Latest on the Red Wings, Sabres & Coyotes – April 12, 2017

by | Apr 12, 2017 | Rumors | 60 comments

Could the Red Wings move Justin Abdelkader in a cost-cutting deal this summer?

Looking at possible offseason moves for the Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes in your NHL rumor mill. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Now that the Red Wings’ 25-year playoff streak is over, John Niyo believes it’s time for general manager Ken Holland to get serious about rebuilding the roster. One way could be trying to shed an expensive salary (“Darren Helm? Justin Abdelkader?”) before the expansion draft, even if it means “bribing” the Vegas Golden Knights by packaging one of those players with one of the Wings’ stockpiled draft picks. He advocates the Wings stand pat in the free-agent market rather than diving into a shallow pool of talent.

Perhaps there’s a bigger deal to be had this summer or next season, when they’ll have more rental players (such as Mike Green) to offer up at the trade deadline. “Everyone knows the Wings desperately need a workhorse, top-pair defenseman, and there shouldn’t be many, if any, untouchables on this roster,” said Niyo. Assuming a blockbuster deal isn’t possible, the rebuild will have to come from within. 

Ted Kulfan recently looked at which Wings could stay or depart. Those on the bubble include goalie Jimmy Howard, forwards Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Luke Glendening and Darren Helm, and defensemen Nick Jensen, Mike Green, Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul. He doubts UFA forward Drew Miller will be back. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what moves Holland makes this summer. During last year’s draft, he was able to shed the final season of Pavel Datsyuk’s supposedly unmoveable contract at last year’s draft. He was also reportedly interested in Anaheim’s Cam Fowler and Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba last summer. 

Holland could peddle one or two expensive salaries before the expansion draft or during the NHL draft weekend in June. I do expect he’ll be busy trying to swing a deal in the trade market for a defenseman. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nyquist or Tatar become trade bait.  I don’t see him making the plunge this summer for an expensive free agent, but perhaps he’ll look at an affordable depth signing.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Jerry Sullivan believes the honeymoon is over for Sabres GM Tim Murray, who must now prove he can bring in tough, winning players. “He systematically took apart the defense, leaving behind a thin unit that was weak in its own end, couldn’t make the long passes to initiate the offense and allowed the most shots on goal in the NHL (34.3 a game),” writes Sullivan. He singles out forwards Evander Kane and Sam Reinhart, two Murray acquisitions who “don’t seem especially passionate about winning.”

John Vogl notes there’s no easy answers regarding what the Sabres should do with Kane. “The left winger will give everything he’s got during the game, but good luck finding him when the clock isn’t running. He carries himself like he’s Sidney Crosby, yet he has the same number of playoff points as Taro Tsujimoto. He’ll treat children to a gift-filled Christmas, then end up on the police blotter. His megawatt smile will charm one person and appear fraudulent to another,” writes Vogl. 

Kane has a season left on his contract at an annual cap hit of $5.25 million and is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. Vogl believes Murray must either re-sign the 25-year-old winger to a long-term extension or or move him for a long-term asset. From Dec. 1 to season’s end, Kane scored 28 goals to rank ninth in the league over the period. However, his poor practice habits are considered part of the disconnect associated with the Sabres. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s obvious talent is offset by those issues noted by Vogl. Those issues raise questions over his future with the Sabres and also make him difficult to move via trade. Murray could take a “wait-and-see” approach to Kane for next season, but if there’s any takers for the winger’s services, he could seriously consider those offers. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports Coyotes GM John Chayka identified adding a first-line center and a top-pairing defenseman that his club needs to address. Morgan notes those are also the two hardest positions to fill. With long-time captain Shane Doan and facing retirement, the departure via trade of Martin Hanzal and defenseman Zbynek Michalek unlikely to be re-signed, the Coyotes must add some veteran talent to bring in some experienced leadership for their younger players. 

AZCENTRAL.COM: Sarah McLellan reports the Coyotes could decide to wait until after the expansion draft before potentially re-signing him to a new contract. Vrbata was their leading scorer this season and is eligible for UFA status on July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have the depth in promising youth and draft picks (including the Wild’s first-round pick plus three third-round picks in this year’s draft) to dangle as trade bait. They could target clubs forced to trade players they otherwise risk losing for nothing to the expansion draft. I expect they want to re-sign Vrbata to another one-year deal, but that could depend upon which players they acquire via trade and who they could pursue via free agency. 



  1. Let’s see what Krejci does during the playoffs and then sell high to Arizona in the offseason. JFK will slide into the 2C role full time next year and they will also have Bjork coming in

    • Bjork, has been rumoured he would sign the day his team finished the season, that was last week and he hasn’t signed as of date. What changed? The NHL said they are not going to the Olympics, maybe Bjork see himself as an Olympian playing for team USA and then be a UFA in August and choose the team of his liking.

      • I think it’s on management. He’s not going to sign if he’s not going to get a chance to play right away. What Sweeney really should have done knowing that Bjork wanted to sign the day after his team was eliminated was trade Spooner at the deadline. There is no reason to pay him what he’s going to me looking for, $3M+. Of course, this is all speculation

      • 3rd line C’s a role Cassidy finally put spooner back into usually get more than 3 mil per. Spooner has earned more as well.

        Few kids get to step straight into the NHL. If that’s Bjork’s demand let him walk. Playing time is earned.

    • I doubt Arizona is that desperate. If they did take that salary on it would be for a nominal return.

      • I’m just going off of what Chayka has stated that they needed. I wouldn’t say that paying a 1C $7M annually is desperate at all. Granted, he will be turning 31 next season, but if you want a proven veteran down the middle, you will need to pay for him. As stated, this is one of the toughest assets to acquire. I just saw a need of one team and stated that the Bruins now find themselves in somewhat of a surplus at a position that they should be looking to sell high on if that opportunity presents itself

        I thought the Bruins missed a tremendous opportunity to deal Spooner at the deadline. His days are as good as gone with the Bruins and he could have fetched a decent return. This would have also opened a roster spot to tell Bjork, it’s yours when your season is done in NCAA

      • Its a real stretch to call Kejic a number 1 center and if he is he is among the worst number 1’s in the league… at 7.5 mil. No spank you from Arizona unless he was cheap to acquire… like 2nd rounder and b prospect cheap. people might read this as a shot at DK but its reality… an oft injured, starting to hit his last year or two of prime before decline, overpaid center isn’t what Phoenix needs. much better targeting johnson in tampa who will be cheaper / younger.

      • As I have said repeatedly. Krejci was signed in a different cap world. His current contract was signed in Sept of 2014. The NHL was in a run away salary world.

        Krejci played all 82 gmaes this season, 72 the season prior. Which tied into his hip issue from the season before that which was finally addressed by surgery this summer.

        Krejci finished in the top 25 for scoring at C in the NHL this year, 24th to be specific. His 7.25 in 2014 was the going rate.

        Boston won’t be moving Krejci for at least 2 more seasons. Spooner? Maybe, maybe not.

      • Who takes him in 2 seasons? ?

      • Oddly he was on that infamous list of centers than Stepan just one year ago ….. With Dave Bolland….

      • Hey. Krejic is at least a number 1. And bolland on ltir beats paying stepan almost half a mil a goal. But then again everything’s more expensive in ny

      • Again you show your cluelessness…. Stepan 17 goals, 55 points…. Krejic…. 23 goals 54 points… Stepan 1 million cheaper…. At the time you had Bolland as a “better deal” how many games had he played? Lmao!! You thought he was actually playing!!!!! Real in tune with contracts and value! Let’s not forget ” Hagelin is a superstar ” lmao! Along with anyone playing for Pittsburgh!!! Homer…. A bit?

      • May want to brush up on math skills….. 17 goals . 6.5 per isn’t n nearly 1/2 a million a game…. It’s closer to .38per game than .50?

        How about Ovechkin ? is he worse than Stepan? Kopitar? Wasn’t he on your list? .875 per goal? Lol!

      • You are so easy. Like milking a snake.

      • I’d hope your snake milking knowledge exceeds your hockey knowledge! Boy oh boy. Anything outside the Pittsburgh bubble is foreign to you.

    • If the Bruins strategy is to continue to try and win now, and build for the future at the same time, JFK will not be their 2C next season. I would like to see him start the year in Providence and see how he does. Don’t force him to learn how to be a 200′ player in the NHL. He will get schooled and it isn’t a necessity.
      Not sure you can sell Krejci high, as he makes too much money. Good player, not a good contract but not terrible either. I would think he would make a good fit in Arizona, and the B’s have plenty of depth up the middle. Just may not get much back in return. Slide Backes into the 3C match up guy. Give Spooner a 1 year deal with a raise and give a full shot to earn a long term deal. Now or never.
      Heard McAvoy has been practicing with Chara this week. Can’t wait to watch him play tonight, but sure isn’t ideal way to start his NHL career. Talk about getting thrown into the fire.
      Go B’s!

      • My thoughts are, if you’re bringing up McAvoy and burning a year let him play. Don’t bury him on a 3rd pairing with JML. The kid seems to have the attitude needed to succeed and from what I’ve seen in him as excelled with the spotlight is on. He’s going to take his lumps but that is expected. Chara will shelter him as much as possible. It would have been nice to get him in a couple of regular season games but I get what they were doing with him. If they missed out on the A3 spot and drew Washington, I doubt he is in Boston right now. I’m okay with losing the year, but like I said, you need to stick with him as ugly as it might get at times

        As far as selling high on Krejci, I really don’t think $7M is a terrible salary for Arizona to take on. He will be a $7M 1C there. In Boston that salary is excessive because of the depth they have at that position but for a team like Arizona with little up the middle and a large amount of cap space to work with I think it makes sense. Again, I was just throwing it out due to the surplus down the middle in Boston (some of which isn’t even seen yet. JFK, Czarnik, Heinen, Fitzgerald)

        Spooner would have been gone at the deadline if it were up to me. He has become a fourth liner/PP specialist. I would have rather opened that roster spot and tell Bjork it’s yours once your NCAA career is over. I honestly feel that’s what the hold up is with getting him signed

      • I don’t believe the payoffs don’t count contractually. Players aren’t paid in the playoffs.

      • Not sure I agree SH21, but it’s not like we get to watch McAvoy everyday in person.
        I prefer the slower approach with young players. Put them in a position to succeed, not get run over. I live in Edmonton and watched the Oil do that for 10 years. Especially on the blueline.
        Having said that all reports are that he has tremendous poise.
        I think it has more to do with the lack of quality depth in Boston on the blueline, that is NHL ready. Who else are they gonna throw in there that is an improvement over a kid like McAvoy?

  2. I see most pundits have Chicago vs Washington final. I predict that Chicago will be eliminated in round one and Washington will lose out to Pittsburgh in round two (with a caveat, if Washington can get to the conference final, they will win the cup).

    • I haven’t looked but when was the last time the #1 team from each conference met in the Stanley Cup?

      I haven’t completed my brackets yet. Time is widding down but I’m leaning to StL making it out of that bracket.

      • Edmonton vs Washingtion in the final.

      • Not a chance.

      • I’ll make my final selections just before I lock in all my bracket & boxpools in before 4 today.

        Leaning to washington & StL but haven’t decided if they can get by Anaheim to get out of the west. Trying to get a handle on Fowlers timeline. Have made inquiry’s.

      • George O, this is where you type in your teams for the final.
        Who’s it gonna be?

  3. Evander Kane 28g in 70g one year left. What’s his trade value? If Buffalo can’t sign him, trade him but for what? Kane just finished his 8th season with zero playoff games. You might think he would want to finish off next season and then sign with a playoff contender. Or maybe he wants to go back to Vancouver. In Oct 2018 the Canucks could have Kane and Price in their lineup.

  4. Weight now official
    Hitchcock does Dallas

    • I figured Weight would be confirmed in Brooklyn – he deserves a full season and will likely get them back into the Top 8.

      Hitchcock comes as a bit of a surprise – he’s a good coach but not a magician and if Nill can’t resolve that leaky goaltending tandem and their aging roster in key parts they’ll miss again next year. I wonder why they decided to wait until Thursday to confirm? “Ken Hitchcock will be named coach of the Dallas Stars on Thursday, the Dallas Morning News and Sportsnet reported.”

      • They were hinting about Hitch a couple of days ago

      • Hiring Hitch is ¦o different than Ruff for me. Pretty much the same coach just a different voice.

        Defense is & was Dallas’s biggest concern for me. Then add in a group of forwards that aren’t solid 2 way players & what you see is what you ge.

        Dallas’s D will be better as they will have aged a year but still brutal. As NJ’s D showed last season as an example a great goalie looks bad behind a bad D.

        Hitch can’t solve that problem. Nor can Nill quickly. Finding soliid D takes years.

  5. I read an article a few weeks ago that said Sam Reinhardt and Jack Eichel don’t like each other. Add Kane’s indifference and you have a toxic room. Good luck with fixing that.

    • Not so. Eichel and Sam live together and are seen together downtown quite often.

      • Oh my heavens!

  6. Evander Kane will never change. There is another league……. it’s in Russia! Nuff said!

    • Sorry Steven, he won’t be going to the KHL, I’ll be happy to see a LW of his skill set in a bruins uniform. I don’t see the other Kane in the KHL and you won’t see this one either.

      • No need to apologize Caper. This is just my opinion. I don’t think any manager should go after Evander Kane. He is an amazing talent but just cannot get out of his own way! If you the Bruins want him go right ahead I would pass on him 10 times out of 10 personally.

        And by the other Kane do you mean Patrick? Cuz I never suggested that for a second. At least Patrick has a won few times hasn’t he?

      • “I would pass on him 10 times out of 10 personally.
        And by the other Kane do you mean Patrick? Cuz I never suggested that for a second. At least Patrick has a won few times hasn’t he?” Steven by that statement then it isn’t about personality is it.

      • Have to agree with Caper- terrible work ethic and disliked by teammates in Winnipeg- was a bad decision to trade for him.very few guys change their stripes with a deal- especially when they have a long term deal. Making matters worse, is that he their most talented winger- you wont get value back. You don’t want to enter the 3rd year of Eichel’s entry level with him wondering about his teams future. Sidebar- I don’t think Eichel will be there long term..just merely a hunch..cant be easy to look up the road and see the Leafs competitive so fast with Matthews getting all the attention

    • Kane just turned 25. Not sure what you were doing at 25 but kane is a choir boy compared to most 25 year olders.

      Kane isn’t going any where. I’ll make the same comment I made last summer. Kane is essentially Buffalo’s #1 LW. They have no 1 to replace him with. He will resign or be moved at next seasons trade deadline. 30 goal scorers don’t grow on tree’s. His 28 is close enough.

      He’s never heading to the KHL. You obviously missed the memeo. The KHL’s players are coming to the NHL as only a handfully of KHL teams are profitable.

      • As long as EK stays on the straight and narrow off the ice who cares if he wants to associate with his team mates off the ice. He is one of the few Sabres that brings his game almost every night and that’s all that counts to me. As for Reinhart and this isn’t 20/20 hindsight as I wanted Draisaitl drafted by the Sabres if GMTM wanted a fast team then he should have drafted Draisaitl, I’m not saying Reinhart isn’t a good player but LD will have then better career IMO

  7. I would just like too see Detroit win the draft lottery for being so constant without a top draft pick in the 25 years of playoff. Good luck.

    • I agree Bill. The Red Wings have been a pillar of consistency for such a long time. They are also a great original six franchise. I hope they don’t get branded the Dead Things again. They certainly had a long painful stretch before this recent run of success.

    • Kane to Vegas for whatever you can get draft pick wise. It is a perfect spot for him to flash his money around.

  8. I am not sure if Kane will ever grow up, but the guy has lots of skill for sure. He could be a good fit on the Flames roster, just not sure how he would effect the dressing room.

    • And that Nick is the exact reason to stay away from him. You see that Caper?

      • I do Steven, like Nick said he nor you or I know, how he affects the dressing room.

  9. 1 of Arizona’s 3 rrd round picks goes to florida. It will be theirs as it was conditional. Florida getting the higher pick of the 2.

  10. Evander Kane always gives 110%. 100% on the ice, 10% off of it.

    • Where was he the first half of the season.

      • Not saying he makes smart plays. His production is primarily luck as he shoots from anywhere, more often that not pretty weak angles.

      • Injured & trying to recover from it.

      • Luck? Your kidding right. I’m pretty sure just getting to the NHL takes incredible tallent. Then you have to get into a position to even shoot. We have players in the NHL that can’t even hit the net consistently under these time & space restrictions. No faster league in the world.

  11. Tim Murray was hired on January 9th 2014. At best they just finished year 2 of a rebuild. Why would anyone expect Buffalo to be a playoff team now? Don’t we all basically accept rebuild s to take 5 years? This wasn’t a retooling but a full tear down. Yes he’s made trades & signed a UFA but still years from being completed.

    • Buffalos story remains the same. Lets reimagine if the Kane/ Bogosian trade never took place. The reason Winnipeg didnt make the playoffs this year was the injury absence of their best defenseman former Sabre Tyler Myers. Lets face it Drew Stafford had to go but not in that trade necessarily. Lemieux was drafted in 2nd round over Ivan Barbashev who I wouldve selected in that draft. Lemieux wouldnt sign in Buffalo and then was a must trade. Armia was in the top 5 of players with short handed goals this year finally coming on as a 3rd line penalty killer. The biggest loss of those was Myers on the blueline….hes shutdown and Winnipeg would tell you the same. Bogosian has played no better than a 5th or 6th dman for over 5 mil a year. Then the trades of Neuvirth, Chad Johnson to UFA and Halak….all NHL goaltenders that I feel more comfortable in the pipes over Lehner who did a lot of flopping despite the GAA this year. The number 1 pick that was traded for Lehner couldve amounted into Konecky in PHL or Colin White that OTT took with that pick…big mistake that trade was. Third was the Oreilly trade hat brought Mcginn who was a great fit in BUF that was traded in the same year for a 2nd rnd pick. Mcginn was the best trade acquisition that deadline per production afterwards and the DUCKS benefitted. The loss of Zadorov and Compher who was called up at the end of the year and was quite flashy. Then finally the deal for Kulikov by trading Pysyk to FLA. Kulikov is now a UFA after an injury riddled season and Pysyk still very young will go on playing and getting better in FLA for years to come. The loss of the defensive corps via trades and the loss of trading away some of them number 1 picks which were Roslovic in WPG and Konecky/ White hurt the team up front. The only trade here that has benefitted the team and that I liked was the oreilly deal. Trying to build Rome or Buffalo to fast has caused the team to backtrack and slow the rebuild in my eyes even more so. Unless Murray can pull a Kane for Cam Fowler deal its gonna be awhile until the defense can be rebuilt. I doubt Shattenkirk would sign in Buffalo. The future of the defense looks bleak outside of Ristolainen, Mccabe and Guhle….Gorges is great as a stay at home so that excludes the possibilty of Alzner who would be far more expensive. All the trades Murray made were to help the team up front and it seems to have weakened the back end too much. Unless they can get Bogosian to play like the 2nd overall pick the year he was drafted again it looks bleak. Im hoping Ullmark will outshine Lehner and take over the number 1 goaltender position. I wouldnt offer or pay Lehner too much as he is a RFA in the offseason. He is still unproven to me. If Buffalo didnt make the Myers and Konecky/White pick deals and the Pysyk for Kulikov deal I think I would be speaking differently about the team and its future at this point.

      • Myers has a lack of passion and desire! I’m happy to have him leave. He lacks in confidence

      • And yet people swore Lehner was the “steal ” over Talbot! I was absolutely shocked Talbot=a 2nd and Lehner a 1st…. Then again people were penciling the ” Hamburgler” as a Vezina caliber guy!

    • The Sabres are at the point to win now in order to win later. They did not win enough this season with shoddy goaltending, the worst defense in the league, and not enough scoring.

      Murray will need to open for business this off-season.

  12. As a sabres fan I’m not happy with selecting Reinhart seconds overall, he is slower than a turtle and never breaks a sweat! Evander Kane I have no problem with his play, he is tough along the boards and scored 28 goals. Kane has speed, can fight and hit, plus he does score, hard to find wingers who have all these traits.

    • I wouldnt play hard either if I had a coach like Bylsma who is laid back. Ted Nolan couldnt gotten much further with this team than Bylsma ever will…..

  13. The Red Wings have struggled in recent seasons with quick postseason exits. Missing the postseason for the first time in 25 seasons, the Red Wings must take the necessary steps of rebuilding with youth.