NHL Rumor Mill – April 1, 2017

by | Apr 1, 2017 | Rumors | 19 comments

Should the Florida Panthers re-sign Thomas Vanek?

A recent look at some possible off-season moves for several non-playoff clubs in your NHL rumor mill. 

ESPN.COM: Matthew Coller recently examined the respective rosters needs that must be addressed by this season’s non-playoff NHL clubs.

He suggested the Buffalo Sabres acquire a puck-moving defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres GM Tim Murray was frequently linked last summer to Anaheim Ducks blueliner Cam Fowler in last summer’s trade rumors. If the Ducks aren’t able to re-sign him (he has a year left on his contract), perhaps Murray will try to pry him out of Anaheim. He’ll also likely target other clubs who, like the Ducks, are deep in young blueliners, such as the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild. 

The Florida Panthers need scoring wingers.  Coller suggested trying to re-sign trade-deadline acquisition Thomas Vanek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With only eight points in 15 games, Vanek’s been a disappointment for the Panthers. I doubt he’ll be back, but I do believe they’ll be active in search of a reliable, healthy scoring winger this summer. 

Coller felt the Philadelphia Flyers need some tweaks rather than a big off-season move. Goaltending is their biggest issue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers must sort out thei goaltending or they won’t improve next season. Ben Bishop is the big name among this summer’s free-agent goalies, but Chicago’s Scott Darling could be a more affordable and enticing option. Trade targets could include the New York Rangers’ Antti Raanta and Washington’s Philipp Grubauer.  

The New Jersey Devils will end up near the top spot in the 2017 NHL draft. Coller suggested they draft a puck-moving defenseman. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils GM Ray Shero will likely also be active in the free agent and trade markets to shore up his defense and add another scoring forward. 

The Carolina Hurricanes need a starting goalie. With seven picks in the first three rounds of this year’s draft, Coller also felt they should peddle some of them for forwards. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Hurricanes GM Ron Francis could also pursue Darling, Raanta or Grubauer to improve his goalie depth. Because of their bounty of young defensemen, trade rumors this season linked the Canes to Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene. Remains to be seen if Francis goes that route, but I can see him peddling some futures for a scoring forward this summer. 

Coller also thinks the Detroit Red Wings should try to ship out some of their eight over-thirty players. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That won’t be easy. Most, such as Justin Abdelkader, Jimmy Howard, Frans Nielsen, Darren Helm, Mike Green and Niklas Kronwall, carry no-movement or no-trade clauses. Even if they agreed to waive them, their best seasons are all behind them now. 

He also advised the Winnipeg Jets to replace head coach Paul Maurice, as well as find a reliable goaltender and some defensive talent around Jacob Trouba. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: See my notes on the Flyers and Hurricanes for possible goalie targets for the Jets. Doesn’t sound like Maurice is going anywhere. 

If any club should make a big-splash trade to add a star, Coller thinks it’s the Arizona Coyotes. They hold two picks in each of the first two rounds of this year’s draft and have a highly-ranked prospect system to draw upon for trade bait.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Years of mediocrity and uncertainty over their future have dogged the Coyotes. As a result, finding stars willing to come to Arizona won’t be easy. They’ll have to target those who lack no-trade/no-movement clauses. 

Coller advised the Dallas Stars to avoid giving out a bad contract via trade or the unrestricted free agent market. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed, but rumors over the past year linked them to Ben Bishop before he was dealt by Tampa Bay to Los Angeles. If they shed either Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi, they might pursue Bishop via free agency. They could, however, look at cheaper targets such as Darling, Raanta or Grubauer. 

He also believed it’s time for the floundering Colorado Avalanche to break up its core. Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog or Tyson Barrie could each fetch a solid return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One of those players is likely to be dealt this summer. Duchene’s attracted the most attention in the rumor mill, but the Avs set a ridiculously high asking price of a good young defenseman or goalie, a first-round draft pick and a top prospect and perhaps more. If GM Joe Sakic isn’t careful, he could force clubs with interest in Duchene to consider other options this summer. 

As for the Vancouver Canucks, Coller suggested the best course is to continue stocking their system with youth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t argue with that. It’ll be interesting to see if they bring back goalie Ryan Miller for one more season on an affordable deal. Otherwise, I expect they’ll keep bringing in young assets via draft or trade. 


  1. It’s the dog days of rumors even as we get into the best part of the season. Expansion is really an exciting twist to this offseason. now through mid july wont be boring for hockey for sure.

  2. I know Vaneks numbers have dropped a bit . In Detroit his numbers .79 pts. Per game over 48 games, Florida .53 over 15 games. But I’d say Vanek somewhat beat expectations in Detroit, overachieving a bit, and maybe lacks some of that same chemistry in Florida that lead to his success. Either way .53 per game isn’t all that bad for a guy making less than 3 million total this year imo. They rolled the dice.

    • Speaking of dropping nos. what`s happening with Vesey? Healthy scratch last night, he got off to a decent start, but seems to be fading fast. He seems to have hit a wall hard. Is he getting chances, injures or is he just not what everyone thought he was going to be. You would have seen him more than most

      • He just hasn’t acclimated to a NHL schedule.. It’s pretty common among college players. Honestly I think they should have taken a much more conservative approach with him and Buchevich. I swore Buchnevich would have started in the ahl to become accustomed to the ice, language etc.

      • Kinda figured that, he got of to a good start, so one knew that he was capable of playing in the NHL. It`s just that a lot of the kids get their second wind by now. In hindsight a short stint in the AHL may have been a good thing. Take a little pressure off, let him relax a bit, build the confidence. Maybe he`s saving it for the playoffs

      • Some folks were not so convinced he was all that when he came out of school. I like the kid and think he can put up 60 point seasons when he gets acclimated to the NHL schedule.

    • Vanek has continued to underachieve since departing the Buffalo Sabres. He will be on a one-year deal somewhere in the NHL, or he will depart to Europe.

  3. Flyers have opportunity this off-season. Upgrade and goaltending the obvious young Dman coming up. A few forwards Lindhom from Sweden probably in the lineup. But I would be interested if Hextall is going to upgrade his scoring power on the wings with trading one of the young dman.

  4. Although Goligoski technically wasn’t a UFA when signed by Arizona, they sent a late pick to Dallas for his rights just before July 1st & signed him immediately. He was the best Dman available facing UFA status. He didn’t have any issues signing in Arizona.

    Arizona may not be a destination for some stars but I see no real issue with players signing there. Arizona is very specific about what they are targeting but they essentially signed 3 UFA’s last summer. Goligoski, Vrbata & McGinn. It appears they have been able to sign players they were interested in signing.

    The have 1 of the strongest pipelines of prospects in the NHL, most of their roster signed for next season & boat loads of money to do what ever they want & picks. The future in Arizona looks very bright. They are still a few years away but significant improvement is coming.

    • Agree with the Arizona assessment. They have some great talent in the system. It was great to see Jost play last night in Colorado.

      • speaking of Arizona prospects…How about those Erie Otters…Shades of the London Knights line of Marner Tkachuk and Dvorak(Arizona)

        Strome – Arizona
        Debrincat – Chicago
        Raddysh – Tampa

        This line has a combined 35 points in 4 games and after the first series are more than on pace to match what that London line did last season. Hope they keep it up.

  5. Frankly the most important issue facing the game now is the fact that button down hockey is boring. Coach’s have squeezed the entertainment value completely out of the game. The ratio of cash to value is out of whack and this is confirmed by the attendance. I rarely get through a game on TV without surfing for some thing better to watch. Part of that is too many games and if that’s not enough back to back games should be banned. Enterprizes such as the World Championship played this season should be banned, the Olympics makes the quality of leagues games an embarrassment. I have season tickets and frankly I can’t recall the last time I jumped out my seat. The game is corporate and measured and not spontaneous and exciting. Games are managed rather than officiated and reviews and time outs only add to the misery

    • I guess it depends on the team you have season tickets for. The team I cheer for is the Calgary Flames and I rarely miss a game due to my company having seasons tickets and the crowd is always fully into it. The Flames for that matter have one of the most exciting teams to watch then they’ve had in years. As a matter of fact I find hockey more exciting to watch now then it’s been it quite some time. It’s fun to watch a lot of different teams just due to all the exciting knew young talent in the league and next year will be even better. To each his own I guess.

      • That’s true but is also true is with which era you are making the comparison with. Sure the Flames are on a bit of a roll and good for them. I’ve seen the good the bad and the yuck eras ( Season ticket holder for 44years ) but despite the various styles and team leaders the current over coached style leaves a lot to be desired. It’s defense first weather you regonise it or not. Players benched if they stray from the system and that’s true of which ever team you follow. One media type once stated don’t allow coaches on the bench period and as much as it sounds ridiculous there control of the game has gone too far and to the fans detriment. Win regardless of entertainment. Coaches look after themselves ( there’s a revelation ) and the heck with the fans. Can I ask do you watch games on TV or live ? Commercial time outwhen you’re watching on TV is simply a moment to grab another beer/popcorn or bathroom, in the arena not so much

      • Tzachuk keeps it up other teams might start taking runs at the Flames’ star players. Not that i have an issue with Matthew, but that’s what usually happens

  6. Tkachuk is a true pest but stands up for himself!Come the playoffs other teams will target the Flames star players even without his shenanigans.Most cup winners have had one or two like the oilers of years gone by with the rat and Tickanen!

  7. Other teams can feel free to do that. The league polices that that type of stuff now so it would only result in a suspension for themselves if they openly to a run at a guy for no reason. All Tkachuk did was throw an elbow as every player in the league does. He’s creating open ice for his line mates. At 19 years old he made the reigning Norris trophy winner his bitch. I think he’s doing exactly what the organization wants him to do.

  8. I will always be a fan and watch plenty of hockey. Today’s game is fine but mostly because of the young guns. My favorite era was the mid 90,s Wayne Bure Jagr Hull Sakic Yzerman Modano Bourque Neely and I could go on for hours. Entertainment for your dollar was over the top best game in the world by far.

    • The players you listed certainly brought fans out of their seats and with their skill. Not so much now, players are on a leash for the most part. Coached love 0-0 games half way through the third period 🙂