NHL Rumor Mill – March 29, 2017

by | Mar 29, 2017 | Rumors | 37 comments

Could the Florida Panthers face a shakeup this summer?

Latest on the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche in your NHL rumor mill. 

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov reports Florida Panthers coach Tom Rowe said under-performing players on his club with long-term contracts could be traded in the offseason. Rowe made his remarks following the Panthers’ disappointing 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Rowe didn’t single anyone out, but his comments could spark considerable season-ending speculation over which players could hit the trade block come June.

Panthers on long-term deals include forwards Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trochek, Nick Bjugstad, Reilly Smith and Jonathan Huberdeau, defensemen Aaron Ekblad, Jason Demers and Keith Yandle and goaltenders Roberto Luongo and James Reimer.

Of these Barkov, Huberdeau, Bjugstad, Ekblad and Luongo were all hampered/sidelined by injuries this season. Trochek’s their leading scorer and among their more consistent players.

Smith is having a disappointing season and could be among those Rowe was referring to as a possible trade candidate. Demers and Yandle were brought in to bolster the Panthers defense. However, Florida remains among the league’s worst defensive teams. Perhaps one of them could hit the trade block.

Reimer is seen as Luongo’s successor. He’s been decent (2.60 GAA, .917 SP) but I don’t think he’s performing to the level the Panthers expected of him. 

THE DENVER POST: Terry Frei recently cast doubt over the possibility of the Colorado Avalanche finding any takers for oft-injured goaltender Semyon Valamov, especially with him carrying two more years on his contract at $5.9 million per season. He also doubts the Vegas Golden Knights will take him off the Avs hands in the draft, noting Knights GM George McPhee was skeptical of Varlamov’s health during their tenure with the Washington Capitals. McPhee dealt Varlamov to the Avs in 2011. 

Frei also expected Avs general manager Joe Sakic will explore trade options for Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. He also called upon Sakic to upgrade the Avalanche’s woeful defense and to avoid overpaying a veteran or two via unrestricted free agency. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited NHL insider Elliotte Friedman’s appearance on the NHL Network on Friday, in which he wondered if Duchene might ask to be dealt this summer. He speculated Duchene might be growing weary of hearing his name so often in the rumor mill. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Sakic can find any takers for Varlamov. I think they’ll bring him back next season and if he struggles, they could look at buying out the final season of his contract next June. They could look at buying him out in June. However, if he’s still recovering from hip surgery by then, he’ll be ineligible for a buyout. As for Duchene, he’ll remain a fixture in the rumor mill, especially once the playoffs end in June. 


  1. Does Sakic lower his asking price for Duschene if someone agrees to take Varlamov in the deal as well? That could be the only way to get Varly and his contract out of Colorado.

    • I think that’s brilliant! Earlier in the year there were rumors the Leafs were sniffing around for Duchene which didn’t make much sense to me at the time. But now that you bring that up maybe it makes some sense.

      The Leafs have a ton of cap space for the next two years but they can’t use it to bring in anyone who wants term because they’ll need the space to sign Matthews, Marner and Nylander. But if they used their cap space to take on Varlymov in exchange for getting a reduced rate on Duchene then that would make sense. They could even flip Duchene for more then they paid or keep him for their own for the rest of his deal. That’s brilliant!

      • It’s only “brilliant” if you name the commodities to go the other way. Given Colorado’s situation and with no prospect of being a whole lot better next year, they aren’t giving up Duchene JUST to get rid of Varlamov. What would be the point?

        They are still going to want something of substance in return. So who or what?

      • No thank you from the Leafs IMO.
        Leafs need to focus on defense only not adding another center who would need to play wing.

        Remember the Leafs can’t just absorb 12 million in salary, they need to be cap compliant opening day and can only place Horton and co on IR after.
        They also need to pay out the bonuses for their rookies.

        Either way, the leafs need to avoid trading for a piece like Duchene and only work the phone with Philly, Canes, Anaheim, Columbus, Calgary and Minny to find help on defense

      • I’ve wondered about similar kinda of thinking deals where the Leafs swap 1 year of a ltir contract like Lupul for a 2 year deal like Varly (just an example) and pick up an asset like a second or third for taking the salary and the extra year. The team Lupul goes to likely doesn’t have to pay him real money for 1 year and rids themselves of multiple years of a similar contract.

      • In your “brilliance” I hope you realize that the Leafs have absolutely no need to have Duchene on their roster. The only thing you said that was brilliant was to flip him for something else. The Leafs need defense, everybody knows that. It is the only thing they should focus on. Can’t imagine bringing in Duchene to flip him gets you much of a defenceman. Please people no discussions linking the Leafs to other teams players (Tavares, Duchene et al)are necessary anymore unless of course of it’s a top 4 defender!

      • All I meant by brilliant was that it explained why the Leafs may have been interested when those rumors came out. Not that it was something the Leafs should do(They obviously didn’t). But that makes sense as to why they would even be talking to Colorado about Duchene.

      • Why would Toronto want any part of Varlamov. Except for the hiccup at the beginning of the season Andersen has done very well for them. They just need to insure they have a solid back up for next season as far as goaltending goes.

  2. I can think of 12 million reasons why that can’t happen. If they can get a good young second pairing D with potential and a first for Duchene -take it .He does not look very interested in the last couple of recent games I have watched. His one point in March and only 37 in a relatively healthy year supports that.

  3. Colorado doesn’t need to move Varlamov. They aren’t going any where for years. Early stages of a rebuild. They protect Pickard in the expansion draft Varlamov isn’t selected. Their tandem next season is intact.

    Varlamov is a good goalie, playing behind a brutal team, especially defensively, 1 of the 3 worst in the NHL. He will turn 29 in April. Just year 2 or 3 of most goalies prime years. He has had groin issues but he did play 57, 57 & 63 the 3 years prior posting solid #’s behind the same basic brutal team with a different group of bad D almost every year.

    Colorado has tons of cap space no pressing RFA’s due big raises. Colorado needs D help bad, more forwards as well, they can’t ice 2 scoring lines never mind 3.

    Duchene may well be moved but Varlamov isn’t going anywhere, for 2 reasons. No 1 will take him at his cap hit, pure supply & demand & Colrado isn’t paying someone to take him. What’s the point of that?

    What you see is what you get. 2 or 3 rookies will be added to next years roster, Greer, Bigras & Compher for sure. Andrighetto & Nieto have helped. Andrighetto in an offensive role. Amazing what a little quality icetime can do for a player. Nieto in a checking role.

    Colorado is essentially in year 1 to 3 of a rebuild depending upon your perspective. I’ll split the difference & call it the end of year 2.

    • spot on with the Varlamov assessment Striker

    • Agree. Last I heard on the Fan 960 Colorado was sticking with Varlamov as their starter. Jost is another player they have in the fold that I assume will play at least another couple of years at the U of North Dakota but I like this kid and am anxious to see how he works out for them. Quite the talent.

      • Agreed. I don’t see Jost coming out this summer. Colorado is showing that they want to develop these kids below the NHL level for at least a season. Rantanen, Compher & Bigras. Bigras was forced into service late last season due to injury’s but back in the A this year. Jost probably plays 1 more year in College & then spends some time in the A but could make the jump directly Colorado’s roster is so barren.

  4. Hopefully the Panther organization says the same thing about underperforming GM/Interim Coaches. Rowe has set this team back by five years with his stupid trades and firing of Gallant. The team has been terrible in all but a few games since he took over. He almost makes me wish we had Keenan or Martin back running the show. Well, maybe not.

    • Last year they looked like contenders!mind you injuries have not been good to the Panthers this year. Gallant firing was a mistake imo.

    • Moneypuck is not going so well thus far.

  5. Does Matt Duchene have ANY fire in his belly?

    He has, like, 1 point in 20 games. Sven Andrighetto has, like, 8 in his last 10 or so. Sven is playing for his career. The Avs just don’t care. The room is poisoned from the losing. No leadership. A disaster.

    The offers some of the Pens bandwagon fans wanted to make for him at the deadline are comical…

    “Sheary, Sprong, Maatta and a first round pick. Get it DONE!!!”

    LOL. The “Get it DONE!!!” stuck with me.

    Uhh, no thanks.

    Players who marinate in a losing culture almost always become “losers”. They learn to accept losing, that life goes on. As a result, the other guy always wants it more.

    The Oilers still need to purge RNH and Eberle for the same reason.

    • MG. I couldn’t agree with you more! You hit the nail on the head. However, I do think a player like Duchene could revitalize his career in the right situation. But those Penguins rumors you site are ludicrous! So when you have Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Hagelin, Bonino, Hornqvist, and so on and so on why do you need Duchene? And even though I think he coukld revitalize his career why should managers even consider bringing in somebody who needs to restart his career? I say stay away from this player at all costs!

    • Kessel seems to being doing ok since moving on from a losing environment.

      • But unlike Duchene, he never stopped “doing OK” – even in that losing environment.

      • He had 25 goals his last season with the leafs. 6 goals in his last 41 games and was a minus 34. I would say he stopped being ok.

      • Kessel did far more for Toronto that Duchene is currently doing for Colorado with all due respect.

      • LOL. How soon they forget Steven. I’m old enough to remember when the Leafs “faithful” got on Frank Mahovlich because he couldn’t become THEIR 50-goal man to rival Rocket Richard and Bobby Hull (he got tantalizingly close in 1960-61 when he scored 48), so in 1967-68 season they sent him to Detroit with Stemkowsky, Unger and Brewer for Ullman, Henderson, Floyd Smith and Doug Barrie, where he potted 49 in 1968-69.

        But Detroit had an idiot of their own in Ned Harkness, so he sent him to the Habs for Redmond, Charron and Collins where he won 2 cups while scoring 43, 38 and 31 playing with his brother as well as Beliveau.

      • Yeah, if you take a player out of a losing culture and put them in a winning environment, reduce their role and insulate them, you can get value from them.

        But the Pens aren’t a fit. Nor are the Hawks. Etc.

        If a team like the Habs or Canes brings him in to be a #1 center and a leader on the team…I think they’ll be disappointed. Especially if they pay anything close to the reported ask.

        37 points. 55 the year before. Not even pedestrian numbers for $6 million AAV.

        Good player, sure, but the contract and the trade price…not worth it.

    • just like Schultz! what a loser.


      • Exactly. 1 season especially on a brutal team doesn’t define a player or his career. This living in the now not accounting for all factors many of you do makes no sense to me.

        Duchene is a solid hockey player. Post expansion draft the market will be significant. I’m hoping Sakic doesn’t trade him at least not yet.

        Colorado was a mess, still is. The 2 headed monster ownership put in place was a disaster.

      • @George just curious…..what team did you follow prior to 92?

      • FD – in my end of town in Ottawa in those days (which was mainly francophone Eastview – now Vanier) where we moved in 1947 from Little Italy, you learned very early on that, if you wanted to survive you did NOT go around with a Leafs jersey and that anything less than the Habs colours was an invitation to fight. So, after a few bouts and some bloody noses, I became a devout Canadiens fan (other than cheering for the Ottawa Senators of the QSHL/QHL which was also OK).

    • I agree Sven Andrighetto does look promising.

      I don’t agree that RNH or Eberle are losers though. I think they’re just having a bit of an off year. They just need to re-sign Draisaitl this summer and possibly Russell and Desharnais looks like a really nice addition they may want to resign but I don’t see any reason for them to make any drastic changes going into next season. I mean the Oilers are right up there in a very tight race for first in the division. Next year they’ll more than likely be better. Don’t think anyone in Edmonton is complaining.

  6. Striker,

    I agree with you that Duchene is a solid hockey player; however, he is not worth the asking price as he is a player that needs to reestablish himself. I don’t think Sakic can trade him right now even if he wanted to unless he seriously reconsiders his asking price.

    • His asking price is all here say. I don’t trade duchene unless the offer is to good to refuse. With 2 years left absolutely no rush & as stated following the expansion draft possibly even before if the right dman can be had makes sense.

      Colorado doesn’t have to trade Duchene. It won’t make them better today.

  7. What if Canes send their 2017 1st rd pick ,Lack and Teravainen to COL for Varly and Duchene?

    Ward will be a UFA..so Varly is their goalie next 2 seasons…behind a better young D core.
    Lack can backup Pickard , while freeing cap space for UFAs, and they get a 1st to draft their (AVS) young D man.

    • stand corrected ….Ward has 1 more season at 3.3 cap hit

    • Why do you hate crosby? Because he is the best player in the league and he is not on your team? I anticipate a lot of ihatemcdavid and ihatematthews names on here soon!

      • I like all 3 of those players. But Mathews shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence as Crosby or Mcdavid . He’s a great young player, but a tier down from those two guys. More along the lines of Taveres.

    • I like the idea floated the other day on this chat board. Grubauer to Carolina after the playoffs.

      For any team wanting a great young goalie to protect for expansion this is the best choice available. In my opinion & Washington may as well trade him or they will lose him to Vegas or have to pay Vegas not to select him.

  8. @ Yogi – if you’re reading here today. Re 2 days ago and Ottawa’s signing of 51 players (you thought 47) – I actually counted 51 contracts at CapFriendly including Chabot, Brown, Perron and Gagne. As for Colin White going to the AHL on an amateur tryout deal, a friend in Nova Scotia found this explanation for one of Boston’s similar deals involving a college draftee which also applies in White’s case


    Thanks Laurie!