Latest on the Flyers, Lightning and Avalanche – April 13, 2017

by | Apr 13, 2017 | Rumors | 56 comments

Could the Philadelphia Flyers bring back Steve Mason?

Steve Mason open to re-signing with the Philadelphia Flyers plus a look at possible offseason moves by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche. 

 CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio recently reported goaltender Steve Mason is open to re-signing with the Philadelphia Flyers, but prefers a quick decision from the club. Mason is an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He also told Flyers general manager Ron Hextall he doesn’t believe the club’s current system of platooning their goaltenders is working and wants no part of it if he returns. 

PHILLY.COM: Mike Sielski reports Mason indicated Hextall left the door open for his possible return, but the goalie hopes they reach a decision quickly and not string him along through the summer. The Flyers have several issues to consider regarding their goaltending, including the salary cap and which goalie to protect in the June expansion draft. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be surprised if the Flyers bring back Mason. I expect Hextall will be busy in the trade market in the final two weeks of June. He could target teams that risk losing a goalie to the expansion draft, such as the New York Rangers (Antti Raanta) or Washington Capitals (Philipp Grubauer). He could also acquire the contract rights for a pending UFA, such as the LA Kings’ Ben Bishop or Chicago Blackhawks’ Scott Darling, in hopes of re-signing them before July 1, 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith recently examined possible offseason moves by the Tampa Bay Lightning. They have three key restricted agents to re-sign (Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat) and around $18 million in salary-cap space. GM Steve Yzerman said he expects to re-sign the trio. They will lose a player to the expansion draft in June.

Smith also speculated they’ll continue their search for a top-four defenseman via the trade market. He suggested they could speak to the Nashville Predators regarding Ryan Ellis or possibly target one of the Anaheim Ducks’ young defensemen. Yzerman must also add a backup goalie (possibly by re-signing Peter Budaj) and filling out the bottom-six forward spots. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman’s done a fine job convincing his key free agents to re-sign for usually less than market value. I expect he’ll re-sign Drouin to an affordable two- or three-year bridge deal with the promise of long-term riches after that.

Johnson and Palat, however, both have arbitration rights. Each earned over $3 million annually on their current contracts and will seek substantial raises. The rise of young center Brayden Point could turn Johnson into a possible trade candidate. It could take someone like Johnson to land the right-handed top-four rearguard they seek. 

THE DENVER POST: Terry Frei recently looked at what could be in store this summer for the Colorado Avalanche. Unless ownership cleans house, Joe Sakic will remain as general manager and Jared Bednar will return as head coach. Frei expected restricted free agents Nikita Zadorov and Sven Andrighetto will be re-signed but felt it’s time to part ways with Mikhail Grigorenko. He doubted Patrick Wiercioch and Matt Nieto will be back. Pending UFAs Fedor Tyutin, John Mitchell, Cody Goloubef and Rene Bourque won’t be back.

Committing to a youth movement would mean buying out the final season of veteran blueliner Francois Beauchemin’s contract. “Because of his age, the Avs still would be on the hook for his entire salary and it wouldn’t provide any cap relief, but it would open a roster spot,” wrote Frei. Disappointing forward Joe Colborne could also be a buyout candidate.

He considered oft-injured goalie Semyon Varlamov untradeable and doubted the Vegas Golden Knights will select him if left unprotected in the expansion draft. Frei also considered Carl Soderberg’s contract ($4.75 million cap hit) as their biggest contract albatross but a buyout would stretch six years. 

Mike Chambers recently reported University of Denver defenseman and Colorado Avalanche prospect Will Butcher isn’t interested in signing an entry-level deal with the club yet. The 22-year-old wanted to speak with his parents, as well as Sakic, before deciding on when he’ll sign a new contract.

Chambers suggested Butcher could become the second straight Hobey Baker Award winner not to sign with the NHL club that drafted him. Jimmy Vesey last summer decided not to sign with the Nashville Predators, forcing them to trade his rights to the Buffalo Sabres. He ultimately opted for unrestricted free agency and signed with the New York Rangers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frei didn’t get into the possibility of Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog being shopped this summer, preferring instead to focus on other potential moves. A buyout of Beauchemin or Colborne is possible. A recent report out of Denver claims the Avs intend to protect Varlamov. If Butcher won’t sign, Sakic could end up peddling his rights. Perhaps he could toss him into a package deal along with Duchene or Landeskog in hopes of swinging a blockbuster move. 


  1. Johnson is the best center likely available. Arizona should target him.

    • He only averages about 50 points a season and .68 points per game….How could he possibly have any value? LOL

      • For three mil? Yes please.

      • Connor MacDavid won the scoring race this year with 100 points. The next player after him only had 89. If they both played 82 games their points per game production would be 1.21, and 1.08 points per games respectively. Really not too many other players averaged between .75 and .80 points per game. It’s a defensive game today. 0.68 points per game is not that bad when you consider it. In picking for my pool last night I picked players such as Justin Williams, Paul Byron and so on who most of did not have much lower higher stats than Johnson. And I felt good about my picks because I ended up with 2 Ducks, 2 Hawks, 2 Habs, and 2 Caps. It’s a different era in hockey right now.

      • So you think Johnson is taking a pay cut to play in Arizona? Lol! He’s making 4 this year with a cap hit of 3.33 heading into rfa with arbitration rights… So how is he getting 3 million again?
        You do understand how all that works….. Right?

        3 million? Not happening!

      • TB will qualify Johnson at 4 as required. He will sign eventually in or around 5 MIL, possibly more, term will determine the final amount, less if shorter more if longer.

      • you understand that you argument was based on his point totals. based on that then 50 points is quite good for his salary. you do realize how this works right?

      • You do realize he is a COST controlled rfa…. Right?

      • And he doesn’t make 3 this year… He makes 4….. But back to the original question….. How does a rfa making 4 this year with arbitration rights go back to 3 million?

      • It’s amazing how far and low you go to defend ultimately stepans contract. Fine. I give up. Stepan is phenomenal 1st line talent making peanuts. I wish… oh how I only wish… he was number one center on my team. I cry myself to sleep at night knowing he will never wear the black and gold. Last time I watched the pens rangers I was so angry I squeezed my beer glass so hard it shattered and left glass imbedded in my skin. I sometimes stare at the scars and wonder… what if? What if stepan was a fa… pens should move every contract… no… the heavens and earth itself… to sign him for at least 6.5 mil. Only then will my life be complete.

      • Lol, it really isn’t about Stepan. It’s about everyone outside of Pittsburgh for the most part… In your eyes, if a #1 center isn’t putting up Crosby numbers, he isn’t a #1 center. You really don’t or can’t seem to get by that. How many #1 centers in the league are putting up 50-60 points? Then how many are putting up 80-100? We can’t all tank out and score a Crosby/ Mcdavid…. And while they’re worth much more than the Stapans , Johnsons of the world, they simply are the exception and not the rule! Why do teams pay the Stepans, O’reillys , Kesslers in the 6-7+ range? Because they don’t have a Crosby laying around in the Ahl that will command 9-10 per.

        You simply set the bar too high, and refuse to see value in players who make up the majority of the league. Which is beyond ridiculous. In your eyes there are only about a dozen players worthy of being 1st line players in the league….. And I’m sure 4 of that dozen somehow fallon Pittsburghs roster.

    • I don’t see TB moving him unless he’s part of a package to secure a solid #3 Dman with #2 potential, ideally a right handed 1 but not essential.

      Arizona doesn’t have that asset to trade.

      • I don’t see anyone moving that asset for him. and cant vegas negotiate with rfa like they were ufas? puts some pressure on teams with rfa’s to sign or trade. I would think young non-protection needing assets will be the hot commodity for many teams. Arizona has plenty of those.

      • Not exactly. There is a window for Vegas to speak to RFA’s so they have some idea of their position should Vegas choose to select them if left unprotected.

        They can sign UFA’s after a certain date but should they that would count as a selection from that team. Very unlikely Vegas chooses to sign a team’s UfA as opposed to selecting a player from that team & signing UFA’s like everyone else on July 1st or moving a useless pick to acquire a pending UFA’s rights before July 1st like Arizona did with Goligoski & Florida did with Yandle.

      • ah… I misread… I thought nhl gave vegas the right to sign rfa’s like ufa’s… no compensation. still dont see johnson getting a potential top pairing d man… as an rfa he will get a raise but not a huge one. but he still is producing at a 2nd line level… teams trading for him hoping he would be a number 1 would have to bank on expanded time and role would increase his numbers… otherwise they end up with yet another player not producing up to their contract

  2. Colorado needs a block buster. I thought Colborne signing price was excessive at the time. Played good for the Flames but a very expensive healthy scratch with the Avs.

    • Colburne beuchimin soderburg… rough rough rougher.

    • I thought 2.5 mil for 2 years was reasonable at the time of signing & assumed Colborne would be far better than he was. Not happy with how Bednar deployed players in Colorado but in fairness very little to work with any where in that line up. Colborne still played just barely 10 mins a game when dressed.

  3. The most logical trade I see happening is one between the Avs and Canes. This would revolve around either Duschene or Landeskog for Hanafin. There would be other parts added in on both sides to make both teams feel like they won the trade, but the main parts seem to be perfect for each teams needs.

    • I don’t see Carolina trading Hanafin. Carolina needs a goalie. Other than that stay the course with the rebuild. Target teams in cap hell, a few select UFA’s & stay the course. This is 1 of the best young up & coming teams in the NHL & their prospect kitty & young players as good as any.

      Carolina should trade for Grubauer, take a solid D & forward from teams with to many keepers for the expansion draft even though their D is solid. Hanafin, Slavin & Pesce are all expansion exempt. The only keeper they have at D currently for expansion is Faulk. The next best is Murphy who isn’t really even a protector.

      Trade Fleury, their 1st & 1 of their stud prospect forwards not Gauthier. Possibly Roy, Kuokkonen or Saarela.

      • Ideally for Trouba.

      • There’s gonna be several teams lining up for these types of trades though… Jersey, Col, Car, side deals with vegas, Ariz… teams all primed to make deals for teams needing to protect players. teams with d-men especially, minny/ana, wont have to trade cheap as there will be competition.

      • Agreed. Always. Even with expansion looming the return for the 5 teams facing losing a Dman will still get maximum value.

  4. I need to learn to stop doubting Jim Rutherford.

    I have to admit I didn’t care all that much about the expansion draft at 7:37 pm last night.

    And I’m a big Murray guy, but it has to Marc’s net until he gives it up. He was superb and Matt is clearly less than 100%.

    • Maf dominates playoffs, team rally’s behind him and Murray gets traded for a solid return while maf mentors Jarry as replacement. Heard it here first!

    • Most people outside of Pitrsburgh would look at his numbers in my he playoffs and see they actually drop a little….. But…. He does play in Pittsburgh so…..

      • @nyr4life…….Fluery answer some big questions last night back stopping a strong 3-1 opener in the playoffs.

        i think MAF is a perfect fit in Winnipeg..they need an athletic goalie who is used to playing on a team that plays a offensive style… the commitment is short he can make them a playoff team

      • Honestly I like Fleury. He has had a solid career. However, I won’t bank on what he does in one game, nor would I tell myself his playoff performances have been stellar, or above what he does in a normal season. I think even most Pittsburgh fans ( most) would agree with that.

  5. Next CBA better change the rules on these college kids. It’s getting ridiculous.

    • Agreed, it’s a new generation of exposing a loophole that costs teams their picks because these teenagers want the same benefits earned by those who played in the league for years to reach UFA status. This will only happen more and more because these prospects won’t want to play for the team if they are seen as non-playoff bound.

      • And you couldn’t sell your services to the employer of your choice? It’s more than playoffs… it’s coaches facilities owners willingness to spend marketing opportunities taxes etc. it’s a good thing this happens as it will force teams spending less to try to compete or sell the team to owners that will

    • Only thing that should change is making juniors have a similar system. Players being able to take their services elsewhere is a good thing

      • Sure, and eliminate the draft and salary cap too and let’s see how long this league survives.

      • Draft is fine so is cap. But there should absolutely be limits on how long the teams can control the players. Since the vet players always throw the young players to the wolves in negotiations I love that some have found “loopholes”. Mathews playing in Europe is another solid move. If Canada can just recognize the bs junior system and try to fix that we might making some progress

      • Yes, Canada’s system is so much worse than the NCAA student slavery set-up.

      • They both have significant problems. Ncaa should pay their players and more than a scholarship thats not guaranteed. But then if mens hockey gets paid so will womens… and then the swim team wants paid… then bocci. Few schools could afford that (though some could). Football is probably the only sport viable over the whole country for student athletes to get paid. Juniors is embarrassing because they don’t even get the same benefits as NCAA and the league has be propped up by the favorable deals with the NHL and it’s the national past-time of the country! That’s disgraceful and should be eye opening. At least European and NCAA players can play professionally in NA if teams feel they are ready… calling the NCAA slavery compared to juniors is apples and oranges… not even close.

    • It will. Their 2 year status won’t commence till they leave University.

      • Unfortunately your probably right… the union wont fight for young players… they have already proven that. Of course that means more and more top talents will head to europe instead of staying in NA. and less drama the nhl gets to exploit for publicity.

      • No 1’s heading to Europe. If you aspire to play to the highest level in the world you play in the NHL. Nor can any team in Europe pay you what a journey man makes in the NHL. The exception being a few teams in Russia. The KHL is dying on the vine, their best players are coming back to the NHL.

        I don’t even consider Russia to be Europe but Asia as only a very small portion touches Eastern Europe. No European league, Swiss, Finnish, Swedish, Czechs, etc. has any real money to throw around & is only viable for players that can’t find work in the NHL.

      • And if the NHL won’t let its talents play professionally when they should and Europe will those leagues will grow at the expense of, essentially, the ahl. Mathews won’t be the last to go to Europe. I expect it will be a growing pattern.

      • What Matthew’s did was brilliant. e
        He & his agent eliminated the Major Jr exclusion for age so like Europeans he could have gone to the AHL.

        All parties have been in discussions for years to alter the draft, funding etc for Jr players. The current fee’s paid to European teams for their players being selected dwarfs what CHL teams get.

        The quickest a current player can become a UFA in the NHL is 6 years. You need to sign & play a minimum of 43 games in your draft year to qualify, it’s 7 for the vast majority. Frankly UFA status in 7 years isn’t good for the NHL but it’s the primary concession made by owners to players to get what they wanted.

        There was a time before the 1st lock out where UFA status wasn’t achieved until 32!

      • I’m all about athletes being treated like other people… even the young ones. I understand the necessities of a draft and rfa etc. but players being held back from making use of their talent when it’s only gonna last until their mid thirties on average is wrong. the contract with junior is terrible in this case. anytime of that forced play in junior because the team that drafted them didnt have space for them or didnt feel they were ready is money… and potnetial of injuries makes it risky to. I would like to see a rfa type system for prospects eligible to play in the pros. if another team has space for them and thinks they can play then they can sign that player with compensation going to the drafting team. could be if the player was drafted in the first wound then the drafting team gets a 1st rounder next season back from the signing team. The drafting team would have the right to match but would be forced to play… or at least pay the player and keep them on the pro roster. thus allowing them to possibly burn their way into fa quicker. and anyone over a certain age… we will say 21, should be able to peddle themselves to a team they feel they have the best chance to play on. again… a compensation could be given to the team losing the player… either from the signing team or in compensitory picks from the league.

      • The players still have freedom to play in another league other than the NHL. The reality is the NHL is pretty much a monopoly and they’re going to act like it in a lot of ways. If the players want to play in the best league for the best money, they have to take it. If it means being able to keep NHL hockey alive in places like Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, etc. then so be it.

      • That is a creative idea Chrisms and has some upside, but like Brock says there is a significant downside as well to small market teams, or even teams in winter cities, or teams that play in places with higher taxes.
        As mentioned players can play in the KHL like Datsyuk, Jagr and others have done.
        They are also able to pursue careers in other fields like yours and mine. Nobody is forcing them to play hockey for a living.
        It is about competitive balance and growing the game in other markets for the good of today’s players and tomorrows players.
        As far as Junior hockey goes, they can choose not to sign and reenter the draft after 2 years if still eligible. If not eligible they become UFA’s. They can also keep playing junior after they sign and have collected their signing bonus. NCAA can’t. NCAA players also lose a valuable scholarship that can be worth upwards of $100K if they sign while in school. That should be a big deal to the borderline NHL prospect. Not always just about becoming a UFA.

      • Ray and Brock … I agree with the monopoly part but I rarely see monopolies as good things. Which is why I love when the “little guy” finds ways around it. The loophole applies to 22 year old men. I’m glad it’s there and hope the players find other ways to challenge the monopoly.

      • It’s called collective bargaining. A union negotiating terms with the approval of it’s members. Later ratified by vote of it’s members. Completely legal.

        Few undrafted players will do what Matthews did. In most cases it’s not going to help your value. Teams want you playing against your peers. Not a lesser league in Europe.

        So far we have had 1. I don’t see the exodus you do.

      • The NHLPA doesn’t represent undrafted players. Only those players drafted by NHL teams.

        It’s called the NHL Players Association for a reason. The NHLPA represents all members equally. All have an equal opportunity to vote regardless of age.

      • That’s why they can throw the upcoming to the wolves to satisfy the current members. But that’s unions in general. A force for good and evil
        They are. I do see an more heading to Europe. Those leagues will continue to get better and they will rival the ahl easily. If it comes to juniors or NCAA teams and players will see Sweden Swiss fin as better leagues by far. And they get paid!

  6. Lyle, flyers are not investing long term in any goalie right now. they have outstanding goalie talent coming up with 5 legitimate prospects.

    the absolute most they would give to a ufa goalie would be a 2 yr bridge deal right now. thats it. by that time you would think at least one of their 5 goalies would be ready.

  7. Joe you are absolutely correct, the Flyers will not sign an RFA or trade for a goalie because of the depth they have at that position in the minors.
    I will start a rumor that makes just as much sense.

    If the Canadians fail to win the cup this year they are going to trade Carey Price because of his lack of playoff success. (lol)

    • I predict that the Flyers will trade for someone like a Fluery who only has 2 or 3 years left and is actually proven. Or one of the UFA’s mentioned above who have also shopwn they can play now in the NHL.
      I just can’t see Hextall wasting another 2-3 years of prime years for their best players. Giroux, Voracek & Simmonds. When their tender prospects are ready in 3 -5 years these guys will be on the back nine of their prime years. IF these prospects pan out at all. Goalies are the toughest to predict. The more prospects the better as your odds go up but enough of the goalie problem already in Philly.

      • Holy hell… if MAF wears black and orange it will rival the Jagr betrayal… almost. Now Jags was a bit of a whinere and then played Mario (I actually think Svboda his agent was the man in charge there) and signed with Philly yet 90% of Pitt would love for him to play out his final year in Pitt (on a cheap contract as a middle six winger). But MAF in Philly… dear god! Although his teeth are perfectly designed for those sweet sweet cheesesteaks. man those are good.

      • True that!

  8. If I was Rutherford I would trade Murray, keep Fleury and continue developing Jarry and others. Murray has now been hurt going into the playoffs twice and at the start of this season. Might be a pattern? For Murray you could get Nishkinin(?spelling)and a first outside the top five from Dallas, Hannifan straight up from Carolina, or Trouba straight up from Winnipeg? Penguins might have to add a later pick or prospect but it gets them a core piece while Crosby, Malkin, Kessell, Letang and Fleury are in their prime.

    • Trouba nisk both have to be protected? I think. But if maf has a solid playoff gmjr will have a tough decision. Try to move maf for pennies on the dollar and piss off Crosby and company as a bonus or move Murray and pray Jarry is the real deal. Don’t think anyone who watches hockey doubts maf ability to be a Stanley contender caliber goalie. It’s the future down the line needing considered. But prime cros and malk and tang also needs considered.

  9. If Johnson is traded he’ll go to somebody like the Sharks. The Lightning would probably get somebody like Vlasic in return. He’d be somebody the Lightning could probably use (since Burns isn’t going anywhere).