NHL Rumor Mill – March 22, 2017

by | Mar 22, 2017 | Rumors | 66 comments

John Tavares’ future with the New York Islanders could be decided by late-June.

Latest on John Tavares, Cam Fowler, Brian Elliott, Ben Bishop and Scott Darling in your NHL rumor mill. 

TSN: Darren Dreger reports a decision could be reached on John Tavares’ future with the New York Islanders in June. If the two sides can’t reach an agreement before July, Dreger said he wouldn’t be shocked if the Isles consider trading him, perhaps during the NHL Draft in late June. However, he’s not saying the trade scenario is more likely than a new contract. Tavares is eligible for UFA status in July 2018. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles and Tavares appear motivated to get an extension in place, but much will depend upon where he sees the club’s future in the next few years. That issue, more than money, will be the determining factor. I suppose you can’t rule out the possibility of Tavares being shopped by late-June, but it’s by no means a certainty. Still, if the Isles feel they can’t re-sign him, then it certainly makes sense to move him for a reasonable return. 

Pierre LeBrun also notes Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler has a year remaining on his contract. He said the Ducks have held preliminary discussions with Fowler’s camp regarding an extension. They need to know what to do with the defenseman before the expansion draft. If they can’t re-sign him, LeBrun said they may as well trade him and protect another blueliner in that draft. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fowler is earning $4 million annually on his current deal and could seek up to $6 million per on a long-term extension. It’ll be interesting to see how his situation plays out. If the Ducks decide to shop him, the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs could be among the suitors. 

LeBrun also reports goaltender Brian Elliott would like to re-sign with the Calgary Flames. While the club is interested in keeping him, they don’t want any distractions right now, preferring to delay contract talks until after the end of the season. 

Dreger reports Los Angeles Kings goalie Ben Bishop is looking forward to unrestricted free agency. He considers it a long shot that Bishop will re-sign with the Kings and expects a half-dozen teams are expected to show interest in the big netminder.  

While Bishop stands to make a lot of money via free agency, LeBrun considers Chicago Blackhawks’ goalie Scott Darling the most intriguing name in the UFA market, as he could be ready to become a full-time starter. He thinks the Carolina Hurricanes and Dallas Stars have Darling on their shopping lists, as he could become the next Cam Talbot. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Flames fail to re-sign Elliott, they could also pursue Bishop or Darling. Food for thought. 


  1. I still think a Cam Fowler for James van Riemsdyk swap makes perfect sense for both teams. Both earn similar amounts on the same term. Both will command similar dollars to re-sign. Both are in their prime. Anaheim needs the offensive boost, and Toronto needs defensive help. I’m sure there would be other parts of the trade, partially due to the new premium on top 4 defensemen (the Hall for Larsson swap) but I don’t see what the huge stumbling block would be for this.

    • Expansion could be an issue, if the Ducks traded Fowler for a forward and used Fowlers spot to protect another D it would leave JVR exposed, or they would have a choice between Silfverberg or JVR to protect. Just depends really.

      • Think the Ducks should just buy out Bieksa if he doesn’t waive, problem solved.

      • That’s precisely why I keep saying a lot of potential (and sometimes obvious) trades won’t be made until after the expansion draft dust has settled.

      • You could be right George, Vegas might just make a lot of deals before the draft itself leaving teams to fill holes after. According to Kipper Vegas is very active already. The draft might just be a boring affair.

      • Jvr isn’t landing a fowler the leafs would have to throw in a first also or else they will be outbid

    • I suspect most Leafs fans agree with you but I’d be shocked if any Ducks fans did. The Ducks could easily flip Fowler for so much more than JVR and likely have it be more cost controlled and lottery protected at the same time.

    • JVR isn’t even close too landing you Cam Fowler, Toronto would need to add picks as well and Detroit could move one of either Mantha or AA much cheaper and longer term then JVR and bring Fowler home to Detroit. Murray has pretty much said that he wants a cheaper longer controlled top 6 forwards for either Vatanen or Fowler. Sorry JVR wont cut it.

      • Geez if JVR won’t cut I fail to see how AA or Mantha would.

      • @Noel Didn’t i just say that Bob Murray wants longer termed players? Mantha and AA would be under the Ducks control for at lest the next 4 years or so JVR only for 1 year and the odds that Anaheim could afford to resign JVR are pretty small seeing that they’re a budget team not hard to figure that out.

      • @Gary Never said he doesn’t want longer controlled players merely saying JVR is a far superior player to a bit of a bust prospect in Mantha and AA who is looking like an ok 2nd line guy at best. JVR is a potential #1 LW on most teams who consistently nets close to 30 and 30 every year. Not saying JVR would get Fowler at all but he’s worth a heck of a lot more than AA or Mantha right now.

      • A “bit of a bust” Noel?? Mantha is 22 y/o and is 6′ 4″ 205 lbs with 15g and 19a in 55 gp this year. Give me a “bust” like that for the Sens. Please!

      • Had one George his name was Zabinejad

      • @Noel Mantha being a bit of a bust, You can’t be serious dude so a guy who has 15 goals 19 assists 34 points in like 55 games is a bit of a bust hardly if Blashill would stop screwing with the guy and let him play his game he will be every bit as good as JVR if not even better. Talk out of Anaheim is that Bob Murray doesn’t want JVR he would rather have players like Mantha and AA any day to having JVR who’s had problems staying healthy.

  2. Not if the Leafs get flower for futures and wait after expansion draft then let JVR go to the Ducks….AS of right now I do not think Toronto has a 3rd d man to protect.

    • To me I still don’t think Fowler makes much sense Rielly Gardiner Fowler all lefties. I’d think Manson makes a little better fit. I don’t really think it’s a benefit to have that style of D playing his off side.

    • So far the mock expansion drafts show Toronto protecting Rielly, Gardiner, and Carrick as their three D. Wouldn’t exactly be a big loss if Carrick was exposed. After their top 2, Toronto’s defensemen are all interchangeable and all 5-6 calibre.

      • According to Kipper Toronto made a deal with Vegas. Vegas is supposedly taking Eric Fehr from Toronto. Considering no one has seen Fehr in Toronto yet and he wasn`t injured, so no island hopping yet

      • Toronto is in a really good position to trade for a d or Forward and be able to protect. They could bring in a D and protect 4 and 4 or they could bring in another Forward and go 7 and 3. They’re sitting in a good spot heading into expansion draft.

      • If Kipper`s right about the Fehr to Vegas deal, then Toronto`s free to do what they want basically because they know who their losing. This would be an incentive for any team to make an early deal with Vegas. Nick said 3 teams made deals with Vegas at the GM`s meetings, if so, then there`s 3 teams with leverage. In this case I hope Kipper`s right

    • What about Olli Maatta for Jeremy Brocco?

      Leafs get a top 4 Dman who fits the age of their core without giving up a piece of it. Pens get a good forward prospect who doesn’t need to be protected from Vegas.

      Without expansion, the Leafs would probably have to add a bit more, but just as clearing cap space has become an asset itself, not having to protect a player has value.

      • Good luck with that.

      • You can’t be serious! An experienced NHL d for a maybe? “Cost effective” or not, the Pens can get so much better than that back from teams looking for experienced D and for something that won’t cost any more but carry a much better potential.

      • JR would laugh and hang up the phone at that offer.

      • If the Leafs want Maatta (they asked for him in the Kessel deal) what should the return be, then?

      • Another top 4 d man or top d prospect otherwise pens can’t move maatta.

      • Oli Matta to Detroit for Tomas Tatar…. Penguins get a speedy skilled winger to add to Malkin and Kessel’s line….Matta slots in to the second pairing in Detroit who need young defense badley….. any defense really…. maybe have to add something.

        Oli Matta under control for 3 more years at $4.1
        Tatar is a RFA after this upcoming season

      • If the Pens would agree to that I would personally drive Brocco down. I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

      • @black n gold Tatar for Maatta i’ll make that trade any day of the year. Though i think we keep Tatar and move Nyquist instead.

    • Gardner, Reilly & Carrick.

      • The Leafs do need to improve their 3rd defenceman in the expansion draft. Carrick is very weak compared to alternatives on the trade market (Brodin, Fowler, Manson, Scandella, Johnson, Savard, etc.).

      • Really Zaitsev would be the 3rd but is exempt so Carrick is basically a place holder unless something better comes along.

      • Tempyy who is Brocco?

      • @black n gold Marner clone, how good, we`ll find out next year or at the memorial cup

      • Jeremy Brocco is a 5′ 10 190 lb RW taken by Toronto 61st overall in the 2nd round in 2015. He’s had good numbers with 25 goals and 58 assists in 57 games played with Kitchener and Windsor this year in the OHL. He might well develop into a decent NHL player – but tight now he’s one of a whole slew taken in that draft still waiting to show what he can do at the pro level. The Leafs might be willing to deal him for Maata – but I seriously doubt that that is what the Pens would want back.

      • @Gary i like the way you think man…matta really helps deTroit and Tatar really solidifies our second line with malkin and Kessel…he could score 30 playing with Kessel and Geno. Oli Matta will help Detroit stabilize their D.. win / win

  3. After yesterday maybe you all should refer to Toronto as the team who shall not be named so as not to offend anybody. Maybe somebody can post a list of teams that we are allowed to mention?

    • Well said Todd, personally I go off topic sometimes and mention things that have nothing to do with trade rumours. Just because its on my mind and there really isn’t much else for discussion that day. Figuring this is a hockey site, I like to hear other opinion. Don’t care if the leafs are mentioned daily and by whom ever. I have the choice to read or not read and to comment or not comment. So imo by all means discuss anything hockey related and rumours you may have heard on your own local stations or media. Then again that’s just my opinion.

    • Thanks Yogi…… now i have an idea…

    • George O…i agree with you….Pittsburgh might not need him he sounds really good….but Pittsburgh has a ton of young forwards Conner Sheary, Jake Guentzal, Scott Wison, Brian Rust, carter Rowney, Daniel Sprong, Oscar Sundqvist, josh Archibald, Tom Kuhnackl, the recently signed free agent Hobey baker finalist Zack Anton-Reese a 32 goal score for northeastern.

      wanna see Oli Matta go to Detroit for Tomas Tatar who we could plug in with Malkin and Kessel…nice second line…

      • Pens. As you said. Have plenty of f talent but lack d talent. You can’t trade a top 4 d (sometimes) for a forward if you are the pens unless a 2nd deal is in the works.

  4. Tavares will look great in teal

    • I think if the sharks don’t keep Thorton on contract under 4-5 million they have to shop him and make the transition. I hope they keep Patty but again he’s going to need to sign under 5 million.

      If they get the big guys down and Vlasic takes another hometown discount, I think there is consideration in the sharks looking at Tavares.

      Logan isn’t a first line center and they could use another fast, strong scoring forward.

      I dont know what they would have to give up, as it would depend on what the isles need. They have a decent prospect pool. Maybe a mix of prospects and picks?

      • Marleau stays, 1yr incentive laden contract. Thornton to Rangers for a ridiculous contract. Vlasic trade to Edmonton. Tavares @$8mil/7yrs.

    • Chrisms…i agree and i think there is the Penguins may be working on Cam Fowler and could offer any number of young forwards plus a number # 1 pick to get him.

      Brian Rust And a # 1 pick to Anaheim for cam Fowler. the Ducks are desperate for young speedy, talented forwards to plug in with their veterans. we could move Rust or Sunqvist or Daniel Sprong who is tearing up the AHL right now

      • Those sound a lot like nhl17 trades! Good luck

      • Still left with a expansion prob even after the far shot of it happening. lose rust or sprong or #1 or combination and pens depth is killed. thats before the expansion pick. maatta is nearly untouchable unless GMJR pulls off an amazing deal.

  5. Any one think Tavares is a max contract (or close to it) type player? Say 72 mill over 8 years? Looking at the Islanders he seems like a fantastic player but I’m not sure he is the type that can carry a team on his own, tough call Im stumped about Tavares.

    • I suspect he could get 72 X 8 easily from the Isles. I also suspect he ends up taking slightly less because that seems to be the type of player/person he is. Wouldn’t surprise me to see him sign a deal similar to Stamkos so the team has a little more wiggle room cap wise.

      Personally I love JT, not just as an Isles fan but as a hockey fan. Hard working, humble, selfless in a lot of ways. I think he’s exactly the type of player you build a championship team around.

      As for can he carry a team on his own, there is no such player. They all need support and the right situation. Tavares has had stretches where he takes over the game and dominates. He’s not among the league leaders in points this season but plays in all situations and is a complete player. If the Isles start to get a bit more offensive talent around him his scoring will be likely be back up near the top again.

      • Hockey is a team game. 1 player can’t dominate a game sufficiently to carry a team like say in basketball.

        Tavares is a stud. Great player, leader & solid character. Will he stay in NYI? I assume so but who knows. Teams a bit of a mess off the ice. Building, coach & GM. No slight to Weight.

        Much will depend on what they do this summer.tavares certainly holds all the leverage to do what ever he wants.

      • I agree with the team game but would you put him in that top tier category or just under it? No slight to Tavares intended.

      • Striker, totally agree that JT has all the leverage. Totally agree the team is a mess or at least has been. I’m hopeful about the new owners who at least seem to be making the right noises regarding creating a winner.

        Shticky, I try to get my son to not get into those he’s the best X arguments because they are so subjective. It would appear, over the last few years, his peers think he’s in that top group based on comments they’ve made. He’s been on Team Canada regularly and seems to get decent ice when he’s there. I remember arguments about whether Bossy or Trottier were the better player. Personally I think he’s among the top players but could see how others might argue otherwise.

      • Really just kinda slow day so I thought I’d ask and see opinions. I’m not really trying to start anything as I said I’m kinda stumped with Tavares value on one hand I think ya he is one of that top tier of player on the other I think maybe not. Like I said no slight at all intended, there is no question he is a fantastic player just making conversation really.

      • Top tier. The vast majority of NYI is in their mid 20’s. All are signed & a bunch of kids coming. Locking up Ladd for that much money & term was a big mistake.

        If tavares walks that would be a serious blow & take years to recover from.

      • I think it’s not necessarily what JT is worth on the open market but rather what he’s worth to NYI (or Hartford Whalers). This is a team that won’t have a home after 2018 and is constantly fighting for any sort of love in NY. If they lose JT that could be the beginning of the end for Islanders organization.

    • There are a couple of star players that have me stumped. One is Tavares and the other is Kopitar. It’s probably because I don’t see them often but neither of them jumps out and makes me feel like they are worth the big contracts.

    • I thiink Tavares is a really good player not sure if he is a max contract like Kane, Crosby, Malkin. Toews and Stamkos

      If he is smart he will get out of New York. I think he would make Toronto even more dangerous or maybe San jose offers him a max contract (worth it or not) and move Thorton or Marleau…thoughts

      • With the risk of sounding like broken record; but I don’t think most of them are worthy of their respective contracts. Toews might be worst but it also rubs me the wrong way that Malkin has a greater caphit than Crosby.
        How should a formula look like to ensure the caphit justifies the return? 🙂 it’s kinda hard.. but one player making in or around 1/7th of total budget sure seems high.
        I try to think something like “if you had three..”. 🙂
        You want a good goalie, stud #1 D and a top tier C – if all were 10,5m players; how good would your team be? Aav 2 max for the rest sure seems tight to ice a solid hockeyteam imo.




    • Chrisms….good point…still i don’t understand when or how this whole expansion thing works.

      how many bleeping players are Vegas aloud to take…LOL

      There are 30 teams……how many do they need…

      teams should be able to protect 12 forwards 4 d-man 1 goalie..

  6. I think Anaheim will ask Bieksa to waive. If he declines he will be bought out. Manson will be traded pre expansion & Fowler’s situation will be pushed down the road. If he doesn’t resign after July 1st Anaheim would be remiss to not at least see what the market will bare. I assume Fowler will be resigned by Anaheim.

    Anaheim is way better served paying Fowler 6 mil per for 8 years than JvR. Manson should return a solid young forward. Not a stud but a kid that can play 3rd line now & has a future as a 2nd line 20 goal winger.

  7. I think mani teams will be interested in Cam Fowler and Habs should be on that list. I doubt they have the goods to make it happen but Marc Bergevin must drool over the idea of Fowler. What an amazing D corp Montreal would have: Fowler with Weber, Markov with Petry, Segachev with Juulsen, jordie Benn as the floater. But like I said, a pipe dream but no way MB is not bending over backwards to see if he can’t make it happen

  8. Manson to the Leafs makes sense. Lievo, Brown or Leipsic and a pick or Braaco would make sense. Leafs might have to throw in a second or third?

    A Traveres trade would make sense. TO would only make sense if he would sign a Stamkos type of deal. This is the only trade scenario where giving up Nylander is an option. Other than that Kapenin, Bozak, a couple prospects, and a couple picks would probably do it? NYI might have to throw Pulock in? Other than bringing an Ontario player home Leafs would be better off sticking with the young guys. Matthews will be as good as Traveres but the thought of having both of them is intriguing.

    • I’ll go out on a limb here and say the Leafs won’t be trading Bracco any time in the near future. Too early to be giving away that kinda talent before you see what he plays against men like. Not saying he will succeed or that he is a can’t miss prospect or any of that non sense just that it’s to early and the potential of a guy who puts up 147 points in 106 games in the OHL warrants taking a good look at what he can do at the next level before you decide move him.

    • I don’t see where JT would slot in with the leafs, clearly Matthews is the #1 C, what would bringing JT mean? I get the whole Malkin Crosby C thing but Toronto has greater areas of concern than moving significant assets for JT such as a #1/#2 D to play with Rielly. I’d rather see them make that move before attempting to land JT. Kadri seems a good lock at #2C.

      • Not to mention Babs has said down the road he sees Nylander as a C… so I can’t see where a guy like Taveres fits, not saying that any of The current Leafs are better players just that the cost doesn’t make sense.