NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2017

by | Mar 10, 2017 | Rumors | 27 comments

Could the Edmonton Oilers attempt to re-sign Leon Draisaitl to a bridge contract?

Latest on Leon Draisaitl, Brian Elliott, Sami Vatanen, Dustin Brown & more in your NHL rumor mill. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: If the Edmonton Oilers are thinking of re-signing forward Leon Draisaitl to a three-year bridge contract rather than a long-term extension, Jim Matheson suggests Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov’s three-year deal worth $4.76 million annually as the benchmark. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what type of deal Draisaitl receives. He’s completing his three-year entry-level contract and one of the reasons the Oilers are a playoff contender this season. Previous management would lock up Draisaitl to an expensive seven-year deal as they did with Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but current GM Peter Chiarelli might prefer a shorter term. 

Matheson also believes the Calgary Flames will re-sign pending unrestricted free agent goaltender Brian Elliott but maybe not backup Chad Johnson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliott’s performance improved following a horrible first half of the season. However, I still think they’ll look at Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury via the trade market or Los Angeles’ Ben Bishop or Chicago’s Scott Darling via free agency this summer. 

He also wonders if there’s a club that will take defenseman Sami Vatanen’s contract (three more seasons at $4.875 million annually) from the Anaheim Ducks this summer. He considers Vatanen the Ducks’ fourth-best blueliner. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Somebody will. The Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche and New Jersey Devils all need experienced skill on their respective blue lines. 

Matheson acknowledges the Winnipeg Jets need a goaltender but also believes they need a top-four shutdown blueliner.

He also feels the Los Angeles Kings will have to get creative to get the Vegas Golden Knights to take winger Dustin Brown off their hands. Brown would have to agree to waive his no-movement clause. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t see Brown waiving his no-movement clause for an expansion team. He’s also got five more seasons at over $5.5 million annually left on his contract. Even if he agreed to waive his clause for the draft, the Golden Knights could pass on that contract. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports no one was close to offering up what the Colorado Avalanche sought for forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog before the trade deadline. ” A team may have offered three or four pieces, and while the quantity was there, the quality was not to Colorado’s liking,” said Friedman. 

He also speculates the Carolina Hurricanes could look for a trade option for struggling goalie Eddie Lack this summer. He believes the happy-go-lucky Lack isn’t a good match with the Canes. The goalie recently received a public dressing down from coach Bill Peters for his poor play. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lack played well as a backup with the Vancouver Canucks. Perhaps a change of clubs is necessary to help him regain his form. He has a year remaining on his contract worth $2.75 million. 


  1. If McPhee DOESN’T tell LA to take a hike on any suggestion that he pick Brown off their roster, he should be fired before they hit the ice for the first time.

    • If Calgary took a bad contract off of Edmonton it would be mutiny.

      • Well, the Leafs did take several off Ottawa’s books in the Phaneuf deal.

      • Of course, none of those contracts the Leafs took on had 5 more years to run at close to $6 mil per for a 32 y/o whose best years are way behind him.

      • Which will all be gone next season except for the 750k on Cowans buyout…Dions on the other hand has 4 years left at 7 mill. Several small ones for 1 large one some might argue either way.

      • I was just putting that in there not so much to argue with you George cause I agree with the point that cap deals have gone done between division rivals before Hartnells long deal for Umbergers short deal…Reason I brought it up was just to mention it before someone else gets cranky about it.

      • Phaneuf’s cost to Ottawa after Toronto taking on all those short term contracts makes Phaneuf’s cost to Ottawa 4.6 per for the remainder of the term. I’d say that’s solid value for what Phaneuf has brought to Ottawa.

      • Yeah player capvhits matter squat to Ottawa. 4.9 per year is a fair deal for what Phaneuf provides the Sens. Getting out of the cap hit he has was a fair deal for the leafs to take on bad cintracts that most will expire soon.

        That deal was win win for all. If Cgy and Edm can figure out such a win win deal. It will be d9ne as well.

    • i disagree. i’m not saying McPhee should jump at the chance to draft Brown but he could do a lot worse.

      Brown has never and will never develop into a real scoring threat, but he’s captained two Stanley-Cup winners and plays a hardworking, hard-hitting game. and while he’s overpaid, my understanding is the knights will have to get over the cap floor just like everyone else and that means taking on some big contracts. Sure they’ll sign some free agents once they hit the market but the market looks thin this summer (and a number will be resigned before 7/1 or will want to sign with a contender) so vegas will still have plenty of space to take on a couple over-priced contracts. and if mcphee can pick up a solid character guy, possible captain, while helping with the cap floor, and maybe milk another asset or two out of lombardi while he does, well, that would be a smart move.

  2. WPG fans should not forget about Myers if he can stay healthy that is. ….at least Dion Phanuef is still playing….

    • And playing damned well on a D corps that’s tied with Montreal for 8th in the entire league in goals against.

      • Crazy the flack he got in Toronto Kessel as well, not their fault they got those nutty contracts. Still very good granted overpaid players that were never put in a position to succeed. The way some people went on about them you would think they didn’t belong in the league.

      • he would be the leafs best dman right now…

      • Could be Joe, really it’s a big part of the problem in TO. Not a clear cut top pair guy there a few “tweeners” (guys who could fill in minutes but really should be a second pair in a perfect world) in Gardiner Rielly and Zaitsev Phaneuf is the same, imo he is best suited for just a shade under 20 mins but could play a few more if needed.

      • Precisely the only issue with Phaneuf & Kessel were their respective contracts but you have to look at when they were signed & under what scenario’s. Kessel was signed in October 2013, Phaneuf December of the same year. We were in a run away cap world & both were pending UFA’s. The Canadian dollar was at 97 cents to the US dollar.

        I defended both these players constantly a serious struggle as I don’t like Kessel. Phaneuf was miscast in Toronto, he’s not really a #1. Reilly is being miscast currently as well. He may eventually be a #1 but being asked to bare far to heavy a load. Zaitsev as well.

  3. In reference to previous management in Edmonton regarding Draisaitl you are pointing to the fact that teams need to stay away from former players when hiring for managerial positions. Managing a hockey team is a business position. Many of the former players who tried this position who have been more suited to some feel good position like community outreach. Or to be brought back for a lengthy and unnecessary ceremony before the games. Or maybe even for oldtimer outdoor games other than that leave management to qualified business executives. I’m not one of those either by the way!

  4. Over the past week, the Jets have orchestrated a very successful PR campaign.

    I have heard and read various and disparate sources all echoing the same basic sentiment…(more or less) “there is nothing wrong with the Jets. They just can’t get a save.”

    The team has zero structure and zero discipline despite having the same coach and core for years, but sure…blame it on the rookie goalie playing behind a dumpster fire of a pickup roller hockey team that would make Carey Price look like Jim Carey.

    Central division opponents hope they actually believe their own smoke.

    The Jets have been conducting a masterful clinic on how NOT to develop a young goalie. They have done every single thing wrong. And now they are going to toss him under the bus and blame him for all of their own various collective failures? Wow.

    The odds of the Jets trading for or signing a goalie better than Hellebucyk are slim. By all means, destroy his confidence by replacing him with Ondrej “.878 SV %” Pavelec or by scapegoating him. Genius.

    Nothing will fix the Jets as long as Maurice lets Byfuglien plus with no strucure (he’s out of position more than any other player in the league by far) or accountability and it trickles down to the rest of the team.

    It’s crazy, the Jets are so talented and so close to be a great (not good, great) team and yet…they are so very far at the same time. Mostly by their own doing.

    • I agree fully. The most undisciplined team in the NHL. Part of that issue is youth but Buffy isn’t really a Dman he’s a forward that likes to play D as he gets more icetime & isn’t forced to have to skate as much as a forward does but he is a high level point producer & Winnipeg needs to find him a safety partner.

      It’s very difficult to judge Winnipeg’s D ability with their #2 Dman; Myers, having missed essentially the whole season. People have to accept this is a young team really. Tons of youth playing key roles all over the line up. The future looks very bright for Winnipeg. Hellebuyck will be fine. I assume a very high end goalie in the very near future.

    • I agree with you completely! Maurice in my opinion needs to be fired!!

      • Amen to that. Too much talent on that team to not be doing better.
        Also, shout out to their scouting team, they continue to pick out the gems in the first round.

  5. Depending on asking price, I would think it would be smart for the Flames to pursue Fleury in the offseason and re-sign Johnson to a reasonable salary as a backup with insurance. Big fan of Elliot as a person and a player, but I don’t see the current tandem the long term solution or how Elliot would play into things either way.

    • I think Fleury is exactly what they need and it might have been smart to wait the extra year and get the price down. 2-3 months ago everyone was raving about Johnson and how they should have signed him and now they are talking about letting him walk. If they trade for Fleury I would let Elliot walk and look for a cheaper back up.

      • The Flames should be looking at adding Darling and keeping Elliot in my opinion.
        Darling isn’t a full time starter as yet and it would be risky to give him the reigns without Elliott as an insurance policy

  6. With the talk of LA needing to get creative to get vegas to take Brown….would it behoove them to have McPhee pick any player LA cannot protect but wants to keep….then Trade for that player back to LA and trade Brown(40%) cap retained and a 2nd rd pick 2017?

    • I’m surprised Striker hasn’t corrected you yet. A player who is selected in the expansion draft can’t be traded back to the team from which he was taken. I think that is limited to a year.

      • did not know… good heads up

  7. LA should also ask TOR to take Gaborik and a pick for Horton….Horton is only money on LTIR. That would free up some cap cash for LA