Latest on the Avalanche, Sabres & Hurricanes – March 6, 2017

by | Mar 6, 2017 | Rumors | 35 comments

Could the St. Louis Blues be among this summer’s suitors for Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene?

The latest speculation involving the Colorado Avalanche, Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes in your NHL rumor mill. 

THE DENVER POST: Despite the lack of a significant move by the floundering Colorado Avalanche at the trade deadline, Terry Frei believes their roster makeover will kick into high gear in the offseason. He anticipates a core player will be dealt to upgrade their defense. The trade speculation that dogged top forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog will persist into this summer, but Frei feels Avs GM Joe Sakic must continue to insist on a big return for either player. 

Frei’s colleague Mark Kiszla believes Sakic should be replaced as general manager before Duchene is traded. Indeed, he feels Sakic is the main problem affecting the Avs. Kiszla doesn’t believe the club is as bad as their record this season suggests. He feels they could benefit from a management chance. He lists Chicago Blackhawks assistant GM Norm McIver, Florida Panthers executive Dale Tallon and LA Kings executive Rob Blake as possible replacement. 

STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford believes the St. Louis Blues were among the clubs with interest in Duchene. The asking price is high. Rutherford speculates it could cost the Blues defenseman Colton Parayko as part of the return. The Blues need to upgrade at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic could find it difficult to move Duchene or Landeskog if rival clubs decide to look around for more affordable options in June. The expansion draft could see several teams putting some notable talent into the trade market. A stagnant salary cap could also affect Sakic’s efforts to swing a blockbuster. I don’t think the Avs will fire Sakic this year, but he’s definitely going to be under pressure to improve the roster before next season.

The Blues certainly could benefit from adding a center such as Duchene, but I think they’ll look elsewhere if the Avs maintain a high asking price. Given Duchene’s $6 million annual cap hit through 2018-19, the Blues would have to either move some salary to Colorado in the deal or stage a salary-dumping deal with another club. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl recently reported Sabres GM Tim Murray unsuccessfully attempted to move pending unrestricted free agents Dmitry Kulikov and Brian Gionta before the recent trade deadline. Murray received an offer for Gionta and asked the winger about it, but he wasn’t interested in waiving his modified no-trade clause.

The Sabres GM also declined offers for left wing Evander Kane, who has a year remaining on his contract. While the two sides can open contract extension talks in July, Murray said Kane must first address his off-ice issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see Murray taking a wait-and-see approach with Kane for next season. The winger is on pace to reach 30 goals this season. If he avoids trouble away from the ice and plays well next season, Murray could try to re-sign him before his eligibility for unrestricted free agency next July. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander recently reported the Carolina Hurricanes were among the teams linked to Colorado center Matt Duchene in trade rumors leading up to last week’s trade deadline. Teuvo Teravainen, Ryan Murphy and Lee Stempniak also came up on trade chatter. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy’s name surfaced several times earlier this season and he could be shopped this summer. Stempniak still has a season left on his contract. Interesting that Teravainen’s name surfaced, as the Canes acquired him last summer. He’s a restricted free agent this summer. His status could be worth keeping an eye on this summer. 


  1. Dusch to ducks or canes… or Chicago. Or Columbus. I actually think the trade dudline might be made up for this year in the weeks after the playoffs.

  2. Sakic seems to be another member of the former player turned manager trash heep! Just because somebody can play does not mean they can manage or coach for that matter. Sakic seemed solid at first but wow this team has gone down hill quickly! As far as I am concerned keep him on so the fairweather hockey fans of the States have another bad franchise on their hands. Just one more opportunity for a move to Quebec!

    • I think Ron Francis is going to be the exception. He has worked his way up through the organization in various positions starting at about 35K per year according to Rutherford. He paid his dues before becoming GM. He doesn’t doesn’t draw a lot of attention and he likes it that way. He is a good listener, he has a pulse on the entire organization, and wont waiver from his plan or principles for a quick fix. His hands are tied financially but Im not so sure he would be any different if they weren’t. If he can’t turn Carolina’s franchise around I don’t believe anyone can.

  3. I do believe Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post has got it right insofar as the future of the Avalanche is concerned. Dump Sakic before he buries them for a decade a la Edmonton. MacTavish and Lowe were great players as well but dumb as posts when it came to the management side of the game.

  4. On Teravainen: He was a Blackhawk Cap casualty based on what they felt was advancing prospects in the pipleine who were economical, but there was a a growing concern that TT simply wasn’t motivated in his off duty all year long regime of adding muscle mass and weight. The Captain, Jonathan Toews expressed concern about it, but it wasnt like it was secret. That and the fact he continued to look more like a better player as a RW than a future second line centre. For years when people parised or buried Teravainen, I stressed a parallel to the Wild’s Granlund, and how they took time to send him down, work him into the centre and wing slts that highlighted his strengths but said all along that they were patient, and now it is paying off.
    If Carolina is theowing his name out their as a chip to improve in other areas, that might signal that TT is yet another guy who was not looking to sign a bridge deal, got paid, but is in fact on the job training as Evander kane did for oh so many seasons in the Thrashers/Jets organization, and teams no onger have the luxury with thsi flat Cap to not see true upside in these young forward signings…

  5. Duchene has 36 points this year. Brutal for a supposedly Elite player. Do not over pay because he is an Olympian …. Teravainen and Murphy and #1 pick might be the right price

    • Duchene isnt seen as a high offensive stat trpe player. Rather a solid all around guy who will likely repeat anually a 60s-70s point season.

      But yes 38 is concerning. But that team is pathetic.

      • Duschene on a good team would hav way more than 38 points

      • Early on I had visions of him alongside Turris and Stone – but it wasn’t going to happen if, every time he had a chat with Dorion he began with Chabot.

      • Yeah. It would of been sweet.

  6. Sakic must really hate Charelli moving Hall for Larson. He is now attempting to move a similar player for a kings ransom. Yet its the D who have been shown that move for such a ransom.

    • It’s Edmonton all over again. A GM overvaluing his players that might never get the return. He should be happy getting a top 4 D and a first in a mediocre draft.

  7. The situation in Colorado does look bleak not just in the back end but up front. Soderberg 3yrs left at 4.75 per and a stat line of 5g 11pts in 62 games. Could this be the year if Av’s don’t lose the 1st overall in the draft lottery that they flip it for a package? What would Nolan Patrick 6’3″ center who’s been projected for 4yrs now to be this year first overall pick? Could the first overall pick get a be the best trade they could make?

  8. The debacle in Colorado is making Patrick Roy look like a genius right about now! He left at the right time!

    • Patrick always could see a bit farther into the future than most – which explains his blow-up in Montreal and subsequent trade to Colorado prior to the train wreck that was looming in Habsville at the time.

      • Yeah… that kid he beat up was actually gonna turn out to be a murderer one day and Roy scared him straight.

      • Hiring Roy was the first sign that Sackic was in over his head.

      • Roy is good at jumping ship and leaving others behind to drown when waters get rough and leaks appear.

  9. Can anyone confirm or deny something I read…does Vegas have to come out of the expansion draft meeting the salary cap floor?

    If so, they have to take some big money players in the expansion draft. If so, they’ll want them to be players worth that price. That points to Fleury. I don’t see any other big ticket players who figure to be exposed with more value.

    That plus the need for a face for the franchise. Vegas isn’t a hockey town. Knights will have to sell their people as much as their players. No one available would be better for this role than Fleury. Marc could carve out a niche for himself there and end being their color analyst (or some other prominent role with the team) in a few years.

    I could see Fleury and (because of his upside and former star power in a nearby market) Bobby Ryan as the two players that Vegas takes for those roles.

    • vegas has their own floor for 1st year or two. cant remember how much it is.,.. they will have to take a bigger player or two or sign some FA…. they are better off taking younger players in the draft and signing overpriced FA / trading for bad contracts to get sweeteners to meet their floor.

    • Per
      The Las Vegas franchise must select players with an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100% of the prior season’s upper limit for the salary cap.

      It is apropos to your comment that they must select 30 players, 3 of which must be goalies.Once they reach the cap floor they can pursue any free agent for whom they have cap room to sign.

      • It is noteworthy when configuring a possible Vegas final roster makeup, that the minimum cap requirement must be met with draft selections, not with trades or free-agent signings.

      • that cap requirement being 60% the actual cap. thank you webster 😉

    • If you want a more trustworthy source than me, you can save some research time by using the link that Spector included in his November 24,2016 “Rumors” article.

      • What the Frank?!?!?!?

  10. Joe Sakic was hired as Executive VP of Hockey Operations on May 10th 2013. He assumed the title of GM the summer of 2014 with Greg Sherman stepping down to Asst. GM.

    “On May 23, 2013, Roy was named head coach and vice president of hockey operations of the Colorado Avalanche.[35 & 36] TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that Roy will have the final say in all hockey matters.

    “Bob McKenzie on Twitter: “Talked to NHL GM about COL shopping No. 1 pick: “Who are we supposed to call there?” Patrick Roy, apparently. Greg Sherman GM in name only.””. Twitter. 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2016-06-30.

    Obviously Sakic & Roy were not on the same page. Roy quit. God knows who was responsible for this mess. It was a mess when they were hired. They got incredible fortuitous in 2013-14. Varlamov stayed healthy lead the league with 41 wins & was 2nd; tied Price, to Rask in SV% for starters, goalies that started at least 30 games.

    They assembled a rag tag D of Holden, 1st year in Col after being cast off from CLb, Benoit, Sarich, Guenin & Hejda with E. Johnson & what was essentially Barrie’s 1st season as a regular, started the season in the AHL.

    You can’t judge either Roy or Sakic based on 3 years, 2 as GM. Factor in the dual headed monster wasn’t eliminated until Roy quit in frustration as he couldn’t get everything he wanted. Colorado has drafted well. I’m glad they didn’t move Duchene or Landeskog & I hope they don’t this summer. This team is in year 2 of a total rebuild. The standard is 5 minimum. Why is anyone being judged in Colorado on 2 years?

    • Yeah I can. What I see is a steady downward spiral from 112 points just a short couple of seasons back to where they are now. Doormats.

      • Before that 112 point season how many did they have the season prior? In 2012-13, the season prior, the lock out season, they finished last in the west; 2nd to last in the league, the season before that 11th; 20th in the league.

        The season following that 112 point season, 2014-15 11th in the west; 21st in the league. It’s called an aberration George. They happen. “An aberration is something that deviates from the normal way.”

        There were a multitude of factors coming into play the season following the 2012-13 lock out, 2013-14 where Colorado posted 112 points not the least of which were NHL rosters a mess because of the new cap rules. Varlamov playing like he never has before for extended periods of time, something he’s never been able to duplicate since. A D that was muddled together but played great but on paper was atrocious.

        Kroenke forcing Colorado to pay it’s on way on hockey related revenue. That has lead to the loss of players Colorado just can’t & couldn’t afford to resign. They were bad before that season & following. The worst thing that happened was having that 1 great season where ever thing went write. It gave false hope & a false impression of Colordao.

        This is a bad team it will be for several more years. They are in year 1 to 3 of a rebuild depending upon when you fell it stared. For me it started with Roy having a tantrum, not getting his way, picking up his toys like the premadona he has always been & quitting. Thank God as now Sakic can right the ship with out his interference.

        Even if you want to judge Sakic on his 1st 3 years you need to give him at least 2 more. Lets revisit in 2019-20. By that time Sakic’s draft picks will be playing in the NHL.

      • All that is true Striker. And I know that many are not fans of analytics, but they also predicted exactly what would happen to Colorado and that it was a mirage. Unusually high shooting % and save % combined.
        Also predicted that Boston would turn it around this year eventually as the odds were that it had to even out and the puck would go in. It did.
        I hope i didn’t just jinx them!
        The previous structure of Colorado was set up to fail, is that on Sakic? Maybe.
        We all make mistakes, including GM’s. That appears to be his and my guess he has learned from it.
        If the return isn’t huge on Duchene and Landeskog he won’t move them. Unfortunately the toothpaste is out of the tube with the media, which I am sure isn’t helping.
        He does deserve more time, that doesn’t mean ownership will give it to him.

  11. I think Vegas needs to approach Chumley from Pawn Stars to be their mascot!

    • Chodely from porn stars?

      • Don’t know who that is!

      • I made him up. Cause I’m clever like that.

      • Lol, this last bit was funny. The first was curious

  12. The Sabres were inactive at the trade deadline. I do not know if they had opportunities to sale and to buy. Not making acquisitions to improve the roster to clinch a postseason berth is a negative toward general manager Tim Murray.

    Kulikov has been a bust for the Sabres this season. Over two weeks ago, he produced a dismal plus-minus -4 rating in a Sabres’ loss to the Blackhawks. Shoddy defensive play scares off buyers, and it should have earned a healthy scratch in the press box. I see the Sabres moving on and moving forward from Kulikov after this season.