NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2017

by | Mar 25, 2017 | Rumors | 21 comments

Could the New Jersey Devils make a pitch for Washington Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk via free agency?

The latest on Kevin Shattenkirk plus updates on the Canadiens and Jets in your NHL rumor mill. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK:  Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Elliotte Friedman telling Toronto’s Sportsnet 590 the New Jersey Devils’ biggest need is a puck-moving defenseman. Friedman speculates the Devils could “throw a big number” at Washington Capitals blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk via free agency this summer.

Friedman doesn’t know if Shattenkirk could go there, as he still expects the blueliner wants to join the New York Rangers. However, the Devils have a lot of salary-cap space. Prior to Shattenkirk’s trade from the St. Louis Blues to the Capitals, Nichols points out the rearguard rejected an earlier trade attempt because he wouldn’t accept a seven-year, $42 million contract offer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Shattenkirk insists on $7 million per season on a long-term deal and can’t get it from the Rangers, the Devils could have a realistic shot at landing him. However, it’ll take quite a sell job by GM Ray Shero to sway the blueliner into joining that rebuilding team. 

Nichols also cited NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Montreal’s TSN 690 he thinks Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin could be among this summer’s busiest GMs if things don’t go his way in this year’s playoffs. Dreger believes the Canadiens remain weak at center but he isn’t sure if Bergevin can address this in the offseason. If New York Islanders captain John Tavares becomes available in this summer’s trade market, he believes the Canadiens could pursue him, but so would many other teams. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless superstar goalie Carey Price carries the Habs deep into the playoffs this season, they’re at best second round and out. Even if Price were to carry them all the way this spring, the Canadiens’ lack of depth at center will continue to haunt them next season.

The Canadiens were linked to Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene in the rumor mill and Bergervin could revisit that interest in the offseason, though he won’t pay the current ridiculously high asking price of a good young defenseman, a first-round pick, a top prospect and more. Sure, if Tavares becomes available this summer, Bergevin will be interested. However, I doubt he’ll gut his roster giving up the big package necessary to get the isles captain. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen recently reported Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has significant roster holes to fill in the offseason if his club is to become a playoff contender. “Cheveldayoff has yet to prove he knows how to supplement his drafting with the trade and the free-agent markets, pulling it all together in a winning team,” writes Friesen. After six years in Winnipeg, the Jets have “a talented top-six forward group, a black hole in goal and a razor-thin defence.” He calls upon Cheveldayoff to bolster the goaltending, as well as adding a third-pairing defenseman and one or two defensive forwards. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. After six seasons, the Jets have done nothing but spin their wheels. Goaltending is their biggest weakness, as only the Colorado Avalanche have a worse goals-against per game than the Jets (3.19 as of March 24) this season. Connor Hellebucyk might become a capable starter one day but he’s not yet ready for prime time. The other issues can be suitably addressed via trades and free agency, but without solid goaltending, they won’t significantly improve. If Cheveldayoff fails to take action on this issue, next season could be his last as Jets’ GM. 


  1. NJD gave Kovalchuk a $100 million deal. I would suspect the only way he would have gone. Shattenkirk will have to have an offer he also can’t refuse. Close enough to New York geographically.

  2. I’m glad Sweeney signed backes to a big contract to keep a bubble team as a bubble team. Still games left but looks like another late season fall to miss the playoffs, who here thinks backes was the worst signing in the off season?

    • It’s looking like one of the top bad signings for sure. I mean, the guy was an “old” 32 when he signed with a lot of miles on his body with the style he played in St. Louis and to hand him $6 mil per to 2021-22 when he’ll be 37 before that season ends sure looks like an albatross contract! 16 goals and 19 assists in 66 games played is definitely not what they were looking for. Much like Bobby Ryan in Ottawa. The returns do not match the expenditure.

      And I hope no one tries to hand us the “character” crapola. That’s WAY too big a contract for “character.”

      • Ya when they have Bergeron and chara adding character shouldn’t be needed

    • They certainly picked a really bad time to lose 4 in a row, 3 of those games against teams they are or were fitting for a playoff spot against & Division rivals.

      There were a ton as bad or worse. Eriksson, Ladd, Lucic, Nielsen, Boedker, Abdelkader, Helm, Plekenec; at least only 2 years, etc. Simply the nature of the UFA market. It’s getting better but when confronted with holes teams overpay.

      He’s had an OK season, he hits, blocks shots. 1 year to long & a mil to much.

      • Try 4 yrs too long! You were wrong saying they were in a rebuild signing that anchor of a contract? I said right from the start that was a terrible signing and he hasn’t done anything to change that

    • Did you have the Bruins to make the playoffs this season? I certainly didn’t. I would like them to but didn’t pick them to.

  3. Seems incongruous that a guy wants paid like a number one d but doesn’t think his signing could turn a rebuilding team into a contender.

    • Hi Chrisms!
      Indeed! Caps fan here and while I do like what Shattenkirk has brought to the table, he is no $7m+/y player. I just assume the rejection of the 7year, $42m contract were either incorrect rumor, or he just did not want to play on that team offering. He should not be able to get more, right..?

      • If he wants ny area jersey is perfect. A young team with another top pick coming. I still think they should explore Schneider value. So many plug and play goalies they could get an halak or maf or Elliot cheap. And Schneider would edge out bishop for best goalie available making him worth a good player and pick or prospect.

  4. A lot of talk about Tavares and the direction the isles are going. First off since Doug Weight has taken over the direction is up. Still for obvious reasons I hope they miss the playoff this year. Secondly why not throw the same question Montreal’s way, Price is carrying this team and has for the last few, maybe he doesn’t see a ring coming to Montreal next year and wants to move on. What would Carey Price get as an UFA and who would be the front runners? I know Hab fans don’t think this would ever happen, but why not.

    • It comes down to what can be added to fill those holes lost to losing those elite players, the same could be said about other teams trading the likes of Bergeron,tarasenko,ovi,backstrom etc who just don’t look like they will do enough to help the players around them win the cup

  5. Former Blackhawk employee, Chevy, might get both holes filled by way of his old team, IF they get an early playoff boot and decide to “re-core.”
    Adding Trouba and early picks might be get a hawk goalie change and a relicquishing of one of the big three defenders IF Chicago seeks to re-tool.
    That would also be the formula of personal to make the Avalanche better too.
    Don’t think that every possible option churns through the Hawk brass gears as options to continue to not start their Red Wing-like dynasty decline.
    Just saying no matter whatTHN future watch tried to sell you on prospects the hawks continue to have lots of and are going to not be able to pay their surprise performers with the Salary Cap stuck on the three terrific defenders and their Cup winning goaler.

  6. the bruins have been making mistakes for a while now.bad signings,losing guys they should be keeping and making ‘very’ questionable picks at the draft.in 2015,they had 3 1st rd picks in a row(13,14 and 15th)and selected 2 guys that they could have gotten in the 3rd rd and 1 they could have gotten in the 2nd rd.passing on barzal,connor,chabot,svechnikov,ek,white,samsonov and boeser who were all better choices than debrusk and zboril! that,my fellow hockey fans is down right stupidity or some very questionable draft advice! wow,hamilton and seguin would sure be helpful now!

    • To early to judge the picks, as none of the players you have mentioned made any impact or have played an NHL game as to date. Connor started the season with the jets and was unproductive and got signed the Moose in the AHL. You might in the end be correct but not today.

  7. The Jets can’t get rid of Chevy. The draft is their only means of acquiring top talent and he’s done a really good job of that.

    Any goalie you put behind that defense (short of Hasek in his prime) is going to post similar numbers to Hellebuyck.

    The Jets need to get rid of both Maurice and Big Buff. Maurice is opening the bench door for a pickup roller hockey team. No structure, no discipline. And you can’t build that when one of the supposed leaders plays with no accountability or positioning like Buff.

    The Jets need to convince a team that Buff will be Brent Burns in their system and build the D around Trouba, Myers and Morrissey.

    Then hire a task master. Therrien. Hitch. Or someone like them.

    The Jets have more than enough skill to thrive playing a counter punch attack in front of a more structured defense.

    The Jets have more talent than any other Canadian team except the Oilers (remove #97 and the Jets win hands down, though). The fixes aren’t out of reach.

  8. Slow day today – so a different subject: anyone else feel it’s time for Thornton and Burns to lose those idiotic beards? If they’re waiting for a Stanley Cup before cutting them off, then Hell will get the next expansion franchise before that happens.

    • Nothing wrong with a good beard.

    • Yeah… way to grizzly Adams. Or red green

      • More like a vintage ad for a brand of cough drops! Or maybe they plan on switching to baseball and play for a resurrection of the House Of David.

  9. I think mr eichel likes going head to head with Austin Matthews and coming out on top. We’ve seen this show before