & giving up 2 top 4 Dman for nothing is insane. Chi got better value for Shaw & Montreal Eller, 3rd line forwards?

        Just go to ESPN, click on teams & look at transactions for Vancouver since Benning took over. I should warn you it will make you feel sick.

      • Giving up a serviceable Dman in Holden this summer for a 4th was very questionable but again that was before Roy quit so who was really responsible for that choice?

        Anyway Shticky have a great day. Love the discussion & debate just don’t think Sakic has been bad. We have no idea who or how this team was run with the 2 headed monster. * were 2 or 3 years in way to early to judge Sakic especially as he didn’t have full authority on player personal decisions until Roy quit late this August.

        When I look at the prospect kitty for Colorado it’s solid especially considering where they have selected. They have had 3 top 10 selections in the last decade. Duchene, Landeskog & McKinnon. Since selecting McKinnon 1st overall they have picked 23rd, 10th & 10th. Getting Rantanen & Jost in the #10 spots in 2015 & 2016 looks to be brilliant player selections & again who was really responsible Sakic or Roy? I have no idea but we will see moving forward.

        I don’t think Sakic is in any trouble with ownership. He’s doing a good job considering all factors.

      • Striker if your arguement is he is building thru the draft, then you can’t say the picks and prospects don’t matter because they aren’t first rounders, if you are going to in fact build thru the draft you don’t trade picks and prospects away for rental players or vets that you sign to immovable contracts. The prospects that the Avs do have are thin at best maybe 3 or 4 decent ones according to mos scouts and they sent 7 picks and prospects out the door…’s a last place team with nearly bare cupboards (according to most available scouting
        material) and the only thing of any value to recoup some youth is other younger players because the vets all have contract issues lol it’s a mess and a terrble way to build a team.

    • I’ve floated some Olli Maatta for Landeskog ideas because of the expansion draft.

      Pens have 4 (or 5 depending on how you feel about Pouliot) defenseman worth protecting but only 6 forwards.

      Colorado would have to eat $1.5 million a year to balance the salaries, though.

      • Still terrible no matter how many times you write it. Pens only need to protect 3 d men. Daley ufa. Shultz ufa. Cole replaceable. Pens have little d depth while spong and guntz waiting. Dp is busted and we can only hope vegas takes him.

  7. Zadorov is interesting from a Maple Leaf prospective. I don’t think he is one they want to move but Hunter certainly knows all about him from time in London.

    • Colorado won’t be moving Zadarov. He was the key piece received from Buffalo for O’Reilly. A future #2 Dman possibly #1. 6’5″ 230 lbs now, a monster of a kid who still hasn’t fully filled out that massive frame. Going to be a stud 2 way Dman in another 3 or 4 years.

  8. ” Poolies” forget there is a toughness element to the game and it is not just about stats. Hartnell goes to war every night and is a valuable 3-4 role player on a championship run…. Ana and Min have depth on defence. Why is no one putting Phil in that same conversation ?

    • I agree with your take on Hartnell SilverSeven

  9. The Kings should go after Hartnell and/or Saad and move a prospect and starters like Brown and Pearson if possible to shore up their top six. The team is offensively challenged as usual. Saad in the top or second line would be huge for LA and Hartnell can play 2nd or 3rd line to offer some depth. Saad-Kopitar-Gaborik and Hartnell-Carter-Toffoli looks good to me.