NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2017

by | Mar 30, 2017 | Rumors | 14 comments

Could the Vegas Golden Knights target a notable UFA such as T.J. Oshie this summer?

Updates on the Vegas Golden Knights and Detroit Red Wings plus speculation about Justin Schultz in your NHL rumor mill. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton recently speculated over possible free-agent targets for the Vegas Golden Knights. Noting Golden Knights owner Bill Foley is unafraid to spend to add players to his inaugural roster, Clinton listed Arizona Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Cody Franson, Boston Bruins goalie Malcolm Subban (a restricted free agent), LA Kings goalie Ben Bishop or Washington Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk or Karl Alzner or winger T.J. Oshie as possible unrestricted free agent targets for Vegas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If money’s no object, perhaps Foley and general manager George McPhee could convince one or two of those UFAs to join the Golden Knights. It won’t be easy for them.

I think Vrbata’s keen to stay with the Coyotes. Bishop will likely try to join a contender. Shattenkirk could be pursued by the New York Rangers or Boston Bruins, while Alzner could be targeted by the Toronto Maple Leafs. I think the Caps hope to re-sign Oshie. Failing that, I think he’ll also prefer signing with a contender. The Knights could have an easier time inking Franson or Subban. The latter, as noted in the comments section below (stick tap to Caper), is an RFA, so the Knights can simply select him in the expansion draft if they really want him. 

MLIVE.COM: During a recent mailbag segment, Ansar Khan was asked if the Detroit Red Wings might expose “a couple of albatross contracts”, such as Danny DeKeyser, Justin Abdelkader or Darren Helm, in the expansion draft. Of the three, Khan doubts the Wings expose DeKesyer, believes Abdelkader’s physical style still makes him valuable to the Wings and expects Helm will be left unprotected. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with Khan’s take. Even if Helm’s exposed, however, his contract ($3.85 million annually through 2020-21 with a no-trade clause) could be unpalatable to the Golden Knights even with their aforementioned willingness to spend. They’d also likely balk at Abdelkader’s $4.25 million cap hit through 2022-23. I don’t see the Wings taking a chance on the Knights passing over DeKeyser. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman recently noted there’s a belief the New Jersey Devils, in need of offense from their blueline, might throw a lot of money this summer at UFA defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. He also wondered if someone like Pittsburgh Penguins blueliner Justin Schultz might also be a target. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Devils target Schultz, it’ll have to be via offer sheet. Schultz is a restricted free agent with arbitration right this summer. While Schultz was an unrestricted free agent when he re-signed with the Pens last summer to a one-year, $1.4 million deal, he will be a restricted free agent this summer because he was under the age requirement for UFA status again. 


  1. I agree Lyle with your assertion that Foley may have a hard time signing free agents. But on the other hand, what if he lands one big fish and that entices a couple others to follow suit. I would think players would view Vegas as a great destination. I am not in favor of the NHL even going to Vegas to be honest with you, but I do think this team could potentially land some really good players via free agency. There is absolutely no reason why they can’t pursue the same players everybody else does. One other caveat for players to sign there would be a fresh start. This organization has no history and if they manage their assets properly from the beginning and do manage to sign a few top caliber players they could become competitive quicker than the average expansion team. I think they also chose a very good manager and would be wise to be very selective in hiring their first coach. Could be a good fir for Gerard Gallant.

  2. Malcolm Subban is an RFA, so if Vegas want him they can pluck him from the unprotected list.

    • Do you think he’ll ever pan out to be an NHL starter Caper?
      He hasn’t shown much thus far.

      • I hope so, to early to give up on him, he had a good stretch this season but been hit and miss over his last few games. I think the bruins see potential, I wonder how long mentally to get over the terrible injury he had. I expect Vegas to take Mcquaid or K.Miller but wouldn’t be surprised if its Subban.

      • Agree Caper it is too early to know. Started slow this year after injury, but has been very good for the last couple months. Has had some leg issues last year which slowed him down as well. Needs to stay healthy.
        Very athletic guy. He needs more seasoning, but ceiling is high. Hence the high pick Bruins used on him.
        LV needs to select 3 goalies, 2 of which won’t be the early season starter. Why not take a flier on a guy like Subban? I also think they take McQuaid, but then again there are plenty of 4,5,6 D men available to LV as most teams will only protect 3. Not a lot of tenders with Subban’s athletic talent available.

  3. Last summer Justin Shultz passed on more lucrative offers and had his agent call the Penguins(who thought they couldn’t afford him) every day until they squeezed him onto their roster because he realized that being happy was more important than taking the highest offer. I don’t see that changing this summer. I think both sides are quite happy with each other and a long term, mutually beneficial pact is a sure thing. I don’t see him having any desire to play for another loser and eventually drawing the ire of a fanbase that had unrealistic expectations.

    • wishfull thinking to think he gives a significant discount twice. He may take a small discount to stay in the burgh but he will want paid. Problem is he doesn’t hold his own as a top pairing d man. As a second pairing he is good. Hopefully they can land him back in the 4-5 range.

    • With much of his supporting cast out nursing injuries he’s looked very ordinary over that 4 game skid going 0 0 and -7.

  4. I don’t think the devils will try and upgrade their defense much at all this year…. you may see a few more youngsters play or even the same as the past couple season. Add pieces they can trade away at next seasons deadline. I think Shero got a look at how far behind the devils are in rebuild status. Next years draft is deep with some game changers in it. If it wasn’t for Schnieder the devils could have competed with Colorado for the first pick this season. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they grabbed a UFA goaltender and possibly moved Schneider to someone such as Dallas or Calgary that may be willing to move their first round pick.

  5. I think the Knights are going to end up stock piling trade trips. It should be a busy summer, but the way the expansion draft is shaping up, the best players available are probably going to be 2nd pairing and up and coming defensemen. Since these guys will have value in trades, if Vegas can snag 6 or more legitimate top 4 guys, they can likely use some as trade chips to get value elsewhere.

    I have seen projections where they end up with guys like Manson, Ellis, Scandella, J. Johnson, Murray, De Haan, Holden or Smith, Methot, and J Shultz.

    While not a superstar group, they would all be an upgrade to a majority of the teams that feel they need blueline help, and given there is the possibility to be deep on D for Vegas, it might be wise to stock up and trade for players later.

    Some of the above names might get moved before the draft in order to get some value rather than get nothing for them, but there should be some interesting options for Vegas, and if they can stock up well, they might have some interesting trade chips too.

  6. If Vegas is looking at free agents Kris Russell maybe a good pickup for them

  7. Random guess: Karl Alzner will be the first Golden Knight UFA.

  8. Why would a marketable UFA go to Vegas? Golden Knights will stink for some time.

  9. If Flames can get Schneider for this year’s first I would make that deal.