NHL Rumor Mill – March 27, 2017

by | Mar 27, 2017 | Rumors | 21 comments

Could the Vancouver Canucks pursue Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins this summer?

Latest on the Canucks, Oilers, Kings, Ducks and Stars in your NHL rumor mill. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently speculated the Vancouver Canucks “will be sniffing around for centres” this summer. He felt they’ll have interest in Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and expected the Oilers will want an offensive defenseman in return. While he thinks Carolina Hurricanes blueiner Justin Faulk would be the Oilers’ first choice, Matheson wondered if the Canucks might give up promising prospect Olli Juolevi or right-shot Troy Stecher. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s assuming the Oilers are willing to part with Nugent-Hopkins, who’s their second-line center. While it’s possible, the Oilers will have to address his absence. They could slide Leon Draisaitl into that role, but then they’ll need to replace him at right wing on Connor McDavid’s line. 

Matheson wondered how much it’ll cost the Anaheim Ducks to re-sign defenseman Cam Fowler and pending UFA winger Patrick Eaves. Would they pay Eaves $10 million over three years? 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks reportedly intend to re-sign Fowler, who has a year left on his contract, this summer. As for Eaves, I don’t see them paying that much to keep him. Perhaps he’ll accept $2 million per season to remain with the Ducks? They’re also going to lose one of their good young blueliners to the expansion draft in June, and could trade one of them for a scoring forward. 

Matheson speculated the LA Kings will protect four defensemen (Drew Doughty, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin and the emerging Derek Forbort) in the upcoming expansion draft. He listed Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson as their likely protected forwards. 

Speaking of the Kings, Matheson wondered if they’ll use Martinez as trade bait to land a younger scoring winger such as Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk or Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings must do something to bolster their scoring punch at forward and they lack the cap space to address the problem this summer. Shopping Martinez for a scoring winger is one option. 

The Dallas Stars will try to convince the Vegas Golden Knights to take one of their expensive goalies (Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi), but Matheson felt the Knights could seek at least a second-round pick and a young prospect such as promising Julius Honka. 

Matheson also suggested Vancouver Canucks pending UFA goalie Ryan Miller as a possible backup for the Kings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given their limited cap space and their need to bolster their scoring depth, I doubt the Kings pursue Miller. They’ll likely seek a much more affordable backup. 


  1. With C and D being the two most difficult positions to fill with quality I imagine the Canucks will have some competition in the “sniffing around” department when it comes to the C position. As for Nugent-Hopkins, his $6 mil cap hit to 2021-22 is a mite steep for a guy whose production ranks down around the middle third for that position. Way too streaky and inconsistent to be paid as if he ranked with the upper echelon.

    Yet, if Edmonton is willing to part with him for the right return , some GM will bite.

    • I’d be surprised if it happened this summer, but I could still see Edmonton buying out RNH’s contract next summer while he is still under 26 (he’s 25 next summer). The contract is an albatross and it could be bought out at 1/3 the remaining cost, which would leave a cap hit of $1M/year for 6 years vs. $6M/year for another three. Edmonton will need the cap space for McDavid, Draisatl and others in the next couple years.

      RNH is just another example of Edmonton’s terrible asset management during the old regime.

      • Why? Because he is having 1 bad season? RNH is one of the most underrated players in the NHL. Also his $6mill cap hit is about average compared to all other second line centre playoff teams.

      • The Oilers aren’t buying out RNH, but also agree that he is overpaid. Bottom line is that he is still a good player, that should have been given a bridge deal. He could still develop into a good 2C. Right now his production is below his pay.
        He isn’t putting up the offense of a “good” 2C, but he also plays against the other teams best line and has been since his 2nd year in the league. Which, according to some pundits in Edmonton, could have and still is affecting his offense. He was forced to focus on shutting down too early in his career and it stunted his offensive development.
        Sounds like a reasonable argument, but it is a who knows for sure type thing, and can he find it?
        What I do know is that he could help himself by getting better in face off circle, brutal year after year.
        If I am the Oil, I wait and don’t sell low, unless of course the offer is better than we think it will be.
        Draisaitl is the 2C of the future, but if you trade RNH you then need to find a shutdown type 3C and a top line winger for McDavid.

      • RNH is s decent overpaid player. Problem is after this season (and last to some extent) he isnt worth in trade value what it would be worth edm banking on him returning to form. currently his salary is negative value so he would garner a decent d prospect and a pick or a good d prospect and a salary dump back. mcdavid is gonna need almost a full value contract right away (or should if coner is smart). that puts some onus on edm to shed some salary. weakens their position further.

      • Ray Bark;
        I’ll assume they put their hopes on the finnish winger in AHL, Jesse Puljujarvi to step up in the near future. That could be an option on wing for McDavid

  2. No way the Canucks pick up the ridiculous contract Nuge carries, nice try Matheson. $6 mil for Eberle and Nuge are weights the Oilers will carry for awhile unless they eat a good chunk.

  3. Maybe Benning can go sniff around his old stomping grounds and scratch out Krejci who is under contract for 4 more years at the discounted price of $7.25 per hopefully Krejci would waive his ntc. In return Boston gets Vancouver 1st round pick in 2018

    • Benning isn’t giving up 2018’s lottery pick. Vancouver was bad this year, they are going to be worse next year.

      • Striker, never under or over estimate Benning. I know their going to be worst that’s why I want 2018 1st, there is a very good kid coming along out of Sweden. But don’t tell Benning.

      • caper, let me guess, D man.
        Last name starts with D

    • I think at this point, just dumping that salary would be a blessing nevermind the first….if Benning is dumb enough to toss that in.

    • there’s pretty much no chance Krejci lands a first – that too vancouver’s first.
      This was sarcasm right caper? has to be

      • More like wishful thinking Taz, but yes.

  4. Benning won’t be trading for RNH. Vancouver has final realized it needs to rebuild. 2 years late but better late than never.

    Vancouver’s top 3 C’s are Horvat, Sedin & Sutter.

  5. Ottawa has signed C Colin White to an Amateur Tryout Contract out of Boston and he will report at once to Binghamton in the AHL for the remainder of their schedule – about 9 or 10 games. I understand it was an ATO since Ottawa already has the max (51?) under contract? (probably includes Andrew Hammond who is effectively buried back in the minors).

    • George Ott is at 47 contracts, the only team at 50 is Toronto. Ott must not have wanted to burn off a yr. of his entry level

      • Brown, Chabot, Chlapik and Lajoie don’t count towards the 50 contracts since they were returned to junior. That is why the 50 symbol is by their name.

  6. The Kings can offer Ryan Miller something that most can’t. To be able to live with his wife and kid in LA on a regular basis during the hockey season, instead of seeing them every few weeks as he does now in Vancouver. Talk in Vancouver, is that he would take quite a salary cut, in order to achieve that. At this point in his career, I would be surprised if he goes for the money over his family situation if he gets an offer from the Kings.

    • At 36 I don’t think Miller is ready to be a back up. I see him resigning in vancouver or Dallas. As close to home as he can get. He’s not going to LA to back up quick. He’ll get 4 to 5 mil on a e or 3 year deal some where.