Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 12, 2017

by | Mar 12, 2017 | Rumors | 51 comments

Could the New York Rangers buy out Marc Staal in June?

Latest coaching speculation, possible offseason moves by the Rangers, Sabres & more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently speculated on possible offseason moves by the New York Rangers to address their defense. He suggested GM Jeff Gorton could be forced to consider a buyout of defenseman Marc Staal, who struggled following his post-All Star break return from a concussion.

“The numbers, though, are staggering regarding a Staal buyout, under which the Blueshirts would carry $2.133 million of dead space in 2017-18 and 2018-19, $3.133 million in 2019-20, $3.933 million in 2020-21 and $1.433 million for the four years following that.”

Buying out Dan Girardi, however, would also be costly. “A Girardi buyout would cost the Rangers $2.611 million of dead space next season, $3.611 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20, and $1.111 million the three following years.”

Brooks also wondered if it could cost the Rangers a second-round pick to keep the Vegas Golden Knights from selecting backup goaltender Antti Raanta, or a first to retain forward Jesper Fast. If they keep Raanta, Brooks believes Fast, Michael Grabner and Oscar Lindberg could be exposed in the expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buying out Staal or Girardi will be expensive. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Rangers put off that decision for as long as possible. With Henrik Lundqvist starting to show signs of wear and tear, I can see Gorton trying to swing a side deal with Vegas to ensure Raanta isn’t selected in the expansion draft. It could come at the cost of losing one of those forwards Brooks listed, but it could be worth it to ensure depth between the pipes. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports several non-playoff clubs could face coaching changes in the offseason. There’s talk Willie Desjardins of the Vancouver Canucks could lose his job as management has said they’ll evaluate his performance at season’s end. Garrioch wonders when Dave Tippett starts taking real heat for the mess that is the Arizona Coyotes. He notes Lindy Ruff doesn’t have a contract next season with the Dallas Stars and feels it’s time they move on to a fresh voice behind the bench. He points out the New Jersey Devils haven’t made progress under John Hynes. Ditto the Florida Panthers with Tom Rowe and the Winnipeg Jets under Paul Maurice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At least one of those clubs will undergo a coaching change. Tippett seems safe in Arizona, as does Maurice in Winnipeg and Hynes in New Jersey. Rowe, the Panthers GM, stepped in behind the bench this season solely on an interim basis following their dumb, hasty decision to fire Gerard Gallant. The Stars could opt to hire a new bench boss rather than re-sign Ruff. Desjardins also seems likely to be replaced. 

Garrioch also wonders why the Arizona Coyotes didn’t move winger Radim Vrbata when 10-12 teams were believed to have interest in him leading up for the recent NHL trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumor has it the Coyotes sought a second-round draft pick for Vrbata and wouldn’t budge from that asking price. They’re also thinking about re-signing him this summer. 

He speculates the reason the NHL hasn’t officially announced it won’t participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics is there’s “a strong belief” NBC, a major rights holder for the league and the Olympics, could exert pressure to allow the players to go.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe it’s also brinkmanship by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. He’s trying to squeeze the International Olympic Committee into sharing more of the revenue generated by the men’s ice hockey tournament. He’s also hoping to get some concessions from the NHL Players Association. 

The Buffalo Sabres couldn’t drum up any interest in blueliners Cody Franson and Dmitry Kulikov at the trade deadline. Garrioch believes the Sabres could revisit trading left wing Evander Kane in the offseason. There was apparently some minor interest in Kane leading up to the trade deadline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Kane’s solid play this season, his $5.25 million cap hit through 2017-18 and off-ice baggage hurt his trade value. Those factors could also hamper efforts to move him this summer. 

Despite speculation over the future of Joe Sakic as general manager of the Colorado Avalanche, it’s believed he’s not going anywhere. The club is expected to move center Matt Duchene this summer.

If the LA Kings fail to reach the playoffs there’s talk GM Dean Lombardi could be kicked upstairs with either Mike Futa or Rob Blake taking over the management job.


  1. That Vrbata non-move at the deadline was a real head-scratcher. I mean, why note get ANY asset in return for a guy making $1 mil and having a pretty decent season, and then re-sign him as a UFA in the off-season – assuming, of course, he wants any part of going back to Phoenix. If he doesn’t, they wind up with zilch. Dumb, dumb decision.

    • only thing I can see chycka getting is getting the knowledge out there he wont be pushed around and will stand by his guns. doubt that is worth a third round pick or whatever the final offer was but its something.

      • The position he took – if that was indeed the case – is a classic example of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face! I mean, if they really want to have him back next year, then deal him for the best return offered and re-sign him in the summer. He was a pure rental wherever he went anyway – but if he has no intention of going back to that mess in Phoenix, and considering no matter what he does the rest of the way it’s not going to elevate Arizona out of 29th place, they wind up with nothing but the illusion of Chycka being a tough negotiator by “asserting his will.” That and a buck-and-a-half will get you a crappy cup of coffee.

      • I agree. Only saying that’s the only reason I can see. If he was asking for a second and best offer was say a 5th (look what pa went for). Then chickaka may have decided buying credibility for upcoming deals was worth it. Only thing that makes any kinda sense

    • Vrbata’s already made 2 mil this year to 500K bonuses have been made & paid; games played & points. He had another 1.25 in playoff bonuses.

      Obviously the return didn’t justify moving him. Pheonix is in a full scale rebuild, having a quality veteran to help youth isn’t a bad thing. Vrbata likes Phoenix. It’s his 3rd stop there in his career & his best seasons except for 1 have been achieved there.

      Is Arizona a mess? There are certainly off ice distractions but this may be the best assembled group of young talent in the NHL. I would say the future looks very bright.

      • It wasn’t as if he was not on the trade block. So, had they gotten what they were seeking he’d be playing elsewhere, probably on a playoff-bound team, with the prospect that, if he truly “loves” playing in Phoenix he’d be back there as a UFA. With “10- 12 teams” inquiring about him, I find it hard to believe that none of them went higher than a 4th/5th round pick.

        Sorry, that was a dumb non-move on Arizona’s part.

      • As usual we agree to disagree. If Arizona had a player to take Vrbata’s place perhaps I would be on the same page but they are already playing 3 other teams cast offs, Holland, Burmistrov, Jooris & the recently acquired Pulkinen. I think it’s benefiting Dvorak Vrbata’s C & Domi the LW to be playing down the stretch with Vrbata. That may well be Arizona’s 1st line next season as Vrbata is a place holder until Fischer is ready for a full time NHL role.

        The draft pick compensation didn’t justify helping another team. Even a 2nd rounder’s chances of playing in the NHL are slim to non existent. I do buy that having more picks though is a positive as it improves your chances of getting lucky. Arizona has a ton of picks & prospects now & don’t need more. Time to turn some of that into NHL players.

        Perhaps Vrbata said if you retain & not ship me off at the deadline I’ll sign on July 1st for the same deal you gave me this year.

        The Canucks not moving Hamhuis, that was a dumb move. Aquilini tried to stick it to Gaglardi 1 last time, as once wasn’t enough for him.

      • The future with the Coyotes is bright but it won’t be in Phoenix. This team will move eventually. Ferraro gives it three years and I personally cannot wait!

      • I don’t see Arizona moving. If it was going to happen it would have happened long before now. Arizona lost 8 mil in operating income last season before revenue sharing. A far cry for the 30 to 35 before the last CBA & a move to Glendale.

        They are about to collect almost 17 million in expansion revenue. The next CBA will again make it more profitable for owners as they claw back even more from the players & revenue sharing will also continue to improve in the next round of CBA negotiations. The NHL isn’t done expanding. The will add Quebec before this CBA expires as the NHLPA will want all future expansion revenue added to hockey related revenue, something it’s not now. The NHL will cash that check before they have to share.

        Phoenix is the 12th largest TV market in the US. The NHL isn’t giving that up as long as anyone is willing to step up. Hell they; the NHL, even stepped up themselves to save this market.

        Carolina will be the 1st team to relocate from this current group of teams. They will be moved to Portland & or Seattle but not for until they are very near the end of their current sweetheart lease agreement. 6 years, 5 minimum.

      • Striker… extra picks could be valuable in getting players off teams needing a return for players they cant protect. so while a second rounder may not make nhl its still valuable. Hell look at the pens… they are icing a ton of third rounders… murray, letang, rust, guentzel, sundquist

        Steven… fart noise.

      • I see Carolina successful in a year or two… and with that will come revenue thus a lack of movement. NHL will look to expand as opposed to move teams.

    • When you don’t insulate your kids with quality veterans you become the 2010-2015 Edmonton Oilers and your core learns to lose.

      It’s hardly worth a late 2nd in a bad draft to poison your core with a losing culture.

      • I agree. Arizona is playing better. Considering all the youth they are dressing & misfits things are going quite well. They are going to add several more pieces to the puzzle this summer. They might compete for a playoff spot next year but I assume will still be on the outside looking in but we will need to wait & see what they have planed this summer.

        They have over 27 mil in cap space at today’s cap ceiling, 16 players signed for next season & no 1 of substance to sign. They are setup perfectly for expansion, no protection issues what so ever in fact they have room to take on players to protect for expansion.

        I can see them bidding for 1 of the 5 D that teams will need to move as well as 1 or 2 forwards.

  2. I don’t think any deal with vegas costs a first rounder. fast, grabner, and lingburg not worth a first.

    • Agreed not for any of those players or even Raanta. Point of interest. NYR doesn’t have a 2nd or 3rd in this years draft. They could send in 2018 or later.

      Just a little over 3 months until we get to see how all this will play out.

  3. Hey! is it time to start talking about next years Jimmy Vesey yet? (sad thing is I couldnt remember the guys name, my brain kept coming up with Jimmy Hayes…. and I knew that wasn’t right…has to google it). Whose the hot college pro for 2017!?!?!

    • LOL. Wait for it – although this year Vegas can certainly offer any (the most repeated names are both undrafted players – Nicholas Schilkey, a winger at Ohio State and Justin Kloos, a C at Minnesota) a better chance at immediate NHL ice-time than most.

      I just hope Colin White (Ottawa) doesn’t decide to become the next Vesey by refusing to sign.

      • As for Vesey, his offensive stats are modest (14 – 10 – 24) but that -11 on a pretty good defensive team is an indicator he hasn’t filly grasped the 2-way aspect of the game at the pro level.

      • By the way, those two I mentioned are smurfs so, insofar as Ottawa is concerned, no thanks.

      • Jake Guentzel is a smurf and he’s killing it. Gimmie smurfs that can score over big baddies that cant any day.

        of course I’ll take the combination any day… not everyone can be Mario or Malkin though.

      • I still find Vesey signing in NYR as the worst of the options he had at least for playing time this season.

        He has had an OK season considering his deployment. Apparently he’s really struggling physically with the grind of an 82 game schedule. Fitness level need to improve. He’s a big boy & going from playing weekends in College to 3 or 4 games a week in the NHL is a tough adjustment.

        He sits 10th in TOI/GP at 13:49 in NYR barely making him a 3rd liner.

      • For forwards.

      • Aston-Reese will be a pen! everyone else hands off!

      • I appear to be more outraged by this than the NHL, but they have to close the Wheeler/Schultz/Vesey loophole.

        Why on Earth should a team use a top pick (Wheeler was #5 overall) and lose a player for nothing just because he stayed in college for 4 years?

        They should own a player’s right until one year after his junior or college career ends.

        OR there should an MLB style system where the team gets a comp pick (If you draft a player at #5 overall in MLB and fail to sign him, you get the #6 pick the next year).

        It’s zero skin off the college kids back to stay there for 4 years and it’s completely unfair to the drafting team. It negates the entire purpose of the draft.

      • I dunno… I can see the comp pick… that makes sense but I dont think its right for teams to own the players either. it isnt fair compared to junior players so maybe having a system that lets junior players hold out to have a say helps even it out. maybe everyone over 21 years old is a fa if not signed yet? maybe 22? then the comp pick to the team if they dont sign them… some teams might rather have the pick.

  4. I assume Lundquist has a no movement but trying to deal him to vegas would be good move for both sides. as getting his contract off the books would be a big part of the return I doubt he would cost what someone with his history usually would cost. with so many rough to ugly contracts on the team- nash, the king, staal, stepan, girardi… if the fisherman can get rid of one of them using expansion it would be a coop.

  5. Every year teams are looking for a fast power forward who can hit, score and fight. Evander Kane is worth the 5 million, i hope Buffalo keeps him and looks to trade or sign hin after next year. Its very rare to get a hard working winger who has grit and can score, the league is filled with wingers overpaid who show no effort. He scores very well playing with Eichel.

    • Matt.

      I have stated repeatedly Kane isn’t going any where. He is Buffalo’s #1 LW with no challengers in the system. I stated, that unless Buffalo gets an offer to good to refuse; they were low balled repeatedly if rumors are to be believed, he will be with buffalo until he resigns or he is sent packing at next seasons trade deadline.

      Kane just turned 25 this summer. He should start to mature now. I was 25 when I finally started to turn the corner. Baby steps but a life altering point in me life. Parents sat me down & threatened to disown me. Woke me up.

    • I once thought he would be a great player for any team that could acquire Dustin Byfuglien to control him. It’s great for the Sabres if maturity has become sufficient.

  6. I’m not sure how NYR gets out of it’s potential cap issues. I don’t see Lundqvist, Stall or Girardi going any where nor being bought out this summer. Nash could potentially be moved post expansion before next season starts. Not sure how or where but nothing is impossible. With limited cap space & Zibanejad looking at a substantial raise monies are tight even at a 76 mil cap ceiling.

    What ever player NYR loses in expansion isn’t going to help cap space much.

    • Ny really isn’t in the cap he’ll people make them out to be. Zbad will not be getting a significant raise as you’re thinking. Come negotiation time he really has no leverage, or a leg to stand on. “Hey I had a down year, I’ll need 6 per for 6 years?” Lol. Injury aside, that’s just not happening.

      Aside from Zbad, NY doesn’t have anyone to worry about this year. Pirri, Lindberg, Puempel . One of which could be taken in expansion. Either way, Pirri isn’t coming back.

      Nash has one year left on his deal, and it expires exactly when they need it to. Unless they’re completely out of the race next deadline , I don’t think they’ll have a great desire to move him. And they shouldn’t. Maybe he doesn’t show up in the score sheet as often as they’d like, ( or his contract would suggest) but how many nights is he the best player on the ice for them? A lot!

  7. Evander Kane is going nowhere unless it’s for a Cam Fowler or Shayne Gostisbehere type defenseman…if it’s not one of them, it has to be a Shea Theadore plus draft picks or something along those lines.

    He’s the best even-strength goal-scorer in the NHL, he’s 25 years old, he doesn’t everything you can ask of a hockey player…he’s an elite player just entering his prime.

    I hope they extend his contract.

    • He DOES everything you can ask of a hockey player.

      • and even stuff you can’t ask of a hockey player…

        you know… because its illegal

        get it? ha ha….. ha


  8. Great example of how D impacts a teams ability to win games & a goaltenders ability to generate solid #’s.

    NJ now sits last in the Eastern conference in the standings. They have the 3rd worst goal differential in the NHL behind only Colorado & Arizona at -44. The finished last season at -24. They have 14 games to go.

    Schneider who I believe we all feel is a great goalie sits 23rd in SV%; .911, for goalies that have started at least 33 games. That’s 1/2 the games played by ever team in the league but Carolina. A reasonable # for what should be a teams starter.

    Shticky want to weigh in? You had pretty strong views on how I said this would play out.

    • You also had Tampa winning the cup and the Canucks finishing dead last! I could go on and on of other predictions you had that aren’t in the ballpark but I don’t want to write a novel

      • Florida was also going to be “alright” after the idiotic firing of Gallant. In the heat of the race they are fading like cheap jeans in the Mojave.

    • No offense, but it didn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out what kind of year NJ was going to have. I know there were a few here that were arguing against it, but I think more as a dark horse kinda thing. Most here knew Hall or not, that defense was trash. On paper, and on ice.

      • I meant Hall trade or not. I wasn’t calling Hall a d-man….. Although ……

      • I wasn’t really arguing against it I thought they might be kinda a dark horse pick I didn’t think the Islanders or Philly got any better looking at last year and adding Hall and Quincey I thought the Devils did….lol when you’re talking about the D or rather goal differential it might help if you tell the whole of the story, you know pain the full picture instead of using those “snap shots” you accuse others of using Striker lol maybe the Devil differential is what it is because they don’t score much? with only 153 goals for by far the lowest in the east second lowest in the NHL while 9 other teams have allowed more goals against then the Devils…
        Yep I thought the Devils might be a bit better this year I can admit that but, judging by how many teams have allowed more goals against even with Schneider having an off year and the fact that only Colarado has scored less than the Devils I’m not sure it is what you say it is.

  9. IS it worth it for nYR to get with TOR to eat some of their cap by offering a NASH/STAAL (eat 1mill cap) package for HORTON..etc..? Nash would look good with an Offensive Matthews and Marner STAAL can be that 3/4 and Gardnier moves up with Reilly . Again moneys and picks slide back and forth ….is it worth it for TOR to add the Nash talent for one season with how far their team has come? and STAAL is still better than most of what they have….(even though his mobility sucks)

    • How many picks prospects heading to leafs to make it worth their while?

      • You may not like Staal (I’ll go out on that limb because he wears a NY jersey) but it’s not like Toronto would be inserting Staal into a lineup filled with superstars on the back end. Staal is instantly a top 2-4 guy on Toronto. Let’s not make him out to be Rob Scuderi!

      • Rob ain’t makin that paper. Fo reals if leafs wanted a rental and an overpaid bottom pairing guy then it’s a good move. Nash could be next years big deadline fish… if rangers on outside looking in they could get a decent return.

      • And I’m not suggesting that NY wouldn’t have to retain salary or take back a bad contract, however I don’t think they’d be adding 1st rounders , Skjei, Miller and the kitchen sink either.

      • You’re not really suggesting Staal on Toronto is a 5-6 are you? Currently he’s the 2 in NY and has been a top 4 his entire career in NY. Are we saying Toronto has a better defense than NY?

      • Vegas should be the target for ny. They need extra picks and prospects to build a farm. I’d offer stall or giraedi (Nmc if they have them aside) and decent (not org top 3) prospects and picks (not 1sts) to see if they take them.

      • Gardner zaitsev reilly all better. Steal might be number 4. Maybe. But at his cost and with all the potential top 4 dmen dumps prior to expansion steal is low on my list of targets. Target Ana or minny first.

      • I merely remark bc TOR can have STAAL round out their top 4 and is a guy Bab’s would surely rely on heavily. Nash is certainly a great option for them and a full year in their system gives Bab’s time to see how he fits and Lou time to work on an extension. NY wins bc they free cap….if they took back Horton is is only money being spent. Staal and Nash are still good players… if NY eats 1 mil of the deal for the rest. he is about the level he should be paid. it is a win for both I think.

      • Honestly, I have no problem with Staal or Nash. As I mentioned in a post above, Nash comes off next year, and is very often the best player on the ice, scoring or not.

  10. The Sabres could not find buyers for Kulikov because of his bad play this season. They were not buyers at the trade deadline, a red flag for a team in need of a goal scorer, a puck clearing defenseman, and a puck stopping defenseman.