NHL Rumor Mill – March 4, 2017

by | Mar 4, 2017 | Rumors | 58 comments

This season could be Steve Mason’s last with the Philadelphia Flyers.

A look ahead at possible offseason goalie moves by the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. 

CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio believes goaltender Steve Mason’s future with the the Philadelphia Flyers became murky after the club re-signed Michal Neuvirth to a two-year, $5-million contract extension. Though general manager Ron Hextall didn’t rule out re-sign Mason, Panaccio believes Neuvirth’s extension pretty much closes the door on Mason’s tenure with the Flyers. The club hasn’t opened contract talks with him.

Panaccio believes Neuvirth would be a better salary-cap fit for the Flyers as they transfer to a younger goalie such as Anthony Stolarz, Alex Lyon or Carter Hart. He also suggests Neuvirth could be exposed in the June expansion draft. 

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports the Flyers could expose Neuvirth in the draft. However, they could opt to protect him and expose Stolarz, as they appear to have gone lukewarm on him since his return to their AHL farm team following his four-game stint with the Flyers earlier this season.  Carchidi considers re-signing Mason a long shot. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mason won’t be back. The Flyers re-signed Neuvirth to give themselves some flexibility for the expansion draft. I believe they’ll be in the market for a starter this summer and could push hard to sign pending UFA Ben Bishop or look toward the trade market. They have depth in promising young defensemen to dangle as trade bait.

The Flyers have nearly $60 million invested in 16 players for next season, but all their core players are under contract. Their most notable restricted free agent is defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who will likely get an affordable short-term bridge deal. Even with a marginal increase in next season’s cap ceiling, they have sufficient cap space to bring in a proven starter. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury wasn’t moved at the trade deadline, but Jonathan Bombulie and Bill West believe this season could be his last in Pittsburgh. Given Fleury’s no-movement clause, they must protect him from the June expansion draft and expose current starter Matt Murray. That’s not going to happen, as Fleury could be shopped before the expansion draft or bought out of the final two years of his contract. Fleury could also waive his no-movement clause and allow himself to be exposed in the expansion draft. 

EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson believes Fleury should waive his movement clause to join the Winnipeg Jets. Matheson doesn’t believe Connor Hellebuyck is ready to be the Jets starter. “Fleury should embrace the Jets. They score more than most teams, a boon for a goalie,” writes Matheson. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury could surprise everyone by allowing himself to be left unprotected in the expansion draft. However, I think a trade or buyout is more likely. Fleury’s handled the situation in Pittsburgh well this season, but everything I’ve read suggests he wants to be in a position where he’s the starter, not the backup.

There will be teams seeking help between the pipes this summer willing to give Fleury a serious look. The Pens might have to pick up part of his $5.75 million cap hit or they could be squeezed to add a sweetener like a draft pick or young player in the deal. Worst comes to worst, they’ll buy out Fleury before the June 17 deadline to submit their list of protected players to the league. 


  1. Dead on about maf Lyle. I see the trade with salary held but can’t rule out the side deal either. Won’t cost as much as people think. Most posts I read talk about the cost having to equal murrays value but since pens have options with maf cost has to equal the value pens place on not holding empty salary space… value that is significantly lower than the value of a top young starter.

    • I guarantee that MAF will waive his NTC for the purpose of the draft. There are much better options on the Penguins team for LV to take and they won’t even consider him. They will be looking for a younger goalie and an average backup like Hutchinson and Lack or something similar. A buyout is not a good option because of the 1.8 mill cap hit for 4 years and the stagnant salary cap. That money could be put to better use like paying half of Shultz or Dumoulins contract.

  2. Is this considered trolling? 20% (14) of the leafs 70pts are what we call loser points, the most by any team.

    • Considering you guys wined and cried when Dan used to mention the Leafs when Lyle never had them in his post. Ya I`d say that was your intention, since you didn`t mention any other teams such as N.J., who actually has a higher % of loser points or the reason for your post. Which is ?

      • How does that math work? Toronto has played 64 games & has 14 OTL’s, NJ has played 63 games & has 12 OTL’s.

      • Yogi NJ is 19.35% and Toronto is 20% of total points. I never complain when Dan39 post. Having a little fun, see if I could get a reaction. Bored I guess, no harm intended.

      • So you admit you are trolling. Classy.

      • It does bring up an interesting scenario, though, if there were no “loser” points awarded (which I have advocated all along – absolutely hate what 3-point games do to the standings). Without those “loser” points this is what the east standings would be like (with the Rangers being the best beneficiary)

        Mtl 72
        Ott 68
        Bos 66
        Fla 58
        TB 58
        Tor 56
        Buf 54
        Det 50

        Was 86
        NYR 82
        Col 80
        Pit 78
        NYI 60
        Pha 60
        NJ 50
        Car 50

      • Pretty innocuous. Being a Bruins fan as is Caper I get it. Boston has 6 OTL’s & we have discussed this stupid points system the NHL chooses to use. Unfortunately it isn’t changing any time soon. The NHL likes the false parity it creates.

      • I advocate the NHL going 1 way or the other. all games are worth 3 points or all games are worth 2 points. If you are going to award 1 points for OTL’s then regulation wins need to be worth 3.

        I never had an issue with ties & although the shoot outs are interesting, semi entertaining, it’s not really hockey but a skills competition to decide the outcome of what is really the ultimate team game & I can’t stand games being decided by such.

        3 on 3 has really grown on me. Was opposed initially but if it gets more games decided before getting to a shoot out the better of 2 evils for me if you must have a winner. Would have preferred 5 mins of 4 on 4, then 5 minutes of 3 on 3 & If still tied it’s a tie.

        I get why the NHL is doing it but I don’t like it.

      • Striker, there been a lot of media advocating for the 3, 2, 1 pt system as you mentioned, personally I think as long as there is a loser point available teams will try and get to overtime to ensure the 1pt this of course depends on the time of the season and where they are in the standings. Personally I would like to see 2pts for a win and 0 for a loss no matter when it occurs but the shootout would have to disappear because that isn’t a team win/loss. The present system keep fans coming to the game later in the season then they might because teams would be eliminated much earlier and for that reason no changes coming any time soon.

      • I’ve been looking but can’t find the link. I read an article, I think it was sports net from last year where they did all of the seasons since this system came in but figured them under the old system and the system. The teams making the playoffs were exactly the same under both systems except for one team in one season. Yes, there would have been one year that Toronto made it under the old system and didn’t make it under the new system. I think this year is different though, there seems to be more of the loser points.

      • There was a post. It’s not overly significant as it relates to who makes it & doesn’t but even 1 team is 1 to many as far as I’m concerned. It does alter the match ups though.

        The NHL talks about not wanting to alter the record book by making nets bigger but eliminating ties & altering the points system has done just that. As has 2 lock outs where an entire season was lost & a significant portion of another.

        As much as it pains me having to enlarge nets I would like to see nominally more scoring & if making nets bigger is the only solution so be it. Either that or make goalies smaller. Ha-ha!

      • I agree, I don’t like the shoot out, I don’t like three on three overtime. I liked the system from when I was a kid, regular overtime and a tie. The argument about records doesn’t make sense to me. When you have a different number of teams, a different number of games, some years had the centre line, some didn’t, different icing rules, different equipment. I think it’s crazy that some games are worth more points than others, it doesn’t make sense to me either.

      • But striker I do enjoy the fact that you also know the article I am referring to, say that the article and my point is not significant and then go on to explain the significance of it. Thanks.

      • LOL. Welcome to Hockey 101 as taught by Professor Striker, Todd.

    • How do you not know what trolling is?

      Go google it.

      If you have to ask…..youd think you be smart enough to not post it.

      I suspect you knew what you were doing all along.

      • Relax Jeff, lol. The reply could’ve been if the leafs had won 7 of them 14 ot losses they be in a better position and a playoff spot. Yet the response is negative.

      • @Caper you got the response that you were hoping for. You weren`t trying to start a conversation with anyone, you trying to piss somebody off. Now you`re trying be play innocent. If you`re that bored and no one will play with you, find a closet, close the door

      • Yes Caper, fake news. Probably heard it in the dishonest media or failing new york times. I think maybe this comment is being taken a little too seriously, the person posting it is known to not be a troll. There are a couple of others on this site that it would be offensive coming from because you know it wouldn’t be a joke.

    • It’s only trolling if the person reading it is a leafs fan…

      • Im a leafs fan and am not offended. The person who seems most offended is an ottawa fan, so maybe Toronto fans aren’t as bad as some people make out.

      • How can a simple fact be “offensive?” Are we now supposed to just avoid facts for fear of offending someone?

      • Didn’t you hear George? There’s also alternative facts now!

      • I don’t know, there is one person on here seems to get offended when someone mentions the fact that Ottawa is a budget team…

      • I’m not “offended” – if it was me to whom you were referring, Todd. But I do disagree that a team that leaves itself some decent wiggle room may be functioning just a tad smarter than one that paints themselves into a corner and then must withhold cap in order to make a deal. And they’re not doing too bad for a “budget” team.

      • Should real “disagree in that ….”

      • Yogi, thank you for telling me how I was thinking, yes I was looking for a reaction, isn’t that why we post? I didn’t say I was looking for a negative reaction. My point was simple it was the leafs have more loser points then anybody and will the leaf fans be upset about me stating so…. hence the trolling question. Some yes some no. Now as far as you telling me to go play in the closet, not right now thanks, I’m having to much fun playing with you.

      • True enough George. Not only are they doing well, but the way they have treated Craig Anderson this year is Classy and very admirable. When I see how he has been treated I think about how he would have been treated under Bobby Clarke. Don’t know why I think that, just always think about the way Eric Lindross was treated.

      • Never forget Booby Clark’s infamous comment re Roger Nielson (from a site on line): “In an interview aired on TSN’s Molson That’s Hockey, Clarke – responding to a remark from host Gord Miller that there was never a dull moment in Philly – showed little emotion in explaining why he decided to not give Neilson his job back when he returned from cancer treatment during last year’s playoffs and keep Craig Ramsay as head coach.

        “The Neilson situation – Roger got cancer – that wasn’t out fault,” Clarke said. “We didn’t tell him to go get cancer. It’s too bad that he did. We feel sorry for him, but then he went goofy on us.”

      • And yes George, it was a bit of a dig and I apologize for that. Just trying to show the point that fax can be viewed in different ways. Ottawa spends under the cap And the owner periodically says he is willing to open the wallet if they can find the piece they need. As a fan you view that as smart Management, others view it as a budget team that isn’t willing to spend the money except under exceptional circumstances… especially since he has been saying that for years and has never seem to find the player that makes it worth spending to the cap. But they are playing very well this year.

      • And i conclude that you have successfully trolled.

        Well played caper.

        I realise tone is hard to read but i was offended at
        How could i be?

        Just trolling back. Uso g you silly queation as ammo.

        Trolling is offending people. Though that is a good way to accomplish it. It is posting statements to antagonize others and create an argument.

    • But they are in fact points right? Like before when a point was awarded for a tie?
      It’s not really a troll because I’m not sure what your point is if the Leafs were to get in to the playoffs it would be because they have more points than those below them in the standings and which likely means fewer losses in regulation. I get that the term loser point is a catchy phrase but teams have always got a point for a tie it’s no different now except for the gimmicky skills competion to end games.

  3. Dallas could move on that. Last year’s asking price for Fleury was essentially Matthew Tkachuk. Dallas needs help between the Pipes. Fleury would be that.

    The question you have to ask yourself is, if you’re Jim Nill: “Is Marc-Andre Fleury worth your lotto pick? In a horribly weak draft year, Nill strikes me as a guy who’d say yes.

    I think if Nill just wants Fleury, it’ll be just the pick for Fleury, straight up. If Nill wants Rutherford to take Lehtonen back, it’ll require an Oleksiak with the pick. Maybe get the Pens to kick in the negotiating rights to Trevor Daley. But Fleury is going to cost Nill his pick.

    • Penguins have no leverage with the upcoming expansion draft and Nill should be fired on the spot if he gives up a 1st for Fleury, even in a weak draft. It should be no more than a 3rd plus a middling prospect with Pittsburgh taking back Niemi or Lehtonen, who only have a year left on their deals (cheaper buyouts).

    • Won’t cost that. Dallas 2nd or a decent not org top 3 prospect… and that is with pens maybe holding a mil or so of maf salary.

      • I don’t see Pittsburgh having to retain salary. Not saying it isn’t possible just don’t see the need even in a tight market. Dallas isn’t where I see MAF going & should he Pittsburgh won’t be taking back either Dallas goalie. Dallas will get the luxury of taking 1 or both of those buyouts themselves. If I had to speculate I say Dallas buys out Lehtonen, retains Niemi as a back up & addresses their goalie situation either in trade or via UFA market.

        With Dallas’s D what ever goalie has the misfortune to play behind not only this brutal D but team D, the results won’t be positive.

      • Why is Dallas even giving a 2nd or 3rd ? They can wait until July 1st and get him for nothing. And in the process stick Pittsburgh with a four year 3 mllion cap hit

      • I don’t even see Dallas being where MAF lands. I don’t see MAF excepting a trade to a team with the 3rd worst D in the NHL behind NJ & Col.

        More than enough teams in need of a goalie that 3 or 4 will be bidding for MAF’s services before the expansion draft protected rosters need to be submitted on June 17th.

      • Dallas “sticking” pens with a 3 year term doesn’t help them as a west coast team as it would an east coast team. In fact it helps 7 other teams in the league disproportionately (metro). If there is any feel that there will be more than one team interested in his services he gets traded… if teams feel they are the only one interested then they wait.

      • I don’t believe 1 million is a deal any team jumps on anyway. Because there will be a flooded goalie market. And I don’t think it’s just Metro teams that would love to stick it to the Pens for 4 years. And the you will be greatly disappointed thinking the Pens are doing that well in that trade. Hold a million for a 2nd in return? No way is ANY team in the league helping them out that much.

        It will cost the Pens a hell of a lot more for less return than that. Think salary retention + prospect or pick, or a bad contract coming back there way. Every GM out there knows Rutherford is screwed without moving him , they won’t be lining up to do him any favors

      • The only wishful thinking in this situation is on the part of metro teams. Pens will walk away relatively clean. It’s funny. The people that are adamant that pens will lose are the ones that stand to gain the most if they do. That’s called jealousy. And it tastes so so so good .

    • Dallas isn’t giving up a lottery pick for MAF, no 1 is. The supply & demand economics for goalies pre expansion draft are terrible.

      There are numerous teams that MAF ending up on make sense. Pre expansion draft Calgary, Carolina, Dallas & Philadelphia all need starters & a better goalie to protect come expansion. Should MAF waive his NMC pre expansion draft that would potentially open a few other possible trade partners.

      With all the good young goalies that are going to be exposed come the expansion draft would McPhee even select MAF if available? My 1st choice for a goalie is Grubauer. A player drafted by McPhee who looks to be a future #1 NHL goalie. There are others, Korpisalo, Gillies, etc?

      It will depend upon what players on what ever team MAF may be with if protected or not come expansion. McPhee will do what’s bets for Vegas. Post expansion there will be a goalie market. Numerous teams need a starter, several others need a mentor/buffer to help shelter a young goalie others need a 1B option as their starter has shown he can’t play 55+ games.

      Pittsburgh will do what ever is necessary to protect Murray if that means buying MAF out that will happen. It shouldn’t come to that & I would be socked if MAF isn’t traded before Pittsburgh has to submit it’s protected roster on June 17th.

      • Being that expansion draft rules require Las Vegas to select three unprotected goalies, might Fleury, having waived his no-movement clause, be one of them?

        Your mention of the likely available goalie talent could portend another chapter in the Fleury saga. If Fleury is exposed and not drafted, Pittsburgh will have a backup worth $5.75 million and a $3.75 million starter. Surely, finding a trade partner would be the Penguins’ best solution, but if that fails to happen, Rutherford might be happy just to find a team to take on Fleury’s contract. Could a Fleury without a no-movement contract be waived?

      • There are 2 goalie markets this summer. Pre & post expansion. Fleury will be moved in 1 possibly both.

        Althought not impossible he is bought out I don’t see that happening. I have those odds currently at zero.

  4. I have to agree here that with Neuvirth signed that likely means the end of Mason in Philly.

    I had read reports around the deadline that the Bruins were looking for a backup and had explored bringing in Mason.

    I wonder what teams will look towards him in the offseason. Affordable contract as a backup maybe.

  5. This proposed business with McPhee is a real puzzle. I mean, why wouldn’t he just approach Bishop as a UFA with a good salary/term if he thinks he could be a contending team in the short order? They won’t be – they’ll be at least 3 or 4 years away from that so why wouldn’t he just pick off a Reimer, Montoya, Condon, Halak or any combination of the two and live with that through the almost certain growing pains while he develops his draft picks?

    • Should read “or any combination of two of that sort ….”

    • Reimer will be protected & Luongo exposed. McPhee will take the best assets available long term. Whether that makes Vegas competitive in 3 years, 5, what have you. Bishop won’t be signing in Vegas.

      McPhee will take 2 younger goalies; Grubauer, Ullmark, etc. with some NHL experience capable of being NHL starters in the next 1 to 3 years & 1 veteran, possibly 2. He may even take a player like Gillies. It will depend on what other assets these teams expose but based on what we know & see today these selections appear obvious to me.

      He won’t be taking any of the goalies you mention. That will just be a wasted pick as all those teams are currently exposing far better assets than Montoya, Condon or Halak. Halak will have value in trade for NYI post expansion draft. Numerous teams will bid for his services & NYI should they choose to move him won’t have to eat salary or just give him away.

      • Montreal appears to be exposing Emelin, Ottawa Methot, NYI 2 very good Dman in De Haan & Pulock, baring trades pre expansion draft for any of these teams.

      • I should add I think MAF would be a great asset for Vegas if he agree’s to waive his NMC & that scenario were to play out.

        That said Pittsburgh as currently constructed is exposing what I perceive to be better asset currently in either protector scenario that I assume Vegas would select before Fleury if even made available.

        Fleury would look good sharing the load with Grubauer in Vegas. As would Halak & a few other options.

      • I think Las Vegas is already negotiating with Rick DiPietro and Freddie Brathwaite as their goalie tandem.

      • Why do we bother offering thoughts and opinions when all we need do is check with you for definitive statements on what GMs are thinking?

      • Just my opinion George. The whole concept of a chat board is to discuss & debate. I respect your opinion I just see it differently.

        I don’t know why this frustrates you so. These jabs you send to me constantly don’t make me upset. I just shake my head & chuckle. If you don’t like my opinion don’t read it & better yet don’t comment. That’s your choice not mine.

        Post something I don’t see the same way I’m going to comment accordingly. The great part is we get to see how it all plays out in time.

        Now be nice or I will respond in kind eventually. I’m good for about 10 to 1. !0 pokes before returning 1. You’ve long since used your quota but I’m doing my best to conform to Lyle’s wished & not respond in kind.

    • Maybe, you would consider this to be a plausible explanation for McPhee’s not approaching free agents such as Bishop: The Las Vegas franchise must select players with an aggregate expansion draft value that is between 60-100% of the prior season’s upper limit for the salary cap.

      There might come a situation in which McPhee would have to pick an expensive exposed player, rather than an UFA, to meet this requirement. For that same reason, he could also be forced into passing on a good but low-paid young player and selecting a lesser, better-paid asset. Of course, If he could meet the requirement by selecting his quota of higher vallue younger players and still have cap room enough to fill an undermanned posistion, he could then persue an UFA.

      • Thanks Frank. That was my original point, i.e., why bother cutting side deals with Pittsburgh to get 32 y/o Fleury when they could just go after Bishop (2 years younger) with nothing more than money/term?

        In response I get a flat, definitive “Bishop won’t be signing in Vegas” with no rationale as to why. And then added “he won’t be taking any of the goalies you mentioned.” In other words, whereas he might cut a side deal to get Fleury, he won’t be doing that with any of the teams currently involved with those goalies. Why not?

  6. The apparent rock bottom value for goalies could put Pittsburgh in a tough spot. Everyone and his dog is going to know they want/need to move Fleury, no trade or not. Factor in that they don’t want to send Fleury somewhere he doesn’t want to go and the Pens hands are going to be tied. I’m not sure another GM offers up a whole lot to help them solve their problem.

    Bishop didn’t fetch a whole lot, I’d be surprised if Pit gets much more than a 2nd rounder. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had to withhold cash to get that much back.

    • Agreed. Nobody is doing them any favors. But if they find a good will team out there willing to give them a good deal to solve their expansion / cap issues, Gorton needs to give them a call.